The Cultural Revolution: a Chinese catastrophe
Tania Branigan discusses the devastating impact of Mao’s Cultural Revolution, and its resonances in China today
For the decade between 1966 and 1976, Chairman Mao’s Cultural Revolution wreaked immense havoc on China – with up to 2 million killed, and another 36 million persecuted for perceived political or cultural sins. Tania Branigan is the author of a Cundill Prize-shortlisted book Red Memory, which draws on personal testimonies to chart the story of this terrifying decade. Speaking to Ellie Cawthorne, she discusses why the Cultural Revolution was such a significant moment in Chinese history and explores its continued impact on the country’s politics, culture and psyche today.
Tania Branigan is the author of Red Memory: Living, Remembering and Forgetting China's Cultural Revolution (Faber & Faber, 2023)
Ellie Cawthorne is HistoryExtra’s podcast editor. She also contributes to BBC History Magazine, runs the podcast newsletter and hosts several live and virtual BBC History Magazine events.
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