The exponential trauma produced by the Cultural Revolution is barely mentioned in China, yet has been foundational to a generation. Now the Communist Party is using the experience of its leader Xi Jinping as one of the 17 million young people sent down to the countryside to reframe the movement as showcasing personal sacrifice in the interests of national success. The party would like other aspects to be forgotten, such as the unimaginable violence in Chongqing or the petty brutality that set children onto their parents. In the second part of our series on history and memory, Louisa and Graeme discuss the legacies of the Cultural Revolution with sociologist Xu Bin from Emory University and the Institute for Advanced Study in Berlin, the author of Chairman Mao's Children: Generation and the Politics of Memory in China and Guardian journalist Tania Branigan whose book Red Memory: The Afterlives of China’s Cultural Revolution came out in May.
Image: Red Guard, June 1968. c/- Wikimedia Commons and China Pictorial