Scope and Content of Collection
Title: Lin Zhao papers
Collection Number: 2009C41
Creator: Lin, Zhao, 1932-1968
1 manuscript box
(.417 linear feet)
Hoover Institution Archives
Stanford, California 94305-6010
Abstract: Letters and diaries, written in prison; photographs; and posthumous rehabilitation documents and printed matter: relating
to political prisoners in China.
Physical Location: Hoover Institution Archives
The originals are closed. Digital copies are available on-site for research use.
Before examining the contents of this collection, researchers must sign a user agreement.
Access to audiovisual materials requires at least two weeks advance notice. Audiovisual materials include sound recordings,
video recordings, and motion picture film. Hoover staff will determine whether use copies of the materials requested can be
made available. Some materials may not be accessible even with advance notice. Please contact the Hoover Institution Archives
for further information.
For copyright status, please contact the Hoover Institution Archives.
[Identification of item], Lin Zhao papers, [Box number], Hoover Institution Archives.
Acquired by the Hoover Institution Archives in 2009.
Materials may have been added to the collection since this finding aid was prepared. To determine if this has occurred, find
the collection in Stanford University's online catalog Socrates at
. Materials have been added to the collection if the number of boxes listed in Socrates is larger than the number of boxes
listed in this finding aid.
Alternative Forms of Material Available
Digital use copies available for on-site use only.
|1932, December 12
||Born, as Peng Lingzhao, in Jiangsu, Suzhou Province, China.
||Attended Cuiying Private Secondary School and Jinghai Women?s Teachers College in Suzhou
|1950 August - 1952 May
||Participated in the Sunan rural land reform movement
||Admitted to Peking University?s (PKU) School of Journalism where she was editor of the Poetry Society's
PKU Poetry Journal
||Condemned to three years of labor reeducation camp
||Allowed to return to Shanghai for medical treatment; founded
||Accused of founding a counter-revolutionary group; arrested and detained at Shanghai Number One Detention House, Shanghai
Number Two Detention House and Shanghai Municipal Jail
||Released on bail for medical rehabilitation
||Incarcerated a second time in Shanghai, China. Staged multiple hunger strikes and attempted suicide while in prison
|1965 May 31
||Condemned to 20 years of imprisonment
|1968, April 29
||Executed, Shanghai Airport, China
Scope and Content of Collection
On October 26, 2009 the Hoover Institution Library and Archives opened a collection of the letters and diaries of Chinese
political activist Lin Zhao for public use. Lin Zhao, the nom de guerre of Peng Linzhao (1932-1968), was arrested for her
criticisms of the ruling Chinese Communist Party during the Anti-Rightist Campaign of 1958; she spent most of the following
decade in prison until her execution in Shanghai in April 1968, at the height of the Cultural Revolution.
During the last years of her life, she compiled an extensive collection of prison writings--some of them written in her own
blood--detailing her grievances with the government and her demands for political reform. Although most of these writings
have long since disappeared, a small collection of original prison diaries and letters were returned to Lin Zhao's family
after her posthumous rehabilitation by the Chinese government in 1981. Those documents form the basis of the new collection
of Lin Zhao's papers at the Hoover Institution, the first such collection of her papers that has been made publicly available
to students and scholars at an academic archive.
Initially an ardent supporter of the Communist Party, Lin Zhao took part in the agrarian reform movement following the Chinese
Revolution of 1949. By the time she began her studies at Beijing University in the early 1950s, she had begun to question
the Communist Party's treatment of its opponents and to wish for reform within the party to which she was still loyal. When
the Hundred Flowers Campaign of 1956-1957 encouraged intellectuals to voice criticisms of the government, Lin Zhao and many
of her acquaintances at the university took part. Soon, however, the government changed its course; as it began to crack down
on those expressions of dissent, Lin Zhao was swept up in the subsequent Anti-Rightist Movement and eventually imprisoned
as a result of her outspoken critiques. During her imprisonment she began the writings for which she is well known today,
including the "blood letters," which she wrote in own blood. In the decades since her rehabilitation, Lin Zhao has gained
attention not only in China but internationally, partly owing to a 2005 documentary film by the Chinese filmmaker Hu Jie,
In Search of Lin Zhao's Soul, which chronicled her life and examined her legacy.
The Lin Zhao papers at the Hoover Institution consist of a series of diaries and open letters written between 1965 and 1968,
only a small portion of her prison writings (the rest have disappeared). Those materials, which were returned to Lin Zhao's
family in 1982, were donated to the Hoover Institution earlier this year by her sister, Lingfan Peng. In addition, Ms. Peng
generously donated family photographs of Lin Zhao, as well as additional letters and documents, all of which will provide
researchers with a firsthand look at this intriguing, controversial, and courageous personality whose life continues to generate
interest among students of recent Chinese history.
The papers are arranged by type of material, as they were received from the donor.
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
Lin, Zhao, 1932-1968.
Political crimes and offenses--China.