Published online by Cambridge University Press: 18 February 2019
During my research for this book, a librarian commented on the continuing production of wenshi ziliao in China today. His evaluation was that the new crop of wenshi ziliao is not as high in quality or as valuable as the materials produced in the earlier phase. He reasoned that most of the people who had experienced important historical events had passed away, and that the historical writing is not as rich. Was there an implicit suggestion that wenshi ziliao “truths” about the post-1949 period are less authentic and more contrived than memories of the pre-Communist period that could be articulated more flexibly and with less stringent political constraints? In the post-transition period of a rising neoliberal authoritarianism, have wenshi ziliao lost their capacity to accommodate, mobilize, and reconcile multiple “truths” about the past?