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Pilot Studies No the Great Leap Forward in Chinese Science (1958-1961)

Author: ZhangZhiHui
Tutor: ZhuQingShi;ZhangBingLun
School: University of Science and Technology of China
Course: History of Science and Technology
Keywords: Chinese Science Great Leap Forward Political Campaigns the End of the 1950s
CLC: K27
Type: PhD thesis
Year: 2007
Downloads: 611
Quote: 2
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The Great Leap Forward in Science in the end of the 1950s is not only the key components of the ’Great Leap Forward’ Campaign, but also a significant event in contemporary history of science in China. Up to now, most studies on the Great Leap Forward have been undertaken from the political, economic and social perspectives, and left the Great Leap Forward in Science more or less untouched. This dissertation aims at provide a systematic study on the Great Leap Forward in Science, its historical background, approaches, representations and meanings, via working with the data from original newspapers and journals, published and unpublished documents and archives, memoirs, etc..In terms of the historical background, key issues are examined, such as the ’Anti-Rightist’ Campaign in scientist community, the ’Down to the Villages and Up to the Mountains’ for intellectuals, Great Debate on ’Red’ versus ’Expert’, Criticizing Capitalist Thoughts, ’Hand over the Heart’ Campaign, and Struggle against ’Two evils" Campaign, and the strengthened control over the scientific work taken by the Chinese Communist Party after the ’Anti-Rightist’ Campaign is investigated as well. Through these studies the ideological, social and political environment of the late 1950s is exhibited, the origins of the Great Leap Forward in Science are revealed.In terms of the main approaches of the Great Leap Forward in Science, research is made on its launch, development, climax, rectification, relapse, and closure, from which the representations of the Great Leap Forward in Science are analyzed, including presenting scientific work as tributes, mass movement, and wiping off superstitions, etc.. During this period, key positions in the research institutions at all levels were held by members of the Chinese Communist Party. In contrast to that young scientists became the major force of the Great Leap Forward in Science, the senior scientists who held conservative views were marginalized by the campaign of ’Erecting Red Flags and Removing White Flags’.For the purpose of details of the Great Leap Forward in Science, several cases are elaborately studied, including the competition between scientists and peasants, presenting scientific tributes to July First (known as the Birthday of the Chinese Communist Party), ’native professionals’ entering the science academy, ’Removing White Flags’ in the circle of mathematicians etc.. These case studies effectively reveal the negative impacts on Chinese science made by the Great Leap Forward in Science. The regulations of scientific researches were destroyed, the order of working was disturbed, the independence of science was damaged, and the scientific spirit was severely violated.Great Leap Forward in Science was a serious setback for the contemporary history of science in China. Although on some fields of the scientific work had been stimulated and achievements were made, the Great Leap Forward in Science caused severe damage and left fatal lessons behind. Through reviewing the history of the Great Leap Forward in Science, the author hope that lessons and inspirations are to be gained, which will be of benefit to the progress of Chinese science in catching up with and eventually overpass the international top level.

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CLC: > History, geography > History of China > People's Republic of China period ( 1949 ~)
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