When Xi Van Fleet, a Loudoun County mother, pushed back against Critical Race Theory at a heated Loudoun County School Board meeting last summer, her words carried special weight.
An immigrant from China, who as a child had lived through Mao’s Marxist Cultural Revolution, Xi described CRT as the indoctrination of children. What she was seeing in Loudoun County, she said, reminded her of what she witnessed growing up in Mao’s China.
“I’ve been very alarmed by what’s going on in our schools,” Fox News quoted Xi Van Fleet as telling the Loudoun County School Board members. “You are now teaching, training our children to be social justice warriors and to loathe our country and our history. Growing up in China, all of this sounds very familiar. The communist regime used the same critical theory to divide people. The only difference is that [they] used class instead of race. This is indeed the American version of the Chinese cultural revolution.”
“Critical Race Theory is indeed the American version of the Chinese Cultural Revolution,” Xi contended. “The critical race theory has its roots in cultural Marxism. It should have no place in our schools.”
A video of Xi’s remarks went viral. She was in the headlines and soon Sean Hannity invited her to appear on Hannity. “Am I ready for all this?” she recalls thinking. “It was such a big decision. And I decided yes. All this is worth it because, I can do something to help to save America, yes. So, I went to Hannity. I’d never ever, ever, ever, ever been interviewed by anyone. And I think it’s God’s will that I did well.” Requests for other interviews poured in after Hannity. She’s game to accept invitations. “If anyone offers me a platform, an interview, I will do it. I feel like this is the reason that I was brought to America, and this is the moment that was designed for me to use my story to help save America.”
Xi, who came to the United States in 1986, when she was 26, told IWF that she has been watching the development of what she believes are parallels with China under Mao and her adopted country for nearly a decade. But the riots of the summer of 2020 convinced her that the process had reached a critical point.
“Critical Race Theory is indeed the American version of the Chinese Cultural Revolution,” Xi contended. “It should have no place in our schools.”
“I could not remain an observer,” she told IWF. “I had to do something. It was the time of Covid, plus the death of George Floyd. It was a perfect storm that brought communism to the American streets and revealed its true face. Before, I would say that there was a tendency. But, no, this is not a tendency. This is the American cultural revolution being played out before our eyes. Too many Americans have no idea what is really going on. Why? Because we have never taught students, the American people, about the crimes of communism.”
Influenced by Marxist thought, her parents joined the revolution in 1949. “Mao launched the Cultural Revolution, which was officially the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, in 1966,” Xi recalls. “It lasted ten years until his death in 1976. I was a first grader when the Culture Revolution started. I lived through the whole revolution. By the time it was over, I had finished high school, and I was sent to the countryside to work in the fields for three years. And at the end of that time, Deng Xiaoping took over and decided to open up China and I was able to go to college at the age of 19.”
Xi compares what she saw happening in the United States to what she had seen as a child in China. “The first thing Mao’s Red Guards did,” she tells IWF, “was to abolish law enforcement. It wasn’t defunding the police but it was so similar. With law enforcement abolished, nobody could stop the Red Guards. They were just like BLM, antifa. What we saw on the streets of American cities 2020. We saw violence, rioting, looting, and burning—just like the Red Guards in the Cultural Revolution. Mao also launched a great cancel culture. He wanted to cancel everything that wasn’t communism. He called them the Four Olds, or the Four Old Things.
“They were old ideas, old traditions, old habits, and old customs,” Xi continues. “So, they basically cancelled Chinese traditional culture. So, the Red Guards pulled down any statue that is Buddhist, or that is not communist. They burned down the temples, they went home to home to break into the house and destroy anything that’s old. Old books, old vases, I mean just insane. I saw so many on the street one by one things pulled out, smashed, burned, and homeowners were just howling, and some were beaten if they resisted. The Red Guards wanted to get rid of the Four Olds, just like the burning of churches here, or the pulling down of statues, and they changed the names of streets, of schools, of stores, and even personal names. If a street was called, for example, Prosperity Boulevard, it became Anti-imperial Boulevard or whatever. If you had a traditional name, it was a good idea to change it.”
Downtown Washington, D.C.’s Black Lives Matter Plaza? Used to be two blocks of 16th Street. “The naming of the street has been seen by many as not only a reaction to the protests but part of it,” the New Yorker magazine’s Kyle Chayka ecstatically noted.
Xi was named for the city of Xi’An, but Xi’s name is also the Chinese character signifying the West, with implications of Western imperialism. There was peer pressure to change her name. Xi kept her original name, but she saw many people who adopted a new name to avoid running afoul of Mao’s Cultural Revolution, which could be fatal.
Critical Race Theory famously categorizes individuals as oppressors or oppressed according to factors decided at birth. This labeling reminds Xi of the way people were defined during the Cultural Revolution. “In China, when the communists took over,” Xi says, “right away, there was land reform. China was an overwhelmingly agricultural society. I think that 90-some percent of the population were rural peasants. So, through the land reform, the communists classified people, they divided people into five different categories.
“The worst was the land-owning class, that’s the enemy. So, by owning land, you were an enemy of the state. And the next category is rich peasant. You’re bad, but not as bad as the landowner. And then middle-class peasant, poor peasant, and then tenant peasants, which is proletarian. About one or two million landowners were executed. And the land was confiscated and then given to the poor peasants. Well, they had a field day for like one or two years, when everything was collectivized, through the collective farming. But then everything went back to the state. But what I’m trying to emphasize is that everyone has a label. You know where you stand.
“Basically, Mao divided China into two major camps: red camp, black camp. Red means you’re okay, You’re the friend with the revolution. Black means that you are the enemy. Not only that, your label is hereditary. Just like CRT. You’re born, if you are born to parents who were labeled as class enemy, you were class enemy at birth. Everyone knew his or her own place. If you did anything that was considered offensive to the ruling class, you became what’s called a counter revolutionary, and you ended up in the black camp. You could start in the red camp and end up in the black camp, but you can never start in the black camp and end up in the red camp. Does it make sense?” Unfortunately, it does make sense to those who have read about or otherwise been exposed to CRT.
After Mao’s death, Deng Xiaoping took over in 1979. Deng opened China to foreign investment, and ultimately made it possible for Xi to come to the U.S. to pursue her studies. Xi landed at Western Kentucky University, where she pursued graduate studies in English and met her husband. He wanted to introduce her to his grandmother. Xi was anxious about the racial aspect of the meeting. She needn’t have worried. “My husband’s grandmother was a working-class woman and basically was a factory worker, and probably had never seen a Chinese person before,” Xi recalls. “I believe there was one Chinese doctor in the whole town of Bowling Green. So, I thought she probably would look at me funny or something. She just treated me like a neighbor.
“A factory worker, an uneducated woman, accepted me as if I were just from the neighborhood. And that’s not the way in China. In China a foreigner back then would be followed, like a curiosity. So, I’m just saying that that gave me such comfort thinking Americans are really nice people. They don’t look at you by your ethnicity that much. They look at you as a person. I think it’s beautiful.”
“The first thing Mao’s Red Guards did,” she tells IWF, “was to abolish law enforcement.”
The Van Fleets live in Loudoun County and have one son, who graduated from the public school system in 2015. Xi obtained a degree in Library Science from Catholic University, and has had a successful career that enabled her to pursue her passion for travel. She’s been to Peru, Pakistan, India, Russia, the Republic of Georgia, and Armenia and in the past visited her family in China. “I was there when Covid broke out. I took the last flight back to Dallas after President Trump banned international travel,” she says. “I don’t think I will go back. I don’t want to end up, you know, a communist jail and spend the rest of my life there. No. No. I don’t think I can go back.”
Although Xi worries about her family in China, she feels that she must speak out. But she limits herself to speaking out only about her adopted country. “My focus is to save America using my own experience living under communist rule,” she says.
Xi joined the Loudoun County Republican Women’s Club after listening to Fox’s Dan Bongino telling his listeners how important it is to become involved. It was through friends in this organization that she heard about the Loudoun County school board meeting. With some trepidation, she knew she had to speak out and in doing so became a media sensation.
“To me, and to a lot of Chinese, it is heartbreaking that we escaped communism and now we experience communism here,” Xi said in a Fox interview after the Loudoun school board meeting. Xi’s mission is to inform Americans and do her best to ensure that her beloved adopted country remains the Land of the Free.