Power, Policy, and Ideology in the Making of China's "Cultural Revolution."

by W. F. Dorrill

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An analysis of the sequence of events that culminated in Communist China's Great Cultural Revolution and the implications of the present upheaval for Chinese domestic and foreign policy. Hypotheses have tended to focus on one or a combination of three elements: power, policy, and ideology. There is unquestionably a close interaction among these three elements; however, the chronology of events suggests that the Great Cultural Revolution may be viewed as an attempt by Mao to push China toward new and unprecedented heights of faith and fervor. Mao's increasingly utopian aspirations and fundamentalist concepts of the revolutionary mission were manifest in the 1966 reorganization of leadership. Instability seems destined to continue so long as Mao and those designated by the Cultural Revolution to succeed him dominate the scene. Mere changes in leadership or alterations of particular domestic and foreign policies will not suffice to realize their revolutionary goals, which aim at a fundamental transformation of Chinese society and ideology. Disorder is likely to increase if those in opposition are ever able to join forces for a counterattack. 164 pp

This report is part of the RAND Corporation research memorandum series. The Research Memorandum was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 1973 that represented working papers meant to report current results of RAND research to appropriate audiences.

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