SOAS University of London

Department of History, School of History, Religions & Philosophies

Summing Up the Lessons of History: The Post-Mao Reinvestigation of the First Guangdong Anti-Localism Campaign

Mark Czellér, University of Oxford

Date: 17 January 2019Time: 5:00 PM

Finishes: 17 January 2019Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Brunei Gallery Room: B104

Type of Event: 0

This paper explores how and why the first (1952) campaign against ‘localism’ (difangzhuyi) in Guangdong was systematically reinvestigated starting in the late 1980s. It focuses on two notable cases: the rehabilitation in 1994 of Fang Fang, who had been the second highest-ranking official in Guangdong until his demotion in 1952; and the publication, beginning a year earlier, of a series of volumes concerning a remarkable miscarriage of justice in Enping County in 1952, which involved the imprisonment and execution of multiple county-level cadres on the basis of fabricated accusations of collusion with landlords, and which had its origin in the same provincial developments which led to Fang’s downfall.

The paper pays particular attention to the discourses and policies that those engaged in investigating and writing the history of these cases drew on, sometimes in the face of considerable resistance, to provide moral and political justification for undertaking research on injustices which took place during the foundational years of the People’s Republic, and thus could not be easily integrated into the framework provided by the 1981 Resolution on Party History. In doing so, the paper seeks to contribute to our understanding of the discursive and political resources for, and constraints on, conducting research on sensitive historical subjects under official auspices during the period from the late 1980s to the late 1990s, and to provide a basis for comparison with earlier and later stages of the post-Mao era.

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