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Red Guard Generation and Political Activism in China, The

Guobin Yang

978 0 231 14965 5
List price(s):
26.00 USD
20.95 GBP
24.70 EUR

Publication date:
7 March 2017

Short description: 

A study of the unintended impact of the Red Guard movement and the sent-down campaign on the generation --Provided by publisher.

Full description: 

Raised to be flowers of the nation, the first generation born after the founding of the People's Republic of China was united in its political outlook and at first embraced the Cultural Revolution of 1966, but then split into warring factions. Investigating the causes of this fracture, Guobin Yang argues that Chinese youth engaged in an imaginary revolution from 1966 to 1968, enacting a political mythology that encouraged violence as a way to prove one's revolutionary credentials. This same competitive dynamic would later turn the Red Guard against the communist government. Throughout the 1970s, the majority of Red Guard youth were sent to work in rural villages, where they developed an appreciation for the values of ordinary life. From this experience, an underground cultural movement was born. Rejecting idolatry, these relocated revolutionaries developed a new form of resistance that signaled a new era of enlightenment, culminating in the Democracy Wall movement of the late 1970s and the Tiananmen protest of 1989. Yang's final chapter on the politics of history and memory argues that contemporary memories of the Cultural Revolution are factionalized along these lines of political division, formed fifty years before.

Table of contents: 

Notes on Data Acknowledgments Introduction 1. Violence in Chongqing 2. Flowers of the Nation 3. Theory and Dissent 4. Ordinary Life 5. Underground Culture 6. New Enlightenment 7. Factionalized Memories Conclusion Notes Bibliography Index


Guobin Yang is associate professor of communication and sociology at the University of Pennsylvania and the author of the award-winning The Power of the Internet in China: Citizen Activism Online.




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