The Stanford Method of the Execution of Mayor Yin Essay

The Stanford Method of the Execution of Mayor Yin Essay

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The story “The Execution of Mayor Yin” takes a perilous look at the dark side of the events that happened during the Cultural Revolution. Chairman Mao’s Red Guards were tasked with a cultural cleansing that left many people more confused at the roles they played in society than it reinforced the social class structure. The story tells of a young member of the Red Guard and the personal conflict he suffered during the cleansing of Hsingan, which lay to rest his uncle and possibly even a good friend. The torment the people suffered and the personal struggle Hsaio Wu battled with coincide strongly with the age old question, “Are humans inherently evil?”
In a last ditch effort to gain political control over China, Chairman Mao Zedong, launched the Cultural Revolution. The effort was due to the changes he saw happening in the Soviet Union. To avoid becoming more like the Soviet model, the Cultural Revolution aimed at removing the “Old China” ways (Harper). Met with disdain and seeing that his party was failing at his mission he launched the Red Guards. The Red Guards were a group of militant high school students recruited for the sole means of spreading the word of Chairman Mao. The students were typically recruited by the use of posters in the schools and after recruitment the groups of students would travel to areas of China where they typically were unknown or didn’t have familial ties (Lieberthal).
The stories of the Red Guards remind me very much of the Stanford Prison Experiment, in which 24 university students were recruited for a psychological experiment in which half of the group would become a prison guard and the other half prisoners. The young men had rules that they had to live by during the week to two weeks the...

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...s still Hsaio Wu who put the gag in Mayor Yin’s mouth in carrying out his death sentence. If Chairman Mao would have been present during the proceedings and during the execution, how would things have turned out for Mayor Yin?
The people that participated in the Stanford Prison Experiment as prisoners and the people that suffered through the Cultural Revolution have many things in common, both suffered through extreme acts of inhumane treatment and humiliation. But both also accepted their fate of deserving the treatment they received. Hsaio Wu and the guards shared in common the overwhelming quench for power and control and it eventually led both to perform acts that they may not do without a leader’s guidance to stop the acts from happening. Without a true leadership perspective, humans may be more than capable of the most extreme and inhumane acts thinkable.

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