The Agence France-Presse (AFP) published several quotes from IEMS’ Barry Sautman on the Chinese government’s recent tightening of speech related to Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution, in which millions of Chinese were killed en masse for reasons of political ideology.
As Barry Sautman told the AFP:
“Under President Xi Jinping — whose chosen themes of anti-corruption and frugality echo some of Mao’s edicts — China has tightened its limits on freedom of expression, jailing human rights lawyers, journalists and activists.
In recent months official media have publicised the confessions of several former Red Guards, including Song Binbin, a powerful general’s daughter who participated in one of the first and most notorious killings of a teacher.
But such candour has strict limits.
The ruling party has allowed general criticism of the Cultural Revolution “because that’s the official stance”, said Barry Sautman, a professor of social science at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.
Any discussion that touched the roles of specific leaders “would be a big problem”, he said.
“Politicians do what they do best, which is exercise power. If it’s to protect themselves, they’ll be sure to do so.””
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