China praises writer critical of Cultural Revolution

Searing tales about Mao Tse-tung's Cultural Revolution, seized as a propaganda windfall by Taiwan's Nationalists, have met with praise from the leader of China's Communist Party, Hu Yaobang. ``Hu said that he had read some of Taiwan-born Chen Johsi's works and described her as a talented writer,'' the New China News Agency said Tuesday, after Hu met with Chen.

After studying in the United States, Chen went to work in China. Her experiences during the early stages of Mao's 1966-76 leftist Cultural Revolution caused her to write stories that bitterly criticized the cult of personality and the associated terror Mao inspired.

The stories describe how officials created a false appearance of abundance for the benefit of foreign visitors at that time and the terror of parents whose children innocently defaced pictures of Mao.

China has produced its own book, ``Literature of the Wounded,'' describing harsh measures taken against supposed counterrevolutionaries at that time, when current top leader Deng Xiaoping was exiled to do manual labor in the provinces.

Chen's stories denounced Maoist policies earlier than writers inside China could, in stronger terms, and through Chinese Nationalist-backed publishers.

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