Another Red Guard apology

Song Renqiong, a former member of the Red Guard revolutionary youth brigades and the daughter of a former senior Chinese official, has apologized for the part she played in a notorious murder during the Cultural Revolution in Beijing. The apology is getting attention in the Chinese news media, which is significant because the Cultural Revolution is politically taboo in China. Chris Buckley has a great story about it in the Sinoshpere blog.

“Please allow me to express my everlasting solicitude and apologies to Principal Bian,” she said, according to The Beijing News. “I failed to properly protect the school leaders, and this has been a lifelong source of anguish and remorse.”

Not everyone was impressed with Song’s expression of remorse, including the victim’s 93 year-old widower, Wang Jingyao.

“She is a bad person, because of what she did,” he said. “She and the others were supported by Mao Zedong. Mao was the source of all evil. He did so much that was bad. And it’s not just an individual problem” of someone like Ms. Song, he added. “The entire Communist Party and Mao Zedong are also responsible.”

Here’s our recent story on Red Guards apologizing for their actions during the Cultural Revolution, with comments from another revolutionary youth leader (also with a famous father) I interviewed in Beijing.

UPDATE: I’m working on a radio story about documentary filmmaker, Hu Jie. He did a film about this very case of the Beijing administrator who was beaten to death by Red Guards, it’s a moving story called “Though I am Gone.” And here’s the trailer.

About Matthew Bell

Former Middle East Correspondent with PRI's The World, a co-production of the BBC World Service, Public Radio International and WGBH-Boston. It's international news on US public radio stations. And it's good. Check it out here: www.pri.org. Follow @pritheworld
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3 Responses to Another Red Guard apology

  1. I notice Song Binbin uses the word “reconciliation” in her statement. Might we see some people take up this word and call for a “truth and reconciliation commission”? The Party would never go for it given its preoccupation with “stability” but, wow, what a beautiful thing it would be if more people’s stories were done justice to and there was some real grappling with what happened.

  2. Louisa Wei says:

    I like your interview. Though I Am Gone is often compared with Storm under the Sun made by Xiaolian Peng and myself, and that’s how we got together a couple of time. He filmed me filming Gao Hua a couple of months before Gao died of cancer. Gao’s book How the Sun Rises got 15 prints from Chinese University of HK Press. Our doc has a similiar fate.

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