Historian’s Latest Book on Mao Turns Acclaim in China to CensureHistorians in the News
tags: China, censorship, Mao, Yang Jisheng
It seemed that China’s censors had finally muzzled Yang Jisheng, the famed chronicler of the Mao era. Last year, he had finished writing a widely anticipated history of the Cultural Revolution. But officials warned him against publishing it and barred him from traveling to the United States, he has said, and he stayed muted through the 50th anniversary of the start of that bloody upheaval.
Now Mr. Yang has broken that silence with the publication of his history of the Cultural Revolution, “The World Turned Upside Down,” a sequel to “Tombstone,” his landmark study of the famine spawned by Mao’s policies in the late 1950s. The 1,151-page book is the latest shot fired in China’s war over remembering, or forgetting, the dark side of its Communist past, a struggle that has widened under the hard-line president, Xi Jinping.
“I wrote this book to expose lies and restore the truth,” Mr. Yang writes in the book, which has been quietly published in Hong Kong, beyond the direct reach of Chinese censors. “This is an area that is extremely complicated and risky, but as soon as I entered it, I was filled with passion.”
Since Mr. Xi took power in 2012, the Communist Party authorities have denounced historians who question the party’s lionization of its past and exhume grim events like the Cultural Revolution, which Mao started in 1966, opening a decade of purges and bloodshed.
Tens of millions were persecuted and perhaps a million or more people were killed in that convulsive time. But officials say dwelling on such events is subversive “historical nihilism” aimed at corroding the party’s authority.
In a sign of how Chinese politics has chilled, Mr. Yang has said little publicly about the book. ...
comments powered by Disqus
- Josh Hawley Earns F in Early American History
- Does Germany's Holocaust Education Give Cover to Nativism?
- "Car Brain" Has Long Normalized Carnage on the Roads
- Hawley's Use of Fake Patrick Henry Quote a Revealing Error
- Health Researchers Show Segregation 100 Years Ago Harmed Black Health, and Effects Continue Today
- Nelson Lichtenstein on a Half Century of Labor History
- Can America Handle a 250th Anniversary?
- New Research Shows British Industrialization Drew Ironworking Methods from Colonized and Enslaved Jamaicans
- The American Revolution Remains a Hotly Contested Symbolic Field
- Untangling Fact and Fiction in the Story of a Nazi-Era Brothel