In a country and political system where history thrums deeply with contemporary political connotations, it may be interesting to note that, after an orgy of publishing since 1990 about the Korean War which left his role largely untouched, the CCP is now encouraging discussion of Lin Biao’s doubts about intervention in Korea in 1950.
This extensive article in Huanqiu Shibao lays out the case and the evidence.
The implications are a further loosening of speech and scholarship restrictions among academics concerned with North Korea, which, one can assume, will trickle down further into society. In other words, we are now allowed to ask: “Yes, now why the hell did we save North Korea’s bacon anyway? Might we be better off without this stone around our collective northeastern necks?” So long as Mao’s infallibility isn’t challenged at its core and Lin Biao remains a basically evil figure primarily associated with the Gang of Four, we can study his views all we like as regards North Korea.
Which means another underpinning of the Sino-North Korean alliance — the historical depiction of a tight, “lips-and-teeth” relationship — is coming into question. I’m sure the North Koreans in Beijing have taken note.
Finally, in situations like this, while the purposes to the Party are very clear, you’ve got to give the CCP some credit nevertheless for cracking the door open further on something approximating open debate about China’s contemporary history.