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"[M]y primary feeling is regret that many good people were persecuted."

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  • Interviewer: Hello! Thank you for accepting my interview. Could you first tell me what decade you were born in? No need to say the exact year.
  • [I was born in] 1990.
  • Interviewer: 1990—post-’90. Oh, so young! What geographical area of China were you born in?
  • In the south—Guangzhou.
  • Interviewer: You were born and raised there?
  • Yes.
  • Interviewer: OK. So, in your impression, when was the first time you heard about the Cultural Revolution, this historical incident? When did you gain an impression of it?
  • The first time I got an impression, I don’t remember. It might have been during school that I heard it mentioned.
  • Interviewer: Ah, during your studies.
  • Right.
  • Interviewer: Could you say whether it was during elementary school or middle school—do you have an impression [of when it was]?
  • It may have been during junior high school.
  • Interviewer: I see, during junior high. What about the channel? Do you remember through what channel you heard about this incident?
  • It must’ve been in history class that the teacher mentioned this term [“Cultural Revolution”].
  • Interviewer: Ah, it was mentioned in history class.
  • Right, right.
  • Interviewer: Do you have an impression of how much was shared [about the topic]?
  • Just that the textbook said it was the period from ’66 to ’76, that was the Cultural Revolution. It didn’t say anything concrete.
  • Basically, in junior high it wasn’t really discussed [in depth], but in high school we might have talked about it more, through telling stories and things.
  • Interviewer: Oh, telling some stories. Then besides coursework, were there other channels through which you heard about it?
  • My dad really likes watching a drama called
    Bright Sword
    . After watching the drama, he read the books, and he told me that Li Yunlong, the protagonist…
  • Actually, after the TV drama, the novel describes all the things [the protagonist] experienced during the period of the Cultural Revolution.
  • It made [my father] feel so distraught that an amazing war hero would meet such a devastating end.
  • This is my deepest impression from all the things I’ve heard related to the Cultural Revolution.
  • Interviewer: OK, so it was brought up in your family. So, as someone born in the ’90s, you’re very young.
  • Interviewer:I know you’re in school right now. Would you classify your studies as sociology, humanities, or natural sciences?
  • I’d classify it as sociology.
  • Interviewer: Sociology. Then, apart from the times it was brought up in class, or the time your father mentioned [提到过] it, are you personally interested?
  • Interviewer: If you personally came across this topic concerning the Cultural Revolution, would you be interested in it?
  • I’m pretty interested in the literature of that period, like novels and such…
  • Interviewer: Oh, [you] read literary works.
  • Yes.
  • Interviewer: So, can you understand them?
  • I can’t especially—it’s just to listen to some stories and think about the situation of the time.
  • Interviewer: Ah. You’re not saying…Do you have any kind of doubts? Do you have any thoughts—for example, some young people have asked, “Is all of that [described in novels] real?”
  • Ah! Actually, my primary feeling is regret that many good people were persecuted.
  • I feel it was such a pity: they had already paid such a heavy price, and the result was that they ended up encountering such a tragic event.
  • That is, they might have gone on to do even more [good] things, but after being persecuted during that period, they just couldn’t do more good things.
  • Interviewer: Ah. Very good. Thank you for participating in this interview.
  • No need to thank me! Thank you.