Socialist Education Movement

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The Socialist Education Movement (simplified Chinese: 社会主义教育运动; traditional Chinese: 社會主義教育運動; pinyin: Shèhuìzhǔyì Jiàoyù Yùndòng, abbreviated 社教运动 or 社教運動), also known as the Four Cleanups Movement (simplified Chinese: 四清运动; traditional Chinese: 四清運動; pinyin: Sìqīng Yùndòng) was a movement launched by Mao Zedong in 1963 in the People's Republic of China. Mao sought to remove reactionary elements within the bureaucracy of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), saying that "governance is also a process of socialist education."[1][2]

Chinese researchers have pointed out the movement resulted in at least 77,560 deaths, with 5,327,350 people being persecuted.[3][4] In the movement, the relationship between CCP Chairman Mao Zedong and Chinese President Liu Shaoqi, Chairman Mao's potential successor, deteriorated.[5] Socialist Education Movement is regarded as the precursor of the Cultural Revolution, during which President Liu was persecuted to death as a "traitor" and "capitalist roader".[6][7]


The goal of the movement was to cleanse politics, economy, organization, and ideology (the four cleanups). It was to last until 1966. What this movement entailed was that intellectuals were sent to the countryside to be re-educated by peasants (see Down to the Countryside Movement). They still attended school, but also worked in factories and with peasants.


The campaign is described by Donald Klein in the Encyclopedia Americana 2007 (Grolier Online), as a "nearly complete failure." Mao's dissatisfaction over this program's inefficacy set the stage for the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976).[citation needed] During the Red August, the campaign to destroy the Four Olds began on August 19, 1966, in Beijing.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "People's Republic of China: III". University of Maryland. Retrieved 2021-01-08.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  2. ^ MacFarquhar, Roderick (1997). "The Origins of the Cultural Revolution". Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780192149978.001.0001. ISBN 9780192149978.
  3. ^ Yang, Jishen (2017-07-04). 天地翻覆: 中国文化大革命历史 (in Chinese). 天地图书.
  4. ^ Song, Yongyi (2006). "被掩藏的历史:刘少奇对"文革"的独特贡献" (in Chinese). Modern China Studies. Retrieved 2020-01-31.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  5. ^ Su, Weimin (2015-07-23). "杨尚昆谈"四清"运动:毛泽东刘少奇之间的裂痕由此产生". The Paper. Retrieved 2020-06-23.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  6. ^ Baum, Richard (1969). "Revolution and Reaction in the Chinese Countryside: The Socialist Education Movement in Cultural Revolutionary Perspective". The China Quarterly. 38 (38): 92–119. doi:10.1017/S0305741000049158. ISSN 0305-7410. JSTOR 652308. S2CID 154449798.
  7. ^ "People's Republic of China: III". University of Maryland. Retrieved 2020-02-17.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  8. ^ Law, Kam-yee. [2003] (2003). The Chinese Cultural Revolution Reconsidered: beyond purge and Holocaust. ISBN 0-333-73835-7