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Thread: The Cultural Revolution

  1. #1
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    The cultural revolutions.......such as the Tai Ping Rebellion killed over 20 million people. much of those people included Choy Lee Fut people.

    I can't speak for the Chan Family, but the Hung Sing people were always fighting in them. Sometimes two hundred of them at a time.

    it's definately a sad thing, because our elders had been killed, even murdered.
    I'm pretty sure the only thing tongs do nowadays is make sure Chinese restaurants don't pay out tips to their waiters. - Pazman[/B]

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    My Ha Say Fu Shifu escaped the cultural revolution in 1969. I dought I will ever trust the government of the PRC.

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    sucks.

    but, Wu Qin was a Hung Sing man, and also a personal body to Dr. Sun Yat Sen. He received this position for blowing up a japanese war ship by swimming out to it.

    Sadly, Wu Qin and his wife were ambushed by the KMT and killed. Fut San has a martyr museum dedicated to him. or something to that effect.
    I'm pretty sure the only thing tongs do nowadays is make sure Chinese restaurants don't pay out tips to their waiters. - Pazman[/B]

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    My teacher fought during the cultural revolution. He often talked about what a sad time/event it was. His worst memory as he told us, was of him actually fighting and killing a close friend of his - whom happened to be on the opposite side. It was a bad time and he would get quite upset when he would speak of it. He said that there was nothing worse than Chinese fighting against Chinese.

    One can only think of how many martial arts masters were killed during this time and how much kung-fu was lost.

  5. #5
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    Cult of the Mango

    China's curious cult of the mango
    11 February 2016
    From the section Magazine



    Fifty years ago, China was plunged into the most chaotic and traumatic decade of its recent history - the Cultural Revolution. During this period, the nation was gripped by a peculiar hysteria: a mania for mangoes. Benjamin Ramm discovers how the fruit became an object of deep veneration, and a vehicle for the promotion of the cult of Chairman Mao.
    In 1966 Mao had called on the student Red Guards to rebel against "reactionary" authorities. His aim was to reshape society by purging it of bourgeois elements and traditional ways of thinking. But by the summer of 1968 the country had become engulfed in fighting, as Red Guard factions competed for power.
    To quell the forces that he had unleashed, Mao sent 30,000 workers to Qinghua University in Beijing, armed only with their talisman, the Little Red Book. The students attacked them with spears and sulphuric acid, killing five and injuring more than 700, before finally surrendering. Mao thanked the workers with a gift of approximately 40 mangoes, which he had been given the previous day by Pakistan's foreign minister.
    They had a huge impact.



    A 1969 propaganda poster showing Mao and detail of a worker with a plate of mangoes

    "No-one in northern China at that point knew what mangoes were. So the workers stayed up all night looking at them, smelling them, caressing them, wondering what this magical fruit was," says art historian Freda Murck, who has chronicled this story in detail.
    "At the same time, they had received a 'high directive' from Chairman Mao - saying that henceforth, 'The Working Class Must Exercise Leadership In Everything'. It was very exciting to be given this kind of recognition."
    This power shift - from the zealous students to the workers and peasants - offered respite from the anarchy.
    "Some people in Beijing told me that they perceived that Mao had finally intervened in the chaotic random violence, and that the mangoes symbolised the end of the Cultural Revolution," Murck says.
    Mao's Cultural Revolution


    Wax replica mangoes cushioned on silk are carried in glass cases during the re-enactment of Beijing's National Day Parade in Harbin, October 1968
    In May 1966, Chairman Mao launched the Cultural Revolution
    The 10-year political and ideological campaign was aimed at reviving revolutionary spirit and purging the country of "impure" elements
    Young Chinese people were sent to the countryside to learn from the hard life of the peasants
    Millions of people were persecuted and killed during Mao's rule
    BBC History
    Zhang Kui, a worker who occupied Qinghua, says that the arrival of one of Mao's mangoes at his workplace prompted intense debate.
    "The military representative came into our factory with the mango raised in both hands. We discussed what to do with it: whether to split it among us and eat it, or preserve it. We finally decided to preserve it," he says.
    "We found a hospital that put it in formaldehyde. We made it a specimen. That was the first decision. The second decision was to make wax mangoes - wax mangoes each with a glass cover. After we made the wax replicas, we gave one to each of the Revolutionary Workers."
    Workers were expected to hold the sacred fruit solemnly and reverently, and were admonished if they failed to do so.
    Wang Xiaoping, an employee at the Beijing No 1 Machine Tool Plant, received a wax replica. The fruit itself was destined for higher things.
    "The real mango was driven by a worker representative through a procession of beating drums and people lining the streets, from the factory to the airport," says Wang.
    The workers had chartered a plane to fly a single mango to a factory in Shanghai.


    The text on this poster from 1968 reads: "Our Great Leader Chairman Mao forever joins his heart with the hearts of the people"

    When one of the mangoes began to rot, workers peeled it and boiled the flesh in a vat of water, which then became "holy" - each worker sipped a spoonful. (Mao is said to have chuckled on hearing this particular detail.)
    "From the very beginning, the mango gift took on a relic-like quality - to be revered and even worshipped," says Cambridge University lecturer Adam Yuet Chau. "Not only was the mango a gift from the Chairman, it was the Chairman."
    This association is reflected in a poem from the period:
    Seeing that golden mango / Was as if seeing the Great Leader Chairman Mao!
    Standing before that golden mango / Was just like standing beside Chairman Mao!
    Again and again touching that golden mango: / the golden mango was so warm!
    Again and again smelling the mango: / that golden mango was so fragrant!
    The mangoes toured the length and breadth of the country, and were hosted in a series of sacred processions. Red Guards had wrecked temples and shrines, but destroying artefacts is easier than erasing religious behaviour, and soon the mangoes became the object of intense devotion. Some of the rituals imitated centuries of Buddhist and Daoist traditions, and the mangoes were even placed on an altar to which factory workers would bow.


    The worker-peasant propaganda team in Qinghua cheers the gift of mangoes - the ribbon reads: "Respectfully wishing Chairman Mao eternal life"

    China has a long history of symbolic associations with food, which may have encouraged extravagant interpretations of Mao's gift. The mangoes were compared to Mushrooms of Immortality and the Longevity Peach of Chinese mythology. The workers surmised that Mao's gift was an act of selflessness, in which he sacrificed his longevity for theirs.
    Little did they know that he disliked fruit. Nor were they concerned to learn that Mao was simply passing on a gift he had already received. There is a tradition in China of zhuansong, or re-gifting. It may be regarded as vulgar in the West, but in China re-gifting is widely seen as a compliment, enhancing the status of both the giver and the recipient.
    The mangoes also proved to be a gift to the propaganda department of the Communist Party, which quickly manufactured mango-themed household items, such as bed sheets, vanity stands, enamel trays and washbasins, as well as mango-scented soap and mango-flavoured cigarettes. Massive papier-mache mangoes appeared on the central float during the National Day Parade in Beijing in October 1968. Far away in Guizhou province, thousands of armed peasants fought over a black and white photocopy of a mango.



    But not everybody was so enthusiastic about the fruit. The artist Zhang Hongtu told me of his scepticism.
    "When the mango story was published in the newspaper, I thought it was funny, stupid, ridiculous! I'd never had a mango, but I knew it was a fruit, and any fruit will rot."
    Those who expressed their doubts, however, were severely punished. A village dentist was publicly humiliated and executed after comparing a "touring" mango to a sweet potato.
    The mango fever fizzled out after 18 months, and soon discarded wax replicas were being used as candles during electrical outages.
    On a visit to Beijing in 1974, Imelda Marcos took a case of the Philippine national fruit - mangoes - as a gift for her hosts. Mao's wife, Jiang Qing, known as "Madame Mao" in the West, tried to replicate the earlier enthusiasm, sending the mangoes to workers. They dutifully held a ceremony and gave thanks, but Jiang Qing lacked her husband's sense of political timing.
    The following year, as Mao lay ill and with no clear successor in sight, she commissioned a new film, Song of the Mango, to enhance her credibility. But within a week of its release, Jiang was arrested and the film was taken out of circulation. It was the final chapter in the mango story.

    Find out more

    "The precious gift presented by Great Leader Chairman Mao to the Capital Worker-Peasant Mao Zedong Thought Propaganda Teams - a mango, 5 August 1968"
    Listen to Mao's Golden Mangoes, on BBC Radio 4 on Friday 12 February at 11:00 GMT or catch up later on the BBC iPlayer.
    Now mangoes are a common fruit in Beijing, and Wang Xiaoping can buy "golden mango" juice whenever she likes.
    "The mystery of the mango is gone," she tells me. "It's no longer a sacred icon as before - it's become another consumer good. Young people don't know the history, but for those of us who lived through it, every time you think of mangoes your heart has a special feeling."
    Mao, like the mangoes he gave the workers, now lies preserved in wax in a crystal glass case.
    Historians have tended to regard the mango craze as a bizarre fad, but it is one of the few occasions when culture was created spontaneously from the bottom-up, initiated and interpreted by the workers. During a period of great cruelty, the mangoes represented for people an emblem of peace and generosity. They wanted to believe the promise written on the enamel trays: "With each mango, profound kindness."
    This is one of the craziest CR tales I've heard so far.
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  6. #6
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    random Al Jazeera article

    China's Cultural Revolution must be confronted
    The enemies of the state existed nowhere but in the muddled head of the ageing "Great Helmsman".
    24 Feb 2016 11:41 GMT | Arts & Culture, Human Rights, Politics, Asia Pacific, China


    Without confronting the past and learning the lesson, the 'China Dream' - the country's drive towards national rejuvenation - will, sadly, remain a dream, writes Zhang [Getty Images]

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR
    Lijia Zhang is the author of "Socialism is Great!" A Worker's Memoir of the New China.

    Spotting my grandfather's stiffened body hanging from the wooden beam in the hall was my earliest memory. I was four then and the year was 1968, at the height of the Cultural Revolution. Grandfather, a small-time grain-dealer in his 50s, took his own life because he was terrified that his politically problematic background - he wasn't from a poor farmer or worker's family - would land him with the fate he had often witnessed: humiliation and torture at public gatherings.

    This year will see the 50th anniversary of the movement, formerly called the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, which lasted for 10 years. In May 1966, Chairman Mao Zedong launched the mass movement, intending to preserve "true" socialist ideology of the new regime, and purge those "capitalist elements" that had supposedly infiltrated the Chinese Communist Party. In reality, the enemies of the state existed nowhere but in the muddled head of the ageing "Great Helmsman".

    In response to the call from the chairman who was worshipped like a god, wars were fought between different factions, each believing themselves to be the "true revolutionaries". Leaders of all levels were overthrown, couples denounced each other, students beat up their teachers, intellectuals and other "bad elements" were persecuted and were banished to the countryside, and ancient temples and cultural relics were destroyed.

    Cultural disaster

    In 1981, the Communist Party announced the Cultural Revolution a disaster, and more or less told its citizens to forget about it and look forward. And this year there will be no public event to mark the start of the movement that shaped contemporary China.

    The authorities obviously don't want to associate themselves with something that could damage their credibility. Not being the most confident regime, the Chinese government is extremely concerned with its legitimacy.

    During the Cultural Revolution, Chairman Mao practised a prerogative system which protected the privileged stratum, a fertile breeding ground for corruption. While the ordinary people survived on rationed rice, luxury villas were built for Mao and other top leaders.
    In contrast to the official silence, the internet is abuzz with a debate. Many liberal intellectuals are calling for 2016 to be made the year to "thoroughly reflect on the Cultural Revolution", yet some ultra-leftists are calling for the movement to be re-evaluated, arguing that the Cultural Revolution has been demonised.

    Demonised? It appears the majority of those who hold such a view have little idea what actually happened during one of the most traumatic decades in recent Chinese history, let alone the scale or the depth of its horror.

    In some ways, they can't take all the blame for their ignorance. The excesses of the Cultural Revolution have been very much glossed over. Books and films on the topic are subject to strict censorship - at school, pupils can learn only the skeleton of the event.

    Ba Jin, a renowned writer who described the movement as a "spiritual pollution", and requested - on his death bed - that the government build a Cultural Revolution museum. Many renown writers, such as Feng Jicai, who risked his life by recording the stories of that mad decade, have joined in the chorus. So far, their wishes have not been fulfilled.

    The official stance that ignores what happened and encourages Chinese citizens to forget about it is deeply disturbing. As Confucius says: "Study the past if you would define the future"; we have to study the past, especially a past event of such significance.

    Unless we truly confront the Cultural Revolution, certain aspects of it may repeat themselves.

    The complexity of the movement

    One wonders why so many Chinese are not willing to face the country's past. I guess there have always been disasters in Chinese history. For some, the best way to cope with past tragedy is to forget about it and move on. Others passively accept the official verdict as they believe that in an undemocratic society, their views on the Cultural Revolution don't make any difference.

    Some die-hard leftists, as well as those who have not benefited much from the reforms and opening-up, tend to look at the Cultural Revolution nostalgically, arguing that there was no corruption under Mao and that people were more equal.

    The reality was quite different. I believe that some of the social vice in today's China, such as moral decline, the lack of trust among the people and corruption, are rooted in the movement.

    During the Cultural Revolution, Chairman Mao practised a prerogative system which protected the privileged stratum, a fertile breeding ground for corruption. While the ordinary people survived on rationed rice, luxury villas were built for Mao and other top leaders.

    Apart from the official silence on the Cultural Revolution, I find the attitude of some patriotic youth equally troubling. The country's fast-growing economy and its rising position in the world has generated a growing nationalism among some young people, who choose not to examine the mistakes China has made.

    A decade of horrors

    Despite the authorities' effort to keep the lid firmly in place, more and more information is coming to light. Last May, a well-respected academic, Qin Hui, published an essay entitled The Rejection of the Cultural Revolution is not Thorough and the Truth Still Needs to be Further Revealed, on a liberal intellectual website Aisixiang.

    Qin detailed the horrors that took place in Southwest China's Guangxi province in 1967, horrors too deplorable to describe, including cannibalism. In dozens of cases, even the wives and daughters of the accused were not spared. They would be raped first. After their murder, their breasts and private parts were cut out and sometimes their livers were eaten. All in the name of the revolution. Qin's piece is still being circulated widely among netizens, together other articles shedding lift on the turbulent decade.

    I welcome articles like Qin's and the debates they have sparked as the anniversary is approaching. Hopefully they will push the Chinese people to ask some hard questions: Why did the Cultural Revolution take place? What happened exactly? Why did so many people participate with religious zeal? What did it say about the national characteristics of the Chinese people? What lessons can be learned from the catastrophe? And, more importantly, what can be done to prevent it from happening again?

    I, for one, will never forget about the Cultural Revolution, for the sake of my family as well as for the nation. Without confronting the past and learning the lesson, the "China Dream" - the country's drive towards national rejuvenation - will, sadly, remain a dream.

    Lijia Zhang is the author of "Socialism is Great!": A Worker's Memoir of the New China.

    The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera's editorial policy.
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    The Cultural Revolution in retrospect (1966-1976) was about purging intellectualism, free thought, political freedom etc in favour of, or the creation of a cult of personality around Mao. Mao further used communist idealism and tainting of the youth through artificial empowerment by giving them authority over others.
    Immature of mind, it is not hard to see how people can be made to rise up easily by simply giving them a perceived notion of power.

    If you have at least two kids, you can experiment with this to rise to tyranny easily.
    Make one the authority over the other. Both will view you as the ultimate authority in the end.

    A testament to the human condition. Mao exploited it like all others who are regarded as "great".

    "Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely and all great men are fundamentally bad men." - Lord Acton
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Jamieson View Post
    The Cultural Revolution in retrospect (1966-1976) was about purging intellectualism, free thought, political freedom etc in favour of, or the creation of a cult of personality around Mao. Mao further used communist idealism and tainting of the youth through artificial empowerment by giving them authority over others.
    Immature of mind, it is not hard to see how people can be made to rise up easily by simply giving them a perceived notion of power.

    If you have at least two kids, you can experiment with this to rise to tyranny easily.
    Make one the authority over the other. Both will view you as the ultimate authority in the end.

    A testament to the human condition. Mao exploited it like all others who are regarded as "great".

    "Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely and all great men are fundamentally bad men." - Lord Acton

  9. #9
    cultural revolution is sort of like the 1600% rise in anti muslim hate crimes except against people who like to play piano or read.

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    The half century mark

    Mao’s influence lingers 50 years after China’s Cultural Revolution
    12 May 2016 11:25 AFP4 min read
    Fifty years after the Cultural Revolution spread bloodshed and turmoil across China, the Communist-ruled country is driving firmly down the capitalist road, but Mao Zedong’s legacy remains — like the embalmed leader himself — far from buried.

    No official commemorations will mark the anniversary of the May 16, 1966 declaration of what historian Simon Leys called a “gigantic outbreak” of collective frenzy and years “of upheaval, of blood and madness”, when Mao unleashed his shock troops, the Red Guards, on his own party and people.


    Henan’s Mao statue, since removed. Photo: HNR.cn.

    From top cadres to writers and teachers, millions were persecuted during the violent class struggle that ensued, which left China greatly weakened but the personality cult around Mao stronger than ever.

    In a backlash against the trauma, shortly after Mao’s death in 1976 his successor Deng Xiaoping — himself a victim of the purges — unravelled his predecessor’s policies.


    In order from left: Jiang Zemin, Li Peng, Qiao Shi, Deng Xiaoping. Photo: Apple Daily

    Deng’s “Reform and Opening” introduced market forces and foreign capital, paving the way for the country’s stunning rise to become the world’s second-largest economy.

    But the party’s official verdict on Mao in 1981 — which declared his ideas 70 percent good and 30 percent bad — has not eliminated his appeal to diehard loyalists or knocked him from his position at the top of the national pantheon, ahead of Deng, and still emblazoned on the country’s banknotes.

    The ruling party has sought to sideline resurgent neo-Maoist strains — epitomised by the fall of ambitious high-flyer Bo Xilai, jailed for life in 2014 in a murder and corruption scandal.

    But Mao’s influence lingers on — an anniversary concert at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing earlier this month featured revolutionary chants glorifying Mao, prompting online controversy.



    The Global Times, which is close to the ruling party, this week quoted university professor Zhang Hongliang calling for a new national campaign against “traitors” hostile to the party.

    “It’s sad that many capitalist entrepreneurs stand against the CPC and betray the nation,” he was quoted as saying.

    Mao’s body still lies preserved in a glass case in his mausoleum on Tiananmen Square in Beijing, and his admirers flock to pay their respects in his home town of Shaoshan, a major ‘Red Tourism’ site.

    Hong Kong-based China expert Jean-Pierre Cabestan told AFP: “Some leftist movements are tempted by the idea of class struggle, fuelled by rising inequality.”


    Mao Zedong in Beidaihe. Photo: Xinhua.

    It was not official policy, he added: “Quite the reverse.”

    Stability at all costs

    The driving concept behind the Cultural Revolution — a violent class struggle — is unthinkable in China today, even as rising inequality between the rich and poor grabs global headlines and low-paid factory workers mount tens of thousands of strikes each year, despite an absence of free trade unions.

    President Xi Jinping, the first party chief from the generation of the Red Guards, was himself “sent down” to the countryside for six years, and desires stability at all costs.


    Photo: StandNews.

    He has ruthlessly imprisoned critics, and espouses the importance of communist values more regularly than that of economic reforms.

    The term “little cultural revolution” (“xiao wenge”) has been used as shorthand for the president’s crackdown on dissent from lawyers, bloggers and other regime critics.

    The drive has run in parallel to a rigorous anti-corruption campaign, which critics charge is a thinly veiled political purge.

    Top business figures have disappeared into custody for days on end, and wealthy Chinese have been moving money and family members overseas to give themselves a safe haven if they fall foul of authorities.

    At the same time, Cabestan said Xi was moving the climate back towards that of Mao, giving the impression he was distancing himself from Deng and wanted to “reestablish some kind of repressive authoritarianism”.

    by Patrick Lescot.
    "But if you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao..."
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  11. #11
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    The half century mark revisited

    Suppressed records revealed 50 years after China’s Cultural Revolution
    NATHAN VANDERKLIPPE
    BEIJING — The Globe and Mail
    Published Sunday, May 15, 2016 9:19PM EDT
    Last updated Sunday, May 15, 2016 9:21PM EDT


    Members of the Red Guards, high school and university students, waving copies of Chairman Mao Zedong's "Little Red Book" as they parade in Beijing's streets at the beginning of the "Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution". Launched by Mao in 1966 to topple his political enemies after the failure of the Great Leap Forward, the Cultural Revolution saw a decade of violence and destruction nationwide as party-led class conflict devolved into social chaos.
    (JEAN VINCENT/AFP/Getty Images)

    Students tortured teachers and beat them to death. Workers attacked one another with screwdrivers devised into spears. Temples and libraries were razed. Millions of people were banished to the countryside for “re-education.”

    The turbulence and viciousness of China’s Cultural Revolution began 50 years ago, on May 16, 1966, with a Politburo decision to create a Cultural Revolution Group that would oppose “counter-revolutionary revisionists” and create a final rupture with the old ways of the capitalist past.

    Two weeks later, a People’s Daily editorial called for an attack on the bourgeoisie. “Sweep away all monsters and demons!” the state newspaper urged.

    The directive launched years of social disorder, factional warfare and even cannibalism. In total, between 1.5 million and two million people died, historians estimate.

    But unlike the calamities perpetrated by Stalin, Pol Pot, Franco and Hitler, the regime responsible for the Cultural Revolution remains in power. The 50th anniversary will barely be discussed in public. The Communist Party has largely maintained a historical blackout, in hopes of suppressing the blemish on its legacy. “Researchers cannot accept any interviews related to the Cultural Revolution,” one Chinese academic said this weekend.

    That has presented a unique challenge to those documenting the Cultural Revolution – which is why the package sent to Song Yongyi 16 years ago, containing classified military plans in the city of Tianjin in the late 1960s, was so exceptional.

    A Chinese-born librarian at ****inson College in Pennsylvania, Prof. Song had only months before been released from his home country, where authorities had detained him on suspicion of smuggling secret documents. He had been on a quest to collect material on the Cultural Revolution, scouring archives and flea markets for copies of Red Guard newspapers. He wanted to compile a full record of the propaganda used to stoke tumult that, in some places, rendered indistinct the line between human and animal.

    His time in detention looked like it would permanently end that quest. Instead, it gave him a global profile as someone determined to reveal the secrets of one of modern China’s darkest hours.

    The package that he received from a Chinese high school teacher became the first of many he would acquire in the years that followed, placing him at the forefront of a small band of researchers who have dug for documents in garbage dumps, archives, private collections and blogs. They have accepted information from unannounced visitors, spent long hours digging through archival documents and sought out personal accounts of hardship.

    In the process, they have brought to light a stunningly detailed account of what happened during the Cultural Revolution, when Mao Zedong subverted normal societal order, orchestrating a mass lawlessness that saw factory workers imprison bosses and students torture teachers with boiling water and nail-spiked clubs.

    One of Prof. Song’s signal achievements will emerge next month, when he begins the republication, in e-book form, of a 36-volume secret report on the Cultural Revolution in the country’s southern Guangxi province.

    Among the most startling revelations in its 13,000 pages is the cannibalism it documents. Whipped into a fury by the chaos of the times, Red Guards – groups of youth dedicated to removing enemies through violent class struggle – and others feasted on the hearts, livers, *****es and breasts of people deemed “class enemies.” In total, 421 were eaten in at least 31 provincial counties, Prof. Song said.

    “So there was a cannibalism mass movement in the remote countryside.”

    Only now, 50 years after the beginning of the Cultural Revolution, has the account of that period been assembled in a form that anyone can read. It took six years of effort by Prof. Song to secure each volume from a network of archivists, collectors and high-ranking Chinese officials who smuggled out documents in hopes of exposing the truth.

    The report forms “the most important information on the Cultural Revolution that exists today,” said Jean Hung, who from 1988 to 2007 oversaw collection development at the Universities Service Centre of the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

    If modern China has sought to suppress history, then, it has failed. Academics who study Soviet times, as one example, “tell me that the USSR was never so open about their dark historical past as China has been,” said Andrew Walder, a Stanford political sociologist who has written extensively on the Mao era. That is, in part, due to efforts by elements inside China’s Communist Party itself to internally document the ugliness Mao perpetrated.

    Few documents exemplify that like the Guangxi report, which was compiled in the 1980s at the direction of reformist elements inside Beijing who “wanted to see matters like the Cultural Revolution, these horrible things, get investigated,” said Prof. Song, who is now a librarian at UCLA.

    The documents list “who was eaten. Who was eaten by who. The reason,” Prof. Song said. “My view is they expose the truth of Guangxi during the Cultural Revolution.”
    continued next post
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    Continued from previous post

    Far more information, however, remains locked away in Chinese archives, compiled by a one-party state with a “desire to tease out information about everything and everybody – and an attempt also, clearly, to keep all of this secret,” said Frank Dikotter, a historian at the University of Hong Kong who wrote The Cultural Revolution: A People’s History.

    To research his book, Prof. Dikotter spent six months in Chinese archives. Some wouldn’t let him in, or served tea before sending him on his way. Others, however, provided him documents that helped to peel back time.

    Even mundane economic reports revealed the scale of dislocation beginning in 1966, as reverence for Mao grew feverish while people attacked and killed each other in efforts to wipe out “capitalist roaders.” Entire categories of people lost work overnight, including florists, fruit sellers, undertakers and dressmakers.

    Toymakers curbed output as plastic became needed, instead, to make glossy covers for the Little Red Book. Factories churned out 50 million Mao badges a month, but still struggled to keep up with extraordinary demand for wearable images of the leader. So much aluminum was diverted to those badges that by 1969 Mao himself had to step in, demanding “give me back my airplanes.”

    Other documents detailed the chilling treatment of ethnic Mongolians in Inner Mongolia. “Tongues were ripped out, teeth extracted with pliers, eyes gouged from their sockets, flesh branded with hot irons,” Prof. Dikotter wrote.

    In another province, one in 50 people was accused of engaging in crime. “These crimes range from poking a hole inadvertently in a Mao poster to buying an egg on the black market,” he said. With money diverted to Cultural Revolution efforts, and the country’s health ministry attacked for serving leaders rather than the people, a meningitis outbreak spiralled out of control. Some 160,000 people died.

    In Beijing, meanwhile, students killed dozens of teachers in a battle against “capitalist intellectuals.” Roughly one in 100 teachers died by suicide. One used scissors to cut his throat; another used his glasses. One leapt into a vat of glue used to post “big character posters” that denounced adversaries. Another hit his head with a hammer. Details of their deaths emerged from extensive research by Youqin Wang, the Chinese language program director at the University of Chicago, who has compiled them on a website called the Chinese Holocaust Memorial.

    Two other massive online Cultural Revolution repositories have also been built: an Internet-connected database of roughly 40,000 documents that Prof. Song helped to create, and another website run by University of Toronto researcher Yiching Wu that contains more than 10,000 texts and articles. Many of them are personal stories collected from online posts by Prof. Wu who preserves them from censorship in China.

    The sheer volume of available documents stands as a testament to the ingenuity of those dedicated to revealing what happened.

    Still, where the Chinese Communist Party has been unable to block preservation efforts it has succeeded in halting discussion. Inside China, few are willing to write on the Cultural Revolution, knowing their work won’t be published. Outside China, the number of researchers working on the period can be mostly counted on two hands. Few people are actually reading the documents that have been compiled.

    “We do have lots of information. But that doesn’t mean we know or understand,” said Prof. Wu, who wrote The Cultural Revolution at the Margins: Chinese Socialism in Crisis.

    Ms. Hung compares that to the Holocaust, which is the subject of entire libraries. The Cultural Revolution may have killed fewer people than Nazi Germany. But it scarred many more.

    “This is really a pathetic situation,” she said. “The Cultural Revolution, my goodness, lasted for 10 years. …The impact is immense, it’s incomparable. Almost every single family was impacted.”
    I'd read about the cannibalism before. It's such a terrifying period in human history, on all levels.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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