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Propaganda and Culture in Mao's China: Deng Tuo and the Intelligentsia


  • Cheek, Timothy

    (Colorado College)


The key role of intellectuals in Mao's China has confounded Western scholars. Were they potential dissidents or actual servants of Chinese communism? The Chinese Communist Party could not have taken over China or governed it without a coalition of forces that included the intellectuals who articulated its goals and administered its complex bureaucracy. Deng Tuo (1912-66) - founding editor of People's Daily, accomplished traditional scholar, and critical commentator on political issues - has served as an example of this confusion. His life illustrates an experience of intellectual service in Mao's China that contributes to our understanding of the rise, successes, and major crises of Chinese Marxism in the twentieth century. It also introduces us to the world that produced the current generation of intellectual leaders in China. This biography is a social history of intellectuals as agents in China's socialist revolution. It places Deng Tuo's writings and ideas in rich context of his social experience as a member of the Communist bureaucracy and as an elite artist and aesthete. The tension between service to politics and service to culture was ultimately disastorous for Deng and for China's revolution: his ghost haunts the halls of power in Beijing today.

Suggested Citation

  • Cheek, Timothy, 1997. "Propaganda and Culture in Mao's China: Deng Tuo and the Intelligentsia," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198290667.
  • Handle: RePEc:oxp:obooks:9780198290667

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