Down to the Countryside Movement

Down to the Countryside Movement

Some of the 200,000 sent-down youth from Shenyang (1968)
Traditional Chinese 上山下鄉運動
Simplified Chinese 上山下乡运动
Literal meaning The Up to the Mountains & Down to the Villages Movement
Traditional Chinese 插隊落戶
Simplified Chinese 插队落户
Literal meaning join the team,
leave the home

The Up to the Mountains and Down to the Countryside Movement was a policy instituted in the People's Republic of China in the late 1960s and early 1970s. As a result of what he perceived to be anti-bourgeois thinking prevalent during the Cultural Revolution, Mao Zedong declared certain privileged urban youth would be sent to mountainous areas or farming villages to learn from the workers and farmers there. In total, approximately 17 million youth were sent to rural areas as a result of the movement.[1]

Mao's policy differed from Liu Shaoqi's early 1960s sending-down policy in its political context. Liu Shaoqi instituted the first sending-down policy to redistribute excess urban population following the Great Chinese Famine and the Great Leap Forward. Mao's stated aim for the policy was to ensure that urban students could "develop their talents to the full" through education amongst the rural population.[2]

Many fresh high school graduates, who became known as the so-called sent-down youth (also known in China as "educated youth" and abroad as "rusticated youth"), were forced out of the cities and effectively exiled to remote areas of China. Some commentators consider these people, many of whom lost the opportunity to attend university, China's "lost generation". Famous authors who have written about their experiences during the movement include Nobel Laureate Liu Xiaobo, Jiang Rong, and Zhang Chengzhi, all of whom went to Inner Mongolia. Dai Sijie's Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress has received great praise for its take on life for the young people sent to rural villages of China during the movement (see scar literature).

Resettlement in the countryside (chāduì luòhù) was a more permanent form.[3][4]

See also


  1. Ebrey, Patricia Buckley (2005). China: A Cultural, Social, and Political History (1st ed.). Wadsworth Publishing. p. 294. ISBN 978-0618133871.
  2. Dietrich, Craig (1997). People's China: A Brief History (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press. p. 199. ISBN 978-0195106299.
  3. The Australian journal of Chinese affairs - Numéros 1 à 4 - Page 1 Australian National University. Contemporary China Centre - 1979 "Around six hundred thousand of these were sent down in 1968, obeying Mao's call to 'Join the Commune for Life'" (chaduiluohu, literally, "Joining a Team and Taking up Residence")
  4. Ecoambiguity: Environmental Crises and East Asian Literatures - Page 147 Karen Laura Thornber - 2012 "Some were sent to rural villages to join production teams and establish residence (chadui luohu). These individuals did not significantly change environments."


External links

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