Four Olds


Four Olds

The Four Olds or the Four Old Things (zh-stp|s=四旧|t=四舊|p=sì jiù) were Old Customs, Old Culture, Old Habits, and Old Ideas. One of the stated goals of the Cultural Revolution in the People's Republic of China was to bring an end to the Four Olds.Spence, Jonathan. "The Search for Modern China". 2nd ed. New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1999. p575] It started in Beijing on August 20, 1966.Law, Kam-yee. [2003] (2003). The Chinese Cultural Revolution Reconsidered: beyond purge and Holocaust. ISBN 0333738357]

Names

The only Chinese name is "破四旧", but a number of different English translations have been used to describe the series of campaigns:

*Anti-Four Olds [Lo, Ruth Earnshaw. Kinderman, Katharine S. [1980] (1980). In the Eye of the Typhoon. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich publishing. University of michigan Digitized no ISBN Apr 10, 2006]
*Smash the Four Olds [Perry, Link. [1993] (1993). Evening Chats in Beijing. W.W. Norton & Company. ISBN 0393310655]
*Destruction of the Four Olds [Lu, Tonglin. [2002] (2002). Confronting Modernity in Cinemas of Taiwan and Mainland China. ISBN 0521806771]

Campaign

Guidelines

The Communist Party of China set very loose guidelines in terms of classifying what was actually "old". As a result, anything that existed before 1949 was subject to being destroyed, including examples of centuries-old traditional arts. Anyone caught being in possession of "old goods" would suffer serious consequences from the Red Guards.Wen, Chihua. Madsen, Richard P. [1995] (1995). The Red Mirror: Children of China's Cultural Revolution. Westview Press. ISBN 0813324882]

Destruction of Chinese cultures and traditional values

Mao Zedong called for the Four Olds to be swept away at the very early stages of the Cultural Revolution in 1966. Red Guards listened attentively to Mao’s call. As a result, examples of Chinese architecture were ransacked, Chinese literature and classics were burned, Chinese paintings were torn apart, antiquities were shattered. Many families' long kept genealogy books were burned to ashes. During that time, many ancient Chinese cultural things were destroyed forever. People in possession of these goods were punished. Intellectuals were targeted as personifications of the Four Olds, and sometimes they were mocked, harassed, imprisoned, tortured, or killed.

Upon learning that Red Guards were approaching the Forbidden City, Premier Zhou Enlai ordered the gates shut and troops posted, knowing of the Red Guard's reputation for destroying cultural objects.

Popular slogans

* “breaking down the four olds, setting up the four news (new versions of the same four concepts)” [ [http://www.boxun.com/hero/zongjiaoxinyang/56_5.shtml Boxun.com zongjiaoxinyang] ]
* “beating down the bad elements”
* “beating down imperialism”
* “beating down foreign religion”
* “beating down Jesus following”
* “beating down the counter revolutionists”

Communist Party response

No official statistics have ever been produced by the Communist party in terms of reporting the actual cost of damage. By 1978, many stories of death and destruction caused by the Cultural Revolution had leaked out of China and became known worldwide. [Roberts, Richard H. [1995] (1995). Religion and the Transformations of Capitalism. Routledge publishing. ISBN 0415119170]

Restoration

Starting in the 1990s and continuing into the 21st century, there has been a massive rebuilding effort underway to restore and rebuild cultural sites that were destroyed or damaged during the Cultural Revolution. However, a serious number of sources have already pointed to fakes and replicas created to generate wealth [ [http://www.gluckman.com/ChinaFraud.html Chinafraud] ] , including major websites such as eBay and others demonstrating ways to spot hoax ceramics and other cultural items.

ee also

* Desinicization

References


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