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6. Why was traditional Chinese culture a prime target in the Cultural Revolution?
About this Lecture
In this module, we think about why the Cultural Revolution involved attacks on traditional Chinese culture, focusing in particular on: (i) the four aspects of culture singled out as being particularly anti-Communist, known as the ‘Four Olds’, and therefore worthy of destruction; (ii) the attack on Confucianism in the May Fourth Movement; (iii) the range of destructive activities that the Red Guards engaged in, including the desecration of temples and mosques, the destruction of statues, the ransacking of private homes, and the burning of books; (iv) the extent to which particular regions of the country suffered more than others; and (v) the development of ‘new culture’ that better promoted revolutionary ideals, especially in the visual and performing arts.
In this course, Professor Michael Dillon (Durham University) explores the Cultural Revolution in China through nine key questions: (1) What was the meaning of the name ‘Cultural Revolution’?; (2) Why did Mao launch the Cultural Revolution when he did?; (3) Is it accurate to describe the Cultural Revolution as the ‘decade of disaster’?; (4) To what extent were Mao’s motives ideological rather than political?; (5) What was the role of the Red Guards in Mao’s strategy?; (6) Why was traditional Chinese culture a prime target in the Cultural Revolution?; (7) What part did Mao’s wife, Jiang Qing, play in the Cultural Revolution?; (8) How important was Lin Biao in the Cultural Revolution?; and (9) To what extent was the Cultural Revolution a success?
Michael Dillon was founding director of the Centre for Contemporary Chinese Studies at Durham University, where he taught courses on modern China, Chinese history, and Chinese language. He has also been a visiting professor at Tsinghua University, is a fellow of the Royal Historical Society and the Royal Asiatic Society, and a member of the Royal Institute of International Affairs.
Cite this Lecture
Dillon, M. (2020, November 29). China – The Cultural Revolution, 1966-76 - Why was traditional Chinese culture a prime target in the Cultural Revolution? [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://www.massolit.io/courses/china-the-cultural-revolution-1966-76/why-was-traditional-chinese-culture-a-prime-target-in-the-cultural-revolution
Dillon, M. "China – The Cultural Revolution, 1966-76 – Why was traditional Chinese culture a prime target in the Cultural Revolution?." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 29 Nov 2020, https://www.massolit.io/courses/china-the-cultural-revolution-1966-76/why-was-traditional-chinese-culture-a-prime-target-in-the-cultural-revolution