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Son of the Revolution

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Anthony D'Onofrio

on 28 March 2014

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Transcript of Son of the Revolution

Liang Heng tells indepth stories of his time growing up during the communist revolution

His living arrangements

His political status

The political status of the country
Son of the Revolution
Born in 1954 in Changsha, Hunan Province

Is a writer and scholar

This is a picture of Liang with his wife and
co author at the time Judith Shapiro

Liang is now divorced and living in
New York editing for a reputable chinese
Chairman Mao
The Cultural Revolution
This book was written about the historical time period of the cultural revolution in China. The book focuses on events between 1950-1969. This includes:

The campaign to suppress "counter-revolutionaries"

The Great Leap Forward

Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution
Suppressing Counter-Revolutionaries
Hunan Province
When the Communist party took power in China, with Chairman Mao as the leader, there was an almost immediate campaign to start converting and driving this new communist ideology into every single chinese citizen. This was done with mass propaganda and threats of punishment or death if you rejected the revolution or Chairman Mao. This campaign leads to the public execution of over 800,000 people, including intellectuals, businessmen, and those who were deemed rightist or anti communist, between 1950 and 1952. From 1953-1956 it is estimated by the US state department that between 2-5 million people will have been executed due to a new policy where Party members choose one landlord from every single village to be killed as part of an execution quota set by Chairman Mao.
Born in 1893 in the village of Shaoshan, Hunan Province

He was one of the founding fathers of the People's Rebublic of China which was a communist state during the reign of Mao

He was in power from 1949 until his death in 1976
During the Suppression
In the book Liang depicts the struggles of his family through these years of suppression. His Mother was "capped" as a rightist and was sent away to a reform labor camp.
His father divorced his mother because of this stain on her reputation so that he could try and become a full party member.
Liang explains that the constant praise of the Chairman and the heavy suppression of his mother that as a child he began to truly believe that she was a true anti revolutionary when in fact she had done nothing wrong. He eventually cut his mother out of his life completely.

The Great Leap Forward
during the great leap forward the Communist Party focused on bringing up the economy by means of mass industrialization. This took place from 1958-1962. The transfer of the majority of agricultural laborers to the industrial sector caused a mass shortage of food during this time period. This is known as The Great Chinese Famine. This caused mass famine and by the end of 1962 an almost unbelievable 30million people died from starvation. Most of which were peasant laborers in the agricultural sector.
In Liang's writings, he tells a sad part of his life during the Great Leap Forward. In 1960 during the hard time of scarce food, Liang's grandmother passed away from malnutrition
Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution
This revolution took place from 1966-1976. It was really the climax of the communist movement under the leadership of Chairman Mao. Not only was this the last part of the revolution to be significant but it was also responsible for the loss of chinese traditions in an effort to remove more anti revolutionists. On top of that this time period was the most severe setback and the heaviest losses suffered by the country and the people since the creation of the People's Republic Millions of people were harassed verbally and physically in the violent social class struggles that ensued across the country. Citizens suffered miltiple types of abuses including public humiliation, unjustified imprisonment, torture, unrelenting harassment, and seizure of property. The revolution ends with the death of Chairman Mao who suffered multiple heart attacks. His death came on September 9th 1976.
Liang describes parts of this final period of the revolution as almost unbearable to live. He explains the way of life changing with the increased hostility between factions of citizens that had formed. If you were somewhat not as revolutionary as everyone else or came under scrutiny from party officials then you were harassed constantly to the point that leaving your home was almost not an option. When Liang did leave he was verbally and physically beaten, but when he stayed home they threw rocks through the windows. There were so many suicides in the bigger cities that people would not walk near tall building for fear of being crushed by the daily and frequent people jumping off of buildings.
Discussion Questions
1) Was or is Liang Heng a historically significant person? Why or why not?

2)With the surreal death toll during the entire revolution do you think this is more, less or on par with the significance of the Holocaust?

3) In todays world is it possible that such a thing could happen again in a communist state such as North Korea?
Full transcript