It is commonly believed that this "poster" directly targeted Liu Shaoqi and Deng Xiaoping, who were then in charge of Chinese government's daily affairs and who tried to cool down the mass hysteria which had been coming into shape in several universities in Beijing since the May 16 Notice, through which Mao officially launched the Cultural Revolution, was issued.
Much larger scale of mass persecutions came after the publication of this big-character poster, resulting in turmoil of the whole country and the death of thousands of "class enemies", including Liu Shaoqi.
China's first Marxist-Leninist big-character poster and Commentator's article on it in People's Daily are indeed superbly written! Comrades, please read them again. But in the last fifty days or so some leading comrades from the central down to the local levels have acted in a diametrically opposite way. Adopting the reactionary stand of the bourgeoisie, they have enforced a bourgeois dictatorship and struck down the surging movement of the great cultural revolution of the proletariat. They have stood facts on their head and juggled black and white, encircled and suppressed revolutionaries, stifled opinions differing from their own, imposed a white terror, and felt very pleased with themselves. They have puffed up the arrogance of the bourgeoisie and deflated the morale of the proletariat. How poisonous! Viewed in connection with the Right deviation in 1962 and the wrong tendency of 1964 which was 'Left' in form but Right in essence, shouldn't this make one wide awake?