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Resistance within Contexts:A Study of University BBS Youth Culture in China
Unformatted Document Text:  7 among the people. To handle such contradictions, it was important to ‘start off with a desire for unity and resolve contradictions through criticism or struggle so as to achieve a new unity on a new basis’ (Mao 1957: 8-9). Thus the official ideology emphasized on the unity of interests among the people as well as between the people and the Communist Party. ‘The people’ was empowered to pursue their unified interests collectively and to exercise dictatorship over ‘the enemy classes.’ Therefore, centralization and dictatorship thus became core political and ideological principles in the Mao-era. Deng Xiaoping, however, cast off Mao’s revolutionary radicalism while inherited the emphasis on the fundamental unity of interests between the party and the people (Ding 2001: 7). In 1979, the Chinese Communist Party launched the campaign of the Four Modernizations (Sige Xiandaihua, ) in an attempt to solve the crises caused by the Cultural Revolution during 1966 to 1976. The idea of dictatorship gradually eroded and class struggle was no longer regarded as the main contradiction. Dittmer (1985) suggests that the ‘ideological de-radicalization’ after the Cultural Revolution prioritized practical management of economic affairs over the maintainence of ideological conformity. Thus, as Moody (1983) points out, political changes in late 1970s and early 1980s started a process of de-politicization of Chinese society. The pragmatic leadership of Deng has virtually abandoned Mao’s strategy of ceaselessly reenacting and reinforcing a revolutionary hegemony for social and economic reconstruction. Consequently, socialist ideals and Marxism have fallen victim to economic reform. During this period of ideological-vacuum, the idea of modernization following the capitalist model of the West and, lately, of global capitalism, soon gained prominence. Ordinary people gradually distanced themselves from orthodox values and came to accept the values of individualism and materialism. Popular culture: A New Battleground in Contemporary China Into the mid-1990s, the third generation of post-Deng leaders, headed by Jiang Zemin, focused on how to effectively ameliorate the tension between the increasing demand from the masses and ideological control. More consumer goods became available. Shop windows displayed fashionable dresses, watches, television, video recorders……a kaleidoscope of consumer capitalism. In 1995, the motion picture’s market was partially opened. Ten American films per year were permitted to enter China. New places for entertainment and consumption further heightened Chinese people’s desire for material pleasure. However, the flourishing of popular culture accompanied with the new trends of youth beliefs

Authors: Dong, Dong.
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7
among the people. To handle such contradictions, it was important to ‘start off with a desire for
unity and resolve contradictions through criticism or struggle so as to achieve a new unity on a
new basis’ (Mao 1957: 8-9). Thus the official ideology emphasized on the unity of interests among
the people as well as between the people and the Communist Party. ‘The people’ was empowered
to pursue their unified interests collectively and to exercise dictatorship over ‘the enemy classes.’
Therefore, centralization and dictatorship thus became core political and ideological principles in
the Mao-era.
Deng Xiaoping, however, cast off Mao’s revolutionary radicalism while inherited the
emphasis on the fundamental unity of interests between the party and the people (Ding 2001: 7). In
1979, the Chinese Communist Party launched the campaign of the Four Modernizations (Sige
Xiandaihua,
) in an attempt to solve the crises caused by the Cultural Revolution
during 1966 to 1976. The idea of dictatorship gradually eroded and class struggle was no longer
regarded as the main contradiction. Dittmer (1985) suggests that the ‘ideological de-radicalization’
after the Cultural Revolution prioritized practical management of economic affairs over the
maintainence of ideological conformity. Thus, as Moody (1983) points out, political changes in
late 1970s and early 1980s started a process of de-politicization of Chinese society. The pragmatic
leadership of Deng has virtually abandoned Mao’s strategy of ceaselessly reenacting and
reinforcing a revolutionary hegemony for social and economic reconstruction. Consequently,
socialist ideals and Marxism have fallen victim to economic reform. During this period of
ideological-vacuum, the idea of modernization following the capitalist model of the West and,
lately, of global capitalism, soon gained prominence. Ordinary people gradually distanced
themselves from orthodox values and came to accept the values of individualism and materialism.
Popular culture: A New Battleground in Contemporary China
Into the mid-1990s, the third generation of post-Deng leaders, headed by Jiang Zemin,
focused on how to effectively ameliorate the tension between the increasing demand from the
masses and ideological control. More consumer goods became available. Shop windows displayed
fashionable dresses, watches, television, video recorders……a kaleidoscope of consumer
capitalism. In 1995, the motion picture’s market was partially opened. Ten American films per year
were permitted to enter China. New places for entertainment and consumption further heightened
Chinese people’s desire for material pleasure.
However, the flourishing of popular culture accompanied with the new trends of youth beliefs


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