Chinese Cultural Revolution Journal

The journal is written by a 17-year-old girl named Cheng Mei Ling as she goes through the Chinese Cultural Revolution. From the massacre, to leaving her brother because of the “Up the Mountains, down to the countryside” movement, and then finally Mao’s death, she learned many new things and faced different challenges. As she journeys through this revolution, she is faced with the challenge of doing thing by herself with no one to help her. From her days at school to hard work in the countryside, from a nice neighborhood to street filled with the blood from the struggles of people, she learned that everything comes with a price. As she faced conflict by herself, she also learned thatwhen you need help, turn to your family, but when there’s no family, turn to yourself. The big theme in my story is that everything comes with a price. She had to work hard in order to survive the harsh life in the countryside while having to worry about keeping her thoughts about Mao safe. In return of the hard work, she was able to go through the hard times of the revolution and make it alive. This not only applied to her, but the whole country sacrificed people and blood and in return, it shaped our modern society.

Why do revolutions happen? Some revolutions happen when one person gives an idea. People gets “brainwashed” and then does anything to achieve it. Some, on the other hand, has two groups of people who have different ideas about something. The start an argument and that leads to conflict (war) between each other. While others are when a group of lower-middle class workers are tired and sick of how they are treated. Then, one class tries to eliminate the other. Sometimes, the people are not satisfied with their leaders of they aren’t doing things for their country, they would revolt and soon, it would start a war.

 

The Chinese Cultural Revolution in Plain English

The Chinese Cultural Revolution in Plain English

By: Christina, Tina, Annarosa (A.C.T)

The big idea that it showed about revolutions is that people who are dedicated and inspired by a leaders idea, follow and support him/her, when he/she is trying to change the society, by starting a revolution or an act. The Chinese Revolution also displayed a key point that sparked conflict also in other revolutions, which is the difference in social classes. One of many reasons revolution happens is where a class tries to eliminate another. “A revolution is not a dinner party, or writing an essay, or painting a picture, or doing embroidery; it cannot be so refined, so leisurely and gentle, so temperate, king, courteous, restrained and magnanimous. A revolution is an insurrection, an act of violence by which one class overthrows another.” “Report on an Investigation of the Peasant Movement in Hunan” (March 1927), Selected Works, Vol 1, pg.28 This quote from Mao shows his perspective of what a revolution is like. Even though a revolution can be a good thing, trying to make your country better, but with that comes sacrifice and bloodshed. To achieve the main goal of the revolution, people would have to suffer and endure the conflicts(wars/famine). Even with these conflicts, in the end, we gain new experiences and it leaves behind important ideas that we learn from.

The Red Scarf Girl by, Jiang Ji-li

The Red Scarf Girl

by: Ji-li Jiang

The main character is a girl called Jiang Ji-li. The book talks about Jiang Ji-li, a 12 year old girl and what she experienced throughout the Cultural Revolution. From being a confident girl, to a girl who felt scared think if she was going to arrested anytime. From a leader, da dui zhang, to being a girl that felt insecure because of her family being in the Five Black categories(Landlord, writers, counter-revolutionists, people who had negative effects, the wealthy, rich farmers). From the starts of the revolution, she went through having to get her housed searched many times, her dad being detained, and was forced to go to the countryside.  Some other important characters who played a big part in the book is her family and some of her friends. Families members like dad, sister, and little brother who accompanied her throughout the book. She also had her best friend with her throughout the Cultural Revolution.

When people get persuaded by a leader’s ambition, they will try all they can to achieve it. This book has some topics on leadership and how that one leader’s idea changed the people in China and their thoughts. In the beginning, Jiang Ji-li was a very good student, top of her class, and was da dui zhang (leader in Chinese). She thought that if she was the leader and if she was the top of her class, she would be the best and get into a good school. After the Cultural Revolution started, her image of being a leader was gone because her family was one of the Five Black Categories. “I tell you, jiang Ji-li, you’d better stop thinking you’re the da dui zhang. It’s the Cultural Revolution now, and there are no da dui zhangs anymore. You’re not the chair of anything now.” (Yin Lan-lan, pg. 69) Mao, the one that started the Cultural Revolution gained more power, becoming a leader everyone admired. Mao had an idea of changing China, and in the meantime, people started to follow him, supporting him. Red Guards played an important role in the book. Red Guards started struggle sessions, raided people’s houses, and detained my people, including Ji-li’s dad. “Chairman Mao told us we would never succeed until we destroyed the “Four Olds” and established the “Four News.” (Jiang Ji-li, pg. 21) Cause of Mao’s ambition to maintain China’s Communism, people followed him, did anything to get rid of the “Four Olds” (old ideas, old customs, old habits and old culture) or people that had them, and killed many people to reach it, even if was denouncing their own family members. Was it actually worth it? Would you do this to your own kind of people? Sometimes we get brainwashed into this and we forget other things we should be aware of. “No matter what I did and where I went, the Cultural Revolution followed me.” (Jiang Ji-li, pg. 141)