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The Thought Remolding Campaign of the Chinese Communist Party-State

The Thought Remolding Campaign of the Chinese Communist Party-State

Hu Ping
Philip F. Williams
Yenna Wu
Copyright Date: 2012
Pages: 308
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  • Book Info
    The Thought Remolding Campaign of the Chinese Communist Party-State
    Book Description:

    This authoritative work on the Chinese Communist party's practices of reeducation and indoctrination, supersedes all previous works by bringing into account recent events. Hu Ping has provided a rich and rigorous study based not only in historical research and numerous compelling case studies of Chinese intellectuals, but also in a first person account of his own experience of Maoist thought "remolding."The Thought Remolding Campaign of the Chinese Communist Party-Stateis an important history not only of the reeducation programs, but of the interrogation processes of the Party, and the strategies of either evasion or rebellion that released prisoners adopted.

    eISBN: 978-90-485-1591-2
    Subjects: Political Science, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. 1-4)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. 5-8)
  3. Preface
    (pp. 9-12)
  4. 1 What is Thought Remolding?
    (pp. 13-30)

    Thought remolding is also referred to asxi’nao,¹ or “brainwashing.” Many Chinese people consider the Chinese termxi’naoto have originated from the English word “brainwashing.” In the preface to her novelBathing[Xizao], Yang Jiang remarks that the termxi’naois of Western derivation (a view that I formerly held as well).² Even Mao Zedong assignedxi’nao’s patent rights to the Americans. Taking a slightly different tack, the scholar Liu Qingfeng viewedxi’naoas something that happened in the U.S.S.R. and was not all that similar to Chinese thought remolding.³

    However, some Westerners have insisted that whatxi’naorefers...

  5. 2 How Was Thought Remolding Possible?
    (pp. 31-60)

    If the thought remolding campaign was in fact absurd – and indeed it was so – then how was it actually able to take place? Were not we ourselves the ones who carried out thought remolding with extreme earnestness during those years? Nowadays, when people discuss their own behavior during the “Cultural Revolution,” they sum it all up with such epithets as “immaturity” and “fanaticism.” Yet these two expressions cannot really explain much of anything.

    At this juncture, the discussion needs to begin from how Marxism had become so popular in China, and how the Communist revolution gained victory in...

  6. 3 How Has Thought Remolding Been Implemented?
    (pp. 61-152)

    According toThe Encyclopedia of Human Behavior, brainwashing is defined as “a set of intensified propaganda techniques implemented under the circumstances of exerting pressure on someone.”¹ Here, “exerting pressure” is a totally essential precondition. Just as I explained in Section 2.8, were it not for all sorts of tangible and intangible external pressure coming from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), it would have been impossible for a large-scale thought-remolding campaign to have occurred.

    During the political campaign to “peacefully remold industry and commerce,” the CCP put forward the following slogan: “With machine guns pinning you down on three sides, you’re...

  7. 4 On Evasion
    (pp. 153-178)

    What I mean by “evasion” is when a person turns to foot-dragging and passivity as ways of coping with a thought-remolding campaign. It is possible for evasion to arise from a variety of motivations, and to give rise to different manifestations at different stages of its development. Because of these differing circumstances, the significance of evasion varies from one case to another.

    Some people are innately lacking in initiative. Such a person “often seems to have a natural immunity to thought remolding from the very outset.”¹ The reason for this is quite simple. Unless a person embraces an attitude of...

  8. 5 On Rebellion
    (pp. 179-198)

    To define rebellion is not as simple as it might seem at first glance.

    We can define rebellion as the behavior of publicly expressing a dissenting political view. It goes without saying that rebellion must be public behavior. If a subjective feeling of yours does not turn into concrete public action, then it does not have much significance. Yet it is not always this case. We know that when Hu Feng and his colleagues were denounced as a “counterrevolutionary clique,” the private letters they had been sending to one another were seized upon as the primary type of incriminating evidence...

  9. 6 The Bane of Cynicism
    (pp. 199-228)

    Post-“June Fourth” China has become swamped with cynicism.

    As John Stuart Mill long ago pointed out, authoritarianism transforms the populace into cynics.¹ (This reminds us of what Wang Fuzhi once wrote: “When the authorities run things in the manner of Legalists such as Shen Buhai and Han Fei Zi, their subordinates invariably turn to Buddhism and Daoism.”)²

    Since communist authoritarianism is an extreme form of authoritarianism, it is even more effective at transforming the populace into cynics. Under communist authoritarianism, both the rulers and the populace over whom they rule can easily turn into cynics. The rulers become cynics because...

  10. 7 Struggling for the Freedom of Thought
    (pp. 229-274)

    When all is said and done, control over thought amounts to control over the expression of a person’s thought. Therefore, the struggle for freedom of thought is in actuality a struggle for the freedom of expression in thought.

    A few years ago, a Chinese novelist went on a trip overseas. When someone abroad asked him if Chinese writers enjoy the freedom of expression, he tersely responded that they do. This reply immediately led to reproaches from a few of his literary peers back home. The novelist later explained in his defense: “What I said is that Chinese writers enjoy the...

  11. About the Author and the Translators
    (pp. 275-276)
  12. Notes
    (pp. 277-302)
  13. Index
    (pp. 303-314)
  14. Back Matter
    (pp. 315-317)