I went to special lecture held at my university for Xin, Haonian: -“Renowned scholar and historian”, –Author of the book “Who is the New China?”, -Chief Editor of the Magazine “Huang Hua Gang.” -Director of New York’s Institute for Research in Modern Chinese History, and -Guest lecturer at over 250 forums in North America and elsewhere in recent years.
In his lecture he focused mostly on the Cultural Revolution within China, including his own first hand account of living inside China during this period. The Lecture was in Chinese but English translation by earphone was provided, which I used. Here are some notes I took on a few things he lectured about. (They may be a little unclear at certain places or unfinished since the translation wasn’t the best and I had to go to the washroom somewhere in the middle of the lecture):
-The CCP higher committee was behind the Cultural Revolution and it was Mao who controlled the committee thus Mao carries the main responsibility for the Cultural Revolution since without his approval it would not have started.
-Mao stated to the public that the target during the revolution was capitalist supporters and followers however Mao really wanted to use the revolution as a means to eliminate his political rival Liu Shaoqi and his followers using the excuse that they were capitalist followers.
-Mao led a team of followers to incite the revolution’s schemes and orders.
-After the Cultural Revolution Mao consolidated his power over the CCP.
Strategy and Process of the Cultural Revolution:
-Mao and Liu both had their strategies:
–Liu wanted to maintain the current order in the part so that he could maintain his power and clique.
-Mao wanted to overthrow the current order to gain control for himself.
–Liu Shaoqi had 80-90% of the party prior to the revolution. ( I posted this on a Chinese History site and a scholar told me this was a little inaccurate, he said Mao actually did still have power over the military which granted him more power than this).
-However Mao defeated Liu, his strategy was to scheme, track and throw everything into the fight.
Why?: –Liu Shaoqi controlled 80-90% of the power.
-Mao believed that he deserved the power since he had it originally.
-Thus Mao must find a reason to kill Liu Shaoqi. That reason was the revolution.
-He charges Liu Shaoqi with being a revisionist capitalist.
-The Revolution was used to deceive the people.
-Mao therefore said that he was following the peoples wishes to kill Liu Shaoqi, since he was a revisionist.
-Mao had to overthrow Liu Shaoqi, but had the be careful not to destroy the CCP.
-Thus he used class struggle so that no one is there to oppose him.
-Mao launched countless class struggles and killed many.
-Changeability: Friends of Mao could become enemies in his class struggle the next day.
-Criticised the culture to support political struggle-
-Lenin: “all the culture must be organized and led by the party” = “Party Culture”.
-Therefore Mao had used culture to launch and carry out the revolution.
-Many scholars were killed and many committed suicide.
-Mao Zedong portrayed himself into an image of a God, while Liu Shaoqi was still considered a person to his followers.
-The Red book became the bible for the people, everyone had to raise it, recite it , read it, celebrate it.
-Mao was to be praised as a God.
-Whoever was against: Mao, his theories, or attacked his theories were killed.
-Mao was the God and could not be argued against/
-Therefore Liu could not compete against the image of a God.
-Mao was worshipped as a God which determined his victory.
–Liu also failed because he was not as ruthless and sinister as Mao.
-Mao claimed that it was the people who wanted to fight Liu Shaoqi not himself.
*Around here I think was where I went to the washroom. He started to discuss about work units that were sent throughout the countryside but later dismissed after they were voted to be dismissed. I didn’t get the reasoning behind the dismissal though or why the people wanted them to be dismissed.
-Toss away old culture, traditions and replace with new
-Marxism: break away from all possible traditions and replace it with Marxism
-Endless temples, relics were destroyed. Monks were driven from monasteries.
-The Red Guard would unearth the bodies and ashes of the dead and forced the widows to condemn their dead husbands. (I think they were the remains of maybe dead religious figureheads?? Or scholars maybe, I think the translators skipped a bit here).
-Comparable to the Paris Commune (of 1871) but in China the culture was being burned and destroyed all over China compared to Paris Commune where it was confined to Paris alone.
-The students would condemn and parade teachers as humiliation, and eventually even kill them.
-Mao was openly supporting the Red Guard to kill these people.
-Mao Zedong tried to please the young people, he met with the Red Guards.
-He allowed these people to transport freely across China to put up posters and condemn people, so that they could also spread condemnation for Liu Shaoqi, and purge people who Mao wanted to fight.
After the lecture there was a short question period. I was going to ask a few questions in regard to Tibet but I was never able to since the lecture ran longer than intended making the question period so short. Before the lecture, and in some parts in between, Haonian told some of his experiences while he was inside China during the Revolution. He talked about how he was criticized by some for writing novels instead of writing literature to do with the Communist government so he was sometimes shunned for it. He also talked about how he vowed with his brothers and family members that they would not participate in the Cultural Revolution since he had seen what they were doing to people. He didn’t go into much detail about what he saw but he said he saw elders being killed and at times during the lecture he seemed like he got really angered when describing some events of the revolution. Particularly during the question period there was one man at the very end, when the question period was wrapping up, who came to the microphone and criticized Haonian for what he claimed was and unfair depiction of Mao since he had told only what he saw as “Haonian’s side of the story”. Afterwards Haonian basically went on a huge counterclaim to this man’s accusations. He brought up alot of things in this huge reply, I can’t remember everything he said but the one point that I can recall quite well is how he talked about this a Chinese emperor who had killed a few hundred Confucian scholar and was historically known as a butcher for his action, yet Mao had killed 80 million Chinese and was revered as a God by many Chinese.
I came into this lecture not knowing much about the cultural revolution so I thought this would be a good chance to learn. Please reply with and comments about this or questions if you have any. Peace.