This month marks the 50 years since the beginning of China's infamous Cultural Revolution -- a decade-long struggle that left more than 1.5 million people dead and millions more injured, displaced, imprisoned or starving.
Newly released government archives have uncovered new details on this dark period of China's history. In today's Seeker Daily dispatch, we look at the history and legacy of the movement.
Despite government rhetoric of the time, the Cultural Revolution was essentially a massive and lethal power play by Chairman Mao Zedong to shore up power in China, and the Communist world at large.
China's neighbor and rival, the Soviet Union, was undergoing massive change as new leader Nikita Khrushchev denounced his predecessor, Joseph Stalin. Fearing a similar fate for himself, Mao launched a radical campaign to jump-start China's economy.
Dubbed The Great Leap Forward, the initiative redistributed land among China's rural peasants and organized workers into communes. This massive shift in the social order was a complete failure and nearly destroyed the nation's economy.