Talk:Hundred Flowers Campaign

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Pro-Mao Bias[edit]

Several sections of this article have a strong pro-Mao bias. This article is littered with POV statements.

Example: "Many of these letters, as stated by Mao in early 1957, had violated the Healthy Criticism level and had reached a harmful and uncontrollable level."

"..a harmful and uncontrollable level" according to whom? This was simply Mao's excuse for crushing the movement and purging/killing those who had spoken out.

Example 2: "If any new forms of cultural institutions or arts were being suggested, such proposals were overshadowed by the amount of "unhealthy" political criticism."

Again, this is using the vague notion of "unhealthy" (even though it is in quotes). Also, the stated goal of the movement was to generate criticism not "cultural institutions or arts."


The Chinese name says "White Flowers Movement", is it an error?

I don't exactly know what you're saying. Colipon 04:27, 11 Sep 2003 (UTC)

It was an error, which was corrected. Refer to the page history. --Jiang 05:14, 11 Sep 2003 (UTC)
"White" sounds similar to "Hundred" when pronounced in English. --Taishaku 05:14, 25 Aug 2006 (UTC)
Er, I think you mean that the Chinese character for "hundred", 百, is very similar to "white", 白. At least it's that way for Japanese kanji, and should be pretty much the same in Chinese characters...

"Mao had simply grown sick of continual bashing of the CCP."[edit]

I removed this phrase from the article. If there is a source that can show that Mao had gotten tired of criticism, it should be reformulated so as to not trivialize it ("simply grown sick") and in a more encyclopedic language. Foolip 19:53, 4 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Anti-Maoist Propaganda[edit]

This is a simply anti-Maoist propaganda, if Mao despised intellectuals, why would he have written so much about epistemology and the importance of learning? Mao wasn't against dissent. The Cultural Revolution was all about dissent; it was a massive movement against a corrupt government.

I welcome you to fix the article. I based some of these writings 3 years ago on a book by Stuart Schramm on Mao. Some of my ideas have changed from then. Colipon+(T) 19:10, 28 August 2005 (UTC)

If Mao didn't despise intellectuals, why did he kill so many of them?64.111.151.124 (talk) 21:20, 8 March 2009 (UTC)

Who Concluded?[edit]

Some concluded that Mao knew the outcome before the campaign had even started.

Who is "some"? Right-wing Americans? Flag-waving Communist party members? European historians? FireWorks 07:48, 6 December 2005 (UTC)

Source[edit]

Anyone have a source for "death toll possibly in the millions"? That's a really shakey statement as is. FireWorks 07:48, 6 December 2005 (UTC)

A good source on the Chinese Revolution is Keith Schoppa's book on the Chinese revolution. Schoppa gives estimates in his book. Also, A good memoir to read about the Revolution is by Liang Heng and Judy Shapiro, The Son of the Revolution.It is a memior that may give you a heartfelt account of the Chinese revolution from someone who experienced it.

NPOV[edit]

Is this NPOV? - "However, it turned out to be a trap, and Mao persecuted those who had views different than the party."

The campaign was not a "trap"[edit]

Mao instituted this campaign as a way to hear from his intellectual elite what the party could work on in order to become stronger and more efficient. He hoped that a few members of the party could give some valuable constructive criticisms and opinions. Mao never expected to see the bombardment of criticisms that resulted from his call, and as a result, may well have taken the criticisms personally. Consequently, those who demonstrated the greatest opposition to the way of the regime were persecuted. However, there is a distinct difference between a planned result and an unseen consequence and the persecution of those in opposition was an unseen consequence. Mao did NOT plan to punish people. Therefore the use of the word "trap" is completely erroneous.

- and you know this because.... (user: FieryPhoenix)

-It's an open debate whether or not the campaign was a "trap" from the outset, or whether Mao himself claimed this to save face as the criticism exceeded what he expected. Regardless, that the article cites only two proponents of the "trap" theory and one is Clive James (who I admire for many reasons but for not his depth of understanding of PRC history) doesn't help the argument either way. His name should be dropped.

Neutrality Dispute[edit]

As a few people have already said, this article does not present a neutral point of view. It insinuates that the Hundred Flowers Movement was deliberately designed as a "trap" for opponents when this is not fact, only one particular opinion. The more common revisionist take on the reason for the movement and then the sudden turn around and the Anti-Rightist Campaign that followed is described above (The campaign was not a "trap").


-- I have cleaned up that section to say that it may have been a trap, not to definitively state that it was. Accordingly, I'll remove the NPOV dispute if people feel its appropriate.

There's a lot of information missing from this article[edit]

I read an article on asiansentinel and am was surprised to see how deep this campaign was. I have heard a little bit about it from various other sources but with the current wikipedia article it's a question of white washing Mao's purge. The article might be biased but is there anybody willing to dispute the facts stated in the article? Yukon guy 19:05, 12 February 2007 (UTC)

http://www.asiasentinel.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=374&Itemid=31



"Many of these letters, as stated by Mao in early 1957, had violated the Healthy Criticism level and had reached a harmful and uncontrollable level."

This statement is strong POV as to what consists healthy vs harmful criticism (how did criticism that the government was totalitarian become "harmful"?). I have added quotes appropriately, since the viewpoint is attributed to Mao:

Many of these letters, as stated by Mao in early 1957, had violated the "healthy criticism" level and had reached a "harmful and uncontrollable" level.


I humbly suggest that those who contribute to this page, and all others, should simply cite their sources. Discussing the issue of neutrality of this topic is much grounded if we are able to read one another's sources and then evaluate one another's opinions.

The dates (1958-1966) don't add up.

I will clean this up. Colipon+(T) 02:34, 25 January 2007 (UTC)

Trap?[edit]

"It is commonly believed that the campaign was a political trap, alleging that Mao persecuted those who had views different from the party. The ideological crackdown following the campaign's failure re-imposed Maoist orthodoxy in public expression."

There is really no basis for this statement, the idea put forward that is "common" thought that this was a "trap," has little to no basis beyond Jung Chang's writings. However other notable Sinologists and biographers of Mao have serious disagreements with her views on this subject.

The only basis for such assertions as well seem to be only a postori look at the "anti-Rightist" campaign.

Further it might be "commonly believed," but what is important is whether or not this common understanding amongst scholars in the field. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 68.198.123.73 (talk) 02:53, 3 November 2007 (UTC)

It's an internet trope, isn't it: there's always somebody ready to step up and defend the indefensible. Get it through your skull that Mao was a million times worse than Hitler.137.205.183.114 (talk) 08:32, 22 August 2014 (UTC)

What does Zhou Enlai have to do with it?[edit]

In reference to the theory that the campaign was a deliberate ruse to expose rightists, the article intro states that the theory has been challenged on the grounds that Zhou Enlai was also involved. What relevance does this have? Is the implication that Zhou was a saint, and would never participate in such a ruse?

Li Zhisui's account of the campaign's genesis and evolution does offer a good counterpoint to Jun Chang. Li's argument is basically that Mao intended to use the campaign to consolidate his own power and direct criticism toward opponents. He was dismayed when criticisms turn against him, and the rest is history.

(Speaking of that history, the article is very weak on the extent of persecution that followed the campaign).

Back to the trap question, I find Jun Chang's arguments on the matter to be valuable (if only she were more inclined to cite her sources...), even if I'm not totally ready to buy into it. She draws on Mao's talks with Party brass analyzing the Hungarian uprising, and concluding that the Hungarians' problem was that "they didn't eliminate all those counter-revolutionaries....Eastern Europe just didn't kill on a grand scale." She also quotes Mao in Spring telling Ke Qing-shi and others that the campaign was analagous to "casting a long line to bait big fish," and saying "how can we catch the snakes if we don't let them out of their lairs." Homunculus (duihua) 18:46, 12 November 2010 (UTC)


I the absence of a response, I made an attempt to improve this section and removed the confusing reference to Zhou Enlai. Room for improvement remains, so I'm open to suggestions on how to make this section more clear and representative of different viewpoints. Homunculus (duihua) 00:50, 23 November 2010 (UTC)

Removal of Falsified Quotation[edit]

The claim that Mao remarked at the time that he had "enticed the snakes out of their caves." was explicitly rejected in the first source ("The 'Hundred Flowers' was not, as Mao's victims and supporters both claims, a carefully contribed trap from the start, an example of the Chairman's cunning in 'luring the snake out of its hole'. p.468 Short, Mao: A Life) and completely unsourced in the second. It also appears nowhere in the published corpus, but its inclusion in this article has been widely repeated. TheGrza 03:31, 4 April 2016 (UTC)