I researched why people wanted socialism and the background in that era. As you probably noticed from the book it take place in china during the cultural revolution led by chairman Mao. Communism at least in my eyes is just as bad as socialism. There was a full-scale civil war between the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the Nationalist Party. This war the Nationalist party won and then chairman Mao decided he wanted with his new war just won that he wanted to start a revolution for the Chinese people taking out the old ideas culture and other things to make the country essentially new.
Still does not mean that socialism was the way to go but that is what he chose.