Indicator of the culture

Takaisin Ajatusvarikolle - Back to the Thought Deposit
HAASTE - CHALLENGE
Dinoglyyfit
- Dinoglyphs - Esihistorialliset eläimet historiankirjoissa - Prehistoric Creatures Documented by the Ancient Man

Did you know?

That the largest monotheistic faith was Chinese? This faith and worhsip of Shang-Ti, the Creator God, far surpassed the scale of the Jewish concept of El Elyon in terms of amount of the believers. Further, the ancient Chinese alphabets are strikingly similar to the concepts of the first chapters of the Jewsih Bible, indicating a common origin of both faiths. Christianity, of course, was also  jewish faith and Islam was constructed as a social and political phenomenon derived from Judaism and Christianity.

 

 

SELECTED QUOTES FROM THE CLASSIC BOOK

"Wild Swans Three daughters of China"

by Jung Chang

 

KIINA-ILMIÖ

Kiinan Kulttuurivallankumous - tuttua tekemistä kansalle, jo taolaisesta tasapäistämisestä saakka.

Jalkojen murskaaminen ja sitominen alle 10 cm pituuteen oli tuhatvuotinen perinne.

Kiinalaiset pakotetaan työkasarmeihin, joista poistuminen rangaistaan palkan pidättämisellä.

Kiinalainen ei näe perhettänsä puoleen vuoteen työkomennuksiltansa kasarmeihin.

Missään Maa-planeetalla ei ole luontoa saastutettu niin nopeasti ja niin totaalisesti kuin Kiinassa tänään.

Sinnekö te viette suomalaisten työpaikat? Ette ole pelkästään epäisänmaallisia, olette epäinhimillisiä riistäjiä.

Tämä on Kiina-ilmiö.

 

Kiinan kielessä sanoilla on eri merkitys siit äriippuen, onko äänenpaino nouseva, laskeva-noueva, laskeva, vai tasainen. Esimerkiksi mai voi tarkoittaa joko ostamista tai myymistä. Niinpä liiketoiminta (maimai) on Kiinassa jo nimensäkin puolesta melko konstikasta.

 

Eri kirjoitusmerkkien määrä laajimmassa kiinalaisessa sanakirjassa (Zhonghua Zihai) on 85 000 kpl. Tarina runoilijasta joka asuu kivitalossa ja pitää leijonien syömisestä on länsimaisilla aakkosilla kirjoitettuna shi, shi, shi, shi, shi, shi, shi, shi, shi, shi, shi, shi, shi... Sana tarkoittaa kuolla, uloste, runo jne.

 

Kiinaksi kuningas on wang ja se on myös yleisin sukunimi maailman suurimman kansan keskellä. Kiinan 1,3 miljardista ihmisestä noin 85%:lla on joku sadasta yleisimmästä sukunimestä, minkä takia hallitus ajaa sukunimireformia. Etunimissä taas valinnanvaraa on rajattomasti. Etunimet eivät ole samalla tapaa vakiintuneita kuin lännessä eikä Kiinassa vietetä nimipäiviä.

 

Kiinan merkitys länsimaiden teollisuustuotteiden vientimaana on ERITTÄIN voimakkaassa nousussa. Jo Kiinan rikkaat -listalla v. 2007 oli 108 dollarimiljardööriä. Sellaisilla on ostovoimaakin. Jos kiinalaiset tottuvat samanlaisiin lihaa suosiviin ruokailutottumuksiin kuin länsimaat, ruuan hinta tulee nousemaan lukemiin joiden rinnalla 2008 kevään ruokapula kalpenee. Yli 50 miljoonaa dollaria kavaltaneita valtion virkamiehiä on jo yli 4000 henkeä. Kiinalta kului 5 vuotta kansantaloutensa kaksinkertaistamiseen vuodesta 2001 alkaen.

 

Kahdenkymmenen viime vuoden aikana Shanghaihin on valmistunut uusi pilvenpiirtäjä miltei joka toinen päivä. Kiinan 560 miljoonasta kaupunkilaisesta 1% hengitysilma täyttää EU:n kriteerit turvalliselle ilmanlaadulle (Kiinan ympäristönsuojeluvirasto). Silti seuraavien 20 vuoden aikana ennustetaan 300 miljoonan kiinalaisen muuttavan maalta kaupunkiin. Kiinassa on 141 miljoonakaupunkia. Kiina tuottaa 45.1 miljoonaa tonnia sianlihaa vuodessa. Kiinan syrjäisessä Guizhoun maakunnassa ihmiset tienaavat keskimäärin 1564 yuania eli noin 150 euroa vuodessa. Mao Tsetungin johtaman Suuren harppauksen aikana 1958-1961 on arvioitu ainakin 30 miljoonan ihmisen kuolleen nälkään eli harpanneen kuolemaan.

 

Kahdeksan on Kiinassa onnenluku, joka lausutaan samaan tapaan kuin "rikastua". Niinpä Pekingin kesäolympialaiset alkavat 8.8.2008.

 

Minimisakko, jonka perhe Pekingissä joutuu maksamaan toisen lapsen hankkimisesta on 6500 euroa (Lähde: Pekingin perhesuunnitteluvirasto). lasten keskimääräinen lukumäärä kiinalaisessa perheessä oli vielä vuonna 2006 1,8 (Lähde: China by numbers 2008). Yhden lapsen politiikka on luonut Kiinaan sukupolven, jolla ei ole siskoja tai veljiä, ei tätejä eikä setiä. Koko tätiä merkinnyt sana ayi on nyt yleisilmaisu kotiapulaiselle. Tytön kaverit ovat joko pikkusiskoja (meimei) tai isosiskoja (jiejie).

 

Beijing eli Peking on kirjaimellisesti "Pohjoinen pääkaupunki". Mielikuvituksen puutetta voi verrata sanoihin Nanjing ("Eteläinen pääkaupunki") tai naapurimaan Tokio ("Itäinen pääkaupunki").

Amnesty Internatiol kertoo, että Kiinan osuus maailmassa tehdyistä teloituksista on 94%. Ihminen voidaan lähettää Kiinan lain mukaan pakkotyöleirille ilman oikeudenkäyntiä 4 vuodeksi.

Laittomien piraattikopioiden osuus kaikista Kiinassa myytävistä tietokoneohjelmista on 86% (Business software Alliance).

 

Kiinalaisia hallituksen iskulauseita, suoraan punaisista banderolleista:

"Köyhien pitäisi hävetä!"

"Puhemies Mao Tsetung, punainen aurinko sydämissämme. Lue Maon kirjaa, kuuntele hänen ajatuksiaan."

"Jos makaat rautatiekiskoilla, olet laillisesti vastuussa, jos et kuole."

"kaada puita, niin äitisi kuolee ensimmäisenä!"

"Jos lapset sytyttävät tulipalon, vankilaan laitetaan isä."

"Optisissa kuiduissa ei ole kuparia. Turha varastaa."

"On kiellettyä vastustaa verotusta aseellisesti."

"Opiskele syvälliesti ja toteuta pääsihteeri Hu Jintaon puheen tärkeää henkeä, hallinnoi ja käytä Qinghain-Tiibetin rautatietä hyvin tuottaen onnellisuutta kaikille radan varressa asuville etnisille kansanryhmille."

 

Keisarit rakensivat aikoinaan Kiinan muuri eristämään "Keskustan valtakunnan" barbareista. Nykyään Kiinan internetin Palomuuri pitää kiinalaisia erossa muun maailman tiedoista. On arveltu, että työkseen internetiä sensuroi noin 30 000 kiinalaista virkamiestä (Lähde: Business-week). Googlen mukaan Kiinan internetin suosituin hakusana on "raha". Kolme seuraavaksi suosituinta ovatkin sitten pankkien nimiä. Sitten tulee "osake". Lännessä suosituimmat sanat ovat porno, seksi, pornografia etc. Julkkistenpalvonta on silti Kiinassa suurempaa kuin miltei missään muualla. Jopa 40% kiinalaisista internetsivuista käsittelee julkkiksia.

 

Sami Sillanpää, Kiina-ilmiö (Helsingin Sanomat, Karisto 2008)

 

Publisher: Flamingo An imprint of HarperCollins Publishers , 77-85

Fulham Palace Road, Hammersmith, London W6 8JB

Copyright Glohalflair Ltd 1991 This paperback edition 1993

Winner of the 1992 NCR Book Award and the 1993 British Book of the Year

Award.

 

Burps: 

"It is impossible to exaggerate the importance of this book."  Mary

Wesley

 

"Of all the personal histories to have emerged out of China's

twentieth-century nightmare, WILD SWANS is the most deeply thoughtful

and the most heart-rending I've read.  It moves, in part, like a

ghastly oriental fairytale, but the authority and the reticent passion

with which Jung Chang speaks her memories and those of others is

unmistakable."  Colin Thubron, SPECTATOR

 

"WILD SWANS' is a very unusual masterpiece.  Everything about it is

extraordinary.  Not only has it been a popular bestseller, because it

is impossible to put down; it has also received the most serious

critical attention.  The book arouses all the emotions, such s pity and

terror, that great tragedy is supposed to evoke, and also a complex

mixture of admiration, despair and delight at seeing a luminous

intelligence directed at the heart of darkness."  - Minette Marrin,

SUNDAY TELEGRAPH

 

"Mesmerising.  Like all great stories of survival, no matter what

tragedies and horrors are encountered along the way, WILD SWANS is

ultimately an uplifting book: it is the courage and spirit of this

family which will, I believe, be my abiding impression (even if

memories of the horrors endured will take

 

(even if memories of the horrors endured will take a long time to

fade)."  Antonia Fraser.  THE TIMES

 

Immensely moving and unsettling: an unforgettable portrait of the

brain-death of a nation."  J.G. Ballard: SUNDAY TIMES

 

Jung Chang was born in Yib'm, Sichuan Province, China, in 1952.  She

was a Red Guard briefly at the age of fourteen and then worked as a

peasant, a 'barefoot doctor," a steelworker, and an electrician before

becoming an English-language student and, later, an assistant lecturer

at Sichuan University.  She left China for Britain in 1978 and was

subsequently awarded a scholarship by York University, where she

obtained a PhD in Linguistics the first person from the People's

Republic of China to receive a doctorate from a British university.

Jung Chang lives in London and teaches at the School of Oriental and

African Studies, London University.

 

"A quite exceptional book.  Jung Chang is the classic storyteller,

describing in measured tones the almost unbelievable."

 

PENELOPE FITZGERALD, London Review of Books "Wild Swans has stayed in

my mind all year.  Quite unforgettable."

 

MICHAEL IGNATIEFF, Times Literary Supplement

"An extraordinary story, popular history at its most compelling.

Her readiness to record life's small pleasures as well as its looming

horrors is not only an index of Jung Chang's honesty and good humour,

it is a part of what makes Wild Swans so fascinating.  To compare

Wild Swans to sagas of the kind that fill the bestseller lists may seem

to trivialise the real and deadly seriousness of its subject matter,

but the book offers many of the pleasures of good historical fiction."

LUCY HUGHES-HAL LET Independent

 

"Remarkable.  A truly splendid book."

CLARE HOLLINGWORTH, Daily Telegraph "Wild Swans made me feel like a

five-year-old.  This is a family memoir that has the breadth of the

most enduring social history."

 

MARTIN Aais, Independent on Sunday

"Riveting, an extraordinary epic.  A work of true, living history

drawing deep on family memories, an un matchable insight into the

making of modern China and the impact of war and totalitarianism on the

destinies of a quarter of the human race."

 

RICHARD HELLER~ Mail on Sunday

"An extraordinary tale, a loving family saga told against a background

of chaos and death rarely equalled in this century.  Wild Swans is

about how people cope with the unimaginable, and how some, in spite of

the horror, manage to remain human.  It is a remarkable book." CAROLINE

MOORE HEAD Ntw Startsman "This real-life saga of a Chinese family over

three generations contains more domestic drama than Dynast, more

violence than any film noir, more heart-rending tragedy than Little

Dottit and more ironic twists and turns and villains on the make than

any Balzacian fresco.  Almost casually, Jung Chang introduces us to a

world where personal insecurity, sudden ruin and the possibility of

torture and violent death are as perfunctorily taken for granted as

tomorrow's thunderstorm.  There has never been a book like this."

 

EDWARD BEHI Los Angeles Times

"If you care at all about the history of China in the twentieth century

or even if you don't, come to think of it Wild Swans is riveting.

 

It's blindingly good: a mad adventure story, a fairy tale of courage, a

tall tale of atrocities and incidentally a meditation on how men will

never understand women and vice versa.  This is calm and measured

history, but it reads like a bestseller.  You can't, as they say, put

it down."  CAROLYN SEE, New York Newsday

 

"If there remains the slightest doubt about the tragic quality of life

in the China of this century, this memoir should put it definitively to

rest."  JUDITH SHAPIRO, Washington Post

 

"Makes visible, intimate and immediate the pain and horror that are

cloaked in the silence of China's recent history."

HOWARD CHUA-EOAN, Time

 

"A huge tour de force."  DEREK DAVIES, Financial Times

 

WILD SWANS Three Daughters of China

 

Jung Chang

  

Copyright c Glohalflair Ltd 1991

 

ISBN 0 00 637492 1

 

CONTENTS

 

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

 

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

 

FAMILY TREE

 

CHRONOLOGY

 

MAP

 

1 "Three-Inch Golden Lilies'

 

Concubine to a Warlord General 19o9-1933) a "Even Plain Cold Water is

Sweet'

 

My Grandmother Marries a Manchu Doctor (1933-1938) 3 "They All Say What

a Happy Place

 

Manchukuo Is'

 

Life under the Japanese (1938-1945)

 

4 "Slaves Who Have No Country of Your Own'

 

Ruled by Different Masters (1945-1947)

 

5 "Daughter for Sale for 10 Kilos of Rice'

 

In Battle for a New China (1947-1948) 6 "Talking about Love'

 

A Revolutionary Marriage (1948-1949)

 

7 "Going through the Five Mountain Passes'

 

My Mother's Long March (1949-195o)

 

8 "Returning Home Robed in Embroidered Silk'

 

To Family and Bandits (1949-1951)

  

9 "When a Man Gets Power, Even His Chickens and Dogs Rise to Heaven'

Living with an Incorruptible Man (1951- 1953) 226

 

10 "Suffering Will Make You a Better Communist'

My Mother Falls under Suspicion 0953-1956) 253

 

11 "After the Anti-Rightist Campaign No One Opens Their Mouth'

 China Silenced 0956-1958) 270

 

12 "Capable Women Can Make a Meal without Food'

Famine (1958-1962) 291

 

13 "Thousand-Gold Little Precious' In a Privileged Cocoon (1958-1965)

318

 

14 "Father is Close, Mother is Close, but Neither is as Close as

Chairman Mac)' The Cult of Mao (1964-1965) 339

 

15 "Destroy First, and Construction Will Look After Itself" 

The Cultural Revolution Begins (1965-1966) 362

 

16 "Soar to Heaven, and Pierce the Earth'

Mao's Red Guards June-August 1966) 374

 

17 "Do You Want Our Children to Become "Blacks"?"

My Parents' Dilemma (August-October 1966) 394

 

18 "More Than Gigantic Wonderful News' Pilgrimage to Peking (October-December 1966) 409

 

19 "Where There is a will to Condemn, There is Evidence'

My Parents Tormented (December 1966-1967) 429

 

20 "I Will Not Sell My Soul' My Father Arrested (1967-1968) 453

 

21 "Giving Charcoal in Snow' My Siblings and My Friends (1967-1968) 481

 

22 "Thought Reform Through Labor' To the Edge of the Himalayas 0anuary-June 1969) 504

 

23 "The More Books You Read, the More Stupid You Become'Work as a Peasant and a Barefoot Doctor June 1969-197 i)

 

24 "Please Accept My Apologies That Come a Lifetime Too Late'

My Parents in Camps (1969-1972)

 

25 "The Fragrance of Sweet Wind' A New Life with The Electricians' Manual and

Six Crisa (1972-1973)

 

26 "Sniffing after Foreigners' Farts and Calling Them Sweet'

Learning English in Mao's Wake (1972-1974)

 

27 "If This is Paradise, What Then is Hell?" The Death of My Father (1974-1976)

 

28 Fighting to Take Wing (1976-1978)

 

EPILOGUE

INDEX

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

 

 

1. "Three-Inch Golden Ulies'-Concubine to a Warlord General

 

My grandmother was a beauty.  She had an oval face, with rosy cheeks

and lustrous skin.  Her long, shiny black hair was woven into a thick

plait reaching down to her waist.

...

But her greatest assets were her bound feet, called in Chinese

'three-inch golden lilies' (san-tsun-gin-lian).  This meant she walked

'like a tender young willow shoot in a spring breeze," as Chinese

connoisseurs of women traditionally put it.  The sight of a woman

teetering on bound feet was supposed to have an erotic effect on men,

partly because her vulnerability induced a feeling of protectiveness in

the onlooker.

 

My grandmother's feet had been bound when she was two years old.  Her

mother, who herself had bound feet, first wound a piece of white cloth

about twenty feet long round her feet, bending all the toes except the

big toe inward and under the sole.  Then she placed a large stone on

top to crush the arch.  My grandmother screamed in agony and begged her

to stop.  Her mother had to stick a cloth into her mouth to gag her. My

grandmother passed out repeatedly from the pain.

 

The process lasted several years.  Even after the bones had been

broken, the feet had to be bound day and night in thick cloth because

the moment they were released they would try to recover.  For years my

grandmother lived in relentless, excruciating pain.  When she pleaded

with her mother to untie the bindings, her' mother would weep and tell

her that unbound feet would ruin her entire life, and that she was

doing it for her own future happiness.

 

In those days, when a woman was married, the first thing the

bridegroom's family did was to examine her feet.  Large feet, meaning

normal feet, were considered to bring shame on the husband's household.

The mother-in-law would lift the hem of the bride's long skirt, and if

the feet were more than about four inches long, she would throw down

the skirt in a demonstrative gesture of contempt and stalk off, leaving

the bride to the critical gaze of the wedding guests, who would stare

at her feet and insultingly mutter their disdain.  Sometimes a mother

would take pity on her daughter and remove the binding cloth; but when

the child grew up and had to endure the contempt of

her husband's family and the disapproval of society, she would blame

her mother for having been too weak.

 

The practice of binding feet was originally introduced about a thousand years ago,

allegedly by a concubine of the emperor.  Not only was the

sight of women hobbling on tiny feet considered erotic, men would also

get excited playing with bound feet, which were always hidden in

embroidered silk shoes.  Women could not remove the binding cloths even

when they were adults, as their feet would start growing again.  The

binding could only be loosened temporarily at night in bed, when they

would put on soft-soled shoes.  Men rarely saw naked bound feet, which

were usually covered in rot ling flesh and stank when the bindings were

removed.  As a child, I can remember my grandmother being in constant

pain.  When we came home from shopping, the first thing she would do

was soak her feet in a bowl of hot water, sighing with relief as she

did so.  Then she would set about cutting off pieces of dead skin.  The

pain came not only from the broken bones, but also from her toenails,

which grew into the balls of her feet.

 

In fact, my grandmother's feet were bound just at the moment when

foot-binding was disappearing for good.  By the time her sister was

born in 1917, the practice had virtually been abandoned, so she escaped

the torment.

 

However, when my grandmother was growing up, the prevailing attitude in

a small town like Yh~a was still that bound feet were essential for a

good marriage but they were only a start.  Her father's plans were for

her to be trained as either a perfect lady or a high-class courtesan.

... 

 

36 "Three-Inch Golden Lilies'

 

For my great-grandfather, this was a once-in-a-lifetime chance, the

closest he was ever going to get to a real V.I.P.

 

He schemed to get himself the job of escorting General Xue, and told

his wife he was going to try to marry their daughter off to him.  He

did not ask his wife for her agreement; he merely informed her.  Quite

apart from this being the custom of the day, my great-grandfather

despised his wife.  She wept, but said nothing.  He told her she must

not breathe a word to their daughter.  There was no question of

consulting his daughter.  Marriage was a transaction, not a matter of

feelings.  She would be informed when the wedding was arranged.

...

 

The first my grandmother knew of her impending liaison was when her

mother broke the news to her a few days before the event.  My

grandmother bent her head and wept.

 

She hated the idea of being a concubine, but her father had already

made the decision, and it was unthinkable to oppose one's parents.  To

question a parental decision was considered un filial and to be un

filial was tantamount to treason.  Even if she refused to consent to

her father's wishes, she would not be taken seriously; her action would

be interpreted as indicating that she wanted to stay with her parents.

The only way to say no and be taken seriously was to commit suicide. My

grandmother bit her lip and said nothing.  In fact, there was nothing

she could say.  Even to say yes would be considered unladylike, as it

would be taken to imply that she was eager to leave her parents.

 ...

40 "Three-Inch Golden Lilies' meant she could be close to her own

family, but, even more important, she would not have to live in his

residence, where she would have to submit to the authority of his wife

and the other concubines, who would all have precedence over her.  In

the house of a potentate like General Xue, the women were virtual

prisoners, living in a state of permanent squabbling and bickering,

largely induced by insecurity.  The only security they had was their

husband's favor.

 

2. "Even Plain Cold Water Is Sweet' 

My Grandmother Marries a Manchu Doctor (1933-1938)

  

When my grandmother returned to her parents' house, the setup was quite

different from when she had left almost a decade before.  Instead of

just her unhappy, downtrodden mother, there were now three spouses. One

of the concubines had produced a daughter, who was the same age as my

mother.  My grandmother's sister, Lan, was still unmarried at the

advanced age of sixteen, which was a cause of irritation to Yang.

...

Her entire lifestyle had to change to that of a Manchu.

 

She slept in a room with my mother, and Dr. Xia slept in a separate

room.  Early every morning, long before she got up, her nerves would

start to strain and jangle, anticipating the noise of the family

members approaching.  She had to wash hurriedly, and greet each of them

in turn with a rigid set of salutations.  In addition, she had to do

her hair in an extremely complicated way so that it could support a

huge headdress, under which she had to wear a wig.  All she got was a

sequence of icy "Good morning's, virtually the only words the family

ever spoke to her.  As she watched them bowing and scraping, she knew

they had hate in their hearts.  The ritual grated all the more for its

insincerity.

 

On festivals and other important occasions, the whole family had to

kowtow and curtsy to her, and she would have to jump up from her chair

and stand to one side to show that she had left the chair empty, which

symbolized their late mother, to acknowledge their respect.  Manchu

custom conspired to keep her and Dr.  Xia apart.  They were not

supposed even to eat together, and one of the daughters-in-law always

stood behind my grandmother to serve her.  But the woman would present

such a cold face that my grandmother found it difficult to finish her

meal, much less enjoy it.

...

Dr.  Xia's family did not dare insult my grandmother to her face that

would have been tantamount to treason to one's 'mother."  But her

daughter was another matter.  My mother's first memories, apart from

being cuddled by her mother, are of being bullied by the younger

members of Dr.  Xia's family.  She would try not to cry out, and to

hide her bruises and cuts from her mother, but my grandmother knew what

was going on.  She never said anything to Dr.  Xia, as she did not want

to upset him or create more problems for him with his children.  But my

mother was miserable.  She often begged to be taken back to her

grandparents' house, or to the house General Xue had bought, where

everyone had treated her like a princess.  But she soon realized she

should stop asking to 'go home," as this only brought tears to her

mother's eyes.

...

Jinzhou was a big city, with a population of almost 100,000, the

capital of one of the nine provinces of Manchukuo.  It lies about ten

miles inland from the sea, where Manchuria approaches the Great Wall.

Like Yixian, it was a walled town, but it was growing fast and had

already spread well beyond its walls.  It boasted a number of textile

factories and two oil refineries; it was an important railroad

junction, and even had its own airport.

 

The Japanese had occupied it in early January 1932, after heavy

fighting.  Jinzhou was in a highly strategic location, and had played a

central role in the takeover of Manchuria, its seizure becoming the

focus of a major diplomatic dispute between the United States and Japan

and a key episode in the long chain of events which ultimately led to

Pearl Harbor ten years later.

 

when the Japanese began their attack on Manchuria in September 193 i,

the Young Marshal, Chang Hsueh-liang, was forced to abandon his

capital, Mukden, to the Japanese.  He decamped to Jinzhou with some

200,000 troops and set up his headquarters there.  In one of the first

such attacks in history, the Japanese bombed the city from the air.

When the Japanese troops entered Jinzhou they went on a rampage.

 

there was no custom of husbands and wives taking walks together, and in

any case, her bound feet meant that walking could never be a pleasure

for her.

 

They were on the edge of starvation.  In Yixian the family had had a

supply of food from Dr.  Xia's own land, which meant they always had

some rice even after the Japanese had taken their cut.  Now their

income was sharply down and the Japanese were appropriating a far

greater proportion of the available food.  Much of what was produced

locally was forcibly exported to Japan, and the large Japanese army in

Manchuria took most of the remaining rice and wheat for itself.  The

local population could occasionally get hold of some maize or sorghum,

but even these were scarce.  The main food was acorn meal, which tasted

and smelled revolting.

...

Every now and then she and her friends would put on an old Manchu

performance for themselves, playing hand drums while they sang and

danced.  The tunes they played consisted of very simple, repetitive

notes and rhythms, and the women made up the lyrics as they went along.

The married women sang about their sex lives, and the virgins asked

questions about sex.  Being mostly illiterate, the women used this as a

way to learn about the facts of life.

 

Through their singing, they also talked to each other about their lives

and their husbands, and passed on their gossip.

 

My grandmother loved these gatherings, and would often practice for

them at home.  She would sit on the kang, shaking the hand drum with

her left hand and singing to the beat, composing the lyrics as she went

along.  Often Dr.  Xia would suggest words.  My mother was too young to

be taken along to the gatherings, but she could watch my grandmother

rehearsing.  She was fascinated and parfcularly wanted to know what

words Dr.  Xia had suggested.

 

She knew they must be great fun, because he and her mother laughed so

much.  But when her mother repeated them for her, she 'fell into clouds

and fog."  She had no idea what they meant.

 

But life was tough.  Every day was a battle just to survive.

 

Rice and wheat were only available on the black market, so my

grandmother began selling off some of the jewelry General Xue had given her.

She ate almost nothing herself, saying she

had already eaten, or that she was not hungry and would eat later. When

Dr.  Xia found out she was selling her jewelry, he insisted she stop:

"I am an old man," he said.

 

"Some day I will die, and you will have to rely on those jewels to

survive."

 

Dr.  Xia was working as a salaried doctor attached to another man's

medicine shop, which did not give him much chance to display his skill.

But he worked hard, and gradually his reputation began to grow.  Soon

he was invited to go on his first visit to a patient's home.  When he

came back that evening he was carrying a package wrapped in a cloth. He

winked at my mother and his wife and asked them to guess what was

inside the package.  My mother's eyes were glued to the steaming

bundle, and even before she could shout out "Steamed rolls!"  she was

already tearing the package open.  As she was devouring the rolls, she

looked up and met Dr.  Xia's twinkling eyes.  More than fifty years

later she can still remember his look of happiness,

 

My Grandmother Mama a Manchu Doctor 77 and even today she says she

cannot remember any tbod as delicious as those simple wheat rolls.

 

Home visits were important to doctors, because the families would pay

the doctor who made the call rather than his employer.  When the

patients were happy, or rich, the doctors would often be given handsome

rewards.

 

Grateful patients would also give doctors valuable presents at New Year

and on other special occasions.  After a number of home visits, Dr.

Xia's circumstances began to improve.

 

His reputation began to spread, too.  One day the wife of the

provincial governor fell into a coma, and he called in Dr.  Xia, who

managed to restore her to consciousness.

 

This was considered almost the equivalent of bringing a person back

from the grave.  The governor ordered a plaque to be made on which he

wrote in his own hand:

 

"Dr.  Xia, who gives life to people and society."  He ordered the

plaque to be carried through the town in procession.

 

Soon afterward the governor came to Dr.  Xia for a different kind of

help.  He had one wife and twelve concubines, but not one of them had

borne him a child.  The governor had heard that Dr.  Xia was

particularly skilled in questions of fertility.  Dr.  Xia prescribed

potions for the governor and his thirteen consorts, several of whom

became pregnant.

 

In fact, the problem had been the governor's, but the diplomatic Dr.

Xia treated the wife and the concubines as well.

 

The governor was overjoyed, and wrote an even larger plaque for Dr. Xia

inscribed: "The reincarnation of Kuanyin' (the Buddhist goddess of

fertility and kindness).  The new plaque was carried to Dr.  Xia's

house with an even larger procession than the first one.  After this,

people came to see Dr.  Xia from as far away as Harbin, 400 miles to

the north.  He became known as one of the 'four famous doctors' of

Manchukuo.

 

By the end of 1937, a year after they had arrived in Jinzhou, Dr.  Xia

was able to move to a bigger house just outside the old north gate of

the city.  It was far superior to the shack by the river.  Instead of

mud, it was made of red brick.  Instead of one room, it had no fewer

than three bedrooms.  Dr.  Xia was able to set up his own practice

again, and used the sitting room as his surgery.

 

The house occupied the south side of a big courtyard which was shared

with two other families, but only Dr.  Xia's house had a door which

opened directly into it.  The other two houses faced out onto the

street and had solid walls on the courtyard side, without even a window

looking onto it.  When they wanted to get into the courtyard they had

to go around through a gate from the street.  The north side of the

courtyard was a solid wall.  In the courtyard were cypresses and

Chinese ilex trees on which the three families used to hang up

clotheslines.  There were also some roses of Sharon, which were tough

enough to survive the harsh winters.  During the summer my grandmother

would put out her favorite annuals: white-edged morning glory,

chrysanthemums, dahlias, and garden balsam.

 

My grandmother and Dr.  Xia never had any children together.  He

subscribed to a theory that a man over the age of sixty-five should not

ejaculate, so as to conserve his sperm, which was considered the

essence of a man.  Years later my grandmother told my mother, somewhat

mysteriously, that through qigong Dr.  Xia developed a technique which

enabled him to have an orgasm without ejaculating.

 

For a man of his age he enjoyed extraordinary health.  He was never

ill, and took a cold shower every day, even in temperatures of minus io

F. He never touched alcohol or tobacco, in keeping with the injunctions

of the quasi religious sect to which he belonged, the Zai-li-hui

(Society of Reason).

 

Although he was a doctor himself, Dr.  Xia was not keen on taking

medicine, insisting that the way to good health was a sound body.  He

adamantly opposed any treatment which in his opinion cured one part of

the body while doing damage to another, and would not use strong

medicines because of the side effects they might have.  My mother and

grandmother often had to take medicines behind his back.  When they did

fall ill, he would always bring in another doctor, who was a

traditional Chinese doctor but also a shaman and believed that some

ailments were caused by evil spirits, which had to be placated or

exorcized by special religious techniques.

 

My mother was happy.  For the first time in her life she felt warmth

all around her.  No longer did she feel tension, as she had for the two

years at her grandparents', and there was none of the bullying she had

undergone for a whole year from Dr.  Xia's grandchildren.

 

She was particularly excited by the festivals which came around almost

every month.  There was no concept of the workweek among ordinary

Chinese.  Only government offices, schools, and Japanese factories had

a day off on Sunday.  For other people only festivals provided a break

from the daily routine.

 

On the twenty-third day of the twelfth moon, seven days before the

Chinese New Year, the Winter Festival began.

 

According to legend, this was the day when the Kitchen God, who had

been living above the stove with his wife, in the form of their

portraits, went up to Heaven to report on the behavior of the family to

the Celestial Emperor.  A good report would bring the family abundant

food in the kitchen in the coming year.  So on this day every household

would busily kowtow to the portraits of Lord and Lady Kitchen God

before they were set ablaze to signify their ascent to Heaven.

Grandmother would always ask my mother to stick some honey on their

lips.  She would also burn lifelike miniature horses and figures of

servants which she made out of sorghum plants so the royal couple would

have extra special service to make them happier and thus more inclined

to say many nice things about the Xias to the Celestial Emperor.

 

The next few days were spent preparing all sons of food.

 

Meat was cut into special shapes, and rice and soybeans were ground

into powder and made into buns, rolls, and dumplings.  The food was put

into the cellar to wait for the New Year.  With the temperature as low

as minus 2o F, the cellar was a natural refrigerator.

 

At midnight on Chinese New Year's Eve, a huge burst of fireworks was

let off, to my mother's great excitement.

 

She would follow her mother and Dr.  Xia outside and kowtow in the

direction from which the God of Fortune was supposed to be coming.  All

along the street, people were doing the same.  Then they would greet

each other with the words "May you run into good fortune."

 

At Chinese New Year people gave each other presents.

 

When dawn lit up the white paper in the windows to the east, my mother

would jump out of bed and hurry into her new finery: new jacket, new

trousers, new socks, and new shoes.  Then she and her mother called on

neighbors and friends, kowtowing to all the adults.  For every bang of

her head on the floor, she got a 'red wrapper' with money inside. These

packets were to last her the whole year as pocket money.

 

For the next fifteen days, the adults went round paying visits and

wishing each other good fortune.  Good fortune, namely money, was an

obsession with most ordinary Chinese.  People were poor, and in the Xia

household, like many others, the only time meat was in reasonably

abundant supply was at festival time.

 

The festivities would culminate on the fifteenth day with a carnival

procession followed by a lantern show after dark.

 

The procession centered on an inspection visit by the God of Fire.  The

god would be carried around the neighborhood to warn people of the

danger of fire; with most houses partly made of timber and the climate

dry and windy, fire was a constant hazard and source of terror, and the

statue of the god in the temple used to receive offerings all year

round.  The procession started at the temple of the God of Fire, in

front of the mud hut where the Xias had lived when they first came to

Jinzhou.  A replica of the statue, a

 

My Grandmother Marries a Manchu Doctor 8 I giant with red hair, beard,

eyebrows, and cloak, was carried on an open sedan chair by eight young

men.  It was followed by writhing dragons and lions, each made up of

several men, and by floats, stilts, and yangge dancers who waved the

ends of a long piece of colorful silk tied around their waists.

Fireworks, drums, and cymbals made a thundering noise.  My mother

skipped along behind the procession.

 

Almost every household displayed tantalizing foods along the route as

offerings to the deity, but she noticed that the deity jolted by rather

quickly, not touching any of it.

 

"Goodwill for the gods, offerings for the human stomachs!"

 

her mother told her.  In those days of scarcity my mother looked

forward keenly to the festivals, when she could satisfy her stomach.

She was quite indifferent to those occasions which had poetic rather

than gastronomic associations, and would wait impatiently for her

mother to guess the riddles stuck on the splendid lanterns hung at

people's front doors during the Lantern Festival, or for her mother to

tour the chrysanthemums in people's gardens on the ninth day of the

ninth moon.

 

During the Fair of the Town God's Temple one year, my grandmother

showed her a row of clay sculptures in the temple, all redecorated and

painted for the occasion.

 

They were scenes of Hell, showing people being punished for their sins.

My grandmother pointed out a clay figure whose tongue was being pulled

out at least a foot while simultaneously being cut up by two devils

with spiky hair standing on end like hedgehogs and eyes bulging like

frogs.

 

The man being tortured had been a liar in his previous life, she said

and this was what would happen to my mother if she told lies.

 

There were about a dozen groups of statues, set amid the buzzing crowds

and the mouth-watering food stalls, each one illustrating a moral

lesson.  My grandmother cheerfully showed my mother one horrible scene

after another, but when they came to one group of figures she whisked

her by without any explanation.  Only some years later did my mother

find out that it depicted a woman being sawed in half by two men.  The

woman was a widow who had remarried, and she was being sawed in half by

her two husbands because she had been the property of both of them.  In

those days many widows were frightened by this prospect and remained

loyal to their dead husbands, no matter how much misery that entailed.

Some even killed themselves if they were forced by their families to

remarry.

 

My mother realized that her mother's decision to marry Dr.  Xia had not

been an easy one.

 

3. "They All Say What a Happy Place Manchukuo Is' Life under the

Japanese

 

(1938-1945)

 

Early in 1938, my mother was nearly seven.  She was very bright, and

very keen to study.  Her parents thought she should begin school as

soon as the new school year started, immediately after Chinese New

Year.

 

Education was tightly controlled by the Japanese, especially the

history and ethics courses.  Japanese, not Chinese, was the official

language in the schools.  Above the fourth form in elementary school

teaching was entirely in Japanese, and most of the teachers were

Japanese.

 

On 11 September 1939, when my mother was in her second year in

elementary school, the emperor of Manchukuo, Pu Yi, and his wife came

to Jinzhou on an official visit.  My mother was chosen to present

flowers to the empress on her arrival.  A large crowd stood on a gaily

decorated dais, all holding yellow paper flags in the colors of

Manchukuo.  My mother was given a huge bouquet of flowers, and she was

full of self-confidence as she stood next to the brass band and a group

of VIPs in morning coats.  A boy about the same age as my mother was

standing

 

84 "They All Say What a Happy Place Manchukuo Is' stiffly near her with

a bouquet of flowers to present to Pu Yi.  As the royal couple appeared

the band struck up the Manchukuo national anthem.  Everyone sprang to

attention.  My mother stepped forward and curtsied, expertly balancing

her bouquet.  The empress was wearing a white dress and very fine long

white gloves up to her elbows.

 

My mother thought she looked extremely beautiful.  She managed to

snatch a glance at Pu Yi, who was in military uniform.  Behind his

thick spectacles she thought he had 'piggy eyes."

 

Apart from the fact that she was a star pupil, one reason my mother was

chosen to present flowers to the empress was that she always filled in

her nationality on registration forms as "Manchu," like Dr.  Xia, and

Manchukuo was supposed to be the Manchus' own independent state.  Pu Yi

was particularly useful to the Japanese because, as far as most people

were concerned, if they thought about it at all, they were still under

the Manchu emperor.  Dr.  Xia considered himself a loyal subject, and

my grandmother took the same view.  Traditionally, an important way in

which a woman expressed her love for her man was by agreeing with him

in everything, and this came naturally to my grandmother.  She was so

contented with Dr.  Xia that she did not want to turn her mind even

slightly in the direction of disagreement.

 

At school my mother was taught that her country was Manchukuo, and that

among its neighboring countries there were two republics of China one

hostile, led by Chiang Kai-shek; the other friendly, headed by

WangJingwei (Japan's puplSet ruler of part of China).  She was taught

no concept of a "China' of which Manchuria was part.

 

The pupils were educated to be obedient subjects of Manchukuo.  One of

the first songs my mother learned was'

 

Red boys and green gifts walk on the streets, They all say what a happy

place Manchukuo is.

 

LiE under the Japanese You are happy and I am happy, Everyone lives

peacefully and works joyfully free of any worries.

 

The teachers said that Manchukuo was a paradise on earth.

 

But even at her age my mother could see that if the place could be

called a paradise it was only for the Japanese.

 

Japanese children attended separate schools, which were well equipped

and well heated, with shining floors and clean windows.  The schools

for the local children were in dilapidated temples and crumbling houses

donated by private patrons.  There was no heating.  In winter the whole

class often had to run around the block in the middle of a lesson or

engage in collective foot stamping to ward off the cold.

 

Not only were the teachers mainly Japanese, they also used Japanese

methods, hitting the children as a matter of course.  The slightest

mistake or failure to observe the prescribed rules and etiquette, such

as a girl having her hair half an inch below her earlobes, was punished

with blows.  Both gifts and boys were slapped on the face, hard, and

boys were frequently struck on the head with a wooden club.  Another

punishment was to be made to kneel for hours in the snow.

 

When local children passed a Japanese in the street, they had to bow

and make way, even if the Japanese was younger than themselves.

Japanese children would often stop local children and slap them for no

reason at all.  The pupils had to bow elaborately to their teachers

every time they met them.  My mother joked to her friends that a

Japanese teacher passing by was like a whirlwind sweeping through a

field of grass you just saw the grass bending as the wind blew by.

 

Many adults bowed to the Japanese, too, for fear of offending them, but

the Japanese presence did not impinge greatly on the Xias at first.

Middle- and lower-echelon positions were held by locals, both Manchus

and Han

 

Chinese, like my great-grandfather, who kept his job as deputy police

chief of Yixian.  By 1940, there were about 15,000 Japanese in Jinzhou.

The people living in the next house to the Xias were Japanese, and my

grandmother was friendly with them.  The husband was a government

official.  Every morning his wife would stand outside the gate with

their three children and bow deeply to him as he got into a rickshaw to

go to work.  After that she would start her own work, kneading coal

dust into balls for fuel.

 

For reasons my grandmother and my mother never understood, she always

wore white gloves, which became filthy in no time.

 

The Japanese woman often visited my grandmother.  She was lonely, with

her husband hardly ever at home.  She would bring a little sake, and my

grandmother would prepare some snacks, like soy-pickled vegetables.  My

grandmother spoke a little Japanese and the Japanese woman a little

Chinese.  They hummed songs to each other and shed tears together when

they became emotional.  They often helped in each other's gardens, too.

The Japanese neighbor had very smart gardening tools, which my

grandmother admired greatly, and my mother was often invited over to

play in her garden.

 

But the Xias could not avoid hearing what the Japanese were doing.  In

the vast expanses of northern Manchuria villages were being burned and

the surviving population herded into 'strategic hamlets."  Over five

million people, about a sixth of the population, lost their homes, and

tens of thousands died.  Laborers were worked to death in mines under

Japanese guards to produce exports to Japan for Manchuria was

particularly rich in natural resources.  Many were deprived of salt and

did not have the energy to run away.

 

Dr.  Xia had argued for a long time that the emperor did not know about

the evil things being done because he was a virtual prisoner of the

Japanese.  But when Pu Yi changed the way he referred to Japan from

'our friendly neighbor

 

Life under the Japanese ~7 country' to 'the elder brother country' and

finally to 'parent country," Dr.  Xia banged his fist on the table and

called him 'that famous coward."  Even then, he said he ~sas not sure

how much responsibility the emperor should bear for the atrocities,

until two traumatic events changed the Xias' world.

 

One day in late 194x Dr.  Xia was in his surgery when a man he had

never seen came into the room.  He was dressed in rags, and his

emaciated body was bent almost double.  The man explained that he was a

railway coolie, and that he had been having agonizing stomach pains.

His work involved carrying heavy loads from dawn to dusk, 365 days a

year.  He did not know how he could go on, but if he lost his job he

would not be able to support his wife and newborn baby.

 

Dr.  Xia told him his stomach could not digest the coarse food he had

to eat.  On 1 June 1939, the government had announced that henceforth

rice was reserved for the Japanese and a small number of collaborators.

Most of the local population had to subsist on a diet of acorn meal and

sorghum, which were difficult to digest.  Dr.  Xia gave the man some

medicine free of charge, and asked my grandmother to give him a small

bag of rice which she had bought illegally on the black market.

 

Not long afterward, Dr.  Xia heard that the man had died in a forced

labor camp.  After leaving the surgery he had eaten the rice, gone back

to work, and then vomited at the railway yard.  A Japanese guard had

spotted rice in his vomit and he had been arrested as an 'economic

criminal' and hauled off to a camp.  In his weakened state, he survived

only a few days.  When his wife heard what had happened to him, she

drowned herself with their baby.

 

The incident plunged Dr.  Xia and my grandmother into deep grief.  They

felt responsible for the man's death.  Many times Dr.  Xia would say:

"Rice can murder as well as save!

 

A small bagful, three lives!"  He started to call Pu Yi 'that

tyrant."

 

Shortly after this, tragedy struck closer to home.  Dr.  Xia's youngest

son was working as a schoolteacher in Yixian.  As in every school in

Manchukuo, there was a big portrait of Pu Yi in the office of the

Japanese headmaster, which everyone had to salute when they entered the

room.

 

One day Dr.  Xia's son forgot to bow to Pu Yi.  The headmaster shouted

at him to bow at once and slapped him so hard across the face he

knocked him off balance.  Dr.  Xia's son was enraged: "Do I have to

bend double every day?

 

Can I not stand up straight even for a momenff I have just done my

obeisance in morning assembly .... The headmaster slapped him again and

barked: "This is your emperor!  You Manchurians need to be taught

elementary propriety!"  Dr.  Xia's son shouted back: "Big deal!  It's

only a piece of paper?  At that moment two other teachers, both locals,

came by and managed to stop him from saying anything more

incriminating.  He recovered his self-control and eventually forced

himself to perform a bow of sorts to the portrait.

 

That evening a friend came to his house and told him that word was out

that he had been branded a 'thought criminal' an offense which was

punishable by imprisonment, and possibly death.  He ran away, and his

family never heard of him again.  Probably he was caught and died in

prison, or else in a labor camp.  Dr.  Xia never recovered from the

blow, which turned him into a determined foe of Manchukuo and of Pu

Yi.

 

This was not the end of the story.  Because of his brother's 'crime,"

local thugs began to harass De-gui, Dr.  Xia's only surviving son,

demanding protection money and claiming he had failed in his duty as

the elder brother.  He paid up, but the gangsters only demanded more.

In the end, he had to sell the medicine shop and leave Yixian for

Mukden, where he opened a new shop.

 

By now, Dr.  Xia was becoming more and more successful.

 

He treated Japanese as well as locals.  Sometimes after

 

Life under the Japanese So treating a senior Japanese officer or a

collaborator he would say, "I wish he were dead," but his personal

views never affected his professional attitude.

 

"A patient is a human being," he used to say.

 

"That is all a doctor should think about.  He should not mind what kind

of a human being he is."

 

My grandmother had meanwhile brought her mother to Jinzhou.  When she

left home to marry Dr.  Xia, her mother had been left alone in the

house with her husband, who despised her, and the two Mongolian

concubines, who hated her.  She began to suspect that the concubines

wanted to poison her and her small son, Yu-lin.  She always used silver

chopsticks, as the Chinese believe that silver will turn black if it

comes into contact with poison, and she never touched her food or let

Yu-lin touch it until she had tested it out on her dog.  One day, a few

months after my grandmother had left the house, the dog dropped dead.

 

For the first time in her life, she had a big row with her husband; and

with the support of her mother-in-law, old Mrs.  Yang, she moved out

with Yu-lin into rented accommodation.  Old Mrs.  Yang was so disgusted

with her son that she left home with them, and never saw her son again

except at her deathbed.

 

In the first three years, Mr.  Yang reluctantly sent them a monthly

allowance, but at the beginning of 1939 this stopped, and Dr.  Xia and

my grandmother had to support the three of them.  In those days there

was no maintenance law, as there was no proper legal system, so a wife

was entirely at the mercy of her husband.  When old Mrs.  Yang died in

1942 my great-grandmother and Yu-lin moved to Jinzhou, and went to live

in Dr.  Xia's house.  She considered herself and her son to be

second-class citizens, living on charity.  She spent her time washing

the family's clothes and cleaning up obsessively, nervously obsequious

toward her daughter and Dr.  Xia.  She was a pious Buddhist and every

day in her prayers asked Buddha not to reincarnate her as a woman.

 

"Let me become a cat or a dog, but

 

9o "They All Say What a Happy Place Manchukuo Is' not a woman," was her

constant murmur as she shuffled around the house, oozing apology with

every step.

 

My grandmother had also brought her sister, Lan, whom she loved dearly,

to Jinzhou.  Lan had married a man in Yixian who turned out to be a

homosexual.  He had offered her to a rich uncle, for whom he worked and

who owned a vegetable-oil factory.  The uncle had raped several female

members of the household, including his young granddaughter.  Because

he was the head of the family, wielding immense power over all its

members, Lan did not dare resist him.  But when her husband offered her

to his uncle's business parmer she refused.  My grandmother had to pay

the husband to disown her (x/u), as a woman could not ask for a

divorce.  My grandmother brought her to Jinzhou, where she was

remarried, to a man called Pei-o.

 

Pei-o was a warder in the prison, and the couple often visited my

grandmother.  Pei-o's stories made my mother's hair stand on end.  The

prison was crammed with political prisoners.  Pei-o often said how

brave they were, and how they would curse the Japanese even as they

were being tortured.  Torture was standard practice, and the prisoners

received no medical treaunent.  Their wounds were just left to rot.

 

Dr.  Xia offered to go and treat the prisoners.  On one of his first

visits he was introduced by Pei-o to a friend of his called Dong, an

executioner, who operated the garrote.

 

The prisoner was tied to a chair with a rope around his neck.  The rope

was then slowly tightened.  Death was excruciatingly slow.

 

Dr.  Xia knew from his brother-in-law that Dong's conscience was

troubled, and that whenever he was due to garrote someone, he had to

get himself drunk beforehand.

 

Dr.  Xia invited Dong to his house.  He offered him gifts and suggested

that perhaps he could avoid tightening the rope all the way.  Dong said

he would see what he could do.  There was usually a Japanese guard or a

trusted collaborator present, but sometimes, if the victim was not

 

Lip under the Japanese 9I important enough, the Japanese did not bother

to show up.

 

At other times, they left before the prisoner was actually dead.  On

such occasions, Dong hinted, he could stop the garrote before the

prisoner died.

 

After prisoners were garroted, their bodies were put into thin wooden

boxes and taken on a cart to a stretch of barren land on the outskirts

of town called South Hill, where they were tipped into a shallow pit.

The place was infested with wild dogs, who lived on the corpses.  Baby

gifts who had been killed by their families, which was common in those

days, were also often dumped in the pit.

 

Dr.  Xia struck up a relationship with the old cart driver, and gave

him money from time to time.  Occasionally the driver would come into

the surgery and start rambling on about life, in an apparently

incoherent way, but eventually he would begin talking about the

graveyard: "I told the dead souls it was not my fault they had ended up

there.  I told them that, for my part, I wished them well.

 

"Come back next year for your anniversary, dead souls.  But in the

meantime, if you wish to fly away to look for better bodies to be

reincarnated in, go in the direction your head is pointed.  That is a

good path for you."  Dong and the cart driver never spoke to each other

about what they were doing, and Dr.  Xia never knew how many people

they had saved.  After the war the rescued 'corpses' chipped in and

raised money for Dong to buy a house and some land.  The cart driver

had died.

 

One man whose life they helped save was a distant cousin of my

grandmother's called Han-chen, who had been an important figure in the

resistance movement.

 

Because Jinzhou was the main raiiway junction north of the Great Wall,

it became the assembly point for the Japanese in their assault on China

proper, which started in July 1937.  Security was extremely tight, and

Han-chen's organization was infiltrated by a spy, and the entire group

was arrested.  They were all tortured.  First water with hot chiles was

forced down their noses; then their faces were slapped

with a shoe which had

sharp nails sticking out of the sole.

 

Then most of them were executed.  For a long time the Xias thought

Han-chen was dead, until one day Uncle Pei-o told them that he was

still alive but about to be executed.  Dr.  Xia immediately contacted

Dong.

 

On the night of the execution Dr.  Xia and my grandmother went to South

Hill with a carriage.  They parked behind a clump of trees and waited.

They could hear the wild dogs rummaging around by the pit, from which

rose the sickly stench of decomposing flesh.  At last a cart appeared.

Through the darkness they could dimly see the old driver climbing down

and tipping some bodies out of wooden boxes.  They waited for him to

drive off and then went over to the pit.  After groping among the

corpses they found Han-chen, but could not tell if he was dead or

alive.

 

Eventually they realized he was still breathing.  He had been so badly

tortured he could not walk, so with great effort they lifted him into

the carriage and drove him back to their house.

 

They hid him in a tiny room in the innermost corner of the house.  Its

one door led into my mother's room, to which the only other access was

from her parents' bedroom.  No one would ever go into the room by

chance.  As the house was the only one which had direct access to the

courtyard, Han-chen could exercise there in safety, as long as someone

kept watch.

 

There was the danger of a raid by the police or the local neighborhood

committees.  Early on in the occupation the Japanese had set up a

widespread system of neighbor hood control.  They made the local big

shots the heads of these units, and these neighborhood bosses helped

collect taxes and kept a round-the-clock watch for 'lawless elements."

It was a form of institutionalized gangsterism, in which 'protection'

and informing were the keys to power.

 

The Japanese also offered large rewards for turning people in.  The

Manchukuo police were less of a threat than ordinary civilians.  In

fact, many of the police were quite anti

 

Lip under the Japanese 93 Japanese.  One of their main jobs was to

check people's registration, and they used to carry out frequent

house-to house searches.  But they would announce their arrival by

shouting out "Checking registrations!  Checking registrations!"  so

that anyone who wanted to hide had plenty of time.  Whenever Han-chen

or my grandmother heard this shout she would hide him in a pile of

dried sorghum stacked in the end room for fuel.  The police would

saunter into the house and sit down and have a cup of tea, telling my

grandmother rather apologetically, "All this is just a formality, you

know .... '

 

As part of their education, my mother and her classmates had to watch

newsreels of Japan's progress in the war.  Far from being ashamed of

their brutality, the Japanese vaunted it as a way to inculcate fear.

The films showed Japanese soldiers cutting people in half and prisoners

tied to stakes being torn to pieces by dogs.  There were lingering

close-ups of the victims' terror-stricken eyes as their attackers came

at them.  The Japanese watched the eleven and twelve-year-old

schoolgirls to make sure they did not shut their eyes or try to stick a

handkerchief in their mouths to stifle their screams.  My mother had

nightmares for years to come.

...

The Japanese girls had easy jobs, like cleaning windows.

 

But the local girls had to operate complex spinning machines, which

were highly demanding and dangerous even for adults.  Their main job

was to reconnect broken threads while the machines were running at

speed.  If they did not spot the broken thread, or reconnect it fast

enough, they would be savagely beaten by the Japanese supervisor.

 

The girls were terrified.  The combination of nervousness, cold,

hunger, and fatigue led to many accidents.  Over half of my mother's

fellow pupils suffered injuries.  One day my mother saw a shuttle spin

out of a machine and knock out the eye of the girl next to her.  All

the way to the hospital the Japanese supervisor scolded the girl for

not being careful enough.

 

After the stint in the factory, my mother moved up into junior high

school.  Times had changed since my grandmother's youth, and young

women were no longer confined to the four walls of their home.  It was

socially acceptable for women to get a high school education.  However,

boys and girls received different educations.  For girls the aim was to

turn them into 'gracious wives and good mothers," as the school motto

put it.  They learned what the Japanese called 'the way of a woman'

looking after a household, cooking and sewing, the tea ceremony, flower

arrangement, embroidery, drawing, and the appreciation of art.  The

single most important thing imparted was how to please one's husband.

This included how to dress, how to do one's hair, how to bow, and,

above all, how to obey, without question.  As my grandmother put it, my

mother seemed to have 'rebellious bones," and learned almost none of

these skills, even cooking.

 

The examination board was made up of local officials, both Japanese and

Chinese, and as well as assessing the exams, they also sized up the

girls.  Photos of them wearing prett3' aprons they had designed

themselves were put up on the notice board with their assignments.

Japanese officials often picked fiances from among the girls, as

intermarriage between Japanese men and local women was encouraged. Some

girls were also selected to go to Japan to be married to men they had

not met.  Quite often the girls or rather their families were willing.

Toward the end of the occupation one of my mother's friends was chosen

to go to Japan, but she missed the ship and was still in JMzhou when

the Japanese surrendered.  My mother looked askance at her.

 

It was difficult for people in Manchukuo to get much idea of what was

happening in the rest of the world, or of how Japan was faring in the

war.  The fighting was a long way away, news was strictly censored, and

the radio churned out nothing but propaganda.  But they got a sense

that Japan was in trouble from a number of signs, especially the

worsening food situation.

...

There had been a long-standing campaign to catch flies and rats.  The

pupils had to chop off the rats' tails, put them in envelopes, and hand

them in to the police.  The flies had to be put in glass bottles.  The

police counted every rat tail and every dead fly.  One day in 1944 when

my mother handed in a glass bottle full to the brim with flies, the

Manchukuo policeman said to her: "Not enough for a meal."  When he saw

the surprised look on her face, he said: "Don't you know?  The Nips

like dead flies.  They fry them and eat them!"  My mother could see

from the cynical gleam in his eye that he no longer regarded the

Japanese as awesome.

 

4. "Slaves Who Have No Country of Your Own' Ruled by Different

Masters (1945-1947)

 

In May 1945 the news spread around Jinzhou that Germany had surrendered

and that the war in Europe was over.  US planes were flying over the

area much more often:

 

B-19s were bombing other cities in Manchuria, though Jinzhou was not

attacked.  The feeling that Japan would soon be defeated swept through

the city.

... 

The Chinese have so many cousins no one can keep track of them.  She

moved into the end room, which had once been Han-chen's refuge.

... 

The looting, raping, and killing continued until eight days after the

Japanese surrender, when the population was informed that a new army

would be arriving the Soviet Red Army.  On 23 August the neighborhood

chiefs told residents to go to the railway station the next day to

welcome the Russians.  Dr.  Xia and my grandmother stayed at home, but

my mother joined the large, high-spirited crowd of young people holding

colorful triangle-shaped paper flags.  As the train pulled in, the

crowd started waving their flags and shouting' Wula' (the Chinese

approximation of Ura, the Russian word for "Hurrah').  My mother had

imagined the Soviet soldiers as victorious heroes with impressive

beards, riding on large horses.  What she saw was a group of shabbily

dressed" pale-skinned youths.

 

Apart from the occasional fleeting glimpse of some mysterious figure in

a passing car, these were the first white people my mother had ever

seen.

... 

Russian soldiers would walk into people's homes and simply take

anything they fancied watches and clothes in particular.  Stories about

Russians raping local women swept Jinzhou like wildfire.  Many women

went into hiding for fear of their 'liberators."  Very soon the city

was seething with anger and anxiety.

... 

The Communists soon restored order and got the economy going again. The

food situation, which had been desperate, improved markedly.  Dr. Xia

was able to start seeing patients again, and my mother's school

reopened.

... 

They needed recruits.  At the time of the Japanese surrender, both

Communists and Kuomintang had tried to occupy as much territory as they

could, but the Kuomintang had a much larger and better-equipped army.

Both were maneuvering for position in preparation for renewing the

civil war which had been partly suspended for the previous eight years

in order to fight the Japanese.  In fact, fighting between Communists

and Kuomintang had already broken out.  Manchuria was the crucial

battleground because of its economic assets.  Because they were nearby,

the Communists had got their forces into Manchuria first, with

virtually no assistance from the Russians.

 

But the Americans were helping Chiang Kai-shek establish himself in the

area by ferrying tens of thousands of Kuomintang troops to North China.

At one point the Americans tried to land some of them at Huludao, the

port about thirty miles from Jinzhou, but had to withdraw under fire

from Chinese Communists.  The Kuomintang troops were forced to land

south of the Great Wall and make their way north by train.  The United

States gave them air cover.

 

Altogether, over 50,000 US Marines landed in North China, occupying

Peking and Tianjin.

 

The Russians formally recognized Chiang Kai-shek's Kuomintang as the

government of China.  By 11 November, the Soviet Red Army had left the

Jinzhou area and pulled back to northern Manchuria, as part of a

commitment by Stalin to withdraw from the area within three months of

victory.  This left the Chinese Communists alone in control of the

city.  One evening in late November my mother was walking home from

school when she saw large numbers of soldiers hurriedly gathering their

weapons and equipment and moving in the direction of the south gate.

...

 

"Slaves Who Have No Country of Your Own'

 

... 

My mother decided she could not be

happy with a husband who regarded flirtations and extramarital sex as

essential aspects of 'being a man."  She wanted someone who loved her,

who would not want to hurt her by doing this sort of thing.  That

evening she made up her mind to end the relationship.

 

...

Yang's ravaged face was a mask of despair.  My grandmother begged her

brother to call him Father, just once.

 

Finally he did, through gritted teeth.  His father took his hand and

said: "Try to be a scholar, or run a small business.

 

Never try to be an official.  It will ruin you, the way it has ruined

me."  These were his last words to his family.

 

He died with only one of his concubines at his side.  He was so poor he

could not even afford a coffin.  His corpse was put in a battered old

suitcase and buried without ceremony.  Not one member of his family was

there.

 

Corruption was so widespread that Chiang Kai-shek set up a special

organization to combat it.  It was called the "Tiger-Beating Squad,"

because people compared corrupt officials to fearsome tigers, and it

invited citizens to send in their complaints.  But it soon became

apparent that this was a means for the really powerful to extort money

from the rich.

... 

A woman's most sacred possession was her chastity, which she was

supposed to defend to the death.  Several days after

Bai's death, her mother hanged

herself.  Her employer was visited by thugs who accused him of being

responsible for her death.

... 

One of the vital commodities was salt, and the authorities had

forbidden selling it to the countryside.  Of course, they were running

a salt racket themselves.  Han-chen got Yulin a job as a salt guard,

and several times he was almost involved in serious skirmishes with

Communist guerrillas and other Kuomintang factions who were trying to

capture the salt.  Many people were being killed in the fighting.

...

By this time, the Kuomintang was gradually losing control of the

countryside, and was finding it harder and harder to get recruits.

Young men were increasingly unwilling to become 'bomb ashes' (pao-hul).

The civil war had become much more bloody, with enormous casualties,

and the danger of being conscripted or simply impressed into the army

was growing. 

... 

 

5. "Daughter for Sale for 10 Kilos of Rice' 

In Battle for a New China (1947-1948)

  

Many people had died at the hands of Kuomintang intelligence, and my

mother knew that she risked torture if she was caught.  This incident,

far from daunting her, only made her feel more defiant.  Her morale was

also boosted enormously by the fact that she now felt herself pan of

the Communist movement.

 

Manchuria was the key battleground in the civil war, and what happened

in Jinzhou was becoming more and more critical to the outcome of the

whole struggle for China.  There was no fixed front, in the sense of a

single

... 

When the Kuomintang first arrived, they had issued a new currency known

as the "Law money."  But they proved unable to control inflation.  Dr.

Xia had always been worried about what would happen to my grandmother

and my mother when he died and he was now nearly eighty.  He had been

putting his savings into the new money because he had faith in the

government.  After a time the Law money was replaced by another

currency, the Golden Yuan, which soon became worth so little that when

my mother wanted to pay her school fees she had to hire a rickshaw to

carry the huge pile of notes (to 'save face' Chiang Kai-shek refused to

print any note bigger than 10,000 yuan).  Dr.  Xia's entire savings

were gone.

...

One trade was prospering: trafficking in young girls for brothels and

as slave-servants to rich men.  The city was littered with beggars

offering their children in exchange for food.  For days outside her

school my mother saw an emaciated, desperate-looking woman in rags

slumped on the frozen ground.  Next to her stood a girl of about ten

with an expression of numb misery on her face.  A sack was poking up

out of the back of her collar and on it was a poorly written sign

saying "Daughter for sale for 10 kilos of rice."

... 

As food was the problem inside the city, so clothing was in desperately

short supply outside, as the Kuomintang had placed a ban on selling

textiles to the countryside.  As a watchman on the gates, "Loyalty'

Pei-o's main job was to stop textiles being smuggled out of the city

and sold to the Communists.  The smugglers were a mixture of black

marketeers, men working for Kuomintang officials, and underground

Communists.

... 

The Kuomintang position continued to deteriorate through the late

summer- and not only because of military action.  Corruption wreaked

havoc.  Inflation had risen to the unimaginable figure of just over

100,000 percent by the end of 1947 and it was to go to 2,870,000

percent by the end of 1948 in the Kuomintang areas.  The price of

sorghum, the main grain available, increased seventy fold overnight in

Jinzhou.  For the civilian population the situation was becoming more

desperate every day, as increasingly more food went to the army, much

of which was sold by local commanders on the black market.

... 

It was Communist policy not to execute anyone who laid down their arms,

and to treat all prisoners well.  This would help win over the ordinary

soldiers, most of whom came from poor peasant families.  The Communists

did not run prison camps.  They kept only middle- and high-ranking

officers, and dispersed the rest almost immediately.  They would hold

'speak bitterness' meetings for the soldiers, at which they were

encouraged to speak up about their hard lives as landless peasants. The

revolution, the Communists said, was all about giving them land. The

soldiers were given a choice: either they could go home, in which case

they would be given their fare, or they could stay with the Communists

to help wipe out the Kuomintang so that nobody would ever take their

land away again.  Most willingly stayed and joined the Communist army.

Some, of course, could not physically reach their homes with a war

going on.  Mao had learned from ancient Chinese warfare that the most

effective way of conquering the people was to conquer their hearts and

minds.  The policy toward prisoners proved enormously successful.

Particularly after

 

In Battle Jbr a New China 15 l Jinzhou, more and more Kuomintang

soldiers simply let themselves be captured.  Over 1.75 million

Kuomintang troops surrendered and crossed over to the Communists during

the civil war.  In the last year of the civil war, bat He casualties

accounted for less than 2o percent of all the troops the Kuomintang

lost.

...

The most immediate problem was food.  The new government urged the

peasants to come and sell food in the city and encouraged them to do so

by setting prices at twice what they were in the countryside.  The

price of sorghum fell rapidly, from 100 million Kuomintang dollars for

a pound to 2,200 dollars.  An ordinary worker could soon buy four

pounds of sorghum with what he could earn in a day.  Fear of starvation

abated.  The Communists issued relief grain, salt, and coal to the

destitute.  The Kuomintang had never done anything like this, and

people were hugely impressed.

 

Another thing that captured the goodwill of the locals was the

discipline of the Communist soldiers.  Not only was there no looting or

rape, but many went out of their way to demonstrate exemplary behavior.

This was in sharp contrast with the Kuomintang troops.

 

The city remained in a state of high alert.  American planes flew over

threateningly.  On 23 October sizable Kuomintang forces tried

unsuccessfully to retake Jinzhou with a pincer movement from Huludao

and the northeast.  With the loss of Jinzhou, the huge armies around

Mukden and Changchun quickly collapsed or surrendered, and by 2

November the whole of Manchuria was in Communist hands.

 

The Communists proved extremely efficient at restoring order and

getting the economy going again.  Banks in Jinzhou reopened on 3

December, and the electricity supply resumed the next day.  On 29

December a notice went up announcing a new street administration

system, with residents' committees in place of the old neighborhood

committees.  These were to be a key institution in the Communist system

of administration and control. 

 

 

6. "Talking about Love' Revolutionary Marriage 

(1948-1949)

... 

"Comrade Wang, I am Xia De-hong from the students' association," she

said.

 

"I am here to report on our work."

 

"Wang' was the nora de guerre of the man who was to

become my father.  He had entered Jinzhou

with the Communist forces a few days earlier.  Since late 1945 he had

been a commander with the guerrillas in the area.  He was now head of

the Secretariat and a member of the Communist Party Committee governing

Jinzhou, and was soon to be appointed head of the Public Affairs

Department of the city, which looked after education, the literacy

drive, health, the press, entertainment, sports, youth, and sounding

out public opinion.  It was an important post.

 

He was born in 1921 in Yibin in the southwestern province of Sichuan,

about 1,200 miles from Jinzhou.  Yibin, which then had a population of

about 30,000, lies at the spot where the Min River joins the Golden

Sand River to form the Yangtze, the longest river in China.  The area

around Yibin is one of the very fertile parts of Sichuan, which is

known as "Heaven's Granary," and the warm, misty climate in Yibin makes

it an ideal place for growing tea.  Much of the black tea consumed in

Britain today comes from there.

 

My father was the seventh of nine children.  His father had worked as

an apprentice for a textile manufacturer since the age of twelve.  When

he became an adult he and his brother, who worked in the same factory,

decided to start their own business.  Within a few years they were

prospering, and were able to buy a large house.

 

...

My father loved books, and began to learn to read classical prose at

the age of three, which was quite exceptional.

 

The year after my grandfather died he had to abandon school.  He was

only thirteen and hated having to give up his studies.  He had to find

a job, so the following year, 1935, he left Yibin and went down the

Yangtze to Chongqing, a much bigger city.  He found a job as an

apprentice in a grocery store working twelve hours a day.  One of his

jobs was to carry his boss's enormous water pipe as he moved around the

city reclining on a bamboo chair carried on the shoulders of two men.

The sole purpose of this was for his boss to flaunt the fact that he

could afford a servant to carry his water pipe, which could easily have

been put in the chair.  My father received no pay, just a bed and two

meager meals a day.  He got no supper, and went to bed every night with

cramps from an empty stomach; he was obsessed by hunger.

 

His eldest sister was also living in Chongking.  She had married a

schoolteacher, and their mother had come to live with them after her

husband died.  One day my father was so hungry he went into their

kitchen and ate a cold sweet potato.  When his sister found out she

turned on him and yelled: "It's difficult enough for me to support our

mother.  I can't afford to feed a brother as well."  My father was so

hurt he ran out of the house and never returned.

 

He asked his boss to give him supper.  His boss not only refused, but

started to abuse him.  In anger, my father left and went back to Yibin

and lived doing odd jobs as an apprentice in one store after another.

He encountered suffering not only in his own life, but all around him.

Every day as he walked to work he passed an old man selling baked

rolls.  The old man, who shuffled along with great difficulty, bent

double, was blind.  To attract the attention of passersby, he sang a

heart-rending tune.  Every time my father heard the song he said to

himself that the sociew must change.

 

He began to cast around for some way out.  He had always remembered the

first time he heard the word 'communism': it was when he was seven

years old, in 1928.  He was playing near his home when he saw that a

big crowd had gathered at a crossroads nearby.  He squeezed his way to

the front: there he saw a young man sitting cross-legged on the ground.

His hands were tied behind his back; standing over him was a stout man

with an enormous broadsword.  The young man, strangely, was allowed to

talk for a time about his ideals and about something called communism.

Then the executioner brought the sword down on the back of his neck. My

father screamed and covered his eyes.  He was shaken to the core, but

he was also hugely impressed by the man's courage and calmness in the

face of death.

... 

"The Japanese are a disease of the skin," he said, 'the Communists are

a disease of the heart."  Though the Communists and the Kuomintang were

supposed to be allies, the Communists still had to work underground in

most areas.

 

In July 1937 the Japanese began their all-out invasion of China proper.

My father, like many others, felt appalled and desperate about what was

happening to his country.

 

... 

He stayed in Yan'an for the whole of the war.  In spite of the

blockade, the Communists strengthened their control over large areas,

particularly in northern China, behind the Japanese lines.  Mao had

calculated well: the Communists had won vital breathing space.  By the

end of the war they claimed some sort of control over ninety-five

million people, about 20 percent of the population, in eighteen 'base

areas."  Equally important, they gained experience at running a

government and an economy under tough conditions.  This stood them in

good stead: their organizational ability and their system of control

were always phenomenal.

 

On 9 August 1945, Soviet troops swept into northeast

China.  Two days later the Chinese Communists offered them military

cooperation against the Japanese, but they were turned down: Stalin was

supporting Chiang Kaishek.  That same day the Chinese Communists

started to order armed units and political advisers into Manchuria,

which everyone realized was going to be of critical importance.

 

... 

The Communists carried out a land reform, confiscating land which had

hitherto been owned by a small number of landlords and redistributing

it equally among the peasants.

... 

Although the Communists were opposed to torture in theory and on

principle, officials were told that they should not intervene if the

peasants wished to vent their anger in passionate acts of revenge.

...

After hearing each other's frank accounts of their past lives, my

father said he was going to write to the Jinzhou City Party Committee

asking for permission to 'talk about love' (tan-lian-ai) with my

mother, with a view to marriage.

 

This was the obligatory procedure.  My mother supposed it was a bit

like asking permission from the head of the family, and in fact that is

exactly what it was: the Communist Party was the new patriarch.  That

night, after their talk, my mother received her first present from my

father, a romantic Russian novel called It's Only Love.

...

Now, for those who had 'joined the revolution," the Party functioned as

the family head.  Its criteria were '28-7-regiment-l' which meant that

the man had to be at least twenty-eight years old, a Party member for

at least seven years, and with a rank equivalent to that of a

regimental commander; the '1' referred to the only qualification the

woman had to meet, to have worked for the Party for a minimum of one

year.  My father was twenty-eight according to the Chinese way of

counting age (one year old at birth), he had been a Party member for

over ten years, and he held a position equivalent to that of a deputy

division commander.  Although my mother was not a member of the Party,

her work for the underground was accepted as meeting the '1' criterion,

and since she had come back from Harbin she had been working full time

for an organization called the Women's Federation, which dealt with

women's affairs: it supervised the freeing of concubines and shutting

down brothels, mobilized women to make shoes for the army, organized

their education and their employment, informed them of their rights,

and helped ensure that women were not entering into marriages against

their wishes.

... 

My mother had applied to join the Party, but they said that she was

unworthy.

 

Every time she went home she found herself being criticized.  She was

accused of being 'too attached to her family," which was condemned as a

'bourgeois habit," and had to see less and less of her own mother.

 

At the time there was an unwritten rule that no revolutionary could

spend the night away from his or her office except on Saturdays.  My

mother's assigned sleeping place was in the Women's Federation, which

was separated from my father's quarters by a low mud wall.  At night

she would clamber over the wall and cross a small garden to my father's

room, returning to her own room before dawn.

 

She was soon found out, and she and my father were criticized at Party

meetings.  The Communists had embarked on a radical reorganization not

just of institutions, but of people's lives, especially the lives of

those who had 'joined the revolution."  The idea was that everything

personal was political; in fact, henceforth nothing was supposed to be

regarded as 'personal' or private.  Pettiness was validated by being

labeled 'political," and meetings became the forum by which the

Communists channeled all sorts of personal animosities.

... 

"But what are the things for which I need to apply for instructions?"

she asked.

 

"Anything," was the answer.  The need to obtain authorization for an

unspecified 'anything' was to become a fundamental element in Chinese

Communist rule.  It also meant that people learned not to take any

action on their own initiative.

 

... 

7. "Going through the Five Mountain Passes' My Mothefts Long March

(1949-1950)

...

As the platform slipped out of sight my father tried to comfort her. He

told her that she must be strong, and that as a young student 'joining

the revolution' she needed to 'go through the five mountain passes'

which meant adopting a completely new attitude to family, profession,

love, life-style, and manual labor, through embracing hardship and

trauma.  The Party's theory was that educated people like her needed to

stop being 'bourgeois' and become closer to the peasants, who formed

over 8o percent of the population.  My mother had heard these theories

a hundred times.  She accepted the need to reform oneself for a new

China; in fact she had just written a poem about meeting the challenge

of 'the storm of sand' in her future.  But she also wanted more

tenderness and personal understanding, and she resented the fact that

she did not get them from my father.

...

She had had a terrible day.  What was more, she was vomiting all the

time.  Could he not let her travel in his jeep occasionally?  He said

he could not, because it would be taken as favoritism since my mother

was not entitled to the car.  He felt he had to fight against the

age-old Chinese tradition of nepotism.  Furthermore, my mother was

supposed to experience hardship.  When she mentioned that her friend

was being carried by her husband, my father replied that that was

completely different: the friend was a veteran Communist.  In the 193OS

she had commanded a goerrilla unit jointly with Kim II Sung, who later

became president of North Korea, fighting the Japanese under appalling

conditions in the northeast.  Among the long list of sufferings in her

revolutionary career was the loss of her first husband, who had been

executed on orders from Stalin.  My mother could not compare herself to

this woman, my father said.  She was only a young student.  If other

people thought she was being pampered she would be in trouble.

...

My mother had very nearly died.  She had to have a blood transfusion

and her womb scraped.  When she opened her eyes after the operation she

saw my father sit ling by her bedside.  The first thing she said was:

"I want a divorce."

 

My father apologized profusely.  He had had no idea she had been

pregnant nor, in fact had she.  She knew that she had missed her

period, but had thought it was probably the result of the unrelenting

exertion of the march.  My father said he had not known what a

miscarriage was.  He promised to be much more considerate in future,

and said over and over again he loved her and would reform.

 

While my mother was in a coma, he had washed her blood-soaked clothes,

which was very unusual for a Chinese man.  Eventually my mother agreed

not to ask for a divorce, but she said she wanted to go back to

Manchuria to resume her medical studies.  She told my father she could

never please the revolution, no matter how hard she tried; all she ever

got was criticism.

... 

 

8. "Returnins Home Robed in Embroidered Silk' To Family and Bandits

(1949-1951)

...

9. "When a Man Gets Power, Even His Chickens go to

Heaven"

... 

... 

10.  "Suffering Will Make You a Better Communist' My Mother Falls under Suspicion

... 

... 

11.  "After the Anti-Rightist Campaign No One Opens Their Mouth'

China Silenced (1956- 1958)

 

...

As part of the nationalization campaign, the regime organized

processions with drums and gongs and endless meetings, some of them for

the capitalists.  My grandmother saw that all of them were expressing

willingness to be bought out, even gratitude.  Many said that what was

happening to them was much better than they had feared.

 

In the Soviet Union, they had heard, businesses were confiscated

outright.  Here in China the owners were being indemnified, and what

was more, the state did not just order them to hand over their

businesses.  They had to be willing.  Of course, everyone was.

...

...

inflation all seemed to be things of the past.  Stability, the dream of

the Chinese, sustained the faith of people like my mother in their

sufferings.

...

Teachers were also graded.  Good teachers were given honorary grades

which entitled them to much higher salaries, special food supplies when

there was a shortage, better housing, and complimentary theater

tickets.  Most graded teachers under my mother seemed to have come from

'undesirable' family backgrounds, and some of the ungraded teachers

complained that my mother placed too much importance on professional

merit rather than 'class background."  My mother made self-criticisms

about her lack of even handedness regarding the 'key' schools, but she

insisted that she was not wrong in using professional merit as the

criterion for promotion.

...

12.  "Capable Women Can Make a Meal without Food' Famine

(1958-19dr)

 

In the autumn of 1958, when I was six, I started going to a primary

school about twenty minutes' walk from home, mostly along muddy cobbled

back alleys.  Every day on my way to and from school, I screwed up my

eyes to search every inch of ground for broken nails, rusty cogs, and

any other metal objects that had been trodden into the mud between the

cobbles.  These were for feeding into furnaces to produce steel, which

was my major occupation.  Yes, at the age of six, I was involved in

steel production, and had to compete with my schoolmates at handing in

the most scrap iron.  All around me uplifting music blared from

loudspeakers, and there were banners, posters, and huge slogans painted

on the walls proclaiming "Long Live the Great Leap Forward!"  and

"Everybody, Make Steel{' Although I did not fully understand why, I

knew that Chairman Mao had ordered the nation to make a lot of steel.

In my school, crucible-like vats had replaced some of our cooking woks

and were sitting on the giant stoves in the kitchen.

 

All our scrap iron was fed into them, including the old 

292 "Capable Women Can Make a Meal without Food' woks, which had now

been broken to bits.  The stoves were kept permanently lit until they

melted down.  Our teachers took turns feeding firewood into them around

the-clock, and stirring the scraps in the vats with a huge spoon. We

did not have many lessons, as the teachers were too preoccupied with

the vats.  So were the older, teenage children.  The rest of us were

organized to clean the teachers' apa~iments and babysit for them.

 

I remember visiting a hospital once with some other children to see one

of our teachers who had been seriously burned when molten iron had

splashed onto her arms.  Doctors and nurses in white coats were rushing

around frantically.  There was a furnace on the hospital grounds, and

they had to feed logs into it all the time, even when they were

performing operations, and right through the night.

...

It was at this time that Mao gave full vent to his halfbaked dream of

turning China into a first-class modern power.  He called steel the

"Marshal' of industry, and ordered steel output to be doubled in one

year from 5.35 million tons in 1957 to 10.7 million in 1958.  But

instead of trying to expand the proper steel industry with skilled

workers, he decided to get the whole population to take part.  There

was a steel quota for every unit, and for months people stopped their

normal work in order to meet it.  The country's economic development

was reduced to the simplistic question of how many tons of steel could

be produced, and the entire nation was thrown into this single act.  It

was officially estimated that nearly zoo million peasants were pulled

out of agricultural work and into steel production.  They had been the

labor force producing much of the country's food.  Mountains were

stripped bare of trees for fuel.  But the output of this mass

production amounted only to what people called 'caMe droppings'

(nill-shi-ge-day meaning useless turds.

 

This absurd situation reflected not only Mao's ignorance of how an

economy worked, but also an almost metaphysical disregard for reality,

which might have been interesting in a poet, but in a political leader

with absolute power was quite another matter.  One of its main

components was a deep-seated contempt for human life.  Not long before

this he had told the Finnish ambassador, "Even if the United States had

more powerful atom bombs and used them on China, blasted a hole in the

earth, or blew it to pieces, while this might be a matter of great

significance to the solar system, it would still be an insignificant

matter as far as the universe as a whole is concerned."

...

Megalomania and voluntarism meshed easily in Mao's mind.

 

Mao's fixation on steel went largely unquestioned, as did his other

obsessions.  He took a dislike to sparrows they devour grain.  So every

household was mobilized.  We sat outside ferociously beating any metal

object, from cymbals to saucepans, to scare the sparrows off the trees

so they would eventually drop dead from exhaustion.  Even today I can

vividly hear the din made by my siblings and me, as well as by the

government officials, sitting under a mammoth wolfoerry tree in our

courtyard.

...

Chengdu that he outlined his "Great Leap Forward."  The city organized

a big parade for him, but the participants had no idea that Mao was

there.  He lurked out of sight.

 

At this parade a slogan was put forward, "Capable women can make a meal

without food," a reversal of a pragmatic ancient Chinese saying, "No

matter how capable, a woman cannot make a meal without food."

Exaggerated rhetoric had become concrete demands.  Impossible fantasies

were supposed to become reality.

...

It was a gorgeous spring that year.  One day Mao went for an outing to

a park called the Thatched Cottage of Du Fu, the eighth century Tang

poet.  My mother's Eastern District office was responsible for the

security of one area of the park, and she and her colleagues patrolled

it, pretending to be tourists.  Mao rarely kept to a schedule, or let

people know his precise movements, so for hours and hours my mother sat

sipping tea in the teahouse, trying to keep on the alert.  She finally

grew restless and told her colleagues she was going for a walk.  She

strayed into the security area of the Western District, whose staff did

not know her, and was immediately followed.  When the Party secretary

of the Western District received reports about a 'suspicious woman' and

came to see for himself, he laughed: "Why, this is old Comrade Xia from

the Eastern District!"  Afterward my mother was criticized by her boss,

district chief Guo, for 'running around without discipline."

 

Mao also visited a number of farms in the Chengdu Plain.  Thus far,

peasant cooperatives had been small.  It was here that Mao ordered them

all to be merged into bigger institutions, which were later called

'people's communes."

 

That summer, all of China was organized into these new units, each

containing between 2,000 and 20,000 households.  One of the forerunners

of this drive was an area called Xushui, in Hebei province in North

China, to which Mao took a shine.  In his eagerness to prove that they

deserved Mao's attention, the local boss there claimed they were going

to produce over ten times as much grain as before.  Mao smiled broadly

and responded: "What are you going to do with all that food?  On second

thought, it's not too bad to have too much food, really.  The state

doesn't want it.  Everybody else has plenty of their own.  But the

farmers here can just eat and eat.  You can eat five meals a day!"  Mao

was intoxicated, indulging in the eternal dream of the Chinese peasant-

surplus food.  After these remarks, the villagers further stoked the

desires of their Great Leader by claiming that they were producing more

than a million pounds of potatoes per mu (one mu is one-sixth of an

acre), over 130,000 pounds of wheat per mu, and cabbages weighing 500

pounds each.

 

It was a time when telling fantasies to oneself as well as others, and

believing them, was practised to an incredible degree.  Peasants moved

crops from several plots of land to one plot to show Party officials

that they had produced a miracle harvest.  Similar "Potemkin fields'

were shown off to gullible or self-blinded agricultural scientists,

reporters, visitors from other regions, and foreigners.

 

Although these crops generally died within a few days because of

untimely transplantation and harmful density, the visitors did not know

that, or did not want to know.  A large part of the population was

swept into this confused, crazy world.

 

"Self-deception while deceiving others' (~ioqiqi-ren) gripped the

nation.  Many people including agricultural scientists and senior Party

leaders Said they saw the miracles themselves.  Those who failed to

match other people's fantastic claims began to doubt and blame

themselves.  Under a dictatorship like Mao's, where information was

withheld and fabricated, it was very difficult for ordinary people to

have confidence in their own experience or knowledge.  Not to mention

that they were now facing a nationwide tidal wave of fervor which

promised to swamp any individual cool headedness  It was easy to start

ignoring reality and simply put one's faith in Mao.  To go along with

the frenzy was by far the easiest course.  To pause and think and be

circumspect meant trouble.

...

By the beginning of 1961, tens of millions of deaths had finally forced

Mao to give up his economic policies.  Reluctantly, he allowed the

pragmatic President Liu and Deng Xiaoping, general secretary of the

Party, more control over the country.  Mao was forced to make

self-criticisms, but they were full of self-pity, and were always

phrased in such a way that it sounded as if he was carrying the cross

for incompetent officials all over China.  He further magnanimously

instructed the Party to 'draw lessons' from the disastrous experience,

but what the lessons were was not left to the judgment of the lowly

officials: Mao told them they had become divorced from the people, and

had made decisions which did not reflect ordinary people's feelings.

... 

13.  "Thousand-Gold Ultle Precious' In a Priwlelled Cocoon

(1958-1965)

...

14.  "Father Is Close, Mother Is Close, but Neither Is as Close as

Chairman Mao' The Cult of Mao (1964-1965)

... 

Gradually, during the course of 1964, the emphasis began to shift from

boy scoutish good deeds to the cult of Mao.  The essence of Lei Feng,

the teachers told us, was his 'boundless love and devotion to Chairman

Mao."

 ...The essence of these two complementary slogans was

illustrated in Lei Feng's poem "The Four Seasons," which we all learned

by heart:

 

Like spring, I treat my comrades warmly.

 

Like summer, I am full of ardor for my revolutionary work.

 

The Cult of Mao I eliminate my individualism as an autumn gale

sweeps away fallen leaves, And to the class enemy, I am cruel and

ruthless like harsh winter.

...

...

To show us what life without Mao would be like, every now and then the

school canteen cooked something called a 'bitterness meal," which was

supposed to be what poor people had to eat under the Kuomintang.  It

was composed of strange herbs, and I secretly wondered whether the

cooks were playing a practical joke on us it was truly unspeakable. The

first couple of times I vomited.

...For two thousand years China had an emperor figure who was state power

and spiritual authority rolled into one.

 

The religious feelings which people in other parts of the world have

toward a god have in China always been directed toward the emperor.  My

parents, like hundreds of millions of Chinese, were influenced by this

tradition.

 

Mao made himself more godlike by shrouding himself in mystery.  He

always appeared remote, beyond human approach.  He eschewed radio, and

there was no television.

 

Few people, except his court staff, ever had any contact with him. Even

his colleagues at the very top only met him in a sort of formal

audience.  After Yan'an, my father only set eyes on him a few times,

and then only at large-scale meetings.  My mother only ever saw him

once, when he came to Chengdu in 1958 and summoned all officials above

Grade I8 to have a group photo taken with him.

 

After the fiasco of the Great Leap Forward, he had disappeared almost

completely.

...

Mao, the emperor, fitted one of the patterns of Chinese history: the

leader of a nationwide peasant uprising who swept away a rotten dynasty

and became a wise new emperor exercising absolute authority.  And, in a

sense, Mao could be said to have earned his god-emperor status.

 

He was responsible for ending the civil war and bringing peace and

stability, which the Chinese always yearned for so much that they said

"It's better to be a dog in peacetime than a human being in war."  It

was under Mao that China became a power to be reckoned with in the

world, and many Chinese stopped feeling ashamed and humiliated at being

Chinese, which meant a tremendous amount to them.  In reality, Mao

turned China back to the days of the Middle Kingdom and, with the help

of the United States, to isolation from the world.  He enabled the

Chinese to feel great and superior again, by blinding them to the world

outside.  Nonetheless, national pride was so important to the Chinese

that much of the population was genuinely grateful to Mao, and did not

find the cult of his personality offensive, certainly not at first. The

near total lack of access to information and the systematic feeding of

disinformation meant that most Chinese had no way to discriminate

between Mao's successes and his failures, or to identi~ the relative

role of Mao and other leaders in the Communists' achievements.

...

But more and more political indoctrination was creeping into school

life.  Gradually, morning assembly became devoted to Mao's teachings,

and special sessions were instituted in which we read Party documents.

Our Chineselanguage textbook now contained more propaganda and less

classical literature, and politics, which mainly consisted of works by

Mao, became part of' the curriculum.

 

Almost every activity became politicized.  One day at morning assembly

the headmaster told us we were going to do eye exercises.  He said

Chairman Mao had observed that there were too many schoolchildren

wearing spectacles, a sign that they had hurt their eyes by working too

hard.  He had ordered something to be done about it.  We were all

terribly moved by his concern.  Some of us wept with gratitude.  We

started doing eye exercises for fifteen minutes every morning.  A set

of movements had been devised by doctors and set to music.  After

rubbing various points around our eyes, we all stared intently at the

rows of poplars and willows outside the window.  Green was supposed to

be a restful color.  As I enjoyed the comfort the exercises and the

leaves brought me, I thought of Mao and repledged my loyalty to him.

...

Physical training suddenly assumed vital importance.

 

There was compulsory running, swimming, high jumping, working out on

parallel bars, shot-punning, and throwing wooden hand grenades.  In

addition to the two hours of sports per week, forty-five minutes of

after-school sports now became obligatory.

... 

Hand-grenade throwing was also regarded as very important, for obvious

reasons.  I was always at the bottom of the class.  I could only throw

the wooden hand grenades we practised with a couple of yards.  I felt

that my classmates were questioning my resolve to fight the US

imperialists.

... 

One day in 1965, we were suddenly told to go out and start removing all

the grass from the lawns.  Mao had instructed that grass, flowers, and

pets were bourgeois habits and were to be eliminated.  The grass in the

lawns at our school was of a type I have not seen anywhere outside

China.  Its name in Chinese means 'bound to the ground."  It crawls all

over the hard surface of the earth and spreads thousands of roots which

drill down into the soil like claws of steel.  Underground they open up

and produce further roots which shoot out in every direction.

 

In no time there are two networks, one aboveground and one below ground

which intertwine and cling to the earth, like knotted metal wires that

have been nailed into the ground.  Often the only casualties were my

fingers, which always ended up with deep, long cuts.  It was only when

they were attacked with hoes and spades that some of the root systems

went, reluctantly.  But any fragment left behind would make a

triumphant comeback after even a slight rise in temperature or a gentle

drizzle, and we would have to go into battle all over again.

 

Flowers were much easier to deal with, but they went with even more

difficulty, because no one wanted to remove them.  Mao had attacked

flowers and grass several times before, saying that they should be

replaced by cabbales and cotton.  But only now was he able to generate enough pressure

to get his order implemented but only~ up to a point.  People loved

their plants, and some flowerbeds survived Mao's campaign.

 

I was extremely sad to see the lovely plants go.  But I did not resent

Mao.  On the contrary, I hated myself for feeling miserable.  By then I

had grown into the habit of self criticism and automatically blamed

myself for any instincts that went against Mao's instructions.  In

fact, such feelings frightened me.  It was out of the question to

discuss them with anyone.  Instead, I tried to suppress them and

acquire the correct way of thinking.  I lived in a state of constant

self-accusation.

 

Such self-examination and self-criticism were a feature of Mao's China.

You would become a new and better person, we were told.  But all this

introspection was really designed to serve no other purpose than to

create a people who had no thoughts of their own.

...

There were a number of success stories which boosted the nation's

pride.  In October 1964 China exploded its first atomic bomb.  This was

given huge publicity and touted as a demonstration of the country's

scientific and industrial achievement, particularly in relation to

'standing up to imperialist bullies."  The explosion of the atomic bomb

coincided with the ousting of Khrushchev, which was presented as proof

that Mao was right again.  In 1964 France recognized China at full

ambassadorial level, the first leading Western nation to do so.  This

was received with rapture inside China as a major victory over the

United States, which was refusing to acknowledge China's rightful place

in the world.

... 

15.  "Destroy First, and Construction Will Look After Itself'-The Cultural Revolution Begins

(1965-1966)

...

Loudspeakers blasted out People's Daily editorials, and the front page

of the newspaper, which we had to study every day, was frequently taken

up entirely by a full-page portrait of Mao.  There was a daily column

of Mao's quotations.  I still remember the slogans in bold type, which,

through reading in class over and over again, were engraved into the

deepest folds of my brain: "Chairman Mao is the red sun in our

hearts!"

 

"Mao Zedong Thought is our lifeline!"

 

"We will smash whoever opposes Chairman Mao!"

 

"People all over the world love our Great Leader Chairman Mao!"

...

 

16.  "Soar to Heaven, and Pierce the Earth' - Mao's Red Guards June-August 1966)

...

Then, too, Mao had called on the population to criticize Party

officials, but those who had taken up his invitation had ended up being

labeled as rightists and had been damned.  Most people suspected the

same tactic again 'enticing the snake out of its haunt in order to cut

off its head."

...

Teachers were better targets than parents, who could only have been

attacked in an atomized and isolated manner.

 

They were also more important figures of authority than parents in

Chinese culture.  In practically every school in

China, teachers were abused and beaten, sometimes fatally.  Some

schoolchildren set up prisons in which teachers were tortured.

...

Following this obscure call, Red Guards all over China took to the

streets, giving full vent to their vandalism, ignorance, and

fanaticism.  They raided people's houses, smashed their antiques, tore

up paintings and works of calligraphy.  Bonfires were lit to consume

books.  Very soon nearly all treasures in private collections were

destroyed.

 

Many writers and artists committed suicide after being cruelly beaten

and humiliated, and being forced to witness their work being burned to

ashes.  Museums were raided.

 

Palaces, temples, ancient tombs, statues, pagodas, city walls anything

'old' was pillaged.  The few things that survived, such as the

Forbidden City, did so only because Premier Zhou Enlai sent the army to

guard them, and issued specific orders that they should be protected.

The Red Guards only pressed on when they were encouraged.

...

Mao hailed the Red Guards' actions as "Very good indeed!"  and ordered

the nation to support them.

 

He encouraged the Red Guards to pick on a wider range of victims in

order to increase the terror.  Prominent writers, artists, scholars,

and most other top professionals, who had been privileged under the

Communist regime, were now categorically condemned as 'reactionary

bourgeois authorities."  With the help of some of these people's

colleagues who hated them for various reasons, ranging from fanaticism

to envy, the Red Guards began to abuse them.  Then there were the old

'class enemies': former landlords and capitalists, people with

Kuomintang connections, those condemned in previous political campaigns

like the 'rightists' and their children.

...

Only a small proportion of the Red Guards was actually involved in

cruelty or violence.  Many were able to avoid taking part because the

Red Guard was a loose organization which, by and large, did not

physically force its members to do evil.  As a matter of fact, Mao

himself never ordered the Red Guards to kill, and his instructions

regarding violence were contradictory.  One could feel devoted to Mao

without perpetrating violence or evil.

...

People in Sichuan had little idea of the extent of the terror in

Peking.  There were fewer atrocities in Sichuan, partly because the Red

Guards there were not directly incited by the Cultural Revolution

Authority.  In addition, the police in Sichuan turned a deaf ear to

their minister in Peking, Mr.  Xie, and refused to offer up the 'class

enemies' under their control to the Red Guards.  However, the Red

Guards in Sichuan, as in other provinces, copied the actions of those

in Peking.  There was the same kind of chaos as everywhere in China

controlled chaos.  The Red Guards may have looted the houses which they

were authorized to raid, but they rarely stole from shops.  Most

sectors, including commerce, the postal services and transport, worked

normally.

... 

Traffic was in confusion for several days.  For red to mean 'stop' was

considered impossibly counterrevolutionary.  It should of course mean

'go."  And traffic should not keep to the right, as was the practice,

it should be on the left.  For a few days we ordered the traffic

policemen aside and controlled the traffic ourselves.  I was stationed

at a street corner telling cyclists to ride on the left.  In Chengdu

there were not many cars or traffic lights, but at the few big

crossroads there was chaos.  In the end, the old rules reasserted

themselves, owing to Zhou Enlai, who managed to convince the Peking Red

Guard leaders.  But the youngsters found justifications for this: I was

told by a Red Guard in my school that in Britain traffic kept to the

left, so ours had to keep to the right to show our anti-imperialist

spirit.  She did not mention America.

...

After 1964, following Mao's calls for an austere lifestyle, more suited

to the atmosphere of class struggle, I put patches on my trousers to

try to look 'proletarian' and wore my hair in the uniform style of two

plaits with no colors, but long hair had not been condemned as yet.  My

grandmother cut it for me, muttering all the while.  Her hair survived,

because she never went out at that time.

 

The famous teahouses in Chengdu also came under attack as 'decadent." I

did not understand why, but did not ask.  In the summer of 1966 I

learned to suppress my sense of reason.  Most Chinese had been doing

that for a long time.

 

A Sichuan teahouse is a unique place...

 

Teahouses are as important to the Sichuanese as pubs are to the

British.  Older men, in particular, spend a lot of time there, puffing

their long-stemmed pipes over a cup of tea and a plateful of nuts and

melon seeds.  The waiter shuttles between the seats with a kettle of

hot water which he pours from a couple of feet away with pinpoint

accuracy.

...

Over the years of the Cultural Revolution, I was to witness people

being attacked for saying 'thank you' too often, which was branded as

'bourgeois hypocrisy'; courtesy was on the brink of extinction.

...

Thinking back, I can see the thrill some children must have felt at

demonstrating their power over adults.  A popular Red Guard slogan

went: "We can soar to heaven, and pierce the earth, because our Great

Leader Chairman Mao is our supreme commander!"  As this declaration

reveals, the Red Guards were not enjoying genuine freedom of

self-expression.  From the start they were nothing but the tool of a

tyrant.

...

This teahouse, like all the others in Sichuan, was shut for fifteen

years until 198x, when Deng Xiaoping's reforms decreed it could be

reopened.  In 1985 I went back there with a British friend.  We sat

under the scholar tree.

...

Books were major targets of Mao's order to destroy.

 

Because they had not been written within the last few months, and

therefore did not quote Mao on every page, some Red Guards declared

that they were all 'poisonous weeds."  With the exception of Marxist

classics and the works of Stalin, Mao, and the late Lu Xun, whose name

Mme Mao was using for her personal vendettas, books were burning all

across China.  The country lost most of its written heritage.  Many of

the books which survived later went into people's stoves as fuel.

...

 

17.  "Do You Want Our Children to Become Blacks" My Parents' Dilemma

(August-October 1966)

...

I was not forced to join the Red Guards.  I was keen to do so.  In

spite of what was happening around me, my aversion and fear had no

clear object, and it never occurred to me to question the Cultural

Revolution or the Red Guards explicitly.  They were Mao's creations,

and Mao was beyond contemplation.

 

Like many Chinese, I was incapable of rational thinking in those days.

We were so cowed and contorted by fear and indoctrination that to

deviate from the path laid down by Mao would have been inconceivable.

Besides, we had been overwhelmed by deceptive rhetoric, disinformation,

and hypocrisy, which made it virtually impossible to see through the

situation and to form an intelligent judgment.

...

 

18.  "More Than Gigantic Wonderful News' Pilgrimage to Peking

(October-December 1966)

 

One day the pupils in his form were summoned to go on a house raid. The

older Red Guards said something about 'bourgeois intellectuals." All

members of the family were declared prisoners and ordered to gather in

one room while the Red Guards searched the rest of the house.

...

Still, Jin-ming was punished: he was ordered to pull out grass

alongside the 'blacks' and 'grays."  Mao's instruction to exterminate

grass had led to a constant demand for manpower because of the grass's

obstinate nature.  This fortuitous by offered a form

of punishment for the newby created 'class enemies."

 

Jin-ming pulled up grass only for a few days.  His Iron Wrought

Brotherhood could not bear to see him suffer.

...

But he had been classified as a 'sympathizer with class enemies," and

was never sent on any more raids, which suited him fine.  He soon

embarked on a journey with his brotherhood sight-seeing all over the

country, taking in China's rivers and mountains, but, unlike most Red

Guards, Jin-ming never made the pilgrimage to Peking to see Mao.  He

did not come home until the end of 1966.

...

Making the pilgrimage to Peking was very much encouraged and food,

accommodations, and transport were all free.  But it was not organized.

I left Chengdu two days later with the five other girls from the

reception office.  As the train whistled north, my feelings were a

mixture of excitement and nagging disquiet about my father.  Outside

the window, on the Chengdu Plain, some rice fields had been harvested,

and squares of black soil shone among the gold, forming a rich

patchwork.  The countryside had been only marginally affected by the

upheavals, in spite of repeated instigations by the Cultural Revolution

Authority led by Mme Mao.  Mao wanted the population fed so that they

could 'make revolution," so he did not give his wife his full backing.

The peasants knew that if they got involved and stopped producing food,

they would be the first to starve, as they had learned in the famine

only a few years before.  The cottages among the green bamboo groves

seemed as peaceful and idyllic as ever.  The wind gently swayed the

lingering smoke to form a crown over the graceful bamboo tips and the

concealed chimneys.  It was less than five months since the beginning

of the Cultural Revolution, but my world had changed completely.  I

gazed out at the quiet beauty of the plain, and let a wistful mood

envelop me.  Fortunately, I did not have to worry about being

criticized for being 'nostalgic," which was considered bourgeois, as

none of the other girls had an accusing turn of mind.  With them, I

felt I could relax.

...

Staying on the campus was intensely uncomfortable.

 

Even today I can still smell the latrines down the corridor from our

room, which were so blocked that the water from the washbasins and

urine and loosened excrement from the toilets flooded the tiled floor.

Fortunately, the doorway to the latrines had a ridge, which prevented

the stinking overflow from invading the corridor.  The university

administration was paralyzed, so there was nobody to get repairs done.

But children from the countryside were still using the toilets: manure

was not considered untouchable by peasants.  When they trudged out,

their shoes left highly odorous stains along the corridor and in the

rooms.

 

A week passed, and still there was no news of another rally at which we

could see Mao.

... 

These pilgrimages turned out to be hell: the trains were unbelievably

packed.  The dominance of the Red Guards by high officials' children

was coming to an end, because their parents were beginning to come

under attack as capitalist-roaders.  The oppressed 'blacks' and 'grays'

began to organize their own Red Guard groups and to travel.  The color

codes were beginning to lose their meaning.

...

All songs except these and a few in praise of Mao were banned, like all

other forms of entertainment, and remained so for the ten years of the

Cultural Revolution.

 

Altogether we traveled about 2,000 miles on this trip, in a state of

exhaustion such as I had never experienced in my life.  We visited

Mao's old house, which had been turned into a museum-cum-shrine.  It

was rather grand quite different from my idea of a lodging for

exploited peasants, as I had expected it to be.  A cap ton underneath

an enormous photograph of Mao's mother said that she had been a very

kind person and, because her family was relatively well off, had often

given food to the poor.  So our Great Leader's parents had been rich

peasants!  But rich peasants were class enemies!  Why were Chairman

Mao's parents heroes when other class enemies were objects of hate? The

question frightened me so much that I immediately suppressed it..

 

Military training for the Red Guards was a new development.  Mao had

decided to put a brake on the random destruction which he had

unleashed.  The hundreds of Red Guards lodged in the Drama School were

organized into a 'regiment' by the air force officers.

...

The Cultural Revolution also produced a large number of militant

puritans, mostly young women.  Another girl from my form once received

a love letter from a boy of sixteen.  She wrote back calling him 'a

traitor to the revolution': "How dare you think about such shameless

things when the class enemies are still rampant, and people in the

capitalist world still live in an abyss of misery!"  Such a style was

affected by many of the girls I knew.  Because Mao called for girls to

be militant, femininity was condemned in the years when my generation

was growing up.  Many girls tried to talk, walk, and act like

aggressive, crude men, and ridiculed those who did not.  There was not

much possibility of expressing femininity anyway.  To start with, we

were not allowed to wear anything but the shapeless blue, grey or green

trousers and jackets.

...

None of us six girls was used to having money.  We also thought that

buying things was somehow 'capitalist."  So, in spite of my obsession

with food, I only bought one bunch of toffee-coated water chestnuts,

after my appetite for them had been whetted by the ones our officers

gave us.

...

Shortly before noon, hysterical waves of "Long live Chairman Mao!"

roared from the east.  I had been flagging and was slow to realize that

Mao was about to pass by in an open car.  Suddenly thunderous yelling

exploded all around me.

 

"Long live Chairman Mao!  Long live Chairman Mao!"  People sitting in

front of me shot up and hopped in delirious excitement, their raised

hands frantically waving their Litfie Red Books.

 

"Sit down!  Sit down!"

 

I cried, in vain.  Our company commander had said that we all had to

remain seated throughout.  But few seemed to be observing the rules,

possessed by their urge to set eyes on Mao.

 

Having been sitting for so long, my legs had gone numb.

 

For some seconds, all I could see was a boiling sea of the backs of

heads.  When I finally managed to totter to my feet, I caught only the

very end of the motorcade.  Liu Shaoqi, the president, had his face

turned in my direction.

 

Wall posters had already started attacking Liu as "China's Khrushchev'

and the leading opponent of Mao.

...

These reflections did not occur to me on the morning of 25 November

1966.  All I cared about then was catching a glimpse of Chairman Mao. I

turned my eyes quickly away from Liu to the front of the motorcade. I

spotted Mao's stalwart back, his right arm steadily waving.  In an

instant, he had disappeared.  My heart sank.  Was that all I would see

of Chairman Mao?  Only a fleeting glimpse of his back?

...

By now it had become clear to me that

capitalist-roaders Communist officials were the main targets of the

Cultural Revolution.  I was soon to see what this meant for my family

and for me.

 

 

19.  "Where There Is a Will to Condemn, There Is Evidence'-My Parents

Tormented (December 1966-1967)

 

A capitalist-roader was supposed to be a powerful official who was

pursuing capitalist policies.  But in reality no officials had any

choice about which policies they pursued.

...

Many officials had their own views, but the Party rule was that they

must not reveal them to the public.  Nor did they dare to.  So whatever

the officials' sympathies were, they were unknown to the general

public.

 

But ordinary people were the very force Mao now ordered to attack

capitalist-roaders without, of course, the benefit of either

information or the right to exercise

...

"Where there is a will to condemn, there is evidence," as the Chinese

saying has it. On this basis, all unit leaders across China, big and

small, were summarily denounced by people under them as

capitalist-roaders for implementing policies that were alleged to be

'capitalist' and anti Chairman Mao."  These included allowing free

markets in the countryside, advocating better professional skills for

workers, permitting relative literary and artistic freedom, and

encouraging competitiveness in sports now termed 'bourgeois

cups-and-medals mania."  Until now most officials had had no idea that

Mao had disliked these policies after all, the directives had all come

from the Party, which was led by him.  Now they were told, out of the

blue, that all these policies had come from the 'bourgeois

headquarters' within the Party.

 

In every unit there were people who became activists.

 

They were called Rebel Red Guards, or "Rebels' for short.

...

This was another confused attempt by my parents to try to cope with the

Cultural Revolution.  They did not resent the prospect of losing their

privileged positions in fact, they were trying to see this as something

positive.

 

Nineteen sixty-seven came.  Suddenly, the Cultural Revolution switched

into high gear.  In its first stage, with the Red Guard movement, an

atmosphere of terror had been created.  Now Mao turned to his major

goal: to replace the 'bourgeois headquarters' and the existing Party

hierarchy with his personal power system.  Liu Shaoqi and Deng Xiaoping

were formally denounced and detained, as was Tao Zhu.

...

"Seize power' (duo-quart)!  This was a magic phrase in China.  Power

did not mean influence over policies it meant license over people.  In

addition to money, it brought privilege, awe, and fawning, and the

opportunity to take revenge.  In China, there were virtually no safety

valves for ordinary people.  The whole country was like a pressure

cooker in which a gigantic head of compressed steam had built up. There

were no football matches, pressure groups, law suits, or even violent

films.  It was impossible to voice any kind of protest about the system

and its injustices, unthinkable to stage a demonstration. Even talking

about politics an important form of relieving pressure in most

societies was taboo.

...

All sorts of people -workers, teachers, shop assistants, even the staff

of government offices started calling themselves "Rebels."  Following

the example of Shanghai, they physically beat the now disorientated

"Loyalists' into surrender.

...

Several times my mother was paraded through the streets with a dunce

cap on her head, and a heavy placard hanging from her neck on which her

name was written with a big cross over it to show her humiliation and

her demise.  Every few steps, she and her colleagues were forced to go

down on their knees and kowtow to the crowds.  Children would be

jeering at her.  Some would shout that their kowtowing did not make

enough noise and demand that they do it again.  My mother and her

colleagues then had to bang their foreheads loudly on the stone

pavement.

...

When I came home that afternoon, I found my father in the kitchen.  He

had lit a fire in the big cement sink, and was hurling his books into

the flames.

 

This was the first time in my life I had seen him weeping.

...

He had to go to many denunciation meetings.  Mrs.  Shau and her group

usually got a large number of Rebels from outside to increase the size

of the crowd and to lend a hand in the violence.  A standard opening

was to chant:

 

"Ten thousand years, another ten thousand years, and yet another ten

thousand years to our Great Teacher, Great Leader, Great Commander, and

Great Helmsman Chairman Mao!"  Each time the three 'ten thousand's and

four 'great's were shouted out, everyone raised their Litfie Red Books

in unison.  My father would not do this.  He said that the 'ten

thousand years' was how emperors used to be addressed, and it was

unfitting for Chairman Mao, a Communisc

 

This brought down a torrent of hysterical yells and slaps.

 

At one meeting, all the targets were ordered to kneel and kowtow to a

huge portrait of Mao at the back of the platform.  While the others did

as they were told, my father refused.  He said that kneeling and

kowtowing were undignified feudal practices which the Communists were

committed to eliminating.  The Rebels screamed, kicked his knees, and

struck him on the head, but he still struggled to stand upright.

...

"I will not kneel!  I will not kowtowl' he said furiously.  The enraged

crowd demanded, "Bow your head and admit your crimes!"  He replied, "I

have committed no crime.  I will not bend my head!"

 

Several large young men jumped on him to try to force him down, but as

soon as they let go he stood up straight, raised his head, and stared

defiantly at the audience.  His assailants yanked his hair and pulled

his neck.  My father struggled fiercely.  As the hysterical crowd

screamed that he was 'anti-Culttu'al Revolution," he shouted angrily,

"What kind of Cultural Revolution is this?  There is nothing "cultural"

about it!  There is only brutality!"

 

The men who were beating him howled, "The Cultural Revolution is led by

Chairman Mao!  How dare you oppose it?"  My father raised his voice

higher: "I do oppose it, even if it is led by Chairman Mao!"

 

There was total silence.

 

"Opposing Chairman Mao' was a crime punishable by death.  Many people

had died simply because they had been accused of it, without any

evidence.

...

As an indication of the terror of the day, no one dared to burn or

throw away any newspapers.  Every front page carried Mao's portrait,

and every few lines featured Mao's quotations.  These papers had to be

treasured and it would bring disaster if anyone saw you disposing of

them.  Keeping them was also a problem: mice might gnaw into Mao's

portrait, or the papers might simply rot either of these would be

interpreted as a crime against Mao.  Indeed, the first large-scale

factional fighting in Chengdu was triggered by some Red Guards

accidentally sitting on old newspapers which had Mao's face on them.  A

schoolfriend of my mother's was hounded to suicide because she wrote

"Heartily love Chairman Mao' on a wall poster with one brush stroke

inadvertently shorter, making the character 'heartily' look like the

one meaning 'sadly."

...

My father replied, "Maybe Chairman Mao feels he could not achieve his

goal without turning the whole place upside down.  He has always been

thorough and he has never been fainthearted about casualties."

 

After a charged pause, my father went on: "This cannot be a revolution

in any sense of the term.  To secure personal power at such cost to the

country and the people has to be wrong.  In fact, I think it is

criminal."

...

The Politburo was effectively replaced by the Cultural Revolution

Authority.  Lin Biao soon began to purge commanders loyal to the

marshals, and the role of the Central Military Committee was taken over

by his personal office, which he controlled through his wife.  Mao's

cabal now was like a medieval court, structured around wives, cousins,

and fawning courtiers.  Mao sent delegates to the provinces to organize

"Revolutionary Committees," which were to be the new instruments of his

personal power, replacing the Party system all the way down to the

grass roots.

...

"Deputy Commander Lin Biao said:

"Every word of Chairman Mao's is universal absolute truth, and every

word equals ten thousand words"!"

 

"If a word means one word," my father said, 'it is already a man's

supreme achievement.  It is not humanly possible for one word to mean

ten thousand.  What Deputy Commander Lin Biao said was rhetorical, and

should not be taken literally."

 

The Tings could not believe their ears, according to their account

afterward.  They warned my father that his way of thinking, talking,

and behaving was against the Cultural Revolution, which was led by

Chairman Mao.  To this my father said he would like a chance to debate

with Chairman Mao about the whole thing.  These words were so suicidal

that the Tings were speechless.  After a silence, they stood up to

leave.

...

 

20.  '1 Will Not Sell My Soul' My Father Arrested 

(1967-1968)

...

They verbally attacked each other with Mao's quotations, making cynical

use of his guru-like elusiveness it was easy to select a quotation of

Mao's to suit any situation, or even both sides of the same argument.

Mao knew that his vapid 'philosophy' was boomeranging on him, but he

could not intervene explicitly without losing his mystical

remoteness.

...

...

...

Between 1983 and 1989, I went back to visit my mother every year, and

each time I was overwhelmed by the dramatic diminution of the one thing

that had most characterized life under Mao: fear.

 

In spring 1989 I traveled around China researching this book.  I saw

the buildup of demonstrations from Chengdu to Tiananmen Square.  It

struck me that fear had been forgotten to such an extent that few of

the millions of demonstrators perceived danger.  Most seemed to be

taken by surprise when the army opened fire.  Back in London, I could

hardly believe my eyes when I saw the killing on television.  Was it

really ordered by the same man who had been to me and to so many others

a liberator?

 

Fear made a tentative comeback, but without the all pervasive and

crushing force of the Maoist days.  In political meetings today, people

openly criticize Party leaders by name.  The course of liberalization

is irreversible.  Yet Mao's face still stares down on Tiananmen

Square.

 

The economic reforms of the 1980s brought an unprecedented rise in the

standard of living, par fly thanks to foreign trade and investmenc

Everywhere in China officials and citizens greet businessmen from

abroad with overflowing eagerness.  In 1988, on a trip to Jinzhou, my

mother was staying at Yu-lin's small, dark, primitive apartment, which

was next to a rubbish dump.  Across the street stands the best hotel in

Jinzhou, where lavish feasts are laid on every day for potential

investors from overseas.

 

ojala.pauli@gmail.com

INDICATOR of the culture

 

Hajanaisia huomioita Kiinan hallituksen imperialismista

USA epäilee Kiinaa hakkeroinnista

MikroPC.net - pe 30.5.2008 klo 16:55
Yhdysvaltain hallituksen edustajat tutkivat väitettä, jonka mukaan Kiinan viranomaiset ovat yrittäneet murtautua USA:n liittovaltion tietokoneisiin amerikkalaiselta virkamieheltä nappaamansa sylimikron avulla.

Syytösten mukaan kiinalaiset viranomaiset anastivat amerikkalaisen huippuvirkamiehen lyhyeksi aikaa ilman valvontaa jättämän sylimikron, kopioivat koneen tiedostot ja sen jälkeen yrittivät ahkerasti hakkeroida Yhdysvaltain hallituksen tiedostoja.

Tapauksen sanotaan sattuneen viime joulukuussa Pekingissä Yhdysvaltain kauppaministerin Carlos M. Gutierrezin virallisen vierailun yhteydessä, uutistoimisto Associated Press kertoo nimettöminä pysyviin lähteisiinsä vedoten.

Kauppaministeri Gutierrez ei halunnut kommentoida asiaa AP:lle, koska hänen mukaansa tapauksen tutkimukset ovat vielä kesken.

MP, Tietoviikko

Uutisia myös www.tietoviikko.fi
Kommentoi uutista (mahdollista vain rekisteröityneille)
Lue uutiskommentteja (myös vierailijat voivat lukea)
Kerro muille kiinnostuneille

 

http://www.kp-art.fi/default.htm

Kiinan kielessä sanoilla on eri merkitys siit äriippuen, onko äänenpaino nouseva, laskeva-noueva, laskeva, vai tasainen. Esimerkiksi mai voi tarkoittaa joko ostamista tai myymistä. Niinpä liiketoiminta (maimai) on Kiinassa jo nimensäkin puolesta melko konstikasta.

 

Eri kirjoitusmerkkien määrä laajimmassa kiinalaisessa sanakirjassa (Zhonghua Zihai) on 85 000 kpl. Tarina runoilijasta joka asuu kivitalossa ja pitää leijonien syömisestä on länsimaisilla aakkosilla kirjoitettuna shi, shi, shi, shi, shi, shi, shi, shi, shi, shi, shi, shi, shi... Sana tarkoittaa kuolla, uloste, runo jne.

 

Kiinaksi kuningas on wang ja se on myös yleisin sukunimi maailman suurimman kansan keskellä. Kiinan 1,3 miljardista ihmisestä noin 85%:lla on joku sadasta yleisimmästä sukunimestä, minkä takia hallitus ajaa sukunimireformia. Etunimissä taas valinnanvaraa on rajattomasti. Etunimet eivät ole samalla tapaa vakiintuneita kuin lännessä eikä Kiinassa vietetä nimipäiviä.

 

Kiinan merkitys länsimaiden teollisuustuotteiden vientimaana on ERITTÄIN voimakkaassa nousussa. Jo Kiinan rikkaat -listalla v. 2007 oli 108 dollarimiljardööriä. Sellaisilla on ostovoimaakin. Jos kiinalaiset tottuvat samanlaisiin lihaa suosiviin ruokailutottumuksiin kuin länsimaat, ruuan hinta tulee nousemaan lukemiin joiden rinnalla 2008 kevään ruokapula kalpenee. Yli 50 miljoonaa dollaria kavaltaneita valtion virkamiehiä on jo yli 4000 henkeä. Kiinalta kului 5 vuotta kansantaloutensa kaksinkertaistamiseen vuodesta 2001 alkaen.

 

Kahdenkymmenen viime vuoden aikana Shanghaihin on valmistunut uusi pilvenpiirtäjä miltei joka toinen päivä. Kiinan 560 miljoonasta kaupunkilaisesta 1% hengitysilma täyttää EU:n kriteerit turvalliselle ilmanlaadulle (Kiinan ympäristönsuojeluvirasto). Silti seuraavien 20 vuoden aikana ennustetaan 300 miljoonan kiinalaisen muuttavan maalta kaupunkiin. Kiinassa on 141 miljoonakaupunkia. Kiina tuottaa 45.1 miljoonaa tonnia sianlihaa vuodessa. Kiinan syrjäisessä Guizhoun maakunnassa ihmiset tienaavat keskimäärin 1564 yuania eli noin 150 euroa vuodessa. Mao Tsetungin johtaman Suuren harppauksen aikana 1958-1961 on arvioitu ainakin 30 miljoonan ihmisen kuolleen nälkään eli harpanneen kuolemaan.

 

Kahdeksan on Kiinassa onnenluku, joka lausutaan samaan tapaan kuin "rikastua". Niinpä Pekingin kesäolympialaiset alkavat 8.8.2008.

 

Minimisakko, jonka perhe Pekingissä joutuu maksamaan toisen lapsen hankkimisesta on 6500 euroa (Lähde: Pekingin perhesuunnitteluvirasto). lasten keskimääräinen lukumäärä kiinalaisessa perheessä oli vielä vuonna 2006 1,8 (Lähde: China by numbers 2008). Yhden lapsen politiikka on luonut Kiinaan sukupolven, jolla ei ole siskoja tai veljiä, ei tätejä eikä setiä. Koko tätiä merkinnyt sana ayi on nyt yleisilmaisu kotiapulaiselle. Tytön kaverit ovat joko pikkusiskoja (meimei) tai isosiskoja (jiejie).

 

Beijing eli Peking on kirjaimellisesti "Pohjoinen pääkaupunki". Mielikuvituksen puutetta voi verrata sanoihin Nanjing ("Eteläinen pääkaupunki") tai naapurimaan Tokio ("Itäinen pääkaupunki").

Amnesty Internationalin mukaan Kiinan osuus maailmassa tehdyistä teloituksista on 94%. Ihminen voidaan lähettää Kiinan lain mukaan pakkotyöleirille ilman oikeudenkäyntiä 4 vuodeksi.

Laittomien piraattikopioiden osuus kaikista Kiinassa myytävistä tietokoneohjelmista on 86% (Business software Alliance).

 

Kiinalaisia hallituksen iskulauseita, suoraan punaisista banderolleista:

"Köyhien pitäisi hävetä!"

"Puhemies Mao Tsetung, punainen aurinko sydämissämme. Lue Maon kirjaa, kuuntele hänen ajatuksiaan."

"Jos makaat rautatiekiskoilla, olet laillisesti vastuussa, jos et kuole."

"kaada puita, niin äitisi kuolee ensimmäisenä!"

"Jos lapset sytyttävät tulipalon, vankilaan laitetaan isä."

"Optisissa kuiduissa ei ole kuparia. Turha varastaa."

"On kiellettyä vastustaa verotusta aseellisesti."

"Opiskele syvälliesti ja toteuta pääsihteeri Hu Jintaon puheen tärkeää henkeä, hallinnoi ja käytä Qinghain-Tiibetin rautatietä hyvin tuottaen onnellisuutta kaikille radan varressa asuville etnisille kansanryhmille."

 

Keisarit rakensivat aikoinaan Kiinan muuri eristämään "Keskustan valtakunnan" barbareista. Nykyään Kiinan internetin Palomuuri pitää kiinalaisia erossa muun maailman tiedoista. On arveltu, että työkseen internetiä sensuroi noin 30 000 kiinalaista virkamiestä (Lähde: Business-week). Googlen mukaan Kiinan internetin suosituin hakusana on "raha". Kolme seuraavaksi suosituinta ovatkin sitten pankkien nimiä. Sitten tulee "osake". Lännessä suosituimmat sanat ovat porno, seksi, pornografia etc. Julkkistenpalvonta on silti Kiinassa suurempaa kuin miltei missään muualla. Jopa 40% kiinalaisista internetsivuista käsittelee julkkiksia.

 

Sami Sillanpää, Kiina-ilmiö (Helsingin Sanomat, Karisto 2008)