Turbulent Decade: A History of the Cultural Revolution

By Yan Jiaqi; Gao Gao et al. | Go to book overview

Chapter 2

The Struggle around the
Question of the Work Groups

THE CRITICISM OF Hai Rui Dismissed led to the dissolution of the Beijing Party Committee headed by Peng Zhen, the first casualty of battle among the followers of Mao Zedong, an event prefatory to the Cultural Revolution.

The May 16 Circular states,

The representatives of the capitalist class who have infiltrated our Party, our government, our armed forces, and various cultural groups are actually a batch of counterrevolutionary revisionists. When the time is right, they will try to seize power, turning the dictatorship of the proletariat into one of the capitalist class. Some of these people have already been exposed by us, some have not, and some are still in our trust being groomed as our successors. They are Khrushchev types and they are sleeping right next to us. All levels of Party cadres must be especially aware of this point. 1

If we make the analogy that "Khrushchev types" are fish, then the bait was put into the Unnamed Lake of Beijing University, and the feverish pitch of the Cultural Revolution was the hook.


A Big-Character Poster at Beijing University

The Socialist Education movement of 1963, otherwise known as the Four Clean-ups to tidy up politics, economics, organization, and thought, began in rural villages. By early 1965, following the full implementation in the countryside of the Twenty-three Articles of "Questions arising From the Rural Socialist Education Movement" drafted by Mao Zedong personally to guide the Four Clean-ups, the Urban Socialist Education movement began to be implemented in selected cities.

The Socialist Education movement at Beijing University was led by the university Party secretary and university president Lu Ping; it came to a conclu

-39-

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