Cult & Canon: The Origins and Development of State Maoism

Cult & Canon: The Origins and Development of State Maoism

Cult & Canon: The Origins and Development of State Maoism

Cult & Canon: The Origins and Development of State Maoism

Excerpt

This book is the fruit of several years I spent studying Chinese Maoism at the Institute of Asian Affairs in Hamburg (1972-1979) as an observer of Chinese domestic politics; the final draft of the manuscript was completed at the Department of East Asian Studies at Ruhr-Universität, Bochum, West Germany.Originally interested in the Wansui volumes of unofficial Mao texts which came into circulation during the Cultural Revolution, I became fascinated by the idea of describing "Mao Zedong Thought" from the perspective of "state Maoism" when I was writing the introduction to our comprehensive seven-volume bilingual German-Chinese edition of Mao's post-1949 works, published by Carl Hanser Verlag, Munich, in 1979-1982.

A research sojourn of several months in 1978-79 at the Center for Chinese Studies at the University of Michigan, one of the most stimulating American institutions for the study of Chinese affairs, happened to coincide with a renewed outbreak of tensions and heated debate within the Chinese leadership and attempts by Deng Xiaoping, the architect of post-Mao era policy, to neutralize the Maoist minority around Hua Guofeng and Wang Donxing, which was engaged in delaying tactics within the party and the government. This development gave me the opportunity to include in this study the first clearly defined phase of the de-Maoization process (a constituent part of the "Beijing Spring," as it has been called), which covers events until mid-1979, following a precursory phase of struggle between the opposing forces of Maoist orthodoxy and a tentative de-Maoization which lasted from 1976 to early 1978.

I decided to undertake a measured survey of the main lines of this development without becoming caught up in the arcane details of Chinese power struggles and without, of course, assuming that the current state of knowledge among Western specialists is shared . . .

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