The Up to the Mountains and Down to the Countryside Movement (Chinese: 上山下乡运动) was a policy instituted in the People's Republic of China in the late 1960s and early 1970s. As a result of the anti-bourgeois thinking prevalent during the Cultural Revolution, Mao Zedong declared certain privileged urban youth would be sent to mountainous areas or farming villages to learn from the workers and farmers there.
Mao's policy differed from Liu Shaoqi's early 1960s sending-down policy in its political context. Liu Shaoqi instituted the first sending-down policy to redistribute excess urban population following the Great Chinese Famine and the Great Leap Forward. Mao's use of the policy sent down the Red Guards who had risen up at his beck and call.
Many fresh high school graduates, who became known as the Rusticated Youth of China, were forced out of the cities and effectively exiled to remote areas of China. Some commentators consider these people, many of whom lost the opportunity to attend university, China's "lost generation." Famous authors who have written about their experiences during the movement include Nobel Laureate Liu Xiaobo, Jiang Rong, and Zhang Chengzhi, all of whom went to Inner Mongolia. Dai Sijie's Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress has received great praise for its take on life for the young people sent to rural villages of China during the movement.
Resettlement in the countryside (chadui luohu, zh:插队落户) was a more permanent form.
^The Australian journal of Chinese affairs - Numéros 1 à 4 - Page 1 Australian National University. Contemporary China Centre - 1979 "Around six hundred thousand of these were sent down in 1968, obeying Mao's call to "Join the Commune for Life" (chaduiluohu, literally, "Joining a Team and Taking up Residence")
^Ecoambiguity: Environmental Crises and East Asian Literatures - Page 147 Karen Laura Thornber - 2012 "Some were sent to rural villages to join production teams and establish residence (chadui luohu). These individuals did not significantly change environments."