Between 500,000 to 2 million people died in the Cultural Revolution. Yet a silence remains as to why.
Over eleven years in Mao’s China, an all-out assault on ‘class enemies’ took place. Teenagers smashed their teachers’ skulls. Doctors were tortured in jail as foreign spies. Ordinary people condemned ‘counter-revolutionaries’ to execution – and then went home and ate their dinner.
This was less than fifty years ago. But the victims are being forgotten already. Wang Youqin unmasks the true brutality of the Cultural Revolution. Documenting the deaths of over six hundred individuals, Victims of the Cultural Revolution calls on us to remember the evil ideological fanaticism wreaks and pays tribute to all those who suffered.
Wang Youqin is a Senior Instructional Professor in Chinese language at the University of Chicago. She has been researching the Cultural Revolution since 2004 and maintains a memorial website for its victims.
Publisher: Oneworld Academic (February 23, 2023)
Length: 864 pages
Raves and Reviews
'Carefully composed and captivating... May Wang Youqin’s monumental book reach beyond the narrow confines of the ivory tower and attract the many readers it so obviously deserves.'
– Frank Dikötter, TLS
'In 1966, Wang was a schoolgirl who witnessed the hounding of Bian Zhongyun. Her response was to gather oral histories of the period, which are published . . . as Victims of the Cultural Revolution in a lucid translation by Stacy Mosher. Her book is . . a chronicle of deaths until now untold. Her teacher’s death is described, but so are countless others, mostly far less high-profile, like the 60-year-old Li Jingpo, who worked at the elite Jingshan high school in Beijing and was killed in August 1966. But he was not a teacher or administrator: he was just the doorman. Being a bona fide proletarian didn’t save him from the students who used to call him “Uncle Li”. Wang’s account of what happened during one of China’s darkest moments is a powerful companion to [Tania] Branigan’s compelling account of why it still haunts the very different country of today.'
– Rana Mitter, Guardian
‘I find this book to have enormous historical value, and believe it will serve as a foundation for future historians carrying out research into the political, educational, and social history of this period.’
– Yu Ying-shih, Emeritus Professor of East Asian Studies and History at Princeton University
‘Wang Youqin is one of a number of Chinese-born scholars in the United States who have been undertaking the Cultural Revolution research that cannot be done in China. In this book, Professor Wang takes a very important step in the direction of making her fellow Chinese confront their recent past.’
– Roderick MacFarquhar, Leroy B. Williams Professor of History and Political Science and former Director of the John King Fairbank Center for East Asian Research at Harvard University
‘Insightful… Mosher has abbreviated the work to great effect, taking away some of its encyclopedic nature and duplicative material while also adding new information that Wang collected in the intervening 20 years… [the book] gives a sense of the enduring nightmare of this period… The broader significance of this book and these developments is that the Chinese Communist Party has not been able to erase or control history the way it would like. Overseas scholars like Wang now feed into a broad discussion in China, challenging the Chinese Communist Party on its most sacred ground: its control of history.’
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