December 12, 2013

"There he was, back in high school, a fresh-faced member of the volleyball team and a student leader in Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution..."

"... ordering teachers to line up in the auditorium, dunce caps on their bowed heads. He stood there, excited and proud, as thousands of students howled abuse at the teachers."
Then, suddenly, a posse stormed the stage and beat them until they crumpled to the floor, blood oozing from their heads. He did not object. He simply fled. “I was too scared,” he recalled recently in one of several interviews at a restaurant near Tiananmen Square, not far from his alma mater, No. 8 Middle School, which catered to the children of the Mao elite. “I couldn’t stop it. I was afraid of being called a counterrevolutionary, of having to wear a dunce’s hat.”


madAsHell said...

Organizing for America.
Service Employees International Union.
The Red Guards.

Everything is done with the best of intentions.

YoungHegelian said...

But many things happened in the Cultural Revolution that violated people’s rights.

But mostly to the Party cadres in urban areas, so there were many more of them who had connections & who lived to tell the tale.

Unlike the Great Leap Forward, in which it was peasants in the provinces who died in their millions. It's even rarer than talking about the C.R. for someone to stick a microphone in their face and say "Tell us about the Great Starving in the late 50's, old man".

mccullough said...

The Volleyball Diaries

n.n said...

The cultural revolution only marked the beginning of the great purge. It progressed to take the lives of several hundred million Chinese. It is started with misaligned development, and continued to premeditated acts of population control.

William said...

Jung Chang in her biography of Mao put the number of Mao's victims at seventy million. Nicholas Kristof in his review of her book in the NY Times claimed that the number was only twenty million and that as a result of Mao's rule women in China were more liberated than in other Asian countries. There are reasons why I no longer read the Times.

Oso Negro said...

The most startling thing about the Cultural Revolution is that the bulk of the Red Guards were junior high age. We repros who have survived those years can feel the terror in our bones.

Skyler said...

It is evil to conduct such acts out of belief that it is the right thing to do.

It is far, far worse to commit such acts while knowing they are wrong.

It's easy to apologize when you're an old, prosperous man with your life mostly finished and a regime in place that will still protect you and your "confessions."

More crap from the New York Times, trying to glorify communism, this time by showing how it is growing and changing from its revolutionary days.

Larry J said...

Although it's almost obscene to discuss such things, but Mao likely ranks as the number 1 or 2 mass murderer of all time depending on whose body count you believe. Stalin could be either the first or second worst mass murderer. By all accounts, Hitler comes in as number three but that's primarily because he was only in power for twelve years. Had he survived in power as long as Mao or Stalin, his death toll would've been much greater.

Mitch H. said...

The timing of this confession is interesting, as there's been a resurgence in Mao nostalgia in Chinese "politics" (such as it is practiced there) and a definite leftward turn by the Party bellwethers in response to growing grassroots unrest - wildcat strikes, anti-development riots, that sort of thing. Also, to keep another Bo Xilai from rising on their left flank, one supposes.