Essay Sex in the Chinese Cultural Revolution

Essay Sex in the Chinese Cultural Revolution

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A. Plan of Investigation
The purpose of this study is to answer the question: To what extent did Chinese leaders display their power through the controlling of sex in the Chinese Cultural Revolution? This can give historians a better understanding of the extent to which the Chinese leaders controlled every aspect of the Chinese people's life. This is a fairly new subject because, as I will discuss later in the project, sex was silenced in the Cultural Revolution.
(words:137)



| B. Summary of Evidence
The Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) was a time of great social change for the nation of China. In the words of Premier Zhou Enlai, the Revolution “defeated the arrogance of the reactionary bourgeoisie and...broke old ideas, customs and habits of the exploiting classes, fostered new ideas, culture, customs and habits of the proletariat, and vigorously promoted the revolutionization of people’s minds.”
The state controlled sex through the different treatments of the people in rural settings and those in urban settings: loose in the former and strict in the latter. The urban areas were filled with the bourgeoisie and the rural with the “sent-down youth,” teenagers who were “sent to labor in the fields to reform their thinking.” “Life in the countryside was punctuated by flirtation and sex.” Sex was an abomination in the urban settings because it was seen as “being equated with being cheap, and bourgeois, with promiscuity; [violators] are unrevolutionary, not worthy of brave hearts that should be beating with thoughts of building a new socialist nation.” Chinese people were called to “maintain the honor and reputation of the country” by “remain[ing] pure.” Sex was no longer a personal business; it was a matter of conc...


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...a: Alive in the Bitter Sea. New York: Times Books, 1982.

Chesneaux, Jean. China: The People’s Republic, 1946-1976. Translated by Paul Auster and Lydia Davis. New York: Pantheon, 1979.

Diamant, Neil Jeffrey. Revolutionizing the Family: Politics, Love, and Divorce in Urban and Rural China, 1946-1968. London, England: University of California Press, Ltd., 2000.

Honig, Emily. “Socialist Sex: The Cultural Revolution Revisited.” Modern China 29, no. 2 (April 2003): 143-175. http://lnks.jstor.org/sici?sici=0097-7004%28200304%2929%3A2%3C143%3ASSTCRR%3E2.0.CO%3BR2-3 (accessed April 3, 2008).

Pan, Lynn. The New Chinese Revolution. Chicago, IL: Contemporary Books, 1988.

Zhou, Enlai. Speeh, September 30, 1966. Premier Zhou Enlai’s Speech at the National Day Reception. http://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/zhou-enlai/1966/09/30.htm (accessed January 28, 2010).

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