'Traitor' Lin Biao's daughter Lin Doudou calls for respect for historical truth
The daughter of Lin Biao, a founding father of the People's Republic later condemned as a counter-revolutionary, called for "more respect for historical facts" as she joined about 100 "second-generation reds" to mark a major military congress and battle more than 80 years ago.
Lin Doudou, whose father died trying to flee China in 1971, made the call as the children of revolutionary figures gathered to mark the 85th anniversary of the Gutian Congress in Fujian province. It was in Gutian in 1929 that late leader Mao Zedong established the principle that the "party leads the army".
The commemoration in Beijing came a day after President Xi Jinping wrapped up a two-day meeting in the township with military leaders in which Xi reaffirmed the rule that the "party controls the gun". The People's Liberation Army's top generals also pledged loyalty to Xi and the Communist Party.
Many of those at the Beijing gathering came from military families, including Luo Dongjin, son of PLA founding general Luo Ronghuan, and Su Rongsheng, son of veteran commander Su Yu, according to an article carried by Xinhua.
They also met to commemorate a brutal battle in Zhangzhou , Fujian, two years after Mao's Gutian Congress, and issued an open letter to party leaders, urging them to set up a state-level martyrs commemoration centre and to complete construction of a Zhangzhou martyrs park by April 2016.
Amid rumours of the possibility of a more open-minded approach to reports on Lin Biao, Lin Doudou urged greater speed in "collecting facts on historic events".
Independent historian Zhang Lifan said these kinds of commemorations were a way for participants to have a bigger say.
"The second-generation reds feel they finally have 'one of them' in charge and they want their appeals heard, including for official recognition for what their fathers did," Zhang said.
"They want to commemorate what their fathers did for the founding of this county and … have more of their voices heard."
He also said that Xi would be keen to have more support from "second-generation reds" and the military, which he needs to consolidate power. "All in all, both Xi and the [second-generation] reds need each other."