Most Western media reports focus on the oppression of religion in China, and miss one of the most important developments in the country when it comes to religion, argues journalist Ian Johnson, author of The Souls of China: The Return of Religion After Mao in the China Zentrum. “Faith and values are returning to the center of a national discussion over how to organize Chinese life.”
Many have been remembering in 2016 the anniversary of both start and finish of the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), and many scholars used the moment to publish their views on this ground-shattering event in the country´s recent history. Journalist Ian Johnson, author of the upcoming book The Souls of China: The Return of Religion After Mao reviews some of the milestones in the troublesome academic research for ChinaFile.
Forty years after Mao Zedong passed away, the country and its people are still struggling with the legacy of its former leader. Time to get clear on that legacy, writes Zhang Lijia, author of her autobiography”Socialism Is Great!”: A Worker’s Memoir of the New China on her weblog, and time to move on and change into a modern society.
An almost forgotten episode under Communist rule was the Third Front, an 200 billion Renminbi effort to move from 1964 much of the economic power to China´s inland. Journalist Ian Johnson with historian Covell Meyskens his work on an upcoming monography and his weblog with 5,000+ pictures for the New York Times.
The 50-year anniversary of the Cultural Revolution has passed mostly in silence. China media mentioned briefly the event was with hindsight not a good idea, much of the families of Chinese leader – including the Xi family – suffered from it, but talking to victims is not easy discovered the Globe&Mail. Author Zhang Lijia comments.
Journalist Ian Johnson interviews history professor Jeremy Brown in the New York Times on the 50-year remembrance of the Cultural Revolution. Brown dislikes the remembrance, as it focuses on the – limited – suffering of the intellectuals, while there is no interest in what happened at the country side, and a way more important event, the Four Cleanups.
The government has tried to keep the lid on the gruesome events during the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976)- even though much of the current leadership has suffered personally. But much of the younger Chinese have no clue. Author Zhang Lijia looks for Al Jazeera how things are changing, very slowly.
Stanford sociologist Andrew G. Walder rewrote the history of Mao Zedong as we knew it in his book China Under Mao: A Revolution Derailed, where he argues that Mao was not inspired by Communism, but a poor understanding of Stalinism. Journalist Ian Johnson interviewed him for the New York Times.
Most people in China still fail to understand what Mao Zedong did right, and what he did wrong, argues author Zhang Lijia in the South China Morning Post. Especially now current president Xi Jinping is lending some of his legacy, an open debate is urgently due, although it is unlikely to happen.
Looking back at its own history is not popular in China, notes author Zhang Lijia on her website. She welcomes the apologies of a growing number of former Red Guards who committed violence during the Cultural Revolution. Soul-searching is needed to avoid another Cultural Revolution, she argues.