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The Signifier and the Signified of Revolution – Research on ‘Li Yizhe Big Character Poster’ and Its Logic of Transition

Pi, Kyung-hoon 1

1목포대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

The results of the Cultural Revolution were devastating. Countless people died, and the system of the whole Chinese society had been destructed. After these catastrophic disaster, some Chinese intellectuals had come to know that the class struggle, which means that the proletariat should exterminate their class enemy bourgeois, led their society to that catastrophic state, then they finally started to reflect on the fundamental problems beneath the Cultural Revolution. As a result, some intellectuals, such as so called ‘the group of Li Yizhe’, whose member included Li Zhengtian, Guo Yiyang and Wang Xizhe, posted the big character poster(大字報) on the street of Guangdong Province. This poster’s title was “On Socialist Democracy and the Chinese Legal System.” In this poster, Li Yizhe group had fiercely criticized so called Lin Biao’s system and insisted that the real problem of Chinese Socialism was not the class struggle, but the re-construction of legal system. Then they offered the propositions to the CCP leaders. At first, Li Yizhe group’s purpose was integrated: the guarantee of citizen’s legal rights. But after the ‘April Fifth movement’, which was to venerate the death of prime minister Zhou Enlai, the perspectives about the task of Post Cultural Revolution had been ramified. Li Zhengtian, one of the member of Li Yizhe group, claimed that the most important task after the end of the Cultural Revolution was to overcome the dogmatic principle of Proletariat Dictatorship, and the independence of juridical branch. In other words, for Li Zhengtian, the main task of reform after the Cultural Revolution should be proceeded within the realm of CCP’s authority and legitimacy. On the other hand, however, Wang Xizhe, who was also the member of Li Yizhe group, claimed that the aim of the reform was to problematize the political system itself, so the legitimacy of CCP should become an political issue, then, Wang Xizhe proposed the need for the ‘general election.’ We could say that this difference between Li and Wang sharply showed the different attitude of the Li Yizhe group members toward the dictatorship and its legitimacy of CCP. The meaning of ‘Li Yizhe Big Character Post’ could be said as a knotenpunkt of the transition from the socialism China to the post socialism China. This article’s purpose is to read ‘Li Yizhe Big Character Post’ and the statements of Li Zhengtian and Wang Xizhe, then re―politicize the meaning of post socialism China.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.