Today’s ‘Cultural Revolution’ Looks Very Familiar


Those of us of a certain age may remember Chairman Mao Zedong’s “Cultural Revolution” in the People’s Republic of China. Zedong, as you will recall, came to power during the 1949 Communist revolution, sending Chiang Kai-Shek and his army and followers to what is now the Republic of China on Taiwan. Chiang ruled China from 1928 until Zedong fomented his revolution.

Around 1966, as this article outlines, Mao launched his “cultural revolution” to eradicate the country of its old systems (sound familiar, already?) and eradicate remnants of opposition or resistance that still remained in China. It lasted about 10 years, and had a horrific impact – as many as 20 million Chinese died, but no one really knows for sure.

Historical monuments of all kinds were destroyed. Parents were forced to watch as their homes and livelihoods were destroyed, and were humiliated into phony confessions. It was truly evil.

Since this movement became of age when I did, I was fascinated by it. While in college, I procured and read Mao’s “Little Red Book.” I found it bizarre, full of inane and meaningless statements, but the youthful “Red Guard” would memorize each word (and woe to them if they didn’t).

Mao’s revolution actually didn’t survive that long. Richard Nixon’s trip to China late in his presidency (and Mao’s life) helped China change when it became abundantly clear that Mao’s revolution was, in actuality, a cultural and economic disaster. Within a few years, the revolution had all but disappeared. When I traveled there in 1995, on a Senate staff trip, China was, at least temporarily, on a very different path towards some marginal embrace of capitalism (they wanted foreign investment and were eager to create jobs and social stability at the time, minus respect for the rule of law).

Things have obviously changed again over 25 years, but that’s a topic for another day. Interestingly, when I visited, they were fully engaged in restoring historical artifacts and excavating tombs of emperors that now line the road in Shaanxi Province from the airport to the ancient capital of Xian. The famous Terracotta Warriors were excavated and restored there. Amazing history that was almost destroyed.

My point. Those who do not learn from history are, in fact, likely to repeat it. We are clearly seeing the “red shoots” of a cultural revolution in our own country, complete with our very own “Red Guard.” The evidence is beyond obvious. To be forewarned is to be forearmed.

Before you bow to the Woke Mob, take a little walk through history.

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  1. KirkianWanderer Coolidge

    Compelling argument. If you’re interested in that era of Chinese history, I would recommend Frank Dikotter’s excellent three part book series on Mao’s China: The Tragedy of Liberation, Mao’s Great Famine, and The Cultural Revolution. He’s done a lot of very good work aimed at a mostly academic audience, but those books do a fabulous job of entwining overarching narrative, detailed facts, and a kind of ‘on the ground reporting’ of life for everyday Chinese citizens. With Xi Jinping at the helm, it would probably do everyone well to read up on Maoist tactics of social surveillance and delegitimizing history.

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  2. PHCheese Inactive

    Pol Pot in Cambodia was the Cultural Revolution and the Green New Deal combined. Per capita he killed more people. Think something like that couldn’t happen here?  BLM is a tender box.

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  3. Timothy Landon Member
    Timothy Landon

    I am not a fan of the president, but I am a fan of his reference on July 4th to the cultural revolution. Thank you for writing this!

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  4. Misthiocracy got drunk and Member
    Misthiocracy got drunk and

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  5. Dotorimuk Coolidge

    PHCheese (View Comment):

    Pol Pot in Cambodia was the Cultural Revolution and the Green New Deal combined. Per capita he killed more people. Think something like that couldn’t happen here? BLM is a tender box.

    The inability to argue and the absolute childish hysteria of these activists when challenged also reminds me of Pol Pot’s deranged eco-warriors and the unbelievably bizarre violence and repression they inflicted on Cambodia.

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  6. The Elephant in the Room Member
    The Elephant in the Room

    The irony of the Cultural Revolution is in how very far China has swung the other way: In 1966, the Red Guards vandalized the cemetery of Confucius in much the same way the BLM crowd is pulling down statues now. Less than forty years later, when the Communist Party began opening centers in universities to facilitate the learning of Chinese language, culture, and espionage, what did they name them? Confucius Institutes. There has never been a greater demand for Chinese art and artifacts, almost entirely driven by newly wealthy Chinese. The Four Olds have never been more popular, and Mao’s Little Red Book is relegated to souvenir shops catering to foreign tourists.

    The Cultural Revolution was a massive failure; sweeping away millennia of China’s history did not work – and there is plenty of ethnic hatred, oppression, and suffering in that history. Instead, the Chinese Communist Party has had much more success appealing to nationalism rooted in Chinese tradition – and it is, unfortunately, a nationalism that incorporates a heavy amount of historical grievance mongering and racism. I hope this will not be where the pendulum swings in response to America’s own Cultural Revolution.

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