“I took part in victimising innocent, good people. It was institutionalised bullying and scapegoating, and I couldn’t see it because everything about the regime was good for me and I felt I was part of a movement for human progress, freedom and happiness. I wasn’t feeling what happened to other people. It’s a kind of corruption, exactly the kind of corruption that ruins the whole thing. “I should have taken the side of the people fighting for the right to speak and have different opinions. I should have quit. Instead I continued to let these things be done in my name. I couldn’t get down off that high horse. There was too much glory and glamour. I believed I was part of history. I couldn’t let it go. That’s what you get with ideology and power. You learn to harden your heart in the name of the wonderful new world you’re building. Once you do that, you do all kinds of things. I did.”

—Sid Rittenberg, in an interview with the FT. Rittenberg, an American,
was Mao’s right hand man during the Cultural Revolution.

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