Hundred Flowers Campaign

Hundred Flowers- Why was it put in place

The Hundred Flowers Campaign was a brief period of liberalization where people were encouraged to express ‘constructive’ criticism towards the Communist Party. this was done because Mao belived that this campaign would:

  •  Gather intellectuals thoughts’ regarding China’s problems
  •  Discuss ways to promote new forms of art and cultural institutions
  • Promote Socialism

"It is only by using discussion, criticism and reasoning that we can really foster correct ideas, overcome wrong ideas and really settle issues”- Mao Zedong

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Hundred Flowers- At the start

At the start of the campaign many intellectuals were wary of expressing their opinion as they were worried that it was a trap.

Mao began pressuring people for more critisims, therefore they saw no harm and graudually more people gave criticisms. The most common criticisms were for issues such as;

  • Party control over intellectual
  • Ongoing poverty in China
  • Party members’ economic corruption
  • Unfair privileges for party members
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Hundred Flowers- Where it went wrong

By early July, 1957, the party could not control how many letters they were getting each day and each letter was getting more extreme and suggesting things like the party giving up its power which would not be a popular opinion within the party.

Mao ordered a halt to the campaign.

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Anti Rightist Movement

Soon after the halt to the Hundred Flowers Campaign, The Anti-Rightist Movement (1957-1959) followed. This put the intellects who had critisied Mao and his party in labour camps.

This movement led people to belive that it was Mao's intention all along to find out, out of the people who were most likely to speak out agaisnt him, who disagreed with him and he could target or persecute them.

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Overall result of this

  • Four million people lost their lives in the anti-rightist movement
  • Mao forced fear into the people so they were less likely to speak out again
  • Potential opponents were silenced
  • An increase in intellects set chinas education and cultural development
  • Schools closed due to lack of teachers
  • Loss of free speech and individual rights
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