China's Cultural Revolution was initiated in 1966 by Chairman Mao Zedong who, in an attempt to return his people to the socialist fervor of the People's Republic of China in 1949, instituted an ideological purge that sought to remove not only capitalist elements but any evidence of traditional or cultural beliefs from Chinese society. The Revolution lasted until Mao's death in 1976, with most of the reforms he instituted being abandoned by 1978. Wenguang Huang, born in 1964, grew up during this turbulent period in China's history.
Huang's memoir, The Little Red Guard
, describes the Communist Party's influence on his life and the lives of his family members. His father Huang Zhiyou was a Party member - a privilege not easily obtained - and Huang himself was a stand-out student and member of the Little Red Guards, the communist youth organization. By all outward...
Beyond the Book
Memoirist Wenguang Huang was once a member of China's communist youth organization, which, during the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), was known as The Little Red Guard. The group was originally formed by the Communist Party of China in 1949 as The Youth and Children of China Movement, but in 1953, it was renamed The Young Pioneers - the name the organization reverted to after the Cultural Revolution ended.
Most Chinese children become members of the Young Pioneers by the end of their grade school years; in 2002 it was estimated that over 130 million youths belonged to the organization. Those between the ages of 6 and 14 are eligible to join, after which time they may choose to advance to the Communist Youth League of China.
A red scarf is one of the most symbolic...