Cultural Revolution event abruptly cancelled in Beijing, pressure from authorities not denied

2021.05.18
Cultural Revolution event abruptly cancelled in Beijing pressure from authorities not denied

A commemorative event in Beijing marking 55 years since the start of the Cultural Revolution was abruptly called off on Sunday, with organizers declining to state clearly whether the decision was made under pressure from government authorities.

The event had been planned for Sunday afternoon at an auditorium in Beijing, by various left-wing organizations including online communities and research institutes devoted to Mao Zedong. According to a report in Sing Tao, the organizer said it was “not convenient” to hold the event offline, and there would be an online conference instead.

When asked whether the cancellation occurred because of official pressure, the organizer said “it doesn’t matter,” according to Sing Tao’s report.

On May 16, 1966, the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Committee issued a circular heralding the start of the Cultural Revolution, outlining party chairman Mao Zedong’s rationale for the new era.

Several years after the Cultural Revolution ended, the party issued its conclusion about the 10-year historical period in a 1981 circular, acknowledging the suffering experienced by all ethnic groups in China and noting the “extremely painful lessons” learned. The 1981 circular remains the official party conclusion on the events of the Cultural Revolution

May 14 also marked the 30th anniversary of the suicide of Jiang Qing, one the core figures of the Cultural Revolution, an anniversary that prompted a similar commemorative event. Netizens shared photos of the event, speculating that one of those attending was Mao Zedong’s daughter Li Na, although this could not be independently verified.

Jiang was Mao’s former wife and the mother of Li.

Jiang, who received much of the official blame for the excesses of the Cultural Revolution, was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1983 after an earlier death sentence was commuted. She committed suicide in May 1991 after being released on medical parole.

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