Understanding China, One Blog at a Time

An American in China

Video: What was China’s Cultural Revolution?

Posted by w_thames_the_d on September 6, 2013

From 1966-76, China undertook one of the most barbaric and murderous epochs in recent times. They killed 1 million people a year for ten years all in the name of ‘loving Mao’.

The monsters China created during this time are now their leaders. What does this tell you about China?

What is the Cultural Revolution?

Sent via Flipboard

3 Responses to “Video: What was China’s Cultural Revolution?”

  1. beycritical said

    1. It started way earlier than 1966 2. The killing wasn’t the worst of it. 3. The leaders created during the generation were probably terrorized themselves, and should be offered extensive psychological debriefing and some serious slack.

  2. In China said

    The cultural revolution did run from 66-76. The emotinal damage started in 1929.

    2 killing families for their wealth and giving it to poor villagers is a pretty awful thng. Anyone who has lived in Cina has meet tons of smart people whose families were wiped out by Mao and his uneducated lackeys.

    3- why should anyone cut slack to a system which inculcates insanity like communism has? Bo Xilai, a guy who killed at least 11 people and may have firebombed an airplane, was set to be Chna’s #3, but he got greedy. Are you serious that we should feel sorry for the pigs running China today? Sure they may have had it rough, but then why not change the system? Rather than do this, they stay within it, continue to kill as Mao did and thus deserve no slack. Perhaps you can explain why we should excuse the people who literally kill people for their land, abort 7 month old fetuses, sterilize villages, staunch all forms of freedom of expression and keep their people terrorized?

    I would love to hear your take on why we should feel sorry for people like comrade Bo Xilai, GuKailai, Hu the Butcher, and Xi.

    Please enlighten us.

  3. Fanta said

    By Zhang Ming (张鸣)

    There are many people [in our country] who yearn for a repeat of the Cultural Revolution, for another violent convulsion. This should send shivers through us all. If we refuse to review and reexamine the Cultural Revolution, we might still be a society of cannibals. And if we are such a society, it doesn’t matter how bright we might seem on the outside, or how fully we enjoy the fruits of civilisation — we are still a den of cannibals.

    It has been more than 30 years since the end of the Cultural Revolution, but this [historical episode] has never quite gone from us. In both the real and virtual worlds, those, old and young, who praise and support the Cultural Revolution can be found everywhere. On a taxi ride recently I was talking with the elderly driver and he said with profound hatred that if we just had another round of the Cultural Revolution officials wouldn’t be let off the hook so easily — we would peel them alive, he said.

    In official [Party] documents the Cultural Revolution has been thoroughly rejected. But remembering, recording and reflecting back on the Cultural Revolution remains taboo. Meanwhile, praise and affirmation for the Cultural Revolution decade [is allowed to] quietly thrive. It’s as though we’ve been able to completely dissociate the Cultural Revolution [as officially condemned] from the events of that decade. In all of human history encompassed by the twentieth century, spanning all nations, was there any event like our Cultural Revolution? The only possible comparison is the Nazi period in Germany. But to this day, we have had no historical commemoration, no reflection of the kind [Germany has had].

    Looking back on that period today, the most ghastly thing was the way the Cultural Revolution trampled on human beings and their dignity. Humiliation, physical abuse, murder, death through negligence and maltreatment — these became like a daily meal regimen. Things worked this way during the height of chaos, and in more or less the same way once normalcy returned.

    The popular tyranny of the Cultural Revolution extended through to the public security system once it was restored. No matter who a person was, once they entered the “police station” (局子), a beating was to be expected, and being beaten to death was always possible.

    During the Cultural Revolution, we had the Guangxi Massacre (广西大屠杀), the Dao County Massacre (道县大屠杀) and the Daxing Massacre (大兴大屠杀). You might say those were special cases. But during struggles in many areas is was quite common for one or the other side to use rifles, or even cannons and machine guns, for indiscriminate slaughter.

    Were any places spared the constant struggle, the popular tyranny, the death and persecution that went on without rest over those ten years? No one, not a person, was given the slightest bit of dignity. So it was for those in the “five black categories” (landlords, wealthy peasants, counter-revolutionaries, evildoers and rightists, and their sons and daughters). So it was for the capitalist roaders. . . With my own eyes I saw people struck down and beaten within an inch of their lives who had the day before murdered others with their own hands. Forced prostration, “jet propulsion” struggle sessions [in which victims were suspended with their arms out and behind like wings], “yin-yang head” [humiliations in which half the head was shaved clean] . . . Humiliations and abuses like these never ceased during the ten years of the Cultural Revolution.

    Some people find it strange that an adolescent girl could wield a leather belt and beat her own teacher to death. Or that red guards could take the elderly, women and children and flog them to death, scald them to death with boiling water, drown them in toilets, and even cut them to ribbons while they were alive. In some places, like Guangxi province, after people were beaten to death, their hearts were eaten. In that area, eating people in this way was actually very common!

    There is only one explanation — those people who were persecuted and murdered were all class enemies. The Cultural Revolution was a war of one class against another, and class enemies were not seen as human beings. That meant it was reasonable and normal to kill any number of people in any way possible. The problem is that there was no war at the time, and the time who were seen at the time as enemies were simply living their lives with their families when they were dragged out, not offering up the least resistance. Regardless of anything else, these were human beings. No matter what class rationalisations you us, the act of torturing and beating to death people who offered no resistance was one that decimated the humanity of the perpetrator. No matter what the revolutionary doctrines and justifications are, a class struggle of this kind is only ultimately violence of the strong against the weak.

    . . . In China today, the abuse of domestic cats is enough to infuriate many people. How is it possible people can hope for a replay of the Cultural Revolution? But this desire is very real. A person can shed tears of sympathy over a cat that has been crushed to death, but this does not deter them from wishing for another Cultural Revolution, in which they imagine skinning those in power.

    Of course, many of those who wish for another Cultural Revolution don’t really understand the true horrors of that decade. They don’t know the real Cultural Revolution. They think the Cultural Revolution was just as leftists now describe it, a period of great democracy in which there was struggle against pro-capitalists.

    One fact cannot be denied — many Chinese, including those experienced the Cultural Revolution, have not regained their humanity.

    One researcher who studied the Guangxi Massacre thought it was very strange that of all those he interviewed who had cannibalised others at that time none whatsoever said they regretted their actions. They all said that back then it was a life-and-death class struggle, that those they killed might have killed them. In fact, the vast majority of those they murdered were of the so-called “five black categories.” Even as they were killed, raped, gang-raped, they did not put up a struggle. They were abused until death ended their suffering, and then their hearts were eaten. If their spirits were here today, they would no doubt be surprised to find their persecutors acting with the same stubborn sense of having been right.

    It goes without saying that these people have not yet recovered their sense of humanity. Perhaps it could be said that these self-righteous murderers are better than many of their fellows in the sense that they at least have owned up to their deeds. Many people who committed innumerable murders have simply wiped their faces clean and pretended nothing ever happened . . .

    The world has already entered the twenty-first century. Many of those who committed acts of violence during those years are already old and feeble. If they wish to bear their savageness with them to their graves, that is their own choice. There are many people [in our country] who yearn for a repeat of the Cultural Revolution, for another violent convulsion. This should send shivers through us all. If we refuse to review and reexamine the Cultural Revolution, we might still be a society of cannibals. And if we are such a society, it doesn’t matter how bright we might seem on the outside, or how fully we enjoy the fruits of civilisation — we are still a den of cannibals. If having experienced the Cultural Revolution, the people of our nation do not reflect [on that episode in our history], we will have no way of leaving this den of cannibals. Any one of us might eat others, and any one of us might be eaten.

    China, den of cannibals?

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