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Popular Memories of the Mao EraFrom Critical Debate to Reassessing History$
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Sebastian Veg

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9789888390762

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789888390762.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM HONG KONG SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.hongkong.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Hong Kong University Press, 2019. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in HKSO for personal use.date: 13 November 2019

Popular Memories and Popular History, Indispensable Tools for Understanding Contemporary Chinese History

Popular Memories and Popular History, Indispensable Tools for Understanding Contemporary Chinese History

The Case of the End of the Rustication Movement

Chapter:
(p.220) 11 Popular Memories and Popular History, Indispensable Tools for Understanding Contemporary Chinese History
Source:
Popular Memories of the Mao Era
Author(s):
Michel Bonnin, Sebastian Veg
Publisher:
Hong Kong University Press
DOI:10.5790/hongkong/9789888390762.003.0011

This chapter examines an example of how minjian memories and minjian historiography transform our knowledge of the history of the Cultural Revolution. In the case of the end of the Rustication movement, many unofficial sources contradict the official version, represented by the press of the time or by the recent TV series Deng Xiaoping. In February 1979, while the People’s Daily published a speech criticizing the Yunnan educated youth who had come to Beijing to demand the right to return to their native cities, on the ground in Yunnan, the educated youths were in fact packing up and going back home by the thousands, after a victorious petitioning movement. This movement of historical importance was never officially acknowledged. In the TV series, the sudden end of the rustication movement is attributed to the wisdom of Deng Xiaoping and the petitioning movement (including strikes, hunger strikes and the sending of delegations) is replaced by the individual petition of a female educated youth wanting to go back home to take care of her gravely ill father who succeeds in touching the heart of a good cadre. The contribution of unofficial sources is thus particularly obvious in this case.

Keywords:   History and memory, Minjian, Unofficial history, Cultural Revolution, Rustication Movement, Educated Youths

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