What is among the oddest movements in human history, the Chinese “Cultural Revolution” has just had its 40th anniversary to a clamor of silence (whatever that is) from the media of that country: Searches on Tuesday for “Cultural Revolution” under the news section on China’s most popular search engine, Baidu, yielded no results while specific websites focused on the period were not accessible.
I had my own strange brush with this phenomenon when on an “activist’s” tour of the PRC in 1979 to research my novel “Peking Duck.” We were taken to a May 7th Cadre School (I think May 7 is the correct date – it’s been a while). One of the last artifacts of the Cultural Rev, these schools were for the reeducation of cultural workers – like teachers and, er, writers. These fancy folks were sent to these schools, actually rural farms, every seven years to live like the people and do such things as clean out the hog pens. The schools don’t exist anymore, of course. But on reflection, maybe they weren’t such a bad idea.