The Red guards believed themselves to be Mao’s army and named themselves thusly. ‘Hong’ meant red or the ideology of Mao which was being protected, ‘Wei’ by ‘bing’ meaning (soldiers) of China. Red guards began with a small group of school children who started with naming themselves ‘Chairman Mao’s Red Guards’, but Mao’s direct support and encouragement for them led the group to be named the ‘Red Guard’. The Red Guard comprised of young people who belonged to families from the ‘five red types’. In 1966, Mao called for a ‘cultural revolution’ against the segmentation that had been created in the society and wanted to rid the society of all evil by eliminating any elements of ‘Capitalist’ or ‘Bourgeois’ ideology.
As a result of Mao’s call, two character posters were plastered at the Tsinghua University to oppose the administration at the Universities of Beijing and Tsinghua as intellectual elitists and bourgeois who had diverged from the right path of thought. the poster was signed by ‘chairman Mao’s red guard. Mao endorsed the actions of the group and encouraged their thinking that their thinking was in line with that of Maoism, and as a result of his order the manifesto was to appear in People’s Daily and a nationwide broadcast was sanctioned. The movement gained popularity. In Tiananmen Square Mao addressed a gathering of above eight hundred thousand people while he wore the Red Guard arm band throughout the rally, showing unrelenting support for the guard and their actions (Byers 3). Although the red guards began as a movement of the youth and young students but later on engulfed the working and peasant population (Szczepanski). As the movement progressed the red guards became known for their destruction, violence and cruelty. The guard destroyed cultural abodes, writings, buildings, religious buildings and much more in the name of destroying the four olds. people were killed and humiliated for their anti-Maoism ideology (Szczepanski). Where for many the red guard is a memory of grief and violence.