Greetings! The following excerpt is from the homepage of the Embassy of the People's Republic of China. It reflects Beijing's official interpretation of the turmoil that swept China during this period:

"The 'cultural revolution,' which lasted for ten years from May 1966 to October 1976, brought great calamity to the country and the people, causing the most serious setbacks and most damaging losses to both since the founding of the People's Republic of China. Drawing on the support of the broad masses of the Chinese people, the Communist Party of China smashed the Jiang Qing counter-revolutionary clique in October 1976. The end of the disastrous "cultural revolution" marked the beginning of a new era in Chinese history. Since the Third Plenary Session of the CPC Eleventh Central Committee at the end of 1978, China has instituted a policy of reform and opening to the outside world. The errors of the "cultural revolution" and the earlier "Leftist" deviations were rectified. The focus was shifted to modernization centred around the economy; a socialist modernization road with Chinese characteristics was defined".

The handbills below are from that unfortunate period in the PRC's history.  Some are part of a collection of handbills that was presented to Dr. Dennis Hickey as a gift when he was teaching in Nanjing, China during 1989-90.  Others were acquired when Dr. Hickey was a Fulbright Exchange Professor in Beijing during 2008.  It is interesting to note that, while some handbills were also printed as posters, many handbills were not.  Some of the most striking images below were never printed as posters.  

The Collector at a Chinese Dirt Market in 2008
(Hanging out with these guys is a lot more fun than meeting with Political Science
Professors at some conference--no offense intended)

In some instances, handbills were sold. In other cases, they were provided free of charge.  They were colorful and inexpensive and a source of entertainment in an otherwise dreary and frightening period in China's history.  It was not uncommon for people to paste handbills into a scrapbook or album of sorts.  As one survivor of the Cultural Revolution explained, "there was no television as we were too poor and there was not much to do. So, we liked to look at the colorful little handbills in an album in the evening...it certain was more fun than memorizing quotations from the Little Red Book."

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"Make art and propaganda one integrated part of the revolutionary mechanism.
Use it as a powerful weapon to organize people, educate people, strike the enemy
and eliminate the enemy!!!"

"Go to the farms! To the country's borders!
To the place where the country needs people most!!!"

Support the Anti-Imperialist War of the World's People!

"It is Man's Social Being that Determines His Thinking.
Once the Correct Ideas Characteristic of the
Advanced Class are Grasped by the Masses, these Ideas turn into
a Material Force that Changes Society and Changes the World"--Chairman Mao

Longevity! Chairman Mao!

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"Organize the world's people! Kick those American
capitalists' butts! Also the capitalist followers!"

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"To  the people who have made mistakes in the past, the CCP will
educate them to give up the wrong opinions. We welcome those
who want to correct mistakes.  Welcome comrades to the revolt!"

 Study in the Struggle! Practice in the Struggle!

Long Live the Victory Of Maoism!
Our Country Has Successfully Launched Our First Man-Made
Earth Satellite which is Highly Acclaimed!

Totally Smash Capitalism!


"In Class Struggle, some Classes Triumph and Others are Eliminated!
Such is the History of Civilization for Thousands of Years!
Cast Away Any Illusions and Prepare for Struggle!" Chairman Mao


"Every Reactionary is The Same. If You don't Attack it, It will Not Fall!
This is like Sweeping the Floor. As a rule, Where the Broom Does
Not Reach, The Dust Will Not Vanish by Itself"--Chairman Mao

Revolution is Guiltless. To Rebel is Justified
Completely Destroy the Counter-Revolutionary Black Line Led
By Liu and Deng

Speed Up the Revolution!  Promote Production!
Completely Destroy the New Counter-Attack of the Counter-Revolutionary
Capitalism of the Shanghai Municipal Party Committee.

The People's Liberation Army Strong Supports the Proletarian Leftist Revolution!

Chairman Mao Teaches Us:  "Every Communist Party Member Should Know This Truth:
Political Power Games From the Barrel of a Gun"


All Ethnic Groups in China Keep Chairman Mao in Their Hearts!


Speed up the Pace of Revolutionary Criticism!


 Carry Out the Revolution to the End and
in the Front Lines of Thinking and Culture!

The Young People Are the Most Active and Vital Force In Society.
They are the most Eager to Learn and the Least Reactionary in Their Thinking.
This is Especially True in the Era of Socialism!

Study Well the Socialist Cultural Lessons!

Study Well and Make Progress Everyday!

Make Harbors Very Red Schools for Maoism

 Long Live the Permanent and Militant Friendship
Between the Chinese and Albanian People!
(During discussions with Chinese antique dealers in 2008, they expressed
disgust with the fact that China provided Albania with Food and Aid
while the Chinese people suffered in the 1960s).

 The People and the Army are United Like One Person!
Let's See Who Can Be our Enemy!

 We Are Fighting in an Open and Broad Space!

 "The Chinese Red Army is an Armed Body for Carrying Out
The Political Tastes of the Revolution. Especially at the present,
the Red Army Should Certainly Not Confine itself to Fighting, Besides Fighting
to Destroy the Enemy's Military Strength, It should Shoulder Such Important
Tasks as Doing Propaganda Among the Masses, Organizing the Masses,
Arming Them and Helping Them to Establish Revolutionary Political Power
and Setting Up Party Organizations."--Chairman Mao (1929) 

"Make Some Preparations from Now On"

Study and Practice to The Extreme Glorious Chairman Mao's
Philosophical Thoughts

Industry Learn from Daqing!  Agriculature Learn from Dazhai!
All the Country Learn from the People's Liberation Army!

"Put the Emphasis on Medical Care in the Countryside"--Chairman Mao
Serve Your Whole Life for Poor and Lower-Middle Peasants!

Usher in the 1970s with New Victories in Revolution and Production!

Prepare for War, Prepare for Famine, Serve the People!"--Chairman Mao
Resolutely Respond to Chairman Mao's Call. Support the Revolution Inland!

 The Important Issue Lies in Being Good at Study!
(My Students ought to pay attention to this one!)

Never Forget that the Chinese Communist Party
Emancipated Us! All Happiness Comes
From Chairman Mao!

Learn and Practice Making Use of Any Free Time!

 Swear to Make Production Higher in Grains!
Strongly Smash Imperialists, Revisionists and Reactionaries! 

I Listen to Chairman Mao's Words
Guns Listen to Mine!

People's Liberation Army Uncle Teaches
Me How to Shoot Targets

 No Matter When the Enemies Arrive, Whether in the Daytime
Or Nighttime, we must Make Them Go Back Dead.
Always be Prepared to Fight!


"We Hail From All Corners of the Country and Have Joined Together For a Common
Revolutionary Objective...Our Cadres Must Show Concern for Every Solider, and All
People in the Revolutionary Ranks Must Care for Each Other, Must Love and
Help Each Other. Serve the People"--Chairman Mao (September 8, 1944)

Mao's Writing is like the Sun,
Flashing with Golden Light,
Brightening Every Warriors Heart,
Giving Direction to Their Work and Learning.

The Army and the People Should Become One
See the Army as the People's Army
Then the Army will be Seen as Invincible!

The Yan' An Spirit Lives on in Generations.

Temper a Red Heart in a Broad World
(the white banner in the background says that it is necessary
for educated youth to go to the countryside to receive reeducation
from the poor and lower middle peasants)

Carry Out the Revolution Until Its Victory!

Be Ready at All Times to Destroy Offending Enemies!

All Our Literature and Arts Should Serve the People and First of All the Workers
Peasants and Soldiers.  The Literature and Arts should be Composed for Them
And Also Used By Them.

Chairman Mao Teaches US:  We Should Not Only Keep a Strong Formal Army,
But Also Organize Contingents of People's Militia on a Big Scale.

Learn the Three Articles as Our Motto!

Vow to Rearrange the Country's Land!

Set Off a New Wave of Studying Works of Karl Marx, V.I. Lenin and Chairman Mao

 The Army-Militia Joint Defense Builds Bastions of Iron

Oppose the Invasion of American Imperialists!
Crush the "Basic Treaty" between South Korea and Japan!

The Four Seas are Rising,
Clouds and Water are Raging:
The Five Continents are Rocking,
Wind and Thunder are Roaring!
(This is one of my Favorite Quotations from Chairman Mao's Poems)

All the World's People Must Unite. Down with the American Invaders
and All their Running Dogs!

Firmly Stand on the Side of Chairman Mao!

Chairman Mao is the Brightest Sun in our Hearts!

Sweep Away All Pests to Be Invincible

Nobody Wants This Dirty Money.  What we Want is Socialism!


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Singing and Dancing did play a role in the Cultural Revolution. But all such activities had to be "Revolutionary." Jiang Qing, Chairman Mao's psychopathic wife, went to great lengths ensure that all music, theater, film and art met her standards and was "politically correct."  Today, one may find phonograph records of cultural revolution music in China's antique and dirt markets. Some have colorful and interesting covers.

Song of the Red Army. Three Main Rules of Discipline, Eight Points
for Attention. Each and Every Revolutionary Soldier Should Keep in Mind.

Advance Triumphantly Along Chairman Mao's Revolutionary Path!

Where Singing is Heard, A Team of PLA Soldiers Are
Coming Valiantly.  At the Head of the Time, A Flaming War Banner
Is Fluttering in the Wind!

March Forward To Victory Singing Aloud
The Revolutionary War Songs!

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After forces loyal to the Republic of China and Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek retreated to the island of Taiwan in 1949, PRC leaders called for the "liberation" of Taiwan. To a certain extent, this militant rhetoric was shelved in the mid-1950s.  As Premier Zhou Enlai explained in 1955, "there are two possible approaches for the Chinese people to liberate Taiwan:  the approach of war and the approach of peace."  In the Cultural Revolution, however, "peaceful" liberation was abandoned and "liberating Taiwan" again became a popular slogan.

We Must Liberate Taiwan!

Liberate Taiwan! (These are the characters on the Banner
the Woman is Holding)

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Neither Hardship Nor Death!
Learn from the Holy Spirit of Comrade Wang Jie for
Whole-hearted Concentration on Revolution! 

 Learn Mao's Writing Like Comrade Wang Jie--
Whatever Chairman Mao Says, I Will Do

 Learn from Uncle Wang Jie!
Be a Successor to the Revolution!

Learn from Uncle Wang Jie!
Be a Good Successor to the Revolution!

 Let Thousands and Thousands of Youths Like Wang Jie Grow Up!

 Chairman Mao's Works Are Like the Sun!
Every Word and Sentence Sparkles Like the Golden Sunshine!

Study, Execute, Promulgate and Defend the Highest Instructions from Chairman Mao!
Learn from Comrade Liu Yingjun--a Good Soldier of Chairman Mao!

Countless Revolutionary Martyrs Sacrificed Their Lives In The Interests
Of the People, Which Makes Each of Us Alive Feel Sad While Thinking of Them.
Shall We have Personal Interests We Cannot Sacrifice, And Any Wrongdoing
We Cannot Dump?--Chairman Mao

 Learn from Mao's Good Student---Jiao Yu Lu

Lives Model Yourself After Comrade Jiao Yulu and Become Chairman Mao's Good Student.
Be Infinitely Faithful to the Revolution and Be Sincerely Devoted to the People.

Learn from Mao's Good Student---Jiao Yu Lu

Learn From Lei Feng!  Be Chairman Mao's Good Boys!

A Person's Life is Limited, but to Serve the People is Unlmited. I would Contribute My Limited Life to
Unlimitedly "Serve the People." Soldiers Fight for the People and the People Love the Soldiers.

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During the Eighth Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Congress in 1956, the party's constitution was revised to provide for a collective leadership and prevent the development of a "cult of personality." This did not please Chairman Mao.  During the Ninth CCP Congress in 1969, Mao Zedong thought was reinserted into the party constitution as the guiding principle of the party and those who had engineered the provisions in the previous document (Liu Shaoqi, Deng Xiaoping, etc) were labeled as "traitors, scabs and renegades." The Cult of Personality accelerated. 

All Party Members, All People in the Country! Do Not Think Everything Will
Be Peaceful After One, Two , Three or Four Times of Cultural Revolution! Be on
Your Full Alert and Never Lose Vigilance (Quotation from Chairman Mao)
Long Live the Proletariat Cultural Revolution!

Chairman Mao Is the Red Sun in the Hearts of the World's People!

Long Live! Long, Long Live Chairman Mao,
the Reddest and Reddest Sun in Our Hearts!


 The CCP Is the Core Power Leading Our Cause!
Marxism-Leninism is the Theoretical Foundation Guarding Our Thoughts!

Closely Follow Great Hero Chairman Mao to Bravely
Move Forward without Fear!


Be United and Fight for Great Victory!

Great Success for Chairman Mao's Proletariat Revolutionary Line:
The Successful Construction of the Nanjing Yangtze Bridge
(Ironically, a large portion of the famous bridge was accidentally
set on fire in 2008 by merchants selling their goods under the bridge. One
cannot help but wonder what Chairman Mao would have thought of that!)

The PLA is a Big School of Maoism!

All People Unite!  Down with American Imperialists, Soviet Revisionists
and the Reactionaries in All Countries!

Longevity! Longevity! Chairman Mao!

Long Live the Great, Honorable and Correct Chinese Communist Party!

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"Chairman Mao is the brightest sun in the heart of all the world's people!"

Sailing the Seas Depends on the Helmsman!

Long Live Chairman Mao's Proletariat Revolutionary Line!


"The World is Yours, and Ours As Well, But Finally is Yours.
You Young People are energized and in prime time and like the sun at
8 or 9 in the morning. You are entrusted with hopes"--Chairman Mao

Seize Bigger Success on the Way of Successive Revolution!

Always think of, follow, submit to, and work for Chairman Mao.
Learn from Comrade Men He who gives his Wholehearted Allegiance
to Chairman Mao's Revolutionary Line!

Mao Zedong! The Soviet People Miss You!!!

The Reddest and Reddest Sun in Our Hearts
Are Together with Us!
[Note that Lin Biao is featured in this handbill. I have seen
some where he is crossed and defaced out by the original owner]

Always Loyal to the Great Leader Chairman Mao,
Always Loyal to Great Chairman Mao's Thoughts,
Always Loyal to Chairman Mao's Revolutionary Route.

For a Truly Great Man,  Look to This Age Alone

Long Live Our Great Leader, Chairman Mao!
Long Live Chair Mao!  Long Long Live Chairman Mao!
In 1935, Chairman Mao was in Northern Shaanxi Province.

Long Live Our Great Leader Chairman Mao!
Long Live Chairman Mao!  Long, Long Live Chairman Mao!
Chairman Mao Reported to Cadres in Yan'an Shaanxi Province

Long Live! Long Long Live Chairman Mao, the Great Teacher,
the Great Leader, The Great Commander and the Great Helmsman!

The Working Class Must Lead Everything


Chairman Mao Zedong Greets President Richard M. Nixon in
Beijing during the Cultural Revolution (1972).
Chairman Mao Appeared to have Genuinely Liked
President Nixon and Offered Him Political Asylum
in China during the Watergate Fiasco.


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The People's Republic of China supported North Vietnam and the Viet Cong during America's involvement in the Southeast Asian conflict during the 1960s.  In addition to material aid, hundreds of thousands of Chinese "volunteers" were deployed to North Vietnam beginning in 1964 to man anti-aircraft batteries and assist the North Vietnamese military.  Within the Chinese mainland, an enormous propaganda campaign sought to whip up support for this initiative.  Below are some handbills from this campaign. Many of these were printed during the Cultural Revolution.

Vietnamese Soliders and People Fight Well,
Fight Skillfully and Fight Hard!

South Vietnamese People Get Stronger & Stronger in Fighting,
Continue to Destroy the American Invaders Until Success is Achieved!

Defeat the American Imperialists

Develop the Revolutionary Tradition and March Ahead!

All Reactionaries are Paper Tigers!

The Anti-American Fighting of the Vietnamese People is a Great
Contribution to the World People's Revolutionary Movement!

Vietnamese Soldiers and People Fight Bravely
with Common Action Toward American Enemies.
The Number of American Bandits Who Come is How
Many will be Annihilated!


Stick to Fighting! Liberate South Vietnam! Defend North Vietnam!


 American Pilot Bandits Surrender Under
The Foot of Heroes


The Anti-Imperialist Fighting People of the World Must Win!

Put Hatred into the Bullets and Get Rid of the American Invaders!

Fight Hard, Fight Skillfully and Fight Well!

All the World's People Must Take Action Together!
Get the American Invaders Out of Vietnam!


Mobilize the People of the World!
Totally Annihilate the American Invaders!

Press Hard!

Fight Hard!  Get the American Invaders out of Vietnam!

The American Aggressors Must be Driven Out of South Vietnam!

The Vietnamese People Will Become Stronger in Combat!

The Vietnamese People Will Win!

The All Reactionaries are Paper Tigers!
All the World's People Must Unite and Bring Down The
American Invaders and their Running Dogs!

The People of the Countries of Indo-China Strengthen their Unity and Support,
Stick to People's Warfare and they are sure to Overcome All
Difficulties and Make the Final Victory (this is a quotation from
Chairman Mao).  The People do not Fear the American Imperialists.
The American Imperialists Fear the People!

 A Wave of Anger!

Put Hatred in the Guns!

The Image Here Shows an American Officer on the radio to Headquarters saying
"General, I am going to close in on the guerrillas...they have been besieged."
Its a joke (of sorts)

Annihilate the American Invaders Where They Enter!

The People of the Three Countries of Indo-China Must Win!
The American Imperialists Must Lose!

Keep Fully Alert!  Be Prepared at any time to Smash
an American Invasion!

Vietnam Must Win!  American Imperialists Must Lose!

Strongly Support the Vietnamese People's Movement of Anti-Americanism
and Saving Their Nation!

The Vietnamese People Will Win!

Vietnam Must Win!  The American Imperialists Must Lose!

Chinese People are Always Ready to Fight Together with Vietnamese Peoples Side by Side!

Celebrate the Vietnamese Peoples' Great Victory Against America! 




A Calendar from 1967!

The Year 1968 Was A Great Year for the Cultural Revolution!

 Chairman Mao and Lin Biao in Happier Times

Another Wonderful Image of the Great Helmsman and His Deputy at a Gigantic Tiananmen Square Rally!
(Notice that Lin Biao is carrying "The Little Red Book," that he first published for the PLA).


Chairman Mao passed away on September 9, 1976.  He had outlived his old enemy, President Chiang Kai-shek, by roughly one year.  Following his death, a power struggle ensued in the Chinese mainland.  Fortunately, Jiang Qing and her click (together known as the Gang of Four) were outwitted by other leaders.  Hua Guofeng emerged as an interim leader.  But he was "retired" by Deng Xiaoping who put China on the path to reform and opened up the country to investment. Thanks largely to the reforms instituted by Deng Xiaoping, the Chinese mainland now has the second largest economy on earth and over 300 million people have been lifted out of poverty.  It is not an exaggeration to suggest that Chairman Mao's China no longer exists.


 Chairman Mao, We Miss You Endlessly!


We Strive for the Popularization of Dazai County
Under the Brilliant Leadership of Chairman Hua
(Hua Guofeng was an "interim" leader of the PRC after
the death of Chairman Mao)

Vow to Fight Until the End Against the Anti-Party Clique
of Wang, Zhang, Jiang and Yao!
The Banner in the Background Reads
"Denounce the Anti-Party Crimes of the Gang of Four!"

Most Closely Unite Around the Party Central Committee with
Chairman Hua Guofeng at the Head!


Closely Follow Our Brilliant Leader Chairman Hua and Stride Forward
To Learn from Dazhai County!


Carry On Chairman Mao's Last Will and
Follow Chairman Hua's Direction!



An Incredible and Very Large Silk Embroidered Tapestry of Chairman Mao
and Comrade Lin Biao Standing Atop the Tiananmen Square Gate
and Reviewing the Red Guards!

Another Important and Very Large Silk Embroidered Tapestry from
the Cultural Revolution.  This One Features Chairman Mao
and says "Serve the People."



Translation of posters provided courtesy of Mr. Emil Wu , Mr. Yiran Zhao, Ms. Huan Chang , Ms. Kwei Cheng-May and Mr. Mingxi Jia