San mao was an orphan in old Shanghai. He ate poster paste, slept in garbage truck, kept warm in ragged sacks in winter. He did whatever work he could find such as selling newspapers, picking up rubbish, pushing pedicabs for others, etc.. But he still could not earn enough to eat. A wealthy lady adopted him and dressed him in fine clothes and disciplined him. However, San Mao who loved freedom didn't want to lead a parasitic life. He left and chose to live with other beggars like him freely. After liberation war, he stopped begging and led a normal life.
In order to immunise the Peoples Republic of China against bourgeois restoration Mao Zedong embarked on the "Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution" in 1966. This was mainly directed against intellectuals. Up to 1976 the whole country was plunged into destructive chaos, shaking the country’s social foundations. The Cultural Revolution is considered today as a "grave left-wing mistake" for which Mao Zedong was responsible. Whether Mao launched a campaign of ideological purification in 1966 to keep China from becoming capitalist or to solidify his power remains a subject for debate. Only the disastrous consequences are certain. This series presents the definitive history of the Cultural Revolution, its background, and aftermath, blending an incredible array of documentary footage with discussion by Chinese contemporaries, diplomats, and scholars, including Roxanne Witke, the only Westerner to interview Mao's wife, Jiang Qing. Chinese witnesses of the time, who all now live abroad, tell of their experiences: about torture, flight and many years of exile.