The Instigator
kathleenng
Pro (for)
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The Contender
simonesimmons
Con (against)
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The Chinese Cultural Revolution Positively Impacted China's Well-Being

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/25/2015 Category: Politics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 594 times Debate No: 76937
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
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kathleenng

Pro

The Chinese Cultural Revolution positively impacted China despite some belief. Mao Zedong took a great step forward to revolutionize China, and its society. He said, "China will be free of inequality, poverty and foreign domination." which he succeeded to achieve. Peasants were guaranteed income and education. In fact, the literacy rate before the Chinese Cultural Revolution was a mere 15-25% also lacking national curricular goals; but after 1949 under Mao's new leadership, China's literacy rates increased tremendously. He established schools in both rural and urban areas, and without Mao's push in education, China would not be where they are today. Now China has a national literacy rate of over 95%, and there is over 99% of Chinese children enrolled in school.

This was only one of Mao's great steps to pushing China in the right direction forward. He turned China from a largely uncivilized society to a modern industrial nation. He provided to the peasants what would have never been provided prior the revolution. Social classes became less relevant as the nation's wealth increased, producing national pride for China. Factory workers' well-being were being paid more attention to, to create much comfortable working environments for them. As the innovation of machinery increased, the mass production and quality of goods did as well, decreasing product prices. This provided a larger accessibility to quality goods and at much cheaper prices, which increased the quality of life in China.

(1) http://schugurensky.faculty.asu.edu...

(2) http://ilookchina.net...

(3) http://www.quora.com...
simonesimmons

Con

Kathleen, I disagree with your argument. Although Chairman Mao's intention was to 'revolutionise' China and create a country 'free of 'inequality, poverty and foreign domination', China's well-being was, in many ways, more harmed than benefited. Firstly, you discuss the increase in literacy rates. Indeed, this is a true fact, however, the established schools were primarily in rural areas as Mao didn't want the intellectual, educated and those with a voice to influence others and possibly initiate an uprising. Mao sent educated citizens to rural areas to work in agriculture; isolated from the city centre. Additionally, those who graduated high-school were also sent to the countryside because Mao thought it was necessary for graduates to be re-educated by farmers and peasants. Four million high school and college graduates and 16 million students were sent to remote farm land to preform manual labour. So although the literacy rates increased, so many skills were wasted and so many opportunities missed because those who had something to offer to society, were stuck working in the fields until the revolution ended.

Secondly, you debate the economic and social benefits of the cultural revolution. Since China became a classless society, the nation's wealth didn't increase and nor the the national pride because the enthusiasm of the Red Guards nearly pushed China into social turmoil, the economy collapsed, citizens lost their possessions, politicians, land-owners and the upper-class lost their jobs and properties; more and more citizens became peasants and the scarcity of food drastically increased. The production and quality of goods didn't increases, but rather decrease, and the product prices increased. The amount of rice grains produced in a year decreased greatly and cotton production also dropped dramatically. Due to the decreased production, the price for rice increases and the price for cotton fabrics and clothes also increased.Also, transportation also became a significant problem for the Chinese people since industrial production dropped during the harsh ten years.

Further, those who were the direct targets of poverty, hard-ship and Mao's rule couldn't bear the stress and either resorted to murder or suicide. In August and September. 1966, 1,772 people were murdered in Beijing alone. in Shanghai there were 705 suicides and 534 deaths. In Wuhan there were 62 suicides and 32 murders during the same period. In Mao: The Unknown Story, Jung Chang and John Halliday claim that as many as 3 million people died in the violence of the Cultural Revolution. Sociologist Daniel Chirot claimed that around 100 million people suffered and at least one million people, perhaps as many as 20 million, died in the Cultural Revolution.

Most of the significant information is stated in the above rebuttal paragraphs, however, I would like to expand on the long-term after-effects of this 'revolution' - not. The impact of sending intellectuals and fresh-high school and college students to rural areas denied China of so much possible innovation - you never know, one of those people could have been young Jack Ma. After the revolution ended, those who had experienced the worst of the revolution were denied many work opportunities and were often discriminated upon - this hurts well-being. The educational system took around 9 years to repair and the economy even longer. People were left to suffer in poverty, and for many, educational opportunity was forever over. The so-called 'cultural revolution', the 'step forward to revolutionise China' was a disaster that nearly destroyed China's human well being.

References will be posted in final round.
Debate Round No. 1
kathleenng

Pro

In the course of the 19th century, foreign powers has extensive economic-political privileges, where concessions were won by force. These foreign privileges were a major obstacle to any Chinese political movement aiming to unify the country. Though the upper-class may have had some losses, the peasants were the vast majority of China prior to the Cultural Revolution who were dominated by the gentry class. This was a huge obstacle to modernization. Peasants lived extremely harsh lives, constantly living in famine. You argued that many citizens who lived in urbanised areas were driven to poverty, but prior to the revolution, most of the urban workers were unskilled and also lived in dire poverty. At the same time, merchants lacked capital and foresight, and those who did were capable were not able to carry on their ideals because they were hampered by the privileges given to the foreign powers.

You have mentioned that 20 million people may have possibly died from the revolution, and I will agree with that statistic. However, the losses were definitely worth the gains made. The 20 million people mentioned were only 0.02% of the 800 million Chinese that lived during the Cultural Revolution. Prior to the revolution, the citizens of China seeked an educated, united China, free from foreign privileges, and this was expressed in the May 4th Movement in 1919. It was a student-led movement that protested against the unfair treatment of China by the foreign powers. Without the Cultural Revolution, this and the 4000 years of exploitation would have never ended.

Though you argue that China was not given the freedom of equality, during the cultural revolution, the previous beliefs of Confucianism (where men dominated women) was liberated and women were given the same rights as men, including the right to file for divorce. Keep in mind, Mao overthrown a society that could not rid the country's Opium addiction from the 1840s. He empowered them to kick the habit and educated the population about the causes of this particular drug. Since 1952, there were no more addicts, no more poppies grown, and no more opium smugglers. It took Mao only three years to rid of China's 70 million opium addicts to none.

China's well-being was drastically improved in the long-term. Though there was some struggling at the start, no great revolution can be successful without initial problems. You have also mentioned that skills were wasted as students were sent to the countryside, but students were encouraged to gain knowledge to solve society's most pressing issues. Nationwide, more and more people were given access to schools and a better quality education. Now, China is one of the most highly educated countries in the world.

(1) http://acienciala.faculty.ku.edu...

(2) http://www.revcom.us...

(3) http://www.history.com...
simonesimmons

Con

Kathleen, you state that "students were encouraged to gain knowledge to solve society's most pressing issues. Nationwide, more and more people were given access to schools and a better quality education", however, this is debatable since as Mao's power rose, he wished to suppress knowledge and understanding, and in actual fact, almost wiped out all of China's education, forcibly moving young people to the countryside where they were forced to abandon all knowledge in the face of Mao's teachings. Almost all of China's citizens became manipulated and almost brainwashed with the ideology of Maoism that people started to make poor judgements such as denouncing and accusing people in the wrong way - this resulted in an increase in murder, suicide and violence rates. People started to turn against each other for no reason, and eventually, mass chaos occurred where people were persecuted; churches, mosques, temples, books and ancient scrolls were burned; agriculture declined, factories closed and all the Chinese cultures and traditions nearly disappeared altogether.

Additionally, although women were liberated, the notion of gender equality was never fully acknowledged in China - even to this day. Families continue to want boys over girls, abandon girls to support sons, give men better jobs - even if a woman can do it such as manager or a C-role ect. ect. Certainly, it was a step up from the previous inequality level, however, it wasn't worth the 20 million lives lost. And even though you say that was only 0.02% of the population, it is still 20 million people. 20 million people died. For a revolution that didn't do much good. Even the Nazis killed less people during World War 2 - and that was a world war...this was a revolution.

Women living in China during the Cultural Revolution continue to be affected by the trauma today. One such woman is Ping Fu, who at age 8 was taken from her home by Red Guards and forced to live in a government dormitory in Nanjing. According to Forbes, at the dormitory Ping was "brainwashed, starved, tortured and gang raped." Millions of women went through this suffering, and thousands still have to live with the trauma.
Debate Round No. 2
kathleenng

Pro

You stated, "... as Mao's power rose, he wished to suppress knowledge and understanding, and in actual fact, almost wiped out all of China's education..." which was not his intent. He did not try to eliminate knowledge, but in reality, drain the surviving threats of the old society. Unlike the old society, Mao attempted to unite China, and encouraged people to abandon narrow self-interests and to take to account everyone's interests as a collective community.

You said that the citizens of China became "manipulated and brainwashed with the ideology of Maoism" which is a huge over-exaggeration. Mao promoted critical thinking and socialist values to help benefit the future of China. Nationwide admission exams were abolished, making it possible for peasants, workers and soldiers to attend university.

Furthermore, you have mentioned that "gender equality was never fully acknowledged in China" but in actual fact, women made substantial gains from the Cultural Revolution that they wouldn't have made otherwise. Many received higher paying industrial jobs, became political leaders and challenge women's inferiority. If it wasn't for the revolution, men in China would still have the ability to marry as many women as they wanted and to divorce them as they pleased. If there was no Cultural Revolution, there would have been no change to the inequality of genders. The idea of Maoism was to create a classless society where no one was deemed better than anyone else, and where everyone was equal.

The achievements of the Cultural Revolution deserve recognition as the most advanced form of a socialist transformation to date. Thus, it is important to avoid the idealized picture of the Chinese Cultural Revolution.

(1) http://maoistrebelnews.wordpress.com...

(2) http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk...

(3) www.edb.gov.hk/attachment/en/curriculum.../kla/.../China_A5_e.pdf
simonesimmons

Con

I acknowledge all your points, however, to end, I would like to mention the significant effects of any such revolution on a country's well-being. From this argument we have concluded that there are both benefits and consequences, good and bad effects on well-being.

- Chinese literacy rates rose. However, this mainly benefited the poor and agriculture/farm workers. This had a reverse effect on the middle to upper-class and the educated. (sent to the country side, deprived of opportunities ect.) Also the education system was badly hurt and took many years to repair.
- Practically destroyed the Chinese economy and government. Restorations took years.
- Ruined generations of families who were targets of the revolution.
- Many citizens lost their possessions. Politicians, landowners, and the high class society lost their jobs and properties.
- Suicide, murder and violence rate increased.
- The upheavals of the Cultural Revolution and the hostility to the intellectual elite is widely accepted to have damaged the quality of education in China, especially at the upper end of education system. However, the radical policies also provided many in the rural communities with middle school education for the first time, which is thought to have facilitated the rural economic development in the 70s and 80s. Similarly, a large number of health personnel were deployed to the countryside as barefoot doctors during the Cultural Revolution. Some farmers were given informal medical training, and health-care centres were established in rural communities. This process led to a marked improvement in the health and the life expectancy of the general population.
- Womens rights were liberated and a greater sense of equality was achieved.

Total sources used:
(1) http://www.chineseupress.com...
(2) http://libcom.org...
(3) http://classroom.synonym.com...
(4) https://en.wikipedia.org...
(5) http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk...
(6) http://www.history.com...
(7) http://news.bbc.co.uk...
(8) http://www.dailyreckoning.com.au...
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by F-16_Fighting_Falcon 1 year ago
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
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>Reported vote: evanjfarrar// Mod action: Removed<

3 points to Con (Arguments). Reasons for voting decision: Con had arguments that were better formulated and more uniform.

[*Reason for removal*] (1) No explanation for the arguments point.
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