Zhang Lijia
Zhang Lijia

The troublesome period of China’s Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) has been eradicated from the country’s official history, and many youngsters who not know what happened in that decade. Until recently an 80-year old man from Zhejiang had to face court for a murder in 1967. Time to deal with the ghosts of the Cultural Revolution, writes author Zhang Lijia in the South China Morning Post.

Zhang Lijia:

Our leaders are probably worried that the shameful past may damage the regime’s credibility.
Perhaps inspired by the ongoing debate, scholar Wang Lixiong published a piece last month in Aisixiang, a leading intellectual website, titled “What has the Cultural Revolution brought to China?”

He argues that no matter how powerful a movement might be – even one that “shook Heaven and Earth” like the Cultural Revolution – if change merely involves changing one group of bureaucrats for another, without genuine reform of the dictatorial system itself, then there will be no political progress.

I am delighted by the outpouring of opinions from both ordinary netizens and prominent intellectuals such as Wang.
This month, a new generation of leaders led by Xi Jinping will take the reins of power at the 12th National People’s Congress.  My hope is that they’ll  listen to such voices, squarely confront the legacy of the Cultural Revolution, and then draw lessons from it. This means enacting genuine political reform, rule of law and relaxing media control – the best way to prevent the Cultural Revolution from happening again.

More in this pdf file from the South China Morning Post.

Zhang Lijia is a speaker at the China Speakers Bureau. Do you need her at your meeting or conference? Do get in touch or fill in our speakers’ request form.

How are China’s media doing in Africa? That is the question the China Weekly Hangout is asking itself coming Thursday, March 7, in a first session on China’s international politics. We will be joined by Eric Olander of the China Africa Project, and other guest. You can read our announcement here, or register directly to participate on our event page. 

In November 2012 the China Weekly Hangout discussed the China-US relations with China veteran Janet Carmosky and political scientist Greg Anderson. Fons Tuinstra, president of the China Speakers Bureau is moderating. An overview of all the hangouts is here. 

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