On December 22, the Chinese Academy of History, a subsidiary of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), published a highly controversial 4,000-character article entitled "Being Down to Earth, Youth Without Regrets! Educated youth going to the countryside is a great feat to promote social progress!". The article was originally published 52 years ago in the People's Daily. The article published now by the Chinese Academy of History claimed that more than half a century later, it can be clearly seen that "going to the mountains and going to the countryside" is a great feat to promote social progress. The article criticised those who denied that the movement had benefited the country and that those cadres sent to the countryside had become "pillars of talent". An earlier article had identified Xi Jinping, Li Keqiang, Zhao Lezhi, Wang Qishan, Liu He, Guo Shengkun, Cai Qi, Li Zhangshu etc. as cadres who had benefited the country and personally by having gone to the countryside. The article provoked a lot of criticism from bloggers and netizens who described the movement as a severe punishment for tens of thousands of Chinese and 'labour in disguise'. This article was quickly deleted after a heated discussion, but before that, it was reprinted on some Mao Zuo websites.

(Comment: An estimated 16-17 million Chinese youth were sent to the countryside by Mao as part of a campaign started in 1968.)

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