The Chinese Cultural Revolution
The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, beginning as a campaign targeted at removing Chairman Mao Zedong's political opponents, was a time when practically every aspect of Chinese society was in pandemonium. From 1966 through 1969, Mao encouraged revolutionary committees, including the red guards, to take power from the Chinese Communist party authorities of the state. The Red Guards, the majority being young adults, rose up against their teachers, parents, and neighbors. Following Mao and his ideas, The Red Guard's main goal was to eliminate all remnants of the old culture in China. They were the 'frontline implementers' who produced havoc, used bloody force, punished supposed 'counter revolutionists', and overthrew government officials, all in order to support their 'beloved leader'.
?Red Guards? was a title given to people belonging to many different social groups: workers, peasants, demobilized soldiers and students. A vast majority of the people in this group were youngsters in their mid-teens, who were summoned at their middle schools by Mao. The Red Guard youth soon turned from obedient to rebellious students. Red Scarf Girl is a novel based on truth, terror and courage during the Cultural Revolution. The following excerpt discusses about the hundreds of wall posters the young Red Guard?s wrote, which discriminated against teachers, and members of their community.
?Sheet after sheet, article after article, each da-zi-bao was a bitter accusation. One was titled, ?Teacher Li, Abuser of the Young.? The student had failed to hand in her homework on time, and Teacher Li had told her to copy the assignment over five times as punishment. Another student said his teacher had deliberately ruined his students? eyesight by making them read a lot, so they could not join the Liberation Army. Still another accused Teacher Wang of attempting to corrupt a young revolutionary by buying her some bread when he learned that she had not eaten lunch.? (42)
With the incentive of being promoted, the youth set out to change the whole educational system. The students denounced the old curriculum and lessons, which taught abstract ideas not pertaining to the revolution. They vilified respectable administrators, whose only intentions were to educate children and turn them into intelligent young adults. This disruption in the education system set back China?s development, and encouraged a new generation of ignoramus people. The youth soon moved from their school to the streets, by making posters, speeches, and committing violent acts in the name of the Cultural Revolution.
The role of Red Guard was mainly to attack the ?four olds? of society, as well as purging all bourgeois elements within the government. The following excerpt, from an interview between an ex-red guard father and his daughter, explains what the four olds were:
?We were told to destroy four types of things: 1 ~ anything of the old feudal...