Wild Swans In Chapter 16, “Mao’s Red Guards,” Jung Chang discusses some of the unusual techniques used by Mao Zedong. Mao, instead of using traditional party channels, uses groups of young adults, referred to as “Red Guards”. They follow his urges to wreak havoc. Mao makes a speech, urging for the Red Guards to “’smash up the four olds’ – defined as ‘old ideas, old culture, old customs, and old habits’” (284). The Red Guards follow this provocative call, burning books and art, and violently beating teachers. The obedient Red Guards “all over China took to the streets, giving full vent to their vandalism, ignorance, and fanaticism” (284). The Guards were further encouraged to wreak havoc. They were encouraged to terrorize “prominent writers, artists, scholars, and most other top professionals, who had been privileged…[were now] condemned as… bourgeois” (284). Even the author herself is forcibly involved. Her gentle nature makes her understandably reluctant to inflict harm on anyone. As her peers are vandalizing a tea
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