by Staff Writers
Beijing, China / China (AFP) Aug 21, 2013
The son of a legendary Communist military leader and politician in China has publicly apologised for persecuting people at his school during the Cultural Revolution, according to a blog.
Chen Xiaolu offered his remorse to teachers, staff and students at his former school in Beijing for leading denunciations and sending people to labour camps.
"Today I want to use the Internet to express to them my sincere apology," he said in comments carried Monday on a blog for alumni of the Beijing Number Eight Middle School, and published by some Chinese and Hong Kong media outlets Wednesday.
Chen, said to be 67, is a son of Chen Yi, who led troops during China's war against Japan and later during the country's civil war, won by Communist forces in 1949.
The elder Chen was given the prestigious rank of marshal and was later foreign minister, although he was also persecuted during the Cultural Revolution. He died in 1972.
The apology by the younger Chen, who was also in the People's Liberation Army, is the latest in a series of similar expressions of remorse by ageing Chinese who lived through the 1966-1976 cataclysm.
Chen said that while there were moves by some in China to argue in favour of the Cultural Revolution, such "inhumane violations of human rights should not appear again in any form in China".
The Cultural Revolution was unleashed by Mao Zedong to reassert his power after famines caused by his disastrous Great Leap Forward policy.
"Red Guard" youths abused officials, intellectuals, neighbours and relatives by dragging them into "struggle sessions".
People were publicly humiliated -- often forced to wear dunce caps and other marks of shame -- with some driven to suicide by their ordeal.
No official figure has been issued, but one Western estimate claims half a million people died in 1967 alone.
China's latest rooftop building: a temple
Surrounded by foliage, the temple has glazed golden tiles and traditional upturned eaves with carvings of dragons and phoenixes, but defies convention by standing on top of the tower in Shenzhen, the Yangcheng Evening News reported.
The publicity surrounding the structure comes after a rooftop rock villa in Beijing sparked an outcry over the abuse of privilege and contempt for public safety by the country's rich, and authorities ruled houses on top of a shopping mall in Hunan could not be sold.
Tight security prevented public access to the rooftop temple, the paper said, with a fingerprint lock and cameras installed and dogs heard barking inside.
"The ashes of burned offerings often drop down," it quoted an unnamed neighbour as saying. "It's privately built and has been there for years."
A property agent near the compound said the top flat in the tower was worth 15 million yuan ($2.5 million) and all the building's residents were "either high-ranking officials or very rich people", the paper reported.
"The owner must have some good relationships," it quoted the agent as saying.
Authorities had failed to identify the facility's proprietor as investigators sent to the building had been unable to speak to its suspected owners, the report added.
"Such a rooftop construction is very unlikely to get approval," Liu Minxing, a local official in the boom town which neighbours Hong Kong, told the paper. "We can almost be sure that it is illegal."
Illegal constructions have come under intense public scrutiny in China over the past weeks.
Demolition work has begun on the rooftop villa built among what looked like a pile of rocks dotted with trees on top of a 26-storey apartment tower in Beijing, after neighbours complained and a blaze of media reports scrutinised the owner's business activities.
China News from SinoDaily.com
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