China: Price of Revolution

There can be no construction without destruction.

—Mao Tse-tung

Two years ago this week, Mao launched the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, and the first wall poster, dripping with vitriol, blossomed on the east wall of Peking University's dining hall. Fearful that China was losing the purity of its first revolution and sliding down "the capitalist road" taken by "bourgeois" Russia, Mao set out to purge his vast nation of 750 million people. His weapons were the People's Liberation Army and the youth of the Red Guards, whom he mobilized by closing down the schools. His targets were the party and...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!