The Revolution Will Not Be Memorialized

Forty years ago Mao Zedong launched the Cultural Revolution. The Propaganda Department of China’s ruling Communists have now issued an order banning any kind of reviews or commemoration of this disaster as part of the Party’s bid to make the Chinese forget about that lost decade.

But in condemning the Japanese for neglect of the Nanjing massacre during the Second World War, Chinese officials proclaim that forgetting the past betrays the people. But. for the Chinese, the Cultural Revolution was itself a betrayal, one that continues to this day. All the terrible events since then – the Tiananmen Square massacre, persecution of Falun Gong, and repression of civic activists – are the evil fruit of that un-cleansed original sin.

The Cultural Revolution marked the climax of class extermination practiced by the Party during the 1960’s. The survivors of all the previous political movements, now enthralled by Mao’s personality cult, were free of all constraint, able to kill and seek revenge with impunity. As Mao summed up this psychological state: “Now is a time of upheaval, and I’m just happy about the chaos.” In his instruction called “Regarding Biting Incidents,” Mao asserted: “So what? Good people get to know each other by biting each other and it serves bad people right if they are bitten by good ones…”