中国50年代到70年代一系列的伤痕比官方批均的一时的伤痕文学描写的严重得多。我一月份在他的重庆家里认识了《血记》 作者孔令平先生。他的回忆录的光碟版是2010年香港五七学社出版社出版的。 我做了很少一部分的英文翻译。 我的翻译在中文原文后面。
——- 英文翻译 ——
Blood Chronicle Book One
Chapter One The Newborn Calf Falls into the Trap of Openness
In early April 1957, it already felt like Spring on the Chongqing University campus. At noon one day, the student restaurant loudspeakers blared an announcement from the university party committee — “This afternoon at two o’clock, all university students, teachers and staff will hear the chairman of the university party committee pass along an important document from the Central Committee. Bring your own stool. Don’t be absent.”
Then a song about the beauty of the four season by Zhou Xuan was played. I took my lunch and walked out the west side of the restaurant. On the steps, my classmate Ma Kaixian was eating her lunch and sunning herself.
“This afternoon we will have to listen to another report. Which one of us is bringing the stools?” I asked.
She turned towards her face, slightly reddened already by the Spring sunlight answering, “Of course, that’s your job. I’ll wait for you here.” Then she flicked her pigtail towards me mischeviously and made a face.
I passed the Chongqing University Mechanical Engineering Department entrance examination in 1955. Life in college was much different from high school. We didn’t have any one classroom but followed a schedule moving from classroom to classroom. We chose out seat when we arrived and then left as the end of that class. There was no set place for self-study and review work. Apart from going to classes and studying late in the dormitory, students took their book bags and their things to study in the library or in classrooms. Life was much freer than in high school. Having been in the school for two years, I knew all the good places to study and every corner of the campus.
Ma Xiankai and I chose an old building near the pine forest back gate to the school. Most of the chairs and desks were missing; most people didn’t go there. It was quiet, pine trees were all about and the air was especially fresh. In those days, we had just fallen in love and enjoyed having a quiet place to study together and discuss things where we would not be disturbed. We repaired two desks and chairs ourselves and nailed together two stools that we could take wherever we liked whenever we attended a meeting or an outdoor film.
That afternoon, we heard a recording of Mao Zedong speaking at the Eleventh State Council meeting on “The Correct Handing of Contradictions Among the People”. When the meeting started, the university party committee secretary Zheng Siqun at the microphone announced that we would not be allowed to take notes. He enunciated the instruction very clearly, stressing each word, so that we knew that this was a rule that must be obeyed. Mao Zedong’s difficult Hunan accent added to the noise on the recording made listening difficult. However that were many things on the recording that we had never heard in our political studies that made this special. This freshness added to university president Zheng’s stern instruction, made for a much different atmosphere than before.
In those days, everyone was respectful of this top leader of the party and state. Although the recording was long, repetitious and disjointed yet order remained good and everyone on this ten thousand square meter “meeting place” listened from two o’clock in the afternoon until 6:30. There was very little talking back and forth and nobody snuck away. I remember to this day listening to that leisurely Hunan drawl as he talked about Khrushchev and the 17th Congress of the Soviet Communist Party, about the events in Hungary and Poland, and about the situation in Eastern Europe. During those days, the “History of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union” was a required course as part of our political training. Students of engineering and science, and in particular those of us who were the children of “counter-revolutionary households” were not interested in delving deeply into that curriculum. This even though the secret report to the Twentieth Congress of the Communist Party of the USSR, after it was revealed to the world by the CIA and had created a series of earthquakes and divisions in the communist camp, had not made an impression on us.
Ever since my early youth I had been cursed by the tag of being from a “counter-revolutionary household”. Just hearing about counterrevolutionary riots and their suppression made me feel worry that I was going to be put into a difficult position and suffer for it. In my freshman year, I had run into the movement to fight the Hu Feng Counter-revolutionary group. Every time I heard that fearful label in my ears, I didn’t dare ask “Why did Hu Feng want to oppose the revolution?” I would simply repeat the dry statement that the Communist Youth League person had given us and never went any further. When I started Middle School, my father was arrested. Caught up in a long series of red terror movements, I always remembered my mother’s injunction “Don’t be like your father, don’t ask about politics, just be a good student and discover your talents. That is the only thing. Don’t say anything about anything else, child. Remember the example of your father. ”
As for the Soviet Union, all I knew was that “the socialist camp is impregnable. Nothing is stronger. Communism cannot be defeated. The Communist Party will destroy all the plots of the imperialists.”
That day however, we heard from the very lips of Mao Zedong himself that we must opposed personality cults and the hero-worshiping of individuals. We heard that person from Hun an say that the the good deeds and errors of that deified figure Stalin himself were in the ratio of three to seven. That very head of the Soviet Communist Party who had been praised as the leader and father had become an ordinary man who made mistakes! We for the first time heard a new theory, to wit: Serious errors of subjectivism, bureaucratism, and factionalism exist even within that sacred and paramount institution — the Communist Party. There had been strikes and demonstrations in the socialist countries of Eastern Europe because their communist parties had been unable to resolve contradictions among the people. That “There are many contradictions among the people, some of them quite serious at times” We need to use the methods of criticism and self-criticism, democracy and persuasion to resolve contradictions among the people. The academic world should rely on as its guiding principle the method of “Let a Hundred Flowers Bloom, Let a Hundred Schools of Thought Compete”. Speak out freely and fully and write big character posters.
These principles, like a fresh rain, encouraged all the students since they had been chilled by a steady succession of political campaigns. I noticed the teachers in the front row straightening up and concentrating.
After the meeting was over, the students started vigorous discussions. Some of the students at the student restaurant even launched into a vivid description of Khrushchev secret report to the Twentieth Congress of the Soviet Communist Party that had been stolen by the CIA.
The library’s copy of Reference News and other publications that had published this report were all taken as everyone fought to read these materials and from them ponder just what was going on in China.
My lover and I were no exception. In the little study room we had made for ourselves we discussed it. An intellectually stimulating Spring had come upon us!
第一節：“大鳴大放” Section One “Speak Out Boldly, Holding Nothing Back”
Two days later, a banner “Let a Hundred Flowers Bloom, Let a Hundred Schools of Thought Contend” in big red letters hung from the education building.
Then all the Communist Party, Youth League, Teachers and employees of the university participated in a meeting held at the auditorium on Pine Hill called “Help the Communist Party Correct its Working Style” “speak out boldly” meeting led by the Chongqing University Communist Party Deputy Secretary Song Dianne. On the buildings around the meeting place there were already hung all kinds of colorful slogans such as “Correctly distinguish between the two kinds of contradictions and handle correctly contradictions among the people”; “mobilize the masses in a mild and caring way to help the Party conscientiously correct problems in its working style”; “oppose subjectivism, bureaucratism and factionalism”; “Speaking out is not wrong, listeners should heed the warning, talk about anything you know about and don’t hold anything back”.
At that mobilization meeting, Song Dianbin spoke in an unusually mild and sincere way. To express the attitude of the school party committee, he pounded on his chest to pledge that as he led this meeting, he would be open-minded as he listened to everyone’s opinions. He said he would accept any criticism, no matter how pointed.
The day after the mobilization meeting led by Song Dianbin, another big “speak out boldly” assembly of the entire university was held on the Unity Arena. All the top university leaders spoke out, welcoming everyone and asking everyone to share their views and to hold nothing back. Following them spoke the members of the mobilization committees of the various university departments, years and sections. They got into some detail and urged the entire university teachers, staff and students not to “avoid” any topic.
At the same time, the national media was getting into high gear, repeating constantly “The entire party and the entire people are taking active part in a big speak out boldly debate. The movement to correct the working style of the Communist Party is the the most urgent current task facing us all” and that it was particularly important that “democratic elements outside the Communist Party participate more actively in helping the Communist Party correct its working style.” The authorities employed slogans like a Chinese Communist must be determined “to make themselves of one heart and one mind with the people, and work together with the people to build a prosperous New China” and to be honest in working together “with the people of the democratic parties build prosperous coexistence, to supervise one another, and to cooperate with them as one”.
After reading some representative statements from the discussions at the meeting of all the democratic parties and democratic elements of the country convened by the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party, such as Chen Mingshu’s “Seeking Teachers and Friends h Outside the Party”, I thought that Chen Mingshu’s talks was just flattery of the Communist Party. In particular, the part where inspired by the old saying “Among any three people, at least one must be my teacher”, he suggests that the Communist Party itself should also seek advice from people who are not party members, which is nothing more than what Mao Zedong himself said. Huang Shaohong’s talk “The Party Replacing the Government” touched on an extremely sensitive issue of the leadership of the Communist Party. He said while the Party is certain to be concerned about the methods of governance, actually doing everything itself is not a good working style or a good method. It would be strange indeed if the Party trying to do everything did not lead to the ills of subjectivism, bureaucratism and factionalism.
Moreover, Zhang Xiruo discussed the problem of the Communist Party’s four major deviations — being overly ambitious for great achievements, being too eager for quick successes and accomplishments, despising the past, and having a superstitious anticipation of a great future” These opinions were offered to Mao Zedong as part of “taking the pulse”. Didn’t Mao Zedong earnestly call for everyone to present their opinions without reserve? Who could have predicted that Mr. Zhang’s words diagnose Mao Zedong’s mental illness and sensitive taboo?
Zhang Bojun in his talk on “A Political Planning Institute” suggest that many people should work together on political planning. That four humble workmen putting their heads together can plot a great strategy — is that what Mao Zedong had told us many times in his talks? Didn ‘t he call for a hundred flowers to bloom? Isn’t calling for a Political Planning Institute just an enthusiastic response to his call?
As for Chu Anping’s “The Party Controls Everything” made a sensation. The idea grew out of the old joke about the young monk who was always praising the old monk. “The Party Controls Everything” is just calling a spade a spade, not the servility of Chen Mingshu and speaking more directly than Huang Shaohong about the tyranny of the Communist Party, something that had the Chinese Communist Party’s allies had expresses dissastisfaction with that year.
How could university students under the control of red terrorism understand the world struggle between autocracy and democracy that was underway? Isn’t it a fact that the Communist Party was always deceiving people in matters both large and small? Wasn’t it true that those weak voices against one party rule were saying the same views that the Communist Party had strongly held back when it was fighting the rule of the Nationalist Party?
Luo Longji is his “Rehabilitation Committee” proposal showed how under the rule of the Communist Party there were a great many injustices. Who was not aware of that, especially people who had been attacked on account of their families? From the perspective of the ruling party, correcting mistaken and unjust cases should be a right and proper correction to make and a forthright opinion to offer.
Now these people who brought up these views and human rights were the “old friends” who had supported and helped the Communist Party. Mao Zedong himself had acknowledged that without their support, the Communists could not have won. Most of what they said were views that the Communist Party itself used to propose and hold. Now these views, from the perspective of a governing party, were hindrances.
Now the strong anesthetic injection that “The nationwide large scale class struggle storm had passed and the new period of peaceful construction has arrived” and so the atmosphere of fear generated during the campaigns of the Three Oppositions (oppose corruption, waste and bureaucracy) and Five Oppositions (oppose bribery, tax evasion, theft of state property, cheating on government contracts and stealing) and the campaign against the Hu Feng counter-revolutionary clique had dissipated. Now it seemed that the big democracy of Europe can be used and the mild methods of “little democracy” can be applied to solve problems.
This is how as the spring flower blossoms opened during the third lunar month of 1957, Mao Zedong spread a deceptive “fragrance” throughout the country. In the lines of the relaxing tune “Correctly Handle Contradictions Among the People” describes how under the leadership of the Communist Party the masses “made trouble” for which the magnanimous Communist Party blamed itself, humbling bowing low as it accepted the “criticisms” and “suggestions” of the masses. The Party is like a glorious democratic spirit which for the sake of the state and the people came to the campus to plant a cultivate the beautiful scene of the “hundred flowers blooming”. The spring is the season for planting. The spring is just the season for showing the wonderful image of the Creator.
We who had already lived for seven years under the red terror of the Chinese Communist Party breathed sighs of relief and felt that in the midst of our fear we have been given an unexpected favor. We had become accustomed to the loss of democratic rights and always felt very cautious about freedom of speech, for hadn’t the Hu Feng counterrevolutionary clique made that error only a few months earlier?
They were used to have the great matters of state being taken charge of by the “party’s policy” and the “governance” of the school to be handled by the school’s party committee. So they never thought about those things. Moreover they were afraid of being tagged as someone who came from a “counter-revolutionary” household or as someone who had “counter-revolutionary thoughts”, of being investigated, and so kept their distance from these things.
Everyone knew from the Hu Feng case that anyone who listened to foreign broadcasts could be convicted of treason and jailed so nobody dared to listen to them. Conversely, they thought that this dictatorial measure of the Chinese communists was right and proper and that democratic views were dangerous. They became so cowardly that even when their own relatives were condemned unjustly in some campaign that they didn’t dare to speak up for them, thinking that making use of their right to appeal would get them into dangerous territory and so simply gave up. They didn’t dare oppose the arrogant attitude of the Communist Party organization.
Therefore when the party branch organization urged them on, they will unwilling to say anything at the “speak out” meetings. What did they expect these students of science and engineering to say? They could perfectly well have a passionate debate about some technical issue. They never expected and never imagined that they would be expected to offer advice to the party
In order to find out how the various “speak out” meetings were going, the branch party secretary called a meeting of the branch youth league secretaries for each year and each class and gave out a notebook to each one of them. He admonished them to be ready to make notes on the meeting of the next day, including the names of all the speakers. They were told that they must turn in the notebooks to his office every evening before lights out.
Not only did the youth league branch secretaries for each class not understand the intention behind all this, their liaison branch party secretary did not know and was just following the directions of the school party committee. The secrecy of the Communist Party was strict and so when the Party center decided on a policy, it required organizations at every level to carry out the policy as stated. They weren’t allowed to ask why!
The speak out meeting of our class was held by the branch youth league secretary Chen Si, in his room, No. 204. In those days there were very few student members of the Communist Party. Among the 1300 students in our department, there were only a dozen or so party members. This meeting in principle should have been chaired by a party member, but on the class level was convened instead by the youth league secretary.
Chen Si didn’t known how to conduct this kind of meeting which was strictly required by party policy. He didn’t know what to do and was afraid of making a mistake if he didn’t do it right, but he didn’t have any idea of what was correct and incorrect. The sophomore political guidance instructor, a Mr. Deng had previously in that same room had called a series of meetings with several people who didn’t know about other meetings on the same topic so as to root out and criticize the Hu Feng counter-revolutionary clique. Then, a teaching assistant said that “Study is a matter of fighting alone with all one’s might” and so was marked as a Hu Feng element. Later that teaching assistant was sent to away for re-education through labor.
Chen Si had no idea of why it was wrong to say that “study is a matter of fighting alone with all one’s might”. Where is the mistake in saying that? He himself had seen that teaching assistant being taken away in the prison van. From then on, he was especially on his guard whenever he met party members.
Normally when he conducted political study sessions for his class, he first made close notes of the talk the branch party secretary for their year Cao Ying gave them and reproduced them exactly, never daring to stray from them in any way.
That was not even a year ago. The brutality in political instructor Deng’s voice still rang in his ears. Suddenly everyone is asked to think broadly and told that it is allowed to say anything. People don’t understand that at all.
Chen Si made his opening remarks according to the notes that he had made at the department meeting. Class leader Guo Yinghu opened the meeting record book. The first day’s discussion was cautious, not at all like the vigorous discussions the students had had in the library and restaurant.
This worried Chen Si. How could he present a record of this meeting of the dumb to the school’s party secretary. There was no alternative but to use the old method of political meetings and call on people one by one.
Everyone simply gave a response in line with Chen Si’s opening remarks. Although Deng Yinghua made some revisions for the sake of the record, they were not significant, mere changes in phrasing. If he were to present this record to the school party secretary, he would certainly be criticized. The meetings of all the classes in the department went just the same way. The school party secretary then demanded that the youth league secretaries for each branch think of ways to get people to “speak from the heart”.
Chen Si returned and called a meeting of the branch committee of the youth league branch. The Propaganda and Education Committee member made a suggestion, volunteering to ask the ordinarily outspoken Lin Juan and Liu Tang speak first. Let them present suggestions on the work of their youth league branch. Organization Committee member Liu Kuize suggested that the person that Lin Juan most despises, Lei Tianpei speak first, then have Lin Juan make a response. This would enliven the whole atmosphere.
This plan was carried out at the next day’s “speak out” rally. Lei Tianpei spoke first and stopped after saying just ten sentences. Naturally this led to a sarcastic remark from Lin Juan, saying he was just like a poor quality tape recorder and not at a like a real man should be like. Surprisingly, she moved right on to attack class leader Guo Yinghua felt compelled to say that she was really too simple minded and harsh in her attitude. Moreover she was too subjective in the way she organized class activities, just doing things the way she pleases. For example, she said she was going to organize trips but we are already two months into the semester and we haven’t been on a trip. Another class, number five, had already gone on a trip to Longevity Lake and to Dazu — they went on a trip every week. She said she hoped that Deng Yinghua would change this incorrect work style.
Guo Yinghua face flushed red and then went pale for a moment. She put down her notebook, and didn’t know quite what to write in her notebook. She wrote this “Lin Juan statement: Criticizes Deng Guohua class leader for inflexible thinking, she has the flaws of subjectivism and dogmatism, she is inflexible in her organization work and must improve.”
After Lin Juan dropped her bomb, Liu Tangjin followed up but citing an example to criticize Guo Yinghua’s “bureaucratic” working style. He said, “Last year, in the principles of mechanics class when we discussed gears and we still were not clear about the way a gear transmission shifts upwards and downwards and though that Teacher Lin was moving a little too fast, and asked the teacher to add some additional material to work on in the self-study class, only Guo Yinghua opposed, “The self-study class is for self study, digestion of the material on one’s own, and there is no need for the entire class to meet and have a supplementary class on a small matter.” This individual subjective view blithely contradicted everyone else’s views. Isn’t is clear that this is subjectivism, that this is dogmatism.
For the sake of being in line with the “speak out boldly” theme, Liu Tang put two hats on that class leader who was not even twenty years old. Deng Guohua was not a party member and seemingly had nothing to do with “helping the Party correct its working style”. Although it was off topic, still it made for an argument and everybody brought up a wide range of opinions and so became a genuine meeting for reviewing how democratic their community life had been.
The speaking out boldly of the science and engineering students was confined to those class leaders who they were in direct contact in their daily lives and studies. Chen Si and Deng Yinghua who were not even twenty, not to mention the beloved and well respected school party secretary Zheng Siqun, had no idea what the Party Center’s intention behind all this really was.
Big character posters pasted on campus wall stirred up the quiet campus. I remember the first big character poster put up in the mechanical engineering department. That poster, in polite language, aimed to give a “word of advice” to Cao Ying. Cao Ying was the class party group leader and a member of the organization committee of the party branch of the department. He was a cadre transfer who had been sent to the department by a certain organization. Although he was ten years old that us naive students but she had no better than an elementary school education and was already the father of two children. He had been sent to the university from the bureaucracy to brush up his resume.
There were many “cadre transfer” students in the department, much older than the other students who wore the hats of both party members and officials. In the early period after “liberation”, in order to change the “composition” of the intellectuals by placing among those students who had been born into the oppressor class some students of peasant and worker backgrounds. That is how the “cadre transfer” students came to the university campus. It didn’t matter whether they could keep up with the classwork, what mattered was that they spoke up for the interests of the Party and criticize people who had “poor class consciousness”. Everyone was a little afraid of them.
The person who posted the big character poster, blended sarcasm and irony with humble words that he hoped he that this campaign would wash him thoroughly. However he also hoped that the pretentious people who were criticizing him would study more mathematics and mechanics so they wouldn’t get a zero on their graduation examination and in the future work disappoint the Party’s hopes in them, and so make it hard to achieve the goal of serving the people.
Some with the poor educational background of Cao Ying might not necessarily catch the meaning.
Then came a second poster, a third and then many more. Cao Ying already had a bad reputation among the students. He was thought to take advantage of “political examination” and “a private conversation” to often take liberties with beautiful young women who had just entered the university.
During the speak out boldly period, the most controversy surrounded the poster about the head of the university food service. It was said that this 40 some son of north China peasants left the village to fight with the revolutionary forces for several years reaching the rank of company commander. After his return to civilian life, he was assigned as head of the food service at the university. There is no need to get into all the details of what was said during the speak boldly sessions. What got the whole school set aflame was the story of the diseased pork.
Nobody knows where section head Zhang bought several hundred fat pigs, but the next day a big epidemic started on the Chongqing University food service pig pens. After pigs died, they were sent to the student restaurants. The students ate diseased pork without knowing it.
The big character poster about section head Zhang that went up during the speak boldly period made him very ashamed of the diseased pork incident. He couldn’t explain from just which illegal merchant he bought so many diseased pigs. Nor could he explain why he used what he knew where diseased pigs to poison three thousand university students.
Section head Zhang was an old party member and had served in the Eighth Route Army. After he did this evil deed, he became a target of criticism as “corrupt official” and a “murderer”. The guilt made him sleepless for many days and nights. He always walked around with his head down.
It seemed as if students’ force of public opinion and ability to criticize people orally and in writing was sufficient to keep a watch over bad working styles within the Communist Party. This student movement resembled the student protests many years later in Indonesia and South Korea. Chinese students had an honorable tradition of protest going back to the May Fourth Movement. However, the tyranny of the Communist Party fostered ignorance and blind hero worship among the students so that they were unable to make reasonable objective judgments.
Section chief Zhang had a backer in Song Dianbin, who was concurrently the university deputy party secretary and university personnel department chief. Song for years had been fighting counter-revolution; fighting in the campaign against corruption, waste and bureaucracy; fighting in the campaign against bribery, tax evasion, theft of state property, cheating on government contracts and stealing; and fighting the Hu Feng counter-revolutionary clique. He always played the role of backstage director in these campaigns. If one were to search for someone who had committed the errors of bureaucratism and subjectivism, not to mention making up charges of murdering someone, he would be the one to choose. The section chief Zhang case came to roots on the head of this man who was used to being the stage director for accusations against others.
However, all the big character posters that went up were in line with policy and did not go outside the box of “criticism”. The meaning and usage was clearly aimed at seeing people as good and needing improvement. However in the cartoon drawn by the great cartoonist Lin Yusen, director Song became a short and fat fellow with his ears pointing backwards. The cartoon portrayed him going to work everyday, putting his bare feet up on the desk, drinking tea and smoking with a bunch of scattered documents that he had just approved. Some doggerel accompanied the cartoon that said that Secretary Song drinks tea and smokes in the office every day, approves documents hastily, and his not concerned abut the health of the faculty and students. We hope that he will conscientiously change this during this campaign.
Another kind of big character poster criticizing the Party and the Communist Youth League was concerned only their lifestyles and working styles. Sometimes a big character poster would say that professors should govern the school or criticizing the arrogance of the Party committee would appear. Some would criticize the way that elections to the People’s Congress were handled entirely by the party committee or the sufferings of innocent people in previous political campaigns. These posters were cautiously worded, were few in number and lost amongst the sea of posters that confined themselves to criticizing lifestyles and work styles. Later some posters appeared criticizing the behavior of some personnel at the USSR Embassy, Soviet military advisers and consulate personnel who harassed and acted aggressively towards Chinese female hosts at Chinese sponsored dance parties including forcibly “kissing” them.
Most of the students at Chongqing University were studying science, engineering and technology. At that time, about 80 percent of the students came from families of the “oppressor class”. Ever since “liberation” through the anti-landlord movement, the killing of local despots, the three opposes and the five opposes movements, and other movements against counter-revolutionaries, and atmosphere of fear had spread across the entire country. These people stained with an oppressor class background were the targets of these movements. Although they were temporarily in the majority of students at the university, the weight of public opinion against them they already felt as considerable moral pressure.
As someone from a “counter-revolutionary” household whose father was still in jail, I already felt more pressure than I could ever express. Therefore, I respected and feared “politics” like it was some powerful spirit and saw myself as “a first class dwarf”. That feeling of being “deeply branded with my class” filled me with a purposely created dread. I often thought of my mother’s warning “Above all, don’t get involved in politics, you should generally avoid discussing national affairs”. Therefore I decided to be a student of science and engineering. I thought if I could grow up to become an ordinary citizen, I would be doing well.
Our caution about politics made many of us children blind and cowardly about politics.
Mr. Dong Shiguang came back from the USA to teach at Western China Normal University. He spoke during a speak boldly meeting. Dong compared China and America including the systems and living standards of the peoples to explain his central point that the Communist Party was acting arbitrarily and dictatorially in its governance of China. Chongqing University invited him to come and talk to the entire school in a kind of democracy salon speech. His speech opened up the world and critical thought to those of us who had grown up amidst the traditional education of the Chinese communists and in the closed world of the university. But I didn’t attend.
Ma Kaixian went. When she got back she told me about it, clearly moved by what she had heard. She said: Mr. Dong compared the two systems using concrete examples. For example, he said that in the USA the students and faculty can bring questions about school facilities, the curriculum, and even the salary of teachers to the school’s board of directors. The board must respond to them. Reasonable suggestions are accepted and carried out with a certain period of time. Moreover, the U.S. government must abide by the U.S. Constitution and respect everyone’s opinion. Everyone has the right to criticize the government and can through their elected representatives impeach government officials etc.
In fact, I had already read of such things in publications and digests. However, I had been taught by the Chinese Communists the distortion of the truth that “In capitalist society, democracy and freedom is the democracy of people with money. The oppressed classes live in slavery even worse than the treatment of cows and horses.” This, combined with incessant political campaigns, had associated in my mind that worshiping America and fear of America are great counter-revolutionary crimes.
Throughout the period of speaking out boldly I was still caught up in my own foolishness and ignorance. I brought from my class background congenital inhibitions and cowardice that closed me up. I didn’t dare think for myself. Ignorance divorced us from the course of world events and the progress of civilizations, it made us lose our understanding of what a democratic society was, and we lost the motivation to live an authentic life.
Inhibitions re-enforce ignorance and ignorance re-enforces constraints.
The speak out boldly movement made us aware of our long held inhibitions and ignorance. We began to feel that we are pitiful people who have been kept in our ignorance and inhibitions for a long time. Keeping us there was the basic ideological guarantee of Mao Zedong’s dictatorship. Otherwise, Mao Zedong saw “democracy” as a great scourge that must be wiped out wherever it rears its head. If not, then how, during his lifetime could it have given birth to one political movement after another? Mao’s totalitarianism did not realize that once Chinese people understand their pitiful state of inhibition and ignorance, then dictatorship will be hard to maintain.
We young and isolated students didn’t realize the speak out boldly was just the opening of an ideological campaign that would be storm much larger and broader than the Oppose Hu Feng campaign. Hearing the solemn promises of every level of Party organization that the “Let a hundred flowers bloom” policy meant that people may speak out freely without fear of retaliation would in the end put those who spoke out into handcuffs and into prison!
It wasn’t until after Tian Tianrong at Beijing University painted a big character poster called for democracy and freedom, Lin Xiling spoke out at Beijing University about the grievances of Hu Feng, and Feng Zhujun at Sichuan University called for democracy and freedom that finally at Chonging University a metallurgy department student youth league secretary Pu Shiguang put up a big character poster signed “editorial board of an appeal on behalf of non-youth league members” on behalf of students who were not youth league members and came from a household with a bad class background “opposing the theory of the unique importance of class origin”.
Even so, university students throughout China still hadn’t managed to escape from the box of “ignorance and inhibitions” and so didn’t overstep the ideological bounds set by the Chinese Communist Party. Tan Tianrong’s poster ended with the words “Long live the Chinese Communist Party” and “Long live freedom, democracy and reasonable human rights” and Lin Xiling’s call for democracy was still for “socialist democracy”. These kinds of calls made under constraint, this making peace with the “cage” communist theory did not move Mao Zedong one bit.
Mao Zedong, already swept up in the superstition of his own dictatorship, was just carrying at a big plot in plain sight — an open plot to wildly brandish the butcher’s knife against democracy. Even Pu Shiguang, with his minor point of opposition in opposing the “unique importance of class background” did not escape the cruel repression. Pu Shiguang was convicted of the crime of organizing a counter-revolutionary group, arrested, jailed and sentenced to 20 years in prison. This even though the so-called “editorial board of the appeal on behalf of non Youth League members” consisted of only one person — himself.
Except for a few times when I was forced to attend criticism sessions, I did not take part in any discussions or criticism nor did I have any interest in discussing them or thinking about them.
In those days, A Xian and I got to understand each others’ lives, especially the days of innocence of our childhood and youth.