Day and night the city resounded with the loud noise of drums and gongs … looting and the ransacking of private homes … The violence of the Red Guards seemed to have escalated. … Articles in the newspapers … encouraged the Red Guards and congratulated them on their vandalism. They were … exhorted to be fearless in their work of toppling the old world and building a new one based on Mao’s teachings.
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[A]fter unleashing the Red Guards … to serve his political purposes, Mao Zedong was no longer able to control them.
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The newspaper announced that the mission of the Red Guards was to rid the country of the ‘Four Olds’: old culture, old customs, old habits, and old ways of thinking. There was no clear definition of ‘old’; it was left to the Red Guards to decide. First of all, they changed street names.
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