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"In today's world, all culture and art...belong to a particular class and a particular political line." —Chairman Mao Zedong


The Cultural Revolution was, after all, about culture. Everything from the most refined arts to the most ordinary of objects had to have revolutionary content. Art that did not have revolutionary content was presumed to have counter-revolutionary content. Mao felt that if you were not with him, you were against him. The elite art of the past was replaced by art depicting workers, peasants, and soldiers. Not only did the Red Guards smash the "Four Olds," but they and the authorities promoted the "Four News"—new ideas, new culture, new customs, new habits.


All traditional opera and music performances were prohibited. Old-style music was replaced by model revolutionary performances, promoted by Mao's wife Jiang Qing. Revolutionary songs celebrated Communist party history and hope of world revolution. These revolutionary operas today are considered to be important innovations, despite their political history.

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This page last updated August 24, 2011

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