THE DECADE-LONG Cultural Revolution finally concluded on October 6, 1976. For China, the Cultural Revolution remains a colossal catastrophe in which human rights, democracy, the rule of law, and civilization itself were unprecedentedly trampled. Not only was the president persecuted to death, tens of millions of innocent people were also attacked and maltreated. According to a Xinhua News Agency report on the trial of Jiang Qing and others in November 1980, some 34,800 people were persecuted to death. This figure is probably an extremely conservative estimate. Culture was devastated, and the economy almost collapsed, falling 500 billion yuan short of the production plan. For ten years, republican politics based on the People's Congress system was virtually destroyed; instead, an autocratic politics crowned with "socialism" was erected. Mao Zedong controlled the legislative, judicial, and administrative powers; his quotations and all his directives had the force of law. Under this politics, some individuals resorted to every conceivable means to gain personal power; some said things and acted against their will and conscience under duress; and some kind and honest people became silent. Those who courageously thought and rationally expressed their opinions were attacked and persecuted, and some were killed. In these irrational years, the whole of China tumbled into insanity.
The Cultural Revolution is already history. When we review this "revolution," we may see that it has had profound influence on the current development of China. The cult of personality prevailing during the Cultural Revolution has resulted in a diversity of ideology and culture at the present time; the old pattern of following and worshiping blindly is being replaced by independent thinking and science; the criticisms of "bourgeois rights and privileges" and commodity economy during the revolution now seem false to the people; thus they lose faith in the simplistic planned economy, with the commodity market economy now developing by the day; and the high centraliza
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Publication information: Book title: Turbulent Decade: A History of the Cultural Revolution. Contributors: Yan Jiaqi - Author, Gao Gao - Author, D. W. Y. Kwok - Editor, D. W. Y. Kwok - Translator. Publisher: University of Hawaii Press. Place of publication: Honolulu. Publication year: 1996. Page number: 529.
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