The Path to Cultural Revolution Turmoil: The CCP, Ethnic Koreans, and the Ethnopolitics of Yanbian (1945-1969)

Author: ORCID icon
Chen, Hao, History - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Liu, Xiaoyuan, AS-History (HIST), University of Virginia

China’s Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) is remembered as the most chaotic and destructive period in the history of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture in China’s northeastern borderland was one of the worst-hit regions, where massive violence took place and ethnic Koreans were disproportionately affected. This thesis utilizes local archives to reevaluate the roots of the Cultural Revolution in Yanbian and how ethnopolitics principally shaped the event. The essay reveals the roles played by the international/transnational context, namely the transborder exchanges between Yanbian and North Korea and the long-term historical continuity of ethnic Koreans’ national identity. It argues for the local and subaltern agency, in addition to top-down policy directions from Beijing, in understanding the complicated roots of ethnic frontier Cultural Revolution. As the thesis shows, during the twenty-some years from the postwar “liberation” to the Maoist high socialism, both top-down and bottom-up dynamics resulted in the final convulsion.

MA (Master of Arts)
Yanbian, Ethnic Korean, China's Frontiers, The Cultural Revolution, Ethnopolitics
All rights reserved (no additional license for public reuse)
Issued Date: