Saturday, February 16, 2008

China's Great Wall of Silence: Dr. Wang Rongfen's 1966 Letter to Mao

This full English translation of the famous letter is reprinted from

I believe that this letter deserves a Foreward.

Rarely have I written here of myself. If this be modesty,
let it be said, as Churchill said of Atlee, that I am "a man
who has much to be modest about." And it is of one of these
things that I have much to be modest about, a character
trait, perhaps a chemical imbalance, that I write of in this

I have never shied away from taking on those
who have power over me. My reputation is one who,
for insufficient cause, provokes those who one should in nowise provoke.

And, as readers of this site know there is an "edge" to my
writing that is the analog to this edge in my personality.

HOWEVER. I have NEVER, EVER written--or SEEN--

anything like Dr. Wang's letter. Especially considering the
situation: Dr. Wang was living in a totalitarian society;
A totalitarian society that also was having a nervous

And she sent this to MAO ZEDONG, not some mid or low-
level flunky.

Dear Chairman Mao Zedong:

I ask you to consider, as a Communist

Party member, what are you doing?

I ask you in the name of the Party to

consider: What is the significance of

all that is happening now? I ask you in

the name of the Chinese people to

consider: Where is it that you are leading

China? The Cultural Revolution is not a

mass movement; it is one person using

a gun to move the masses. I earnestly

declare: I hereby withdraw my membership

from the Chinese Communist Youth Corps.

Sincerely yours,

Wang Rongfen, fourth year student

of German at Beijing Foreign Languages


September 24, 1966