Cultural Revolution museum draws foreigners from Brazil, America

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 18 August, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 18 August, 2012, 11:09am

A museum in Guangdong that commemorates the victims of the Cultural Revolution has been drawing visitors from as far away as Brazil and America.

Many of the foreigners are descendants of the millions of Chinese who died during one of the most destructive periods in China's history.

The Cultural Revolution Museum, located in a scenic area of Chenghai district, Shantou , is at its busiest around August 8, says Peng Qian , 81, the museum's founder and former vice-mayor of Shantou.

"We selected that day because it was on that date in 1966 that the Central Committee of the Communist Party passed the decision to launch the Cultural Revolution, and we think it was a disastrous day for China," said Peng.

The museum, a three-storey pavilion designed to resemble the Temple of Heaven in Beijing, was set up in the Tashan Scenic Area in 2004.

Opened to the public in 2005, the museum features photographs, drawings, articles and other documentations from that era (1966 to 1976).

Peng and the museum's co-founders are adamant about ensuring that people don't forget the dark chapter in the country's history, while warning future generations to learn from the mistakes of the past.

The government "did not refuse the request [to set up the museum] because the Communist Party has already condemned the Cultural Revolution. But they also did not dare to support it," Peng said.

"Many visitors have asked us why we built such a museum. But I think a more important question is why has the government not built a museum for such an important event that lasted 10 years."