1966 - The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution Engulfs Peking’s Streets
The “Red Guards” are fiercely pounding bourgeois customs and habits. The broad revolutionary masses are giving the most hearty and resolute backing to the revolutionary rebel spirit of the young fighters.
LAUNCHING a fierce offensive against all old ideas, culture, customs and habits, the “Red Guards” in Peking, since August 20, have taken to the streets and have posted revolutionary handbills and big-character posters, held rallies and made speeches everywhere. Thanks to their propaganda and help, some of the shops whose names had feudal, capitalist or revisionist connotations have adopted names which carry revolutionary significance. The “Red Guards” have also proposed to the revolutionary teachers and students that they speedily remove all school names which have no political meaning. In addition, they have proposed to the revolutionary staff and workers in the service trades that they never again give outlandish haircuts and make and never again sell and rent out decadent books or magazines. These “Red Guards” want to thoroughly transform Peking into an extremely proletarian and revolutionary Peking. This rebel spirit and revolutionary action of the “Red Guards” have won the most enthusiastic and resolute support of the broad masses of revolutionary teachers and students, revolutionary staff and workers and the city’s residents.
The “Red Guards” of the Peking No. 2 Middle School posted on the walls of the capital’s main streets a declaration of war on the old world. The declaration, which is filled with revolutionary zeal, says: “The floodwaters of the great proletarian cultural revolution are now pounding the various positions of the bcurgeoisie. The hot-beds of capitalism are no longer safe. ‘Ducktail’ haircuts, ‘spiralling’ hairdos and other ‘queer’ hair styles, ‘cowboy jeans,’ ‘tight-fitting’ shirts and blouses, various kinds of Hongkong-style skirts and dresses, and obnoxious photographs and journals are now under heavy fire. We should not regard these matters lightly, because it is here that the gates to capitalist restoration are wide open. The former Peking municipal Party committee was deaf and blind to these things for 17 years, and even forbade any reforms. They took the revisionist and capitalist road. We take a road different from them. They did not care, but we do and we will deal with it thoroughly. We must block all channels leading to capitalism, we want to smash all the hot-beds that breed revisionism, and we are not going to be soft on these things.”
The “Red Guards” point out that Peking is the capital of socialist China and the centre of the proletarian revolution; how can streets bearing the foul names which have been left over by imperialism, feudalism and the bourgeoisie be tolerated? Heartily supported by the city’s residents, they have proposed changing Chang An (Eternal Peace) Boulevard to Tung Fang Hung (The East Is Red) Boulevard, Tung Chiao Min Hsiang and Hsi Chiao Min Hsiang (formerly the east and west legation quarters which before liberation were barred to the working people) to Fan Ti (Anti-Imperialist) Street and Fan Hsiu (Anti-Revisionist) Street respectively, Wang Fu Ching (the Well of the Prince’s Palace) to Fang Hsiu (Prevent Revisionism) Road, and Kwang Hua (Glorious) Road, where the Vietnamese Embassy is situated, to Yuan Yueh (Support Vietnam) Road. Spurred on by the revolutionary spirit of the “Red Guards,” the revolutionary workers and staff of the department store on the former Wang Fu Ching removed the words “Wang Fu Ching” on the store’s sign and it is now called the Peking City Department Store. Tung An Shih Chang (the Eastern Peace Market) has been renamed Tung Feng Shih Chang (the East Wind Market). Hsieh Ho (Peking Union Medical College) Hospital which got its name from the U.S. imperialist aggressors is now known as Fan Ti (Anti-Imperialist) Hospital. Tung Jen Hospital has been renamed the Kung Nung Ping (Worker, Peasant, Soldier) Hospital.
Inspired by the “Red Guards” of the Peking No. 2, 15 and 63 Middle Schools, the revolutionary workers and staff of the Chuan Chu Teh (Collection of All Virtue) Restaurant, which specializes in duck, set out to make revolution and smash to pieces the Chua Chu Teh sign which has been hanging there for over 70 years, and they put up a new sign — Peking Roast Duck Restaurant. The old workers there said that the three characters — Chuan Chu Teh — were soaked with the blood and sweat of the working people who were exploited by the capitalists. In smashing this signboard, they said, they have shown their determination to smash all the vestiges of the capitalist exploiting system and the backward customs and habits left over by the capitalist class.
Since 1964 the workers and staff of the Handley Watch Shop have twice proposed changing the name but nothing came of their demand because of obstruction by the former Peking municipal Party committee. Now, encouraged by the “Red Guards,” they have amed the shop The Capital Watch Shop after a collective discussion.
On the night of August 20, when the “Red Guards” renamed the Hsu Shun Chang (a capitalist’s name) tailoring establishment Tung Feng (The East Wind) it drew much applause from people in the streets, and they shouted in unison: “Long live Chairman Mao!” “The East wind prevails over the West wind!”
A big-character poster, sent by the “Red Guards” of the middle school attached to the Central College of Fine Art, was put up in the display windows of the Jung Pao Chai Studio. The poster says: “Jung Pao Chai is a contraband studio. For scores of years it has drained the sweat and blood of the working people and served the bourgeois lords and their ladies and their young masters and misses; served the feudal landlords and their elders and progeny; and served the reactionary bourgeois academic authorities. In short, it does not serve socialism, and the workers, peasants and soldiers. Teng To, a chieftain of the sinister gang which opposed the Party, socialism and Mao Tse-tung’s thought, was its lord and master and an old customer. The reactionary painter and “donkey trader” Hwang Chou (Hwang specialized in donkeys —Tr.) was also one of its props. It has become a market place for the gang of reactionary painters. We are set on finishing off Jung Pao Chai.”
The revolutionary action of the “Red Guards” won wholehearted support from the revolutionary workers and staff of the hairdressers, dressmakers, public bath houses and other service trades. In the last few days these workers and staff held meetings, wrote out pledges and issued statements. A cadre in the manager’s office of the department stores in the East City said: “As early as a year and a half ago we revolutionary workers and staff of many department stores asked to remove all the old shop names left over from the capitalists, but the former Peking municipal Party committee would not allow us to do so. Our capital’s ‘Red Guards’ have done a good job this time. We give them all our support.”
In a letter to the “Red Guards,” the revolutionary workers and staff of the Wei Tung (Guard the East) Tailoring Shop (originally the Lan Tien [Blue Sky] Tailoring Shop) said: “We resolutely respond to your revolutionary initiative. We are in complete agreement with the revolutionary action of the Peking No. 2 and other middle school ‘Red Guards’ who opposed the making of Hongkong-style dresses and other grotesque clothing. We pledge never to make or sell such trash. Let us join hands to carry the great proletarian cultural revolution to a new and broader and more profound stage.” Vertical and horizontal scrolls filled with revolutionary sentiments have now been posted on the doors of many tailoring establishments. They say: “We are going to make plenty of revolutionary clothing quickly, and we are going to speedily sweep away all outlandish clothing.” “Up with the proletariat, down with the bourgeoisie!”
— Hsinhua News Agency, Aug. 22