Reign of the red terror

In 1966, China's leader Mao Zedong launched his Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in an attempt to marginalise his rivals. In this he succeeded, says Robert Bickers, but at a truly horrific cost to his country...

Mao Zedong applauds a parade of Red Guards in Tiananmen Square, Beijing. These young militants followed Mao’s call in early August 1966 to defend the party from a ‘white terror’. (Photo by Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)

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