Jung Chang and the Cultural Revolution

Interview with Jung Chang, author of ‘Wild Swans’, about her own and her family’s experience of communist rule in China. Jung Chang’s book “Wild Swans” was an international best-seller with sales of over 13 million copies.

In this interview, James Bartholomew asks her about her family’s experience of the Cultural Revolution. Both her parents were tortured. She herself eventually got a scholarship and was able to travel to London. She describes how grass was pulled out of the ground because it was described by Chairman Mao as “bourgeois”.

Jung Chang and her husband, Jon Halleday, wrote a revelatory biography of Mao. At the end of the interview, she struggles to find a way to describe Mao. She says the words “monster” and “tyrant” are used about many people. Implicitly, she believes that Mao was evil beyond the power of these words.