Violence, Periodization and Definition of the Cultural Revolution

A Case Study of Two Deaths by the Red Guards


This book recounts two deaths, the murder of Mr. Wang Jin by 31 Red Guards in the Nanjing Foreign Language School, where the senior author was a young student at the time; and the earlier murder of Mrs. Bian Zhongyun of the Girls School affiliated with the Beijing Normal University in 1966. The book is a history of two small incidents in a massive social injustice and also an attempt to understand the Cultural Revolution (CR) within the framework of modern social movement theory. The book elaborates on the sources of violence in the CR, and the definition and periodization of the CR (that is, what was it, and when did it begin and end?).

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Joshua Zhang, Ph.D. (1996), Tulane University, is a researcher at the Texas Attorney General’s Office. He has published monographs, book chapters and papers, including Neither One Cultural Revolution, Nor Two Cultural Revolutions (2015).

James D. Wright, Ph.D. (1973), University of Wisconsin, is the Pegasus Professor of Sociology at the University of Central Florida. He has authored or co-authored 27 research monographs and more than 300 journal articles, book chapters and essays.
List of Important Individuals
List of Tables and Figures
List of Abbreviations


Part 1 Two Important Incidents in the Chinese Cultural Revolution

1 A Concise History of the Cultural Revolution

2 A General Account of the Wang Jin Incident

3 The Aftermath of the Wang Jin Incident

4 The Bian Zhongyun Incident

5 The Controversy over the Bian Zhongyun Incident

6 A Comparison between the Wang and Bian Incidents

Part 2 Violence and the Cultural Revolution

7 A Review of Research on Violence in the Cultural Revolution

8 The Red Guards and Students of the Nanjing Foreign Language School

9 Conformity and Obedience to Authority

10 The Cultural Revolution as a Real-life Version of the Stanford Prison Experiment

Part 3 Periodization and Definition of the Cultural Revolution

11 Different Versions of the Cultural Revolution Periodization and Definition

12 Was the Cultural Revolution Cultural? Was it a Revolution?

13 Statistical Models for Analysis

14 The Implications of the Analytic Models

15 Periodization and Definition of the Cultural Revolution

16 Conclusion


Appendix A: The Original Report of the Wang Jin Investigation (1967)

Appendix B: More Details from the Original Investigation Report (1967)

All interested in the Cultural Revolution, and anyone concerned with the modern China history.