The Killing Wind A Chinese County's Descent into Madness during the Cultural Revolution

by ; ;
  • ISBN13:


  • ISBN10:


  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2017-01-11
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

Note: Supplemental materials are not guaranteed with Rental or Used book purchases.

Purchase Benefits

  • Free Shipping On Orders Over $35!
    Your order must be $35 or more to qualify for free economy shipping. Bulk sales, PO's, Marketplace items, eBooks and apparel do not qualify for this offer.
  • Get Rewarded for Ordering Your Textbooks! Enroll Now
List Price: $34.95 Save up to $3.49
  • Rent Book $31.46
    Add to Cart Free Shipping


Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?

  • The New copy of this book will include any supplemental materials advertised. Please check the title of the book to determine if it should include any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.
  • The Rental copy of this book is not guaranteed to include any supplemental materials. Typically, only the book itself is included. This is true even if the title states it includes any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.


Over the course of 66 days in 1967, more than 4,000 "class enemies"--including young children and the elderly--were murdered in Daoxian, a county in China's Hunan province. The killings spread to surrounding counties, resulting in a combined death toll of more than 9,000. Commonly known as the Daoxian massacre, the killings were one of many acts of so-called mass dictatorship and armed factional conflict that rocked China during the Cultural Revolution. However, in spite of the scope and brutality of the killings, there are few detailed accounts of mass killings in China's countryside during the Cultural Revolution's most tumultuous years.

Years after the massacre, journalist Tan Hecheng was sent to Daoxian to report on an official investigation into the killings. Tan was prevented from publishing his findings in China, but in 2010, he published the Chinese edition of The Killing Wind in Hong Kong. Tan's first-hand investigation of the atrocities, accumulated over the course of more than 20 years, blends his research with the recollections of survivors to provide a vivid account exploring how and why the massacre took place and describing its aftermath. Dispelling the heroic aura of class struggle, Tan reveals that most of the Daoxian massacre's victims were hard-working, peaceful members of the rural middle class blacklisted as landlords or rich peasants. Tan also describes how political pressure and brainwashing turned ordinary people into heartless killing machines.

More than a catalog of horrors, The Killing Wind is also a poignant meditation on memory, moral culpability, and the failure of the Chinese government to come to terms with the crimes of the Maoist era. By painting a detailed portrait of this massacre, Tan makes a broader argument about the long-term consequences of the Cultural Revolution, one of the most violent political movements of the twentieth century. A compelling testament to the victims and survivors of the Daoxian massacre, The Killing Wind is a monument to historical truth: one that fills an immense gap in our understanding of the Mao era, the Cultural Revolution, and the status of truth in contemporary China.

Author Biography

Tan Hecheng is a retired author and editor for the Chinese government.

Table of Contents

Blood Awakening
Deconstructing the Mythos of Mao Zedong's Peasant Revolution
Translator's Note
Chronology of the Cultural Revolution Killings in Daoxian


Part One: The Origin of the Massacre
Chapter 1: The River of Death
Chapter 2: My Destiny with Daoxian
Chapter 3: Daoxian on the Eve of the Massacre
Chapter 4: The Random Killings Begin
Part Two: Assembling the Machinery of Slaughter
Chapter 5: The Killing Wind Spreads through Administrative Lines
Chapter 6: Qingtang District and the Rise of the Peasant Supreme Courts
Chapter 7: The Red Alliance Role in the Killing Wind
Part Three: Chetou and Shangguan Districts - Murder as Spectacle
Chapter 8: Chetou District's Model Killings
Chapter 9: Shangguan District - In the Eye of the Storm
Chapter 10: Other Communes in Shangguan District

Part Four: Gongba District, the County's Top Killer
Chapter 11: A Dubious Honor
Chapter 12: The Killings at Daoxian's Deadliest Commune
Chapter 13: Some Who Got Away
Chapter 14: Death before Marriage
Chapter 15: High-level Participation in Qingxi District
Chapter 16: When the Pebble Rises from the Water

Part Six: Xianglinpu District's Militia Push
Chapter 17: The Shangdu Militia Headquarters
Chapter 18: Even Heaven Wept
Chapter 19: Two Classic Cases
Chapter 20: The Banality of Evil

Part Seven: Deadly Politics
Chapter 21: A Little Education Is a Dangerous Thing
Chapter 22: The Price of Truth
Chapter 23: The Scapegoated Landlord Class

Part Eight: The Killers
Chapter 24: Beyond the Pale
Chapter 25: Brainwashed

Part Nine: The Outliers
Chapter 26: The Anomalous Xianzijiao District
Chapter 27: The Zhenggangtou Phenomenon
Chapter 28: The Miracle of Life
Chapter 29: The Story of an Execution Ground Survivor
Part Ten: The Crackdown
Chapter 30: The 6950 Unit Arrives in Daoxian
Chapter 31: No Regrets
Chapter 32: The Petitioners
Chapter 33: Change of Plans
Chapter 34: Killings in the Counties and Cities Surrounding Daoxian

Part Eleven: The End of the Killing Wind
Chapter 35: Huang Yida and the Fall of the Red Alliance
Chapter 36: Reversals

Afterword: Living for Truth

Appendix I: Basic Statistics on the Victims of the Daoxian Cultural Revolution Killings
Appendix II: Official Culpability in Daoxian's Killing Wind

Rewards Program

Write a Review