Red Guard apology triggers wide reflection

Source:Global Times Published: 2014-1-14 1:18:01

Song Binbin, daughter of the late People's Liberation Army General Song Renqiong and a once popular Red Guard during the Cultural Revolution (1966-76), apologized for her actions on Sunday at her alma mater, the Experimental High School Attached to Beijing Normal University. This is the second confession made by the descendents of founding fathers after Chen Xiaolu, son of the late Marshal Chen Yi, apologized last August for his misdeeds during the Revolution.

Song and Chen are both getting old and have lost their influence. But their apologies, as individual activities, can still cause a stir in the public opinion.

China is at the stage of rapid transformation in all spheres including ideology. Diversified opinions have reinvigorated people's minds, but at the same time, allowed confusion.

The Cultural Revolution has already been identified as  domestic turmoil that caused grave disaster to China. In the 1980s, Chinese society reflected on the catastrophe from top to bottom. The following reform and opening-up could be regarded as a complete and firm denial of the Revolution. China has already turned over a new leaf on the Cultural Revolution.

However, in recent years, this political movement was frequently mentioned in Chinese public opinion. It has become a hot topic, which results in many unexpected opinions.

Firstly, a small group of people, who are mostly marginalized by society, start to sing an ode to the Cultural Revolution. Some people think their voices symbolize that the whole society is leaning "left," while others believe it is a normal phenomenon in a diversified community, where every voice could be echoed.

Secondly, some malicious actions, such as defaming, rumor-mongering and personal attacks, which were notoriously popular in the period of Cultural Revolution, were brought back to life in the context of the free Internet. Some people are concerned that China might re-walk that disastrous road, while some believe these actions are all for democracy, which can be achieved even at the cost of law and order.

Thirdly, disregard the fact that the whole nation has defined the Revolution as what it should be, a handful of people demand the CPC and central government apologize for the Revolution.

In fact, the nationwide introspection of the 1980s is more constructive than a so-called apology.

Song and Chen bravely making such individual apologies offers a chance for everyone in society to streamline their relationship with the Revolution. The launch of the Cultural Revolution was Mao Zedong's mistake, but it was also a mistake made by China as a group, where dishonor and shame of many individuals are also included. How to insist on integrity in a "chaotic" era should be another lesson that every Chinese needs to learn.

Posted in: Editorial

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