4 Decades Later, China Still Isn’t Discussing Cultural Revolution

Tom Lasseter of McClatchy Newspapers looks at the the story of Bian Zhongyun, a teacher who was one of the first victims of the Cultural Revolution, and the lack of accountability in China for the violence of that decade:

Although 44 years have passed since the “Red August” that unleashed the floodgates of violence in the capital and across the nation, there’s never been a complete public accounting in China about what happened. Bian’s killers have yet to be named.

“Even after all these decades, their crimes are still being covered up,” said Wang Jingyao, 89, Bian’s widower. Wang has kept the bloody, soiled clothes that Bian wore the day she was killed. He wants to know who killed his wife.

“But it’s very difficult to find out in China,” he said.

Unlike South Africa or Chile, which set up truth commissions to exhume painful pasts, China remains tight-lipped. The authoritarian government in Beijing has discouraged domestic attempts at critical examination of the legacy of the Cultural Revolution.

So even as analysts across the world speak of China’s bright economic future, at home this August there remains a page missing from the country’s past.

Watch the documentary about Bian’s life and death, via CDT.

August 24, 2010 9:50 PM
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Categories: Politics, Society