In choosing my topic, I was determined to choose one that would tie into my own culture and heritage, while also relating to this year’s theme 'rights and responsibilities'. There were many instances of human rights violations throughout Chinese history, especially in the Mao era. Nevertheless, I decided that the Cultural Revolution would be the best choice in relation to both rights and responsibilities and in terms of my interest in the topic.
Once my topic was set, I began searching through local libraries to find good books, articles, and documents. Not only did I conduct research towards my topic, but I also looked into some background knowledge about the Great Leap Forward, which was one of the primary reasons why Mao Zedong launched the Cultural Revolution. My expanded knowledge on the prior events helped me understand my topic more and the motives behind it. As I continued with my research, I had found some good primary source documents, audios, and images, in Chinese. I was able to read and translate these valuable sources to English and therefore delve deeper into my research. I was compelled to look at the Cultural Revolution in a new, interesting perspective, as viewing the Cultural Revolution in the ‘rights and responsibilities’ aspect was different and difficult, but nonetheless, completely relevant and fascinating. Getting interviews was very important to me, as not many other resources talk about the Cultural Revolution in direct connection with rights and responsibilities. Interviews with people who had experienced the Cultural Revolution, such as author, Ji-Li Jiang, and with professors and experts, allowed me to get answers to specific questions rather than just a broad context. This helped me advance in my research along the path of getting to know both the context of the event and the applicability to the theme.
The website category was suitable because it allowed me to use interactive material and multimedia to better analyze and improve the viewer’s experience. Integrating text, multimedia, and images into the site would better demonstrate the process of the Cultural Revolution and relevance to the theme in a progressing, more interactive and appealing way. Moreover, I could better incorporate my talents in web designing and computers into a website.
The Cultural Revolution is unequivocally related to this year’s theme 'rights and responsibilities' because through Mao’s irresponsibility, large-scale human and Constitutional rights were violated; many Chinese were deprived of their basic freedoms and rights. Mao had started the Cultural Revolution as an irresponsible attempt to gain back power after his failed Leap. Through his continued irresponsibility and unwillingness to care for his people, China was thrown into chaos where rights were immensely violated. Even after Mao had completely gained power in 1969 after the Ninth Party Congress, he still had not responsibly ended the revolution, thus leading to continued merciless rights violations. Mao’s irresponsibly during the chaotic decade had caused boundless rights violations, chaos, and destruction.
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