Down to the Countryside Movement
young intellectuals sent to countryside for labor education
The Down to the Countryside Movement (literally "Up to the mountains and down to the villages") was a policy instituted in the China in late 1960s and early 1970s. As a result of the anti-bourgeois thinking prevalent during the Cultural Revolution, Mao Zedong declared certain privileged urban youth would be sent to mountainous areas or farming villages, so that they could learn from the workers and farmers there.

Mao's policy differed from Liu Shaoqi's early 1960s sending-down policy, for its political context. Liu Shaoqi instituted the first sending-down policy to redistribute excess urban population following the Three Bad Years and the Great Leap Forward. Mao's use of the policy sent-down the Red Guards who had risen up at his beck and call, sending China into chaos. Essentially, Mao used the "up to the mountains and down to the villages" to quell unrest and remove the embarrassment of the early Cultural Revolution from sight.

As a result, many fresh high school graduates were forced out of the cities and effectively exiled to remote areas of China. Some commentators consider these people, many of whom lost the opportunity to attend university, China's "lost generation". Famous authors who have written about their experiences during the movement include Jiang Rong and Zhang Chengzhi, both of whom went to Inner Mongolia.
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