thumbnail of China: Policy and perspective; Cultural Revolution
Hide -
If this transcript has significant errors that should be corrected, let us know, so we can add it to FIX IT+
This is the second in a series of programs examining China's heritage in the present day situation. The programs are based on the University of Chicago Center for Policy Studies today a special briefing in May for 36 editors and editorial writers. This meeting the final event the center's year long study of China was held with the support of the Johnson Foundation over a scene in Wisconsin. Today. Tang Seoul professor of political science at the University of Chicago discusses political development within China and especially the Cultural Revolution at this school I have self confession to make self-criticism so to speak. First of all because the Cultural Revolution has make has made and most of the scholars particularly myself in the field of contemporary China revisionist. In a very special sense. Now this is a most of us have found it necessary to
revise some of our understanding of Chinese Communist politics. We have heard maybe been correct in focusing certain very general trends. But. That the Cultural Revolution has force of I and many of our short term expectations. We had expected that the first generation of the Chinese Communist leader and that is to say a long march generation to remain united. And we had expected to become its leader. Could a boy be a cataclysmic struggle for succession. And we had thought that China was the exception to the general rule that a revolution always devolves its children. And that thank you and like to solve it. And like Stalinist Russia in the 30s the leaders in China would not destroy the party organization.
That. Well the expectation has been falsified and we have more than ever are conscious of the fact. That NIDA our theoretical knowledge in the social sciences and not a data available at the present time enabled us to forecast political developments in China with any assurance. And some of us has begun our search for an explanation of the reason a political upheaval. Some of my other colleagues have taken. Another look at the history of the CCP so s to discover d people Rhodes of these goggle between Mao mounted and you shouting. And professor has written a Explain we ordered you know paper on the subject. So I was in played. Here limited myself to giving a broad general framework in order to pay for the way for
Professor Lewis. The tough articulate smart person to give you the Sunday at the dee dee dee dee dee punch. Let me begin with some very obvious porn's. The Cultural Revolution represents a profound crisis in the Chinese political system. Well in an attempt to restore his control over the party and over the country mile have destroyed many of the long standing tradition of the party. He reorganized the political bureau under him very dubious circumstances. He used the army in the red God as His instrument to attack destroy or paralyze many party units in communities at various levels. In effect. In effect the leaders of the party as Bentley disrupted if not destroyed the party organization. Now why did the
unity of the party and organization breakdown. I have in my pay but given a long survey of the general interpretation of 20th century Chinese history which explain how this unity was asked the British and spend them. And then the question that we now ask and this is also partly in my in my paper I ask why this. Unity has broken down. Why did the model loose much of his control over the party organization. I let me over use two very simple explanations. One is that the domestic and foreign policies of Mali was intimately related to his thoughts. And ideas so call sort of most of them. It has pushed my ideas almost to the extreme. First it is permeated by the ideas of conflict and
struggle and come back. For example Mao as early as 1940 none of it suggested that the whole period of transition to socialist society there exist club class struggle between depilatory it and the capitalists and then in late late late late he has come stressed. That this is the major contradiction in Chinese society. And secondly inherent in a mouse thought there is a tendency toward the polar ice ation that is to say either you crushed me or I crush you. And there is no middle rule that this is his general view in strategy and tactics. Things do not work out so clearly. Most sought to stress the centrality of already does it decisive role
of the human effort. And human habits and personal sacrifice in the success of O undertakings. And both justified. People are a solution of all the fears of social love. And finally it emphasizes the importance of ideas over material conditions. Now these ideas of these good touristic of Mao thought his. Influence have led to the development of a Mado policy of political economic development which is quite distinctive in Mao's mind. Which I'm not completely sure of by more pragmatic bureaucrats and party leaders.
These could to restate what the Iraq oil of deflating of a gorilla will and was kind of grew in with the reality at that particular time. But they no longer suit the needs of a modernizing industrializing society. And they do not reflect the aspiration of the people for stability which in a sation recent relaxation of tension. If they don't want it there is there has been a general tendency toward a radicalizing shame. Indeed see CPS program as in Sydney establishments of the regime. Now many of us like to use the terms as get it of our own and say that Ma is now trying to recapture the spirit of God. But this is not quite exact because the spirit of an audience really is spirit of moderation I mean in many respects.
Whereas the spirit of Peking. Particularly since the year in the years between one thousand fifty seven and nine thousand fifty nine there has been the spirit of radicalism. So Chinese development the Chinese political developments is 900. Fifty nine hundred forty nine. A can be viewed as a serious of psychos and each of the major movement on a cycle at the lead before movement from a psycho to a cooperative by station and the Great Leap Forward To commune system and form a cycle and the great cultural revolution may turn out to be another cycle. But each cycle in each cycle the Chinese companies have adopted a more radical policy in many respects. And there is evidence to believe that it was Mao who himself
initiated advocated and pushed through various medical programs and he has the move to force prime motive force pushing launching of the movement and then when his movement came into difficulty came into trouble it was the more pragmatic leaders who tried to own it. After I put it this is very clear in so far as the Great Leap Forward and the coming systems. Yes definition of commie system is concerned. And it was the party organization and party bit of bread who so wish the economy by a series of compromises. We create and kinetic program. And didn't disappear from 1959 to 1962. Mark had lost much of his control over the events over events and policies.
Cortin is that his. Policy and his sort in some heroes were discredited and were criticised by India in direction and by historical analogy in the writings of many intellectuals inside and outside the party or in private. Another explanation for love mounds loss of effective control was the process of bureaucratic bureaucratized sation of the party which had begun even during the revolutionary period. And after the establishments of the redeemed us process was celebrated and accompanied by a process of Britain I say show. The routine arising in bureaucratic organization became so large. And its tasks so numerous it became quite difficult for the leader to control.
Food or more deep political development. Up to a revolutionary movement came to Pearl usually in war. The loss of the political influence of the charismatic leader because the routine day to day operations of the government occupy an increasingly a problem with him plays in the well of the party. And then although. There are not as many major strategic political decisions to me and less need to for a cause or a leader's current charisma etic leaders appeal to the masses. Then Moll generally allowed Dunn and others to run the party organization. Now did he kind of Mao's political status is reflected in the party constitution of 1956 which no longer mentioned the thought of Mao as the guy that you see in Thai work of the Bear
party. In contrast the political pole of the organization Men increase greatly. And they are numerous way in which the bureaucratic organization 10 and did receive is I do wishes of the leader. If one organization party organization or bureaucratic organization to function effectively it must protect the members of its inner core. It happened at some of the people who had criticized those policies and his support during the period of crisis. From. 19. 30 F-15 Ninan one hundred sixty two now occupy pretty important places in the party and government organizations.
It is I think the attempt of pumpkin. And the looting in August to protect these distances and it was Palmer primarily responsible for their downfall. At this is to me this is one of the causes for the disgrace of news Archie and so it was the endeavor to protect the integrity of the whole party organization and the position of as many of the top media up as possible. As soon as wellmost approach that you had a whole problem of economic development and new and unusual GI's approach a quite different and disciplined John Professor Lewis would. Talk about. Now in my people I have divided the culture revolution into several stages. So I need not repeat
this. Well what it what I want to finally point out here is that we have no evidence to believe the Lewin done new show T and M Tropi make them x m m f or a to preserve the party organization and to control the Cultural Revolution in the period between June 1st and July 18 19 66 when Mao was not in Peking. They said work to him to get his departments units universities to guide a cultural revolution. When the so called revolutionary teachers and students put up real posters to attack the responsible party. A car grease. Party leaders. Now want to want to end it with teams that emphasize the importance of party discipline. And condemned take by the masses as
come to revolutionary activities. And they drew a distinction Suppe the sharp distinction between what is inside the body what is outside the party and this is one of the charge brought against you. And they emphasize and you also look at some point maybe here maybe later emphasize a piece within the party as opposed to a Mao's view that destruct or to light must be fought out everywhere including the party itself. No in this effort they are of course a clash with the teams with the revolutionary teachers and the students direct so-called Red Gods. And the Maoists have since charged that the rep teams created a reign of terror. One of Hindu good teams also found it necessary to condemn some of
the card race in order to satisfy Mo and demolishes. So during this period an overwhelming majority of the card race were attacked. And persecuted either but it worked team were about him hours. Now for example the official organs I recently reported in one university in Shanghai 80 to 90 percent of the countries have been attacked or persecuted at the chin while universities 70 percent of. Out of 500 or more countries would require to reform through labor. And those exempted were made most Lady elderly or into hell and many of the countries were publicly bitten by leather and whip just as common as official. Publications. And after mile return to begin the work team were withdrawn. And the 11 planet almost Gore. What I believe to be a crucial victory. And
after that Lou and down were completely on the defensive. End in August and September the Red Guards run riot and this is it. You've got a period of what may be called the Red got Tara. Well let me jump then to the last dipped to the present time now in March this year. Mahler suspended to see if you're a power. At the new rule area at the production brigade and team level. And shortly afterwards well demolished focused a tect on new himself. And this attack against you is link to the attack on party officials in various departments and institutions and locality babied. Perhaps the thought behind this strategy is simply that by discrediting
te top leader they could then reorganize purge the party in various units. Well let me indulge really briefly in some speculation about the past and the future of the Cultural Revolution. The present general situation is generally does gripe as a stalemate. But it is important to know that this stalemate has been reached. After Mao had score many important victories. Go through deep cultural revolutionary through the culture cultural revolutionary group in the Central Committee. He has now a fairly effective control over their propaganda operators. The cultural and educational institutions. Many if not most of the Army unit remained under his control through Linville. Order We just know the division of power the
balance of force within the army itself. In Prague four provinces and two municipalities revolutionary committees were as the British. And formally recognized formally recognized by Peking. Recently the presence of the commander of the Tibet military region in Peking on May Day cell of ceremonies implies that an accommodation has been reached between to Tibet and people. It seems to me that. At least in contrast to a year ago when deep culture of Lucian stop mouse position is certainly a strong El Gordo de resistance the opposition that has created is also very strong. Now it seems to me to
from the very beginning Mao has been in control of the Cultural Revolution. Now why do you launched the attack when the party organization. That he also is a slice is a restraining influence on some of his more extreme supporters and followers. My feeling is that this is very tentative that junking that is his wife and assumes to have stood consistently on the extreme left. Well I mean Bell and Ami appears to be more moderate then deep cultural revolutionary group in the Central Committee. When we think you're history go against the opposition is most IMs to have set two limits to his action. And adopted a very flexible strategy in the light of the resistance and counter and the rebel a
developing situation. These two limits have been won an open civil war. Second serious disruption of the economy. Whenever he approves these two limits he would. Stall the retreat. Wait what ship. His targets of attack. He is essentially waging what I call a protracted a protracted political guerrilla war against his opponents so that in the long run he and his chosen successor this would gain a total control. Now with Amal could achieve this aim within these two limits or not. Is India. It remains to be seen. At the present moment he is consolidating his gains and continue to push. Slowly toward his girls. And he will make another advance that had a puttin it up or two in time. But now this interpretation does
not mean that he had from the very beginning a blueprint of a cultural revolution. And then his strategy gradually and Brill. On the contrary it implies that he probably did not foresee he did not foresee the serious resistance and difficulties he would encounter. But he has been flexible enough to adopt new strategies new tactics as the situation and food. Now if one assumes that the triple combination which I discuss in the evening paper will become the patent to be followed by the Maoists when they seize power in one color today or I wonder unit after another. What would be its political implication. Of first. The army will have greater will that will have the great political power. But. It will still remain in the background.
In the culture or in the revolutionary committees as their peers. So far the number of army officers is very small. Second day to day operation at the various localities and units will be undertaken by so-called revolutionary cuddliest a term which I defined in the paper indicum it is you who alone have the nest necessary experience afforded jar. And thirdly in. In accordance with Mao's formula. Of. Uniting with ninety five percent of the card race. And one should not expect privileges on a very large scale. But many of the top leaders probably the most important most powerful top leaders of the various units will be replaced and that will be many promotions demotions
and be Rosell a power position in all units. In force in distribution re committees. The representatives of the so-called revolutionary masses. It is the Red Guards the revolutionary rebels who distinguish themselves in the Cultural Revolution as seem to be in the majority. Now regards. THIS HOUR. Consisted of me of children our passes workers soldiers Revolutionary Guard raised in the in in other words lower classes. And these people represent in so vast they reached the level of the revolutionary committee at various in various units represent remarkable cases of social mobility. That they and their middle age colleagues from a strange group. Because they have very little in common except their allegiance to Mao and
come in a position to end time hours. How could they work together remain a problem. And how long these provisional organs of power would be allowed to function is and also another point and fun of Indian government. The discipline in the government and in the party it will not be easy to be as deprivation and maintain that the official news will be it will entertain a. Greater fear of the vessel's off the masses. And that was how he how the Cultural Revolution would affect policy. We don't know. The Maoist charge that the opposition is abrogate the internal row internally. The policy of.
Extending private plots and larger extension of private the free market is increasing in number of small enterprises. And assigning of an and and yes Simon up production quota down to the household down to the individual household externally. They were educated reconciliation with the division is just and with the imperialist with the revisionists and with the reactionaries and the reduction of aid to a national liberation movement. Everywhere. Now it was seemed at what mall it would try to do is simply to. And the field of development in this direction. Would be the policy would drastically change or not remain uncertain
and may very well be when the Maoist and Mao we being controlled confronted with reality they would again simply continue the policy as a DE existed before the revolution or so even some of the policies advocated by the news. But in any case a mole on the one hand and knew on the other and many others represent a somehow different political and economic development of China which Professor John Lewis would bring out and in the long run I feel that the problems on which Mao sought to eliminate all reason will emerge again. You have just heard Professor Tang so at the University of Chicago discussing China's
China: Policy and perspective
Cultural Revolution
Producing Organization
University of Chicago
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
If you have more information about this item than what is given here, or if you have concerns about this record, we want to know! Contact us, indicating the AAPB ID (cpb-aacip/500-rf5kfk5g).
Episode Description
This program features a lecture by Tang Tsou of the University of Chicago.
Other Description
A series of talks from the University of Chicago dealing with current events in China.
Global Affairs
Media type
Embed Code
Copy and paste this HTML to include AAPB content on your blog or webpage.
Producing Organization: University of Chicago
Speaker: Tsou, Tang, 1918-1999
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 67-46-2 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:32
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
Chicago: “China: Policy and perspective; Cultural Revolution,” 1967-10-17, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed December 6, 2021,
MLA: “China: Policy and perspective; Cultural Revolution.” 1967-10-17. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. December 6, 2021. <>.
APA: China: Policy and perspective; Cultural Revolution. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from