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Creating the New ManFrom Enlightenment Ideals to Socialist Realities$
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Yinghong Cheng

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780824830748

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824830748.001.0001

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“Be Mao’s Good Soldiers”

“Be Mao’s Good Soldiers”

Creating the New Man in China

Chapter:
(p.48) Two “Be Mao’s Good Soldiers”
Source:
Creating the New Man
Author(s):

Yinghong Cheng

Publisher:
University of Hawai'i Press
DOI:10.21313/hawaii/9780824830748.003.0003

This chapter details China's communist experiment with human nature. The idea of a new man, a morally perfect person, served as a model for Chinese society and became embedded in the Chinese culture. The concepts of human malleability and the role of social environment in shaping human nature were not alien to Chinese history either. However, they became part of the discourse of nationalist ideology in the early twentieth century; indeed, in the second half of the century, they became a prime target of the Chinese communist revolution, as Mao Zedong aspired to surpass the Soviet Union in both economic and ideological terms. The idea of new men—or “Mao's good soldiers”—was created to perpetuate the revolution and generate an economic miracle, born from the absolute selflessness and dedication of such new men.

Keywords:   Chinese society, human malleability, nationalist ideology, Chinese communist revolution, Mao Zedong, Mao's good soldiers

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