The day the Cultural Revolution started – level 3

18-05-1980

Mao Zedong was the chairman of the Communist Party of China who wanted to turn China into a modern industrialized state after World War II.

Mao began the mass mobilization during which uneducated farmers were pulled from farming and harvesting, and they were instructed to produce steel. However, the steel was of low quality and the reduced harvest led to an economic failure. There was a serious shortage of food, and the famine caused the deaths of more than 30 million people.

On May 16, 1966, the Cultural Revolution started and its goal was to eliminate capitalist and traditional elements from Chinese society. The Cultural Revolution damaged China´s economy and traditional culture, schools and universities were closed, and over 10 million intellectual youths were sent to the countryside. Various historical sites throughout the country were destroyed, as well as many historically significant tombs and other objects. Libraries were destroyed and books were burned.

It took China a long time to reconstruct its economy after the revolution. However, the Communist Party remained in power and the face of Mao remained on all Chinese banknotes.

Difficult words: mobilization (the process of preparing something for action), element (the basic part which cannot be separated from a whole), intellectual (an intelligent person), tomb (an underground room where an important person is buried).

What do you think about this day?

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