Understanding China’s Cultural Revolution

Frank Dikötter explores previously classified Chinese leadership documents, and attempts to set the record straight.

Interview Featuring

Also with


By delving into hundreds of previously classified Chinese leadership documents, Hong Kong University historian Frank Dikötter has produced an extraordinarily rich history of China’s Cultural Revolution, the period of traumatic political chaos that gripped the People’s Republic from 1962 to 1976. His book The Cultural Revolution: A People’s History concludes, contra to conventional wisdom, that ordinary people took advantage of the chaos in which the country’s communist system had been plunged to resurrect the market, effectively driving economic reform from below and initiating the transition towards the system of today.

Share your perspective