Ex-Red Guard Regrets Notorious Killing in Cultural Revolution

"Though I Am Gone" (dir. Hu Jie)

“Though I Am Gone” (dir. Hu Jie)

From the New York Times, Jan 13 2014, by Chris Buckley:

Nearly half a century after Bian Zhongyun was beaten, kicked, tormented and left to die, bloody and alone, at the Beijing girls’ school where she was deputy principal, a daughter of the Communist Party elite has offered public penance — of a kind that instantly brought controversy — for her part in one of the most notorious killings of the Cultural Revolution…The apology from Song Binbin, reported by The Beijing News on Monday, quickly drew attention and was featured on many Chinese news websites. Here was a daughter of a veteran revolutionary apologizing for what has been widely described as the first killing of a teacher in the decade-long Cultural Revolution.

Ms. Song’s apology immediately prompted rival views on the Internet in China. Some welcomed her words, others called them belated and inadequate. Some said the Communist Party itself should apologize… Ms. Song’s declaration of remorse also appeared unlikely to satisfy Ms. Bian’s widower, Wang Jingyao, who for years has accused Ms. Song and
others of disguising their part in the death of Ms. Bian on Aug. 5, 1966.

Ever since then, Mr. Wang, 93, has preserved his wife’s memory and sought an honest reckoning from the perpetrators. He took photos of her battered body soon after she died and has kept a shrine to her in his home. In a telephone interview on Monday, he said he had heard about Ms. Song’s apology but had not heard directly from her.

“She is a bad person, because of what she did,” he said. “She and the others were supported by Mao Zedong. Mao was the source of all evil. He did so much that was bad. And it’s not just an individual problem” of someone like Ms. Song, he added. “The entire Communist Party and Mao Zedong are also responsible.”

Wang Jingyao’s efforts to preserve the memory of his wife’s death are documented in the film Though I Am Gone, directed by Hu Jie. It is part of the dGenerate Films collection.