Michel Bonnin, « KERLAN, Anne. 2018. Lin Zhao, « combattante de la liberté » (Lin Zhao: “Freedom fighter”). Paris: Fayard. », China Perspectives, 2019-2 | 2019, 91-93.
*The name of Lin Zhao 林昭, the “freedom fighter” executed in Shanghai on 29 April 1968, was never expected to emerge from the oblivion to which the Chinese regime had consigned it. As the author notes, what normally awaited victims of Maoist movements was “silence, neglect, and destruction of proof: another form of violence” (p. 9). Fortunately, a spanner is sometimes thrown into the oblivion machine, as a result of which we are able to read this fascinating work.
This miraculous salvage unfolded in the following stages: the adoption of the “reform and opening” policy in early 1980s entailed the rehabilitation of a large number of victims of Mao era political campaigns, including Lin Zhao. Restitution to her sister of a major part of her prison writings, some written in her own blood on paper or cloth, was fortuitous, no doubt due to special sympathy on the part of an official who did not have to oblige. The texts denounced Mao and the Communist system with such virulence and accuracy that for a long time her sister dared not reveal their existence. Of course, Lin Zhao was not accorded full rehabilitation like that bestowed on Zhang Zhixin 張志新, another martyr who opposed Mao and the Cultural Revolution but in the name of Communist ideals.