A class enemy during the cultural revolution of1960's and 1970's
In 1966, an unprecedented tribulation, which plunged the whole China into a major tragedy, broke out in the country - the decade-long “Cultural Revolution.” This so-called revolution, which took place in the field of ideology, advocated the abolishment of the old ideas, old culture, old customs and old habits characteristic of the ruling class that exploited the general populace. On the other hand, it promoted
Figure 2.7 Confucius’ Connotative Signification during the Cultural Revolution Period
the development of the new ideas, new culture, new customs and new habits of the proletariat class. As an icon that represented the feudal system and ethical codes, Confucius became an easy target. “The denunciation of Confucius” became one of the overriding themes of the Cultural Revolution and was undoubtedly a political imperative. Confucius was described as a zealot bent on “reversing the wheel of history” and a “treacherous and hypocritical political swindler.” The entire country was caught in the craze of demolishing Confucian temples and eradicating the so-called old culture and old ideas. The Cultural Revolution marked the pinnacle of condemning Confucius. Deprived of his halo as a sage, Confucius became a “prisoner” subjected to censure and condemnation and to general contempt. As a historical symbol, Confucius stood for, on the connotative level, all the conservative and reactionary forces that sought to preserve the old system and the established regime. Thus, Confucius came to be regarded as a class enemy of all the Chinese people.