Wei Jingsheng Foundation News and Article Release Issue: A778-W496

魏京生基金会新闻与文章发布号: A778-W496


Release Date: August 31, 2013



Topic: My Commentary about Chen Xiaolu's Apology Related to Cultural Revolution -- Wei Jingsheng

标题:从陈小鲁的文革道歉信谈起 -- 魏京生


Original Language Version: Chinese (Chinese version at the end)



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My Commentary about Chen Xiaolu's Apology Related to Cultural Revolution

-- Wei Jingsheng



Recently, Chen Xiaolu (the son of Chen Yi, one of the ten marshals of the Communist Army in China) made his apology on the Internet to his victims for his actions during the Cultural Revolution period.  This resulted in a lot of discussion among the netizens.  Most of the discussion has been positive encouragement and appreciation.  But there are some people using the dirty language of the street to scold Mr. Chen Xiaolu.  I cannot help but speculate: why?  Is it because Chen's apology for his wrongdoing during the Cultural Revolution violated the interests of someone?  Unimaginably queer.


Mr. Chen 's apology was very sincere, with a profound reflection.  This profound reflection is what he said in his micro-blogs: "The non-humanitarian behavior that is unconstitutional and violating human rights should not be repeated in China in any form."  This conclusion is the collective reflection of the majority of victims and victimizers of that era, although it may not be shared by a few bigots.


During my half year of release from jail in 1993, with some old classmates I returned to the middle school I was attending during the Cultural Revolution period.  We visited our former teachers and apologized to them for our public criticism against them during that time.  None of these teachers would reject our apologies.  There were even teachers who returned their words to comfort us: in that crazy era, it was inevitable for children like you to make mistakes.  You have learned your lessons, so you do not have to be so strong with self-reproach.


There was one very interesting teacher who was a college professor demoted to be a teacher in our middle school due to his "rightist issues".  He refused to accept our apologies.  He said to us: "We also have our share of guilt to push for that crazy movement.  At the end, we also tasted the bitter fruit like your guys.  Do you not think that we had our own share of teaching that resulted in your craziness at that time?  All the people coming from that era should not just eye on how much loss and pain we had to endure, but also examine our own roles during that crazy movement.  The most important is to have lessons learned without making the same kind of mistakes again.  To harbor hatred for the suffering is to make the same mistake."


At that time, this teacher did not say what lessons should be learned.  I think the lesson he was talking about should be exactly what Mr. Chen Xiaolu had said: "The non-humanitarian behavior that is unconstitutional and violating human rights should not be repeated in China in any form."  Please note this "should not be repeated in China in any form."


I would like to add a little more: human rights should not be violated with any excuse.  Human rights are the highest principles of judgment.  Any principles are enacted for the interests and survival of the human race.  A violation of the principles for the basic interests and survival of the human race is against the principle of humanity.  Even with the sophistry of the politicians and lawyers, they cannot change this essence.


In his article, Mr. Chen Xiaolu mentioned that there was a trend to reverse the verdict of the Cultural Revolution recently, which is forcing everyone to reflect once again on the Cultural Revolution.  During the 1980's, there was a trend of reflection by the related parties of the Cultural Revolution.  However, it was suppressed by Deng Xiaoping with the excuse of "looking ahead."  The political movement of the same reflection with the theme of "High Wall Literature" and "Sent Down Youth Literature" also has gradually been forgotten.  There are very few of today's literature youth would know the well known names in the literature of those days, such as Cong Weixi and Kong Jiesheng.


It is exactly with this history forgotten, that people seem feel the words of "human rights" are very strange and very academic.  It seems that human rights is a far cry from their own personal interests.  Instead, it was the Communists who were thrown into the Communist jails, such as Hu Yaobang and Peng Zhen and those teachers who were persecuted during the Cultural Revolution, that had a deeper understanding of the importance of human rights and the rule of law for each individual.  Without respect for and protection of human rights, even Liu Shaoqi, President of China, inevitably fell into a miscarriage of justice and was thrown into jail, not to mention we the common people.


Now, there are a lot of people who cherish the memory of the Cultural Revolution, when there were relatively equal living conditions, strikes against corrupted officials, and the four freedoms that included allowing individuals to easily put up a big poster, and so on.  Thus, these people want a return to the Cultural Revolution to fight against the rampant corruption, uneven distribution of wealth, and lack of free speech now.  Under the current circumstances that do not allow people to speak straight for fear of being accused of counterrevolutionary offenses, it is reasonable to use the strategy of "waving the red flags to be against the red flags" for the purpose of pleading for the people.  This is understandable.


However, there is a major lesson we should have learned from the Cultural Revolution: to incite social hatred by using the revenge mentality of the human race, even though a small favor might be given to these people.  During the Cultural Revolution period, political struggles were carried out by means of serious violations of human rights, which ultimately developed a new type of fascist authoritarianism.  Those who ultimately fell as victims also included we the common people.  Once the official level of human rights violations started, it naturally extended to the whole society.  How could the powerless people stay out of it?


From a phenomenological point of view, the Cultural Revolution did punish corrupt officials, did implement some income equality, and did give people certain freedom of expression.  For these benefits, some people even argued that the Cultural Revolution was the people's Cultural Revolution.  This theory covers up the crimes that went against rules of common sense, done by then paramount leader Mao Zedong.  These benefits were indeed the goals of Mao Zedong who launched the Cultural Revolution, but not his biggest goal.


Mao Zedong's goal of Cultural Revolution was to incite social hatred to stimulate people into fighting against each other, through engagement of these concessions.  Thus, his clique could gain profits at the expense of others and establish Mao's own absolute authority.  To strengthen the Marxist dictatorship for this handful clique and to fully realize their Marxist ideals was the main purpose of this small group of Marxists.


In the writing of Karl Marx, although there were many humanitarian arguments that were even fashionable then, they were not in the content of Marxism.  In his Critique of the Gotha Programme (German: Kritik des Gothaer Programms), Karl Marx made it very clear that the core of his theory is the so-called dictatorship of the proletariat.  When one tries to use fashionable Marxism to go against his core content, one will never succeed regardless how hard one tries.


Meanwhile, people should be wary of sophistry such as that of Mao Zedong.  He is the kind of persons capable of guiding other people 's anger towards the direction of their own authority, and to create a new absolute authority.  This absolute authority will be just like Mao Zedong's, giving a narrow clique a coat cover named in "serving the people".  Yet, its essence must be to cut and even to eliminate people's basic human rights, and ultimately set the people in dire straits.


Mr. Chen Xiaolu's apology is very important.  Whether he is early or late, no matter what the reasons behind him, his apology summarizes an unprecedented huge and painful lesson that we the Chinese people have learned - that is "do not believe any kind of incitement for hatred."  Only under a rule of law that respects human rights, can we the common people avoid falling into a miscarriage of justice, avoid fear, and avoid becoming victims and victimizers.



To hear Mr. Wei Jingsheng's related commentary, please visit:



(Written and recorded on August 21, 2013.  Broadcasted by Radio Free Asia.)



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Wei Jingsheng Foundation News and Article Release Issue: A778-W496

魏京生基金会新闻与文章发布号: A778-W496


Release Date: August 31, 2013



Topic: My Commentary about Chen Xiaolu's Apology Related to Cultural Revolution -- Wei Jingsheng

标题:从陈小鲁的文革道歉信谈起 -- 魏京生


Original Language Version: Chinese (Chinese version at the end)









-- 魏京生












































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