Mao Zedong and China in the Twentieth-Century; A Concise History
Professor Rebecca E. Karl s’ book.
Chapter # 7
Great Leap and Restoration, 1958-1965
1. Khrushchev invited Mao to attain the 40th birthday of USSR in November 1957. Mao’s position in this visit was totally different from his earlier weak position of 1949. He received the state protocol at Moscow where he praised the success, strength and central role of USSR in the communist world.
2. The Red tapism of planners and economists disgruntled Mao for his “Go all out, Aim high and Build socialism” of the Great Leap Forward. The labour intensive projects of dams, roads and irrigation were launched for the rapid transformation of China into a socialist state. Hunger, death, propaganda and distrust were some of the tolls this gigantic forwarding leap took on China.
3. Surpassing England for steel production or America for grain yield, this mass movement was to revolutionize the sleepy Chinese permanently.
4. “The Iron Woman”, Mao long standing commitment to women liberation through labour, now got involved in such tasks that were previously considered men-realm. But their responsibility did not reduced. They would still have to do their traditional and natural duties despite their new role as iron women. Thus further burdened them with responsibilities.
5. The Quemoy and Matsu islands, controlled by GMD forces, were bombarded by the People’s Liberation Army from the nearby Fujian province. This raised tension with USA and its allies who were then protecting the GMD controlled Taiwan.
6. Overall this period was marked by its economic resumption and political stability. Some measures of the Great Leap Forward were reversed. Both Mao and Zhou Enlai were the main critics of this revisionism in the Party. “The new bourgeoisie element in the society” (by Zhou Enlai) and “The bureaucratic class” (by Mao) were their targets in the Party.
7. Meanwhile, Northern China border were contested by Soviet Union. The Western border was a hot line between India and China. Suharto’s coup and deposing of Suekarno in Indonesia unsafe the Southern border of China. SEATO and presence of the American advisors in South Vietnam made the whole scenario disturbing for China.
8. Mao urged the Chinese scientists to speed up their work and research on the nuclear bomb. The first nuclear bomb experimented by China in 1964 followed by Hydrogen bomb experiment in 1965 for the strength and security of People’s Republic of China.
Points to ponder…
a… Cordial relationship with USSR
b… The Great Leap Forward and the new the concept of ‘Iron Woman of China’
c… Criticism of CCP policies by Mao and Zhou Enlai
d… Tension with United States over Quemoy and Matsu Island,
e… Regional tensions with India, Soviet Union, South Vietnam, Indonesia and SEATO pact
f… China nuclear programme and explosion
Chapter # 8
The Cultural Revolution. Politics in Command, 1966-1969
1. After Mao country’s travel in 1966, he now turned to purge out the bourgeoisie elements from the Party. With like-minded he formed the Central Cultural Revolution Group (CCRG) for these purgation.
2. Mao’s third wife, Jiang Quing was never liked in the Party. Being a film star, she had spent in leisure and luxury. She was entrusted to do some special secret jobs for Mao. Staging of Hai Rui was one of such tasks by her for her husband, Mao Zedong. She was ultimately to become the scapegoat for the Cultural Revolution’s failures (1981).
3. Beijing University students posted big character posters in the campus in clear violation of direction from the University administration to discuss the Hai Rui play. They were criticizing and alluding to the rising bourgeoisie and capitalist trends in CPP and in society.
4. Teachers, professors and intelligentsia in general were disliked by Mao who considered them for nurturing a soft corner for bourgeois capitalism. Student’s Red Guards extremely misbehaved with their teachers. They were attacked, mauled and even abducted for their all so called bourgeoisie support and crimes. Mao greatly favoured the whole situation from Wuhan.
5. In July 1966, Mao’s swimming photographs in the Yangzi River were published to show him in good health and in virility. While in August 1966, one million Red Guard students saluted him in Tiananmen Square. He wore as a symbol the red armband on his left hand presented to him by a female Red Guard student.
6. In the same August 1966, CCP announced a movement to cleanse up all the bourgeoisie remnants within the Party. “The Four Old Movement” included the removal of old ideas, old culture, old customs and old habits. Temples, flowers, paintings, furniture in short anything else representing the bourgeoisie taste were smashed downed by Mao’s Red Guard.
7. Liu Shaoqi and Deng Xiaoping, two loyalists of Mao, were also targeted in this Cultural Revolution for going against the Party lines and for their bourgeois sympathies. Liu Shaoqi expelled and dismissed from the party position and died of Pneumonia in 1969 as he was not given a proper pneumonitis medical treatment. Even his wife, Wang Guangmei was also imprisoned and re-educated about True Socialism. Liu Shaoqi was posthumously rehabilitated and his ashes were handed over to his wife in 1980. While Deng Xiaoping wrote a self-criticism of himself and was sent to rural Jiangxi to repair tractors for peasants there. Mao called him back after rehabilitation to Beijing in 1973.
8. Mao’s August 5, 1966, big poster “Bombard the Headquarter” was a direct attack on CCP as well as a cue for the Chinese people to replace and restructure old ones with new ones. Its main vanguard were factory workers and students.
9. The only available option Mao’s hand was the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to restore law and order in the country. Upon his directive, PLA moved into rebellious areas and cities in January 1967 commanded by Lin Biao. Through a series of bloodbaths PLA successfully quelled rebels and restored law and order in the country.
10. Jiang Qing, Mao’s wife, urged Red Guard for an armed resistance against PLA actions. After intense infighting and political situation for eight months PLA succeeded in its military operations. With the looming fear lest the PLA rank and file might be factionalized due to this and a new civil war broke out in China.
11. PLA generals again got their status as the savoir of the nation. Red Guard was disbanded and students were directed to resume their studies. Liu Shaoqi became the scapegoat for all this chaos and turmoil. This “Big Khrushchev” was dismissed in disgrace for all this. The forces of order and normalcy and rebuilding of the state’s apparatus started under the supervision of Zhou Enlai.
12. In the Party’s 9th National Congress (1969), Mao recapitulated his and CCP struggle right from 1921 to the present (1969). Being successful in getting aside his rivals and contenders both in politics and in the Party everything was in Mao control. Mao and Maoist China were the one and same thing. Foreigners from all over the world visit and meet the great revolutionary leader Mao Zedong of their time.
13. The disturbing Brezhnev Doctrine (1968) and factories organized and run on Liu Shaoqi lines, Economist, were both disliked by Mao. The material and cash reward for workers had to be replaced with a major role and importance in politics for a more productive worker. The militarily weak China may be attacked by Soviet Union and America at any time suitable for them.
Point to Ponder.
a.. Red Guards formation and vandalism.
b.. Liu Shaoqi and Deng Xiaoping expulsion.
c.. PLA action to restore order.
d.. Economism and Brezhnev Doctrine.
The Cultural Revolution. Denouement and Death of Mao. 1969-1976.
1. With all its ups and downs the Cultural Revolution was an inspiring beacon for all those struggling against colonialism. This Revolutionary Internationalism was the electrifying current based on the mass politics and without any bureaucratic dangling for them to organize their own societies on it.
2. The Ussuri River incident brought the two socialist neighbours on the almost like war situation in March 1969. President Nixon warned the Soviets against attacking on China nuclear installations. The myth of “monolithic socialist bloc” of two states got shattered in the year 1969-70.
3. The gap appeared between Mao and his designated successor Lin Biao when the latter desire was turned down by Mao to be appointed as head of state laying vacant after Liu Shaoqi fall.
4. In December 1970, Mao informed his old friend Edgar Snow, “the friend of China”, about his readiness to meet President Nixon or any other high US officials. This urgency has many factors behind it. His falling health, Vietnam War, Taiwan issue and Soviet hostilities on its borders.
5. The escape and death of Lin Biao is the most shocking event of this decade. His escape from China to Soviet Mangolia at a time when the hostilities between the two states rife had many mysteries behind it. The Chinese official declared that Liu Biao had planned a coup to kill Mao and capture the state power. But upon the unearthing of the plot, he fled to Soviet Mangolia along with his family in a jet plane. The jet plane crashed killing all on the board. The real true story behind Liu Biao’s escape, plot, treachery and death is still shrouded in mystery. But at Lushan Conference his desire for the office of head of state and rejection may not be ignored.
6. Mao and CPC wanted to promote a revolutionary culture and drama in the socialist China. After the vandalism of “FOUR OLDs” they tried to energize their people from their innate revolutionary power. In the new modal drama woman protagonist would have to rise against all their obstacles for getting their goal. It was a new departing avenue from the usual woman sexuality and femininity.
7. “The Gang of Four”, comprised of Chen Boda, Jiang Quing, Yao Wenyuan, Zhang Chunqiao and Wang Hongwen was a gang conspiratorial and intriguing in nature that is why Mao gave it the title of “Gang” in 1975.
8. The Gang of Four specially pitted itself against the old Yan’an and Long March revolutionaries. Their political support and constituency were the post-Revolution cadres who had jumped on the bandwagon of their own interest.
9. The first contact between People’s Republic of China and United States was the result of the then Pakistani President General Yahya Khan intermediary ship. Zhou Enlai and Henry Kissinger were the confidants of their respective presidents. The great breakthrough came in mid-April 1971 when US ping pong / table tennis team was invited by China for friendly matches. After acceptance, the American ping pong team crossed the Foot Bridge into China from Hong Kong. Where Zhou Enlai officially received them. The US team played matches and toured the henceforth prohibited rivalled communist Chinese mainland. The secret visit of Henry Kissinger to China mediated by Pakistan finalized the details of Nixon’s visit to China in February 1972.
10. People’s Republic of China crossed another milestone successfully when the ROC of Taiwan was defeated to get the permanent seat in UN Security Council for itself. After the WWII, GMD got the permanent seat with other five war-victors. China proactive alignment with 3rd world helped it in getting back this permanent seat from the ROC of Taiwan.
11. Zhou Enlai aged 78, died on January 8, 1976. The traditional tomb sweeping was crushed the authorities. Deng Xiaoping was called a counter revolutionary and a mastermind behind this mass protestations. Thus began 5th May Movement of 1976.
Point to Ponder.
a.. Internationalism of Cultural Revolution.
b.. Ussuri River incident and Lin Biao escape and death.
c.. Gang of Four
d.. US-China linking.
e.. The 5th May Movement (1975).
Reform, Restoration and Repudiation of Mao from 1976 to present.
1.. After Mao death on 9th September 1976, Hua Gofeng crack downed on the Gang of Four for their committed atrocities.
2.. Hua Gofeng revitalized the Chinese economy and society until Deng Xiaoping took the full control of CCP in 1981.
3.. In 1979 a border war broke out between China and Vietnam in which Chinese PLA received too much loss in men and materials.
4.. A document “Resolution of Certain Questions on the History of Our Party since the Founding of Peoples of China” was officially approved and adopted by CCP on June 27, 1981 in which validation and rejection of Mao’s actions and decisions were assessed. In this document Mao’s actions and decisions were declared 70 percent correct while only 30 percent were mere judgemental errors by him. It was an official attempt to curb and answer the future historian’s questions about Mao’s decisions forever. The de-Maofication of Chinese society, politics and economics began at apace.
5.. The industrial reforms were launched. The Sunbelts, the foreign investment by other countries were setup near the southern areas of Hong Kong and Taiwan with many governmental incentives. While the state owned industries, the Rustbelts, were in a very bad conditions, physically, financially and also on productively level.
6.. The fall of communism and the death of Hu Yaobang on April 15 , 1989, gave the students opportunity to protest in the Tiananmen Square. The PLA was called to clear the Tiananmen Square from the students. The exact number of casualties has never been divulged by the Chinese authorities.
7.. The outside World was shocked with the Tiananmen Square incident and the foreign investment in China decreased sharply after this action. Deng Xiaoping formally handed over his power to Jiang Zamin in 1992.
8.. In a spectacular show the Beijing Olympics 2008 was live broadcasted globally. The robust and brimming Chinese market were shown to the foreigners in which everything is marketable. This is the new post-Mao China in which everything is for sale and is selling!!!