Yesterday, I asked When was the first time a Holocaust memoir or diary was exposed as a fraud? The "Cultural Revolution" in China in the years 1966–1976 killed an unknown number of people (estimates range from hundreds of thousands to 20 million) and even according to the Chinese Communist Party "affected" the lives of 100 million Chinese.

There are many memoirs by Chinese participants, such as Jung Chang's Wild Swans and Anchee Min's Red Azalea. I have never heard of any such memoirs being fake (or even embellished), even though this does not seem implausible based on the following words from Roderick MacFarquhard, author of one of the best books about the Cultural Revolution (emphasis mine):

There are lots of memoirs – ‘I was a Red Guard’ and ‘I did this and I did that.’ What is strikingly consistent about most Red Guard memoirs is how un-guilty the authors are of any of the crimes, brutality and destructiveness that we know the Red Guards were guilty of. It seems that the authors were always disapprovingly looking on. There are exceptions, there is some frankness here and there, but on the whole, we’re getting an outsider’s view, rather than an insider’s view, even though the people were Red Guards.

The difficulty of exposing a memoir as fake is that China has not come to terms with the Cultural Revolution and the archives about it have not yet been fully opened. As Roderick MacFarquhard says,

But the Chinese themselves have not come to terms with the Cultural Revolution. The Cultural Revolution’s violence is not just to be put at the door of Chairman Mao, though he fired the starter’s gun. It’s to be put at the door of individual Chinese who were incredibly cruel, in many cases, to other individual Chinese.

Has any memoir of the "Cultural Revolution" ever been exposed as a fake? If yes, which one and by whom?


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