Red Guards

In the summer of 1966 there was a new effort on the part of the head
leaders in China to further control the actions and thoughts of the people in
China. The Red Guards were the force to do it all.

A group of kids who mostly in their teens and some in college were put
into this gang. This so-called military force was called the Red Guards.
Groups of these Red Guards traveled from the large cities all the way to empty
country sides. They held huge demonstrations at every stop. Their main goal
was to eliminate as many as possible of the customs and traditional thoughts of
the old China. They participated in Long Marches and other activities.

The man they looked up to most was a person by the name of Mao. They
carried huge portraits of him and also carried banners and flags. Many people
in the group beat on gongs and drums. Some observers said it looked more like
a circus then a political demonstration.

They did a lot of things that many thought were outrageous. At one point
they raced widely through Peking denouncing anyone who was in a business. They
even made a demand to change the meaning of the colors in a stop light.
According to the Red Guards, that because the color of communism is red, that
you should go on red and stop on green. When the Red Guards added students
from another school or workers from another factory they decorated the entrance
with purple paper, lanterns and a red cloth covered with flowers.

People who did not agree with Mao Tse-tung and his teachings were often
dragged through the streets and forced to wear dunce caps. The main reason of
course was to humiliate. This group in time became more destructive. Even
some of China\'s highest leaders were taken. The Red Guards demonstrations
lasted through fall, and winter of 1966 and well into 1967.

The Red Guards highly looked up to Mao they thought of him as a father who
shared the same views. Chairman Mao greatly influenced many of their decisions.
They stormed on to railroad trains to spread their ideas coast to coast. Many
people thought of them as a disorderly young army. Most of their efforts were
devoted to wholesale destruction of reputation and careers. One of their best
weapons were political posters which were about many high political figures.
Political people were not the only ones to be embarrassed, professors and
engineers were also humiliated by the young group.

Many young people agreed with the Red Guards and their point of views.
They felt that schools and universities were being run to produce a small group
of highly educated people. Then those people would go ahead to become leaders.
They would soon consider they were better than the workers and peasents and it
would be like they were under the emperors once again.

The Red Guards did not care about anything that they destructed. In
Peking, Red Guards attacked and burnt down the Brittish Embassy. In 1967 a mob
of the guards stormed the Foreign Ministry. They destroyed some achives,
carried away others, and even attempted to kidnap the Foreign Minister but they
were unsuccessful.

No one in China could accuratly tell you an explanation on of why they
organizied. Some people think they were inspired because the wanted to become
communist leaders after Mao\'s death and take over government. Some say their
main reason was to make certain politicians get a bad name and have them
removed from their postions. Which would make it easier for them to rule in
China in Mao\'s name.

Category: Social Issues