At the outbreak of the Cultural Revolution, 13-year-old Nanchu watched Red Guards burst into her home and arrest her parents, whom they tortured and jailed. She was left to fend for herself and her younger brother on the streets of Shanghai, enduring poverty and near-starvation. As she grew older she herself became a Red Guard and was sent down to the largest work camp in China. There she faced primitive conditions, predatory officials, a viper's nest of party jealousies, and near-fatal injury before she finally won admittance to Madame Mao's university in Shanghai.
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