Ideological Dissent and Selective Persecution: Evidence from China’s Cultural Revolution
55 Pages Posted: 14 Dec 2022
Date Written: August 1, 2021
Academic freedom has been suppressed at various times through history. By analyzing a unique dataset, we demonstrate that the purge of China’s most eminent scholars during the Cultural Revolution was highly selective, targeting those in the humanities and social sciences who either failed to embrace Marxism or criticized Mao’s policies, challenging his legitimacy. In particular, targeted scholars were 28% more likely to be purged and 61% more likely to receive punishments that increased the likelihood of death. We rule out concerns that persecutions were driven by scholars’ class background, disloyalty to Mao, the impracticality of the research, or campus radicalism.
Keywords: Persecution, Scholars, Ideological Dissent, Cultural Revolution, China
JEL Classification: P16, O53, N4
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation