Inventory of the Lin Zhao papers

Finding aid prepared by Hoover Institution Library and Archives Staff
Hoover Institution Library and Archives
© 2009
434 Galvez Mall
Stanford University
Stanford, CA 94305-6003

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

box 1, folder 1

Zhi Ren Min Ri Bao Bian Ji Bu Xin (Letter to the People's Daily editorial department)containing appendices [written in ink]: Kun Shi Ai Si ( Sorrowful Thoughts in the Cell) Qiu Sheng Ci ( Poem of Autumn Sound), with prologue Zi Jian ( Self-mourning) Xue Shi Ti Yi ( Blood-poetry Written on Cloth) Sang Li Ou Wen ( Funeral oration) Commentary of Action (with Action attached) Pan Jue Hou de Sheng Ming ( Statement After Receiving Sentence) Xue Yi Ti Ba ( Commentary on Blood-poetry Written on Cloth) 1965 July 14


Diaries [prison writings] 1966-1967

box 1, folder 2

Xin Ling de Zhan Ge: Wo Hu Lei Ren Ai ( The Battle Song of the Soul: I Call Upon Mankind) 1966-1967

box 1, folder 3

Bei Wang Lu Chang Ri Ji: Liu Gei Gong Zhong he Hou Shi Jie de Ji Lu ( Battlefield Diary: Records for the Public and Future Generations) 1967 February

box 1, folder 4

Xue Shu Jia Xin ( Blood Letters, Family Correspondence) 1966-1968

box 1, folder 5

Ke Juan: Wen Yi Tong Xun ( Class Essay: Literature and Art Communication) 1966

box 1, folder 6

Letter from Lin Zhao to her sister, Peng Lingfan 1958 May 4


Photographs circa 1920-1962

box 1, folder 7

Lin Zhao's parents and grandparents,four black and white images undated

box 1, folder 8

Lin Zhao, as a child and adult, 5 black and white images circa 1934-1962


Shanghai Supreme Court Documents 1981-1982

box 1, folder 9

Criminal adjudication (rehabilitation of Lin Zhao) 1981 December 30

box 1, folder 10

Letter of notice, sent to family 1982 March 22


Printed Matter 1981

box 1, folder 11

Newspaper: Liberation Daily (Shanghai), containing editorial about Lin Zhao titled "Historical Judgement," page 2 1981 January 27

box 1, folder 12

Magazine: Democracy and Legal System, containing article titled, "The Death of Lin Zhao," 1981 March 20

box 1, folder 13

Sound recording of "Battle Songs of the Soul" panel discussion, featuring Lingfan Peng, the sister of Lin Zhao and discussants, and Stanford professors Andrew Walder and Thomas S. Mullaney 2009 October 23

box 1, folder 14

Incremental Materials 2003

box 1, folder 14

"Where These Lin Zhao's Papers Come From?," 2003 April 29

Scope and Contents note

Contains a paper written by Peng Lingfan on the 45th anniversary of Lin Zhao's death.