Living Revolution | Enemies


A Swarm of Uglies: a caricature from 1967, depicting major officials denounced during the Cultural Revolution.

Huang Yongyu: an artist and writer, Huang Yongyu is one of China’s most famous cultural figures, and he was one of the principal targets of the Cultural Revolution.

Others in the various and ever-changing cast of "Enemies" include:

The Old Regime and its Allies - KMT, capitalists (bankers, factory owners), landlords
Foreign imperialists - Uncle Sam and the Americans, the "Banker" (top hat, suit and cigar - taken from Soviet socialist imagery)
Political opponents - Liu Shaoqi, Jiang Qing and the 'Gang of Four,' Deng Xiaoping, Soviet Revisionists: Kruschev, Breshnev, Kosygin (some of whom were also once and future heroes)

View excerpts from feature films and cartoons, showing the fate of class enemies:

On the Docks | The Ferry Port

Personnel files (geren dang’an) help to reveal the inner, or rather hidden, bureaucratic workings of the state before, during and after the Cultural Revolution era. These secretive materials, which formed the backdrop to the lives of innumerable people during the high socialist era, are used to elucidate the trials and tribulations of ordinary people. We feature a series of documents related to the ransacking of people’s houses by Red Guards, the confiscation of personal items (from valuables to scant items of clothing), and the cataloguing of these authorized thefts. Then we follow the exile of those people from Beijing, as part of the movement to 'purify the revolutionary capital city'; the documents show what items they were permitted to take with them. Then, years later — in the 1970s or 80s — we have documents cataloguing the efforts of these maligned families to have the state restitute the items that had been stolen or confiscated from them. There are petitions to the authorities, investigations of charges and depositions, even from the original Red Guards who were involved in the sacking of family homes (chao jia). One in particular says that he was on guard outside the courtyard house so he knows nothing about anything being stolen. In such fascinating and highly formalized bureaucratic documents we can see the workings of the Proletarian Dictatorship and gain insight into the mechanisms of totalitarian control during the Mao era.

 


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