Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Monday, April 15, 2019

Forward to the past?

During the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in Mao's China, young people — mostly students — were "sent down" to work in rural villages to "learn from the people." President Xi's government seems to be following another of Mao's practices.

Millions of Chinese youth 'volunteers' to be sent to villages in echo of Maoist policy
China is planning to send millions of youth “volunteers” back to villages, raising fears of a return to the methods of Chairman Mao’s brutal Cultural Revolution of 50 years ago.
1970 poster from chinaposters.net
The Communist Youth League (CYL) has promised to despatch [sic] more than 10 million students to “rural zones” by 2022 in order to “increase their skills, spread civilisation and promote science and technology”, according to a Communist party document.

The aim is to bring to the rural areas the talents of those who would otherwise be attracted to life in the big cities, according to a CYL document quoted in the state-run Global Times daily on Thursday…

Students will be called upon to live in the countryside during their summer holidays, although the CYL did not say how young people would be persuaded to volunteer.

Former revolutionary bases, zones suffering from extreme poverty and ethnic minority areas will receive top priority, according to the CYL…

Users on the Twitter-like Weibo social platform reacted warily. Many evoked the chaos of the 1966-76 Cultural Revolution, when Mao sent millions of “young intellectuals” into often primitive conditions in the countryside, while universities were closed for a decade…

President Xi Jinping, known for his nostalgia for the Mao era, himself spent seven years in a village in the poor northern province of Shaanxi from the age of 16.

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