Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

EYE ON AFRICA

Global Competitiveness report releases 2018 Africa performance

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Brexit: 'The end isn't nigh'

Read more

THE DEBATE

Where do you draw the line? Brexit deadline summit stumbles over Irish border

Read more

ACCESS ASIA

Uighurs and Kazakhs held in re-education camps in China

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Salim Saab: Showcasing the women of the Arab art world

Read more

FOCUS

Irish border remains stumbling block in Brexit talks

Read more

ENCORE!

Film show: Capernaum - powerful social drama or poverty porn?

Read more

IN THE PRESS

Nature under threat: Arresting pictures from Wildlife Photography Awards

Read more

PERSPECTIVE

Protecting heritage land against mining companies

Read more

REVISITED

We return to places which have been in the news - often a long time ago, sometimes recently - to see how local people are rebuilding their lives. Sunday at 9.10 pm. Or you can catch it online from Friday.

Latest update : 2016-07-15

Video: China's Cultural Revolution, 50 years on

In May 1966, as part of the Cultural Revolution, China's communist leader Mao Zedong declared war on bourgeois ideology. Through show trials, humiliation and mass murder, the Red Guards imposed a reign of terror in the name of Maoism. It took the death of Mao himself to end a decade of political fanaticism that claimed millions of lives. Fifty years on, the survivors remain traumatised.

From 1966 to 1976, China was gripped by a horrific form of political terror. The Cultural Revolution tore families apart and killed millions, all in the name of Maoism. Anyone who dared criticize Chairman Mao was arrested. For the majority of people in China who lived through it, the period remains taboo. Most of Mao’s atrocities remain hidden, but the father of the Cultural Revolution is still worshipped.

Mao Zedong was born in Shaoshan, a small village in the southern province of Hunan. There, he is still honored as a hero. For many, Shaoshan is not just a place of historical curiosity, but more of a place of worship and a 15-metre statue of Mao still stands there. Despite the millions of victims created during the Cultural Revolution, the Great Helmsman's official status is still not up for debate. According to the official historical review undertaken by the Communist Party, Mao Zedong was 70% right and only 30% wrong. To this day in China, this official leadership report card has not been debated.

The Cultural Revolution may have ended 40 years ago, but many people in China still feel some nostalgia towards that time, as can be seen by a visit to Panjiayuan, a Beijing antique market. Many of the symbols of those years are still on sale at the market, including the most famous one: the little Red Book. The market is full of curiosities from the Cultural Revolution showing an idyllic image of a united country, where everyone worked for the greater good. None of the propaganda found there contains any mention of the violence. On the contrary, the Cultural Revolution is often portrayed as a type of Golden Age.

The market in the heart of Beijing is supposed to celebrate the past. But today, a new face has emerged: that of Xi Jinping. The latest Helmsman of the Communist Party of China became president in 2013. Many consider him China's most powerful leader since Mao himself.

Click on the video player above to watch FRANCE 24's full report.

By Pierre-Philippe BERSON

COMMENT(S)

Archives

2018-10-05 REVISITED

Baghdad Revisited: The resilience of the Iraqi people

"The abode of peace and capital of Islam" – this is how 14th century explorer Ibn Battuta described Baghdad in his writings. The city’s recent history, however, has been anything...

Read more

2018-09-21 REVISITED

Video: Hero or dictator? Ugandans divided over Idi Amin Dada’s legacy

Forty years after Idi Amin Dada’s bloody regime came to an end, Ugandans are divided over how to view their former leader. For older Ugandans, the president’s eight years at the...

Read more

2018-09-07 REVISITED

Video: One year after Hurricane Irma, St Martin struggles to recover

On September 5, 2017, Hurricane Irma – the most powerful the Caribbean has ever seen – hit Saint-Martin, the small island France shares with the Netherlands. At least 11 people...

Read more

2018-08-24 REVISITED

Is Iceland's economic miracle a social model for Europe?

Our reporters returned to Iceland, some 10 years after the tiny island nation plunged into a deep crisis after the country’s banking system collapsed like a house of cards....

Read more

2018-06-22 REVISITED

Video: Shenzhen, from fishing port to China’s Silicon Valley

As French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe begins a four-day visit to China in the south-eastern city of Shenzhen, our team reports from this former fishing village that’s been...

Read more