Despite the number of narratives regarding the negative outcomes and experiences of the Down to the Countryside Movement during the Cultural Revolution, there is a scarce amount of literature in the West regarding the fringe benefits of the movement. The historiography in the field is limited, with most Western writers only focusing on the unfortunate consequences of the movement, such as violence, rape, limited access to education, and the strain on families affected by the political movement. The purpose of this study is to give a voice to the Chinese sent-down youth whose positive thoughts on the Down to the Countryside are often not addressed in the West. This is done by the evaluation of memoirs in the form of books and journal articles. By analyzing these works, one finds that many of the sent-down youth had positive experiences during their time in the countryside. These include but are not limited to developing a strong work ethic, making long-lasting friendships with other sent-down youths as well as with peasants, and, for young women, developing a sense of equality with young men due to their effort in hard, manual labor. This study is significant because it can serve as a framework for future research into the lives and experiences of the sent-down youth.
Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Arts and Humanities
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Nettina, Michael, "Differing Perspectives: Positive Accounts of the Down to the Countryside Movement" (2018). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2004-2019. 5999.