From” Morning Sun” to” Though I Was Dead”: The Image of Song Binbin in the “August Fifth Incident”


This year is the fiftieth anniversary of the outbreak of the Chinese Cultural Revolution. On August 5, 1966, Bian Zhongyun, the deputy principal at the girls High School Attached to Beijing Normal University, was beaten to death by the students struggling against her. She was the first teacher killed in Beijing during the Cultural Revolution and her death had established the “violence” nature of the Cultural Revolution. After the Cultural Revolution, the reminiscences, papers, and comments related to the “August Fifth Incident” were gradually introduced, but with all blames pointing to the student leader of that school, Song Binbin – the one who had pinned a red band on Mao Zedong's arm. It was not until 2003 when the American director, Carma Hinton filmed the Morning Sun that Song Binbin broke her silence to defend herself. However, voices of attacks came hot on the heels of her defense. In 2006, in Though I Was Dead, a documentary filmed by the Chinese director Hu Jie, the responsibility was once again laid on Song Binbin through the use of images. Due to the differences in perception between the two sides, this paper subjects these two documentaries to textual analysis, supplementing it with relevant literature and other information, to objectively outline the two different images of Song Binbin in the “August Fifth Incident” as perceived by people and their justice.

Author Information
Wei-li Wu, Taipei College of Maritime Technology, Taiwan

Paper Information
Conference: FilmAsia2016
Stream: Documentary History

This paper is part of the FilmAsia2016 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon