Afterword to the book Cultural Revolution in the People’s Republic of China

By Prof. Dr. Luiz Alberto Moniz Bandeira, January 2017, Germany.

In the mid-1950s, Mao Zedong established the slogan “Let a hundred flowers bloom”, which meant the opening of discussions between several schools of thought. This initiative of democratization did not last long. In the face of criticism, Mao Zedong, in 1958, launched the campaign, called “The Great Leap Forward” with the goal to increase agricultural production and drive the industrialization of the country. “The Great leap Forward” triggered, however, a setback. The attempt failed and Liu Shao-ch’i, former partner of Mao Zedong, took over Presidency. Internal contradictions within the CCP have then increased, and Mao Zedong, with the support of the People’s Liberation Army, unleashed the Cultural Revolution, in order to regain power, based on the issue of millions of copies of the Red Book, written from the 1920’s. He also introduced the Red Terror, by destroying much of the cultural heritage of China, which Mao extended for the second half of the 1960’s.

This is the period which the remarkable lawyer Durval de Noronha Goyos Jr., with a deep knowledge of China, its history and its development, explained. As rightly pointed out in his important work, “Introduction to the History of the Chinese Cultural Revolution”, its movement in a dialectical perspective, constituted the antithesis which enabled the synthesis of the current process, the remarkable economic, political and social development held in China in the 1980’s, despite all the great suffering of its people.
The derange of youth, by demolishing the pillars of culture and civilization, had reached a point that emphasised the impracticability of socialism in those conditions, and Mao Zedong himself, together with Zhou Enlai, the great diplomat from China, and other leaders of the Chinese Communist Party, tried to supress the continuity of the Cultural Revolution. However, only after the death of Mao Zedong, in 1976, Deng Xiaoping, returning to power, began to promote economic reforms, allowing the Chinese to conduct private commercial enterprises and opening thecountry to foreign investments.

He and other Chinese Communist Party leaders had realized that they could not maintain the same model of socialism, established in the Soviet Union by Stalin within the world capitalist economy. Hence the opening to a market economy. Jiang Zemin and Li Peng, Deng Xiaoping’s successors continued the reforms and China has become the world’s second largest economy on the verge of supplanting, in a few years, the United States of America, which in 2011 was already its largest creditor. This did not mean that the Chinese Communist Party renounced the goal of implementing socialism in China.

Prime Minister Wen Jiabao in 2011, predicted the “primary stage of socialism for the next 100 years”, by reaffirming that the Chinese Communist Party would persist performing the reforms and innovation in order to ensure the vigour and vitality, socialism with the Chinese characteristics. “Without the sustained and full development of productive forces, it will be impossible to achieve social fairness and justice, an essential requirement of socialism” – said Wen Jiabao31, re-establishing the principle of Karl Marx, according to who a social formation never collapses without the productive forces within it being sufficiently developed, and new superior relations of production never appear in place before material conditions of their existence are incubated deep in the old society itself32.
To distribute the wealth it would be necessary, beforehand, to create it.
And thus, China did.

31 Wen Jiabao – “Our Historical Tasks at the Primary Stage of Socialism and Several Issues Concerning China’s Foreign Policy” – Official Translation. Embassy of The People’s Republic of China in Uganda,
32 “Eine Gesellschaftsformation geht nie unter, bevor alle Produktivkräfte entwickelt sind, für die sie weit genug ist, und neue höhere Produktionsverhältnisse treten nie an die Stelle, bevor die materiellen Existenzbedingungen derselben im Schoß der alten Gesellschaft selbst ausgebrütet worden sind.” Marx, Karl, Zur Kritik der Politischen Ökonomie Vorwort, in Marx, K. e Engels, F. Werke, Band 13, Berlin, Dietz Verlag, 1981, pp. 8-9.,