Mao and the new Chinese leadership

In 1976, China was the most equal society in the world while today, it is led by billionaires

by Hukum B Singh, eKantipur.com (Nepal), April 11, 2013

After the successful power transition in China,  Xi Jinping is now formally in charge of the Communist Party of China, the Government of China and its formidable military wing. However, there are big challenges ahead for Xi.

Mao, the founding father of modern China and the Chinese communist party, is still popular in China but the present leadership is fast moving away from his thought. The life and work of Mao is an inspiration to the poor, oppressed people in many parts of the world, including present China. That is why capitalists in China and their followers hate the memory of Mao and do everything they can to denigrate the great revolutionary leader. In Nepal and India, millions of workers and peasants are in favour of Maoism. Mao’s conception of a people’s war is being applied by the Communist Party of India (Maoist), which is leading an armed insurrection in many parts of India.

As it becomes clearer that capitalism—the oppressive system under which we live—is in decline, capitalists and those who serve them are becoming more desperate to convince us that no alternative, especially socialism, is possible. Hence, capitalist roaders in China and rest of the world have been attacking Mao’s revolution of China.

A century ago, when Mao was young, the once great civilisation of China had been reduced by internal reactionaries and external imperialists to a state of disorder and destitution. Mao was a young Chinese determined to find a way to save China and turn it into a prosperous, modern society. It was the Communist Party of China, eventually led by Mao, which found the way forward leading to the defeat of internal and external enemies and the foundation of the People’s Republic in 1949. In China today, Mao is widely respected and revered for the leading role he played in this great revolutionary struggle. Continue reading

On the revolutionary transformation of education during China’s Cultural Revolution

Higher Education Reform During the Cultural Revolution – A Milestone in the Advancement of Our Society

Written by Si Lan

Translated by Pao-yu Ching

Translator’s Note:  One of the most vicious attacks on the Cultural Revolution was launched against the Higher Education Reform that Mao Zedong proposed in 1968 and carried out for a few years during the Cultural Revolution. Mao’s proposal to reform higher education had two main focuses: that university learning had be closely linked to the needs of agricultural and industrial production, and that students who entered universities should be selected from the ranks of workers, peasants, and soldiers. Mao highly valued learning that combined theory and practice, or “learning by doing.” He was concerned that the expanded university education since the establishment of the People’s Republic kept a growing number of students apart from larger society and limited them to classroom learning for too long. As a result of this kind of higher learning, Mao feared that universities would create a new tier of elites who considered themselves above ordinary workers, peasants, and the broad masses. The concrete reform as it was carried out during the Cultural Revolution abolished the college entrance examination, which put great emphasis on book learning. Such examinations had been rooted in China’s feudal past. They favoring young people from intellectual families and put the children of workers and peasants at a great disadvantage. After abolishing the entrance examination, most high school graduates went to work first, and the work place (factories and mines, units within the agricultural communes, and military units) was given the responsibility to decide who would be sent to study in universities. The expectation was that after graduation they would then return to their respective units to work.

Education reform in universities faced strong resistance from many directions. The most important concern was the quality of graduates. Since the entrance examinations selected the ”best” students from the “best” schools, college professors and administrators believed that doing away with them would lower academic standards. Soon after Mao died, his vision of educating workers, peasants, and soldiers to be new leaders of the socialist society was denounced. The new “reformers” charged that worker, peasant, and soldier students were not suited for college education, and they lacked the cultural background to become the educated. They charged that China had wasted ten precious years during the Cultural Revolution by not educating its brightest and most talented youth. In 1977 the college entrance examination was reinstated. The Education Reform instituted during the Cultural Revolution was repudiated and abandoned.

The author of this article was selected from the countryside to attend the Central China Normal University for teachers. She majored in mathematics. In the article she writes about her life experiences, including how she got into the university, how they studied and learned, her life on campus, and what she did after she graduated. She also gives an overall evaluation of education reform during the Cultural Revolution. I think this is a good article for people who are interested in many of the newborn things launched during the Cultural Revolution and their significance in creating a new society even after its demise. For this reason I translated this article into English for a wider audience – PYC

July 21st of this year (2011) marked the 43rd anniversary of Chairman Mao’s directive on China’s revolution in higher education.

In July 1968 we were celebrating the successful completion of the Ninth Party Congress and our nation was covered with the joyful color of red. At this historical juncture Chairman Mao issued the important directive on how we should revolutionize our university education. He said, “We need to continue to build our university education. I am mainly referring here to the science and engineering programs in universities – however, we need to shorten the duration of these programs. We need to revolutionize our education. …University students should be selected from workers and peasants. After a few years of study in universities they will then return to production.”

Chairman Mao’s directive brought spring and rain to nurture the seeds of an education revolution, which were planted in the soil of socialism. Soon after the “July 21 Directive” workers’ universities, communist laboring universities and other new types of universities sprouted up everywhere. Waves of peasant, worker and soldier students poured into universities all over China from the countryside, from factories and mines, and from the military. They came to the new battlefields of continuing revolution, pledging never to disappoint the Party and the people who sent them there. They came with the determination to receive education, to administer the universities, and to use Mao Zedong Thought to reform and change the universities. Continue reading