Chinese Cultural Revolution: Zhou Jiarui’s Journal

This quarter we studied the Chinese Cultural Revolution. To demonstrate what we learned, I wrote a series of journal entries from a fictional character’s point of view during the Chinese Cultural Revolution. The Chinese Cultural Revolution was basically about Mao Zedong trying to regain his authority and power over the country. He did this by first getting rid of all his political rivals and seizing and denouncing ‘counter-revolutionists’. Over the course of his rule, many people were arrested, beaten, humiliated, denounced and purged. One of Mao’s main goals was to destroy the ‘Four Olds’: old ideas, old cultures, old customs, old habits to make room for his ideas. In the end there were several drawbacks, but a few benefits came from it as well. I used Tumblr to post the three entries, and the images are from here, here and here. The entries are below. Enjoy!

Link to the Tumblr:


Journal Entry 1:

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Journal Entry 2:

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Journal Entry 3:

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The Chinese Cultural Revolution changed many factors of the Chinese people’s lives, and affected the future of China. Some of those effects were did not last very long, but some have impacted China so greatly that they are still in effect to this day. An example of one of the short term effects are the deaths of so many people. Over the course of Mao’s rule, his ideals caused his supporters, like the Red Guards, to violently persecute millions. Guilty or innocent, those coming from a bourgeois class, identified as counter-revolutionary, or ‘spies’, could have their belongings and properties seized, and that was a small punishment. The unlucky would be humiliated, denounced, tortured and/or beaten – sometimes to death.However, as time went on, the Chinese have recovered from such a massive drop in their population, now with one of the most populated countries in the world. Also, the during the Cultural Revolution, most of the economic activity was stopped, because the ‘revolution’ was the most important thing. There are much more long-term effects though, with a few surprisingly beneficial ones. One of the benefits of his leadership is how he unified China and ended the decades of civil war China had before he came to power. He also improved the gender equality in China and the literacy and education. While there are all these great things, he also did horrible things too, such as how his order of destroying the ‘Four Olds’ meant much of China’s history and culture were lost.

The China nowadays shares some similarities with the China back when it was under Mao’s rule, but things have changed too. Before, the Chinese language was well known for being delicate and subtle, but all that changed during the Cultural Revolution. Since Mao wanted an army of aggressive people fighting for his cause, the language became very crude and violent, but has widely improved over the years. However, while the language has improved, the majority of people in China were and still are suspicious about Western influences, with a lot very naive about Western culture as well, which can even be seen in their curiosity and fascination towards Caucasians living or visiting China.

While a lot of aspects have improved in China, the suspicion of the West is a major example of something happening today being very similar to what happened during the Revolution. During the Cultural Revolution, Mao did not let the West affect China in any way, good or bad. This type of thinking has continued over the years, and is still happening, while not as greatly. Today in China, the government is blocking Western websites like Youtube and Facebook, and is still trying to block the Chinese from the West’s ‘harmful influences’.