The Chinese Cultural Revolution Introduction: The Cultural Revolution in China, occurred between 1966 and 1976. In particular, we’re going to look at a group of youth called the Red Guards who were responsible for much of the violence and abuse of the Cultural Revolution.
Look at the first slide on the PowerPoint.
What do you see?
Who looks like they are being targeted?
What is the punishment?
Where are they?
As you view PowerPoint, take notes on everything in RED (write below)
Look at the following timeline and answer the questions below:
What were Mao’s goals for the Cultural Revolution?
What were some of the outcomes of the Cultural Revolution?
Based on the timeline, why might teenagers have supported the
In an effort to return China to its communist roots, Chairman Mao Tse-tung
turned to the youth of the country to help start the “Cultural Revolution.”
Mao called on young people to take down leading intellectuals, party
leaders, and their own parents. These teenagers came together to form the
May 1966: Articles in the state controlled papers introduced the idea of a “Cultural Revolution.” Red Guard groups, made up of Chinese youth, emerged throughout China.
Aug. 1966: Mao officially launched the “Cultural Revolution” with a
speech at the Chinese Communist Party.
Oct. 1966: Mao called for the Red Guards to destroy the “Four
Olds”: old customs, old culture, old habits, and old
Jan. 1967: Red Guards achieved the overthrow of provincial party
committee officials and replaced them with radicals.
Feb. 1967: Top-level Communist Party officials called for an end of
the Cultural Revolution, but Mao continued to support it.
Summer 1967: Mao replaced pre-Cultural Revolution party officials with
radicals who supported the revolution.
1968: On Mao’s orders, the Red Guards were broken up in the
“rustification movement,” where individual teenagers
were “sent down” to villages throughout China to “learn
story of her life and her family in China throughout the political turmoil of the 1950s
through the 1980s. In this excerpt she writes about her early experience in the Red
Guards. When the Cultural Revolution broke out in late May 1966, I felt like the legendary
monkey Sun Wukong, freed from the dungeon that had held him under a huge mountain
for five hundred years. It was Chairman Mao who set us free by allowing us to rebel
against authorities. As a student, the first authority I wanted to rebel against was
Teacher Lin, our homeroom teacher. A big part of her duty was to make sure that we
behaved and thought correctly. Now the time had come for the underdogs to speak up, to seek justice! Immediately I took up a brush pen, dipped it in black ink and wrote a long dazibao. Using some of the rhetorical devices Teacher Lin had taught us, I accused her of lacking proletarian feeling toward her students, of treating them as her enemies, of being high-handed, and of suppressing different opinions. My classmates supported me by signing their names to it. Next, we took the dazibao to Teacher Lin’s home nearby and pasted it on the wall of her bedroom for her to read carefully day and night. This, of course, was not personal revenge. It was answering Chairman Mao’s call to combat the revisionist educational line.
Within a few days, dazibao written by students, teachers, administrators, workers, and
librarians, were popping up everywhere like bamboo shoots after a spring rain. Secrets
dark and dirty were exposed. Every day we made shocking discoveries. The sacred
halo around the teachers’ heads that dated back two thousand five hundred years to the
time of Confucius disappeared. Now teachers must learn a few things from their
students. Parents would be taught by their kids instead of vice versa, as Chairman Mao
pointed out. Government officials would have to wash their ears to listen to the ordinary
Source: Rae Young, Spider Eaters: A Memoir, 1997.
dazibao –propaganda posters written to denounce counter-revolutionaries
proletarian –working class
revisionist—in this case, someone opposing Mao’s position
Document D: Under the Red Sun Memoir Under the Red Sun is a memoir written by Fan Cao about her experiences during the
Cultural Revolution published in 2005. Here is an excerpt from the memoir. I was a 7th grader when the Great Cultural Revolution broke out.
Growing up in the “New China” we were fed with revolutionary ideas bathed
in the red sunlight of Mao. We worshiped Mao the same way pious
Christians worship their God, and we were completely devoted to him. I,
myself, really believed that we were working for a paradise on earth, and
we were going to save the entire world. How glorious it was to have the