Synopsis by Eleanor Mannikka
Based on a true story, when the Coldest Winter in Peking was released in Hong Kong in April of 1981, it ran for only one day before it was banned for its content. The historical drama was produced in Taiwan (which is why Peking is not spelled Beijing in the title), and is overtly political. It chronicles a decade or so in the life of a young Chinese, Shen I-fu, educated in England and invited by the mainland Chinese government to return to the country and be the deputy director of the National Science Academy. Just as Shen returns, the prolonged years of the Cultural Revolution begin, and bloody turmoil ensues. Shen's father dies after being viciously attacked and humiliated in public for apparently supporting the now-defunct Chairman Liu Shao-chi. Shen himself is accused of causing his father's death and is sent to the northern Pei-ta-fan concentration camp for re-education and hard labor. After eight years in the camp, Shen is released and reinstated when the notorious Gang of Four (including Mao's wife) falls from power and a new regime takes over. When Shen returns to his former post, he discovers his wife has been interned in an insane asylum -- the Cultural Revolution had destroyed her. In this searing indictment of one of Mao Tse Tung's more notorious policies gone tragically amok, the truth was more than Hong Kong politics could bear -- and the censorship of the film is an indication that the perversion behind the Cultural Revolution was still in the process of censoring truth.
accusation, against-the-system, attack, bureaucracy, corruption, death, government, humiliation, imprisonment, oppression