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"Local cadres were beaten in our village."

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  • Interviewer: Hello! First, thank you for accepting my interview.
  • Interviewer: Could you please tell me the decade of your birth? You don't need to say the exact year. You can just say "1950s," "1960s," etc.
  • 1960s.
  • Interviewer: OK, 1960s. Could you please tell me where you lived in China from 1966 to [1976]?
  • I lived in Hubei [Province], in a place that’s now called Xiantao, in [the city of] Jingzhou.
  • Interviewer: During the Cultural Revolution, you were still quite young.
  • Interviewer: If I give you about ten minutes to share memories of the Cultural Revolution, for example a specific incident,
  • Interviewer: ...or a happy or sad moment, or something about your family or friends – anything you want –
  • Interviewer: ...what would you most want to talk about in the initial ten minutes of the interview?
  • Interviewer: Please speak freely.
  • I really don’t have any memories, since I was still so young.
  • When the Cultural Revolution started, I was only about three or four years old.
  • Later, I heard that during the Cultural Revolution, people were beaten, such as some officials in the area.
  • I heard a bit about that.
  • Interviewer: Was anyone in your family affected?
  • No, no one. My parents weren’t officials.
  • Interview: I see. So your understanding was that it was only officials who were impacted?
  • I think so, along with some intellectuals.
  • Interviewer: Later, do you think there was anything from the Cultural Revolution that had a positive or negative influence on your life?
  • I don’t really think so.
  • Interviewer: No influence?
  • Well, I think the influence may have been indirect, for example, an influence on education after the Cultural Revolution.
  • Interviewer: What kind of indirect influence on education?
  • For example, we didn’t place as much importance on education as before [the Cultural Revolution].
  • When we got to middle school [age], we often went out to do manual labor.
  • I think maybe this [decreased emphasis on education] is a result of the Cultural Revolution.
  • But we didn’t feel any direct influence.
  • Interviewer: Today, do you have any interest in the topic of the Cultural Revolution?
  • Yes, I do, actually.
  • Interviewer: You do. How come you’re interested?
  • Later on, I knew why the Cultural Revolution had happened;
  • I feel it was because at that time Mao Zedong wanted to make Liu Shaoqi step down. So that was the motivation.
  • Interviewer: Do you have an opportunity to talk about the Cultural Revolution with your children? Are they interested in it?
  • My children are all growing up in the United States.
  • They’re not interested; they don’t know this history.
  • Interviewer: They don’t understand it at all, right?
  • Right.
  • Interviewer: Is there anything related to the Cultural Revolution you want to say more about?
  • Not really. Basically, I think the Cultural Revolution was initiated by Mao Zedong to get Liu Shaoqi to step down.
  • Its impact on China was still huge, and it hurt a lot of people.
  • Interviewer: Your own family didn’t feel too great an impact, but through other channels you’ve been able to understand the impact on other people.
  • Right, through reading books and watching TV dramas.
  • Interviewer: Thank you for accepting my interview.
  • Thank you.