The year was 1962. Xi Zhongxun was accused of supporting a novel that Mao opposed. For this crime he was stripped of his titles, demoted, and sent to work in a factory. His wife, Qi Xin, was forced to do hard labor on a farm.
Six years later, the younger Xi was among the millions of “intellectual youth” who were sent to the countryside for “re-education” during Mao’s Cultural Revolution, which sought to purge the “impure” elements of Chinese society and preserve a communist ideology.