Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Mao’s Cultural Revolution re-visited

Today, December 26, is Mao Zedong’s 114th birth anniversary. On this occasion, I wish to draw attention to a New American Media report which recalls the heady days of the Cultural Revolution.

In the report, Xujun Eberlein says a month ago a long forgotten photo of Mao with a young girl resurfaced on the Chinese Internet. It generated an instant furore around the girl.
She was 18 or 19 at the time, a senior student at the girls' school that was attached to Beijing Normal University. On August 18, 1966, she went to Tiananmen, as part of a delegation of Red Guards to be received by Mao. She was given the special honor of placing a Red Guard armband on Mao’s sleeve. As she did this, Mao asked her her name and she told him: Song Binbin.
Loosely translated it means “gentle and refined.”

Mao had told her in a joking way, according to the photographer, that gentle was out, and "Yaowu" was in. "Yaowu" means "seeking armed conflict."

Almost overnight, the girl became known as Song Yaowu and famous throughout China. Young and proud, little did she know how history is prone to turning fame into infamy. Soon, her new name evolved into a symbol of Red Guard violence, and for a reason.Just two weeks before this happy moment on Tiananmen, a cruel beating death occurred in Song's school. It was August, and the peak of the three-month activity that marked the beginning of the Cultural Revolution.
Song Binbin is now a scientist living in the United States.
Here's the NAM story
Picture of Mao with Song Binbin

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