Critics Attacked, History Revised as China Nationalism Rises

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tags: China, China Nationalism



Writer Lu Yong had merely wanted to show support for a professor who had taken flak online for criticizing Mao Zedong, the founder of the communist state who died more than four decades ago.

Yet minutes after raising a sign to defend Deng Xiangchao's right to free speech, Lu found himself surrounded by a group of Mao supporters who grappled at his face. Other companions were punched and kicked.

Video taken hours later showed the Mao loyalists parading through the campus of eastern China's Jinan University with large banners while chanting "Down with Deng Xiangchao, down with traitors." Within days, Deng was forced to retire and stripped of his Communist Party titles. State media justified his dismissal.

Across China, a retrograde strain of populist nationalism is gaining strength as the ruling Communist Party intensifies its control over history and ideology. Those who question the party's interpretations find their careers and reputations threatened, while their persecutors receive tacit and sometimes outright support from the authorities.




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