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China's "Great Proletarian Information Revolution" of 1966-1967

Schoenhals, Michael LU (2015) In Maoism at the Grassroots: Everyday Life in China's Era of High Socialism
Abstract
By the autumn of 1966, the PRC government had enjoyed seventeen years of uninterrupted and complete domestic information dominance. Independent collection of information was hampered by way of a CCP culture of secrecy and successfully enforced regimen of information curtailment. Of the changes in the political landscape triggered by Mao Zedong’s August 1966 decision to label part of government officialdom “reactionaries” and announce his “enthusiastic support” for those who cared to “rebel” against it, few proved in retrospect as important as the degrading of this information dominance. It led to the immediate empowerment of a broad spectrum of “mass” organizations who developed their own information collection, processing, and... (More)
By the autumn of 1966, the PRC government had enjoyed seventeen years of uninterrupted and complete domestic information dominance. Independent collection of information was hampered by way of a CCP culture of secrecy and successfully enforced regimen of information curtailment. Of the changes in the political landscape triggered by Mao Zedong’s August 1966 decision to label part of government officialdom “reactionaries” and announce his “enthusiastic support” for those who cared to “rebel” against it, few proved in retrospect as important as the degrading of this information dominance. It led to the immediate empowerment of a broad spectrum of “mass” organizations who developed their own information collection, processing, and dissemination structures.



In the literature on how patterns from the past continue to impact contemporary China, when reference is made to the perceived legacies or echoes of the Cultural Revolution, it is always to “ever more simplistic slogans,” “violence and anarchy,” and the like. No mention is made of any of the above. At first, this appears puzzling, given that we in this digital age believe ourselves to have developed an unprecedented sensitivity to the informational aspects of just about everything—including the history of the PRC. Yet the most likely explanation is the same as with so many other facets of social history: there “simply is not a ready-made body of material about it” (Eric Hobsbawm). What I seek to do in this paper is remedy this frustrating state of affairs by bringing together the fragmented data that has survived and explore the unknown history of the information networks operated by non-state organizations in China’s Cultural Revolution. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceeding
publication status
published
subject
keywords
China, Cultural Revolution, Mao Zedong, information, communication, social organization
in
Maoism at the Grassroots: Everyday Life in China's Era of High Socialism
editor
Brown, Jeremy and Johnson, Matthew
publisher
Harvard University Press
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
f8b399c8-1393-4ca3-ac4b-2c861a1ccf3c (old id 3807104)
date added to LUP
2013-06-10 16:24:33
date last changed
2016-04-16 08:18:44
@misc{f8b399c8-1393-4ca3-ac4b-2c861a1ccf3c,
  abstract     = {By the autumn of 1966, the PRC government had enjoyed seventeen years of uninterrupted and complete domestic information dominance. Independent collection of information was hampered by way of a CCP culture of secrecy and successfully enforced regimen of information curtailment. Of the changes in the political landscape triggered by Mao Zedong’s August 1966 decision to label part of government officialdom “reactionaries” and announce his “enthusiastic support” for those who cared to “rebel” against it, few proved in retrospect as important as the degrading of this information dominance. It led to the immediate empowerment of a broad spectrum of “mass” organizations who developed their own information collection, processing, and dissemination structures.<br/><br>
<br/><br>
In the literature on how patterns from the past continue to impact contemporary China, when reference is made to the perceived legacies or echoes of the Cultural Revolution, it is always to “ever more simplistic slogans,” “violence and anarchy,” and the like. No mention is made of any of the above. At first, this appears puzzling, given that we in this digital age believe ourselves to have developed an unprecedented sensitivity to the informational aspects of just about everything—including the history of the PRC. Yet the most likely explanation is the same as with so many other facets of social history: there “simply is not a ready-made body of material about it” (Eric Hobsbawm). What I seek to do in this paper is remedy this frustrating state of affairs by bringing together the fragmented data that has survived and explore the unknown history of the information networks operated by non-state organizations in China’s Cultural Revolution.},
  author       = {Schoenhals, Michael},
  editor       = {Brown, Jeremy and Johnson, Matthew},
  keyword      = {China,Cultural Revolution,Mao Zedong,information,communication,social organization},
  language     = {eng},
  publisher    = {ARRAY(0xc942598)},
  series       = {Maoism at the Grassroots: Everyday Life in China's Era of High Socialism},
  title        = {China's "Great Proletarian Information Revolution" of 1966-1967},
  year         = {2015},
}