China and Inner Asia
Organized Panel Session
To gain new legitimacy after 1976, the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CCP) had to address injustices of the Cultural Revolution. This panel will discuss the difficulties at the central, provincial and local level to identify victims and perpetrators. The strategies of the CCP varied from internal investigations, trials, purges and rehabilitation to the introduction of new laws. We will question whether these policies and practices contributed to justice or resulted in social conflict, because victims again felt mistreated. Based on oral history interviews and archival research, the panel will present three case studies from provinces and one general paper on the role of legal reforms. Wang Xian will show how Muslim villagers in Yunnan responded to the attempt by the central government to redress the Shadian Massacre of 1975. Zhang Man will argue that, under the leadership of Hua Guofeng, Jiangsu started to reopen wrongfully adjudicated cases of the Cultural Revolution comparatively early, as a result of local pressure. Felix Wemheuer will show how and why the rebels in Shandong suffered from a long wave of political repressions lasting from 1969 to 1984. Additionally, Agnes Schick-Chen will show how the Central Government in the early Reform era used law as a tool of political communication to establish a narrative of the rights and wrongs of the Maoist past. All papers of the panel are questioning the official narrative of the CCP that 1978 was the watershed in dealing with the Cultural Revolution.