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In Pictures: Cultural Revolution

A decade of political chess, combined with bitter propaganda, changed the face of China forever
OUT WITH THE OLD An amateur art troupe performs a ballad, criticising Confucius and denouncing old customs and ideas
GETTY X4
POWER TO THE PEOPLE LEFT: This iconic portrait of Chairman Mao stood at the entrance to Beijing’s Forbidden City
A propaganda poster shows the People’s Liberation Army charging forward with the Red Guards, holding Mao’s Little Red Book aloft

The aging Chairman Mao could feel his grip on China slipping. His last policy, the ironically named ‘Great Leap Forward’, had shrunk the economy dramatically, and caused famine and misery beyond measure. To reassert his dominance, he triggered a movement known as the Cultural Revolution – an attempt to ensure that Maoist doctrines remained pure. However, the dictator had ulterior motives, as he wanted rid of those who posed a threat to his power once and for all.

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Find the complete article and many more in this issue of BBC History Revealed Magazine - April 2017
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About BBC History Revealed Magazine

This might well be our most-packed issue ever, and we’ve got pretty much every time and place imaginable covered. Our section in the centre pages looks at those archaeological discoveries that make our understanding of the past possible – from buried kings to mysterious writings.