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Kulturrevolution
Aug 28th, 2016 by Gao

Grassroots Factionalism in China’s Cultural Revolution: Rethinking the Paradigm (H-PRC)

Discussants: Felix Wemheuer (University of Cologne), Andrew Walder (Stanford University), Jonathan Unger (Australian National University), Joel Andreas (Johns Hopkins University), Yiching Wu (University of Toronto)
Notes from a roundtable at the Annual Meeting of the Association for Asian Studies, Seattle March 2016
In the 1980s, Western scholars developed a powerful paradigm to explain mass political factionalism in Mao’s Cultural Revolution (1966-69) in rational terms, rather than portraying the movement as mere “madness.” They explained mass factionalism as the escalation of latent conflicts between groups from different social backgrounds and with different political interests in the period before the Cultural Revolution. This influential paradigm has since been challenged from several angles, most prominently by Andrew Walder in his book Fractured Rebellion: The Beijing Red Guard Movement (Harvard University Press, 2009). Walder and several other scholars have argued that the roles of social background and ideological differences in explaining factional divisions have been exaggerated, and that contingent events and instrumental interests were far more important. The aim of this discussion is to bring new light to this debate. How was grassroots factionalism linked to conflicts at higher levels? How did the social and political backgrounds of participants impact factional participation? Did different interpretations of Maoist ideology matter? Were ordinary participants fighting mainly to avoid the consequences of defeat?

Paul Clark: What is cultural about the Cultural Revolution? Creativity Amid Destruction (SupChina)

Paul Clark discusses the films, plays, operas, ballets, architecture and other creative works in China during the Cultural Revolution.

Nordwestpassage | Indien | Kulturrevolution
Jun 20th, 2016 by Gao

China sets its sights on the Northwest Passage as a potential trade boon (Guardian)

China is looking to exploit the Northwest Passage, the fabled shortcut from the Pacific to the Atlantic, according to state-run media, with the world’s biggest trader in goods publishing a shipping guide to the route.
The seaway north of Canada, which could offer a quicker journey from China to the US east coast than via the Panama Canal or Cape Horn, was sought by European explorers for centuries, including by the doomed Franklin expedition of 1845.
Even now it remains ice-bound for much of the year, but global warming and the retreat of Arctic sea ice are making it more accessible, and Beijing sees it as an opportunity to reshape global trade flows.
China’s maritime safety administration earlier this month published a 356-page, Chinese-language guide including nautical charts and descriptions of ice conditions for the Northwest Passage, said the China Daily newspaper, which is published by the government…
Canada regards the Northwest Passage as part of its internal waters, while some other countries consider it an international strait.
Beijing – which is embroiled in territorial disputes of its own in the South and East China Seas – on Wednesday declined to say where it stood on the issue.

Anna Sawerthal: Indien und China rüsten am Wasser auf (Standard)

Über 3.000 Kilometer fließt der Brahmaputra erst durch China, dann durch Indien. Seit Jahren liefern sich die Länder ein Staudamm-Wettbauen – auf Kosten der Umwelt

Chris Buckley: How the Cultural Revolution Sowed the Seeds of Dissent in China (New York Times)

Guobin Yang is a sociologist at the University of Pennsylvania best known for his research on the internet in China. But in his latest book, “The Red Guard Generation and Political Activism in China,’’ he turns back to examine the upheavals of the 1966-76 Cultural Revolution and the imprint they left on a generation of Chinese who became radicals and Red Guards in the name of Mao Zedong. The book explores the cultural background to the violence of the Cultural Revolution, and how those experiences nurtured dissenting ideas and the cultural experimentation that burst into flower after Mao’s death in 1976. In an interview, Mr. Yang explained how that happened.

Kulturrevolution – Familie Crook, Dikötter
Mai 16th, 2016 by Gao

Paul Crook: Growing up a foreigner during Mao’s Cultural Revolution (BBC)

Paul Crook’s Communist parents met in China in 1940 and brought up their three sons in Beijing. In the 1960s, Paul was caught up in the Cultural Revolution, a chaotic attempt to root out elements seen as hostile to Communist rule…
In the autumn of 1967, I joined a bunch of foreign kids and went to a commune just outside Beijing, where we harvested sweet potatoes and pears.
It was a very happy time, but then when I came home three weeks later my brothers said, ‚You’ll never guess what has happened, they’ve arrested a spy at the university among the foreigners, can you guess who it is?‘
I thought of a few relatively dodgy characters. But it turned out to be my father…
We were constantly going to different government departments to find out where he was locked up, so we could deliver reading material to him or food that he liked.
My mother was repeatedly summoned for questioning and eventually she too disappeared…
My father was released from prison after five years, much of it spent in solitary confinement.
He and my mother were later exonerated of any wrongdoing, and received an official apology.
My parents were never physically abused in all the time they were locked up, but it was a trying time, to say the least.
They were sustained by their belief that all this upheaval was part of an attempt to create a better society.

Neil Connor: ‚We thought Mao was doing a wonderful thing,‘ says British Red Guard 50 years after China’s Cultural Revolution (Telegraph)

Michael Crook, a Briton whose Communist father moved to China before the Second World War, was one of a handful of foreigners living in the country when Mao launched an all-out class war…
Far from worrying that he too could come under suspicion because of his Western background, he was among the first of his classmates to sign up for the Red Guard …

Michael Crook: Cultural Revolution (Video, Western Academy of Beijing)
Comrade Isabel Crook: 100 years old and still fighting for communism (Lalkar)
Oren Root: Crook Asserts West Distorts Chinese ‘Cultural Revolution’ (Columbia Daily Spectator, 15. Dezember 1966)

David Crook, an English professor now teaching in Communist China, last night accused the Western press of deliberately distorting news of the current Chinese “Proletarian Cultural Revolution.”

Terry Gross, Frank Dikötter, Dave Davies: Newly Released Documents Detail Traumas Of China’s Cultural Revolution (NPR)

Our guest, historian Frank Dikotter, has plumbed newly-opened Chinese archives to get a deeper understanding of the Cultural Revolution – the motives of its leaders, the scale of the violence and its lasting effects on the country. Dikotter argues in his new book that the turmoil destroyed the credibility of the Communist Party and laid the basis for economic reforms that transformed the country. … FRESH AIR contributor Dave Davies spoke to him about his new book, „The Cultural Revolution: A People’s History.“

Kulturrevolution – Fellner, Brown, Wemheuer, Mai/Chou, Rittenberg, Wasserstrom
Mai 15th, 2016 by Gao

Hannes Fellner: »Rebellion ist gerechtfertigt« (junge Welt)

Die »Große Proletarische Kulturrevolution« war ein Zeitabschnitt in der Geschichte der Volksrepublik China, der widersprüchlicher nicht sein konnte. Die Kulturrevolution stand und steht gleichzeitig für Voluntarismus und diktatorische Maßnahmen von den um Mao Zedong versammelten Kadern der Kommunistischen Partei Chinas (KPCh), aber auch für eine partizipative und demokratische Massenbewegung. Sie stand und steht gleichzeitig für gesellschaftliches Chaos und Not, aber auch für ökonomischen, sozialen und kulturellen Fortschritt, welcher die Grundlagen für den Wirtschaftsboom des Landes ab den späten 1970er Jahren legte. Sie stand und steht gleichzeitig für Chinas Besinnung nach innen und seine internationale Isolation, aber auch für den Beginn seines Aufstiegs zur Weltmacht.

Ian Johnson: Jeremy Brown on the Cultural Revolution at the Grass Roots | 50周年纪念之外,被忽略的文革历史 (New York Times)

Jeremy Brown, 39, a history professor at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia, studied in Harbin and did research in Tianjin, focusing especially on the rural-urban divide in China under Mao Zedong. Most recently, he helped edit “Maoism at the Grassroots: Everyday Life in China’s Era of High Socialism.” In an interview, he discussed the 50th anniversary of the Cultural Revolution, what we miss in elite-focused narratives from that time and his pursuit of flea-market historiography.

Felix Wemheuer: 50 Jahre Kulturrevolution: Der Kampf geht weiter (Deutsche Welle)

50 Jahre nach dem Ausbruch der „Großen Proletarischen Kulturrevolution“ [hat] die chinesische Gesellschaft noch immer keinen Konsens gefunden, wie Maos Massenbewegung zu beurteilen ist.

Felix Wemheuer: Kulturrevolution und die Neue Linke im Westen (Deutsche Welle)
Jun Mai, Oliver Chou: Cultural Revolution, 50 years on (South China Morning Post)

Fifty years ago today, China issued a top directive calling on its people to rid society of “members of the bourgeoisie threatening to seize political power from the proletariat” – marking the start of a decade-long violent class struggle.
For 10 tumultuous years from 1966, the country underwent massive sociopolitical upheaval that saw countless politicians and intellectuals driven to their deaths, civilians killed in armed conflicts, and cultural relics and artefacts destroyed. The official death toll numbered more than 1.7 million.

Wen Liu: Sidney Rittenberg on Cultural Revolution 50 years later, its violence, its lessons (WA China Watch Digest)

This website was not meant to be this political. But one cannot watch China and skip a historic date, May 16, the 50th anniversary of the official start of the Cultural Revolution from 1966-1976, which served as perhaps more than anything dark, scorched, bloody yet fertile soil for, as well as a huge rear-view mirror of, today’s China of skyscrapers, bullet trains, Xi Jinping, and even Internet censorship. One cannot also watch China and forget that it was in 1972, during the Cultural Revolution, that President Nixon went to meet Mao in Beijing. To help us reflect on the Cultural Revolution, its meaning, its violence, its lessons, there is no better person than a great fellow Washingtonian, journalist, scholar, a participant as well as a prisoner of not only the Cultural Revolution, but for 35 years Mao’s revolution: Sidney Rittenberg.

Jeffrey Wasserstrom: How Will China Mark the 50th Anniversary of the Cultural Revolution? (Nation)

This month marks the anniversary of two surges of youth activism in China. One, the May 4 Movement, began with student protests 97 years ago. The other is the 50th anniversary of the Cultural Revolution, which is sometimes said to have begun with the first Red Guards putting up wall posters in late May of 1966. May 4 and Red Guard activists were once seen as part of related movements, but now they tend to be regarded as radically dissimilar.

Xi Jinping gegen Liu Yunshan? | Qi Benyu | Wirtschaftskrieg | Chang Ping
Apr 24th, 2016 by Gao

雷斯:千人之诺诺,不如一士之谔谔(《中国纪检监察报》 – immer noch on-line!)| Übersetzung von Eleanor Goodman: A Thousand Yes-Men Cannot Equal One Honest Advisor (ChinaFile)

一些领导干部因违纪违法受到处罚,几乎都谈到班子内部监督不够,说没人提醒我,如果当年有人咬咬耳朵,也不至于犯这么大的罪。小问题没人提醒,大问题无人批评,以致酿成大错,正所谓“千人之诺诺,不如一士之谔谔”啊!
——习近平总书记在参加河北省委常委班子专题民主生活会时的讲话

  “千人之诺诺,不如一士之谔谔”,见于《史记·商君列传》,是战国策士赵良对秦相商鞅的谏言。赵良要投入商鞅帐下,提出了一个前提条件:“终日正言而无诛”,换句话说,就是整天说真话但不被打击报复。赵良还举了前代的两个典型例子,周武王身边不乏谔谔之士,最后能够成就大业;殷纣王周围都是趋炎附势之徒,最后亡国亡身。商鞅欣然接受了这个条件,并且进一步引申出“貌言华也,至言实也,苦言药也,甘言疾也”的道理。不过,后世对此理解最透彻的,就是唐太宗李世民和魏徵了。

忠诚党员促习近平辞职的公开信 | Loyal Party Members Urge Xi’s Resignation(无界新闻~China Digital Times)
Peter Lee: Battle between Xi Jinping and propaganda chief plays out in Chinese media (Asia Times)

If my understanding of the current censorship crackdown in PRC is correct, western commentators focused on the deepening of Xi Jinping’s control over the media may have missed the point somewhat. It appears likely that Xi Jinping is primarily concerned with neutralizing control of a rival, Liu Yunshan, over the PRC propaganda apparatus, and Xi’s heightened control over media messaging is a consequence, rather than cause, of the current uproar.
To recap, there have been three relatively high-profile censorship kerfuffles involving PRC media in the last few weeks: the “resignation letter” posted on an obscure Xinjiang website; the higher profile Caixin report/spiking/report of spiking concerning an NPC delegate’s complaints concerning heavy-handed government messaging; and the big one, the so called “Yes Man” commentary posted on the website of the anti-corruption “Central Commission for Discipline Inspection.” …
The resignation letter is probably a piece of psyops, possibly abetted by the US. Nobody believes that the website’s managers knowingly put this thing up, it doesn’t read write like a genuine cadre whinge, and a focus of the investigation has been interrogation of the site’s technical personnel…
The most interesting item on the current agenda is the “Yes Man” piece. It is one of those densely argued historical analogy pieces that is trotted out in CCP-land when politics is about to get very, very serious. The essay was posted on March 1 and is clearly a response to the campaign against billionaire gadfly Ren Zhiqiang, whose Weibo account got axed after he made some pointed criticisms of restrictions on free speech…
The fact that this piece has been posted on the CCDI website has elicited a lot of excited commentary, since the head of the CCDI, Wang Qishan, is the standard bearer of Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption drive and is seen as one of Xi’s key assets and supporters…
Observers should find even more puzzling that, over three weeks after this apparently incendiary piece was posted on the CCDC website, it is still there.
Let me repeat. It. Is. Still. There.
Rather odd treatment for a piece that is supposedly a stinging rebuke to Xi Jinping…

Emily Rauhala, Xu Yangjingjing: Chinese website publishes, then pulls, explosive letter calling for President Xi’s resignation (Washington Post)

Andrew J. Nathan, Rana Mitter, Dominic Meagher, Pamela Kyle Crossley, Daniel Leese, Kristin Shi-Kupfer: Cracks in Xi Jinping’s Fortress? (ChinaFile)

Two remarkable documents emerged from China last week: the first is the essay “A Thousand Yes-Men Cannot Equal One Honest Advisor”—available here in Chinese and translated here into English—which appeared on the website of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection. The second is an open letter calling for Xi Jinping’s resignation, penned by a group describing themselves as “loyal Party members.” What, if anything, do these documents suggest about the stability of Xi’s regime?

Michael Schoenhals: Qi Benyu, last surviving member of Central Cultural Revolution Group goes to see Karl Marx (H-NET)

Qi Benyu (戚本禹), the last surviving member of the Central Cultural Revolution Group, passed away this morning, 20 April 2016. Qi hailed from Weihai in Shandong province, but had been born in Shanghai in 1931. He joined the CCP in 1949. … To historians, what has to count as one of the most interesting pieces penned by Qi is a report《关于“调查研究”的调查》dating from 12 May 1961. It amounted to a highly critical description of how intermediate and lower-level officials were supposedly perverting the Maoist policy of ”investigation and research.”

Alastair Crooke: The ‘Hybrid War’ of Economic Sanctions (Consortium News)

U.S. politicians love the “silver bullet” of economic sanctions to punish foreign adversaries, but the weapon’s overuse is driving China and Russia to develop countermeasures.

Edward Wong: Chinese Writer in Germany Says 3 Siblings Are Detained Over Xi Letter | 旅德作家长平称家人因公开信事件被扣押 (New York Times)

A liberal Chinese writer living in Germany has said security officers in China detained three members of his family in connection with a mysterious online letter that denounced the iron-fisted rule of President Xi Jinping.

Chang Ping: Targeting Beyond China | 我为什么拒绝与中国政府交易 (New York Times)

On March 27, Chinese police crashed my father’s 70th birthday party in China’s southwestern Sichuan Province. They accused my family of causing a forest fire the day before by lighting incense and burning paper as part of the annual tomb- sweeping festival to honor deceased relatives. Three of my siblings were summoned to the police station and found out quickly that they were not being detained over an arson charge.
As an exiled Chinese journalist living in Germany, I had written an article in mid-March for Deutsche Welle criticizing the Chinese government for “secretly kidnapping” a journalist, Jia Jia, in connection with a widely distributed open letter calling for the resignation of President Xi Jinping.

Walder | Žižek
Jul 10th, 2015 by Gao

Ian Johnson: Andrew G. Walder on ‘China Under Mao’ (New York Times)

Q. You write that about 1.1 million to 1.6 million people died during the Cultural Revolution.
A. In the literature, the number ranges from 40,000 to eight million. So it’s a relatively conservative estimate. But as a percent of the population, 750 million, that’s about one-fifth the death rate of Stalin’s Great Terror. Some people are annoyed that I’m minimizing the violence, but I’m trying to put it in perspective.
Another point was that in the Cultural Revolution, most killing wasn’t by the students or Red Guards, but by the government.
We focus on students killing their teachers. That touches a nerve. Or we focus on armed conflict between rebel groups. But most of the killing occurred when order — in quotation marks — was restored. It was not the rampaging Red Guards, even though those deaths were the most dramatic. It was the military restoration of order. The cure was far worse than the disease.

Slavoj Žižek: Sinicisation (London Review of Books)

An exemplary case of today’s ‘socialism’ is China, where the Communist Party is engaged in a campaign of self-legitimisation which promotes three theses: 1) Communist Party rule alone can guarantee successful capitalism; 2) the rule of the atheist Communist Party alone can guarantee authentic religious freedom; and 3) continuing Communist Party rule alone can guarantee that China will be a society of Confucian conservative values (social harmony, patriotism, moral order). These aren’t simply nonsensical paradoxes.

Geschichtsschreibung und intellektuelle Opposition
Mrz 1st, 2015 by Gao

Ian Johnson: China’s Brave Underground Journal (New York Review of Books)

On the last stretch of flatlands north of Beijing, just before the Mongolian foothills, lies the satellite city of Tiantongyuan. Built during the euphoric run-up to the 2008 Olympics, it was designed as a modern, Hong Kong–style housing district of over 400,000 people, with plentiful shopping and a subway line into Beijing. But it was a rushed job, and planners neglected to put in parks, open spaces, or anything for the public other than roads, which were quickly choked with cars. Construction was pell-mell, and the area has aged quickly, its towers crumbling and cracking.
This rootless suburb is home to Remembrance, an underground journal that deals with one of China’s most sensitive issues: its history. E-mailed to subscribers as a seventy- to ninety-page PDF every other week, Remembrance’s articles and first-person accounts are helping to recover memories that the Communist Party would prefer remained lost.

Chris Buckley: Conviction for Memoirs Is Reminder of Mao Era (New York Times)

An 81-year-old survivor of Mao’s purges was convicted in southwestern China on Wednesday for his efforts to remind Chinese of their country’s history.
Tie Liu, an underground publisher, was tried in Chengdu, in Sichuan Province, along with his maid, Huang Jing, and convicted of operating an illegal business, Mr. Tie’s former lawyer said. Both defendants received suspended sentences for publishing the memoirs of people persecuted nearly 60 years ago for criticizing the Communist Party.

Cao Zhenglu
Nov 17th, 2013 by Gao

Yan Hairong: Rethinking Is Not Demonizing (Monthly Review)

Cao Zhenglu is a well-known contemporary Chinese realist writer. His stories “Na’er” (“There,” about the tragic experience of a union cadre in a state-owned enterprise undergoing “structural reform”) and “Nihong” (“Neon,” about the life and death of a laid-off woman worker) expose the predicament of Chinese workers in the reform period. His novel Wen cangmang (Asking the Boundless—an allusion to a line from one of Mao’s poems, “I ask, on this boundless land, who rules over man’s destiny”) has a Taiwanese-owned factory in Shenzhen as the central theater, around which different characters struggle to understand and play their roles in the larger context of “investment.” This novel has been celebrated as “the first novel that uses Chinese reality to explain Das Kapital.” His most recent novel, Minzhu ke (Lessons in Democracy [Taipei: Taiwan shehui yanjiu zazhishe, 2013]), initiates a further reflection on the Cultural Revolution. Cao’s novel re-narrates the Cultural Revolution in terms of its historical unfolding—its aims, processes, contradictions, and significance, and links this story with the contemporary problem of China’s path today.

曹征路:那儿‍‍ (PDF; 清华大学/archive.org)

Großer Sprung | Kulturrevolution
Sep 27th, 2013 by Gao

Ein Freund von mir hat einen längeren Artikel mit Erinnerungen an die Kulturrevolution veröffentlicht:
柯馬凱:老外紅衛兵. In: 米鶴都(Hg.):《光環與陰影——回憶與反思》香港,中港傳媒出版社2013, ISBN 9789881679291.

柯馬凱(Michael Crook),父親為抗戰時來華的英共黨員。柯馬凱出生於北京,文革初期層參加北大附中“紅旗”戰門小組,是一個純粹的“老外”紅衛兵。

Auszüge davon wurden auch auf dem Festland publiziert, z.B.:
老外红卫兵自述往事:曾被称特务子女到处上访(新浪)

John Sexton hat mich auf zwei Artikel und ein Buch zum Großen Sprung aufmerksam gemacht:
教授谈大跃进死人:营养性死亡(网易中国社会科学报/万家热线)
孙经先:《墓碑》“中国饿死3600万”的结论非常荒谬(世界社会主义研究动态/党建网)
杨松林:《总要有人说出真相:关于“饿死三千万”》. 南海出版公司2013, ISBN 9787544260695.

Workshop in Wien: Unser eigener Schatten der Kulturrevolution
Okt 10th, 2012 by Gao

Sascha Klotzbücher: Unser eigener Schatten der Kulturrevolution: Transgenerationelle Deutungsmuster und die affektiven Grundlagen der heutigen chinesischen Gesellschaft (Universität Wien)
Welche Bedeutung hat die Kulturrevolution für die heutige Gesellschaft Chinas?

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