Literally translating, can one who opposes a revolutionary be called a "反革命" in Chinese?

In mainland China, "反革命" used be a serious crime which may be lead to death penalty. So people are not allowed to oppose any revolutionary; that is, everyone is supposed to support any revolutionary, whether this revolutionary is against his/her will or not (??). The logic seems to be confusing here.


2 Answers 2


I suppose to understand the meaning of “反革命” ,you have to know how’s this word came out .

After OCT 1st 1949,the People Republic of China was founded,leading by Communist Party of China(CPC),and base on the situation,the civil war between CPC and Kuomintang (a major political party in the Republic of China on Taiwan) isn’t ended ,that means China still needs revolution to unify the whole country and CPC as legal party,anyone against CPC or revolution must be illegal

反革命 isn’t only mean to oppose revolutionary,this , but more like describe the people who betrayed the CPC and distub the way of unity China ,which means illegal at all.


In general, you can use 者 for 'the person who' to describe what a person is,

For example:

反革命 Counter-revolution --> 反革命者 counter-revolutionary (the one who act against the revolution)

However, Chinese used to call them. "反革命分子" (Counter-revolutionary/ Counterrevolution elements)

Calling a group of people in the population as "elements" imply 'it is only a small minority of people within the population


反革命分子 = Counterrevolution elements (Counter-revolutionary/ people who act against revolution)

Other example:

犯罪分子 = criminal elements (people who commit crime)

反革命分子 is also called 反动分子 (the people who act against the revolution movement) or 反动派 (the group that act against the revolution movement)

动 is short for 运动

Back then if you opposed the revolution (voiced different opinions), the CPC government would treat you as 反革命思想者 (the one who have counter-revolutionary mind) and they could up the charge to 反革命分子 -- That was a serious crime in Mainland China



There is no "Counter-revolutionary crimes" in the current "Criminal Law of the People's Republic of China", but there had been counter-revolutionary definitions and the related counter-revolutionary crimes in the previous criminal law

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