Cultural Revolution, formally known as the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, was a sociopolitical movement in the People's Republic of China launched by Mao Zedong in 1966, and lasting until his death in 1976.
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In 1972, the Gang of Four rose to power and the Cultural Revolution continued until Mao's death and the arrest of the Gang of Four in 1976.
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Cultural Revolution's approach was less than transparent, achieving this purge through newspaper articles, internal meetings, and by skillfully employing his network of political allies.
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Cultural Revolution subsequently returned to Beijing on a mission to criticize the party leadership for its handling of the work-teams issue.
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Gang of Four's Zhang Chunqiao, himself, admitted that the most crucial factor in the Cultural Revolution was not the Red Guards or the Cultural Revolution Group or the "rebel worker" organisations, but the side on which the PLA stood.
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Cultural Revolution's allied herself with Wang Hongwen and propaganda specialists Zhang Chunqiao and Yao Wenyuan, forming a political clique later pejoratively dubbed as the "Gang of Four".
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Reminiscent of the first years of the Cultural Revolution, the battle was carried out through historical allegory, and although Zhou Enlai's name was never mentioned during this campaign, the Premier's historical namesake, the Duke of Zhou, was a frequent target.
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Cultural Revolution wreaked much havoc on minority cultures and ethnicities in China.
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Cultural Revolution aimed to "sweep away" all "cow demons and snake spirits", that is, all the class enemies who promoted bourgeois ideas within the party, the government, the army, among the intellectuals, as well as those from an exploitative family background or who belonged to one of the Five Black Categories.
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Many died as a result of their ordeal and humiliation—the names of 200 well-known writers and artists who were persecuted to death during the Cultural Revolution were commemorated in 1979, these include writers such as Lao She, Fu Lei, Deng Tuo, Baren, Li Guangtian, Yang Shuo and Zhao Shuli.
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Some scholars challenge the mainstream portrayals of the Cultural Revolution and offer to understand it in a more positive light.
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Mobo Gao, writing in The Battle for China's Past: Mao and the Cultural Revolution, argues that the movement benefited millions of Chinese citizens, particularly agricultural and industrial workers, and sees it as egalitarian and genuinely populist, citing continued Maoist nostalgia in China today as remnants of its positive legacy.
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