The early Cultural Revolution caused unprecedented havoc in the People’s Republic of China’s archival system and the administration of personnel dossiers. Previous compilation standards were discarded as “dead” archives were put to use in “lively fashion”. While by the late 1960s efforts were strengthened to restore secrecy rules and professional evaluation standards, it was to take until after the death of Mao Zedong that extended discussions began on how to deal with “fake” or “black” materials. In November 1979, the CCP Center demanded a standardized procedure in dealing with materials produced during the Cultural Revolution. Documents with historical relevance were to be preserved, while most criticism materials were either to be destroyed or, in case of confessions, to be returned to the former defendants. The distinction between valuable historical materials and “black materials” was never clear-cut and led to enormous differences in local implementation. The “great cleansing” of dossiers and archives after 1978 thus resulted in many unforeseen disclosures and breaches of secrecy. This paper will place the question of how to handle archival remnants of the Cultural Revolution in the larger framework of the Chinese Communist Party’s politics of historical justice. While the Party allowed for a far more extensive discussion of past injustices than for example the post-Stalinist Soviet Union, it established new rules of secrecy that effectively precluded key aspects of the Cultural Revolution from public debate.