Thought Reform In China - English - Essay

946 words - 4 pages

"Thought Reform"

The word, "brainwashing" is mostly used to describe alternating and controlling the human mind by certain psychological techniques. In 1951 - 1952, Mao wanted to develop a political consciousness in the Chinese people through humanistic education methods, and the reform that was organized was called, "Thought Reform". Its main goal was to brainwash people and make a "new society". Mao planned to employ party members and their intellectuals in order to brainwash them and he used various ways to indoctrinate them. There were lots of struggles in this era, which led Mao to focus on peasants and change the minds of society. The reform was very politically beneficial to the government and Mao Zedong; however, peasants were constrained, which negatively affected them socially and culturally.

How thought reform worked was very straightforward. The Communists initiated "a 'study' campaign to enlist the entire population in a program of political indoctrination" (Chen 83). The campaign was mainly focused on re-educating about Marxist- Leninist theory and the thoughts of Mao. In the universities, Communist Party forced students, deans, and professors to take classes about Mao Zedong's thoughts. For example, according to Chen (84), University students, professors, and staff members "were assembled to "study" the required Communist texts. For hours, they listened to reports and exhortations from party and government officials". In addition, as the Communist Party needed people to revolt, they took "thieves, beggars, and prostitutes (whom they categorized together as 'vagrants') and Park ! 2 transform them into revolutionaries" (Smith 2). Overall, the main goal of thought reform was to single out individuals and change one's point of view.

Mao and the government completely ruled the country with power by reform, and it socially impacted a lot since then. It made the government manage the country easily, which positively impacted them. For instance, they could completely rule everyone by re-educating them through labor, history, and theory to start the thought reform and "must certainly be understood both in the context of the CCP's drive to incarcerate its detractors as well as in its relationship to Soviet "reforging" projects" (Smith 2). On the other hand, it negatively impacted as peasants didn't cooperate with them. Peasants were forced to believe in Mao, and they started to get frustrated by him and the government. Mao looked like a respectful leader in the group, but the truth was he was cruel to his comrades. For example, they were "supposed to lay themselves bare, acknowledging any doubts or confusions they had concerning Party dogma and to UNBURDEN themselves of guilt and remorse by admitting before the entire group any mistakes they had made in their lives when viewed through the lens of Communist ideology" (Shield). A few peasants remember him as evil and describe that he wasn't actually a leader but a dictator.

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