How Far Do You Agree That the Hundred Flowers Campaign Was a Trick Designed by Mao to Trap His Opponents?

853 Words Apr 18th, 2011 4 Pages
How far do you agree that the Hundred Flowers campaign was a trick designed by Mao to trap his opponents?

The Hundred Flowers Campaign began in 1957 when Mao Zedong declared in a speech, “Let a hundred schools of thought contend,” effectively encouraging criticism from members of the Chinese Communist Party. After members began pointing out where the party had made mistakes, however, Mao suddenly reversed this new policy and began the Anti-Rightist Movement, condemning the critics whose opinions he had just previously invited. Was the Hundred Flowers Campaign a trick designed by Mao to trap his opponents?
Mao reversed his policies, which people may use as proof that the campaign was a trick. Mao first announced his call for criticism
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Mao’s retaliation was severe, precise, and on an enormously large scale. He was obviously poised to attack, and this hints that the Hundred Flowers Campaign was merely a wily method of enticing Mao’s prey.
There is, on the other hand, much evidence to support that the campaign was a genuine attempt at reform. In his ‘Contradictions’ speech, given to leading party workers in early 1957, Mao complained of the oppressive way some party officials were applying policies and hinted that it was time to begin permitting intellectuals to voice their opinions. Furthermore, in 1956, he had been tolerant of Hu Feng, a writer who challenged the idea that all artistic merit should be judged based on Marxist-Leninist values, even as other CCP leaders viciously censured him. These two examples show that Mao, although previously disdainful of intellectuals, may have begun to see their importance, and thus may have been honestly inviting their criticism when the Hundred Flowers Campaign began.
In addition, the launching of the Hundred Flowers Campaign may have been triggered by events in other communist states rather than a desire to trick party opponents. In 1956, Soviet Union leader Nikita Khrushchev launched an attack on the previous leader Joseph Stalin, dead now for three years, and his ‘cult of personality,’ Mao probably saw how his own popularity—adulating portraits of him were being hung everywhere—could also be
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