Monday, June 05, 2017

The Red Guards & the Cultural Revolution

I first began reading about this time in Chinese history recently. Well, correction - I had been assigned the book Eighth Moon, by Bette Bao Lord, in high school. It's about the time period of the revolution before the Cultural Revolution. Even before the Red Guard terrorized the Chinese people, particularly the teachers and other educators, the roots of that madness were apparent.

Lord wrote of events she had experienced first-hand, before she was able to escape to freedom in the United States. I doubt that her story would be considered worthy of study in schools dominated by Progressive ideology, that chose to ignore the abuses of Left-leaning governments.

What I find interesting is the degree to which both modern movements, such as Occupy Democrats and other 'anti-fa' actions, and the original Red Guards of Mao's China, work as a Collective. The quotes below come from an amazing study, published in 2001, Student Attacks Against Teachers: The Revolution of 1966, by Youqin Wang. She is a senior lecturer at the University of Chicago.
In most cases, beatings were a collective activity, conducted not by individual students but by a group of Red Guards. A group of Red Guards acted together, inciting each other and encouraging hostilities. Sometimes, a beating took place in front of hundreds of people. On such occasions, everyone just wanted to show his/her sympathy for brutality and cruelty against the “enemies.” On the other hand, when a person was beaten to death, the group of beaters would not take responsibility as individuals and thus did not fear committing murder.
The callous use of young people is one of the most disgusting parts of this. By using kids to denounce influential adults (including, at times, their own family), the Chinese leadership obliterated the traditional respect for older people, and forced kids to rely on the 'revolutionary cadre' for their family.

Was extreme youth a factor? Certainly, the leaders targeted younger people as the most malleable group. However, it must be said that these were not those we think of as middle-school age. They were certainly old enough to have developed a conscience.
 the middle school students beat many more teachers to death than college and elementary school students. In the summer of 1966, middle school students were from fourteen to nineteen years old. They had received more than seven years of education—higher than the average level of education in China. Therefore, “ignorance” or “innocence” cannot be used as excuses for the cruelty. Nonetheless, the degree of the violent persecution that students implemented may be related to their ages to a certain extent.
Coincidentally, that's the age which has been used by many high school 'activist' teachers to round up bodies for their 'protests'.

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