Retro-Maoism in China

I mentioned in class the Chinese leader Bo Xilai, who recently fell from power and who was seen as reviving certain aspects of Maoism.  There was a recent article in the New York Times describing the modern appeal of Maoism, as well his own father’s rather brutal experience in the Cultural Revolution.  It’s a pretty good article.  You can read it here.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Retro-Maoism in China

  1. Elliot F says:

    After reading that article, I am very surprised at how positively the people of China responded to an attempt at reviving Maoism. Instead of reeling in fear, as some would imagine, them seem to be nostalgic of those times under the dictatorship of Mao. It was a brazen move, using the slogan, “Sing to the Red, to crush the Black”, as it has been less than forty years since the Red Guards terrorized the country. To a westerner, this type of nostalgia about these times, specifically the time frame where the disaster of the Great Leap forward was immediately followed by the cultural revolution, is confusing at the least. How could these policies, which are an attempt to revive Maoist thought, be sought for by the Chinese people? I would think that the memories of the red guards, even just the stories of their terror, would be enough to stain the memory of Mao to a point much like Robespierre. But these people seem to have found a unique peace within Mao’s teachings, free from the dark specter that usually are remembered with his policies

  2. Tanner says:

    This seemly ridiculous praise of Maoism shows the extent to which propaganda affected the people. Through all of those posters and other media that portrayed Mao as basically a god, many of the Chinese people were taught from an early age to love Mao. Mao’s failures and hurtful policies towards the people was shielded from most by the government-run media. Only those who were either well educated or got out of China were able to see the corruption and horrible events under Mao. So while to many of us Westerners, it seems ridiculous that the Chinese would praise Mao and the Red Guards after what they had done, and still support Maoism today, the effect of propaganda under Mao thoroughly convinced many Chinese that he was a deserving and admirable leader.

  3. KassieF says:

    I too was shocked at how nostalgic citizens seemed to be of Maoism. How could they wish to return to years so full of fear? It seems to me that Mao’s time was the only stability they knew. He so successfully implemented revolutionary passion through his media outreach that citizens were affected forever. Mao provided a goal for the people to work for; and without Maoism, though the country overall has obviously improved, that sense of unity might be gone for them. On the other hand, the citizens don’t seem to remember the terror that came along with Mao’s unity; how could they forget the Red Guards’ attempts to violently destroy every single opposer. For the citizens’ sake, I hope they do not return to any form of Maoism.

  4. Pho says:

    I was surprised that still to this day the Chinese were singing red songs and praising Mao despite the events that had occurred during the Cultural Revolution. I do agree with many of the past comments in that this praising exhibits the effect of propaganda on the people as well as the citizens’ desires to revert back to a more stable period in Chinese history. However, I believe that the Chinese are still able to praise Mao to this day similarly to how certain people deny the Holocaust. The Cultural Revolution was considered a traumatic event in Chinese history and most Chinese ignore its detrimental events. I believe that even though the citizens recognize the effects of the Red Guards, The Great Leap Forward, and the Tiananmen Square protests, they force themselves to only remember a unified China. By still singing these red songs, the Chinese are hoping to bring back Mao’s revolutionary fervor along with a stable China.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *