With the Cultural Revolution about to begin, many foreigners, including Alyce and Colin, went to Beidaihe for a summer break. When they returned, traffic light colours were changed for red to go and green to stop. (This proved hopelessly confusing, not to mention dangerous, and did not last long.) Dazibai (‘big character poster’ of written notices of communist ideas and exposing counter-revolutionaries) were everywhere. The Great Cultural Revolution had begun. People were all moving and going to the countryside to learn from the workers and peasants. People switched places from the ‘haves’ to the ‘have nots’. The contract Alyce and Colin had signed with the Beijing Foreign Languages Institute expired in August 1966, the same month the Cultural Revolution broke out, but they could not have extended it, even if they had wanted to.
Arriving back in Beijing from the holiday in Beidaihe, Alyce and Colin found Beijing in total confusion. Revolutionary “big character posters” (dazibao 大字报) were everywhere. Below are several pictures of the situation. In addition, many people were marched through the streets with placards around their necks accusing them of counter-revolutionary crimes.
Links to other pages under the section ‘Life in China 1964-66’