The Cultural Revolution was Mao’s attempt to reclaim the spirit of the Communist Revolution in China. Encouraging people to learn revolution by making revolution, Mao created economic hardship and social chaos with his new policies. Eventually the Cultural Revolution was abandoned but it still serves as a stark reminder of Communism run amok. The following excerpt is from a memoir of a woman who observed Mao’s China. In this excerpt she is returning from British controlled Hong Kong to the Chinese city Shanghai.
When Li Zhen [a Chinese woman] returned to Shanghai, the city was suffering from a severe food shortage as a result of the catastrophic economic failure of the Great Leap Forward Campaign launched by Mao Zedong, in 1958. Long lines of people were forming at dawn at Shanghai police stations, waiting to apply for exit permits to leave the country. This was such an embarrassment for the Shanghai authorities that they viewed Li Zhen’s return from affluent Hong Kong to starving Shanghai as an opportunity for propaganda …. to help project an image of popular support for the Communist Party … The government granted members of this organization [the Communist Party] certain minor privileges, such as better housing and the use of special restaurant. –Life and Death in Shanghai, Cheng, 1986
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