tv Doc Film - Our Idol Mao Zedong - Europeans and the Cultural Revolution Deutsche Welle December 27, 2018 2:15am-3:00am CET
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in may nine hundred sixty six mouths a dorm officially announced the start of the cultural revolution. he wanted to create a new kind of communism one that would reinvigorate and consolidate the revolution . at the time only a few europeans were living in china how did the revolution affect their lives. the wave of political renewal in china has served as inspiration for many young europeans they demonstrated against their own governments. the great promise terry and cultural revolution has often been romanticized in europe but what was it really like in china back then.
these apartments are located at the foreign studies university in beijing. paul crook is british and lives in london but he grew up in beijing his mother isabel who was born in one thousand nine hundred fifteen has spent most of her life in china called visits whenever he can isabel was an enthusiastic supporter of communism from an early age so it was paul's father david who arrived in china in one nine hundred thirty seven he and isabel were married in one thousand nine hundred forty two together they experienced the social and political upheavals brought about by the communist revolution. course if it brings back memories of what was happening then and i'm just glad that some of that has been captured and i
think that's very malleable. at the end of the nine hundred forty s. the crux move to beijing to teach english at the f.l.y. or foreign languages institute. parents were very keen supporters of the communist revolution in china they were treated with great respect and you know and and participated in life in the university and. up until the cold revolution mostly you know it was a very positive experience for them when he was a teen paul crook was also an enthusiastic supporter of mao. i think i must have been really quite excited about the idea of of seeing now even in the distance of this fall's event he was this great idol that we had in our textbooks and people talked about. yeah rather like i think.
teenagers are pretty majors worship their pop idols in their mouths it on established the people's republic of china in october nineteen forty nine and was hailed by many chinese as the founder of a new society. over the last century china had experienced foreign occupation followed by a bloody civil war for the first time since the end of the imperial age china would now set its own course. about was the undisputed leader of this new stage. to austrian women goodrem alba and her mother brasilia fung lived in china at the time. in one nine hundred fifty one brasilia had immigrated to china with her
daughter who was three years old at the time in her first year of school different experienced mouse propaganda first hand. in austria brasilia had been a single parent until she met and later married found being an engineering student who was working on his doctoral degree. found wanted to return to china to help with the new industrial projects he convinced his wife to come with him. when you were little about africa but nothing at all about china it was so far away but somehow that didn't bother me at. goodrem grew up with two half brothers in the northeastern city of shenyang she soon learned to speak mandarin chinese fluently.
good one always felt like she was chinese in yemen if someone told her that she was a foreigner get angry as flames and she resented her blonde hair because it made her stand out of this and it. does ilya is catholic and raised her daughter in the same faith despite the government's opposition to organized religion brasilia brought one of her favorite religious paintings with her from austria. with this food you can see an archangel over there the one with the wings she's beautiful. it's like the angel in the painting. enough home off we'd wake up in the morning look at the painting and talk about it it showed an angel who was protecting your children as they crossed a string and at that time mother and daughter had no
idea that this painting would one day cause them a lot of trouble. in one nine hundred fifty eight mel launched the first of his major social engineering projects called the great leap forward he had decided that china needed to move ahead more quickly with economic development from our predicted that in fifteen years china would surpass britain in steel production much of this new steel was to be produced by average citizens using small furnaces many farmers abandon their fields to take part in this effort but this neglect of the agricultural sector contributed to a serious famine in the countryside between nine hundred fifty nine and nine hundred sixty one western experts say that at least twenty million people died. party leaders begin to rebel against mouth. shut she became china's new head of state in april nine hundred fifty nine and set about rolling back some of the great
leap forward successes. it has this trouble china which arena arrived in in one thousand nine hundred sixty three with her husband who'd been sent there as a correspondent for the east german news agency a.d.n. they were among just a handful of foreigners who were allowed into china at the time. mainland. eighty and sent my husband to china because he spoke the language. and i went with him. when they asked me whether i could take some photos while i was there. in the bin so i walked around the city and i took photos many photos of. claiborne's photos provided unique insight into everyday life in china and also the political
power struggles that were under way. tensions were running high mouth felt that his position was now being threatened by rivals inside the party leadership and he decided to fight back. it all started with a big character poster that was put up at beijing university the poster criticized top school officials as board and he revolutionaries now like the slogan and used it in poster attacks he launched against his opponents soon the use of such posters have become widespread. there are some classmates started putting up posters in classrooms and in the hallways in the primary school. criticizing various aspects of the teaching.
arena exclave and photographed the posters many of those who put them up believe that they were showing support from out and while they showed their loyalty critique amounts opponents group particularly against lucia. the book and the posters were put up everywhere outside the watchmaker's shop big department stores and the beautiful beijing super hotel. i even saw some stock on people's backs. of the on what. ed laden's photos also document the newly formed groups of radical dudes called red gods as the cultural revolution got underway. young people were expected to get out of the classroom and onto the streets to show their support for mao they believe that there was saving china from its bush one enemies.
like the forms a classic the have a lot of the students in our class became red guards old they wore red bands of the and at least it. you could join only if you came from a good family that is if your parents were peasants workers soldiers or political officials he's. been in the common. good run was not allowed to join at first because her father was an intellectual and. so i asked my mother what did grandmother to back in austria. she worked on a farm with her husband she said. next target the next day i went to the police office that kept an eye on foreigners and told them that my grandmother was a farmer sacked as most and this did you will happen is my goal and they gave me
a document that said that i was from a peasant family. stant comes on then. and that's how goodrem album became the only austrian member of the red guards like millions of other young people she proudly displayed at the little red book of mao quotations. her. part of mao strategy at this time was based on promoting violent class struggle which often involved attacks on traditional chinese philosophy and culture crowds usually led by red guards destroyed a number of ancient temples and imperial era buildings. in the early months of the cultural revolution many of china's schools and universities were shot down it was an exciting time for young people i was. that. of
that time i hadn't even turned eighteen yet in that we had so much freedom we could go wherever we wanted and criticize everything. there's so much and because it was summer we went swimming a lot. so we thought completely free and nora i have. in the autumn of nine hundred sixty six now presided at the several huge red guard rallies in beijing he called on young people to rise up against his opponents in the party and later and particularly against louche ouchy. meanwhile a number of european leftists were following events in china closely they were impressed by propaganda him ever would have dreamt of turning to soviet style communism bratislava in czechoslovakia was right on our doorstep about sixty kilometers east of vienna so we knew what the situation was like in prague it was
horrible none of us wanted that kind of. cow pay to she is a former correspondent for the frankfurter allgemeine at sight on in one thousand nine hundred seventy while he was studying at vienna university he joined a malice group. this was. the slogan of miles that really hooked us was to rebel is justified we saw our rebellion as the essence of revolutionary activity and we could see that in the cultural revolution. of. the viet nam war prompted a number of european students to shift their political views sharply to the left and many of them now became a symbol of resistance against imperialism these young people rose up against the political and social establishment that had come to power after world war two and demanded equality for all.
maoist groups were particularly popular in france and many students committed themselves to the chairman's ideology. on danielle pollo was working in a textile factory at the time she was inspired by mao's philosophy and tried to spread his message to her coworkers. our biggest wish was to visit china to see what was going on for ourselves we wanted to take part in the cultural revolution and then bring our experiences back to france we believed we could bring the same source of revolution to france. but it was nearly impossible for foreigners to get travel visas still many european leftists drew inspiration from images from the cultural revolution. we projected our hopes for a revolution in europe on to china systems there was something almost religious
about it in that we were all dreaming of getting to the same place. as the cultural revolution spread the red guards took an increasingly aggressive approach to dealing with the alleged opponents of the regime they carried out purges against teaches and officials at schools and universities. called crooks father david was a professor teaching english at the foreign languages institute he was caught up in the purges. i couldn't believe it you know and they found their way must be a mistake in there obviously anyway that the reality is not at home. even after david crook had been sent to prison his wife isabelle continued to believe that mouse revolution was on the right track. we were worried we were concerned by also with
a you know we would only have to have faith in the party and faith in the masses as now. now expanded his campaign to include a broader spectrum of chinese society various groups tied to outdo each other in demonstrating their commitment to the cultural revolution. and age class enemies were forced to appear at mass rallies and confess to various crimes against society. if you are the object of struggle you had to show humility and the the guards ensure that you showed. as much as possible. paul crook was a teenager when he's found that was sent to prison and he began to suspect that the revolution may have gone too far. people were very
fervently shouting slogans and condemning them and and i felt very much that i must try and participate in this but at the same time i had a contradictory feeling of this is a cruel thing that for them is happening. i think in that time the parameters of what was shocking and terrible were probably was probably you know. we were stretched to a point a you know the. values whatever is happening everywhere maybe is normal. many of the suspected counter-revolutionaries were paraded through the streets in trucks arena ect laban's photographs provide rare evidence of these events.
in the litter in a forward and in one case there was a woman who'd been forced to wear a huge pointed hat like a dunce cap. she had been ostracized it was really really scary. the ng stick and look and see. red guards traveled throughout the country to spread the revolution some eventual arrived in shenyang where goodrem albus family lived. since says they were just kids fifteen or sixteen years old and they all had guns they were going to show us how to fight class enemies and carry out the revolution here later. the red guards destroyed symbols of course while society good friend was worried that if the guards found her mother's painting of the guardian angel the family could get into trouble. that they
actually first we thought about hiding it like in the basement but i said please don't they'll come in and search the place to. sort. goodrem and her two half brothers finally persuaded their mother to hand over the painting. they tore it down and burned it also manning. the red guards rounded up large numbers of suspected counter-revolutionaries. with paul crooks father still imprisoned his mother was now also brought in for questioning. where she was you know asked to attend. what if you can call interrogation sessions you know the sessions the health care of our the truth. about my father what she was doing. then one day isabelle crook did not return home after an interrogation
session she was detained overnight. she didn't think she would stay very long but. there the next day they came and asked for her tooth brush and then they came for a few more things and eventually she we really recognized that she was not coming home anytime soon. the chaos of the cultural revolution brought the country to a standstill finally in late one nine hundred sixty s. mount change course he ordered the red guards to leave the cities and move to the countryside so that they could be inspired by the revolutionary spirit of the peasants an estimated twenty million young people to pass in this campaign. this was the time when east german journalist di turn and catching becca arrived in
china as citizens of a communist state their view of china and now was generally positive. beijing was the baker's first foreign assignment mal had kept much hidden from of a communist nations and the east german media largely ignored the excesses of the cultural revolution. they have in mind this country have made tremendous progress since the one nine hundred fifty s. . vij always been interested in china and i did in east germany i'd seen these wonderful magazines about china and i found it absolutely fascinating and how to make the pact we don't come under him and then we got there and saw that the old spirit was gone for both people were wasting their energy on completely pointless campaigns. the first well maybe not completely pointless to do mao was eliminating
his political opponents but that was about it and he did it at the expense of ordinary citizens and that hurt before. it does today. but the back is also witnessed the beginning of a new chapter in chinese foreign policy now decided to improve relations with the united states president richard nixon arrived in beijing in february nine hundred seventy two. astrology and that was a major development and that about the same time china was improving its relations with west germany mao was putting an end to diplomatic isolation and a few cups of. mao was seventy eight years old when he met with nixon the meeting was a first step of the increasingly on will lead to open up china. it also brought new hope to foreigners who had long waited to visit. continues or probably
we heard that our women's group might be allowed to travel to china so that we could observe the process of women's liberation firsthand that would be a real adventure. danielle apollo had a daughter isabelle who was just three months old the mother had a difficult decision to make. up your very very thought i could either stay in france and continue to breastfeed my daughter or go to china. but i was a maoist level it was a hard choice to make but in the end i left isabelle with my husband and went to china. the number of europeans who would give interest visas started to increase in the summer of nine hundred seventy one to promote the cause of socialist friendship.
the. we flew into beijing airport late at night and here was this huge white statue of mao all lit up. it was like the entrance to paradise. and there was china this huge country now laying before us as we see fit. to visitors were welcomed by government public relations teens who outlined the numerous achievements of the cultural revolution. in mecca muslim face showed us around the city. they took us to the great hall of the people really which was an incredible honor that was the start of our china trip. unless something has. we sang the internets and we raised our fists and we moved to tears it was a very emotional experience we were like groupies at
a rock concert kevin. absolutely overjoyed. danielle apollo brought a movie camera so that she could film for her friends back home. visiting people's communes and so peasants had work in the fields and everything we saw big construction projects factories and foundries that had sparks flying all around. and of course we had lots of speeches. the european tourists who left beijing and travelled around the country. at once around cheap red guard girl came out and delivered an angry speech against the school principal. we enjoyed that a lot. in. the chinese
authorities tried to convince the foreign visitors that life had improved substantially under mouse leadership. those who had lived through the great leap forward and the start of the cultural revolution however took a more realistic view based on the foreign guests. well the fact that they came to visit i think reinforced our general faith that china was a place of world pilgrimage where the only other hand if the you talk to these. four and. the believers who had come to with meyer the cradle of the trannies revolution or wherever it was that you met them then you have a sort of a. in there were suspicions you were you felt they were. the foreigners visits were carefully planned out they were not allowed to travel around without
government minders. the police of course we didn't see any of the horrible things that were going on people being beaten up the executions it was like stepping into the pages of the beijing review the government's weekly news magazine we went to all the places that were pictured in that magazine and saw what we wanted to see we saw what confirmed our belief that china was doing well. danielle and her women's group spent nearly two months travelling around the countryside and then they visited shanghai for a week. and you know wanted to take pictures of everyday life in china to show their friends in france the group's minders chose an acceptable sides. you know we went to markets they were loads of people bustling and there was life fish being
sold plus vegetables meeson poultry they had everything. so i got to shoot the dream with a few in the evening we went home. but danielle had let some of her film at the market she went back the next day to try to find it she was in for a shock. when i got there everything was gone. there was not a single paper or carriage to buy the place was completely empty you're here and you to see. the marketplace had been fake these images with the truth the country was facing a crisis average chinese had to wait in line for hours to buy basic necessities and millions of alleged counter-revolutionaries. still in jail. including whole croaks parents he and his brothers were left to fend for themselves.
but even in jail david in isabel crook never lost faith in mouse regime. i think my father during his time in prison. once in this state of mind where he believes that you know now was was either misled or didn't know about. what was going on and if he did then surely things we put right. paul cook didn't even know where his parents were being held. them and they always cycling to my german class and taking university with my. would my teacher and i looked up and the other window out there on the second when they're on the third level there was my mother waving at me behind bars.
so why wait back but then i thought i can't get my german teacher waiting and i continued on and i was able to say to my teacher is held mine a lot i guess i can say and i was quite proud myself but i felt obligation to be not to skip a lesson. later pulling his brothers managed to sneak into the room at the university with their mother was being held and talk to her briefly. she was locked up under supervision with a couple of young teacher is. constantly share in the same room with her in case maybe where she thinks they were and she might kill herself or. do some other super fun. very closely. millions of chinese shared the same fate
family members tossed into prison for no reason. and since most of the universities remained closed many young people were still working in factories or in the countryside. sold to life was hard back then. people stared at me wherever i went. it was huma and most so i had to be a model citizen. because i had absolutely no freedom at all. so i told my parents i'd like to go back to austria. but goodrem could not travel abroad because she didn't have a passport at this time she was working in a textile factory called crops life was not much better. life is unpredictable and in the in my father's case he was respected for the friend one day and next day
he had been arrested and then he came out and then he was exonerated. he when charley spent five years in prisoner. in solitary confinement we need to get in this it in the first three or four years. calls mother was finally released in one nine hundred seventy two and her husband one year later but despite their ordeal they decided to stay in china there's some paul had other ideas. and they were they were revolutionaries for a world revolution in it so they have of the in charge but they would certainly wanted us to carry on the great ideal wherever we were and that was not her. you know they didn't feel that we have to stay in china. i wanted to go and see the world for myself and for me i think i wanted not to have
to behave. according to other strict guidelines and i believe i would be a lot fear if i went to the west. hall said goodbye to his family at a train station in beijing goodrem alba woodley soon after. their slice of exile my father said to me before i left there's so many beggars and criminals in the west. but if things don't work out for you there you can always come back to us lots of it. indeed chinese newspapers claimed that capitalism in europe was on the verge of collapse. goodrem was worried about that but she left her parents' time and was soon on her way to austria. she arrived in vienna in february nine hundred seventy two.
city officials gave her a warm welcome and presented her with a camera. croaks time in china had also come to an end. across the border from. by train to hong kong. the world's most certainly exciting place so. i spent ten days in the late nights in the maas. would try discovered we're showing all kinds of western you know hollywood or whatever films that are never seen by york i was young back then as everything in austria was new to me like that and eighty's and i felt freed because no one stared at me anymore because now i look like everyone else like it and else.
after she arrived in vienna goodwin soon met a student who would later become her husband. mr dundas half of the sea the sea ice cream. she said that she was from china. which felt to me as if a light had been switched on. duncombe's for the phone companies to show i was a maoist at the time and i thought that she could explain to me what chinese society was likely feel i had my own ideas on the subject and i hope that she'd be able to confirm i'm of the south. but that was not going to happen. he said that china was a great place and he couldn't understand why i'd left it and i told him well just pack up and go there you'll be arrested the day after you arrive at saddleback that i dispense. good turn did not marry sebastian until he renounced his malice to
views. see had me all still she told me in great detail what life in china was really like . and that was a wake up call for me as well for me. now see dome died in one thousand nine hundred seventy six at the age of eighty two huge crowds gathered in beijing to pay their last respects. but millions of people had been killed or imprisoned cheering his last attempt at social engineering the cultural revolution its legacy had a lasting effect on chinese society many european supporters of the revolution had also become disillusioned with that. ship might look around as long to get those ideas out of my head as i had been part of the system. when i
was a maoist for four years and afterward it took another four years for me to get back to normal all in all my read decade was a complete waste a complete waste it brought me nothing. for the first time in years danielle parlow looks at the diaries of her trip to china this is what she wrote after she found out that the market in shanghai was fake because i don't discouragement i don't want to see the smart film anymore if you and grief stricken and entirely deflated i don't understand anything. i understand nothing does want to stop everything.
we start. siegelman our thoughts like when a child who believes in santa claus is told he doesn't exist i believe in him and then he's gone to. shock that incident in shanghai was a real shock for me. you know if you design no longer had any hope that we would find a perfect society there was nothing we could bring back to france from china from france. the communist party still rules china but the persecution of paul cook's family ended as the cultural revolution in traditional clothes and was then reversed years later paul was even invited to speak at an
event honoring his mother or with yourself or will i do is there a woman within the younger way that sense that. in the mid one nine hundred sixty s. the authorities have detained isabel cook as an alleged spy but today she's honored for her work in chronicling the liberation of chinese peasants paul crook has had a tough time dealing with this contradiction. kind of a tough there is experience if it's too much to take too to absorb it as horror you mitigate it by a sense of this incredibly unbelievable. call it comedy call it satire call it whatever in there. and it's one way of dealing with it now i think that's. one way that i was dealing with it was to to to to to mitigate it
with a sideways look at reality is just to. get exactly. your find out if you live on. our own if. you hit the. hill the way. various truly does who is working. danielle pollo now lives in paris. she's continued her efforts to try to make the world a better place. in twenty sixteen she joined the movement which focuses on social justice and other issues the movement's supporters often gathered at the plaster della republic in paris. mostly to be too busy i was immediately drawn to
a new way to boo because it reminded me of the activism we saw in one nine hundred sixty eight. that is to say that these young people of today are standing up to the establishment of a good this is the case you. bought she's given up her illusions some two don't want if you also know these people live in a different world from the one when you know they don't believe in mali and they don't believe in violent revolution. we wanted to tear down our society but they want to improve society and make it more humane to do in their case hard to do may not.
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