The book Red Scarf Girl takes place in one of the most important times in Chinese history, the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, also known as the Chinese Cultural Revolution. The Cultural Revolution was a social political movement that took place in People's Republic of China from 1966- 1976. The Revolution was launched in May 1966 (Mao Zedong). Mao officially declared the Cultural Revolution to have ended in 1969, but its active phase lasted until the death of the military leader Lin Biao in 1971. After Mao's death and the arrest of the Gang of Four in 1976, reformers led by Deng Xiaoping gradually began to dismantle the Maoist policies associated with the Cultural Revolution (After Mao's Death).
On August 8, 1966, the party's Central Committee passed its "Decision Concerning the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution", later to be known as the "Sixteen Points." This decision defined the Cultural Revolution as "a great revolution that touches people to their very souls and constitutes a new stage in the development of the socialist revolution in our country, a deeper and more deep stage."Adding on, at August 18, 1966, over a million Red Guards from all over the country gathered in and around Tiananmen Square in Beijing for a personal audience with the Chairman, Mao. Because he had ordered them to do so, as well as they obeyed him.