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How did the Cultural Revolution end?

The Cultural Revolution ended with Mao Zedong's death in 1976 and the subsequent arrest of the Gang of Four.

The Cultural Revolution, a socio-political movement that took place in the People's Republic of China from 1966 until 1976, was initiated by Mao Zedong, the Chairman of the Communist Party of China. Its end is generally marked by Mao's death on 9th September 1976 and the subsequent arrest of the Gang of Four, a political faction led by Mao's wife Jiang Qing.

The Cultural Revolution was a period of radical socio-political change in China, marked by widespread social upheaval, political purges, and ideological re-education. Mao launched the revolution to reassert his authority over the Chinese government, believing that the current Communist leaders were moving the country towards a capitalist direction. He mobilised the youth, who formed Red Guards groups around the country, to purge the "impure" elements of Chinese society and revive the revolutionary spirit.

However, the Cultural Revolution led to widespread chaos, economic disarray, and societal breakdown. It resulted in an estimated death toll ranging from hundreds of thousands to 20 million people, and caused severe damage to historical artefacts and cultural sites. It also led to a major power struggle within the Communist Party, with Mao purging many top officials who were deemed to be "capitalist roaders".

Mao's death in 1976 marked a turning point. His designated successor, Hua Guofeng, quickly consolidated power and arrested the Gang of Four in October 1976, accusing them of instigating the Cultural Revolution and causing social and economic chaos. The arrest of the Gang of Four signalled the end of the Cultural Revolution, as it marked the fall of the group that had been the main driving force behind the movement.

In the years following the end of the Cultural Revolution, the Chinese government undertook a series of political and economic reforms to restore stability and modernise the economy. These reforms, known as the "Reform and Opening Up" policy, marked a significant shift away from the policies and ideology of the Cultural Revolution. The Cultural Revolution is now officially regarded by the Chinese government as a "severe setback" for the country, and its excesses are attributed to the radical policies of the Gang of Four.

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