Feudal fascism

Feudal fascism, also revolutionary-feudal totalitarianism,[1] were official terms used by the post-Mao Chinese Communist Party to designate the ideology and rule of the Gang of Four during the Cultural Revolution.


In China's reform and opening up era, the Communist Party used the phrase to frame the excesses of the Cultural Revolution as coming from individual actors, such as those in the Gang of Four, rather than to the Party as a whole.[2] After the death of Lin Biao and the conclusion of the Revolution, the official Communist Party interpretation was that Lin Biao and the Gang of Four represented the remnants of feudal ideology in China who had used the terrorist methods of fascism to suppress people's democracy. This characterization also allowed Mao's successors Hua Guofeng and Deng Xiaoping to renounce the 1966-1976 period without attacking Mao himself. The methods criticized as feudal fascism included autocracy, ritualized dogma, and military repression.[3] It also referred to a general lack of stable integration between the party and the state, which came from abuse of the mass line and a lack of regard to the Yan'an process for handling inter-party dissent.


In 1977, the People's Daily ran an editorial, calling for more elections and other democratic institutions for China, in order to prevent a repeat of feudal fascism.[4] One line from the constitution of the Communist Party of China was considered particularly emblematic of feudal fascism, and was stripped during the post-Revolution 10th Congress: "Mao Zedong Thought is Marxism-Leninism of the era in which imperialism is heading for total collapse and socialism is advancing to world-wide victory."[1] The experience of feudal fascism influenced the creation of the 1978 Constitution of the People's Republic of China, which guaranteed the "four big freedoms" of the Chinese people: to "speak out freely, air their views fully, hold great debates, and write big-character posters".[4] Soon afterwards, the reformist leaders Hu Yaobang and Deng Xiaoping began to rehabilitate citizens who had been labeled as capitalist roaders, bad elements, and counter-revolutionaries. This sharp rise in political freedom led to the Democracy Wall movement,[4] with some dissidents suggesting that the period of "feudal fascism" began much earlier than the Cultural Revolution.[2] The movement grew to be such threatening to Party rule that it was suppressed, and reform proceeded more cautiously thereafter.[4]


  1. 1 2 Tsou, Tang (1999). The Cultural Revolution and Post-Mao Reforms: A Historical Perspective. University of Chicago Press. pp. 290–291.
  2. 1 2 Yan, Sun (1995). The Chinese Reassessment of Socialism, 1976-1992. Princeton University Press. pp. 127–128.
  3. Lupher, Mark (October 1992). "Power Restructuring in China and the Soviet Union". Theory and Society. 21 (5): 665–701. doi:10.1007/bf00993494.
  4. 1 2 3 4 Schell, Orville (1989). Discos and Democracy: China in the Throes of Reform. Random House. pp. 270–271.
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