Zhang Hongbing, Mao Zedong and Cultural Revolution

“I wrote a big character poster about him; I just wanted to follow Chairman Mao, for a child to criticise their parents wasn’t just our household. The whole country was doing it.”

-Zhang Hongbing

Mao wanted to bring about rapid change in China both on agricultural and industry front. He wanted to raise agriculture and steel production. But methods used for raising productivity were faulty, resulting in low production of both agriculture and steel. This resulted in famine, in which thousands of people died.

To hide his failure he started blaming his critics for sabotaging the communist revolution. They were labelled as capitalist and rightists. Mao asked people to expose such people. It was called Cultural Revolution, and army of students calling themselves “Red Army” became custodian of revolution.

The so called rightists were arrested, tortured, publicly shamed or shot dead.

“My mother, father and I were all devoured by the Cultural Revolution… a catastrophe suffered by the Chinese nation. We must remember this painful historical lesson and never let it happen again.”

-Zhang Hongbing

zhang hongbing

One such revolutionary was 15 years old Zhang Hongbing, a strong supporter of Mao. His mother had suffered enough under Mao regime; she was depressed and ended up criticising Mao. Zhang thought that it was his duty to expose his mother. He reported her “deviant behaviour” to red guards. The guards caught her and after torture she was shot dead. Zhang was not alone, whole of China was busy exposing rightists, who in most cases were their parents, brothers and sisters.


After death of Mao, the Cultural Revolution ended, entire blame of murders committed during revolution fell on his associates, while holding Mao innocent. This enabled communists all over world to continue worshipping Mao. His strongest supporters were Indian communists. They were so fond of Mao that during Indo China war, they strongly supported China! While communists kept winning elections even after war, the Chinese community in India, which remained loyal to India, faced persecution.

“Her father’s death, her husband’s persecution, her daughter’s death – everything that happened made her suspicious of the Cultural Revolution … She was sick of it”

– Zhang Hongbing

It was years later Zhang realised that he had done something foolish and was responsible for death of his mother.

Today he regrets death of his mother and cannot forgive himself.




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