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  • Dec 20, 2014
  • Updated: 7:11pm

Chen Xiaolu apologises for torture of teachers at Beijing alma mater

War hero's son expresses remorse to group at alma mater for what happened to them in '60s

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 16 October, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 16 October, 2013, 9:31am

The son of a war hero has returned to his alma mater to apologise for his connection to the torture and persecution of his teachers during the Cultural Revolution.

Chen Xiaolu, the youngest son of legendary People's Liberation Army leader Marshal Chen Yi, expressed remorse and apologised to a group of teachers and staff at his former school who were tortured or sent to labour camps between 1966 and 1976. Chen Xiaolu visited the school on October 7 in a reunion of alumni at the Beijing Number Eight Middle School, an elite institution for children of senior leaders.

Chen's face-to-face apologies to his teachers came after he made a similar statement in a blog for alumni of the school in August. That apology garnered national attention and triggered debate online over the Maoist campaign that resulted in millions killed.

"On behalf of those in the Number Eight Middle School who had done harm to you, I express our sincere apologies to you," the 67-year-old told his teachers, who were all in their 70s or 80s.

Chen was a founder of the Red Guard Police Corp in Beijing and director of the school's revolutionary committee. He made his first apologies on August 19 after seeing pictures of "struggle sessions" at his former school in 1966 that were mailed to him by a classmate.

He said that as a former Red Guard leader and director of the school's revolutionary committee, he should be the first to take responsibility for the torturing and persecuting of teachers and staff, although he said he had not been directly involved in the activities. The apologies come at a time of intense debate over the nation's future in the run-up to a party meeting next month. They also emerge after a life sentence was imposed on former Politburo member Bo Xilai on charges of corruption and abuse of power. Before his fall from grace, Bo was known for championing the "red" campaign by pushing Maoist nostalgia when he was party chief of the western metropolis of Chongqing .

But unlike Bo, Chen was known as a reformist said to sympathise with the student-led pro-democracy movement in 1989.

His father played a pivotal role in the civil war and later served as foreign minister.


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This article is now closed to comments

There are simply too many cases of gross injustice and unimaginable cruelty committed under the command of China's tyrants: leadership within the CCPC. Mostly, citizens endure prolonged periods of physical, mental and spiritual torture. It's as true today as it was during the infamous "Red Guards" period.

The Chinese have not come to terms with their own "5,000 years of miserable history"...Mr. Mao was an incredible historian and wizard, who as a father sent his (only sane) son, Anying, to Korea to die for the country. We should re-examine him, his ideas and ideals with respect. Some see him with disgust, which is misguided.
that reminds me, must get some eggs for the fried rice this evening
Apologies are good and the first step, but they are not any remedy for those who had to suffer the torture back then. There should also be an official in-depth investigation into what happened, a punishment of those who did torture to others and a position how to prevent that it can happen again in the future. Similar to what was done in Germany after the Nazis were defeated.


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