A colleague recently asked me where, if anywhere, one might find contemporary Chinese records of visits by foreigners (including tourists, professional delegations, journalists, “foreign friends,” etc.) to Mao’s China? What he had in mind, I believe, are such things as notes on questions that foreign visitors posed (as well as on what they were told in response, I guess) while visiting this or that People’s Commune, neighborhood committee, factory, or kindergarten.
I know I may be sort of veering off-topic here, but anyway: historians looking for new or more records of remarks made back then by the handful of Americans who (either of their own free will or because they were incarcerated) ended up remaining in Mao’s China may want to look at Public Security Intelligence, a classified Central Ministry of Public Security serial that regularly reproduced statements on unfolding domestic and international events made in China by persons of interest. Every now and then it would, for example, quote what imprisoned CIA officers John T.
And just to clarify, I mentioned some English-language memoirs because Jeremy discussed Dikötter’s use of one such text in his review. There are, obviously, tons of Chinese-language memoirs (and archival documents) in which people express positive views of the 1950s and even remember imprisonment and thought reform as largely positive experiences. Of course, these are also dismissed as mere propaganda most of the time.
There are similar (and more anguished) memoirs, written and oral, of people who stayed from the 1950s (and earlier) through the CR, ended up in prison (or in horrible conditions) but maintained their allegiance to the PRC and the CCP: The Crooks, the Epsteins, at least one Italian. They are usually evaluated in exactly the same way Mindy mentioned (brainwashing, some form of psychological twist, etc.). And, in these later cases, these people insisted on maintaining their "fidelity" to the revolution at a time when the revolution was over.
Thanks for sharing this thoughtful review, Jeremy.
First, I’ll be stealing your class discussion question: “imagine that China held an open presidential election after Japan surrendered in August 1945. For whom would you have voted?”
Thanks, guys, for taking an interest. I'm so deep in the muck of all this, I don't always realize just what other people find interesting and why. Fabio asked for some more of the "texts relative to their indictment" which should not be a problem, if you can give me some time. I will post an URL here in due course and upload the scanned texts to my university website, the one I mention in my short report on research in Sweden, posted on the PRCHISTORY.ORG "Research Notes" page.
I join Matt in thanking Michael for these amazing documents. Also, I know Julian Fürst who directs the Bristol project and her work is excellent.
I don't know about others' thoughts, but in addition to being hugely grateful to Michael for sharing this document, two rather free associations come to mind for me --
Just a brief invitation to take a stroll by the "links and resources" page of prchistory.org (http://prchistory.org/links-and-resources/), if you've got a moment, and share your thoughts concerning essential online resources that we've not yet included. I hope to keep that section of the site a regularly updated feature, and so would be most grateful for your suggestions now or in the future.
I'm likewise intrigued by the origins, so to speak, of document form. Having just spent a few weeks with the KMT files in the Hoover Institution library and archives this summer, followed an even more recent survey of 1949-1953 上海市军事管制委员会文化教育管理委员会 files, one immediate parallel between the two "parties of a new type" is that internal communications within both bureaucratic structures use the same "...字...号" log number format.