This week, we will be talking about the People’s Republic of China, the name of the state established by the Communists after their victory over the Nationalists in 1949. We will be looking at the period from the founding of the People’s Republic in 1949 through the time of the Cultural Revolution, 1966-1976. These were the years of Mao Zedong’s leadership. The Cultural Revolution was the most decisive event of the last 50 years of Chinese history. Mao launched this movement for a number of reasons, but probably the most important reason was that he wanted to purge the party of all those who opposed his more revolutionary vision. Mao enlisted the youth of China in his Red Guards in the effort to remake China according to his vision. These Red Guards attacked Mao’s enemies inside and outside of the party, as well as destroyed anything that reminded people of China’s pre-Communist past. At the Pepperdine library website, you will find a chapter entitled “Red Guards” which was excerpted from the book, Life and Death in Shanghai. Nien Cheng, the author of this book, tells the story of her experiences during the Cultural Revolution. She is something of an exceptional person, for she was an unrepentant capitalist, and she loved everything about China’s pre-Communist past. Read this chapter, and then answer the following questions on a separate piece of paper: What is Nien Cheng’s background?? Spend a couple of sentences giving a short biographical sketch. Describe some of her art treasures, and what they represent to her. What does she miss most about old China in this the New China? one and half page essay make sure you read before you write. search the reading online
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