Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Vaguely Addressing the Cultural Revolution

China claims it says "bye-bye" to the Cultural Revolution, but has it?
Yesterday the Communist Party of China's main mouthpiece, the People's Daily, broke the media silence over the 50th anniversary of the Cultural Revolution.

In an editorial it offered assurances the party would not allow such a revolution to happen again, though it warned against allowing discussions of turmoil to be used to weaken the party's legitimacy.

"History has spoken that the Cultural Revolution was wrongfully started by the leadership and used by counter-revolutionary clans. It was a serious catastrophe to the party, the country, and people," the editorial said, quoting the party's official verdict on the event issued in 1981.

Global Times, Caixin and People's Daily wrote editorials
"The revolution is not, and could not, possibly be a revolution or social progress in any sense," it said. "The mistakes of the Cultural Revolution will not be allowed again."

Other media outlets, like the nationalistic Global Times and financial journal Caixin also chimed in yesterday.

The Global Times editorial said Chinese people had developed an "antibody" for the revolution, and thus it surely would not happen again. "We said bye-bye to the Cultural Revolution long ago," the editorial said. "Today we can say one more time that the Cultural Revolution cannot and will not reoccur."

Meanwhile Caixin republished an excerpt of the 1981 document on the 10-year political campaign. "Building a socialist political system with a high degree of democracy is one of the key missions of a socialist revolution," it said, quoting the document.

"The fact that the mission was not attached with importance became an important condition under which the Cultural Revolution broke out. It is a bitter lesson."

People's Daily said the nation must "firmly remember the historic lessons from the revolution, insist on the party's verdict and resist interference from the left and the right over the topic."

Can China promise revolutions like this won't happen again?
All these editorials are just skirting around the issue and not dealing with it head on. And for those who weren't even born during that period would not even know what these editorials are hinting at.

This just shows the insecurity the government has about dealing with such a horrific event that impacted millions of people, and yet it still wants to ensure its legitimacy in ruling the country.

It definitely wants it cake and wants to eat it too.

This skimming over of the Cultural Revolution seems more aimed at everyone outside of China to prove it is not completely silent on the half-century anniversary. While no one expected the party to own up to its mistakes, trying to assure people it will never happen again may be words it will come to regret.

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