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The 50th Anniversary of the Chinese Cultural Revolution: Legacies and Continuities


The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) is one of the most controversial events in modern Chinese history. Mao Zedong’s campaign calling students and workers to rebel against the local state apparatus resulted in violent factional struggles in late 1966 and 1967. To restore order, Mao brought in the People’s Liberation Army and waves of repression followed. Many supporters of the early Cultural Revolution were victimized in the later stages. The Cultural Revolution left deep wounds and trauma in all parts of society. In the early 1980s, a huge number of victims from among the political and intellectual elites were rehabilitated by the Communist Party of China and court verdicts against ordinary people were revised. Nevertheless, many people from all former factions feel mistreated by the CCP today. On this roundtable, Western and Chinese experts of the Cultural Revolution will discuss the legacies and continuities of “Mao’s last revolution”. What are the lessons of the Cultural Revolution and can it happen again in China today?