Skip to content

Former Party Secretary of Ministry of Culture Voiced His Reflections on the Cultural Revolution

Starting on December 9, Yu Youjun, a former government official who is now a professor at Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, gave a series of lectures in which he reflected on the Cultural Revolution. He started on December 9 and planned to finish the 8-session lecture by December 25. However, he shortened it to 7 sessions, which he completed by December 16, because he needed to go to Beijing once he finished.

This lecture is a rare public discussion on the Cultural Revolution in China. In the past, this has been a taboo topic and no one has dared to voice any criticism.

The Paper, a media with close ties to Wang Qishan, Secretary of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) published a lengthy report on Yu’s lecture, but it was later removed. The following is based on Phoenix Online’s republication of the article.

What made this lecture a high-profile event is Yu Youjun’s background. He was a minister-level official, holding top positions in Guangdong, Hunan Province, and Shanxi Province. He served as the Party Secretary and Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Culture from 2007 to 2008. In Yu’s words, "I want to (make this) low-profile but I can’t."

Though the lecture was limited to students and professors in the university, a lot of people came and Yu had to move from a classroom to the auditorium to accommodate the audience.

Yu stated, "The evil spirit of the ‘Cultural Revolution’ is still looming, eroding the body of the people and the Party …"

Yu gave a set of statistical numbers to show the damage that the Cultural Revolution had done:

– According to incomplete statistics, 17.2 percent, or 2.3 million, of the 12 million total officials in China had been investigated.

– 16.7 percent, or 30,000, officials of the central state organs and ministries had been investigated. 75 percent of officials with the rank of deputy minister or higher or deputy provincial governor level were investigated or taken down. 80,000 people in the military were persecuted.

– The economic loss was 500 billion yuan (U.S. $79 billion), which is equal to 80 percent of the sum of China’s total infrastructure investment from 1949 to 1976. That sum exceeds the amount of the total fixed national assets for the same nearly 30 years.

– There was little or no increase in people’s living standard during the ten years of the Cultural Revolution. In 1966, each person could receive 189.5 kg of rice or wheat, 1.7 kg of oil, and 7 kg of pork for consumption. In 1976, the corresponding numbers were 190.5 kg, 1.6 kg, and 7.2 kg.

In Yu’s view, "to assess Cultural Revolution from the perspective of the results it brought to China, there is only one sentence – (We) must negate it generally and fundamentally."

Source: Phoenix Online, December 20, 2015