“The Execution of Chen Li” from Kong Lingping’s Bloody Chronicles


Excerpt from my draft translation from Kong Lingping’s Bloody Chronicle. I knew Kong Lingping when I worked in Chengdu. The story of the political prisoner Chen Li who was executed at the beginning of Mao’s Cultural Revolution.  I am one third of the way through the Chinese now.  You can read the first thirty pages of my draft translation at https://gaodawei.wordpress.com/2014/10/03/translation-of-first-20-pages-of-kong-lingpings-rightist-memoir-blood-chronicle-by-one-of-the-long-time-prisoners-of-mao-zedong/

Chapter Eight Metamorphosis

Trials by judgment of the people held in 1968 and later were not like the trials held in April 1967. In 1968 and later, the formalities were respected — the accused were allowed to present their views and requests. The people to receive sentencing were trussed up during the entire meeting.

During the eleven savage years of the Cultural Revolution from 1967 to 1977, the farm each year held several big meetings to judge people accused of “murder”. The number of murderers varied from three to a dozen or more. By the time they were beaten so their heads would be bloody and an armed soldier would tie their hands behind their backs, they no longer looked quite human. The prisoners who had been beaten so savagely that death seemed worse than life were then made to kneel down on the stage to intimidate the large convict audience. The audience was terror-stricken until sentencing was complete.

However, starting in 1977, the one-man dictatorship of Mao Zedong started to meet widespread resistance from the people. Although they were surrounded by enemies on all sides, the “capitalist roaders” within the Chinese Communist Party not only had not been pushed off the stage of history by the “Cultural Revolution”, later they assumed more and more of Mao’s powers and gradually moved towards center stage.

The murders were a sign that Mao’s dictatorship had been going down a dead end street….

Section One The movement to kill a small group of people

The “Tough Crackdown Struggle” was the climax of the Cultural Revolution savage butchery. Many political prisoners at the Yanyuan Farm were murdered after that cruel campaign of murder began.


1962 年 3 月,由重庆和成都监狱汇集起来的五百名“劳改”人员,在调往甘洛的流放途 中,大闹了雅安三元宫监狱,引发著名的四川“监狱抢馒头事件”。在那一晚上,在监狱探照 灯的照射下,我看到了一个高个子的人在振臂高呼:“我们这一点吊命粮,都要被老管克扣, 真是喝人血不眨眼,大家去把本该我们的囚粮抢回来!”此人就是陈力。

事件过后,我们这支队伍被调到甘洛,他被押去了斯足中队,我被押到西西卡中队。残 酷的炼狱使成渝两地集中的五百人,在短短十个月中,就有一半埋骨在这里的荒山野岭中。

1964 年 10 月,在经历了生死磨练后,我俩逃出了甘洛的鬼门关,作为幸存者,我们最后 在二道沟的“反省室”里相逢了。

在小监里,我俩打破了小监的规矩,彼此传递信息。并隔着墙,在反省室里交流了彼此 的身世。

1951 年,陈力刚从初中毕业,年仅 16 岁就应征入伍,“保家卫国”的大红花,使他在无 知中参加了“中国人民志愿军”,开赴朝鲜战场。经过两个月训练便跨过鸭绿江,充当了中共 的炮灰。


(1) Shooting Chen Li to Death

In March 1962, while a a group of 500 prisoners from the Chongqing and Chengdu prisoners were gathered together and sent along the road of exile to Ganluo, there was a big disturbance at the Sanyuan Palace monastery at Ya’an. This led to the famous Sichuan “Stealing steamed buns in prison” incident. That evening, under the illumination of the prison searchlights, I saw a tall man raising his arm and shouting, “The food we need to survive is being embezzled by the wardens. They are bloodthirsty monsters who care not a whit about us. Everybody, let’s go steal back the prison food that is rightfully ours!” That man was Chen Li.

After that event, our detachment was transferred to Ganluo. He was sent under armed escort to the Sizu Company while I was sent under armed escort to the Xixika Company. That cruel purgatory in just ten short months saw the bones of half of the 500 men sent there from Chengdu and Chongqing buried in the mountain wilderness.

In October 1964, after tempering by deadly dangerous trials, we two managed to escape as survivors from Ganluo’s gates of Hell. The last time we met was in the “soul-searching circle” at Erdaogou.

In the small prison, we broke small prison rules by exchanging information back and forth. Through the wall that separated us we exchanged our life stories as we sat in our soul-searching rooms.

In 1951, Chen Li had just graduated from middle school. He joined the army when he was just 16 years old. The bright red flowers given to those who “protected their homes and country” inspired him to join the “Chinese People’s Volunteer Army” and head for the Korean War front lines. After two months of training, he crossed the Yalu River and became Chinese Communist canon fodder. Day and night battles alternated with forced marches. Through the smoke and mist of the battlefield, he advanced to near the 38th parallel where he was involved in bloody battles in the mountains of Ganling. Braving carpet bombing, he really did fulfill his oath to “protect the motherland”. The battles were so confused that he wasn’t able to explain clearly just what had happened.

– 340 –
战上甘岭的战斗。冒着地毯式的轰炸,在地道里进行“保卫祖国”的宣誓,这一切是战争和炸 弹不能讲清楚的。

惨烈的战斗七天七夜下来,他所在的排只剩下了最后两个人。幸存的陈力当上了代理排 长,成了当时人们称之为“最可爱的人”。身负八处重伤的陈力抱着机枪,向冲上来的美国士 兵扫射,直到流血过多,昏迷过去。

经抢救清醒过来以后,陈力睡在离前沿阵地仅两百米的担架上。炮弹夷平了他所守的战 壕,如果不是后续部队赶上替换下他,他已经永远葬身在异国他乡了。接替他守卫阵地的后续 部队,全在炸弹轰炸下成了齑粉。

侥幸存活的他因此获得了三等功臣的“殊荣”,并在火线的医院里宣誓加入了中国共产党。 然而冷静下来后,身处异国的他,却在寻思为什么而战?潜意识里一种模糊的后悔爬进了他的 脑海。
不久韩战结束,他复原回到了重庆。 复原回到重庆后,陈力被安排在位于化龙桥的重庆弹簧钢板厂,作厂长办公室的秘书。
在工厂生活两年中,1955 年,他在“内部参考”上读到了铁托的“普拉讲话”,读到南斯拉夫
共产主义联盟发表关于社会主义民主和农业劳动组合的论述,接触到与苏联不同的工厂自治管 理等文章。他对工厂党委会包揽一切、大权独霸的作风产生了很深的反感。

After fighting fiercely for seven days and nights, there were only himself and another soldier left in his unit. Chen Li, the lucky survivor, was the deputy squad leader, what people in those days called “the most lovable person”. Chen Li, with eight serious wounds, took up his machine gun and charged forward sweeping the American soldiers with gunfire until he had lost so much blood that he fainted.

Waking up after getting first aid, Chen Li lay on a stretcher just 200 meters behind the Chinese front line. Shellfire had already flattened the trenches that they were defending. If the reserves had not come forward to relieve them, he would have been buried forever in a foreign land. The troops that had replaced him on the front lines were completely wiped out by the bombing.

Having survived by a stroke of luck, he was awarded third class military honors for his outstanding service and sworn into the Chinese Communist Party in the battlefield hospital. Later calming down he started to wonder. Here I am in a foreign country. What am I fighting for? A vague feeling of regret crept into his subconscious mind.

The Korean War ended soon afterwards and he returned to Chongqing. After returning to civilian life in Chongqing, Chen Li was assigned to the Chongqing Spring Steel Plate Factory at Hualongqiao as the secretary to the factory director. He worked in the factory for two years. In 1955, he read in “Internal Reference News” about Josef Tito’s speech at Pula in Croatia and raid discussions of the Yugoslav Communist Alliance on socialist democracy and the partnership between peasants and workers.

陈力回忆当时两名工人因家庭负担太重,不得不抽出时间为邻人修补锅盆,换些零用钱 以补不足,被党委书记抓住,上纲上线,残酷斗争,除批斗外,还将其开除。说他们利用公家 材料为自己谋私利,是资本主义的典型。
而这个书记却可以平时不劳动,靠公款三天两头出外“旅游”。 工厂因管理不善,浪费随处可见。成吨的钢条在天井里锈烂。设备因没人及时保养,很

南联盟所发表的文章,对他的早期启蒙,使他对这个制度产生怀疑。陈力在 1957 年的在 大呜大放中,犮表他对工厂管理的见解,在鸣放会上斥责他的顶头上司,说他是一个饱食终日 无事生非的政客,根本就不懂得工厂管理。
同时他抛出了一套工人成立自治委员会,由工人选举产生的委员会独立行使管理的办法。 那一次犮言,他赢得工人们的阵阵喝彩,也赢得了一顶右派帽子,从此削掉了他的“官

Chen Li recalled that at the time there were two workers who because of heavy household responsibilities needed to take time out from work to help neighbors fix pots and pans in exchange for some spending money. They were caught by the secretary of the local party committee and having been criticized from the higher plane of principle and the two-line struggle, endured cruel struggle sessions. More over they were expelled from the Communist Party for having done a committed a classic capitalist offense: using public property for personal profit.

The party secretary involved didn’t have to work and could use public funds to make two or three day tourist trips. The factory was poorly managed with a great amount of obvious waste. Tons of steel lay rusting away in the courtyard. The factory equipment was not being regularly maintained so it quickly became scrap metal and the workers were all becoming lackadaisical. Chen Li had an argument with the party secretary about the management of the factory. As the two quarreled more and more frequently, they both dug into their positions and refused to compromise. That soon led to the party secretary taking personal revenge against him.

The articles from the Yugoslav Communist Alliance enlightened him and bred doubts in his mind about China’s own system. Chen Li during the “Speak Up” sessions during the “Let a Hundred Flowers Bloom” period in 1957 expressed his views about the management of the factory. Chen Li criticized his direct superior at the factory, calling him a well-fed political hack who never does any work and had no idea at all how to manage a factory.

At the same time, he threw out the idea of a autonomous committee set up by the workers that would independently manage the factory through a committee elected by the workers. This suggestion won the strong support of the workers. Not only that, but it also got him labeled as a rightist. Once that happened, he lost his “official position” and was expelled from the Communist Party.

一腔为真理而斗争的理想化为灰烬后,他从办公室搬了出来,搬进了后勤组,由秘书贬 为受管制的清洁工人。


– 341 –

Chen Li’s idealistic fight for the truth turned to ashes in his mouth. He was moved out of the office and put into the logistics department, demoted by the party secretary to a cleaning person working under close supervision. That experience of what happened to him when he revealed his abilities made him realize that the Chinese Communists are an unreasonable gang that doesn’t know right from wrong. They didn’t deserve any respect from him and were not worth his devotion.

紧接着,陈力又亲身领教了大炼钢铁的荒唐闹剧,在三面红旗万岁的狂噪中,切身体验 了毛泽东带给全国人民的灾难。生活的经历,使他从对中共的迷惑中清醒了过来。

当共产主义的海市蜃楼消失以后,他看到了中共的骄横拔扈,看到了中国百姓被奴役和 饥寒煎熬的现状,看到了人们连挨饿都不敢直言。活生生的社会现实,使他对中共的敬仰、追 随,转变为怀疑和敌视,经过慎密的思考,成为反对独裁追求民主的战士。

Immediately thereafter, Chen Li encountered the farce of the everybody make steel campaign. In the furor of the Three Red Banners campaign, he personally experienced the disasters that Mao Zedong brought to the people of the entire nation. His life experience gave him a rude awakening from his blind devotion to the Chinese Communist Party.

After the mirage of communism dissipated, he realized how arrogant and domineering the Chinese communists were. He saw for himself how cold and hungry Chinese people were and how they had been reduced to slavery. He saw how people dared not even admit aloud that they were hungry. His respect and allegiance for the Chinese Communist Party changed to doubt and hostility. After much thought, the decided to devote himself to fighting tyranny and promoting democracy.

1959 年,因为继续的反对工厂党委,被保卫科扭送沙坪坝区看守所。接着,在看守所里, 又同管教干部们唇枪舌剑,使他的“反革命”日益“升级”。

有一天,有人发现监狱厕所里的墙壁上,有人用铁钉歪歪扭扭地刻写着“打倒共产党” 五个字。监狱管教如临大敌,立即封闭了厕所,把所有在押的犯人赶回了各自监舍,并立即进 行字迹鉴定。

根据管教干部所收到的“检举”和狱方的“笔迹鉴定”,狱方武断认定这一“反动标语” 系陈力手迹。

在提审他时,陈力愤怒地抗议了这种凭空捏造,断然加以否定。他说:“这种对‘粪便’ 进行宣传的行为,实在是一种既无用又可笑的的勾当,我是决不会干的。”

In 1959. because he continued to oppose the party committee in the factory, the security section of the factory took him to the Shaping District detention center. While he was there, he often had fierce arguments with the disciplinary and education cadres there so he “rose in rank” as a “counter-revolutionary” with each passing day.

One day someone discovered scratched unevenly on the toilet wall the characters “Down with the Communist Party”. The discipline and education cadres immediately shut the toilet as if they were facing a dangerous enemy and forced all the people in custody back to their cells and to take calligraphy samples to see who had written those characters.

According to “reports” received by the discipline and education cadres and according to the “calligraphy appraisal” done by the prison, the prison authorities made the arbitrary judgment that the “counter revolutionary poster” had been written by Chen Li.

During his interrogation, Chen Li denied everything and angrily disputed the frame up. He said, “This kind of ‘piss and shit’ propaganda work is useless and ridiculous. I certainly didn’t do it.”

他说他会公开陈述他的政治观点,而不会作这种蹲在厕所里写几条标语给屎看的蠢事。 但是,看守所的狱卒们不顾他的申辩,把这条“反动标语”硬栽在他的头上。并以此作

在我进入孙家花园监狱后的半年,陈力也随之来到了这个监狱中,并于 1962 年发配甘洛 农场,成为 500 名“流放大军”的一员。

在途径雅安监狱的抢馒头案件中,陈力又被当局认定是为首的鼓动者,成为甘洛农场的 重点监管对象。

我在西西卡中队同死神较劲,同“张棒棒”肉搏时,陈力也在斯足中队公开的拒绝劳役。 我俩因为公开喊出:“我们要生存”的口号,遂被当局认为是对犯人进行破坏性鼓动宣传者, 是最危险的反改造份子。

1964 年,当我们经黄联关来到盐源农场,以后不久,我被调往古柏,陈力却留在二道沟 地区。

同年八月,我在古柏被关进了反省室,陈力在二道沟地区被关进了场部的小监。直到九 月,我们合并一处不期而遇。

从此以后,我们俩便成为农场中人人注目的“反改造分子”。并戴上了一顶时髦帽子:“国 际修正主义的急先锋”。后来,我们又被关进了“羊圈”,直到 1965 年 10 月,当局才将我俩放

He said that he expresses his political views openly. He would not do something idiotic like squatting in the toilet scrawling slogans that only shit could see. The prison lackeys paid no attention to his protests. They attached the label of “writer of counter-revolutionary slogans” to him. Then they gave him a twenty year prison sentence that upgraded him from rightist to counter-revolutionary.

Six months after his imprisonment at the Sunjiahuayuan Prison, Chen Li was transferred to this prison and then sent to the Ganluo Farm in 1962 where he became a member of the “contingent of 500 exiles”.

The authorities determined that Chen Li was one of the instigators of the Ya’an steamed bun theft incident that occurred as the group was being transferred to Ganluo and so was watched particularly closely after he got to Ganluo.
While I was in the Xixika Company grappling with the angel of death while in hand-to-hand combat with Big Stick Zhang, Chen Li at the Sizu Headquarters Company was refusing to do forced labor. We both were accused by the authorities of inciting the prisoners to sabotage by shouting the slogan “we want to survive!” and so classified among those most stubbornly resisting our personal transformation.

In 1964, soon after I was sent through Huanglianguan on the way to the Yanyuan Farm I was transferred to Gubai. Chen Li however remained in the Erdaogou region.
In August of that same year when I was sent to solitary confinement in a soul-searching room, Chen Li was send to the small prison at Erdaogou farm headquarters. During August and September we would sometimes run into each other by chance.

From that time onwards, we two were the ones on the farm seen as most “stubbornly resisting personal transformation”. We were given the most fashionable label at the time: “very determined henchmen of international revisionism”. Later, we were sent to the sheep pen until October 1965 when the authorities returned as to main prison.

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1966 年 5 月,全国“无产阶级文化大革命”狂飙初起时,在农六队讨论文革的学习会上, 我又当着在场的犯人和干部,公开为文革下了“宫庭政变”的结论。这在当时视若禁区,而不 敢“妄猜”文革内幕的情况下,起到了振聋发馈的作用。

我们相信,当时的这种“揭密”,对农场的干部们起了很大的摧醒作用。尤其当时就预言 了毛泽东路线将因中共党内的分裂而走到尽头。

感谢老鼠在足有 40 厘米厚的泥墙上穿洞。我俩便依靠这个洞,传递着各自写下的文章和 信息,而今想来,他的文章记载了监狱的暴行,揭露了中共的虚伪,抨击毛泽东复辟专制主义 等等,成为最珍贵的监狱“遗笔”。可惜,我们没有办法将它保存下来。只能依凭着我的记忆, 回忆其主要内容了。

In May 1966, when the violent outbreak of the “Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution” engulfed the entire country, at a Sixth Brigade study session discussing the Cultural Revolution, I again explained to the assembled prisoners and cadres my conclusion that the Cultural Revolution was a “palace coup”. Making guesses about what was going on inside the Cultural Revolution broke taboos of the day and so caused a big commotion.

I believed that “revealing the truth” destroyed the illusions of the farm cadres, in particularly since I predicted that Mao Zedong’s line would go to extremes because of divisions within the Chinese Communist Party.

I am grateful to the rat that made a 40 mm hole in the mud wall of my cell. We two used that hole to exchange information and the articles that we had written. Now that I look back on them today, his writings about savage prison atrocities, his exposes of communist hypocrisies, and Mao Zedong’s restoration of autocracy etc. were the most valuable “testimony of the deceased” that I saw during my prison days. Unfortunately, I was unable to preserve them. I can only rely on my memory to preserve the main points that he made.

记得当年在报纸上读到“燕山夜话”的文章时,讽刺高产卫星为“一个鸡蛋的家当”;讥 讽顽梗不化的“皇帝”在事实面前,还要遮掩真像的“皇帝的新衣”;劝戒主观武断的“领袖” 认错回头的“放下即实地”,这些文章中不无温和的规劝。

而陈力的文章没有任何的温情和幻想,而是直抒胸怀,痛斥毛泽东,斥其祸国殃民,痛 快淋漓。

他在狱中写下的五十万字,每一个字都是射向独裁统治的一颗子弹,每篇文章都是一柄 直刺独夫民贼的利剑。

记得有一篇描写人民公社化时期,一个农家五口人饿死了,最后只剩下一个大娘。老大 娘来到埋葬她年仅十六岁的儿子的墓前哭唱的吊亡诗,情节哀惋凄凉,如泣如诉,我当时边读 边流泪。

I remember how that year I read a newspaper article entitled “Evening Chats on Yan Mountain” that ridiculed extraordinary claims of miracles in production as “the kind of hen’s eggs that everyone has”. The article made fun of the obstinate and unchanging face of the “emperor” being put ahead of the facts of any particular situation, and concealing the truth just as in the story “The Emperor’s New Clothes”. The writer admonished the subjective and arbitrary “leader” to admit his errors and to step aside. This articles also had a moderate tone and were written with grace and style.

Chen Li’s articles however had no warmth or illusions. He spoke straight from the gut, bitterly attacking Mao Zedong, denouncing him for the disasters that he had brought to China and its people. His articles covered it all very well.

He wrote 500,000 characters in prison. Everyone of them was a bomb thrown at dictatorial rule and a sword striking at the dictator and his henchmen.

I remember an article that discussed the period when the people’s communes were being organized. Five members of a peasant family had starved to death. The only one left was the wife of the father’s elder brother. The old aunt went to her son’s grave — he was only 16 years old — and through her tears read a memorial poem. The poem was heartbreaking. I wept as I read it.

这些年来,当局强逼老百姓从每月十八斤吊命粮中扣掉两斤,还美其名曰:自愿献给社 会主义建设;毛贼忍心看着百姓穿补疤衣、吃观音土,却“无私”施舍为他唱赞歌的国际乞丐 霍查希尔之流;他评述 1964 年中国第一颗原子弹的爆炸,是“从饥寒交迫的百姓身上抽出血 输给疯狂战麾下的狼群”。

点明,原子弹才是中国的独裁狂用来唬人的“纸老虎”,除了使周边弱小民族不敢对中国 的胡作非为表示异议外,无异于“玩火自焚”。

在陈力的笔下,毛泽东是比周厉王还要残暴、比杨广还昏馈的暴君。是一个连百姓家中 一只碗都要抢到手,再拿到国际政治赌场上“豪赌”的赌徒。是一个撞进知识殿堂里强虏豪夺 祖国文化遗产的巨盗,是一个连加法都不会的文盲村夫。

嘻怒笑骂,尽情鞭鞑!思想灵活,妙笔生辉。陈力借一个因饥饿求生被置死地的中国人 的愤怒控诉,为死于运动的中国数百万冤魂呐喊。淋漓尽致,痛快之极。

他还写了大量的诗文,不仅表达了他壮志未酬、报国无门的悲哀,表达他追求真理反被 残害的呐喊,舒发他对毛泽东极权统治下中国未来的忧虑。这就是陈力的文风。


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Since those years, the authorities have forced people to accept a reduction in their monthly grain ration from 18 pounds to 16 pounds. They euphemistically called it “voluntary contributions to the construction of socialism. Bandit Mao was so hard-hearted the he could let the people wear clothes that were nothing but patches upon patches and to eat dirt to reduce hunger pangs. Yet all the while he would “unselfishly” be giving alms to international beggars like Enver Hoxha of Albania while loudly singing “The Internationale”. Chen Li had this to say when China exploded its first atomic bomb in 1964: “Blood drawn from the veins of a starving nation to feed the crazed wolves of war”.

He pointed out that the atomic bomb was just the weapon that the Chinese dictator has been crazily trying to trick people into believing was a “paper tiger”. Other than its us in intimidating the small countries on China’s periphery from getting out of line, the atomic bomb was just something that would come back and hurt China just like a fire might singe the fingers of the person lighting it. Incisive writing that was a joy to read.

Chen Li also wrote many poems. The poems not only expressed his disappointment at unrealized lofty ambitions and sadness that he had not been able to dedicate himself to serving his country. He cried out as someone who had suffered for seeking the truth and his concerns for China’s future under the totalitarian rule of Mao Zedong. That was what the writings of Chen Li were like.

It is most unfortunate but I fear that those extremely valuable manuscripts were all burned by the authorities. In those days, nobody was able to hold onto anything.

Chen Li wrote that Mao Zedong was even crueler than King Li of the Zhou Dynasty and an even more confused tyrant than Yang Guang, the founding emperor of the short-lived Sui Dynasty. Mao was the kind of person who will even steal dishes from peasant homes to raise funds to pay for his high stakes gambles in the arena of international politics. He cursed Mao as a country bumpkin who robs the great halls of China of great cultural relics but who can’t even do simple arithmetic.

Chen Li wrote with a passion that covered all registers from astonishment, to laughter to cursing. His writing was both subtle and elegant. Taking as his own the anger of Chinese who had starved to death, Chen wrote thundering condemnations. He spoke for the wronged ghosts of the millions of people killed in Mao’s campaigns.

1966 年 7 月,当何庆云将我从农六队粮食库房的小监,转到大监一个星期后,一辆蓝色 吉普车开到了农六队的监狱大门边。陈力被两名警察从临时小监里押了出来。我看见他拖着沉 重的脚镣,一只手反背着一床破棉被,另一只手拎着一个蓝布包,从容不迫走过农六队前的大 坝。所有在场的人都目送着他,陈力一边走一边不时停下来环顾四周,频频点头致意。与我们 一一告别。

当我俩的眼光最后一次碰撞以后,便成了留在我脑海中再也没有褪掉的记忆。他那坦然 平静而爽朗的笑容里,不但给我传递着难以割舍的情谊,还暗含着永别的嘱托。

陈力昂首而去了,以一种义无反顾的决绝,一步一顿的坚定步履,走向刑场。为他的信 念和正义而献身。陈力一步一顿地走出了农六队的大铁门。大铁门边,留下了陈力永远无法消 退的身影。

In July 1966, one week after He Qingyun moved me from the Sixth Agricultural Brigade food storehouse small prison to the big prison, a blue jeep drove up to the main gate of the Sixth Agricultural Brigade prison. Chen Li was escorted from the small prison by two policemen. I saw him dragging his leg irons, one hand behind his back holding on to a ragged bed cover, the other hand holding on to a blue bag, walking calmly across the embankment in front of the Sixth Agricultural Brigade. Everyone watched him go. From time to time Chen Li looked around him as he walked, often nodding as he made his farewells to each of us.

The last time we locked eyes with one another left in my mind a memory that would never fade. He calm and hearty smile not only expressed a friendship hard to lose but also that he had secretly entrusted me with something.

Chen Li left with his head held high. As a just man with no regrets, he walked at a deliberate pace to the execution ground. He sacrificed himself for his beliefs and for justice. I will always remember Chen Li as he walked step by step out the prison gate.

这么多年来,为了保护我们追求真理的神圣心扉,我们习惯了在棍棒和绳索下同监狱当 局对话,习惯了长期伴着镣铐渡过寒冷的冬夜,习惯了在阴暗的小监中写下对独裁者口诛笔伐 的檄文。我们不会奢望当局会赐给我们自由,也从不幻想个人的前途。在如此深重的灾难之下, 面对当局的种种诱惑,我们只是报以轻鄙一笑。

我们曾为相隔千里、十年不闻音信的亲人倚窗舒怀,也曾为这种发自肺腑的牵挂而吟诵 断肠的哀歌。但此时此刻,陡增了一种与难友生死永别的悲伤。

我曾目睹许多与自己生死相许、患难与共的伙伴从容就义,并多次从饮弹刑场的同伴身 旁擦身而过,每到此时,都难以控制内心的哀伤!

For many years, for the sake of holding fast to our search for the truth, we had become accustomed to speaking frankly to the authorities despite being beaten with clubs or tied up. We had gotten used to spending long periods in chains during cold prison nights. We had become used to writing denunciations of the dictator by the dim light of our solitary confinement cells. We held no hope that they authorities would give us our freedom. We had no illusions about our future. Under those terrible conditions, facing various temptations from the authorities, we only answered them with a disdainful smile.

The decade that I had been without any word of love and support from my thousand kilometer distant family had made me recite mournful, heartfelt prayers in my mind for them. Now I suddenly there was added yet another friend with whom I would be parted forever.

I have seen many people cadaverous as they hovered between life and death and endured terrible things together with them as we bravely faced our fates.

公判大会会场之惨烈,常使我恶梦连连。血腥的恐怖笼罩着全国。陈力在盐源县城被枪 杀,我们不知道具体情形,难友多方打听见证人,才大致获知如下一点情况:

1969 年 8 月 21 日,在戒备异常森严的盐源县看守所里第 5 号监舍,一大清早,陈力像往 常一样漱洗完毕,然后整整衣着,再将被脚镣擦伤的地方用绑脚布重新包扎好,便正襟危坐在 铺满乱草的“床上”闭目养神,静静等候着狱卒来给他打开铁门。

十天以前,在县法院一间秘密的审讯室里,审讯官向他宣布了西昌中级法院对他所作的 死刑判决。判决书说他“疯狂地、明目张胆的反对毛主席,攻击文化大革命。”

审讯官宣读完毕,便把判决书递交给他道:“现在允许你提出最后要求和遗言。同时,请 你告诉法庭,你的死刑宣判应当通知你的什么家人?”并宣布给他十天的上诉期限。十天上诉 期不提出上诉,便在第十一天验明正身,执行枪决。

面对着这个胆怯的“法官”,陈力从容地回答道:“我感到遗憾的是,当年美国人的大炮 没有置于我死地,而今我却死在我曾誓死保卫的共产党人手里。”

The violence of the public judging meetings gave me streams of terrible nightmares. Bloody terror enveloped the entire country. I don’t know the details of the shooting of Chen Li in the county seat of Yanyuan. Some of my fellow sufferers asked people who saw it and were able to piece together some information about it:

On August 21, 1969, in cell number five of the Yanyuan Detention Center which was then under strict martial law, one early morning, after having washed up, dressed, and wrapped a new cloth bandage over the part of his leg that had been hurt by wearing leg irons, sat upright, looking straight ahead on his straw “bed”, shut his eyes to relax and waited quietly for the prison guards to come and open the iron door for him.

Ten days earlier, in a secret interrogation room in the county courthouse, the interrogating officer had given him the death sentence from the Xichang Intermediate Court. According to the verdict, he was guilty of “crazy and brazen opposition to Chairman Mao and of vilifying the Cultural Revolution”.

The interrogation officer read the verdict, handed it to him and said, “Now you may state your final request and testament. You should also tell the court who should be informed of your death sentence.” He was then allowed ten days to make an appeal. If he did not make an appeal within ten days, and this was verified on the eleventh day, he would be executed by shooting.

Facing this cowardly judge, Chen Li answered calmly, “I regret that the American artillery did not kill me on the battlefield and now I must died at the hands of the Communist Party to which I had once sworn to protect.”

对于这个宣判,陈力早已有了思想准备。在他看来,属于他的时间只剩下十天了,他还 有很多事情没有做,尤其感到遗憾的是,他没有看到独夫民贼毛泽东死后中国犮生了翻天覆地

– 344 –

Chen Li had been long prepared for this verdict. He had only ten days to live and still had much to do. His only regret was that he did not see the tremendous changes in China after the death of the dictator Mao Zedong.

陈力的母亲已经亡故,父亲是巴蜀中学的国文教员。家教自幼熏淘和老父的悉心指点, 造就了他深厚的文学功底和流畅犀利的文笔。文革狂飙如火如荼的时期,他的父亲也被打成了 学校的“反动学术权威”遭到批斗,朝不保夕。

陈力坚信,他的狱中著述,会成为珍贵的历史资料。在最后十天中,陈力唯一的心愿便 是想尽一切办法将他的著作保存完好,以留给后来的人们。

后来这些遗著不知是焚毁了,还是封存在档案中了。同我在狱中的著述一样,至今也不 知保存在那里。

八点钟光景,通往小监的铁门被打开,随着一阵急促的脚步声,监舍门上传来了开锁声。 监门打开以后,两名押解士兵急速地跨了进来。

陈力从容地从铺位上站起来,两名如狼似虎的士兵已经窜到了他的身边。一左一右,猛 然地将他掀翻在地。并且死命地将他的头按到地上,让他感到一阵强烈的窒息。

Chen Li’s mother was already gone. His father was a Chinese literature teacher at the Bashu Middle School. His father had taken great pains with his education ever since he was a small child. This was why he had a deep understanding of literature and an excellent literary style. In this period the Cultural Revolution had spread fast like a wind driven wildfire and his father had been struggled against as a “reactionary academic authority” and was in a precarious state.

Chen Li was confident that what he had written in prison would become precious historical material. During the last ten days of his life, Chen Li’s only concern was how to find a way to preserve what he had written so that posterity would have it.

Later those writings were either burned or preserved in an archive somewhere. Just like the various things that I wrote in prison, to this day I don’t know if it is preserved somewhere.

In the 9 AM morning light, the iron door of his solitary confinement cell opened along with the sound of hurrying footsteps and of a key turning in the lock. After the door opened, two armed soldiers charged into the room.

Chen Li calmly got up from his bed. The two soldiers had already scurried to his side. Standing on his left and his right, they forced him to the ground. They ordered him to put his head on the ground. He felt like he was suffocating.

一阵强烈的剧痛后,他的嘴巴被撬开,舌头被割去,满口鲜血。原打算在生命最后一刻 振臂高呼的想法成了泡影。

陈力拼命的用脚上的脚镣,向按捺他的士兵猛烈的撞去。然而这一切都成徒劳。他被紧 紧地压着没有动弹余地。

十分钟以后,陈力被反捆着双臂,由那两名士兵挟出了监舍。那间收拾得很整洁的“监 房”,现已乱成一团。

两名士兵挟持着五花大绑的他,走出住了三年多的盐源看守所,将他推上门外停的一辆 军用卡车上。在六名士兵簇拥下,他站在车厢的中间。

After a sharp pain, his mouth was forced open and his tongue was cut off. His mouth filled with blood. The idea that he had had that he would raise his arms and shout a protest at his last moment disappeared.

Chen Li used to chains on his feet to lash out at the two soldiers restraining him. But it was futile. He was pressed down so hard that he couldn’t move.

Ten minutes later, Chen Li’s arms were tied behind his back and the two soldiers forced him out of his cell. His very neat “prison cell” was now a mess.

The two soldiers tied him up thoroughly and forced him out the doors of the Yanyuan Detention Center where he had lived for three years and pushed him onto a military truck stopped outside. He stood in the middle of the truck with six soldiers surrounding him.

卡车启动,向盐源县城的主干马路驰去。车头上的大喇叭里传出歇斯底里的嘶叫,这时, 陈力满口是血,发不出任何声音。他的耳朵里,突然响起了牺牲在北京西城菜市口谭嗣同,题 于狱壁的绝命诗:
望门投止思张俭,忍死须臾待杜根。我自横刀向天笑,去留肝胆两昆仑。 他那视死如归的壮烈场面,已用他的血将要讲的话留给活着的人了……



上午十一点钟,在一处高高的山岗上,在一处可以看到山下的小金河蜿蜒流淌的开阔地 上,陈力被枪杀在这里。

The truck started up and sped towards the main road to the Yanyuan county seat. Loud voices sounded from the loudspeaker mounted on top of the truck. Chen Li’s mouth was full of blood. He couldn’t make a sound. Suddenly in his ears resounded the words of Tan Sitong who had been executed in Beijing’s Western Vegetable Market. The words that Tan Sitong had written on the prison wall just before he was executed:

Looking for doorways where I might seek refuge, I though of the old wronged Han official Zhang Jian, facing death for justice I will soon meet the righteous Han official Tu Gen. I stand erect, look towards the heavens and laugh. I leave behind the noble spirit incarnated in my liver and gall dwell forever in the mighty Kunlun Mountains.”

The scene of this brave man’s death who took death as a returning home left behind words written in his own blood for the generations that followed.

The road was crowded on both sides with noisy crowds. Did the older people in the crowd not recognize the man in the prison truck or know what crime he had committed?

The prison truck soon passed out of Yanyuan’s streets and drove straight out to the execution grounds.

At 11 o’clock in the morning, high on a range of hills in a place one could look down to see the Jin River meandering through open fields, Chen Li was shot to death.

(2009 年 4 月 10 下午,我们雇车找到陈力被害的刑场,那里已是一片茂密葳蕤的白桦林

– 345 –
地。林下仆倒一块断成两截的水泥石碑,石碑上大书“刑场”两个大字。这次重返盐源,我才 从文天华、李禄云、吕洞良等幸存难友的口里知道,陈力被杀害前,已被割掉了舌头。行刑前, 行刑的兽兵强摁陈力下跪,但陈力仍然高昂着不屈的头颅……兽兵遂用刺刀从陈力背后刺穿了 陈力的膝弯,再将其杀害。)

(On April 10, 2009, we hired a vehicle to go out to the execution grounds where Chen Li had been shot. Today there is a dense grove of birch trees there. Beneath the trees is a concrete tablet that has broken in two. On the stone tablet is written “execution ground”. Only on the way back to Yanyuan did I learn from Wen Tianhua, Li Luyun, Lu Dongliang and others whom I had shared prison life with that Chen Li’s tongue had been cut out before his execution. Before he was executed, the brutal soldiers forced Chen Li to kneel down but Chen Li would still not bow his head. The brutes stabbed the back of his knees with their bayonets and then killed him.

陈力被杀害后,我常陷入深深的痛苦中,在他生命的最后时刻,我身陷囹圄,无法与他 见面,“献身愿作万矢的,著论求为百世师”。陈力被杀害后多年时间里,我都没找到他五十万 言遗著。

但我发誓,只要我一息尚存,我会将我们这段同狱吏斗争的历史,告诉中国的下一代, 请他们知道毛贼东独裁的残忍本性,再不要相信他们在“革命”名义下的花言巧语,牢记只有 民主才是中国今天所要实现的目标。


After Chen Li was murdered, I often fell into deep depressions. During the last moments of his life I was stuck in jail and could not see him. “I made many vows to those who had given their lives to write a book so that they could instruct the generations to follow.” In the years that followed Chen Li’s murder, I never did find those 500,000 characters of manuscripts that he had written.

But I swore, as long that there was breath in me, that I would write the history of our long struggle with our jailers to inform future Chinese generations. I wanted them to know the cruel nature of bandit Mao’s dictatorship so that never again would they believe the succumb to the flowery blandishments of “revolution” and for them to always remember that democracy is the main goal that China must now work towards achieving.

(二)杀蒋正君和刘志和 同全国各地的监狱和劳改队一样,盐源农牧场接连召开了好几次“杀一小批”的宣判大
会。就刑的人有越狱者,有外逃的拒捕者,有企图越出国境线的人,有斥骂专制魔头的政治犯, 也有纯属为了凑数的莫明其妙受害者。

枪杀陈力前一天下午,何庆云和荣老头站在队列前宣布:“全体人员今天下午不出工,打 扫清洁。明天盐源县公检法、军事管制委员会要在这里召开公判大会。”何庆云还特别强调: “从宣判大会开始,直到宣判大会结束,禁止六队的任何人外出。

About 高大伟 David Cowhig

After retirement translated,with wife Jessie, Liao Yiwu's 2019 "Bullets and Opium", and have been studying things 格物致知. Worked 25 years as a US State Department Foreign Service Officer including ten years at US Embassy Beijing and US Consulate General Chengdu and four years as a China Analyst in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research. Before State I translated Japanese and Chinese scientific and technical books and articles into English freelance for six years. Before that I taught English at Tunghai University in Taiwan for three years. And before that I worked two summers on Norwegian farms, milking cows and feeding chickens.
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