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Film Screening and Discussion with Director Hu Jie – The Spark
May 9, 2019 @ 4:00 pm - 6:30 pm
Director Hu Jie will be in person for a Q&A (Mandarin with English translation) following the screening.
Following the Anti-Rightist movement of 1957, a group of Lanzhou University students who had been condemned as Rightists were sent to rural areas in Tianshui, Gansu Province, to be reformed through labor. There they witnessed the violent absurdities of the Great Leap Forward and the mass starvation and deaths of the Great Famine. In response, they started an underground publication, which they called The Spark, in which they exposed exaggerated local harvest reports along with rural poverty and starvation. They also initiated a profound theoretical analysis and criticism of the structure of the People’s Commune, placing blame for the Great Leap Forward on the Communi The publication also carried Lin Zhao’s long poem “Prometheus’s Day of Passion.” The Spark is the only extant unofficial, intellectual periodical from the time of the Great Famine. In the end, 43 people, including the Rightist teachers and students who were connected with its publication, as well as the peasants and rural cadres who sympathized with them, were arrested and given long prison sentences. Among them, three key figures—Zhang Chunyuan, county party secretary Du Yinghua, and Lin Zhao—were executed during the Cultural Revolution.