mass movements

mass movements
(qunzhong yundong)
Mao Zedong (1893–1976) favoured ‘mass mobilization’ as a government mechanism. As a result mass movements were incessant during his rule, by far the most important being the Cultural Revolution. Other than mass participation, these movements’ main features were: they were organized by Mao himself for his own purposes; they scapegoated enemies; and they centred on an ideological point or set of points of concern to Mao.
After Mao’s death, the idea of the mass movements declined in favour. The post-Mao leadership’s interest lies in economic development within a stable society, based on law and order. While much attention is still given to the ‘masses’, and there are numerous mass organizations with a wide range of functions, such organizations are subject to CCP leadership and regulation.
In the period of reform, the CCP, in fact, has opposed mass action. Even when such action supports government policy, as the demonstrations denouncing the American bombing of China’s Belgrade Embassy in May 1999, the CCP moves to stop mass action, fearing it can spin out of control. Yet there have been a few ideological movements. Other than the Campaign against Bourgeois Liberalization (1987), the most important one was that against ‘spiritual pollution’. Launched by the CCP Central Committee in October 1983, it aimed to defend the concept of the ‘spiritual civilization’ and oppose such unhealthy phenomena as excessive commercialization in the arts, literature and the theatre. However, it was over by the end of 1983.

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.