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"UP TO THE MOUNTAINS AND
DOWN TO THE COUNTRYSIDE"
(196976)

"I don't regret going to the countryside."

-- Shanghai businessman

"We wanted to go the areas with the most hardship. We got to see the poverty and hard work of the countryside...things that can't be found in books.... We went willingly, but we were too naive...things weren't as simple as we thought."

-- Nanjing factorywoman

CALMING THE CITIES

At first, the Cultural Revolution aimed to "attack with the pen, only defend with the gun." But by 1968, especially in the cities, different Red Guard factions were fighting one another with weapons instead of words.

EQUALITY OF CITY AND COUNTRYSIDE

Chinese cities have always been more prosperous than the countryside. Mao wanted to reduce Red Guard violence in the cities, and toughen "spoiled" urban youth. He started a new phase of the Cultural Revolution. Educated youth would go to the villages, where they would learn from the "poor and lower-middle peasants." Students went "up to the mountains and down to the countryside." Most students enthusiastically volunteered to go, although refusal was not an option. Millions of city youth resettled in the countryside. They did not return to the cities until after Mao's death in 1976.

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This page last updated September 26, 2002

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