Female Hooligan Youth and the Regulation of Socialist Morality in 1960s Rural Beijing
This article explores the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) efforts to regulate socialist morality and reform those seen as violating it during the Cultural Revolution through a case study of Gong Moumou, a female youth hooligan in rural Beijing between 1966 and 1968. The CCP mobilized local agents and institutions to regulate and reform female hooligans’ sexual desires, thoughts, and activities to exert social, political, and moral control over female youth. Since 1949, Mao and the CCP had promoted social reform to reshape the thoughts of the masses, including people’s ethics and morality. At the local level, the state pursued the rural peasantry’s reform and re-education via political classes centred on Mao Zedong Thought (Maoism). Although the CCP in the 1950s embraced hooligans as a part of the lumpenproletariat, by the time of the Cultural Revolution in the late 1960s, hooligans became a target of government reform. In rural Haidian, local government agents attempted to regulate and reform Gong Moumou’s hooliganism (liumang xingwei) according to the CCP’s standards of socialist morality as articulated through the ideal image of the socialist woman. Documents related to Gong’s investigation and reform, including her written confessions and the report of another individual, highlight the state’s methods during the Cultural Revolution to regulate socialist morality, reform rural young women according to the standard of the ideal socialist woman, and label female sexuality as evidence of dangerous bourgeois thinking.