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Andrew Walder's research on China's Cultural Revolution in the Stanford News

Photo of Professor Walder

Image credit: Rod Searcey

Oct 30 2019

China’s Cultural Revolution was a power grab from within the government, not from without, Stanford sociologist finds

Contrary to many published narratives, China’s Cultural Revolution was a rebellion that unfolded from within the party state, with party cadres seizing power from their superiors, Stanford sociologist finds.

China’s Cultural Revolution – a rebellion that followed Chairman Mao’s appeal in 1966 to reassert communist ideology in China – was a brutal conflict that according to new calculations by Stanford sociologist Andrew Walder led to the deaths of 1.6 million people.

Until now, historians have had only rough approximations of how many people died as a result of the violence and chaos that unfolded between 1966 and 1969. Walder’s estimation – based on an original analysis of more than 2,200 city and local annals that document close to 34,000 violent revolutionary episodes across China during that period – is one of several new findings to emerge from this original research.

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