Just finished Wild Swans, over 700 pages of densely-packed print but a real page-turner nonetheless. It traces the experiences of a Chinese family spanning three generations up to the late nineties. The author’s description of life during Mao’s Cultural Revolution was particularly harrowing. And instructive because of the similarities between what happened then under the Red Guards and is happening now under the Woke Generation.
Guilt was no longer determined by the rule of law, the presumption of innocence (such as it was) abandoned. Replaced by mob denunciation arising from a perceived lack of ideological purity, or something you said a long time ago, or somebody now out of favour in whose company you were once seen. Just like today in the West ritual denunciation was followed by grovelling confessions – which were never enough. In fact as we see with today’s “liberals” such grovelling – for some reason – seems only to elicit even greater fury, fuelling demands for re-education but with no guarantee of rehabilitation. Humiliation was a powerful weapon, breaking the spirit of even the most resilient. And the more truthful and accurate the defence the more frenzied became the torment, reminding us of Orwell’s “The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those that speak it”.