Morning Sun | Interviews

Interviews in Morning Sun include:

Intergenerational and family stories

Wang Guangmei and Liu Ting, the widow of China's State President, Liu Shaoqi, the main target of the Cultural Revolution, and his daughter. This is the first time Wang Guangmei, a major Communist Party figure at the center of power in China who was famously denounced during the Cultural Revolution and jailed for many years, is interviewed in-depth about the Great Leap Forward and her experiences in the Cultural Revolution.

Yu Luowen discusses his older brother, Yu Luoke, an extraordinarily prescient critic of the Cultural Revolution and political manipulation in China, who was executed in 1970 for his ideas. Refused entry to university because his parents had been capitalists, Yu Luoke became a worker. His essays on equality and the right to revolution made him famous in 1967, but they were later denounced by the authorities. More incriminating were a series of scathing comments about the unfolding political drama and its follies that Yu Luoke wrote in his personal diary in mid-1966. (Only short excerpts of his diary have been published to this day, for it was confiscated by the authorities and has never been returned to his family.)

Li Rui and his daughter Li Nanyang. Li Rui, the Communist Party veteran who drew international attention for his recent call for political reform at the 16th Party Congress, was at one time Mao’s secretary. As an idealistic youth, he traveled to the Communist base at Yan'an in the late 1930s, and he first suffered revolutionary persecution there during the early 1940s. As one of Mao's secretaries, he briefly had access to the inner circle of China’s ruling elite in the 1950s, but his criticisms of the Great Leap Forward led to his denunciation and exile. His daughter, Li Nanyang, was discriminated against in school because of her father’s downfall. A sincere believer in the ideals of the revolution, Li Nanyang rejected her father as an enemy of the Party; it was many years before the two could reconcile.

A conversation with a founding member of the Red Guard movement

Luo Xiaohai was one of the most prominent of a small group of high-school students who founded the Red Guards in 1966. He was the author of major essays that encouraged student rebellion and provided some of the most vituperative language for the movement. His writings received Mao's personal support. This is the first time he has spoken at length about his involvement in the Cultural Revolution, a complex tale of revolutionary idealism and disillusionment. Inspired by radical Mao Thought to rebel against aspects of the socialist state, Luo Xiaohai was also a vocal critic of the violence that erupted in the Red Guard movement. His inner experience of revolution and its betrayal led him to become one of the first among his generation of high-school students to question not only the Cultural Revolution, but the socialist system itself.

One of the most controversial Red Guards

Song Binbin, the young female student who first pinned a Red Guard armband on Mao Zedong in 1966, signaling the Chairman's support for the Red Guards. In the interview granted to the makers of Morning Sun, Song recounts for the first time how the Communist media fabricated a name for her in order to whip up popular frenzy for the Cultural Revolution, and how the resulting rumors about her have affected her life ever since.

Photographs of Interviewees


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