In our May 17 analysis of Chinese media coverage of the Cultural Revolution, we passed over one important article from Guangming Daily, the official mouthpiece of China’s Central Propaganda Bureau. That article, “Looking forward with Solidarity: A review of what Deng Xiaoping and other old revolutionaries tell us about how to correctly assess the ‘Cultural Revolution'”, was important because it offered, on the day of the fortieth anniversary, the Party’s official line on how the Cultural Revolution should be marked and remembered. It said, in over 4,000 words: the Party has already told us what we should think and feel about the Cultural Revolution – let us all look forward!:
Here is the first portion of the Guangming Daily article, which appeared at the top of Page 3:
The “Cultural Revolution” of the 60s and 70s of the last century was an important turning point in the development of our Party and the nation. The Party and the people have worked earnestly to reap the experience and lessons of the “Cultural Revolution”, and such revolutionaries as Deng Xiaoping and Chen Yun have left us many profound treatises. The phrase they use most often is “looking forward with solidarity”. Today, under new historical conditions, we need urgently to review their treatises and look forward with solidarity to correctly treat that episode in history, the “Cultural Revolution”, and reach a more consensus vision, promoting the grand work of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics with one heart and mind.
It continues by pointing to two “erroneous trends in thought” following in the wake of the Cultural Revolution (our emphasis):
Thirty years ago, as the Cultural Revolution ended and countless problems waited for solutions, people’s thoughts were also in a state of chaos. Two erroneous trends in thought existed as to how to treat the “Cultural Revolution”. One was the error of Leftism, which persisted in affirming the errors of the “Cultural Revolution”. Another held falsely that disavowing the “Cultural Revolution” meant denying the history of the Party and its position of leadership, denying the socialist system, denying Comrade Mao Zedong and Mao Zedong Thought. Without question, for the Party and the country to walk out from the morass of the “Cultural Revolution” they needed to correctly assess and thoroughly rectify the erroneous theory and direction of the “Cultural Revolution” … How to appraise the intimate relationship between Mao Zedong and the “Cultural Revolution” was an even more complicated and delicate question. Do we have the ability and presence of mind to thoroughly disavow the path of the “Cultural Revolution” while looking rationally at Mao Zedong and Mao Zedong Thought? These questions, in apparent contradiction, are an important test of the Party and crucial to determining China’s fate and outlook for the future”.
A detailed discussion of Deng Xiaoping’s writings about the Cultural Revolution follows, with an emphasis on his line: “We sum up the past so we may all look forward with solidarity” (Guangming Daily citation: Selected Writings of Deng Xiaoping, Volume II, pg. 292 [《邓小平文选》第二卷第292页]).
Not surprisingly, the final paragraph is an enthusiastic self-affirmation of the Party’s mandate to rule:
The “Cultural Revolution” is already 30 years past. Our Party’s basic summations on questions of history since the Republic’s founding, and particularly the question of the “Cultural Revolution”, have stood the test of time and historical experience. Today we cherish the summaries of history given us by Deng Xiaoping and other revolutionary leaders … and affirm their call for us to look forward with solidarity … Not forgetting history, we should set our eyes on the future, and with greater unity fight our way up in the embrace of the Party Central Committee led by General Secretary Hu Jintao, never ceasing to advance the great project of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics!
Today, however, Southern Metropolis Daily slipped right into the past by running a profile on the life of engineer Sun Jingqiao (孙镜樵), who passed away earlier this month. The story talks directly about the abuse he received after being branded an “unlawful capitalist” and “reactionary” during the Cultural Revolution.
The story is called, “A Sketch of Sun Jingqiao”. “In the prime of his life he wore ‘two tall hats’. He was branded an unlawful capitalist (不法资本家) and reactionary force (反动技术权威)”, it begins, then describes the scene at Sun’s funeral in Guangzhou on May 7. “There is a six-member band in black coattails in one corner of the parlor, playing the familiar strain of ‘Auld Lang Syne’. Sun Jingqiao’s eldest son, Suen Kwok Lam, executive director of Hong Kong’s Henderson Land Development, says his father loved dancing his whole life, and would have enjoyed such a melodic farewell …”
The story briefly narrates Sun’s life prior to China’s “liberation” in 1949, and then goes on:
In 1966 the fate of engineer Sun Jingqiao met a turning point. His wife, Hu Yuzhen, recalls that shortly after liberation, Jingqiao’s salary was quite high at 135 yuan. The household never wanted for anything, and could even hire a maid. After the onset of the Cultural Revolution, everything changed. Their second son, Guoquan, remembers that one day his father said unexpectedly: ‘There are already two hats on my head, unlawful capitalist and reactionary.’ His fathers tone was relaxed as ever, but Guo Quan quickly learned the affect these two “hats” would have on the fate of the family.
The three children in secondary school were soon forced off to the countryside and Hu Yuzhen was sent to clean toilets at a glass factory. Shuyi, the only child left in Guangzhou, said her father was frequently forced to wear a tall hat and sit atop a truck that hauled him through the streets to a ceremonial hall where he was publicly denounced. Sometimes he was locked in a cowshed for many days and visitors were kept away. But every time he returned home, a smile would break across Sun Jingqiao’s face and he would describe in vivid detail the scene of the denunciation …
[Posted by David Bandurski, May 19, 2006, 12:57pm]