By: Eric Chin
China had been under a Qing (Ching) Emperor since the mid-1600’s when in the 1900’s little parts of China were being taken over by outside countries. The young people of China at the time were very upset with this and the emperor for not stopping it. This unrest led to the development of the People’s Nationalist Party, led by Sun Yat-sen. In 1911 the People’s Nationalist Party forced the emperor out and created a republican government. The People’s Nationalist party was unable to unite China or force out the various countries that were claiming land there.
When Sun Yat-sen died Chiang Kai-shek took his place and built up the nationalist army. With his army he reclaimed Chinese land from other countries. Then the Nationalist Party split forming a Communist party who believed that the peasants should have a say in the government. Chiang Kai-shek disagreed with this and sided with the wealthy farmers. He then forced all the communists into a small area in southern China. The exiled Communist started an exodus to Yan’an in Northwestern China. This 6,000-mile march of death is known as the Long March, and only 8,000 of the 100,00 communists survived. During the Long March Nationalists attacked and the Communists found a leader, Mao Zedong.
Mao and the Communists claimed the Northwest lowering taxes and giving the peasants more power. As more and more Chinese heard of Mao’s changes they joined the communists. Eventually a communist army put together by Mao drove Chiang Kai-shek and the Nationalists out of China and into Taiwan. Mao now started making changes all over China. Economically he set up 5-year plans that focused on making farming communes and growing industry. He also appointed fellow communist believers to important government positions.
Around 1966 Mao decided that not enough people were supporting his government, so he decided that the country needed a Cultural Revolution. He got college students and young people involved in destroying the past. The tore down architecture that was representative of the past. The destroyed art and books from the days of the emperors. Mao also put together the red guard which questioned people about the allegiance to the communists and even jailed or executed individuals who they thought were not good communists. However in 1968 Mao put a stop to the Cultural Revolution feeling it had gone too far.
Chinese Cultural Revolution
In this political cartoon, Mao Zedong is burning art and books from old emperors. While burning these documents down, he was also tearing down old Chinese architecture which meant a lot to the people. The only reason why Mao did these actions because no one was supporting him and the government. Since the people opposed him, you can see them pointing a gun and fingers at him with anger and blaming him for a crime.
In this picture, you can see people burning down art and books. They did this because they were one of Mao's followers. You can also see a sign which solute Mao. They are burning these items in honor of Mao.