One Man to Rule a Billion

Mao Zedong (stf/afp/getty images)

 

Fifty years ago, Chinese dictator Mao Zedong unleashed his Red Guards against members of his own Chinese Communist Party accused of having capitalist sympathies. This paramilitary group of Chinese youth carried out mass killings in Beijing and other major Chinese cities in the name of Mao Zedong and Communist orthodoxy. In the southern region of Guangxi, these violent pogroms escalated to the point of cannibalism—with teenagers killing their school principals and eating them in celebration of their triumph over “counter-revolutionaries.”

While there is no official count of the number of people murdered during these purges, historians estimate that millions—even 30 million or more—may have perished in the decade-long Cultural Revolution that began in May 1966.

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