最早，也就是說從一九六六年秋季開始對中國的文化大革命進行學術性研究的是西方的學術界，像英文的《中國季刊》（ China Quarterly ）、《亞洲概覽》（ Asian Survey ）、《共產主義問題》（ Problems of Communism ）等學術刊物長期地、系統地追蹤文革重大事件，分析和評論文革的目的、意義，對中國未來和世界的影響，等等。在這個過程中，湧現出一批研究文革的優秀專家，比如施拉姆（ Stuart R. Schram ）、迪特默（ Lowell Dittmer ）、李鴻永（ Hong Yung Lee ）、陳佩華（ Anita Chan ）、安德佳（ Jonathan Unger ）、駱思典（ Stanley Rosen ）、麥克法夸爾（ Roderick MacFarquhar ），沈邁克（ Michael Schoenhals ）等等，也出現了一些優秀的，研究深入，具有原創性的論著，比如《學生和階級之戰：廣州紅衛兵衝突的社會根源》、《文化大革命的起源》等等。中國人本身從學術的角度研究文化大革命，一般認為是從上世紀九十年代開始，所以，長期以來流傳著一個說法：「敦煌在中國，但敦煌學在國外，文革發生在中國，但是文革學是在西方」，它反映了中國學者研究文革的落後甚至空白狀況。
在中國大陸，也有各種學術活動。幾個學術單位召開關於文革的研討會，一九九六年八月二十二日，中共中央黨史研究室在中央黨校召開「《『文化大革命』簡史》座談會」，當代中國研究所於十一月五日舉辦了一個規模較大的文革研討會，從多個方面討論文革，北京大學中國國情研究中心於十一月三十日召開題為「一九六六 - 一九七六：中國的社會與文化」學術討論會。幾家雜誌做了關於文革的專題，《青年報刊世界》從一九九五年第四期起每期都有文革專題，直到一九九六年五月被強令停止，《焦點》雜誌七月號有「驀然回首看文革」的專題，著名的《東方》雜誌在五月號上精心準備了一個專題：「文化大革命三十周年追思」，在發行前被強令撤消。附帶說一下，以上三家雜誌後來都遭到了停刊的命運。
宋永毅等人的工作是一種奠基性工作，為同行和後代人研究文革提供了必要的方便條件，為中國的文革學打下堅實的基礎。早在一九九八年，他就和孫大進合作，出版了《文化大革命文獻目錄， 1966 — 1976 》，他收集出版的《紅衛兵小報》，一共三輯，共達一百一十二卷，包括了二千七百種小報，他和郭建、周原合作編寫的《文化大革命歷史詞典》也要在今年出版。宋永毅還和孫大進合著《文化大革命和它的異端思潮》，他還主編了《文革大屠殺》。另一位在美國任教的學者王友琴對文革的研究工作也引人注目，她從上世紀八十年代起單獨一人進行採訪，收集第一手資料，記錄文革中受難者的個案情況。她辦了一個網站，名為「文革受難者紀念園」，很多讀者通過訪問這個網站而瞭解文革的真相，關心文革這段歷史。二○○四年她把自己的成果彙編出版，書名為《文革受難者——關於迫害、監禁與殺戮的尋訪實錄》。
我沒有列舉生活在大陸的學者在研究文革方面的論著和成就。我想指出，除了學者專家，對於研究文革有心和作出貢獻的還大有人在，比如，湖南一位退休幹部應山紅主編和自費印刷了一本《雁陣驚寒 —— 湖南衡陽文化大革命史事》，他在幾個月前寄送我一本，並應我的請求又寄送我幾本，由我分送給海內外的文革研究者。
Cultural Revolution Study Comes Home
Cultural Revolution studies first emerged in the West, but more recently a great deal of literature has been coming out of the mainland, Taiwan and Hong Kong . In-depth research on a significant scale began after the 1980s, with the Chinese University of Hong Kong and overseas Chinese scholars playing an important role in this respect.
At the earliest stage, that is to say, in the fall of 1966, it was western scholars who started to do academic research on China 's Cultural Revolution. Academic journals such as China Quarterly , Asian Survey and Problems of Communism conducted long-term, systematic tracking of major events of the Cultural Revolution, and analyzed and commented on its purpose and meaning and its effect on the future of China and the world. In the process, a group of outstanding specialists emerged, among them Stuart R. Schram, Lowell Dittmer, Hong Yung Lee, Anita Chan, Jonathan Unger, Stanley Rosen, Roderick MacFarquhar and Michael Schoenhals, together with some outstanding in-depth and original writings such as “ War between Students and Classes: Social Origin of Red Guard Clashes in Guangzhou" and "The Origin of the Cultural Revolution." Academic study of the Cultural Revolution on the Mainland is generally considered to have begun in 1990s. Hence for a long time, there was a saying that "Dunhuang is in China , but Dunhuang study is located outside of China . The Cultural Revolution was in China , but Cultural Revolution study is in the West," expressing the backwardness, the point of nullity of Chinese scholarly research on this topic.
But this saying is not entirely correct. In fact, as early as 1967 and 1968, Hsu Kuan-san and Ting Wang published research and commentary on the Cultural Revolution in Hong Kong 's Mingpao Monthly . The collective title of Hsu Kuan-san's articles was, "A Few Interpretations Regarding the Cultural Revolution of the Chinese Communist,” discussing the subject from several aspects serialized over three issues. In the latter days of the Cultural Revolution, many intellectuals began leaving the mainland for Hong Kong and overseas destinations. Through the reminiscences and commentaries of the Cultural Revolution that they published in articles and books, they enriched the understanding of the Cultural Revolution abroad. Naturally, Taiwan was also very interested in this subject.
Special attention should be given to a group of Mainland pioneers and thinkers, many of whom were participants in the Cultural Revolution and activists with considerable experience. They began to reflect on and study the Cultural Revolution in the 1970s, expressing and disseminating their thoughts systematically and lucidly, and engaging in vigorous discussions and occasionally heated debates. One such work was Liu Guokai's "A Brief Analysis of the Cultural Revolution." The first draft was completed at the end of 1971 and published in December 1980 in the mimeographed underground magazine People 's Voice run by the author himself in Guangzhou . A treatise of more than 100,000 characters, it was translated by Anita Chan and published in the United States in 1986. Other works include "Mao Zedong and the Cultural Revolution" by Wang Xizhe, responding to Jin Jun 's letter entitled "On the Admirable Thinking of Mao Zedong 's Later Period." Wang proposed a people 's Cultural Revolution as opposed to that of Mao, suggested that Mao Zedong was in no way an enemy of the bureaucratic system, and maintained that one of the by-products of the Cultural Revolution was the emergence of a “thinking generation” in China .
In the relatively loose and comfortable atmosphere of mid and late 1980s , a large volume of writings on the Cultural Revolution appeared. Gao Gao and Yan Jiaqi's History of the Ten-Year 'Great Cultural Revolution ' struggled to get published amid suppression and obstruction in 1986. Wang Nianyi 's The Turbulent Era appeared in 1988. Of course, the authorities also granted permission to publish a few books written in the spirit of a resolution passed by the Communist Party. For example, Historical Manuscripts of the 'Great Cultural Revolution ' written by Jin Cunming, a professor at the Central Party School , was published in 1995, and A Brief History of the 'Great Cultural Revolution ' , co-authored by Xi Xuan and Jin Cunming, came out in 1996.
The Research Upsurge of 1996
In May of that year, The Foundation for China in the 21st Century held an "Academic Conference on the 30 th Anniversary of the Cultural Revolution" at Harvard University . After the conference, an "Anthology Commemorating the 30 th anniversary of the ‘Cultural Revolution'" was published under the title Red Revolution and Black Rebellion .
The Mainland has also hosted various academic activities on the Cultural Revolution. On August 22, 1996, the Central Party History Research Center of the Central Party School held a discussion session on A Brief History of the “Great Cultural Revolution .” The Contemporary China Research Institute held a large scale Cultural Revolution conference on November 5 and discussed the subject in various aspects; the Research Center for Contemporary China at Peking University hosted an academic forum entitled "1966-1976: China 's Society and Culture " on November 30. Several magazines published special reports on the subject, with the Youth Newspapers & Periodicals World serializing a Cultural Revolution special report starting from the fourth issue of 1995 until it was forced to terminate the series in May 1996. The July issue of Focus magazine published a special report entitled "Looking Back on the Cultural Revolution"; Dongfang , a well-known magazine, published an elaborated special feature in its May issue entitled "30 th Anniversary of the Cultural Revolution In Retrospect,” but was forced to withdraw the issue before distribution. And by the way, all three of these magazines eventually ceased publication.
On the suggestion and advocacy of Yu Guangyuan, the Beijing Library in April 1996 completed a report entitled "A Survey of Beijing Library's Collection of the 'Great Cultural Revolution' Materials." According to the report, the Beijing Library, now named the National Library, held a total of 2,611 categories of materials, with a total of 66,797 items. But it should be mentioned that even the scholars and staff responsible for recording and sorting these materials were not allowed to access them directly; they could only carry out their sorting through the card catalog.
The Chinese University of Hong Kong Becomes a Research Base for the Cultural Revolution
The work of Song Yongyi and others has laid a solid foundation for other scholars and future generations studying the Cultural Revolution. As early as 1998, Song collaborated with Sun Dajin to publish Bibliography of the Great Cultural Revolution, 1966-1976 . He collected and published three batches of "Red Guards Tabloids," totaling 112 volumes and covering 2,700 tabloids. With Guo Jian and Zhou Yuan he co-edited and co-authored Dictionary of the History of the Great Cultural Revolution , which is scheduled for publication sometime this year. Song Yongyi and Sun Dajin also co-authored The Great Cultural Revolution and Its Heretic Trend of Thought , and Song is also chief editor of Massacres of the Cultural Revolution .
The research work of Wang Youqin, a Chinese scholar teaching in the United States , has also received prominent attention. Since 1980s, she has been conducting interviews, collecting first-hand materials, and recording victims of the Cultural Revolution. She has a Web site called "Memorial for Victims of the Chinese Cultural Revolution," through which many readers have come to know the truth of the Cultural Revolution. In 2004, she published a compilation of her work called Victims of the Cultural Revolution: An Investigative Account of Persecution, Imprisonment and Murder .
Other books about the Cultural Revolution published overseas this year that I am aware of include Zhou Ziren's My Account as the Chief Editor of A Red Guard Tabloid . Books soon to be published include the English-language Dictionary of the History of the Great Cultural Revolution edited by Guo Jian and others, Zhou Lunzuo's The Truth Behind the Rebel Factions of the Cultural Revolution , and Liu Guokai's 4-volume Series on the People's Cultural Revolution .
Cultural Revolution Study Has Returned to China
On March 22, I joined several scholars in the same field in a small-scale discussion in Beijing commemorating the Cultural Revolution. In the meeting, Mr. Zheng Zhongbing asked He Shu what breakthroughs he has seen in Cultural Revolution study in the last ten years. He Shu named the research on and re-evaluate of Lin Biao and Zhou Enlai. I added that the systematic collection and accumulation of Cultural Revolution materials is also an important aspect. Also in 2006, it is worth noting that Tibetan author Wei Se's two books, Forbidden Memory: Tibet During the Cultural Revolution and Tibetan Memory: Oral History of Cultural Revolution in Tibet As Told by 23 Elders , has made the world aware of the Cultural Revolution in Tibet. Even more valuable is that Forbidden Memory is a photo album with detailed descriptions.
I have not in this essay listed the works and achievements of mainland scholars in Cultural Revolution study. I want to point out that in addition to scholars and specialists, there are many people who are interested in and wish to make contributions to the study of the Cultural Revolution. For example, Ying Shanhong, a retired cadre of Hunan Province , edited and self-financed the publication of a book called Historical Facts of the Great Cultural Revolution in Hengyang city, Hunan Province . He sent me a commentary copy several months ago, then shipped me a couple more on my request so that I could send them to researchers on the mainland and abroad.
I have here discussed the study of the Great Cultural Revolution by the Chinese people, not out of narrow cultural nationalism or to compete with western scholars in this field, but rather to emphasize is that this is our responsibility, a responsibility that we cannot shirk. Since we were unfortunate enough to have experienced the Cultural Revolution, and to have lived in a country where this could happen, we can no more cast off our memory of it than one can cast off one's own fate.(Xu Youyu, Researcher, Institute of Philosophy , Chinese Academy of Social Sciences)