Posts Tagged ‘Culture’

Mao Dun and the Cultural Revolution

April 11, 2015

The school I teach at had its’ Spring Trip yesterday, and we got to see the house of Mao Dun, a Chinese writer who lived in the water town of Wuzhen (which was interesting, but fits all the stereotypes of how towns in formerly powerful third world countries (like China) look).

I think I’ve discovered that the Chinese government had “got all Cultural Revolution” on Mao Dun. He’d been the longest serving Minister for Culture in Communist China’s history (16 years), but disappeared off the face of the Earth for the last 17 years of his life. I honestly cannot find anything about him, or his life as minister, here in China, or more generally, once I penetrated the “Great Firewall.”

Anyhow I got talking to the students and local teachers about Mao Dun, and they know literally nothing about him (or seem to). They weren’t sure about when he died (they all seemed to think it was the 1950s, which is about 25 years out), or what he did after 1948 (when the communists took control of the mainland), which I found interesting.

I’m probably going to do some more digging on this, because to me it’s fascinating how Mao Dun is presented. Everyone was able to tell me “Oh yes, he’s one of our most famous writers”, but what happened is something that people either know not to talk about, or has been so effectively whitewashed that people genuinely don’t know about that part of his life.

Slightly Interesting Read

March 26, 2015

I somehow got on to the Wikipedia page about Mao Dun (the first communist Culture Minister in China), and it made for an interesting read.

As I said, Mao Dun was the first (and still the longest serving) Minister of Culture. And then in 1964, nothing. He drops off the face of the Earth from 1964 to 1978, with absolutely nothing said as to why.

Well being honest, we know why. China got all Cultural Revolution on him, but it still looked such an odd thing to happen. I expected this at work, what with the Great Firewall and all, but the weirdest things though were the obituaries I looked for when I got home, and used a VPN. It is like he literally dropped off the face of the Earth, even in the western press. I mean sure they say “Cultural Revolution”, but beyond that, nothing.

So……. weird