Sex in the Chinese Cultural Revolution

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A. Plan of Investigation The purpose of this study is to answer the question: To what extent did Chinese leaders display their power through the controlling of sex in the Chinese Cultural Revolution? This can give historians a better understanding of the extent to which the Chinese leaders controlled every aspect of the Chinese people's life. This is a fairly new subject because, as I will discuss later in the project, sex was silenced in the Cultural Revolution.

| B. Summary of Evidence The Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) was a time of great social change for the nation of China. In the words of Premier Zhou Enlai, the Revolution “defeated the arrogance of the reactionary bourgeoisie and...broke old ideas,
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The “government-sanctioned booklets and manuals about female hygiene, marital relations, and sexual health, which had some circulation during the 1950s and early 1960s, were no longer published.” One woman, Hua, recalls her experience with sexual education “The closest [I] came to such instruction was a birth-control lecture given in [my] office, but [I did] not listen carefully. It was too dirty.” It was not until 1986 that sexual education classes became available in some schools, lifting the “age old taboo.” Sex was taught as a dirty act, so much so that there was not even a polite term for “making love.” One advice column responded to a letter in reference to masturbation and it denounced the act as causing “bodily deterioration” so one should refrain from such disturbing acts. Some married women still detested the thought of having intercourse with their husbands. Although the Revolution was “dominated by political concerns” ; it ventured to reform the society and minds of the people. From the start of the Revolution, “sex [was] not a private matter between individuals.” Sex became a subject that was “considered bourgeois and hence taboo” and the government “silenced sexuality not by issuing laws prohibiting it but by becoming silent itself.” It was local governments that were “propoganding” their own “unwritten rules” with the right to punish the violators. The punishment for sexual crimes included,
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