Michael Browne, a Briton and Christian free-lance journalist, dispatched this report from Hong Kong after a trip last month to Canton, southern provincial capital of Communist China:

“Chairman Mao is the red sun in our hearts; his thoughts shed light all over the world.” Surrounded by a group of several hundred Red Guards in Canton in mid-January, I listened to enthusiastic Chinese young people testify to their faith in Mao Tse-tung.

In a first-hand appraisal of life behind the Bamboo Curtain, I was staggered by the intensity of the present cultural revolution and the dynamic forces being generated by the unbounded faith of China’s revolutionary youth.

This high tide of revolutionary fervor is focused in a person. Perhaps no other figure in history has enjoyed, in his own lifetime, the devotion and admiration of so vast a multitude as has Chairman Mao. At this time over 700 million people pay lip service, at least, to the man they call “our great leader, teacher, supreme commander, and helmsman.” Slogans praising Mao and the “correct” Communist Party of China appear everywhere.

This is the climate that has spawned the now world-famous Red Guards. Nothing in past or current Western religious writing or thought had prepared me for what I experienced among these young people in China last month.

Far from being repressed, sullen, or gloomy, China’s youth are vitally alive. “We live to serve the people,” a young Red Guard said. An estimated 30 million Red Guards alone, besides other revolutionary youth, carry this gospel according to Mao among the masses.

From all corners of the country these militant teen-agers are on the move with unsurpassed excitement and revolutionary enthusiasm. In the current political power struggle waged as ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.

Our digital archives are a work in progress. Let us know if corrections need to be made.

Tags:
Issue: