10 historical questions that can get you arrested in China

Slandering China’s martyrs and heroes could land Chinese citizens in jail, thanks to a recently updated criminal code.

As part of the campaign to protect the reputations of these figures, the country’s internet regulator in July published a list of historically nihilistic “rumors” that citizens are not allowed to discuss.

The agency, called the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), has also reportedly launched hotlines and online help lines for people to report those who raise the matter.

The law has, according to the New York Times, been enforced at least 15 times.

Based in california China’s digital time shined the spotlight on the new code and translated so-called rumors that could lead people behind bars.

Speaking to Newsweek, Andrea Janku, senior lecturer in Chinese history at the Chinese Institute for Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London, said that this “Internet censorship campaign must be seen in the context of ‘a larger plan to further elevate Xi Jinping to a position equivalent to that of Mao. “

“The explicit aim is to strengthen the authority of the party leader, to cast doubt on the authenticity of the heroic acts of the martyrs of the revolution and to ensure that [Chinese Communist Party] version of the story is the only “.

Here are the 10 historical questions that could get you arrested in China …

1. Did Hu Qiaomu author Snow – to the height of Spring in Qin Garden?

Mao Zedong, Chinese communist revolutionary and leader circa 1960-c1970.
The Print Collector / Getty Images

Mao Zedong (1893-1976), aka Chairman Mao, the founding father of the People’s Republic of China, was allegedly a prolific poet who created famous works Snow.

However, Mao’s private secretary, Hu Qiaomu, reportedly told a Chinese newspaper that Liu Shaoqi, a future vice chairman of the Chinese Communist Party, was forced to “gift” the poem to Mao, who then rewrote four characters, in 1945.

The Chinese internet regulator rejected this claim, saying the poem was written in 1936, five years before Hu began to be Mao’s secretary.

Janku finds it a bit odd the emphasis on the question of the authenticity of Mao’s poem: of these theoretical writings and those of previous leaders), the point seems to be that the authority of the leader and the authenticity of his work – and of his “thought” – should not be in doubt. “

2. Did the Party center unseal Deng Yingchao’s diary to research its own story?

For nearly five decades, Zhou Enlai served the CCP, becoming a key player revered for his intelligence.

His wife Deng Yingchao, reportedly wrote in her diary Zhou Enlai’s disillusionment at the end of his life with the Maoist project.

To dismiss her allegations, the CAC broadcast an interview with one of Deng’s former bodyguards, who claimed that she was not used to keeping a diary and that the text was a fake.

3. Did the five heroes of Langya Mountain slip (instead of jumping) off the cliff?

According to the CCP, the “Five Heroes of Langya Mountain” were Chinese soldiers who in 1941 allegedly pushed Japanese troops back to a mountain in Baoding, north China’s Hebei Province, before jumping from the mountain. a cliff rather than surrender.

Two of the Chinese soldiers are said to have survived, but three others perished.

Historian Hong Zhenkuai challenged the story. He claims no Japanese troops were killed in the encounter and suggests the soldiers likely slipped off the cliff.

In 2016, Hong was ordered to apologize publicly for defaming the martyrs and the ACC again insisted that the two surviving soldiers were saved by trees.

4. Was Mao Anying martyred for relinquishing his position by preparing fried rice with eggs?

On November 25, 1950, Mao Zedong’s eldest son, Mao Anying, was killed by an American napalm attack in North Korea. A story that circulates maintains that of Mao Anying insistence on cooking fried rice with eggs, a rare delicacy at the time, exposed his unit’s position to American planes.

Some have speculated that if it hadn’t been for egg fried rice, today’s Chinese leader might be Mao Anying or his son.

For Professor Janku, this is another example of an insignificant event that cannot be proven or confirmed.

“It sounds like the kind of story people will tell each other at dinner,” she said, “but the point is still to emphasize that heroes cannot be questioned or ridiculed.”

5. Is Lei Feng’s Diary Wrong?

Lei Feng was a young soldier from the Chinese “People’s Liberation Army” (PLA) and the poster boy for several propaganda campaigns.

In 1963, a year after his death at just 21, his diary became required reading as part of a “Learn from Lei Feng” campaign that aimed to inspire Chinese youth to sacrifice themselves for the nation.

Lei feng
Lei Feng, Chinese soldier in the People’s Liberation Army, c1962. In the posthumous Learn from Comrade Lei Feng campaign, launched by Chinese Communist leader Mao Zedong in 1963, Lei (1940-1962) became the symbol of national propaganda. He was portrayed as a modest and selfless man devoted to the Communist Party, Chairman Mao and the Chinese people and was presented as an example for Chinese youth to follow. Lei was killed in an accident while on duty.
Photo by The Print Collector / Print Collector / Getty Images / Getty Images

In 2013, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the “Learn from Lei Feng” campaign, an Internet user was arrested, The New York Times reported, for suggesting that Lei was looking for luxury, writing online: “The high-end clothes Lei Feng bought for herself in 1959 – leather jacket, wool pants, leather shoes – would have cost around 90 yuan to then, but his salary was only 6 yuan per month. “

6. Was the Long March less than 25,000 li?

In 1934, during a civil war, the Chinese Communists broke through nationalist enemy lines and began an epic journey known as the “Long March” which marked the emergence of Mao Zedong as the undisputed leader of the Chinese Communists. He led thousands of Communist soldiers along a winding road from Jiangxi Province to Shaanxi.

Professor Janku thinks the question is irrelevant. “Whether the trip was 25,000 li or a little less, what is important is that management thinks that if people claim that the claim is false, they are in fact trying to diminish the heroic act. would apply to the story of the Battle of Luding Bridge, ”referring to a battle (see below) that acquired near-mythical status in China.

According to the SOAS professor, the whole story of the Long March is above all a propaganda stunt. “In the end, this is the story of a glorious defeat. Less than 10% of those who started the trek reached its end point in Yan’an. The CCP was on the verge of being annihilated.

She said News week that an American journalist who visited Yan’an in those years played a crucial role in the construction of the myth of the Long March. “You could say that this is a quintessential example of what Lu Xun (the famous writer) called ‘the spirit of AQ’ (based on the protagonist of one of his most famous short stories): the Chinese propensity to turn defeats into victories.

“The difference, of course, is that there was nothing to mock Mao’s Long March. The CCP’s ultimate victory in 1949 cemented this story.”

7. Did the Battle of Luding Bridge really take place?

During the Battle of the Luding Bridge during the Long March, a small group of soldiers secured a bridge over the Dadu River under heavy fire.

However, in a speech at Stanford University, a former China’s national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski said former party chairman Deng Xiaoping told him that the “battle” was largely the made up of propagandists.

8. During World War II, did the Communist Party avoid directly confronting the Japanese army?

It is estimated that 14 million Chinese citizens were killed during WWII.

Some academics argue that the CCP avoided engaging in direct battle with the invading Japanese army, even though the party insists they were a leading force in the war.

The the Wall Street newspaper reviewed Rana Mitter’s “The Good War of China” in which the author argues that the revisionist history of China during World War II is an attempt to claim that it was “present at the creation” of the international world order.

9. Zhou Bapi and Huang Shiren were good owners. Was the land reform a mistake?

Land reform was the first national political program of the Communist Party. Those who owned substantial land holdings were labeled “owners” and their land was expropriated.

In 2017, the Maoists attacked Fang Fang, the Wuhan author later targeted by nationalists for her lockdown diary, for her sympathetic portrayal of the owners in the novel “Soft Burial”.

The Financial Time reported in June that “officials have warned that playing [the attack on landlords] is historical nihilism.

10. America never planned to invade China. Wasn’t the Korean War fought in self-defense?

1950: start of the Korean War
Public domain

The “rumor” about the Korean War is politically sensitive. Officially, “China had no choice but to send its army to fight on Korean soil” to avoid a possible American invasion and aggression. However, the American version is quite different.

Overall, Janku said, “These are all things that people actually talk about and don’t really undermine the authority of the party. More likely, this indicates increasingly strict rule and increasing control of the party. public / social media sphere “.

A story that will be “crowned,” Janku added, with a third official version of the CCP’s story soon.

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