China’s Tragedy Museum

The atrocities committed in Europe during World War II are well known except maybe in Iran where former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad once claimed the Holocaust never happened.

However, recently Iran’s new president, Hassan Rouhani, said the Holocaust did happen and what Ahmadinejad said in December 2005—and again on April 24, 2006; May 30, 2006; December 11, 2006; June 2009; September 2009; and September 2010—was taken out of context.

Regardless of Lame Brain Ahmadinejad, the Global Directory of Holocaust Museums tells us how widespread this knowledge is. It’s when we forget about history that we tend to repeat it.  Simon Wiesenthal said, “Freedom is not a gift from heaven … you must fight for it every day.”

Admitting the truth is the first step toward healing and avoiding similar tragedies again. “There is Chinese proverb which says you should use history as a mirror,” said Peng Qian, a former deputy mayor of Shantou.

The official Communist Party line is that Mao was 70 percent good and 30 percent bad—you may disagree with these ratios but don’t lose sight of the fact that the CCP admitted publicly that Mao was not perfect. And there is a museum in China that focuses on the atrocities of the Cultural Revolution. This museum was built near the industrial port city of Shantou in the Guangdong district. Sources: Frum ForumThe Independent; the Washington Post, and on August 18, 2012 the South China Morning Post.

If you think the CCP is ignoring the Shantou museum, you would be wrong because on February 8, 2013, China’s national state-run news service reported that the museum keeps Cultural Revolution memories alive. The museum consists of outdoor and indoor exhibitions.

Xinhua said, “The indoor exhibition, housed in a three-story, traditional-style building that resembles the Temple of Heaven in Beijing, displays 1,100 historical photographs chiseled into granite slabs. Some of the exhibits show gruesome scenes where victims are tortured and humiliated, while others bear insults that persecutors used to describe their class enemies.”

This museum demonstrates how far China has come since Mao’s death in 1976. As China continues to open to the world like a flower, one day there may be a list of Cultural Revolution Museums spread across China to equal the Holocaust Museums of World War II.

In fact, the Voice of America reported that some accounts of the horrors of the Cultural Revolution have been published in the Chinese media, a sign of an increased willingness to revisit painful memories that are still very much alive for both victims and their tormenters.

Discover China’s Holistic Historical Timeline


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

His latest novel is the multiple-award winning Running with the Enemy.

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China’s Holistic Historical Timeline

3 Responses to China’s Tragedy Museum

  1. Everett says:

    If this museum is allowed to exit, that tells us that the Chinese government may not be as ruthless as some claim.

  2. chennicole2013 says:

    When you think that many if not most of the people who committed atrocities during the Cultural Revolution are still alive, that is extremely fast. We might examine our own history in the United States to see how quickly we’ve been able to admit our mistakes and atrocities.

    • That is a good idea for a future post. Thanks. We could look at Japan for another example. I’ve read that the history textbooks used in Japan don’t mention Pearl Harbor, the brutalities in China, and all the rest of the atrocities committed by the Japanese during World War II.

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