Asia

Chinese state media breaks silence on Cultural Revolution

  • FILE - In this file photo taken Nov. 1, 1967, Chinese citizens view writings and slogans emblazoned on a wall at the height of the decade-long Cultural Revolution initiated a year earlier by Communist Party Chairman Mao Zedong in Beijing. On May 16, 1966, the Communist Party's Politburo produced a document announcing the start of what was formally known as the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution to pursue class warfare and enlist the population in mass political movements. Launched by leader Mao Zedong, it set off a decade of tumult to revive communist goals and enforce a radical egalitarianism. (AP Photo, File)

    FILE - In this file photo taken Nov. 1, 1967, Chinese citizens view writings and slogans emblazoned on a wall at the height of the decade-long Cultural Revolution initiated a year earlier by Communist Party Chairman Mao Zedong in Beijing. On May 16, 1966, the Communist Party's Politburo produced a document announcing the start of what was formally known as the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution to pursue class warfare and enlist the population in mass political movements. Launched by leader Mao Zedong, it set off a decade of tumult to revive communist goals and enforce a radical egalitarianism. (AP Photo, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • Vendors unfurl a banner from 1969 depicting former Chinese leader Mao Zedong as he "inspects the great army of the Cultural Revolution" and the slogan "Navigating the seas depends on the helmsman" at a curio market in Beijing, China, Monday, May 16, 2016. Exactly 50 years ago, China embarked on what was formally known as the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, a decade of tumult launched by Mao Zedong to revive communist goals and enforce a radical egalitarianism. The milestone was largely ignored Monday in the Chinese media, reflecting continuing sensitivities about a period that was later declared a "catastrophe." (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

    Vendors unfurl a banner from 1969 depicting former Chinese leader Mao Zedong as he "inspects the great army of the Cultural Revolution" and the slogan "Navigating the seas depends on the helmsman" at a curio market in Beijing, China, Monday, May 16, 2016. Exactly 50 years ago, China embarked on what was formally known as the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, a decade of tumult launched by Mao Zedong to revive communist goals and enforce a radical egalitarianism. The milestone was largely ignored Monday in the Chinese media, reflecting continuing sensitivities about a period that was later declared a "catastrophe." (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Sept. 14, 1966 file photo, youths are seen at a rally during the height of the Red Guard upheaval waving copies of the collected writings of Communist Party Chairman Mao Zedong, often referred to as Mao's Little Red Book and carrying a poster of Karl Marx. China's official media reaffirmed on Tuesday, May 17, 2016 the Communist Party's longstanding judgment that the Cultural Revolution was a catastrophic mistake after staying silent on Monday's 50th anniversary of the start of the decade-long upheaval. (AP Photo, File)

    FILE - In this Sept. 14, 1966 file photo, youths are seen at a rally during the height of the Red Guard upheaval waving copies of the collected writings of Communist Party Chairman Mao Zedong, often referred to as Mao's Little Red Book and carrying a poster of Karl Marx. China's official media reaffirmed on Tuesday, May 17, 2016 the Communist Party's longstanding judgment that the Cultural Revolution was a catastrophic mistake after staying silent on Monday's 50th anniversary of the start of the decade-long upheaval. (AP Photo, File)  (The Associated Press)

China's official media has reaffirmed the Communist Party's longstanding judgment that the Cultural Revolution was a catastrophic mistake after staying silent on Monday's 50th anniversary of the start of the decade-long upheaval.

The official party mouthpiece People's Daily published an opinion piece on its website precisely at midnight on Tuesday praising the 1981 party resolution that condemned the bloody political movement launched by Mao Zedong to revive his revolutionary agenda.

The party has long suppressed open discussion of the tumultuous period, fearing that could undermine its legitimacy to rule and lead to direct criticism of Mao, the founder of the communist state who remains among its most revered figures.

No official commemorations have been held, although some Mao loyalists have staged private events.