Counter revolutionary forces may group to avert a revolution, or after it has happened, to overthrow it. In so doing they may have to adopt some of the tactics and even some of the programmes of the revolutionaries. Such groups are often elitist and may be supported by foreign governments against the revolutionaries. Counter revolution may constitute a barrier to progress and may introduce repression and militarism, if this has not already taken place during the revolution.
In China in 1993, thousands of people, labelled as counter-revolutionaries by the government, were behind bars and reportedly often subject to beating and humiliation. They included 25 Tibetan and Chinese journalists serving 20-year sentences for counter-revolutionary propaganda. Despite abolishing that crime, the number of counter-revolutionaries still in prison in 1998 was reported to be 2,000.