During the Cultural Revolution, why were people sent to "re-education" camps?
They were seen as Bourgeois who needed to be reeducated so as to accept the communist ideology, they served as free labor that is to say slaves.
The people sent to the re-education camps were those seen as not supporting the communist ideology
In the early 1950,s China set up Loafer camps the precursors to the re education camps, The re education camps were set up in 1955 and became official policy of the Chinese government in 1957.
The first loafer camps collected people like Christian pastors, Catholic priests, Buddhist priests who didn't work. These people were put into prisons and work camps so they could understand the conditions of the peasants. These early round ups reflected both the anti religious and anti foreign bias of the Chinese government.
In 1955 the camps were renamed as re education camps. Mao declared that " bourgeois intellectual could not be trusted with the education of the people.
Thousands of the teachers and professors in China were sent to reeducation camps. literacy rates in rural China dropped sharply as "politically correct" students were put in charge. Over 17.000 high school students from urban areas were sent to the camps. One student "arrested" spent 7 years in the camps as recorded in his book 9 lives.
People considered rightist counter revolutionaries such as teachers, doctors, thinkers, writers, and even politicians with the wrong political views were sent to these camps. This included the Chinese that had been educated in Russia with the "Stalinist" view of communism.
In 1983 thousands of Christians that attended unauthorized house churches were arrested and sent to reeducation camps in an operation called Strike hard or Yan Da, In the 1990's The Falum Gong A buddhist Doaist Group was targeted. The leaders and many of the prominent followers of the group were sent to the reeducation camps. The Doaist because of the religions indigenous roots had escaped the general persecution of religious groups previously.
Under the law a policeman can arrest a person without trial or judicial oversight and send them to the re education camps. This has led to some "middle class bourgeois being arrested so that their wealth and possessions can be taken by the authorities, in spite of having the " correct political views.
The people that are seen as not supporting the communist ideology of Mao, for religious, political, or economic reason have been arbitrarily sent to the re education camps.