Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I got the first A for this semester

I got an A on my Chinese history class. I am posting my final papers over here as records though I know they are boring.
The leading Events and Causes of the Chinese Cultural Revolution
The Cultural Revolution took place in China during 1966-1976. Despite its title, the revolution did not merely focus on cultural aspects, but turned into a radical rebellion that influenced all the aspects and terribly destroyed the country’s tradition, values, culture, social order and economy. It left profoundly negative effect that could not be eliminated within one or two generations. Although the causes of the Cultural Revolution were complex, Mao Zedong, the founding leader of the Chinese Communist Party, was considered the chief figure who should take the responsibility of it. His philosophy of constantly class struggle, his intention to cover his faults committed in previous movements, and his concern about his political antagonists were the major reasons leading the revolution. In addition, the intensified international situation, such as Khrushchev’s speech in 1965 and the Vietnam War, was contributed to the radical movement as well.
The motivation the Cultural Revolution was directly related to Mao’s philosophy of constantly class struggle. From Mao’s point of view, the “contradictory aspects are contained without exception in the processes of all things in the world and in human thought” (Mao 263). Also, “Struggle within the contradiction is present everywhere, […] the struggle with in the contradiction is unconditional, absolute” (Mao 266). Based on the concept, he developed his philosophy of constantly class struggle. Before the establishment of the CPR, Mao believed that primarily class struggle was between all the Chinese people leading by the CCP and the class enemies, the Japanese invaders and the Kuomintang forces. After the CCP took control over China and establishment of the CPR, Mao did not suppose that class struggle was going to vanish or to be lightened. In contrast, he emphasized on the continuing class struggle and launched many radical movements to attack the so-call “class enemies”, and the Cultural Revolution reached the height.
Mao’s mistaken policies on economy in later 1950s resulted in a national catastrophe; thus, he launched the Cultural Revolution in order to cover his failures and resist criticisms. Despite the fact that Mao understood little economy, he was the man who determined the entire country’s economy. He neither was willing to adapt a market economy nor employed economic experts to create a suitable plan economy. China followed by the Soviet model and set up of the first Five-Year Plan in 1950s. Although this plan was completely decently, Mao did not satisfied and launched the Great Leap Forward in 1958, expecting a miracle economic progress within a short time period. Obviously, because his idea was based on a political fanaticism rather than the reality or a rationally economic design, the Great Leap Forward eventually failed and caused a very large number of populations starving to death. As the advocator of the movement, Mao had serious and active opposition within the Chinese Communist Party and subsequently resigned from his position as Chairman of the Chinese People’s Republic in 1959 (An 6). During the following several years, Liu Shaoqi and Deng Xiaoping were the main figures to manage the country’s economy. They replaced Mao’s frenetic plans by moderate ones. “They advocated a more pragmatic, moderate, and rational approach for the solution of Communist China’s problems of modernization” (An 8). The country’s economy had been reviving. Unfortunately, Mao returned to power in 1966, as a sophisticated politician, he started another more radical movement, the Cultural Revolution, for self-defense.
Criticism from other aspects such as ideology and military also contributed to Mao’s determination to start the Cultural Revolution. For instance, in 1957, Mao created a so-call “Hundred Flower Movement”. He encouraged intellectuals felling free to criticize the current policies and providing suggestion. However, while more and more criticisms pouring out and seem as focused on himself, Mao felt the situation was out of control and those challenges were impossible to tolerate. Likewise, during 1960s, while American further involved into the Vietnam War, some Chinese military men realized China must abandon Mao’s guerrilla warfare, but develop modern military technique and build a right relationship with the Soviet in order to against America (An10). However, Mao considered that was a hostile challenge toward the essence of his military tactics. He had to respond a fighting back.
In fact, the most important reason that Mao launched the Cultural Revolution should be his intention to attack his political antagonists in order to ensure his absolute rule. Mao was not such a person who with a worldwide view and modern ideas; in contrast, the essential part of his knowledge was based on Chinese tradition and ancient philosophies. He learned from the Chinese history that to protect his own power, he must tightly control his subjects with a merciless manner regardless how great he or she had contributed. While Liu Shaoqi’s influence was remarkable increasing during mid-1960s, Liu became the first and the largest target that Mao intended to attack. Certainly, the major event in the early period of the Cultural Revolution was to bring Liu down although the movement was not only for attacking him but also aiming at a large scope of high ranking Communists and intellectuals whom were assumed to be the “class enemies”, or in other words, Mao’s personal enemies.
In addition, the split of Sino-Soviet relation in 1960 directly resulted in the economic difficulty of China; most important, it pushed the China into an even more isolated position that benefited the growing of radical thoughts and movements. The Soviet Union and China were two giant countries in Asia and shared many features in common such as the Communist ideology and economic patterns. The Soviet Union was always a model that China followed and it indeed provided important assistance to Chinese. However, the alliance between them gradually split up due to the territory conflicts and the power struggle in the Communist world. In 1960, the Soviets suddenly withdrew all of its aids from China that virtually made Chinese economy dropped into a very difficult situation. Also, before the formal breakup with the Soviet Union, China was hostile with the Western world, but it at lease had friends in the Communist world. However, after 1960, it was almost completely isolated from the world. Since international opinions became unimportant to Chinese, they closed the doors and could not realize their revolutionary movements had already become how radical and ridiculous.
Moreover, the brutally political struggle in the Soviet Union was the cause that indirectly contributed the Cultural Revolution too. Mao was not only annoyed by the failure of Sino-Soviet relations, but he was also shocked by the Soviet’s internal political struggle. Three years after Stalin’s death, Khrushchev delivered a famous speech in 1965, in which he total denied Stalin’s contribution to the country and declaimed Stalin as a criminal. From this incident, Mao realized the similar situation could happen in China and himself. Indeed, “[it] is correct in arguing that Mao, in large part, set off the Cultural Revolution primarily in order not to repeat Stalin’s ‘tragedy’” (An 2).
In conclusion, the internal events such as the Great Leap Forward, the Liu Shaoqi’s economic success and the international events such as Khrushchev’s speech in 1965, the Vietnam War became the multi-reasons leading the Cultural Revolution. Moreover, Mao’s philosophy of constantly class struggle and ruthless attack to his political opponents also stood as the motivation of the radical movement.
Work Cited
An, Tai Sung. Mao Tse-Tung’s Cultural Revolution. Maryland: Pegasus, 1972.
Mao, Tse-Tung. “Identity, Struggle, Contradiction.” Social Theory. Ed. Charles Lemert. 3rd ed.
Colorado: Westview, 2004.
Schirokauer, Conrad. A Brief History of Chinese and Japanese Civilization. 2nd ed. Orlando:
Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1989.

The Minority Policies of the Chinese Communist Party
Although the dominant population of China is Han people, the minorities have always made important impact on political, military, and cultural aspects in Chinese history. There are fifty-six diverse minorities that the most of them lives in the frontier areas such as the Northeast, Northwest, and Southwest. The particular geographical position and the diverse ethnic groups result in the political uncertain in the minority areas. Historically, Chinese rulers always take a very serious attitude to deal with the minority problems. In modern China, the Chinese Communist Party has established “autonomous areas” and set the concepts of equality, union, and integration as its mainly minority policies. During the radical period, 1960s to 1970s, the minority policies were altered and the minority’s rights were terribly violated. After the end of the Cultural Revolution, the Chinese government has provided some favorable policies to assist them on economic, educational and other fields. The minorities’ live is gradually improving.
The Chinese Communist Party took the concepts of equality and union as its minority policies since its early period. Before the establishment of the People’s Republic of China, the CCP had valued the minority people as an important force to assist it in fighting Japanese in the second Sino-Japanese War and Kuomintang during the Civil War. During Yenan region, Mao-Zedong claimed that “all minorities should be given equal rights with the Chinese” to (Eberhard 155). The CCP also adapted the idea that “All groups should work together against the common enemy, under the leadership of the Communist Party” during the difficult war period in 1930s to 1940s (Eberhard 156). Under such policies, the CCP indeed united various minority groups and gained support from them, which finally helped the CCP took the complete control in China.
While the PRC was established in 1949, the CCP developed “autonomous areas” as its main method to govern minorities. There are five of these: the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, the Guangxi Chuang Autonomous Regions, the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, and the Tibet Autonomous (Hinton 248). In addition, there are 130 autonomous areas and over coalition autonomous governments (Eberhard 157). On the one hand, in the autonomous areas, the Chinese government respects minorities’ value and ethnic identities. Minority people are encouraged to preserve their tradition, culture, languages, and so on. They are given a large scale of freedom to manage their own affairs. On the other hand, minorities must live in an untied state together with Han Chinese, under the rule of the CCP.
Whenever the CCP notices something over control in an autonomous area, it would take immediate action against it. For instance, to gain obedience from minorities, brutal suppression was not rare in Xingjiang and Tibet in the early period of the PRC.
Despite the establishment of the so-call “autonomous areas”, the CCP believes that the minorities will eventually integrate into Han Chinese. “It is assumed that eventually the development process will merge [minorities] in a single socialist culture with a strong Han flavor” (Hinton 249). In fact, the CCP has much actual practice in order to fulfill this goal. Since mid-1950s, large amount of Han immigration moved into minority territories, and the impact on the minority areas was huge. Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia are the two minority regions that have accepted the most immigrants. While Chinese immigrants provided new technique and other assistance to minorities, the process of integration contained some negative features too. For example, in Inner Mongolia, the traditional nomadic territories, more and more areas were occupied for agriculture using rather than herding.
Also, as a part of the integration, the selected young minority people are trained by the Communist ideology as well as Han Chinese language in order to be the future leaders. Through the training, they become the reliable power to help the CCP to rule the minorities. After the People’s Liberation Army attacked Tibet in 1950 and Tibet was declaimed to be an autonomous area, cadre schools were created in Lhasa (Eberhard 156). Likewise, the CCP absorbs minority members into the Party. For example, Ulanfu, a Mongolia prince, became the minority member in the Central Committee of the Communist Party (Eberhard 156). Obviously, the fact that minority leaders join into the CCP and become high ranking officials would largely encourage the minority people’s confidence and good feeling toward the central government
During 1960s and 1970s, there were a series of radical movements that result in a national catastrophe; the social order was completely destroyed. Consequently, minorities awfully suffered from the political and social chaos. Minority values were no long been respected. They were compelled to speak Chinese and to get intermarriage, which often opposes their will. As one of the most radical cases, regardless the absolutely religious interdiction, Muslims were forced to eat pork. During the Cultural Revolution, there were full scale campaigns to attack on religions. A few Buddhist sites were survival. Some very valuable and ancient Buddhist architectures and images were completely destroyed. To respond the radical situation, minority resistance was increased. In 1959, a great rebellion took place in Tibet, and Dalai Lam, the religious and secular leader of Tibet, fled to India (Schurmann and Schell 557). In 1962, thousands of Xingjiang citizens, notably Kazakhs, fled across the border into the Soviet Union were considered a consequence of policy (Schurmann and Schell 555).
After the end of the Cultural Revolution, the Chinese government has gradually regulated the political, economic and social patterns. In general, there were a large improvement on the minority policies; the radical concepts were abandoned and the new rational ideas were introduced. The anti-religion policy was abolished. Minorities obtain the complete freedom on religions. Old Buddhist sites were rebuilt and some new temples were built too. Likewise, on the educational aspect, although Chinese has remained the official and main language, minority languages are taught in schools. Also, minority culture and customs are encouraged. Their art, music, architecture, and oral history are carefully preserved and enhanced. Last, while more local minorities become officials, minorities’ rights and lives are additionally improving.
Beyond the general improvement, there are some significantly favorable policies for minorities since 1980s. While the “One-Child Policy” has been carried out in the whole country, minorities are excluded from the obligation. Because of that, minority population increases rapidly from 5% reached around 9% within two decades. Second, since minorities commonly have lower education level than Han Chinese, a much lower score on the college entrance examination is required for minority students. This policy actually not only helps minority students to get higher education but provides them further opportunities on economy and social life as well.
In conclusion, while the Chinese Communist Party went to power in mainland China, it developed the “autonomous areas” and claims equality, union, and cooperation as its mainly minority policies. After the difficulty in the period of the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution, Chinese government adjusted its minority policies to a rational level. Through continuously work by both Han Chinese and minorities, the harmonious situation of cooperation and coexistence between them can be expected.
Work Cited
Eberhard, Wolfram. China’s Minorities: Yesterday and Today. California: Wadsworth, 1982.
Hinton, Harold C. An Introduction to Chinese Politics. 2nd ed. New York: Robert E. Krieger,
Schurmann, Franz, and Orville Schell. Communist China: Revolutionary Reconstruciton and
International Confrontation 1949 to the Present. New York: Random House, 1966.


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