Cultural Revolution
ten years of nationwide political, social and economic chaos
The Great Cultural Revolution was a struggle for power within the Communist Party of China that manifested into wide-scale social, political and economic chaos, which grew to include large sections of Chinese society and eventually brought the entire country to a civil war.

It was launched by Mao Zedong, Chairman of the Communist Party of China in 1966, officially as a campaign to rid China of its "liberal bourgeoisie" elements and to continue revolutionary class struggle. It is widely recognized, however, as a method to regain control of the party after the disastrous Great Leap Forward which led to a significant loss of Mao's power. It eventually manifest into waves of power struggles between rivals both nationally and locally.

The Red Guards overthrew Mao's enemies and seized control of the state and party weapons. In the chaos and violence, many revolutionary elders, authors, artists and religious figures were killed, millions of people were treated cruelly and as many as half a million people died. Countless ancient buildings, artifacts, antiques, books and paintings were destroyed by Red Guards. Many economic activities and the education system were halted.

The arrest of the Gang of Four (Jiang Qing, Zhang Chunqiao, Yao Wenyuan and Wang Hongwen, a group of Communist Party leaders manipulating the Revolution) ended the Cultural Revolution in 1976.
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