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A survivor of China’s Cultural Revolution said the radicalization of America's youth makes her feel like she's "seeing history repeat itself" and is reminded of the indoctrination she faced as a child. 

"The identity politics, oppressor versus oppressed, the struggle sessions and trying to destroy nuclear families, turn kids against their parents — it all happened before. It's similar tactics," Lily Tang Williams, a Republican running for Congress in New Hampshire’s second district, told Fox News.

"But our people don't recognize that," she added. "Even some parents don't recognize that."

Born in 1964, Williams was a young child during Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution, a sociopolitical movement that started in 1966 and continued until the authoritarian died in 1976. It aimed to eradicate remnants of capitalism, religion and traditional elements from Chinese society through oppressive laws and military force in order to strengthen Chinese communism, according to


Part of an illiterate, working-class family, Williams said she experienced extremely poor living conditions, food rationing, social chaos, oppressive restrictions and political indoctrination. She said her eyes were first opened to the evils of communism when an American student studying at her university gave her a copy of the U.S. Constitution. 

"My light bulb came on. It would not turn off," she said.

Williams was 24 when she managed to leave the oppressive country in 1988 to attend graduate school in the U.S. She met her now-husband shortly after arriving. The two have been married for 33 years and have three children. 

But over the past decade, Williams said she's seeing similarities from her childhood growing in America, with people being divided into groups, the radicalization of youth and the destruction of family ties.

"I feel like the communist Marxists followed me to my new country," she told Fox News. "I feel like I'm seeing history repeating itself in front of my eyes."

Mao, the founder of the People's Republic of China and the first chairman of the Chinese Communist Party, inspired God-like worship among hundreds of millions of Chinese and took over the country, promising to bring power to the people through communism, according to Encyclopedia Britannica. During his Cultural Revolution, Chinese people were divided into favorable and unfavorable categories depending on their class.

lily tang williams as a child in china

Lily Tang Williams grew up under oppressive communist rule during Mao's Cultural Revolution. (Courtesy of Lily Tang Williams)


"Mao actually used classic Marxist theory to divide people into oppressor versus oppressed," Williams said. "Sounds very familiar to today's America, doesn’t it?"

She said Mao transformed "the most idealistic, innocent young people, urban youth," into Red Guards, groups of militarized Chinese students who served as a main driver of his revolution. 

At the time, Williams said she was a "Mao’s Red Child" and remembers communist propaganda surrounding her .

"I was totally brainwashed," she told Fox News. "The first of 15 minutes of classroom gathering was all political, it's all indoctrination."

"We were told that our parents are dear, but Chairman Mao is more dear," she added. 

If a child's family belonged to the unfavorable category, considered oppressors, they were encouraged to publicly denounce them, cut all ties and change their last name to improve their own societal status, said Williams.

"Kids were encouraged to basically spy on their parents and spy on their neighbors then tell school teachers and local authorities about them," she told Fox News. "They think their parents should apologize and should go to struggle sessions and should be publicly shamed in order to be reeducated."

Place Tien an Men, little red book and Red Guards of Mao 1966/67

Mao Zedong transformed students into militarized members of his "Red Guard" to serve as a major driver of his revolution. (Paolo KOCH /Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)


Williams said she never went as far as turning her parents in, "but a lot of other kids did."

"Some Red Guards actually regret it all their lives," she added.

Williams thought she would finally experience a life free of fearing an oppressive government. But she said she started to become concerned when the progressive left began talking about "fundamentally transforming America" in the early 2010s.

"This rhetoric they use to teach our young people, demonize free enterprise, people who create jobs, basically demonize capitalism — that's what I heard in China," Williams said.

Parents have grown increasingly concerned about the public education system ever since the COVID-19 lockdowns and remote learning exposed them to the lessons their children were being taught. Across the country, parents have challenged local school boards on political and social issues being taught as math and reading scores plummet.

williams first time voting first time in usa

Williams said watching American youth being indoctrinated in schools makes her feel "like history is repeating itself." (Courtesy of Lily Tang Williams)

"You see our youth in America, who are indoctrinated in schools, they lose critical independent thinking skills, doing their own research and challenging authorities," Williams said. "Because they were trained to believe in authorities, in their politicians, in their social media and their teachers, their counselors."

She's concerned about the separation between kids and their parents, as well as the debate over parental rights, as states battle over laws determining how much information schools must share with parents regarding their children.


Currently, 1,058 school districts representing over 18,000 schools nationwide have policies that allow teachers to keep a child's gender identity secret from their parents, according to Parents Defending Education. 

"This push to say, ‘Parents know nothing. Kids belong to this state. We, the professional teachers, know how to educate your kids, but you don't,’" Williams said. "It's something I personally experienced."

She said today’s "social justice warriors" and "leftist activists" remind her of members of the Red Guard and fears more family ties will be severed as a result of political differences. 

"They’re pushing this to our kids. And why? I think this has something to do with the leftist Marxist agenda," Williams said. 

"We don't want to go down that path," she added. "We don't want that happening in my new country. That's what I left behind, I thought."