STRUGGLE SESSION - A struggle session was a form of public humiliation used by the Communist Party of China in the Mao Zedong era to shape public opinion and to humiliate, persecute, and/or execute political rivals and class enemies. In general, the victim of a struggle session was forced to admit to various crimes before a crowd of people who would verbally and physically abuse the victim until he or she confessed.
During Maos rule, the Chinese people were forced to attend many different types of struggle sessions, sometimes consisting of 100,000 people. During the 1950s when Maos Government began the Land Reform movement, poorer peasants seized the land from their landlords, who were given the title of exploiting class, and an estimated 2 million landlords were swiftly executed after being subjected to a struggle session.
Struggle sessions developed from similar ideas of criticism and self-criticism in the Soviet Union from the 1920s. The term refers to class struggle; ostensibly, the session is held to benefit the target, by eliminating all traces of counterrevolutionary, reactionary thinking. Chinese Communists resisted this at first, because struggle sessions conflicted with the Chinese concept of saving face, but struggle sessions became commonplace at Communist Party meetings during the 1930s due to public popularity.
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