By Anita Chan
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Extra resources for Children of Mao: Personality Development and Political Activism in the Red Guard Generation
He merely hovered near forbidden zones. The same kind of rebelliousness and deliberate release of self-control, the same urge to play with fire, persisted through his adolescence and, as we have seen, to this very day. He could afford to be defiant in school. Despite his commotions there were , after all, always teachers who appreciated his intelligence. His defiance was at once a cry for attention and an urge to show that he could be as bright or as naughty as he himself chose. Other interviewees preferred to attract teachers ' attention by conforming, but Chang chose to do so through resistance.
No matter what, I didn't want to have a bad relationship with the other kids . Usually cadres were rejected by the students . Not me . ' None the less, the demands on an official activist to serve as a model of good behaviour placed an uncomfortable strain on him. It prevented him from acting as a child. 'Since at school I had to present myself as a model for other children, the moment I got home I became terribly naughty. ' How naughty were you? ' If that was considered 'naughty', one can appreciate how tight were the demands placed on student activists to behave at school with all the rectitude and seriousness of adults.
He continues to walk with the ungainly splay-legged gait of a Chinese peasant - a walk he had cultivated in China . Bai's uncouth mannerisms belie his background. He is the only one of the interviewees with a university education. He has a sharp intellect, and is well read and well versed in Marxism . His wide experiences, geographically and socially, endow Bai with an ability to link theory with national policies and grassroot politics to an extent lacking in my other interviewees. His interest in politics has not been extinguished since leaving China .
Children of Mao: Personality Development and Political Activism in the Red Guard Generation by Anita Chan