Nightmare of CCP’s Down to the Countryside Movement Recurs with Resurfacing Slogans

In 1968, early years of the Cultural Revolution, Mao Zedong issued the famous “Dec 11″ instruction: Educated urban youth must go to the countryside and receive re-education from the poor peasants. From then on, the fate of a whole generation of urban youth and tens of millions of urban families, including middle school students, was completely rewritten. As for the purpose of launching this movement, Mao claimed that it was to re-educate the educated youth. In contrast to the so-called manual laborers such as workers and peasants, Mao was consistently dissatisfied with the intellectuals. Mao believed that intellectuals were infected with unhealthy bourgeois and petty-bourgeois sentiments and were therefore not ideologically pure. Also, Mao intended to drive the educated youth with creative minds out of the cities in order to consolidate the CCP’s power.

The truth behind is that since the Great Leap Forward and the beginning of the Cultural Revolution, factories were shut down, schools were closed, and urban industrial development was basically at a standstill. As a result of the suspension of schools and the chaos in education, students could not graduate properly. There were no new job opportunities for students. A “deadlock” was formed with respect to labor supply and demand. Thus, the only answer to the unemployment problem was to drive the jobless urban workforce to settle in the countryside. At the core of the policy was not just about employment, but also about transferring the government’s responsibility and financial burden to the peasants and imposing a disguised “youth tax” on them.

Today, 50 years later, the Chinese Communist Party is faced with an unprecedented economic crisis. Internal factors such as epidemic control, coupled with external factors of decoupling from the world, have caused serious problems: unemployment among urban youth and large numbers of migrant workers unable to move freely due the strict household registration system. The recent college student protests in Beijing and Tianjin, who are dissatisfied with the zero-Covid policy, have had an impact on society. 2022 marks the 33th anniversary of the Tiananmen massacre. The CCP once again tried to pump the political slogan of “Up to the Mountains and Down to the Countryside ” into young people, in an attempt to prolong the life of the failing authoritarian regime. The Chinese people are seeing a repeat of what happened during the decade-long hellish Cultural Revolution.

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Translator: MOS English Team: Snorlax S.
Design&editor: Hbamboo

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