Rebellion and Repression in China, 1966-1969

A Macro Perspective

Conférence d'Andrew Walder (Stanford University), directeur d’études invité à l’EHESS par Sebastian Veg (CCJ-CECMC), dans le cadre du séminaire d'Isabelle Thireau, « Enquêtes et regards des sociologues chinois sur le monde chinois ».

Andrew Walder est titulaire de la chaire Denise O’Leary & Kent Thiry au département de sociologie de Stanford. Un des meilleurs spécialistes du maoïsme et de la Révolution culturelle, il a consacré plusieurs ouvrages et articles importants à celle-ci et notamment aux conflits entre Gardes rouges (Fractured Rebellion: The Beijing Red Guard Movement, Harvard, 2009). Plus récemment, il a publié un ouvrage synthétique proposant un bilan de l’expérience maoïste (China Under Mao: A Revolution Derailed, Harvard, 2015).


In the first four years after the onset of the Chinese Cultural Revolution, one of the largest political upheavals of the 20th century paralyzed a highly centralized party state, leading to a harsh regime of military control. Despite a wave of post-Mao revelations in the 1980s, knowledge about the nationwide impact of this insurgency and its suppression remains selective and impressionistic, based primarily on a handful of local accounts. Employing a dataset drawn from historical narratives published in 2,213 county and city annals, this article charts the temporal and geographic spread of a mass insurgency, its evolution through time, and the repression through which militarized state structures were rebuilt. Comparisons of published figures with internal investigation reports, and statistical estimates from sample selection models, yield an estimate of close to 1.6 million deaths and 30 million direct victims of some form of political persecution. The vast majority of casualties were due to repression by authorities, not the actions of insurgents. Despite the large overall death toll, per capita death rates were considerably lower than a range of comparable cases, including the Soviet purges at the height of Stalinist terror in the late 1930s.

Aires culturelles Politique Chine

Informations pratiques

  • Friday 08 June 2018 - 10:00 to 13:00
  • EHESS (Salle A07_51) - 54, bd Raspail 75006 Paris