In yesterday’s session, we discussed truth commission and its role in post-conflict society. I find it incredibly interesting to bring this conversation back to China and envisioning a future that is more just.

In China, we’ve also had a pretty violent history with  many large-scale traumatic events that are structurally unjust and have imposed violence on many people. The Cultural Revolution is the first large-scale events that came to my mind- lasting more than 10 years and have wronged many people because of ideological and class differences. I have limited knowledge about how China was able to get the entire society back on track or seek justice for the victims to pull the society together. More than thirty years later, the word “harmony” has been a major goal for Chinese government. On the surface, the rapid development seemed to have brought peace and silenced the victims, yet I wondered if the unhealed trauma has haunted Chinese society and is responsible for much of the violence that we observe today.

This posed an interesting case as the government responsible for all the atrocity in the past is still in power and actively seeks to eliminate the remembrances, how is it possible to ask for justice or structural changes. Remembrances becomes political. While the Japanese invasion of China and the “century of Humiliation” are repeated and taught in our history textbooks to define our sense of national identity, other parts of history are simply forgotten, for example, the Chinese invasion and continued occupation of Tibet.

In class, we discussed different forms of memorials and how do we symbolically remember history and show our gesture. It is upsetting to think that in China there is no such gesture to admit the wrongs that the government has done to its own people or the wrongs we’ve done to ourselves.