A sad part of China's long history. The Red Guards were a group of teenagers who were supposed to be the "vanguard of the revolution". In reality, they were the puppets of Mao Zedong, blindly enforcing his mad schemes with fanatical devotion, as they see Mao as a living deity. The Red Guards wore red badges, and always carried the Little Red Book, a small anthology of Mao quotes, sayings and blurbs. I have one. It's really funny.

The Red Guards formed just as the Cultural Revolution boiled over and plunged China into utter chaos. Mao Zedong, in the mid 1960's, was displeased with the compromising nature of the government into capitalism for the sake of economic development. His insanity during the Greap Leap Forward didn't do too much for his popularity, but he was still a God to most Chinese at the time. Mao, realizing that he cannot single-handedly purge the government, declared that China was losing the "revolutionary fervor" that "drove China to victory over the rightist bourgeois class enemies" in the past.

Overzealous as they were, young student groups began to form all over the country to do as Mao says, but in reality, it was merely an excuse to overthrow authority. They beat up teachers, intellectuals, whoever they didn't like, on trumped up charges that all authority was rightist and makes them class enemies. Instead of ending this insanity, Mao, being the crazy fuck that he was, gave them his blessing. Instantly, youth all over China were rampaging through the streets, turning in their parents, murdering innocents, looting, stealing and burning buildings, to satisfy their own frustration against authority. They killed in the name of Mao, robbed under the name of Mao. It was a sickening sight.

Not all youth were qualified for the Red Guards however. The children of former capitalists, landowners and intellectuals were deemed "unworthy" and labelled as "grey guards", or worse, "black guards", and were subject to harassment, beating, rape and murder. My mother would have been a black guard if she didn't escape in the 1950's.

In the end, Mao's health started to fail, and the sane people took control of government. They ordered the PLA (People's Liberation Army) in, forced the fanatical youth back in order, and killed anyone who disobeyed. This effectively ended the Cultural Revolution, however, the persecution of the "rightists" did not end until the death of Mao.

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