Saturday, September 6, 2014

Question Commander Rotation 3 - Alexandre

Chapters 6-9.

In this week's section of chapters, the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution gained a lot of momentum and violence as more and more people joined in. My first question is about Jiang Ji-Li and her reactions to the cultural revolution. 

Question: Why does Ji-Li continue to strongly support the movement if she sees the violence, torture and horrors everyday in front of her?

To me, I think there is no right or wrong answer to this question. Personally, I believe that Ji-Li has had the communist party's ideals hammered into her head all her life by teachers, mentors and friends, causing her to become "brainwashed". Although she does feel scared, shocked and ashamed at times, there is always that subconscious feeling that everything is okay and that Chairman Mao is a great leader and a blessing to China. Even though her own family is considered "four olds", she still thinks that other "four old" families "had it coming". I find it fascinating how Ji-Li still finds Chairman Mao to be a good person instead of a communist extremist and even memorizes paintings and tales about the Chairman's heroics. For example, when describing the story behind the Mao Ze-Dong On His Way to Anyuan painting, she even says that she is "ready to follow him anywhere" (Page 101). 

This idea of being "brainwashed" into nearly worshipping the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution and following it blindly can even be related to our everyday life in São Paulo (on a much smaller scale). People around us are always telling us to be careful not to drive into a favela, not to trust a GPS too much, to avoid walking at night, to keep everything valuable in our pockets, to be aware of our surroundings at all times, to not pull out phones in the street, etc. We have heard these warnings so often that we do not even think when doing them. These precautions are basically automatic. We only realize how blindly we are following these safety orders when we go to other countries and are the only ones looking behind us every ten seconds to see if anyone is there. I myself have experienced this and am sometimes surprised when I am the only one in a group that is unnerved at walking outside when it's dark. 

"Chairman Mao goes to Anyuan" Painting Described on Page 101
Question: Do other nations know about the horrors going on inside China? Are they turning their heads away, or do they not know?

Since the communist party in China came to power in 1949, China has been a communist and socialist nation, though it is sometimes described as authoritarian and corporatist. Nowadays, there are still many heavy restrictions in China on the people. These restrictions mainly fall under free access to the internet, freedom of press, free creation of organizations, the right to have children and freedom of religion. Personally, I believe similar forms of restrictions on the Chinese population were in place during the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, since the government interfered with the citizen's lives to an even greater extent. Of course, certain neighboring nations and groups must have had knowledge of the horrors going on inside of China. However, any attempts to interfere were probably stopped either through fear of being counterattacked or by the killing and capturing of spies (as described on page 104).

An Illustration on Chinese Media Censorship by the Stanford Flipside

Question: Why do we humans always seem to have a pathological need to gain more power?

Once again, I do not believe there is a right or wrong answer for this question. A possible answer to this could lie in a scientific explanation on evolution and how natural selection still plays a role in our daily lives. Perhaps, we humans will always have that need to gain more power to "survive" against our own kind. It could be that it is just in our nature to keep climbing up the food chain until we are at the very top (which includes rising above our own kind). Ever since the earliest form of modern-day humans (Homo Sapien Sapiens), we have fought to survive against animals and other hominids for control of the planet. Throughout history, some of us have created and worshipped gods for a sense of security, while others have attacked these beliefs with scientific reasoning for the same purpose. It might be that, soon, some people will gain so much power or control over the rest of the human population that they will be worshipped as new gods, such as during the rule of certain emperors in the Roman era and the Cultural Revolution. On page 108, the direct worshipping of Chairman Mao during the cultural revolution really showed how he was portrayed as a "savior" to the Chinese and a "liberator" of mankind. In my opinion, I am sometimes sickened when hearing about certain people who are so power hungry that they take any means possible to control others.

Propaganda Poster:
"Long Live the Great Chinese Communist Party! Long Live the Great Leader Chairman Mao!
Enthusiastically Celebrate the Successful Convening of the 9th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party!"


  1. WOW, I was really moved by the way you used the information that was in the chapters you read, also I think that you Answered both of the questions very well. I also enjoyed how you talked about how humans have to continuously keep gaining power and that the people around may not have known what was happening inside of china. Good post keep it up.

  2. Question: Why does Ji-Li continue to strongly support the movement if she sees the violence, torture and horrors everyday in front of her?

    Well, to me I think that Ji-Li is very strong at mental. You mentioned Ji-Li might be "brainwashed" due to the surroundings around her. I think this as a yes and a no. For instance, many people agree that Justin Bieber sounds like a girl, perhaps contains drugs or even punch people. Many people agree with each other around their surroundings without knowing the fact. However I mentioned that Ji-Li is tough minded. She was great when it came to grades.

    In the second paragraph, you connected the information of the Cultural Revolution to Brazil. I also think that not trusting something that may seem truthful is the right thing to do. For example my mother said that books are more reliable than the internet. Also in some places, for instance my hometown, it's safe to walk outside at night. However I once almost lost my bicycle because a little kid "borrowed" my bicycle and secretly put it back to place.

  3. Why does Ji-Li continue to strongly support the movement if she sees the violence, torture and horrors everyday in front of her?

    This question really caught my eye because I am trying to get the same idea in my few posts. Because I think that in the last few chapters she is really showing that she worships Chairman Mao, that is her dream to go and meet him. In fact that is so many other childs dream in China at the time. To meet the man this torturing and bullying innocent people for some small mistake. It all started with destroying the four olds. The idea of doing this is harmless but destroys the rich traditions and culture that China had. By doing this he is taking away any historical artifact and transforming it to the four news. Ji-Li and her siblings were super excited about, but her parents did not seemed interested in the idea. Her grandma said "“My goodness!” she blurted out.“That sign cost the owner a fortune.They always said that since an especially auspicious date was chosen to hang the sign, the store has been prosperous for more than thirty years. What a shame!" pg. 48. Ji-Li seemed very defensive of the idea and respond with "“But Grandma, we have to get rid of those old ideas, old culture, old customs, and old habits. Chairman Mao said they’re holding us back,” I informed her." pg. 48. Ji-Li and every other kid in China think that what Chairman Mao is doing is right but like you said he is just brainwashing the public.

    Another example is the da-zi-bao. The da-zi-bao is basically criticizing students, teachers, and other citizens because you can. They do not get trouble for it in fact it is encouraged by none other than Chairman Mao. Everyone one was posting awful things about their teacher for a small mistake that they did. Ji-Li actually could not think of what to write about any of her teachers because they were so nice and great teachers to her. But then she thought again, that maybe they were actually poisoning their minds. But then she saw a da-zi-bao written about her and she felt hurt. Then she thought that maybe this was not a good idea. After that she got bullied by the red successors because her grandpa was a landlord. She also got bullied by people that she thought were her friends. That is how much he is manipulating the public. But he is not only brainwashing adults but I think the main target is the children. Because they are the future and they are the next leaders. I also think he is targeting the children because they are so naive. So, when that man got tortured and Ji-Li just watched it was terrifying to her. But even after that she still went to a show about a girl who met Chairman Mao and it was the best moment of her life. So do you think Chairman Mao is specifically targeting children?

  4. Wow! Your post is so detailed and informed it's almost hard to comprehend. I think the questions you asked were very insightful and powerful. They really make the reader think about what they read instead of just reading to get it over with. Your take on how people want to gain more and more power was very interesting. I agree that our world might get to that point eventually, but I also believe that people who don't want power will keep fighting for freedom. Do you think that there will be anybody left who doesn't want power in the future?

  5. Question: Why does Ji-Li continue to strongly support the movement if she sees the violence, torture and horrors everyday in front of her?

    First, I totally agree with you that there is no right or wrong answer to this question. However, I think the same as you, she is being "brain washed." As you said, she feels sorry for people and she gets scared, yet she always had that feeling where everything is okay. Adding, since she goes to school almost everyday, of course she believes more in what her teachers tell her almost everyday. Further, your example form São Paulo is amazing! I would never think of that and now that you mentioned that, I realized how bad our city is. I realized how scary and violent our city is. Lastly, do you think Ji - Li will ever do something about what's happening? Maybe she will completely change her mind and change things! I guess we have to read to find out!