Red-Color News Soldier


The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, which gripped China in
its tectonic embrace from 1966 to 1977, was one of the most traumatic political movements of the
20th century. Because it turned child on parent, friend on friend, and colleague on colleague,
it left a poisonous residue of unresolved grievances that even today have not dissipated.

The Chinese photographer Li Zhensheng lived through this period of
grand madness in Manchuria and not only covered it for his paper, the Heilongjiang Daily, but recorded what happened for history, hiding those negatives that were politically sensitive in a cache beneath his apartment floor.

If Li’s photos vividly show us how disruptive this interlude of extreme “communist” politics was, they also remind us how complicit the Chinese were in the brutality of Mao’s revolution. The still unsettled nature of this Chinese bout of self-delusion and self-destructiveness raises the question of whether it is possible for a people who have allowed themselves to abuse one another so savagely to simply move on through avoidance and forgetting into a healthy future.

IT'S TIME TO TALK ABOUT MEDIA BIAS

We believe that journalism needs to stand for something right now. That the press is the enemy of secrecy and corruption. That reporting without a sense of right and wrong only helps liars and propagandists succeed. And that we're in this fight for the long haul.

So we're hoping to raise $30,000 in new monthly donations this fall. Read our argument for journalism that is fair and accurate and stands for something—and join us with a tax-deductible monthly donation (or make a one-time gift) if you agree.

  • Orville Schell is the Director of the Asia Society’s Center on US-China Relations, where he leads a project on climate change and the Tibetan Plateau. He is former Dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley, and the author of many books on China.