It is an anniversary that China wants to forget. Today marks 40 years since the start of the cultural revolution, one of the most insane episodes of the 20th century when children turned on parents, pupils tyrannised teachers and hundreds of thousands died in the name of class war.Of course, there are some in the West who still worship Mao.
· Mao Zedong launched the cultural revolution in 1966 by calling for a life-or-death struggle against bourgeois ideology. It allowed him to reassert authority over rivals who criticised his handling of the economy
· Student Red Guards, who worshipped Mao, led the persecution of "class enemies". They were urged on by the ultra-leftist "Gang of Four"
· Thousands died in battles between political factions or killed themselves after public humiliations. The best known victim was Lin Biao, the head of the army, who died in a plane crash after an attempted coup in 1971
· Ancient treasures and temples were destroyed after Mao called for the eradication of feudal values. The turmoil ended with his death in 1976
Hat tip to Simon World.