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Mao Zedong, or Chairman Mao, lead the Chinese communist revolution and ruled China with an iron fist from 1949 to 1976. Mao’s communist philosophy changed the government, economy and lifestyle of all Chinese people. Mao wanted to eliminate anything considered to be foreign, elitist, or in any way opposed to the communist system. A group called the Red Guard helped make this a reality. In this public radio story the Red Guard tells their story.
Story Length: 4:27
© 2014 National Public Radio, Inc. Used with the permission of NPR. All rights reserved.
AIR DATE: 02/04/2014
The Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) was meant to wipe out all things non-communist in China. The Chinese government wanted its people to forget about literature, art, school, professional careers and anything else that China’s communist government considered foreign, elitist or in any way opposed to the communist system. Millions of Chinese people were forced to do manual labor in the country, to be “re-educated” into happy communist workers. One college student who was forced to leave school and work hauling manure on a farm in 1971 was Dai Sijie. He escaped from China after the Cultural Revolution ended and became a writer. His novel “Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress” tells his story. This public radio story tells how others who were part of the Cultural Revolution are beginning to tell their stories, too.
These levels of listening complexity can help teachers choose stories for their students. The levels do not relate to the content of the story, but to the complexity of the vocabulary, sentence structure and language in the audio story.
These stories are easier to understand and are a good starting point for elementary students or English learners.
These stories have an average language challenge for middle and high school students, and can be scaffolded for English learners.
These stories have challenging vocabulary and language and students may need to have some background knowledge to understand the story.