Cultural Revolution, Great Proletarian

A movement in China, beginning in the mid-1960s and led by Mao Zedong, to restore the vitality of communism in China. Mao, who gave the Cultural Revolution its name, sought to dismantle the complex governmental structure that had developed after the Chinese Revolution of the 1940s. During the Cultural Revolution, many government officials and intellectuals were sent out to work in the fields alongside the peasants. For a time, zealous young communists called Red Guards had considerable power. Many artworks, architectural treasures, and other cultural monuments associated with precommunist China were deliberately destroyed by the Red Guard.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.