More Important Than Guns: Chinese Adult Education After the Long March

Boshier, Roger; Yan Huang
May 2010
Adult Education Quarterly;May2010, Vol. 60 Issue 3, p284
Academic Journal
Without adult education, there would have been no Communist government in China. Once the Long March arrived in Yan'an, Mao and Communist leaders used adult education in informal and nonformal settings to build momentum for revolution. This article analyzes the theory and practice of adult education during the Yan'an "golden years" (1936-1939) of Chinese communism. Data were derived from interviews in Yan'an and close analysis of writings by foreign visitors to the Red base. Because of 1950s McCarthyism in the United States and tyrannical behavior in post-1949 China, Chinese Communists rarely appear in orthodox adult education history in the west. But after 30 years of "reform and opening" this is a good time to recall Yan'an adult education and remarkable foreigners who studied and contributed to it. Although Chinese are now obsessed with modernization and money, looking into a rearview mirror might help illuminate adult education on the Red road ahead.


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