View Full Version : Protesters break silence on Cultural Revolution

17-05-06, 11:46
SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Dozens of Shanghai residents protested on Wednesday over their forced relocation to a remote corner of China in the 1960s, defying the official silence on the 40th anniversary of the chaotic Cultural Revolution.

The 150 or so protesters, many carrying signs reading "there's nothing wrong with petitioning", gathered outside the Shanghai Civil Affairs Bureau, which includes a petitions office where citizens can bring complaints to the government.

Most were sent to Xinjiang, China's most northwesterly province, as part of a Maoist "learn from the masses" campaign where they were forced into hard physical labor.

When able to return to Shanghai years or decades later, they often found their old houses in new hands. And the official silence over the Cultural Revolution, a decade-long period of social upheaval, has left victims without compensation.

"They forced us to go there and now we want to be repaid for what was taken from us," a middle-aged woman shouted through the protective wall of police when approached by Reuters.

"We had all lost so much by the time we returned."

A fleet of police cars and around 30 uniformed police officers, as well as at least a handful of undercover officers, gathered at the scene in the morning and remained there throughout the day. But the protesters were allowed to stay.

Chaos reined during the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution when millions were killed or persecuted.

But the 40th anniversary of its start passed quietly across China on Tuesday -- not for lack of interest or sentiment, but because the ruling Communist party, obsessed with stability, has issued a blanket ban on the subject.