The 50th anniversary of the start of China's violent Cultural Revolution is passing without fanfare and has been almost completely ignored by the Communist Party-controlled media.

On May 16, 1966, the party's Politburo met to purge a quartet of top officials who had fallen out of favor with Communist leader Mao Zedong. The event also produced a document announcing the start of the decade-long drive to pursue class warfare, enforce radical egalitarianism and enlist the population in mass political movements.

The start of the Cultural Revolution was not widely known or understood and the time, but soon took on a violent agenda, leading to the downfall of leading officials, factional battles, mass rallies and the exile of educated youths to the countryside.

No official events were held to commemorate Monday's anniversary.