Although the Cultural Revolution (previously known as the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution) was a multifaceted affair, it was undergirded by a vicious, fanatical campaign to destroy the "Four Olds."
In 1971, The New York Times described the campaign thusly:
"One of the early objectives of the Cultural Revolution in China … was to wipe out the 'four olds'—old things, old ideas, old customs and old habits.
"The 'four olds' had already suffered setbacks in the years of Communist rule preceding the Cultural Revolution, but the Maoist leadership tried to use the new revolutionary upsurge launched in 1966 to eliminate them completely.
"In the turbulent years from 1966 to 1968, what remained of old religious practices, old superstitions, old festivals, old social practices such as traditional weddings and funerals, and old ways of dress were violently attacked and suppressed. Visual evidences of old things were destroyed, and there was an orgy of burning of old books and smashing of old art objects."