China is planning to send millions of youth ‘volunteers’ back to the villages, raising fears of a return to the methods of Chairman Mao’s brutal Cultural Revolution of 50 years ago.

The Communist Youth League (CYL) has promised to despatch more than 10 million students to ‘rural zones’ by 2022 in order to ‘increase their skills, spread civilisation and promote science and technology,’ according to a Communist Party document.

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The aim is to bring to the rural areas the talents of those who would otherwise be attracted to life in the big cities, according to a CYL document quoted in the official Global Times daily Thursday.

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