Launching the movement in May 1966 with the help of the Cultural Revolution Group, Mao soon called on young people to “bombard the headquarters”, and proclaimed that “to rebel is justified”. In order to eliminate his rivals within the CCP and in schools, factories, and government institutions, Mao charged that bourgeois elements had infiltrated the government and society with the aim of restoring capitalism. He insisted that revisionists be removed through violent class struggle, to which China’s youth, as well as urban workers, responded by forming Red Guards and “rebel groups” around the country. They would begin to hold struggle sessions regularly, and grab power from local governments and CCP branches, eventually establishing the revolutionary committees in 1967.
The Cultural Revolution damaged China’s economy and traditional culture, with an estimated death toll ranging from hundreds of thousands to 20 million.Beginning with the Red August of Beijing, massacres took place across China, including the Guangxi Massacre, in which massive cannibalism also occurred.Red Guards destroyed historical relics and artifacts, as well as ransacking cultural and religious sites. The 1975 Banqiao Dam failure, one of the world’s greatest technological catastrophes, also occurred during the Cultural Revolution. Meanwhile, tens of millions of people were persecuted: senior officials, most notably Chinese president Liu Shaoqi.
millions were imprisoned, tortured, had to do hard labor, seizure of property, and sometimes execution or harassment and suicide; intellectuals were considered the “Stinking Old Ninth” and were widely persecuted, some even eaten by their students. Schools and universities were closed, Over 10 million marxist urban intellectual youths were sent to the countryside to cause chaos and death.
Sources 1. “Reassessing the Cultural Revolution”. The China Quarterly.
2.Foundation, World Peace. “China: the Cultural Revolution Mass Atrocity Endings”
3. The Cultural Revolution and Post-Mao Reforms: A Historical Perspective.
4. “Revolution and Reaction in the Chinese Countryside: The Socialist Education Movement in Cultural Revolutionary Perspective”. The China Quarterly.