How can a dictatorship deal with the legacy of injustice and state crimes committed under its rule? This was the question the Chinese Communist Party faced after Mao Zedong’s death in 1976. Drawing on previously unknown documents, Daniel Leese outlines a panorama of Chinese politics and society during the critical period of upheaval between 1976 and 1987.
In major historical upheavals, right and wrong are redefined, the roles of perpetrators and victims redistributed. Daniel Leese describes the decade after Mao’s death as a balancing act between legal reappraisals, reparations and renewed repression. Using the special case of China, he grapples with major, timeless questions about confronting historical guilt that remain as topical as ever. The book is as evocative as it is perceptive, as meticulous as it is self-assured – a historiographical tour de force.
Daniel Leese teaches Chinese studies with a focus on the “history and politics of modern China” at the Albert Ludwig University of Freiburg.
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