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"[My grandparents] said that the radio would always be broadcasting things that would get people worked up."

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  • Interviewer: Thank you for accepting our interview. First, could you please tell me when you were born?
  • Interviewer: You don’t need to say the exact year; just the decade will do, like “’60s,” “’70s,” “’80s,” “’90s.”
  • I was born in the ’90s.
  • Interviewer: Could you please tell me where you were born and where you lived in China?
  • In the Jiangsu/Zhejiang/Shanghai region.
  • Interviewer: Jiangsu/Zhejiang/Shanghai. OK. Do you remember how old you were the first time you heard about the Cultural Revolution? Through what channel did you hear about it?
  • The first time I heard of the Cultural Revolution?
  • Interviewer: Yes, as far as you can remember, when did you first hear of the Cultural Revolution, and how did you hear about it?
  • I think it must have been in junior high school.
  • Interviewer: Junior high school. How did you hear about it?
  • I had a classmate who liked to read some rather incisive essays, and sometimes I’d hear this classmate mention some things regarding the Cultural Revolution.
  • Interviewer: What was your [feeling] then -- curious? Or...?
  • I didn’t have a systematic understanding; I just heard my classmate mention it, so I knew this thing existed.
  • In the end, I got to high school and had history class, and through this course everyone knew more about the Cultural Revolution.
  • Interviewer: So it was through a friend, and also through class.
  • Yes.
  • Interviewer: Were there any other ways [you found out about it]?
  • When you go online, you will see some things—especially [Phoenix Television’s website]; I think that has quite a few reports about the Cultural Revolution.
  • Interviewer: So, do you have an interest in this subject?
  • About average, to tell you the truth.
  • Interviewer: So you’re not especially interested in thinking more about it.
  • Right, not especially interested.
  • Interviewer: Yeah. OK. Since you were born in the ’90s, your knowledge of the Cultural Revolution must be entirely secondhand.
  • Interviewer: Maybe you never, for example, actively sought to understand what your family felt about it. Or were there [such opportunities]?
  • In high school I had a chance to ask my grandparents about it.
  • Interviewer: What did your grandparents say?
  • They said the radio would always be broadcasting things that would get people worked up, like “Long Live Mao Zedong,” stuff like that.
  • But because my grandparents were what you’d consider peasants back then, [they might have just felt] it was another big broadcast, another big loudspeaker [promoting the Cultural Revolution].
  • Interviewer: So in your family, there wasn’t much impact, right?
  • Right.
  • Interviewer: Today, you’ve already graduated from college and have become a graduate student.
  • Interviewer: So now, what is your current understanding of the Cultural Revolution?
  • I think the Cultural Revolution…I know that the majority of the revolution occurred in 1966, right?
  • Interviewer: Yes.
  • And I know it was a class struggle, and that it was…I think it was a very serious mistake.
  • Interviewer: You use the term “mistake.” It shows you have some personal opinion?
  • Because through education and literature, you can reflect on how people lived during the Cultural Revolution, particularly intellectuals who were persecuted—seeing those scenes still shocks me.
  • Interviewer: There’s a still a feeling of shock. OK. Thank you for accepting my interview.