Li Zhensheng: Photographer of China's cultural revolution

Li Zhensheng risked his life in his determination to capture China’s Cultural Revolution on film.

As a staff photographer working for a state-run newspaper, Li Zhensheng had rare access to people and places during one of the most turbulent periods of the 20th Century.

He took tens of thousands of photos, some of which were published, others stored in the floorboards of his flat for fear of punishment.

What he didn’t know then was that these hidden images would one day find their way out into the world.

The 79-year-old died earlier this week of cerebral haemorrhage in the US, said his Hong Kong publisher, the Hong Kong University Press.

“I have pursued witnessing and recording history all my life,” his publisher records him as saying before his death. “Now I rest in history.”

Red-colour News Soldier

Born in 1940 to a poor family in the Chinese province of Liaoning, Li grew up under difficult circumstances.

His mother died when he was three and he grew up helping his father in the fields until he was 10. Only then did he start school, but quickly rose to the top of his class.

He earned a spot at the Changchun Film School and eventually became a staff photographer for the Heilongjiang Daily newspaper in north-eastern China.

This job came during one of the most brutal periods in China’s history. The Cultural Revolution began in 1966 when Communist leader Mao Zedong began a campaign to eliminate his…

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