Kong Lin during the Cultural Revolution

During the Cultural Revolution in November 1966 the cemetery was vandalized by a team of Red Guards from Beijing Normal University, led by Tan Houlan谭厚兰.

On 7 Nformal rally anti kongovember 1966, the Jinggang Shan Red Guard Corps of Beijing Normal University (北京师范大学毛泽东思想红卫兵井冈山战斗团) gathered in Tiananmen Square en masse and swore an oath to ‘Annihilate the Kong Family Business’ (daohui Kongjiadian 捣毁孔家店).

They realized that digging-up all the graves would take some time they therefore decided that they would dig up the ‘First Kongs and the Last Kongs’ (shang san Kong he xia san Kong 上三孔和下三孔), that is, Confucius? His son and grandson, and the last three generations of Confucius’ lineage, that is Kong Lingyi 孔令贻1872 – 8/11/1919),   his father Kong Xiangke 孔祥珂 (1848 –  1876) and his grandfather Kong Fanhao孔繁灏 (1804 – 1860).

The corpse of the 76th-generation Kong Lingyi (孔令貽) (Qufu, 1872 – Beijing 8 November 1919) 30th Duke Yansheng was removed from its grave and later incinerated.

On 29 November 1966 a telegram was sent to Chairman Mao, which read:

“Dearest Chairman Mao,

One hundred thousand members of the revolutionary masses would like to report a thrilling development to you: we have rebelled! We have rebelled! We have dragged out the clay statue of Kong the Second Son (Kong lao’er 孔老二); we have torn down the plaque extolling the ‘teacher of ten-thousand generations’; we have leveled Confucius’ grave; we have smashed the stelae extolling the virtues of the feudal emperors and kings, and we have obliterated the statues in the Confucius Temple!”[1]

 TAN HOULAN (1937-1982) was one of the well-known “five Red Guard leaders” in Beijing. The five leaders were Nie Yuanzi of the New Beida Commune at Peking University, Kuai Dafu of the Jing-gang Mountain Regiment at Tsinghua University. Tan Houlan of the Jing-gang Mountain Commune at Beijing Normal University. Han Aijing of the Red Flag Combat Team at Beijing Aeronautical Engineering Institute, and Wang Dabin of the East-Is-Red Commune at Beijing Geological Institute.

anti kongTan’s organization was a major mass force at the service of Mao Zedong and the Central Cultural Revolution Small Group (CCRSG) in their offensive against the so-called capitalist-roaders during and after the Criticize the Bourgeois Reactionary Line campaign in late 1966 and early 1967.

A dramatic change took place in action of these five leaders on 28 July 1968 when Mao met with them at 3.30 am. Mao instructed them to leave the political scene!

For student Red Guards, the meeting at which Mao met and talked with their leaders at significant length for the first time was a turning point in their lives: they had been praised as revolutionary pioneers during almost all of the campaigns since the beginning of the Cultural Revolution, but now they were beginning to realize that they would be the targets of the next campaign – that is, to be reeducated by workers and peasants. Before long, both college and middle school students left the city for remote factories and farms, and the Red Guard movement finally came to an end.

Tan was taken into custody by the propaganda teams from 1970 to 1975. In 1978, after the fall of the Gang of Four, Tan was arrested and was only released for medical treatment of cancer in summer 1981. In June 1982, five months before her death, the Beijing People’s Prosecutor’s O
ffice announced that, on the grounds of Tan’s sincere confessions of her crimes, it would not bring a suit against her. [2]

[1] For a detailed description of what happened see : The Fate of the Confucius Temple, the Kong Mansion and Kong Cemetery (孔庙、孔府、孔林) Sang Ye and Geremie R. Barmé http://www.chinaheritagequarterly.org/scholarship.php?searchterm=020_confucius.inc&issue=020

[2] (The A to Z of the Chinese Cultural Revolution; Jian Guo, Yongyi Song, Yuan Zhou)

any comments or questions: dongren@orange.fr