Tuesday, January 14, 2014

A New Cultural Revolution in the Offing?

Mao and Song Binbin
Chinese 'princelings' have started apologizing for their misdeeds during the Cultural Revolution. 
This is a movement probably orchestrated by President Xi Jinping, whose father Xi Zhingxun was so badly treated at the time of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (in fact, even before, as he was 'purged' in September 1962).
I couple of years ago, I posted on this blog The Fall of Xinjing's Father. You can also see another posting on the subject, Xi Jinping: a traumatic youth?
It is a positive sign if Chen Xiaolu, the youngest son of People’s Liberation Army Marshal (and Foreign Minister) Chen Yi or Song Binbin, the daughter of Song Renqiong, one of the "Eight Immortals" now acknowledge their wrongdoings during these mad years.
In a speech at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing to commemorate Mao's birth, Xi Jinping himself told his Party's colleagues: "Revolutionary leaders are men, but not gods. We should not worship them like gods."
He however added: "but we should not negate them completely because they made mistakes. We should move forward, but can't forget the path that we have travelled."
A first small step towards an official condemnation of the atrocities of the Cultural Revolution?
But what about the atrocities committed in Tibet and elsewhere in China before and after the Cultural Revolution.
Will the leadership apologize?
Not only the Party has never apologize, but it continues with the old propaganda line.
China Tibet Online reported: "On Jan.12, deputies to the Tibet People's Congress and members of the CPPCC [Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference] Tibet Committee elected through democratic elections gathered in Lhasa reviewing and discussing the local government work report of 2013. Majority of the over 1000 deputies and members are Tibetans, who are the role models and backbone of local government."
A CPPCC delegate: role model or model?
The article quoted one Tsedan Tashi, director of the Tibetology Research Institute of Tibet University: "The vast majority of Tibetan social elites are descendents of serfs, and they have become the 'leaders' of  Tibet.
China Tibet Online affirms: "In October 2013, 25 of the party secretaries or director generals among the local 26 departments are Tibetans, and most of them are descendents of serfs. Before the democratic reform in 1959, Tibet was controlled by the slave-owning class consisted of officials, nobilities and senior monks. Slaves suffered harsh political oppression and economic exploitation."
Tsedan Tashi said 95 per cent of people in Tibet are [were?] slaves, who inherit their 'identity' from generation to generation without any opportunity and channel to change their destiny: "under the protection of legal system and institutional guarantee, the offspring of serfs have become outstanding politicians, entrepreneurs, educators and doctors on the land that their ancestors can't change their fate no matter how hard they have once worked."
It seems to me a language of the Cultural Revolution, and if the new leaders in Beijing are not careful and continue this type of divisive propaganda, another similar movement could be around the corner in the Middle Kingdom.

Another Communist Party princeling apologises for Cultural Revolution atrocities
South China Morning Post
January 13, 2014
Chris Luo
Following a rare apology issued last year by Chen Xiaolu, the son of one of the Communist Party's founding generals, for his wrongdoings during the Cultural Revolution, the daughter of another Communist Party elder has also stepped up to express remorse for her connection to the death of her middle school principal 48 years ago.
Song Binbin, 64, joined a group of her former classmates on Sunday to apologise to their teachers for their part in the political upheaval that ravaged China between 1966 and 1976, The Beijing News [1] said on Monday.
Song’s father, Song Renqiong (1909-2005),  was one of the Communist Party’s founding generals and a member of the "Eight Immortals", the most powerful elders in the Party's top echelon in the 1980s and 1990s.
The younger Song, who was studying at a high school attached to Beijing Normal University at the time, became a symbolic figure in the frantic and often violent Red Guard movement after a meeting with Mao Zedong on top of the Tiananmen Rostrum in August 1966, where Mao encouraged Red Guards from around the nation to resort to violence in their "continued revolution".
A photo published on The Beijing News on Monday shows Song and some of her former fellow classmates bowing in front of a statue of Bian Zhongyun, the party secretary and vice principal of the school at the time who was persecuted and brutally beaten to death by students two weeks before Song's historic meeting with Mao. She was among the first of educators to be killed during the Cultural Revolution.
Song Binbin, centre, apologises at a gathering of former students and teachers in Beijing on January 11, 2014. Photo: SCMP Pictures [2]
“I would like to express my ongoing grief and apologies to Principal Bian. The inability to protect school leaders is my lifelong regret,” Song was cited saying to all her teachers and classmates.
Song denied taking part in the brutal beatings that killed the vice principal, but apologised for not doing enough to stop the violence because she was afraid to be blamed for hindering the “criticising and denouncing efforts”.
“I did not [intervene] and was unable to prevent the violence towards Principal Bian and other school officials,” she said.
Song, who had lived in the US since the 1980s and moved back to Beijing in 2003, told The Beijing News that she hoped the students’ apologies could prompt public introspection over the events during the Cultural Revolution.
“If we do not thoroughly understand and examine the mindset behind the entire Cultural Revolution era, similar incidents will happen again,” Song was quoted as saying.
Other students who had participated in the violence also issued apologies to their late and surviving teachers.
“[My teacher] is already over 90 years old, there isn’t much time left for an apology if I don't do it now,” said Wang Simei, who was also a student in 1966. 
In the past few years, a number of people who were student Red Guards during the Cultural Revolution have made belated public apologies to their former victims. The most prominent figure among them was Chen Xiaolu, the youngest son of People’s Liberation Army Marshal Chen Yi.
A Red Guard leader during the Cultural Revolution, Chen first published a written apology online, and then expressed his remorse in person to his former teachers. The high-profile moves garnered national attention and triggered heated discussions online.

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