Wu Chenmou: The Call of Modern China's History

The Call of History
Chenmou Wu: The Call of History of Modern China

It has been nearly half a century since the Cultural Revolution broke out in the 1960s. The nationwide movement was under "Innocence in Revolution, Rebellion by Justified", so the whole mainland suffered unprecedented devastation. Until Mao's death and the collapse of the "Gang of Four", the Cultural Revolution went broken, and the wheel of history led into a dangerous path. Since then, China has changed dramatically in the past half-century from poverty, a weak country, to the world's second-largest economy. If it put this period into the long history, it will be too short, like as short as a mere snap of fingers. Within this short fifty years, it seems to repeatedly verify an old saying in an ancient book of <Zuo Zhuang>, "Although prosper rapidly, but also die suddenly".

Ignoring ancient times, however, there were many short dynasties in history. For example, Taiping Heavenly Kingdom quickly let its demise, and then the Kuomintang government also lost the mainland due to its corruption. Internationally, the significant changes in Eastern Europe, the disintegration of the Soviet Union, and the second waves of a democratic revolution in the Middle East and North Africa proved an ancient Chinese saying, "Although prosper rapidly, but also die suddenly". In the fast-changing world today, this is especially incisive.

In modern China, how to view such hugely contrasting changes, is a big problem to study and explore for those who are at home or abroad. Similarly, overseas, dealing with all kinds of patriotic actions and voices is a critical question for CCP's authorities. Whether they must be treated as "hostile organizations" and "anti-China forces"? Those also need authorities to change their thoughts, and ideas, abandon prejudices, and include adjustments to their foreign policies. The book <A Turning Point Long-Awaited in History --- Retrial Cultural Revolution and Explore future> is published under those backgrounds in the United States. Taking this title is from the macro perspective of China's great long history.

China's authoritarian rule has lasted more than two thousand years, but it will be bound to end in the 21st century. Therefore, if all the Chinese people can reflect, explore, and reevaluate the Cultural Revolution and contemporary history, a huge turning point must occur in this extraordinary century. It is not exposing the ugliness of the Chinese, nor losing face before Western Countries, nor antagonizing CCP authorities, but only provides a constructive suggestion for China's future path and development. In today's China, it is worthwhile to appreciate and confirm the impressive economic progress. However, "one superior achievement always easily covers all kinds of ugliness", this phenomenon has repeatedly appeared throughout the whole of Chinese long history. For example, the Qin Dynasty had a strong military but had harsh laws and atrocities, and the Tang Dynasty had its magnificent culture but had serious corruption and border troubles. Next, the Song Dynasty had economic prosperity but had weak military and frontier defense. After that, the Ming Dynasty had advanced marine technology but had tyranny and eunuch rules. Furthermore, the Qing Dynasty owned a vast territory and heavenly glories but had racism between different groups, corruption, conservative ideas, and closed borders. Those advantages with all dynasties did not let them flourish forever. However, the disadvantages had put each dynasty to its demise.

Therefore, it is essential and urgent for China to think highly of its disadvantages rather than develop its advantages. What are the disadvantages of China today? Where are the roots of the illness in society? To treat world history as a mirror and learn from the lessons of international experience, let Chinese scholars who have a dialectical-thinking, global-historical vision have an objective and rational attitude to observe and analyze today's flashy phenomenon in China.

Because of this, Tian Wen Institute organized a symposium, and the topic "Rethinking Cultural Revolution to Explore China's Forthcoming Development". We selected excellent speeches and paper submissions to form this book, a collection that discusses issues divided into two parts. Part I, "History and Present", contains ten articles. Part II, "Cultural Revolution and the Studies of Cultural Revolution", contains eight articles. These articles are briefly introduced as follows.

"Will happen a second Cultural Revolution?" wrote Mr. Yao Jianfu, a retired researcher at the Rural Development Research Center of China's State Council. He argued that China's" Four Cardinal Principles" caused "a lame reform", which will inevitably lead to the re-emergence of a new Cultural Revolution. He pointed out that the second Cultural Revolution is likely to occur when the general crises of economies, politics, and society reach a boiling point. At that time, landless peasants and migrant workers would be the main forces. Mr. Yao stressed the importance of studying the Cultural Revolution in order to prevent further tragedies. The authorities should take out the courage to initiate political reforms to achieve social justice. He also suggested that freedom of speech could also help to alleviate social pressure. Mr. Cai Nancheng shared his expertise in planning a museum dedicated to the Cultural Revolution. With extensive experience in planning and building museums, Mr. Cai has a particular interest in China's social transformation and provided honest opinions.

Mr. Gao Falin, focusing on Mao's motivation for the Cultural Revolution, in "Mao Zedong's 'Great Harmony Dream' and 'Cultural Revolution", pointed out, "What did Mao Zedong want to do? Did he want to add new elements when he adopted the Soviet Union's socialist model? No. Mao wanted to create an entirely new socialist model. He wanted to solve issues that no revolutionists before ever resolved. Mao wanted to eliminate social classes and ensure every member of society participate in community management.", "Vision of an ideal society permeated throughout Mao's whole revolutionary career.", "He not only wanted to become a communist pope but also to be a tutor for the whole humankind. At one time, he told Edgar Snow that he only wanted to be a 'teacher'". Mr. Gao's article outlined Mao's utopian renovation project and pointed out the complex motives of Mao to launch the Cultural Revolution. It is beneficial for those who study the Cultural Revolution and how to evaluate Mao.

An educator, Dr. Wang Guilan, shared her critiques of the Cultural Revolution through a novel, <The Land of Sadness> written by Yao Shuping. In the novel, Dr. Wang pointed out the brutal acts carried out by the Red Guards and its impact on Chinese education. She identified three fatal flaws in Chinese education: the lack of general education, the deviation of educational philosophy, and the suspension of research on history and culture. She hoped that educators should ask an eternal question: What kind of people do we want our students to become in the future?

Through the lessons and reflection of the Cultural Revolution, I wrote an article to propose that China establish a new viewpoint of its culture and history. Besides, the concept of cultural history must base on the Tao of the universe and the faith in God. I believe it is the final direction of human civilization. This new Taoism Cultural will cover various ways, such as the binary way of Tai Chi, the theological way of God, the Allah way of Islam, the Sanskrit way of Ancient India, the natural way of Taoism, the soul way of Zen, and the ethical way of Confucianism. If China can successfully seize this rare historical opportunity, it not only ought to revive Chinese culture and civilization but also should have hope to lead the world's direction in the future. At that time, China will become the world's new birthplace of New Taoism culture and a new axis of human civilization into a new Axial Age.

Mr. Ren Yanfang's "Tang Mo's Death and My Repentance" section from his lengthy memoir, "Changchun Film Studio Nightmare --- the Reflection of Cultural Revolution and Repentance". In China, it was the first time Mr. Ren promoted the Communist Party as people's mother. He recorded his ignorance and spiritual torment during the Cultural Revolution. He revealed his diary, a gradual awakening soul, and its redemption. This article honestly disclosed the causes surrounding Tang Mo's death. It exposed the Cultural Revolution, how to like a meat-cutter, put the Party ideology to oppress humanity, warp, and reflect the ugliness. Tang Mo is displayed in his writing, an honest reflection and repentance from an almost 80-year-old man.