China museum builder lets history speak





ANREN, China — From floor to ceiling, wall to wall, the narrow entry corridor at the Red Era Daily Necessities Museum is bathed in a blood-red light. There is no map, no brochure, no choice of direction; the architecture forces visitors forward, over glowing panels labeled by year: 1966. 1967. 1968. A few dozen paces later: 1976.

A roar comes from a sea of Red Guards in Tiananmen Square, chanting rabidly, captured in a film clip from the era. Mao Tse-tung strides into the frame, whipping the crowd into a frenzy.

The dawn of the Cultural Revolution in 1966 brought a decade of chaos, violence and persecution that ripped China apart. Friends denounced friends, parading them in dunce caps through the streets. Roving mobs smashed religious relics to bits. Mao was elevated to the status of a god, his face stamped onto billions of lapel pins worn like talismans....



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