Smash the Old World!

Iconoclasm and the desire to make the world anew is at the heart of revolutionary zeal. The Cultural Revolution was about turning the old order on its head; it was a revolution on a revolution that had not been revolutionary enough.

The Four Olds: "Old ideas, old culture, old customs, old habits." See the People's Daily editorial praising the Red Guards for "sweeping away the dust of all the old ideas, culture, customs and habits of the exploiting classes."

View a slideshow of related images.

Jiang Qing's Denunciations of Feature Films:
As part of the general cultural denunciation that began with the Cultural Revolution in 1964, Jiang Qing, Mao's wife, decried the egregious ideological errors of a number of feature films made during the first decade and a half of the People's Republic of China. See excerpts from some of these films, along with Jiang Qing's declamations from May1966.

A Case History:
Artist and writer, Huang Yongyu, is one of China’s most famous cultural figures of the last half-century. He was a professor at the Central Art Academy, and became one of the principal targets of the Cultural Revolution. "A Can of Worms" is a collection of aphorisms and witty lines that Huang distributed among his friends; some of the writings made humorous use of Party jargon. In the summer of 1966, these private writings were declared to be counter-revolutionary. Huang was criticized, denounced in public meetings, and severely beaten.

Readings:
Red Guards Destroy the Old and Establish the New | The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution Engulfs Peking's Streets | The Red Guards' Battle Song, We Are Chairman Mao's Red Guards

Chronology

Read more about the Red Guards.


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