[4] Tianjin Historical Development of Cultural Revolution

Economic impact after Cultural Revolution

Reform and Opening up 1978﹣1985
-1978-1980 – testing period
-1981-1985 – experimentation, start to do big moves and make real changes

Cultural Revolution: Great Destruction of Tianjin Economy & Urban Development

From 1966 to 1976, Tianjin business has experienced ten years of “Cultural Revolution”’s serious destruction. During this period, Tianjin appeared to be in unparalleled chaos in the business and work on the guiding ideology.

In 1966, the Cultural Revolution took place. Tianjin city and the urban planning work has been greatly impacted during this period. Urban planning work was violently criticised as “products of feudalism, capitalism and revisionism”, “greedy, dreamy, ambitious thought” and “ever-widening the gap between urban and rural areas”. Urban planning and management work was considered as “restraints, halting and stressing on people”. The overall planning work in Tianjin came at a standstill. The planning department was dissolved. Most of the staff have been devolved in labor, leaving only a few people to make some urgent plans and management for the annual construction.

At the beginning of 1966, ten years of “Cultural Revolution”, Tianjin industry was under the destruction of the left route and experienced the process of tortuous and upheaval, suffering from great losses. Under the strong political influence from the revolution, the standards of evaluating the quality of businesses were reversed. As long as enterprises could catch the so-called “outstanding political stance”, which meant voicing the ‘outstanding’ and radical political agenda publicly, even if their business was not as good, they could still be regarded as “advanced unit” (先进单位). Many of the functional departments of the enterprise have been revoked and many reasonable rules have been abolished – thus, it led to a confusion in enterprise and industrial management, so quality of products and the level of technology fell off. In ten years, the economic efficiency had dropped to the low. The system of Socialist economic chapters disrupted the normal order of production and completely changed the production command system.

Revival from Cultural Revolution
Since the vast number of workers, engineers and technicians and cadres insisted to their posts on production, many industrial projects during the 2nd 5-year plan period (1958–1962) have been put into production, and the industrial production and construction have also made new breakthroughs, which became the good basis for three years of adjustment.

After several years of efforts, by 1964, the market situation has obvious become better. The significant increase in the number of economic contracts signed between factories and retailers, and between local and foreign enterprises has strengthened the connection between production and sales. The sale of commodities was increased by a large margin.

Significant Ideological Changes: Opening and Self-Containedness
The influence of the founding of new China has a great impact on the development of Tianjin City. The socialist transformation in the early founding period of PRC, including people’s commune, Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution, has led to un-negligible material and cultural poverty and emptiness of people, not to mention the lack of proper urban facilities for the people. From Great Leap Forward (1958-1962) in relation to the Great Chinese Famine (1959–1961) , to the building of People’s Commune (1958-1984), Mao’s socialist transformation from an agrarian economy to rapid industrialization and collectivization has came across some obstacles and tragedies. The severe mentality of ‘lacking’ and ‘scarcity’ has led to an urgent, determined, facts-oriented mindset of vast development. Therefore, ‘development’ has becomes the keyword for releasing China’s social and economic potential during the Economic Reform and Opening up period. The developmental marks of the political party were left on the urban fabric as a way to consolidate social constructions. Ideologies of Chinese-characterised Socialism have progressed to a new page in terms of acceptance of foreign successes, inspection and absorbance of historic local systematic methodical failures. The allowance of foreign influence from the government of China was gradually widened and controlled carefully in a bid to balance the social and political stability. Therefore the gradually open social atmosphere and careful and proactive government contribute most to the development of the period since Opening Up, leading to a strong political and social influence of public infrastructure.



嚴家其. 「文化大革命」十年史. 萬年靑圖書中心, 1989.

王輝 . 天津文革親歷紀事. 蘭臺網路 , 2013.

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