Another excerpt from my draft translation of Kong Lingping’s Bloody Chronicles 血纪
Section Two The shock waves of September 13th
During the historically unprecedented butchery of the Cultural Revolution, while terrible violence and terror enveloped the entire country, the Central People’s Broadcasting Station in March 1969 that fighting had broken out on Zhenbao Island on Heilongjiang Province’s border with the Soviet Union. In the fierce fighting on snow and ice Sun Yuguo become a new Chinese hero. The conflict showed that that the Sino-Soviet split may progress from a “war of words” would inevitably develop into an “armed struggle”.
The socialist camp had officially disintegrated from that moment onwards.
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陈力被枪杀前，中共九大在北京召开。开幕那一天晚上，我们集合在院坝里，收听开幕 式的实况录音，我们对林彪作毛的接班人并不感到意外，至于将这个决定写进修改的党章，没 去思考为什么，也不会想它的后果。
1971 年 9 月 13 日，温都尔汗的叛逃经过，只有在中共的档案揭密时才能大白真像，但温 都尔汗事件，像地震一样振松了毛泽东的皇位宝座。
毛泽东害死了他的政治盟友，也换来了危机四伏墙倒从人推的报应。长期被他愚民政策 锁在闭塞状况下的大陆百姓，就犹如在死一般寂静的夜空里听到了一声惊雷，揭开这个无产阶 级专政铁幕，那里原来掩盖着一些各怀鬼胎政客们，演出的争权夺位丑剧。
He Qingyun couldn’t hide his confusion and ignorance when he when Liu Shunsen and others in the Sixth Agricultural Brigade asked him questions in the political study group that he had organized. Luckily, the “Open Letter with Nine Criticisms of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union” gave his empty mind something to grapple with.
The Ninth Congress of the Chinese Communist Party had already opened in Beijing when Chen Li was shot to death. The evening the party congress opened, we gathered in the courtyard to listen to the live broadcast of the opening ceremony. We weren’t surprised that Lin Biao was designated the successor to Mao Zedong. We didn’t wonder why that decision was written into a revision of the Party Charter and never imagined what the consequences of that revision would be.
Strife among dictators is unavoidable. The power struggle quickly revealed in just two short years later played out a puppet performance showing that he had made a big change in his successors.
On September 13, 1971 there occurred the betrayal and escape of Lin Biao and his plane crash at Öndörkhaan in Mongolia. We’ll only know the full story when the secret archives of the Chinese Communist Party are opened. The Öndörkhaan incident was a great shockwave that weakened Mao’s hold on his imperial throne.
Mao had persecuted to death his political ally. The result was a political crisis created by response of his followers all around him. Ordinary Chinese who had been walled off from what was really going on by the long time policy of keeping the people ignorant were suddenly awakened as if by a clap of thunder. They looked behind the iron curtain of the people’s democratic dictatorship and saw that it had been hiding a group of political hacks. Each of them had his or her own axe to grind in the power struggle.
中共对老百姓封锁严密，9.13 事发当天，国内的新闻、广播、报刊对这一事件没有报导！ 似乎北京城压根就没有发生过任何事，大槪经过一阵搓商后，新华社向全国公布这个消息时， 按照毛泽东的诏令，全国上下同声谴责和声讨林彪。一个“批林、批孔运动”从幕后推了出来。
此时林彪形象由副统帅，变成了孔夫子的忠实追随者和门徒。下发的批林批孔文件说他， 言必称“克已复礼”；言必“悠悠万事，唯此为大，克已复礼”由“毛主席的好学生和继承人” 变成了怀着鬼胎的封建时代“雅儒”！
当然，毛泽东大权在握，任意评价历史人物，不仅是他的狂妄，更是他一贯独裁的需要。 距 9 月 13 日整整相隔十二天之久，9 月 25 日借国庆节例行的卫生大检查的掩盖，农六队
上午八点钟，全队进行集合，宣布卫生大检查开始。然后，我们被士兵和管教干事们团 团围住，按一般的搜查程序，依次地将各自的行李搬到坝子中，只是感觉气氛与以往那种人为 紧张和恐怖有些不同。
The news blackout that the Chinese Communists imposed on Chinese people was so rigid that Chinese domestic newspaper, broadcasts and periodicals did not report the September 13th incident the day that it happened. It was as if nothing had happened in Beijing at all. Apparently after long consultations, the New China News Agency announced to the entire country that according to Mao Zedong’s edict, the entire country at every level was to condemn and denounce Lin Biao. A campaign to “Criticize Lin Biao and to Criticize Confucius” was pushed forward from behind the curtains.
At that moment, the image of Lin Biao changed from Deputy Commander-in-Chief to a loyal follower and disciple of Confucius. The documents sent down on the campaign to criticize Lin Biao and Confucius said what should be said characterized Lin Biao by his saying “control yourself in order to maintain propriety” [Note: a Confucius quote] and “Of all the myriad things in life, this is the most important: control yourself in order to maintain propriety” [Note: a Lin Biao quote modeled after Confucius and the upright, martyred Han Dynasty cabinet official who died in a power struggle fighting a corrupt faction in the imperial court.] Lin Biao went from being called the “excellent student and successor of Mao Zedong” to a “an elegant Confucian” out of feudal times filled with evil designs!
Naturally, Mao Zedong was in overall control and so could make official any evaluation of historical figures that he liked, no matter who crazy it might be, if that fit his needs as dictator. Twelve days after September 13, under the pretext of the routine major inspection done before the October 1 National Day holiday, the Sixth Agricultural Brigade carried out the a “major inspection” with a special purpose. This inspection had an additional purpose that made it the strangest inspection we had during all our time in prison.
The entire brigade assembled at 8 AM and we were told that the major health inspection had begun. Then we were surrounded by soldiers and discipline and education cadres and our bags were brought out to the courtyard according to the routine procedure. This time however, we felt that the tension and terror in the air were different from previous inspections.
蹬在我面前的那年青士兵，从我手中接过那“红本本”后，翻开了扉页，直截了当的把 那篇林彪所写的“再版前言”撕了下来，丢进一个专门准备好的匣子里，同时在他的笔记本上 划上一笔，脸上毫无表情。
When it was my turn, two old official walked over to me and asked that I take out my copy of “Quotations from Chairman Mao”. Mao’s book was compulsory reading that had been distributed to every member by farm headquarters.
The soldier standing in front of me took “the red book” from me. Then he opened up the flyleaf and tore out the foreword for the reprinting by Lin Biao and threw it into a specially prepared small box. With no expression on his face, he made a mark in his notebook.
The two inspectors went through my suitcase. They spent no more than five minutes inspecting my luggage. The inspection of the entire brigade was over by 11 AM. They carried a big bamboo basket back to brigade headquarters.
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以后对 9.13 事件，当局就没有正式的宣布过，我们当时也知道，他们之所以对此事讳莫 如深，反映了他们自己的惶恐。他们的最高统帅发生了什么？他们是绝对说不清的。
其实 9.13 事件刚刚暴发，盐源县的农家已从国外的广播里获悉了这个消息，那时在外捡 粪的张华富，每天下午，都会在梅雨镇获得一些在国内报纸上得不到的消息。
9 月 25 日大检查中，我们一直都在观察六队的老管们的反映，他们显然早已在几天前进 行了专门学习！大检查一完，老管们失去了往常的骄横劲。
The authorities never made a formal announcement about the September 13th incident. We knew at the time that they treated this matters as a deep secret. This reflected their own deep anxiety. What had their commander-in-chief done? They just had no idea at all.
In fact when the September 13th incident occurred, the peasant families of Yanyuan County already had heard the news from foreign radio broadcasts. Zhang Huafu, every afternoon while he was out in the countryside collecting manure, would while he was out in the misty plum rains hear news that China’s domestic newspapers were not reporting.
During the September 25th major inspection were were all constantly watching the old officials to discern their reaction. They had clearly gone to a special political study session several days before! When the inspection was over, the old officials seemed to have lost their arrogant and overbearing attitude.
What puzzled people the most was why would Deputy Commander-in-Chief Lin Biao, when he would shortly assume supreme power, hurriedly get on a plane that would crash in Öndörkhaan? People at the time suspect that all this stuff dumped on them at that time, whether it was “Criticize Lin Biao” or “keep control of yourself to maintain propriety” was all just a fraud.
The Lin Biao incident made them think: if the state was this unstable, the henchmen of the regime would no longer feel that they could rely on the emperor’s support. This will shake their own faith in brutality and violence.
在六队郭川小，算是农牧场中最了解我的干部之一，对他少了许多介惧，于是我说道：“现 在报纸上登的东西有几分是真实可信的？还不是毛主席怎么说就照着登，就比方这林彪，一会 儿说他是全党全军学习毛主席，紧跟毛主席的榜样，是毛主席最信赖的接班人！怎么说变就变 了，变成叛徒、野心家？”
In fact, Chinese autocrats of any era are always extremely selfish. The are all cruel murderers all die in “struggle”. Aren’t all those big words that “we should fight selfishness and criticize revisionism” and be revolutionaries in the depths of our own souls just a big lie?
Guo Chuanxiao was a security guard attached to Gao Desheng. He was a tall man who was both honest and straightforward who easily bridged the big gap between us. Just after the Lin Biao incident I ran into him in the nursery garden. When I saw him as usual find a piece of log in the nursery to sit down on, I asked him, “Brigade leader Guo, after the Lin Biao incident, was there any “internal reference” news that reveals something about the inside story you heard about in your own political study sessions that you can share so that we can understand things better?”
He squinted at me through the small eyes on his plump face and laughed saying, “What we study in our political study sessions is the same as what you study in yours. We read articles published in the newspapers. Nobody dare comment on such a major event.”
Guo Chuanxiao was one of the cadres on the farm who understood me the best so I could speak directly to the point with him. “Can we believe everything that is written in the newspapers these days? They still publish according to Chairman’s Mao’s direction. With respect to Lin Biao, they used to say that he is a fine example for the entire nation in studying from Chairman Mao and closely following Chairman Mao and was the chosen successor whom Chairman Mao relied upon! How could that change, that he would now be called a renegade and a careerist?”
他依然平静回答我说：“你这个人总是爱钻牛角尖，所以吃了不少亏，原因就在你不认输。 但是我还是要奉劝你，事事得讲究实际。中国有句俗话，叫好汉不吃眼前亏，现在的形势下老 是同毛主席过不去，行得通吗？别说你一个小小的犯人，就是中央的大人物哪一个斗得过他？ 林彪同他斗，最后还不是自讨苦吃，摔死在温都尔汗的大山里？依我看哪！平时不开腔的人并 不是蠢人，遇到政治上的问题，大家怎么说，我就怎么说，叫大智若愚，没人会说你傻！”
He replied calmly, just as he had before, “You are the sort of person who likes to split hairs so you have been treated unfairly. The reason is that you don’t admit it when you have lost. However I would still like to offer you a very practical bit of advice. There is an old Chinese saying, that a good man does not fight against impossible odds. Under present circumstances, Chairman Mao is unbeatable, so how can you successfully oppose him? Never mind just an insignificant prisoner like yourself, this holds true even for the major figures on the Central Committee. None of them can defeat him either. Lin Biao fought him and in the end brought disaster upon himself. Didn’t he die in a plane crash in the mountains of Öndörkhaan? That is what I say. Ordinarily the person who does not speak up is no fool. Whenever there is a political issue, I see what everyone is saying and so I say the same thing. If you call great wisdom dumb then nobody will call you a fool!”
This pretended ignorance was the shared attitude of our jailers. Ordinary Chinese people knew what was going on with the Lin Biao incident so how could low level people like our jailers not understand it? Even if they understood it but pretended to be ignorant, wasn’t this because they were afraid of what would might happen to them otherwise?
“Then you must know the story of Lin Liguo’s [Note: Lin Biao’s son Lin Liguo was accused to plotting an armed uprising against Mao.] small detachment. Can you tell us anything about Project 571? Lin Biao said, “If you don’t tell lies you will never be able to achieve anything important” so does that mean that the Communist Party hardly ever tells the truth? When Lin Biao did his over the top flattery of Mao Zedong calling him the greatest revolution of modern times, and praised him to skies, how is it that Mao Zedong never noticed that barefaced lie?”
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“他为什么会这样？我们这些老百姓是无法知道的，也没任何资料解释这一切，我们就 知道他的私心大膨胀，现在不是重新在斗私批修吗？我觉得你也不要再钻牛角尖。中国的政治 就是这样，私心杂念太重，林彪这样的事不知道今后还会有多少？”
Guo Chuanxiao hesitated. In order to avoid embarrassment at not giving me a direct response, he called out to Xia Shoyu in the distance, “Bring a small stool over here.”
He waited for Xia Shoyu to slowly bring the stool from the shed and then sat down and began to answer my question. “Haven’t I told you this before. Now you should only be thinking about your own family and your own life. I certainly never think about anything that I shouldn’t be thinking about.”
“Certainly Lin Biao was very popular for a time. That was his luck! We went along a shouted, ‘We wish Vice Chairman Lin eternal health’. Now that his plot has been exposed, we say that he is a conspirator.”
“Why did he do that? We ordinary people will never know. Neither do we have any documents available to us that would explain all that. We only know that his he became much more selfish. Today haven’t we gone back to fighting selfishness and criticizing revisionism? I think you shouldn’t go splitting hairs anymore. That is just the way Chinese politics is. There is just too much selfish considerations involved. Who knows how many incidents like the Lin Biao incident will occur again in the future?”
His answer to my question reflecting the understanding that a member of the Chinese Communist Party had of his own party. In the end, the power struggles at the top levels of the Communist Party had made him come to realize that he was just a pawn on the battlefield! All he could do was to “go along with the mainstream”.
“林彪说要抢班夺权，让人看不懂。当然毛泽东不是神人，事事都料得那么准，但他必 竟是一个了不起的人物。说实话，我们何尝没有发生过与你同样的问题，但我知道这是不能乱 讲的，我劝你不要老在这些问题上钻牛角尖，车到山前必有路，中国有的是能人，用不着你瞎 操心。”
看来，对这次有关林彪事件的探讨，郭川小已够坦率了。在经历林彪事件后，中共营垒 里的多数人，都从他们对统帅的盲目崇拜中走了出来，郭川小是四十出头的中年人了，从小跟 随红军从陕北山里打出来，可谓当今的新贵族，但将近三十年的实践，他终于明白他的周围， 那些崇奉共产主义的信徒，原来都是些很自私的人。
于是他变成了只知道如何保护自己的老婆和孩子很现实的人，此刻在他的心里不再装着 阶级斗争和社会主义空幻路线斗争，不再有那种拼杀的热情，当然也不会违抗他的领导去做各 种危险事，只要尽责，便是他所追求的满足。
“So now do you think that Mao Zedong having previously chosen Lin Biao as his “successor” now puts him in the same category of someone like Liu Shaoqi who was trying to seize power?” That kind of question was an open challenge to his faith in communism! Now that he has fallen out with Lin Biao, we can only explain it as a “power” struggle.”
But he simply answered, “Nobody can know what was in his heart. In the past he also had designated Liu Shaoqi as his successor, but later Liu became Mao’s personal enemy. You might look at the Lushan Conference to explain that!
“But people can’t understand why Lin Biao would want to seize power. Of course Mao Zedong is not a god, the facts prove otherwise, but he was nonetheless a very extraordinary person. Although we didn’t run into the same problems as you did, and I know that one has to be careful talking about this, but I have to ask you again not to keep splitting hairs. By the time the car gets to the mountain, a way forward will have been found. China has able people, you needn’t waste time worrying about it.”
Guo Chuanxiao had already been quite frank in his discussion of the Lin Biao incident. After the Lin Biao incident, most people in the communist camp had already stopped blindly worshiping their commander-in-chief. Guo Chuanxiao was a middle-aged man in his early forties who had fought with the Red Army since he was a young man in Shaanxi Province. He might have been called a member of the new aristocracy. Thirty years of practice had made him finally understand what had been going on around him. Those devoted disciples of the communism had turned out to be all very selfish people.
Therefore he had become a very practical man who only focused on how to protect his wife and child. By that time he no longer had any illusions about the class struggle or about socialism. No longer was he passionate about those kinds of deadly struggles. Naturally he would not disobey the orders that his superiors gave him about all kinds of dangerous matters. He would just do his duty and be satisfied with that.
今天我有意讲起了秦汉交替时期刘邦殊杀异姓王候的故事。我问他：“韩信在被杀时，曾 仰天高叹：‘飞鸟尽，良弓藏，狡兔死，走狗烹’还有什么其它的意义么？”他眯缝着双眼， 彷佛在思考着什么，但他不能讲！
Our discussion ended there. I immediately switched the topic to my favorite stories from history because those stories would not cause any offense and can help break down the barriers between us. Today I wanted to tell the story about how Liu Bang, in a battle between the fall of the Qin Dynasty and the founding of the Han Dynasty, had killed kings who were not of the royal blood. I asked him, “When Han Xin was killed, he looked up to the sky and said, ‘All the birds have flown away, the excellent archer has hidden his bow, the cunning hare has died, and the hunting dog has been cooked’. What did he really mean by that? He squinted as if he were thinking something over, but he couldn’t answer!
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不知道是因为换防还是调整，原先那批对我们任意施暴的暴徒，不知何时悄悄地离开了 这里，六队围墙里的秩序暂时又回到了“文革”以前的样子。每晚的政治学习，再也没有像林 扯高那样督促各小组，向学习者提出一些莫明其妙的问题。
林彪事件以后，流传对中共高层的种种猜测，夹着社会上流行的各种小道消息，一时十 分活跃。处在狱中的奴隶们彷佛看到一线希望，广播里重复播放着“批林批孔”的刮噪，竭力 掩盖中共正处在一个断层上的那种尴尬。
The open betrayal and flight of Lin Biao had tamped down the spirits of the officials who here who were ordinarily so bold and brazen. The customary practice that allowed jailers to arbitrarily beat up prisoners ended without notice. It seemed as if the devils who were always beating people up had themselves been dragged off by Lin Biao to the desert wastes of Öndörkhaan.
I don’t know if this was because the garrison was relieved or there were some changes made. That group of soldiers and guards who would commit arbitrary acts of violence against the prisoners disappeared from the prison. Order surrounding the prison walls of the Sixth Brigade returned temporarily to what it had been before the “Cultural Revolution”. At political study every evening, there were no longer people like Lin Chegao who would be urging the group on and raising all sorts of baffling questions.
After the Lin Biao incident, there were many guesses circulating about what was going on at the top levels of the Chinese Communist Party. All the various channels of gossip became very lively for a while. We slaves locked up in prison seemed to see a few rays of hope. Broadcast overflowed with the noise of repeated slogans to “Criticize Lin Biao and Criticize Confucius” as if in an effort to hide the great political fault that had opened up in front of the Communist Party.
The once-invincible ideological fortress of the “dictatorship of the proletariat” had been broken. People were still under the influence of the old order so the return to calm normality was gradual. But the devils had not died off. The powerful one-party dictatorship still sat oppressively on the heads of the Chinese people. There would be no breakthroughs in China so of course some time as needed for changes to appear!
农六队流放者，还要在徐老大和老管淫威下，完成每天十个小时的超强劳役，晚上疲惫 不堪的人们，在学习时间仍一如既往，在自己的铺上呼呼大睡，或者点燃自卷的兰花烟，用燥 辣的烟云驱散疲劳。
大陆被毛泽东的中共任意践踏已为世界公认，为了求真，在此期间，一位意大利的记者 安东尼奥尼，对神秘大陆现状完成了“写真”，他采用实地拍照，再经汇总的方法，将中国大 陆的实况展现在世人面前，并以《中国》，命名了这部新闻记彔片。
为了突破中共密探的阻绕，听说他不得不采用照像机代替摄像机，拍摄成片后，为了能 完整顺利的通过中国海关，他不得不化整为零，分批送出大陆。《中国》在国外上映轰动国际 影坛，这部记录片拍摄的成功，耗费了这位民主斗士的多少心血啊。
The exiles of the Sixth Brigade still needed to do ten hours of hard labor under the abusive power of Old Man Xu and his officers. Returned back dead tired, we still had to go to political study just as we had before. We slept soundly in our beds or lit orchard smokes that we had rolled for ourselves and let the dry spicy smoke relieve our fatigue.
The world already know how Mao Zedong was abusing his own people. In order to find out the real story, at this time an Italian journalist Michelangelo Antonioni a film portrait of mysterious Mainland China. Antonioni collected his own photographs and showed the people of the world Chinese reality. The news documentary was called “China”.
I heard that in order to avoid hidden obstacles set up by the Chinese Communists he had to use still cameras instead of movie cameras. Once the shooting was complete, in order to get everything smoothly past Chinese Customs inspection, he had to break the whole up into many parts and send them little by little out of China. “China” was a sensation in the international film world. That fighter for democracy spent a lot of blood and sweat on that documentary film!
The film “China” included people’s houses in danger of collapse leaning against one another, old decrepit school buildings, lines of ragged clothing on clotheslines attached to bridges, beggars on the street scrambling for coins. This honest film showed the real China.
Cai Xianlu sighed at this, saying, “If Antonioni could enter a Chinese prison he would certainly have put scenes of us getting beaten for no reason and being made to sit outside in the courtyard if we had not fulfilled our production quotas in his film ‘China’.”
中共统治下的大陆，必然孤立于国际社会中。 第三节 公有奴隶制下的特权阶级 六队的最高行政长官徐世奎，最懂得他的身份和如何扮演在这种特权群体中的角色。他
Zhang Xikun said, “It will go down in Chinese history that a foreigner would brave dangers of traveling so far and put together such a truthful work of art.”
China under the rule of the Chinese Communist Party was necessarily isolated from the outside world.