In 1956 Mao introduced the “Hundred Flower” movement, a reference to the Hundred Schools of the Warring Kingdoms period, with the aim of promoting education, science and culture.
In 1958 the Communist Party applied the “Great Leap Forward” policy 1958 to create communes within the rural and urban communities in the hope of raising production levels. The purpose of the policy was also to even out the extreme differences between town and country, industry and agriculture, workers and peasants, but the experiment to develop heavy industry in rural areas failed because of the inadequate infrastructure. The failure of the experiment together with the natural catastrophes which befell China in 1960/61 resulted in famine and a serious economic crisis.
In 1960 an already dangerous situation came to a head with the break- 1960 down of economic and political relations with the Soviet Union. Travel map in asia There were several reasons for this situation: an inconsistency in Mao’s thinking on the relationship between agriculture and industry and between heavy industry and light industry; the growing ideological gap between the two wings of the Communist Party after the death of Stalin; the role of the Soviet Union as an imperialist superpower;
Soviet unwillingness to help the Third World; finally arguments over the border inflamed relationships between the two nations.
An improvement in China’s economic fortunes led in 1966 to the Cultural Revolution. Mao himself led the students in their protests againstthe bourgeois state and party apparatus. In outrightopposition to Confucian tradition which demanded respect for society’s norms and the prevailing hierarchy, Mao proclaimed that rebellion was a legitimate form of protest. The student movement demanded a fairer society, in which the people gained a greater share in political power, all citizens had greater access to culture and education and where the social, cultural and economic differences between the rural population, town dwellers and party cadres were less pronounced.