Nov 08, 2010 04:10 PM

The Forbidden City's Demolition, Overridden


In August 1967, the Cultural Revolution Bulletin produced by the New Peking University published an essay titled "Revealing the So-Called Reconstruction of the Forbidden City." Written against the backdrop of another directive issued six years earlier, the essay was a retort to the planned demolition of the Forbidden City by the Black City Party Committee of Old Beijing. The article had a huge impact on the internal politics of the Cultural Revolution, namely in winding radical rhetoric up to new heights. But in doing so, the essay tightens the thread of reasoning until it snaps from contradiction.

The initial plan was based on two central ideological tenets of the Cultural Revolution. The first emphasis was on the eradication of the "four olds," symbols of traditional China and all that contradicted Chairman Mao's thought. And since destruction of the "four olds" must be as thorough as possible, the Forbidden City would be the first place to start.

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