Youth and Education

Up Contents Timeline and Maps


One of the central goals of the new administration was to reform the educational system and bring it in line with socialist thought. Schools and colleges were put under Party supervision, with a Soviet-style Ministry of Education issuing directives. Even outside official institutions, however, people were encouraged to better themselves through study.

What two groups are being targeted in the images below?

What do the paraphernalia in the room tell you about the woman? 


     "Awake Late into the Night"    source

The building blocks of society are naturally its children.  Traditionally, it was believed that children must be socialized in Confucian values and morals before they could become productive members of society.  Under Communist rule, however, children were inculcated with socialist rather than Confucian beliefs.  Children unburdened by feudal or capitalist notions could acquire the socialist vision from the beginning.


Can you infer the content of the lesson in this poster? 

What ideals are being promoted, and how?



"The Main Lesson"                                source


Perhaps because of the importance of children for the future of the socialist state, they are featured in many political posters.


The poster on the right is titled "Every Generation Is Red."


How are ideals of continuity and history expressed in this poster?

Does it effectively convey Mao's concept of "continuous revolution?"

"Every Generation Is Red"          source

The new China proclaimed itself to be a multi-ethnic state.  Officially, at least, China was supposed to be composed of a number of distinct but equal ethnic groups joined in a collaborative state.  The model provided justification for dominion over Tibet and Xinjiang, which had been attached to the Qing but had broken away after the collapse of the dynasty in 1911.  Artwork featuring national minority themes were encouraged.  Images of children and women were particularly popular in this regard.

How would you describe the Tibetan girl shown here? 

In what ways would she appear "exotic" or "foreign" by Chinese standards?

Tibetan girl          source

Move on to Cultural Revolution