Essay on Did Anyone Benefit from the Cultural Revolution?

1621 Words Feb 10th, 2013 7 Pages
Did anyone benefit from the Cultural Revolution?
Few people would deny that the Cultural Revolution is one of the most significant events in China’s history, with its extraordinary effects on many groups of the population. The main aim of the revolution was simple: having risen to power, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) wanted to reform the Chinese population so that they followed the communist ideology – the favour of absolute social equality. While the initial impression of this aim seems positive, many people nowadays consider that there were few benefits of the Cultural Revolution, due to the turbulence that it caused between 1966 and 1976. Whilst it could be considered that there was initially some reform of the Chinese people, it
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Prior to the Cultural Revolution, there was a “highly exploitive system of temporary and contract workers” (Meisner 1986 p.383). This system was denounced for being capitalist and for not promoting the egalitarian state that the CCP desired. Thus, both the workers (who would have been better off with permanent jobs to guarantee a constant income) and the CCP suffered because of the fact that this system remained (Meisner 1986 p.383).
It is also worth considering the state and government workers. Initially, these had more privileges than the average Chinese person, with much higher salaries and meals provided and some even had houses, servants and personal drivers (Meisner 1986 p.391). However, Mao wanted change this as it was preventing the country from achieving egalitarianism. He therefore ordered government officials to engage in productive labour in order to narrow the gap between classes. Whilst this did happen, all in all, the officials were still treated as officials, having higher salaries and official titles (Meisner 1986 p. 391). Therefore, these officials did not benefit from the Cultural Revolution, as their status and standard of living remained the same.
Few would disagree that the most harmed individuals during the Cultural Revolution were the intellectuals. Meisner (1986 p. 386) points out
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