A 61-year-old man from Shandong Province, Liu Boqin, paid a magazine to publish a letter expressing remorse over violent acts he committed during the Cultural Revolution as a teen. According to Chang Meng of The Global Times, Liu calls his letter a “painful result of reflections from the autumn of my life.” The Global Times emphasizes that Liu’s confession “drew massive compliments for his courage and humanity…because the public has rarely seen these kinds of confessions…”:
Over 50,000 netizens showed their respect for people like Liu on Sina Weibo, calling it salvation “for our country, which doesn’t have a tradition of confession,” also saying they wished more people could stand up and face history.
Wang Jiyu said he believes that apologizing for these deeds may become more normal for his generation if the hatred dredged up by the Cultural Revolution could be resolved, but said the public should engage in deep and holistic reflection about the Cultural Revolution in order to ensure that the scars left behind don’t result in attempts at revenge.[Source]
Zhu Xueqin, a history professor at Shanghai University, told the South China Morning Post that Liu’s decision to admit to his past as a Red Guard proved timely:
“It reminds us that it’s necessary to dig deeper for the systematic reasons that caused the Cultural Revolution,” he said.
During the past three decades of economic reform, discussion of the disastrous persecution instigated by Mao Zedong has occurred at crucial moments. “Last year’s scandal involving Chongqing party boss Bo Xilai and his red culture movement marked a return of sorts to the Cultural Revolution,” he said.[Source]
Liu is not the first to try to publicly atone for his actions during the Cultural Revolution. See also the story of Zhang Hongbing, who is trying to make amends for his denunciation of his mother which led to her execution. Read more about China’s Red Guards and the Cultural Revolution via CDT.