Frank Dikotter Interview
The story of China during the 20th Century is almost impossible to fathom. Marked, not just by change, but by multiple instances of complete social upheaval.
During the Great Leap Forward, more than 40 million Chinese people perished: from work, from starvation, from execution. The Cultural Revolution, which followed, didn’t have the same death toll, but the impact it did have on the people and the culture of China was perhaps greater.
Most of the conversation, the history, of this era stems from the official documents – but over the past few years, the Communist party has released an increasing amount of primary materials, which allows a new voice to be heard: the voice of the people themselves.
The Cultural Revolution: A People’s History, completes the ‘People’s Trilogy’, by Frank Dikotter, looking at China under Mao. Dikotter is Chair Professor of Humanities at the University of Hong Kong, and Professor of the Modern History of China at the University of London.
Frank talked to Sky Kirkham about the impact of Khrushchev, the changing public face of China, and the surprising importance of sound. Originally broadcast 28/04/2016. The Cultural Revolution is out through Bloomsbury.