By studying the Cultural Revolution in the context of the sociology of mass mobilization, students will gain an awareness of the power behind politics and ideology. It also illustrates how these forces can work in the everyday lives of normal people. In addition to gaining a deeper understanding of Chinese politics under Mao, students will hopefully understand the substantial power of ideology and a charismatic leader in motivating people towards destructive ends. They should also be able to think more rigorously about where and how values and social relations are shaped and molded — values and culture are not static and can be substantially influenced by politics.
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In the midst of China's Cultural Revolution, the U. Central Intelligence Agency prepared a report on the forces leading to the launch of the Cultural Revolution and its first year. It was written by Philip L. This report was declassified in 40 years after its preparation. Bridgham published a versions of this in The China Quarterly.
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During the Chinese Cultural Revolution many schools stopped normal operation for a long time, senior high schools stopped student recruitment for up to 6 years, and universities stopped recruitment for an even longer period. Such large scale school interruptions significantly reduced the opportunity for a large cohort of individuals to obtain university degrees and senior high school qualifications. More than half of this cohort who would normally attain a university degree were unable to do so. We estimate that those who did not obtain a university degree, because of the Cultural Revolution, lost an average of more than 50 percent of potential earnings.
For nearly 40 years, the government has been establishing research programs and high-tech zones, encouraging domestic firms to boost their innovation capacity, and helping colleges and universities flourish. Communist Party representatives must be present in companies with more than 50 employees—a requirement that constrains competitive and entrepreneurial behavior. Certainly, China has shown a potential for innovation and has the capacity to do much more.