Examining the linkage and shift between victims and perpetrators in the Anti-Rightist campaign facilitates a nuanced understanding of campaign culture in China under Mao Zedong. Analyzing the political experience of intellectuals in 1957 and their later lives, this article shows why political victims often became perpetrators and perpetrators victims. Whereas some victims of the Anti-Rightist campaign had been party activists in previous campaigns and some rightists became perpetrators afterward in labor camps or elsewhere, many Anti-Rightist warriors could not avoid being victimized in subsequent campaigns, such as the "supplementary labeling" (1958) or the Cultural Revolution, because (in part) of the "chain-of-prey" phenomenon in the cycle of criticism and survival. The shifts occurred because of the changing ideas and ideology of these people, the party's agenda to repeatedly purge itself of real or imagined backsliders, victims' need for self-redemption, lack of institutional guarantees for individual security, and Mao's shifting goals.


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pp. 188-208
Launched on MUSE
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