Su Xiaokang

Su Xiaokang
b. 1949
Journalist/cultural critic
The son of a Communist Party journalist, Su also turned to journalism as a youth active during the Cultural Revolution, and later was sent to study at the Beijing College of Broadcasting. His report on a flood in 1984 introduced his reflections on the disasters of political thought, leading to such popular pieces as ‘Memorandum on Freedom’ (Ziyou beiwanglu, 1987). Taking up an assignment to write a television documentary on the Yellow River, he developed this material into the controversial series Heshang (Deathsong of the River, 1988).
Drawing from the cultural criticism of the 1980s to argue that China’s cultural heritage was to blame for the devastation of Maoism and the Cultural Revolution, the television series also provided a scathing indictment of the failures of the post-Mao reform movement at a time when the economy was facing a crisis. Su and many of those involved in the series were subsequently accused of counter-revolutionary activity in the Democracy Movement of 1989. Su, along with others, went into exile, co-authoring a collection of essays reexamining some of the arguments in Heshang, titled Distress of the Dragon (Long de beichuang, 1989).
Su, Xiaokang (2001). A Memoir of Misfortune. Trans. Zhu Hong. New York: Knopf.

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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