Liu Zhidan

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Date: 1962

Region: Asia

Subject: Political/Economic/Social Opinion

Medium: Literature


LiuZhidan.jpg

Artist: Li Jiantong

Confronting Bodies: Yan Hongyan (A leading party official), Kang Sheng (director of the Central Committee's Ideological Group), and Mao Zedong.

Date of Action: 1962

Location: China

Description of Artwork: The novel Liu Zhidan is a biography of the revolutionary Liu Zhidan, who had been a popular leader of communist guerrillas in the 1930's.

The Incident: Small sections of the novel had been published in newspapers in 1962. Yan Hongyan, a party official, had been strongly opposed to Liu Zhidan's leadership methods and complained to Kang Sheng.

Kang Sheng spoke in public about the novel and described it as "anti-party." He said it would spread negative ideologies and denounced it for portraying some of the party's enemies in a positive light. These accusations came to Mao Zedong's attention and led him to order an investigation surrounding Li Jiantong and her accomplices.

Results of Incident: Li Jiantong and her supporters were arrested by the police for dampening the impact of Mao's achievements through the praise of Liu Zhidan. They were put to "reform through labor" and the book was banned until 1978, by which time the opinion of Liu Zhidan was reversed to make him into a revolutionary hero.

Source: Censorship: A World Encyclopedia. Ed. Derek Jones. Chicago; London: Fitzroy Dearborn, 2001.