Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Lin (Zhao) papers
No online items No online items       Request items ↗
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (104.81 Kb) HTML
Search this collection
Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Access
  • Use
  • Acquisition Information
  • Preferred Citation
  • Alternative Forms of Material Available
  • Biographical Note
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Arrangement

  • Title: Lin Zhao papers
    Date (inclusive): 1934-1982
    Collection Number: 2009C41
    Contributing Institution: Hoover Institution Library and Archives
    Language of Material: Chinese
    Physical Description: 1 manuscript box (0.4 Linear Feet)
    Abstract: Letters and diaries, written in prison; photographs; and posthumous rehabilitation documents and printed matter: relating to political prisoners in China.
    Creator: Lin, Zhao, 1932-1968
    Physical Location: Hoover Institution Library & Archives


    Users must sign use agreement. The collection may not be used without permission of the Archivist; there is digitized content from this collection available.


    For copyright status, please contact the Hoover Institution Library & Archives.

    Acquisition Information

    Acquired by the Hoover Institution Library & Archives in 2009.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Lin Zhao papers, [Box no., Folder no. or title], Hoover Institution Library & Archives.

    Alternative Forms of Material Available

    Digital use copies available for on-site use only.

    Biographical Note

    1932 December 12 Born, as Peng Lingzhao, in Suzhou, Jiangsu Province, China.
    1943-1949 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
    1954 Admitted to Peking University's (PKU) School of Journalism where she was editor of the Poetry Society's PKU Poetry Journal
    1957 Condemned to three years of labor reeducation camp
    1960 Spring Allowed to return to Shanghai for medical treatment; founded Xinghuo magazine
    1960 October 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
    1962 Spring Released on bail for medical rehabilitation
    1962 December 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.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Political crimes and offenses -- China
    Dissenters -- China
    Political prisoners -- China