Life as an Intellectual Under Mao Tse Dung


When Mao Zedongfirst came into power, we all thought that it was a great thing- he was a strong leader, and he would pilot China from lowly pit of humiliation into a higher place, where we would regain our power and respect.
Mao became the driving force behind extreme alterations in China. For centuries, operas had been a traditional form of Chinese arts. These operas featured legends of emperors, princesses, ministers, generals, demons, romance, treachery, and murder, topics which Mao deemed unsuitable for audiences of peasants and farmers. Under the careful watch of his third wife, Mao commissioned a group of writers to create new operas, ones about peasants and farmers, where the audience could see themselves portrayed as the heroines, and their detested landlords as the villains. Mao abolished traditional forms of Chinese art in favor of more vain, self-concerning plays that he claimed were "more appropriate to the interests of the masses and more with the party line."
Censoring the arts was not just limited to our own plays, however. All visiting groups were required to performfirst for Mao before they were allowed to perform for a Chinese audience. More often than not, Mao forced the groups to edit their program. A visiting Portuguese ballet company was driven to remove over half of their program, as he felt it to be "too modernistic."
It wasn't long before Mao began censoring not only what we could see and do, but also how we could do it. All writers were to be trained in by government writing officials- the desired effect being, of course, so that they all wrote in the same style. All writing was to be, like the operas, concerning topics of interest to its audience. None of the usual drama and royal scandals, only stories about peasants and farmers. Only literature that seemed to contribute to the "achievement of Communist goals." He stated publicly that ones endo…

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