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Cultural Revolutionary Voices
Cultural Revolutionary Voices
Cultural Revolutionary Voices
Cultural Revolutionary Voices
Cultural Revolutionary Voices
Cultural Revolutionary Voices
Cultural Revolutionary Voices
Cultural Revolutionary Voices
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Cultural Revolutionary Voices

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Diary Entries from the Cultural Revolution

Diary Entries from the Cultural Revolution

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  • 1. Professor’s Xu’s Diary
  • 2. There is only one thing that everyone wants to talk about today. The amount of noise and talk today in our classrooms areunbelievable. I can’t blame my students though. I myself am pretty excited too. What is it you ask? Well the answer is a book. However,this book is not just any ordinary one that anyone comes across. It is the “Quotations of Mao”. Though today is the first day that thisbook is out, everyone seems to already have it.When I say everyone, I really mean everyone, even many of the farmers outside of town seem to be reading it or talkingabout it. “The revolution, and the recognition of class and class struggle, are necessary for peasants and the Chinese people to overcomeboth domestic and foreign enemy elements. This is not a simple, clean, or quick struggle”, is one of my favorite quotes. I could go intoeven more depth into this book, but that probably would get boring and bland. However, what I can say is that this book does mirrorwhat I teach very well. From what I have read, there are writings and quotes for improvement, and to fix our past problems. Pastproblems, well there are quite a few.Only half a decade or so ago, things were quite different. People all around me were dying. My students gave even moregrave news on people dying or food shortage. This was thanks to the Great Leap Forward, which I was only alive for part of. During theGreat Leap forward, there was a call to industrialize, and mass production of steel. When I visited the countryside near the end of theGreat Leap Forward, I was a little disappointed at what I thought was succeeding. Instead, people were making steel in vain, and steelthat broke far more easily than the original iron and metal that they were made of. Why? The steel that the farmers made was made outof cheap iron, and the furnaces, which were just backyard furnaces, were very primitive ways of making steel. The steel that wasproduced was far lower quality and broke as easily as ice. In addition, since people were diverted to making steel, they were unable tofarm as much. As a result, famine spread along the countryside, but fortunately, in the cities, we were fed enough. I am sure that manypeople feel the Great Leap Forward was a waste of time, and it irks me that it did not accomplish much. Though there is nothing that wecan do now. All we can do is just to recover from itWell, no need for looking back, as Mao says. What I need to do is look ahead. The government also seems to be doing thesame. The industrialization process that the Great Leap Forward suggested has been put aside, at least for the time being. They say thatthere are great plans for the future with communism and socialism. All we have to do is work and do our very best, and look forward.Who knows what will be in store for the future? Only time will tell.The Red Book that now, many people admire andmodel afterEntry #1
  • 3. The past few days, the things that I have seen are quite amazing. Only a few days ago, Mao was sending out the call for the“Red Guards”, to come meet him at Tianamen Square, which is only 20 minutes from the school I teach at. These Red Guards are now thepolice of the revolution.Many of them are even are students of mine. I am very proud of them, to do something for our country. Mao called for theseGuards to meet him in Tianamen Square, and to start the “Revolution”. I can see that all of the Red Guards are very devoted. When I waspassing by Tianamen Square, what I saw was unbelievable. All around the square were Red Guards, and I was slightly confused for amoment. There was still an entire day until our leader made his appearance, why did they want to be at the square so early. Later, one of mystudents explained to me that he feared that he would not get a glimpse of Mao. Many students came from far and wide to just come here tomeet Mao in Tianamen Square, and due to that, people worried that there was no space, so nearly everyone arrived far earlier, and stayed upall night, not knowing when Mao would come to see themI wanted equally to see our leader, so I decided to see if I can stay around on that day to see our leader. Me and a couple of myfellow teachers decided to stand around the outskirts of the square and see if we can get a glimpse of Mao. Sure enough, we got a short, butwonderful glimpse of him. Though it only lasted for a couple of minutes, I am unimaginably happy for some reason. I could tell that many ofthe Red Guards felt the same as me. When Mao made his appearance in his majestic uniform, I can tell that many of the Red Guards wereawed. Some were there, crying in joy, some were frozen, unable to believe, and some of them were able to cheer and chant to Mao. Maohimself greeted the crowd around him, and welcomed the Red Guards, and to start the revolution.“Destroy the Four Olds”, Old Habits, Old Customs, Old Ideas, and Old Culture. Our leader Mao, told the Red Guards to getrid of Imperialism, and get rid of certain “Rightists” that opposed the Revolution and punish them.Since only a day has passed since the rally, not that much has happened, but I am sure that soon, it is going to happen. Beforethis rally though, there was plenty of talk about revolution going on. The couple of Red Guards that are my students are a good example.They already have talked about the revolution, and the Red Book.Now, the Red Book is now something in our daily lives. Everyday in class, we learn a small bit in the Red Book and in myschool, the students are expected to memorize what they have learned. Though the revolution hasn’t been extremely apparent so far, I amsure that things are going to change quite rapidly as time goes on.The Rally. Clearly seen is that thereare millions of Red Guards.Entry #2
  • 4. Maybe Mao was right, but maybe not. I can’t tell because I am not the one being forced to leave my home for the countryside. Most of mybrilliant and smart students, and the ones that were Red Guards are all gone. They all left for the countryside. Mao decided that, in the middleof our revolution, that he decided to stop this and send the youth to the countryside.Now they are all gone. They are now working with the peasants and some of the ones that I knew from my occasional visits.Before this, all of the youth were teeming on the streets and talking about revolution. They were the leader and the spirit of the revolution,taking out anyone that was suspected to oppose this revolution. Really, anyone. I learned that over the past few years. It could be the obviousones, the rich people that lived a comfortable life and watch over the poor farmers, but there were also some that were quite surprising to me.Some of the teachers that I have worked with for the past few years were also accused. It was for numerous reasons, such as favoring astudent in particular, or forgetting to bring the Red Book to class one day.No matter how loyal someone may have seemed, people were always seemingly finding ways to accuse them. For the firstcouple of months, all was going well it seemed. They were finding the obvious targets, the hated landlords and the ones that did not supportMao. However, as the revolution escalated, things turned even more intense. In my school, people were punishing students and teachers that Ipersonally thought were perfectly loyal and fine. People were picking out people for very interesting reasons, and things got out of hand. Iwas even called on several occasions to give testimonies on some of the accused teachers. Sometimes, it was hard. Many of the teachers weremy friends, and to make up something on them was quite tough. If I didn’t I probably would have ended up the same way as those teachers.In addition, people were talking about Red Guard “factions” that were fighting each other. Each of these “factions” wereclaiming that in each of them were the true loyalists of Mao. In my opinion, I thought that they all were, but when they questioned me,obviously I didn’t say that. If I did, it probably would have them accusing me of not being loyal to Mao. Things just got worseas time gone on, and I guess, if I were the leader of this, I would think that I would have to stop this at some point. So Mao decided to sendthe Red Guards and many other youth to the countryside and to learn from the peasants. Now, the school is pretty much deserted and closeddown now, and I don’t know what I am going to do now.There are only a few youth that I can see around the city now, and when I try talking to them, they seem so distraught at theend of the revolution. Though this was not an end that I foresaw, it certainly is not a pleasing one. Maybe someday, all of those youth canreturn someday.The many Youth and RedGuards saying goodbye to thecity.Entry #3
  • 5. How did Mao change over the past few years? He is completely different than before. His great helper and right-hand man, Lin Biao, is nowdead. Presumably dead from a airplane crash. Well, how? There is no answer. Mao did not elaborate in the newspaper, nor do I expect him.Lin Biao changed so much over time. Mao claims that Lin tried to assassinate him at one point. However, this leaves a big gap. Why was Linstill in power after he tried assassinating Mao? That makes absolutely no sense. Mao is getting more secretive, and it is not good.The past few years have been hard. My life has completely changed. There is no more school for anyone really. All of theyouth that have been in my classes are all gone. Working in the countryside alongside the peasants. Every once in a while, I would end upnear the outskirts of Beijing, and catch a glimpse of the peasants working. It sure looked like tiring work.There was really nothing to do for the past few years, and it was also boring too. I worked on occasion in things like factoriesin the city because otherwise, there was really nothing to do. On my free time, I read the Red Book, but I am beginning to doubt what it says.Is Mao really that great of a leader? He caused so much suffering, and some that I have seen myself. The Red Guards are so devoted to him,but are they the right ones? They were the ones that brought out the suffering, bringing out anyone that they did not think favored Mao.What has Mao become? There was so much talk about him and how noble he was, but now I am wondering. His explanationsnowadays are so strange, and they are quite incomplete. I am beginning to doubt him. Can we be sure that he is telling us the truth? I cannotsay for sure. No doubt that if I say this in public, trouble would find me, but I cannot help but say something.Back before all of this, before all of my beloved students left, the revolution was the heart and the face of China. Everyday,there were great marches, songs, and propaganda on the revolution, and everything that was “undesirable” was destroyed in front of my eyes.Anyone, the Imperial diplomats, everyone that opposed Mao and the Communist Party were denounced and humiliated. I will admit that I didenjoy this for some time, but ever since my students left, I was beginning to have doubts and regrets. Now I am just lost.Mao seems to be now the unopposed leader now, with no one that disagrees with him in any part of government of any sort.Justice may have been rang, and the once ruling landlords are now working in the factories and working for their lives, rather than lived inluxury. In that sense, it is good, but now that I think about it, what about the ones that were innocent. What about my fellow teachers, that Imyself disgraced? I now feel ashamed.What can we do now? Mao is in power, and there is no one left to oppose him. Even if someone opposes him, he probably willend up just like all of Mao’s other opponents. I hope something will change for the good, but I think that the future will be cloudy for quite awhile.To the left, there is a anti-Lin Biaostrike, and the right picture is LinBiao with Mao.Entry #4
  • 6. I think that things may have turned for the better. Mao is dead, and his close followers, the Gang Four, are now arrested and done for. Thegovernment seems to no longer have the spirit for the Revolution, which I am just fine with. The government, now lead by Hua Goufeng, hasstarted to work on reforming from the chaos that has came up from this Revolution.The revolution that Mao has been promising has made things no better. He said that with the revolution, there will be equality andchange. What I foresaw was something completely different than the thing that happened. Instead, the Red Guards took to violence and wentaround doing practically anything that they wanted to the people that they punished. Looking back from now, I don’t see how there was arevolution of any sort. It was mostly people, sometimes people that made sense, but at times, I don’t know where did they go with this.The last year or so, Mao has been sick the whole time. People, still loyal too Mao after this, were weeping and sad about him beingsick. The first time that I heard it from one of my fellow teachers from my school, I could not believe it. “Mao was sick! Maybe this turmoil canend,” I thought As time went on, and Mao did not get better, I could feel my hopes rising. There was really nothing else to do. Many of thefactories were closed down in the city, and there was little food.Even the people with money could not get food. When I went to the outskirts of the city, and talked to the peasants nearby, theytold me why. The many youth that were sent to the countryside were disappointing in their performance. While they did do work, they had troubletrying to teach the youth everything, and as a result of so many people to feed, the food production was a lot lower. People in the countryside werehungry too.Last month or so, Mao died in the hospital sick. He died on September 9th, early in the morning. All around, there was a air of sadin the city. Many people were distraught at the fact that they lost their leader, and some of the younger people on the streets were weeping.Though I myself was sort of glad that he died. The revolution, which I now see nothing good about, is now over. Maybe the youth that were sentto the countryside would one day return. That I can hold on to.Only a few days after Mao’s death, he was given a memorial service. Almost everyone seemed to be there, saying goodbye to Mao.I was there too, with mixed feelings. Mao did give suffering, but he still was our leader, and who would lead us now?The Gang Four, the close followers of Mao, were arrested today, and they were trying to continue the revolution. They said that therevolution was still going strong, but I think that everyone can see that it is over, and our country is in ruins from the fighting and the revolution. Ithink that we must slow down now. The Gang Four has now been arrested, and blamed for the crimes of the Revolution, and Mao seems to havebeen forgotten that he was the culprit behind the revolution. No matter what, the only thing that I wish for right now is for things to return tonormal. Hopefully, I can return to teaching.Mao dead at the memorial service. Manypeople around him are sad and weeping.Entry #5
  • 7. BibliographyLamb, Stefanie. "Introduction To the Cultural Revolution." SPICE. Standford, Dec.2005. Web. 15 May 2013.Quetin, David. "Quotations from Mao Tse Tung." 2000. Web. 15 May 2013."Discovering China: The Cultural Revolution." ThinkQuest. Oracle Foundation.Web. 10 May 2013."China - The Cultural Revolution." China - The Cultural Revolution. Web. 8 May2013.
  • 8. PicturesThe Little Red Book. 2010. Photograph. 7 Oct. 2006. Web. 15 May 2013.Cultural Revolution. Photograph. Beijing. 19 Dec. 2009. Web. 15 May 2013Excerpt of Lin Biao. Photograph. 1 Feb. 2004. Web. 14 May 2013.Fighting Against Lin. Photograph. Web. 15 May 2013.Maos End. Photograph. Web. 15 May 2013.Say Goodbye to ShangHai. Photograph. Chinas Fifty Years of Communism.BBC, 30 Sept. 1999. Web. 14 May 2013.

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