Fighting China’s Social Amnesia: A Viewing List

From an article by Chinese novelist Yan Lianke, published in the New York Times:

“Have today’s 20- and 30-year-olds become the amnesic generation? Who has made them forget? By what means were they made to forget? Are we members of the older generation who still remember the past responsible for the younger generation’s amnesia?”

“The amnesia I’m talking about is the act of deleting memories rather than merely a natural process of forgetting. Forgetting can result from the passage of time. The act of deleting memories, however, is about actively winnowing out people’s memories of the present and the past.”

“In China, memory deletion is turning the younger generation into selective-memory automatons. Memories of history and the present, yesterday and today are all going through this uniform process of deletion and are being lost without trace.”

“The best way to achieve this type of amnesia is to develop tactics utilizing state power to shackle people’s minds and block all memory channels by altering historical records, manipulating textbook content and controlling literature, art and performances in all forms.”

“I believe a truly great people are people who have the courage to remember their own past, and a truly great nation is a nation that has the courage to record its own history.”

Films from the hidden chapters of modern history in China:

Comfort Women in China during World War II:

Gai Shanxi and Her Sisters by Ban Zhongyi

The Anti-Rightist Movement:

The East Wind State Farm by Hu Jie

Searching for Lin Zhao’s Soul by Hu Jie

The Cultural Revolution:

Though I Am Gone by Hu Jie

The June 4 1989 Tiananmen Square Incident:

No 89 Shimen Road by Shu Haolun

The 1994 Karamay Fire:

Karamay by Xu Xin

The Three Gorges Dam Project:

Before the Flood by Yu Yan and Li Yifan

Before the Flood 2 by Yu Yan

The 2008 Sichuan Earthquake:

1428 by Du Haibin

The LGBT movement in China:

Queer China, ‘Comrade’ China by Cui Zi’en

See also Sixty Years of Unsanctioned Memories in the People’s Republic of China

Leave a Reply