Zhiqing Museum Highlights Pain of Past Youth

created: 2012-08-01

China Daily, July 30, 2012
Some call them the lost generation. And others simply by the Chinese name Zhiqing.
They are the millions of young intellectuals who were sent to the countryside during the "cultural revolution" (1966-76) for re-education.
The relocation, ordered by the central government, deeply affected a whole generation. A museum capturing their past love and pain sits in in Aihui, Northeast China's Heilongjiang province.
Almost two million urban young intellectuals went to Heilongjiang province to work with local farmers.
Dai Jianguo was one of them. In spring 1970, The then 17-year-old came to a village from Shanghai. He fell in love with a local girl named Xiaofeng. But Xiaofeng's parents forced her to marry a local man when Dai went home for Spring Festival in 1974.
Xiaofeng went crazy. After her son died, Xiaofeng's husband divorced her. Dai finally married Xiaofeng in 1979. Dai took his wife and son back to Shanghai in 1997, according to the museum.
But not every young intellectual survived until they could return home. Fu Xiaofang, a Shanghai girl, was one of them. She died while trying to fight a forest fire at just 16 years old in 1970, The fire claimed the lives of another 13 youths, including 19-year-old Zhou Xiulan, who came from Beijing.
Jin Shunhua, who came from Shanghai, died searching wire poles in a river in Xunke county, Heilongjiang province.
People prepare to enter into the Zhiqing (young intellectuals) museum in Aihui province, Northeast China's Heilongjiang province, July 28, 2012.

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