Photograph of workers in the countryside, taken during the Cultural Revolution (1966–1976). Many prominent intellectuals were sent to the countryside as well, when universities were effectively closed.
A mass movement occurring during the final decade of Mao Zedong’s life from 1966 onward, the Cultural Revolution caused massive political, social, and cultural disruption, and saw an onslaught on the rule of the Communist Party by rebellious groups and radicals. For the central government, the main issue was who was to succeed Mao Zedong as leader of China after his death. This was not resolved during his lifetime.