The “2 June Incident” at Nanjing University in 1967 was a seminal event at the start of China's Cultural Revolution. By closely analyzing the origins and nature of the incident on the basis of recently released Chinese sources, the article shows that local tensions and protests had unexpectedly wide consequences. The incident was seized on by the central CCP authorities to radicalize the Cultural Revolution and plunge China into greater chaos, which also contributed to unpredictable shifts in PRC foreign policy.

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