A Virginia mom who survived China’s Cultural Revolution is continuing to speak out against the teaching of critical race theory in US schools after video of her blasting the academic movement went viral earlier this week.
Xi Van Fleet – who fled China at the age of 26 before settling in the United States -made headlines after she slammed CRT at a Loudoun County School Board meeting on Wednesday, saying it had striking similarities to theories pushed by communists in her native country.
‘CRT trains children to be social justice warriors and to loathe their country and their history… It is indeed the American version of the Chinese Cultural Revolution,’ she declared during her speech at the meeting.
On Thursday night, Van Fleet appeared on Sean Hannity’s Fox News program, where she extrapolated on her comparison.
‘I just want to let the American people know that what is going on in our schools and in our country is really a replay of the cultural revolution in China,’ she said.
‘CRT uses the same ideology, the same methodology, even the same vocabulary. The ideology is cultural Marxism.’
The Cultural Revolution – a violent political purge that occurred in China from 1966 – 1976 – began with leader Mao Zedong attempting to destroy remnants of capitalism by shutting down debate, dissent and free speech.
Mao enlisted the help of young university students, known as ‘Red Guards’, who torched books and artworks, and tried to ‘cancel’ those who were seen as ‘ideologically impure’.
The purge left between 500,000 and 20 million people dead in the space of just a decade. Van Fleet was just six years old when it started.
Xi Van Fleet appeared on Sean Hannity’s Fox News program continuing to speak out against the teaching of Critical Race Theory in US schools
Van Fleet says the only difference is that CRT segregates people by race, whereas theories pushed in the Cultural Revolution divided people by class before turning them against one another.
‘We basically canceled the whole Chinese civilization pre-Communism and we changed our school names, street names, store names, even our personal names,’ Van Fleet told Hannity.
She even said ‘wokeness’ was a key component of the methods used by Maoists.
‘Wokeness – to be specific – we used class wokeness in China,’ she also recalled.
‘Your level of wokeness determines your chance to get a promotion or to get benefits and who decides your level of wokeness? The party leaders,’ she stated.
The Cultural Revolution – a violent political purge that occurred in China from 1966 – 1976 – began with leader Mao Zedong attempting to destroy remnants of capitalism by shutting down debate, dissent and free speech
Speaking at the School Board meeting on Wednesday night, Van Fleet stated: ‘We were taught to denounce our heritage, and Red Guards destroyed anything that is not communist…statues, books and anything else.’
‘We were also encouraged to report on each other, just like the Student Equity Ambassador program and the bias reporting system,’ Van Fleet added, referring to new initiatives set up in Loudoun County public schools.
After arriving in the US at the age of 26, Van Fleet says she ‘felt like it was such a free country, meaning I have free access to all sorts of information – books on both sides of the issues’.
However, now, she says she feels that some of that freedom is being taken away.
‘I can’t really just say what I mean, even though the other side can say whatever,. To me, and to a lot of Chinese, it is heartbreaking that we escaped communism and now we experience communism here.’
Van Fleet is seen giving her impassioned speech at the Loudoun County School Board meeting
China’s Cultural Revolution: A shutdown of debate, dissent and free speech that left 20M dead from 1966 to 1976
The Cultural Revolution was a violent political purge that occurred in China from 1966 – 1976.
During that time, Mao Zedong, Chairman of the Chinese Communist Party, tried to purge remnants of capitalism by shutting down debate, dissent and free speech.
For ten years, Chairman Mao’s followers burned books, tore down statues and murdered millions loyal to the ‘Four Olds’ — old ideas, culture, customs and habits
He envisioned a ‘Communist Utopia’ with a massive redistribution of wealth – but what occurred was a 10-year campaign that brought widespread suffering and a destruction of much of China’s ancient cultural norms.
Mao pushed for the formation of ‘Red Guards’ – groups of militant university and high school students who were put into paramilitary units.
The young recruits were fed propaganda and were relatively easy to influence because of their young age. Their goal was destroy symbols of China’s pre-communist past – known as ‘The Four Olds’: Old Ideas, Old Culture, Old Habits, and Old Customs.
The New York Times reports that ‘Red Guards formed large groups that targeted political enemies for abuse and public humiliation and that ‘they carried out widespread destruction of historical sites and cultural relics.’
Roger Lewis wrote in The Daily Mail in 2016 that ‘Mao could see the young were impressionable, easy to manipulate and eager to fight. The so-called Red Guards were a ‘screaming, self-righteous band’ numbering many millions, who went on the rampage.
The Red Guards frequently broke into homes and destroyed paintings and books. They were also required to report dissidents, and were even permitted to inflict bodily harm on them. Universities were their chiefs targets, with the Red Guards turning into baying mobs who would publicly try to destroy those with differing points of view.
Pictured: Red Guards reading Mao’s Little Red Book in Beijing, 1966
Writing for The Mail on Sunday last year, professor John Gray stated: ‘It is not far-fetched to compare the methods of this ‘woke movement’ to those of Chairman Mao’s Red Guards, who terrorized the Chinese people half a century ago.’
‘Hounding of people is strikingly reminiscent of Mao’s Cultural Revolution, which wrecked much of what remained of the country’s ancient civilization,’ he wrote.
‘The only way someone accused of thought-crime could escape punishment was through public confession, ‘re-education’ and abject apology in so-called ‘struggle sessions’, in which they were humiliated and tormented by their accusers,’ Gray continued.
‘Tragically, the woke movement has reinvented this vile ritual, with teachers, journalists, professors and others seeking to hang on to their jobs by desperately begging forgiveness,’ he concluded.
The Cultural Revolution left between 500,000 and 20 million people dead in the space of a single decade.
A Red Guard member chops off the hair of a governor during Chairman Mao’s Cultural Revolution in China in 1966
Over the past year, numerous public and private schools across the US have opted to incorporate CRT into their teachings – sparking a nationwide debate in which Loudoun County has emerged as a flashpoint.
The theory asserts that ‘institutions are inherently racist and that race itself… is a socially constructed concept that is used by white people to further their economic and political interests at the expense of people of color’, according to Texas A&M University professor Tommy Curry.
While Loudoun County Public School officials say they are not officially using CRT in their classrooms, they have pledged to push for ‘equity’ and have begun using many CRT ‘buzzwords and concepts’.
That decision has angered many locals in Loudoun County – which is located just outside of Washington, DC, and is the wealthiest county in the entire country.
While Loudoun County Public Schools say they are not officially using CRT in their classrooms, they have pledged to push for ‘equity’ and have begun using many CRT ‘buzzwords and concepts’
Lilit Vanetsyan, who teaches in neighboring Fairfax County, Virginia, also spoke at the Loudoun County School Board meeting on Wednesday night
Van Fleet’s criticism was echoed by teacher Lilit Vanetsyan, who in her own fiery address Wednesday night accused school board members of enabling teachers with radically liberal lesson plans at the expense of students’ education and mental health.
Vanetsyan, who teaches in neighboring Fairfax County, Virginia, also spoke at Wednesday night’s meeting in Loudoun County – addressing not just school board members but also parents and students.
‘Parents, the longer that you wait and don’t have your child’s schools accountable, gives these guys more time to dictate what’s best for your child’s physical, mental, and emotional health,’ Vanetsyan declared.
She then also directly addressed students, saying: ‘You are on the front lines of these indoctrination camps. Challenge the staff when you are presented with a ludicrous statement, and do not allow anybody to tell you that you cannot accomplish anything because of your skin color, or to hate yourself because of your skin color.
‘Students, it is up to you to be the next generation of victims, or victors.’
A push to incorporate CRT ‘buzzwords and concepts’ has angered many locals in Loudoun County – which is located just outside of Washington, D.C. and is the wealthiest county in the entire country
What is critical race theory? The concept dividing the nation which asserts that US institutions are inherently racist
The fight over critical race theory in schools has escalated in the United States over the last year.
The theory has sparked a fierce nationwide debate in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests around the country over the last year and the introduction of the 1619 Project.
The 1619 Project, which was published by the New York Times in 2019 to mark 400 years since the first enslaved Africans arrived on American shores, reframes American history by ‘placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the center of the US narrative’.
The debate surrounding critical race theory regards concerns that some children are being indoctrinated into thinking that white people are inherently racist or sexist.
Those against critical race theory have argued it reduces people to the categories of ‘privileged’ or ‘oppressed’ based on their skin color.
Supporters, however, say the theory is vital to eliminating racism because it examines the ways in which race influence American politics, culture and the law.