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Fifty years ago Chinese Premier Mao Zedong ignited the Cultural Revolution, one of the strangest and most controversial periods in China’s history.

The movement began out of Mao’s concern the country was straying from Communist dogma. But it eventually became a purge that shut down the nation’s schools and universities and led to the imprisonment and ‘reeducation’ of millions of people viewed as intellectual or bourgeois, including future premier Deng Xiaoping.

The revolution spurred an economic crisis and left about 1.5 million dead before it ended in the 1970s. On this edition of Global Journalist, a look at the Cultural Revolution and its impact on modern China.

Our guests this week:

  • Dongping Han, a professor of politics at Warren Wilson College in Asheville, North Carolina. He is also the author of “The Unknown Cultural Revolution: Life and Change in a Chinese Village.”
  • Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian, an assistant editor for Foreign Policy magazine’s China channel, Tea Leaf Nation.
  • Joel Andreas, an associate professor at Johns Hopkins University. He’s also the author of “Rise of the Red Engineers: The Cultural Revolution and the Rise of China’s New Class.”
  • Roderick MacFarquhar, professor of history and and political science at Harvard University. He has written a number of books on the Cultural Revolution.

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