Presentation on theme: "How did thought reform of intellectuals and the hundred flowers campaign contribute to Mao's consolidation of power?"— Presentation transcript:
How did thought reform of intellectuals and the hundred flowers campaign contribute to Mao's consolidation of power?
Origins of the thought reform of the intellectuals Mao was suspicious of the "intellectuals" - those with higher education such as scientists, engineers, doctors, statisticians and geologists as they came from "bourgeois" families who could afford universities or foreign education. Their exposure to education gave Mao reason to fear the intellectuals as "implementers of the imperialistic cultural invasion" Mao also wanted to "throw away the vulgar perspectives of individualism and liberalism, and the cultural thought of European- American reactionary bourgeoisie" Mao also feared the intellectuals as they understood and valued freedom more than the proletariat.This can be evidenced by Hu Feng, a writer who criticised the lack of freedom in creativity and art.
Course of the thought reform of the the intellectuals Tens of thousands of intellectuals forced to go to courses at revolutionary colleges where they learnt the teachings of Mao, Marx and Lenin Writers forced to study Mao's speech "Talk at Yanan Forum on Literature and Arts," a possible precursor to the Little Red book Intellectuals were made to make self criticisms and confessions Science and engineering was changed to the Soviet route The thought reform process was highly efficient - "at about two months from the date of the arrest...ready for a beginning to the recognition of his 'crimes'." - Robert Jay Lifton
How did the thought reform of the intellectuals contribute to Mao's consolidation of power? This contributed to Mao's consolidation of power as it brainwashed the thoughts of "counter-revolutionaries" and reduced potential opposition from the intellectuals It minimised the influence of any remaining foreign influence in the form of the intellectual's ideas from foreign education
Modern statistics on Lao Gai thought reform camps
The Origin of the Hundred flowers Campaign -Mao initiated this campaign as he thought that party officials were becoming too alienated from the masses -This campaign was envisioned as a 'rectification' movement, which meant that officials would be subjected to public criticism and be forced to change their ways -The campaign is initially met with heavy opposition from the rest of the authority, but Mao asserts his authority and launches the campaign in May 1957 with the tagline 'Let a hundred flowers bloom, let a hundred schools of thought contend'
The Course of the Campaign -The party was soon met with an unexpected torrent of criticisms from from the press and intellectuals, many people criticized the frequent human rights abuses committed by the party, there were even reports of widespread strikes and attacks on party members. -By June 1957 Mao's tone had changed and he was ready to abandon the campaign, in early July he ordered a full scale attack on the intellectual 'rightists', as many as 500,000 intellectuals were sent to labour camps or re- education as a result of this.
How it strengthened Mao's hold on power - The hundred flowers campaign and the anti-rightist campaign into which it evolved served to silence the criticisms of the Communist regime by creating fear within the Chinese public and the intellectual community. -It also served to strengthen party unity under Mao against outside influence, in effect Mao was unchallengeable. -A popular saying of the time was 'after the anti-rightist campaign no one opens their mouth.'