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The Cultural Revolution : Mao Zedong

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The Cultural Revolution, launched by Chairman Mao Zedong in the mid-1960s, dramatically transformed Chinese society. Paul Byrne (2012 p.80) suggests that as the Cultural Revolution continued to transform China, a cult of personality was built around Mao; anyone who questioned his wisdom was an enemy of the people. The Cultural Revolution was a period of time where anything capitalist or western was brutally destroyed. The Cultural Revolution aimed to destroy ‘The Four Olds’ these being, old ideas, old culture, old customs, and old habits. This was to bring the areas of education, art and literature in line with Communist ideology (Ebrey, n.d, para. 2). Chairman Mao used a youth army called ‘The Red Guards’ to carry out the task of destruction and anyone who represented the old culture of China or did not fully support Mao and the Communist Revolution were targeted (Byrne, 2012, p.81). Li Cunxin was born into a poor peasant family and from his perspective the Cultural Revolution impacted all areas of his life. Li like millions of other children of his generation had their education, career, opportunities, voice and beliefs censored and recreated to idolise Mao Zedong and the countries strong communist ideas.

During the Cultural Revolution, the notion of “bourgeois ethos” in education was eradicated. The entire education ministry was abolished in 1966 and when a new education system was put in place it reflected Maoist ideas and was wrought with communist propaganda (Milner,
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