History of the Communist Party of China’s Ideological Control and its Literary Embodiment, 1942-1989

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Since Yan’an Rectification Movement (1942) while the Communist Party of China (CPC) was still in the Second United Front with the Kuomintang (KMT) against Japanese invasion, Mao Zedong had begun to utilise literary criticism to both consolidate his personal power and unite the ideology within the party. After the establishment of New China which marked CPC’s dictatorship in mainland China in 1949, he repeatedly applied the same strategy in the Anti-Hufeng Campaign (1955), the Anti-Rightist Campaign (1957-59), and finally the Cultural Revolution (1966-76), to integrate his own power with party and state to be an inseparable entity. It guaranteed his personal glory and intra-national security during his rule, but sacrificed artistic and economic development in exchange. In contrast, Deng Xiaoping’s emphasis on the latter side, with a looser ideological control in spite of periodic “contractive” measures like criticising Bei Hua (1981) and Anti-Spiritual Pollution Campaign (1983), terminally led to a nationwide riot: June Forth Incident (1989).

In my paper, the dynamic relationship between political leadership, ideological control and intellectual activities will be focused, with reference to Althusser’s illustration of ideological mechanism and Gramsci’s observation of intellectual’s self-conscious with its essential politic-ness. As literature is an ideology-oriented media, which can implicitly and sophisticatedly assimilate readers through narrative and rhetoric functioning, particularly noticed by both Mao and Deng, the inter-related literary history will be juxtaposed with the grand history, supported by the elucidation of the nature and development of relevant literary themes (like red literature which is generally regarded as political propaganda) and literary schools (like scar literature which reflects the repressed experience of the educated youth in the Down to the Countryside Movement). It is expected that this paper can not only investigate CPC history under a new framework, but also construct an interdisciplinary linkage between history, literature and politics for further theoretical developme
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jun 2014
EventChina Postgraduate Network Annual Conference 2014 - Durham University, Durham, United Kingdom
Duration: 21 Jun 201422 Jun 2014


ConferenceChina Postgraduate Network Annual Conference 2014
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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