Plan put for museum on Cultural Revolution

PUBLISHED : Monday, 13 March, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 13 March, 2006, 12:00am

A proposal to build a Cultural Revolution Museum has been submitted to the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference by 48 top scientists and writers in the run-up to the 40th anniversary of the start of the tumultuous period.

The group also sought relaxed controls governing writing and research on the topic, one of the most sensitive in the history of China.

The proposal is the first to call for an official Cultural Revolution Museum by CPPCC members in 18 years, although Ba Jin , a former CPPCC vice-chairman and contemporary writer, had been an advocate of such a museum. Ba died in October at the age of 100.

'Forty years have passed, but most young people know almost nothing about the Cultural Revolution,' the proposal said.

'The disasters brought by the Cultural Revolution to politics, the economy, culture, technology, mindsets and moral standards were more serious than a war ... The entire German nation has won the respect of the world for its profound reflections about the second world war. When looking at history, we should learn from the Germans, not the Japanese.'

Articles about the Cultural Revolution have been strictly censored since the mid-1980s, while writers and scholars have been pressured not to dig deeply into details of the 10-year political campaign.

A drafter of the proposal, writer Yang Kuangman said the document was warmly received by CPPCC members, especially the writers and scientists, as many of them personally suffered during the Cultural Revolution.

Many intellectuals were 'purged' by being sent to camps for re-education. The co-signatories included Shu Yi , son of famous writer Lao She , and He Jiesheng , son of Long March leader Marshal He Long . Both fathers were purged and died during the Cultural Revolution.

'The standards for screening memoirs and writings reflecting on the Cultural Revolution should be relaxed. As long as what is written is true, they should published,' the proposal said. It also called on the government to open archives for scholars to do research, and 'discussions with different opinions should be allowed.'

Cultural Revolution museums had been erected and many memoirs had been published despite the taboo, it said. 'Administrative orders cannot stop [the trend] and they should not stop it.' But analysts said the proposal's chances were slim.



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