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           Escape from Mao's Terror

                QING SI ZENG

       
              Edited by Lee Nichols 




    Escape from Mao's Terror

    Author: QENG SI ZENG
    Edited by Lee Nichols
    Cover designed by Katherine Castillo-Zeng

    Printed and Distributed by
    Kindle Direct Publishing
    https://amazon.com, Books

    Copyright© 2019
    All rights reserved

    ISBN 9781701586093




    Acknowledgment

    This book in Chinese version  was published in 2003, then followed by 2nd and 3rd edition.
    I was much grateful to E. T., Zhang Fang, Zhu Xindi, Zhang Kunpeng, and Liu Jiayou who had given a lot of assistance in preparing the Chinese version.
    The English version was written by me in broken English first. Thankfully Mr. Lee Nichols has edited it thoroughly. Without his assistance this book might not have been readable.


    Escape from Mao's Terror

    PREFACE

    In this book I have written my true experiences in China in the middle and late 20th Century. I was born in 1936, my father was a doctor and my mother a midwife. They devoted their lives to healing the sick, and won the respect of the people in their service areas. I was greatly influenced by my parents and determined to devote myself to the cause of medicine.
    In 1954 I was admitted to Beijing Medical College (Peking University School of Medicine). After graduation and one year’s advanced study for teacher training I was assigned to Kunming Medical College in southwestern China as a teaching assistant in 1960. It was the time so-called "three years of natural disasters" the Great Famine, and living conditions were extremely harsh. As a medical school teacher, I suffered from hunger and malnutrition. But I was full of enthusiasm entering into work, got good results and won praises. I was introverted and poor in communication but was friendly and lived in harmony with my colleagues. I was not interested in politics and did not join the Youth League or Communist Party. Therefore, I was alleged to be “more professional than red” and was regarded as a “backward person”.
    During Mao Zedong’s infamous "Cultural Revolution", I was persecuted for my Roman Catholic religious beliefs, overseas relationships, and for being "more professional than red", I was attacked by Big Character Posters, known as Dazibao, college-wide organized by authorities, denounced at meetings, my room was ransacked, and later I was ordered to "behave yourself strictly and you are not allowed to do anything unruly" - the standard command given to so-called "class enemies”.
    Under extreme stress I was forced to take risks: I slipped back home to Guangzhou, attempted twice to flee to British ruled Hong Kong but failed and was sent to a detention centers. At that time people fleeing to Hong Kong was quite common in the Guangdong province. I assumed a false name and address at detention centers and suffered from hunger and illness. I was on tenterhooks, fearing to be identified and escorted back to Kunming. Fortunately by virtue of my family’s and friends’ great efforts, I muddled through and got out of detention centers.
    As I was not a registered resident in Guangzhou, facing the checking of the floating population without registered residence by the police again and again, my family and friends could do nothing further to help me. I became homeless and had to hide myself as I moved from place to place.
    At first Mao Zedong utilized students of college and high school known as Red Guards to launch the Cultural Revolution. Then two factions of the Red Guards supported by respective officers fought each other violently. The year of 1968 was the most terrible year in the Cultural Revolution. In a new campaign of "purifying the class ranks" ordered by Mao many people were killed indiscriminately. At this time the Revolutionary Committee headed by the military propaganda team at Kunming Medical Collage sent two men to Guangzhou to catch me. In desperation I fled to nearby North Vietnam where I wandered in rural and mountainous areas for about seven years. I had neither kin nor friends there and could not speak Vietnamese. I not only had to worry about the daily meal and lodging, but also to beware of the Vietnamese police and militia. I had meals wherever I could and often slept in the wilderness. I had hairbreadth escapes many times.
    Fortunately I encountered Chinese compatriots there who showed sympathy, sheltered me and helped resolve many difficulties. In return, I did my best to serve them by using my medical training to heal the sick. We developed a deep mutual friendship just like fish and water. In 1975, at a friend's suggestion and with his help, I applied to Vietnamese authorities for temporary residence. The authorities requested me twice to apply for a Vietnamese citizenship, but I politely declined. My application ultimately was denied and I was repatriated back to China. After being transferred among several detention centers, I returned to Kunming Medical Collage. Following a period of investigation and labor, I was able to resume my work but under "internal control".
    At that time, my family members already in the United States applied for immigration for me and received approval. But I encountered many difficulties in applying for a passport. After three years I received my passport in late 1983 and emigrated to the United States, very thankful that I would suffer no more persecution because of religious belief, and distortion by absurd ideology (“class struggle”, “more professional then red”, etc) .
    I started from scratch with my wife Zhangli (pseudonym), also a medical doctor, whom I had met and married before leaving China. We worked hard at different jobs in California for a couple of years. Eventually, both of us were able to obtain our goal of medical employment. I passed the physician examination (ECFMG) and participated in medical research and laboratory work, and was granted two U.S. Patents. As I had always been interested in Chinese Traditional Medicine, so took another exam and obtained an acupuncture license. Then I devoted half my time for clinical practice, integrating Chinese Traditional Medicine with knowledge of Western Medicine to guide my practice, which I found very satisfying. I retired in 2008 at age 72.
    This book is to help ensure that a dark time in China when so many of my countrymen suffered greatly will not be forgotten. Tens of thousands of families have stories of painful sorrows. With the elapse of time these events are in danger of being forgotten or deliberately minimized and distorted. In order to prevent the loss of history, many older Chinese have written memoirs to help the younger generation understand the historical truth, realize the original causes of national tragedy, and make every effort to prevent a repeat of Mao’s calamity.
    I’m just one of the common people, and my experience is negligible compared with millions who died nursing grievances and hatred. But I think: Torrential river originates from water droplets. I need to write of my experience and hope more of my countrymen also will write and affirm their living witness to history.
    I lack literary talent and can only describe facts plainly. Fortunately, family and friends encouraged and supported me. Without their help I could hardly have completed this book. For privacy’s sake, some people named in the book are given pseudonyms. Some details and time of events may be inaccurate. Reader correction and comment would be sincerely appreciated.




                                        

    Contents

    My Background      
    Calamity Comes - The "Cultural Revolution"      
    A Fight to Win or Die: Destination Hong Kong      
    The Years of Wandering North Vietnam      
    Return to the Mainland China      
    Immigration to the United States      
         
         



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      My Background
      My Family
      My hometown is in Xingning County in the eastern part of Guangdong Province, adjacent to Jiangxi and Fujian provinces. It is a mountainous area with limited fields. The traffic is inconvenient. Residents are mainly Hakka, which is a branch of Han migrated from Central China in different periods since the Jin Dynasty (around 300 AD). Hakka is well known to be assiduous and hardworking. For the
      sake of development, people attach great importance to education, so-called Xingning has "three many": Many teachers, many doctors, and many officers. Before 1949, almost every district or market town had a middle school; only in Xingning county town there were more than a dozen physicians graduated from medical colleges; many officers of high rank were from Xingning. A large number of people went out for business or career, most of them went to Guangzhou, Shanghai, or nearby to Jiangxi, Fujian, faraway to Southeast Asia, etc. Our Zeng clan was not a large clan in Xingning County. My grandfather was not a person in power but had certain prestige and served as the executive director of the County Chamber ofComme-rce. He was enthusiastic about public welfare and did many good deeds for the community. In those years, the children of poor families had little opportunities for education. My grandfather, in association with clan squires, created a primary school of modern style - Dexin School. Tuition was reasonable; kids from poor families might get a waiver or deduction. Teachers were persons with true
      skills and genuine knowledge. Dexin won good reputation in the County, so until now it still retains the name "Dexin School" and receives donations from alumni at home and abroad. My eldest uncle, my father, and another uncle (a high school teacher) devoted much effort to the school. My eldest uncle had been principal for many years. In the 1930s, Xingning had no hospital, so patients had to see a private doctor of Western Medicine or Traditional Chinese Medicine or a folk herbalist. My grandfather contacted county celebrities and obtained government support, established The Public Hospital of Xingning County in 1938. It provided affordable treatment for the common people with modern Western Medicine, but
      Traditional Chinese Medicine was also available. From initiating, financing, planning, site selection to construction, my grandfather participated in detail, later also got my father's strong support. I remembered my grandfather had said that as the selected site was located on the other side of the Ning River, he was really afraid of falling down into the river when he walked each time across the rickety bridge of two planks. The "April Desolation" of every year was the most difficult time for poor peasants. The profiteers bought grain at low prices during the harvest season and sold high in April. My grandfather in view of
      this, associated with the county enthusiasts to establish "Huiji (means ‘kindly help’) Granary”. He was appointed as the Director. Huiji Granary bought grain in harvest season and sold it at reasonable price in April. In addition, it set up temporary station to distribute rice porridge to hungry people every day at
      noon. This action received widely acclaim and support. In the winter of 1940, th-e Japanese invader attacked Mt. Monkey - a hundred li (equivalent to one half-kilometer) away from Xingning, the Chinese soldiers and civilians fought the enemy bravely, the battle was very fierce and finally turned the tide and won. An anti-Japanese army was stationed at the granary warehouse. With poor equipment and thin clothing, the soldiers groaned during cold winten nights. My grandfather told the warehouse steward to lend the worn-out and pending repaired gunnysacks to soldiers to keep out the cold. When the troops were mobilized, the soldiers begged them to leave the gunnysacks to them. As the gunnysacks were public property, my grandfather together with another squire paid for the gunnysacks and gave them to the soldiers. My grandfather was a devout Catholic. He was kindhearted and always smiled. I never saw him losing his temper, to the most just grumbling awhile. He sympathized with the poor and was always pleased to do something for them, thus setting a good example for us. He loved us and cared about us. Once I found him and said to him jubilantly: "Ah! Grandpa, you are in bad luck, in bad luck! I got the first place once more, so you have to give me two dollars again." He didn't mind but felt naive with children, and happily talked to whomever he met. Grandfather valued the education of his children. After my father graduated from high school, my grandfather wished him to read medicine, saying that it could help many people. With the recommendation of the church, my father was admitted to Shanghai Aurora University School of Medicine (the predecessor of Shanghai Second Medical College). Aurora University was a university sponsored by French Catholics, teaching in French. Students studied seven years per the French
      Regulation. After graduation my father worked as a doctor at the famous ShanghaiGuangci Hospital. My grandfather's only photo left, obtained from my uncle in Taiwan. The Christmas tree decoration was added by the uncle When my father was studying in the university, he was introduced by friends, met and married my mother. My grandfather-in-law lived in a mountainous area. When my mother graduated from the elementary school, she won the first place. Due to the local patriarchal custom, my grandfather-in-law did not wish her to go to the high school in the market town. But my mother knew that as long as she could read the first year of high school and earned good credits, parents might let her read on, so in two
      years earlier she went with her girl peers to a tea plantation to pick tea leaves for money. At the plantation her companions were dispersed all around, leaving her alone as a little girl. She was often suspicious of imaginary fears and frightened by any unexpected noise. She finally saved enough money to pay tuition for the first year of the middle school, and won the first place again. Her parents commended her aspiration and continued to support her until graduation from junior high after three years. Before long after her graduation, the two families planned a wedding for my mother and father. My mother discussed with my father
      that instead of spending money on the wedding ceremony, it was better to beg mygrandfather to save money for her and let her go with her husband to Shanghai soto learn a skill, such as to enroll in a midwifery school. My grandfather was a very open-minded person who totally agreed and announced this to relatives and friends. Since my grandfather was a local celebrity, the wedding expenses were not a small amount. Whether it was enough for three years tuition was not known, anyway my mother was able to complete her courses to graduation, and then shebecam-e a midwife at the Mother Heart Hospital in Shanghai.In August, 1937, the Japanese army invaded Shanghai. My father, taking my mother with a babyin the womb, a-nd me at one and a half year old, hurried back to my hometown Xingning. At beginning my father ran a clinic and my mother was his assistant. Soon my father was appointed the dean of the County Public Hospital and my mother was hired as a m-idwife. After two years, the hospital was well under way in all aspects, my father didn't want tospend much time on administrative duties, so he and my mother both resigned from the hospital, and reopened their own clinic, which was well known in Xingning County. My father liked to make friends with intellectuals and common people. He detested flattering and had little contact with official circles. Similar to my grandfather, he always expressed sympathy for poor patients. Several times I had heard him saying: "The same one dollar may be nothing to the rich, but is not easy for the poor.” He did things step by step, unhurried. My mother’s idea was consistent with my father, but she was more intense, doing her work promptly and without complaint. She often laughed at my father "being hit three sticks on the buttocks but still not put a fart.” First anniversary of the Public Hospital of Xingning County (1939). The fourth from the left of the front row was my father, the sixth was my mother There was a hard time during the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression. One impression left on me was the alarm siren warning of Japanese bombers coming; the second was the waves ofrefugees - fled from Chaozhou and Shantou; the third was we ourselves escaping:In 1940 the Japanese aggressors reached a hundred li away from Xingning and my parents led us to escape to my grandfather-in-law’s home in mountainous area. My brother and I sat on bamboo baskets, one on each side, were carried by a woman with a shoulder pole, walking on the rugged trails. Looking at the deep
      ravine, I was scared all the time. Later the Japanese attack was repulsed and wereturned to county town. My father did not participate in politics, but was rich in the sense of justice. He hated the aggression of the Japanese imperialism, and together with a group of intellectuals with the same ideas founded the newspaper "World News". He was elected as the president. The author who wrote commenta-ry on current events was one of my uncles Tsang Hin Wan, who later served as the Editor-inChief of the Central Daily when the Kuomintang (KMT – Chinese Nation-alists) fled to Taiwan. The "World News" together with other newspapers in our county advocated and inspired the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggressio-n. After the war, it continued to publish unbiased views, point out problems, and was once mistaken for the underground publication of the Communist Party. Afte-r the rise of the civil war, my father and his partners felt that continuing publication might encountermany difficulties, so decided to stop publication.
      My Childhood
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        I began to attend primary school at six years old (1942). Being afraid of Japanese plane bombing, my younger brother and I entered the Dexin School near the ancestral house in the countryside. A photo of my younger brother at one year old and me at two years old. All of our photographs were destroyed during the Cultural Revolution. This one was preserved by my aunt. In 1945, finally the victory in the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression came. I was nine years old. O-ne night, someone crazily knocked the front door of the ancestral house and sho-uted loudly. All people in the house were scared, and then heard "Japan surrendered!" The whole house of more than 100 people of all ages were boiling up immediately, yelling, making hullabaloo, knocking basins and buckets, then finding gongs and drums and almost breaking them. Someone rushed to Yangli two li away to buy firecrackers and another ran to the town to inquire about the news and buy
        newspapers. Later we went back town to attend another school. At that time a new school "Fu Yu Primary School" was established and founded by the Fujian businessmen in Xingning, enrolling their children and local students. Fu Yu had suffici-ent funding but the tuition was a little more expensive. Teachers
        came from Fujian or were local. Courses were taught in Mandarin rather than the local dialect Hakka. All students wore light blue uniforms. Teachers guided students to social contact, such as visiting the telephone bureau, power plant, weaving factory, small vegetable and fruit farm, and holding shows of entertainmen-t. These initiatives were different from other schools, and won a good reputatio-n. Many wealthier families including most doctors in Xingning county town sent their children to the school. I, my younger brother and one sister were studyin-g there successively. Fu Yu Primary School had a great influence on me, especially Principal Deng Zhixin. He was tall, quiet, kind and very knowledgeable. He w-as an example for all the teachers and was respected by the parents of the stud-ents. He encouraged us to read extracurricular books. Under his guidance, I changed from a boy playing all day to a good boy who liked both playing and readin-g. Mr. Deng taught me to subscribe to a children’s magazine. The first time he helped me write the order form. When I went to the post office to remit money, my head was just above the counter! Afterwards I myself subscribed almost all the children’s magazines of the country in those years: "Fu You Bao (Kids Welfare)", "Children World", "New World for Children”, "Children Story", "Chinese Youth", as well as "Chinese Children Times" from Hangzhou, and “New Children” fro-m Hong Kong. The school bought a set of "The New Primary School Library" publis-hed by the Commercial Press, a total of 200 books. Mr. Deng saw that I liked to read and let me borrow them before the bibliography was cataloged. My father told me that I could buy a set if I liked, because my younger brother and sisters could also read them, but I must go to the post office to order it myself (my
        father always encouraged me to act independently). Soon the books came in the mail and Mr. Deng shared my happiness! Each time before I came home from school, I would go to bookstores first. There were four bookstores on the street where my father’s clinic was located. Whenever I found a good book, I begged my parents for money to buy it. Mr. Deng told us that he had been a propagandist during th-e War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression. He went to the front line to inspire the troops and was chased by Japanese soldiers several times, with bullets flying past and a bomb exploding nearby. Hearing this, we evoked profound respect to Mr. Deng as an Anti-Japanese hero. Fu Yu Primary School developed very fast. Soon after my graduation, it built a magnificent twostory building on the original site. Unfortunately, a year after the communist "liberation", the school
        board members were designated as landlords or capitalists in their hometowns andsubjected to thorough liquidation. The school funding collapsed, bringing Fu Yu to a quick end. With no severance payments, teachers could not even afford travel expenses to return home. Mr. Deng and the teachers had to hold a farewell performance party appealing for donations from parents. Accused by the new governme-nt of “defrauding” and the staff had to leave Xingning in embarrassment. Fu Y-u Primary School was like a flower that faded quickly and left everyone feeling
        very sad. Later, I heard by chance that Mr. Deng was charged with the “crime" o-f being a Kuomintang propagandist during the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression and was purged. We felt great pain and missed him terribly!
        Religious Infiltration My grandfather was a devout Catholic. He assisted in building the Xingning Catholic Church in the suburbs belonging to Jia Ying (Meizhou) Diocese. The premises covered a large area. In addition to a church that could accommodate hundreds of people, there were a large dining hall and a dormitory
        for believers coming on festival days, as well as a large garden. Behind the church was the cemetery. In my memory there were two priests, one was a Malayan Chinese, Father Ou. In addition to Latin, he spoke English fluently. The second was Father Liao from a neighboring county. His Latin and English also were excellen-t and he had translated and published books. In an affiliated convent two American nuns helped with missionary work and teaching catechism to us children. We loved to listen to Biblical stories, took turns serving as acolytes and participated in various other activities. One of these was "doing good things”, such as doing what you were told by your teachers and parents, helping with housework; giving aid to others, etc. Each time you did a good deed, you cut a piece of straw and put it in a matchbox which you handed it to the nuns every week. Those
        straws were collected as the bedding for the manger of Holy Child at Christmas. There was a small library in the convent which often purchased books from Hong Kong. I liked to borrow story books and was always the first reader when the new books arrived. After the communists took power, the priests were arrested and sent to a labor camp; Father Ou and some other priests of the diocese died in the camp. The American nuns were deported; the church estate was confiscated and became the District government office. My mother came from a Buddhist family but after marrying my father became familiar with Catholicism. However, she did not blindly follow my father but read many books comparing Catholicism with Buddhism and other religions. She ultimately converted to the Catholic faith. Because of this, her faith was firm and unshakable. Years later  hen a communist official of the Religious Affairs Office interrogated her, she dared to debate with him, knowledgeably quoting science and philosophy. Finally the official had nothing to say but, “You Chen XX are really stubborn!” In the 1950s when the Government swept away religion nationwide, she was “requested” several times by Religious Affairs to learn politics. Later, during the Cultural Revolution, my mother was twice ordered to endure criticism and denouncement at an assembly in the Sacred Heart Cathedral of Guangzhou. When my mother was pregnant with her seventh child, she promised God: "Thank God, I have two sons and four daughters, and the seventh shall be offered unto God. If God is will -g, the boy will be a priest, the girl a nun.” The seventh was a boy, my youngest brother Augustine Tsang, who became a Jesuit priest after great effort, includ-ing prayerful study and many frustrations, but ultimate confirmation in his voc-ation.Under the guidance of my mother and our priests, I read "The Religious Vi-ew of Scientists," "Science and Religion" and other books. The former pointed out that 90 percent of great scientists such as Newton, Pasteur, Mrs. Curie, Einstein and others had clear religious beliefs. The latter described the wonders ofnature: the mystery of the universe, the earth, and especially living creatures, everything operating in order without disturbance. If there were no supernatural power in the design, management and control, it would be as ridiculous as sayi-ng that the musical clock in the hall was "a thing by itself” with no controlling mechanism or intelligent design. Later I studied medicine and learned more about the wonders and mysteries of the human body and life. For example, compared to the function and regulatory mechanism of the human eye, even themost sophisticated camera is but a child’s clumsy toy. The simple life form of a virus withits gene composition and self-replication, is a thousand times more clever than the most complex spacecraft. All sort of facts have convinced me of God's greatness. Just as a kitten cannot understand human thinking, people are not able to fully understand the mystery of God. Because my parents and grandparents set an  xample of worshiping God and loving people, and because of my own thinking and understanding during the course of growing up, my religious belief gradually de-epened. I'm glad and grateful to my parents and grandparents for guiding me to
        establish this firm belief, so that when I encountered unimaginable hardships later, I wasable to glimpse hope in despair; and miracles emerged again and again. "Liberated!”
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          Soon after I entered the first year of high school, the Communist Party came proclaiming the slogan, "Liberated!” I saw men and women of the Liberation Army staging performances on the streets, dancing the “Farmer Song,” playing waist drums and talking with people in a friendly way, which was quite different from both the apathy and arrogance of the former Kuomintang policemen. I felt a sense
          of refreshment, as all this made a good impression in my young brain. In school,the atmosphere also was quite animated. In the election for the president of thestudent union, candidates of the upper grades and their campaign teams delivered lively speeches, performance, slogans and posters. It all felt really democrati-c. I also read many new books such as "Little Erhei’s Marriage," "The Vicissitudes of Li Jia Zhuang," "Rhymes of Li Youcai," "A Brief History of Social Development,” "The Story of Long March" and so on. In my mind everything was fresh, forward-looking and full of vitality. However, the situation quickly changed in less than a year. The first event was the "Suppression of Counter Revolutionaries" campaign which was carried out swiftly and violently. Every couple of days someone was singled out to be shot, a classmate's uncle was killed and the former
          high school principal was shot. Once a few hundred students led by teachers of our high school were sent to watch the public execution of a family “counterrevolutionary” group branded as "Wu Jun" (Armed Squad). All 25 members were shot. Several appeared to be children but were listed as being 18 years old. The charge was simply the words: "Harboring Wu Jun.” Then every day at noon when we went back home for lunch, we would see at the exit of the jail a number of prisonerspushed onto a truck and driven to some market town to be shot. My eldest uncle was graduated from the Police Academy of Guangzhou and later was appointed the chief of Xingning County Police Bureau for two years in the pre-communist era. Buthe felt it incompatible with his interests, so resigned and became the principal of Dexin School. Later he was arrested and sentenced to four years in prison. A police chief from the KMT era sentenced to only four years was unusual. Seeing -so many people killed every day, his family and my grandfather were scared hal-f to death. My nascent feeling of freshness and excitement gradually disappeared and I began to feel horror. Land Reform In the late 1950, Xingning County began Land Reform. At the beginning, under the guidance of our teachers, we studied "The Land Reform Law" with great enthusiasm. Then we went to the mountainous ar-ea to publicize the law. At that time the public security was not good in mount-ainous areas, so the government gave the lead teacher a pistol. Nevertheless, w-e were enthusiastic to explainthe Land Reform Law door-to-door, to hold song an-d dance performances and to mobilize poorpeasants to participate in the land re-form.Before long we perceived that many teachers were in low spirits because th-eir families were classified as “landlord” or “rich peasant” and had to “r-eimburse” a lot of money. Almost at the same time the government called for the purchase of "victory bonds." In fact, it was required that each personbuy the-m, with a certain amount deducted from their monthly payroll. We noticed that many teachers soon were frowning. My family was classified as “professional and small land lessor” because my parents were medical persons and with only a littl-e ancestral land for lease. After land reform, my parents offered the
          land to the government. So we didn’t suffer direct impact from land reform. Butmy grandfather was classified as "businessman and landlord.” In fact, he was inhis 70s and owned neither a business nor much land. But he was escorted to his village to be denounced and struggled at an assembly several times. Probably because of his popularity, he didn't suffer much torment. Almost everything in my grandfather’s home was confiscated, yet he still was ordered to reimburse the pea-sants for what he had “exploited” from them. Actually, they set an eye on my
          parent's part. If my parents would not pay for my grandfather’s alleged exploitation, they would torture my grandfather. So my parents had to pay again and aga-in. Finally my parents sold their new three story building to pay, so the authorities backed off. My parents had worked hard for more than 10 years to save money to construct that building. They were preparing to move in, live upstairs anduse the downstairs as a clinic. Unexpectedly, it had become a political footballand a burden to them. My parents were deeply disappointed and shed many tears.
          Many “poor and lower middle peasants” were allocated the lands and properties
          of landlords and rich peasants and were happy for a time. But before long the government called for “farming cooperation” and reclaimed all lands for “collective ownership,” forming “agricultural producers' cooperatives” and mandating collective labor. Peasants had to pay “public grain” (agricultural tax ingrai-n) and sell "surplus grain" (a kind of obligatory transaction). The state then
          monopolized the purchase and marketing of grain and other produce, leaving peasants with almost nothing. Finally peasants were force to join “people's communes” nationwide. The people's commune plus the other events of “Great Leap Forward” (see below) led the national economy to a depression and finally the Great Famine. More than 30 million Chinese starved to death, a tragedy which authorities blamed on "three years of natural disasters.” Early 1952, the “leaders of top rank” (It was said Chairman Mao Zedong and the Secretary of the Central-south Bureau Tao Zhu) denounced land reform in Guangdong as "right deviation" with “too few counterrevolutionaries killed,” and ordered that "at least one should be killed in every village" (see "Meizhou History" Series Sixteen, 2003). Ther
          -e fore they sent cadres from north China to Guangdong to "make amends". A largenumber of the local cadres who had fought bravely in guerrilla warfare were termed "localists" and were purged or put in jail. All landlords and rich peasants were subjected to cruel torture: hands tied across the back or only a thumb tied up and then hung on a tree to swing, mouth filled with slurry or fecal water, beard burned, nostrils penetrated with a rope and pulled like a cow, a snake placed in the crotch, etc. Many were tortured to death on the spot (see "Xingning County Chronicle" 1985). During the most intense period of persecution, every now and then one of my schoolmate’s or teacher’s families was in misfortune. I ha-d an intimate classmate, whose father had gone to Southeast Asia in his teenage to work for years. After saving some money he came back home to buy a few mu (1
          mu equals 666.7 square meter) of fields. That caused him to be designated as a landlord. My classmate by then was out of school. Once we met and I asked with concern about his father. His face sank and he turned his head away, saying in a choking voice, "nothing, nothing.” Later I learned that his father had been sho-t. Almost all well-known persons in the county (so called "little and big 'Chiang Kai-sheks’" by Mao) were arrested on trumped up charges and killed. My kindhearted grandfather was not spared because of his position and reputation in the community, especially in the church (a so-called "imperialist lackey"). It was said that one representative of the peasant union recommended sparing my grandfather but was brutally rejected by an official sent from north China. Learning that my grandfather had been killed, my father almost collapsed and all the family w-as left in grief and fear. It was difficult to live any longer in our communit-y. At that time occurred the Korean War, when the government called for physicians with medical college degrees to participate in the "construction of national defense" to support remote areas. My father and two other local physicians enrolled, all the three were prestigious doctors in Xingning County. My father determined to leave forever the place of "heart dripping blood" with grief and indign-ation. The other two choosing to leave their hometown also were bitter. These d-octors were assigned to the remote counties of west Guangdong province, with my father was sent to the People's Hospital of Xinyi County. In 1953, when there w-as still freedom to change residence, my mother moved us seven siblings to Guangzhou. She had to take care of seven children, so decided not to look for a job.
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            痛苦、珍贵的历史!
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                   Guangzhou and Beijing Medical College

              When we arrived in Guangzhou we were complete strangers and could not speak the Cantonese dialect prevalent there. We encountered great difficulties in living, school transferring, etc. The priests and friends of the church helped us to find a house, settle down and enroll my brothers and sisters to different schools. With the help by Yu-ou (pseudonym) who later became my wife, I was admitted to
              the Fourth Municipal High School, and became her classmate. In 1954 I was graduated from senior high, decided to study medicine and become a life-saving doctor like my father. I was admitted to Beijing Medical College (formerly Peking University School of Medicine). I understood that this was my last opportunity for exclusively professional studies and must work hard so as later to serve patients well. I was not interested in political activities and did not join the Communist Youth League or Communist Party. Therefore, I was commonly regarded as abackw-ard person "more professional than red" ("Red" here referred to loyalty to the Party, to join the Party organization and to be “a docile tool of Party”; "white" referred to its opposite. "Professional" referred to one’s professional efforts and achievements). This resulted in a degree of discrimination and social isolation. However, the policy of the Communist Party was "Even if you do not concern politics, politics does concern you.” In 1955 and 1956, Mao Zedong launched the liquidation of the "Hu Feng Anti- Party Clique" which led to the “eliminating counterrevolutionary campaign” (in 1950 the other campaign was called "suppressing counterrevolutionary"). The situation was increasingly tense and one
              of our classmates was detained. Some schoolmates were called in for interrogation or criticized and denounced at a large class meeting. There were many Christian schoolmates who prayed together regularly, so were alleged to be a
              “small clique”. Several were criticized and denounced at meetings and at least one was arrested. Zhou, my classmate since in Guangzhou Fourth Municipal High, was criticized and denounced several times at such a meeting. Party cadres told me several times that they were in possession of sufficient evidence indicating that Zhou was a counterrevolutionary and urged me to expose his “crime”. I wa-s baffled, repeatedly stating that I had never perceived Zhou in any reactionary talk or deed. They were displeased and blamed me for not trusting the Party. However, after being criticized and denounced a couple of times, Zhou was not arrested as a "counterrevolutionary.” So their claim of being “in possession of s-ufficient evidences” was pure bluff and intimidation. Catholic schoolmates were few in number. We had individual contact with each other but no collective activity and no forming of a “small clique.” Anyway, I still was trembling with f-ear, worried that one day something wrong might happened to me. It was said tha-t some Catholic teachers or students were purged. Rectification, Anti-rightists Campaign and ‘Great Leap Forward’ In early 1957, Mao Zedong launched "Rectification of the Party's Work Style,” called on people to "help the Party in Rectification" and “open your heart to the Party,” to “air your views freely” and
              “letting a hundred flowers bloom and a hundred schools of thought contend.” The Secretary of the Party branch* at the large class meeting vowed that "We guarantee speaker of innocence," and "not bludgeon, not pulling pigtails, not buckle hat (labeling),” declared "Such a great Party, can the pledge not count?” Therefore, a campaign of "Airing views freely" spread like a wild fire.
              ---------------------------------------------------------
              * The rule of the Communist regime consists of two parallel systems: the administrative system and the Party system. As usual, the administrative system has persons in charge of units at all levels. But there is also the parallel Party organization: Party branch, general Party branch, and Party committee, with corresponding secretaries. The secretary of Party organizations at every level is always
              higher than the head of corresponding administrative unit. The head of administrative unit may not be a Party member, for example, may be a successful professional person, but he has no real authority, and is always just like a vase and flower for decoration. However, the deputy must be a Party member who has real powe-r. Even if the administrative unit head is a Party member, it is the party or ganization secretary who can decide if the head stays or leaves. In addition, Party members of one or more units (e.g. Departments) together form a Party branch, and the whole unit (or units) staff (including non- Party members) is under the leadership of the Party branch. In this way the Party controls the administrative system.
              ---------------------------------------------------------
              I was not interested in politics, nor could I make any comment or criticism to the Party, so I used every way to evade meetings. Whenever there was an opportunity I would run to the Beijing Library. At that time our clinical courses of third and fourth grade were studied in the urban district of the Medical College which was close to Beijing Library. Beijing Library was located on the west side of
              Beihai (North Sea) Park, where the environment was quiet and beautiful. I borrowed books and went out near Beihai to read, no class cadres might come there and call me back for a meeting. "Airing views freely" lasted only a few dozen days, and then the situation changed drastically. "Wen Wei Po (Wenhui Bao)" published an editorial full of fight: "What is that for?" (Later known that Mao personally organized and penned it)", declaring to “counteract the attacks from the rightists,” saying that calling for "airing views freely" was "to decoy the snake out of its lair,” and "it’s not a covert conspiracy but an overt conspira y.".......The Anti-rightist Campaign came on overwhelmingly.  medical journal, 1963.
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                At first people thought that they were only speaking a few words, at most being charged as "ideological offenders." Even one of the central VIPs also said: "The Rightist is the people's Rightist.” However, the campaign went far beyond and the persons who had aired their views were criticized and denounced at assembly repeatedly. Finally, the secretary of the Party branch took the list and announced at the large class assembly that who were the rightists and how to punish them. Some of them were to do laborunder surveillance, some were expelled from the college, some were sent for “Reeducation through Penal Labor.”* Therefore, without any legal procedures but summarily by the decision of the Party Committee of the College and announced by a Party member in the classroom, those students who had “aired views” even merely a few words were then to lose their youth and future. It was said that the quota of "rightists" set by Mao was five percent which could be more but not less.
                ---------------------------------------------------------
                * A policy of non-judicial procedure, but only by decision of the Party committe-e of the unit, to send a person to a farm or commune for penal labor under surveillance. It was called “Reeducation through Penal Labor” or briefly “Labor Education.” It is different from “Labor Reform” sentenced by the court. A powerful Party member may determine the decision. Therefore, abusing public power to
                retaliate against someone was not uncommon.
                ---------------------------------------------------------
                I was shocked and indignant. If the previous political campaigns made me gradually to feel dreadful, then the anti-rightist movement with its pledges and then denial, "decoying the snake out of its lair,” "covert conspiracy" vs. "overt conspiracy,” made me to recognize the Communist Party of Mao Zedong as vile and shameless. The following political campaign in 1958 was the "Red vs. Professional Debate:” Everyone was required to write Big Character Posters (Da-Zi-Bao) to do self-criticism and mutual criticism, to criticize and denounce those "more professional than red.” Classmates were organized to "remove the white flag.” I became the "white flag" in the squad and a special version of Big Character Poste-rs was posted against me. I was criticized and denounced at a large class assembly attended by more than 160 classmates. They blamed me that my putting more stress on “professional” than “red” was selfish; that I did not express concer-n for politics and did not follow the Party, so I was doomed to have no future,
                because the Party would not sponsor and nurture such a person. This was the first time in my life being criticized and denounced publicly at an assembly, and made me tremble with fear for a long time. Many professors were criticized and denounced. Once a car brought a famous expert to accept criticism in a general assembly. It was Professor Zhong Huilan, an internationally renowned specialist in t-ropical diseases and the consultant of the Ministry of Health. He sat on one side of the stage and remained silent all the time. "Red vs. Professional Debate" was followed closely by a series of farces: “Nationwide Campaign to Kill Sparrows”: At the beginning special emphasis was laid on that the sparrows were put by Chairman Mao on the list of "four pests" (mosquitoes, flies, rats, sparrows), with the charge they consumed millions of tons of food grain. As the command was issued, a nationwide frenzy to kill sparrows began. The people of the Capital took the lead, everyone kept knocking washbasins, whistling, and aiming slingshots, to chase and kill sparrows. Actually any birds that appeared were shot do-wn. The campaign continued day and night for three days. Except for a few birds
                that fled to foreign embassies for "political asylum" and survived, none of the rest was spared. It was said that some embassy personnel leaning out their front doors watched the ridiculous farce. The result of nationwide sparrow killings was pest infestation for several years. Grain yield declined dramatically. "Gre-at Leap Forward": The aim was to outstrip Britain and catch up with the United States. The first event was the nationwide campaign to make iron and steel. Therefore, iron doors and windows, iron staircases, iron knockers, and iron shovel-s, even iron cooking utensils, in short, any ironware were
                collected and fed into indigenous blast furnaces; trees were felled wantonly and chopped for firewood. Everyone exerted themselves and worked day and night, all to achieve the goal of annual output of 10.7 million tons of steel. The right-side neighbor of the Medical College (suburban district) was the College of Iron and Steel. One day Premier Zhou Enlai came to mobilize the students to go everywhere and "guide" indigenous steel making. The result of the campaign was heaps and heaps of mixed soil and iron. “High-yield Agriculture” campaign: The aim was for yield to soar high like the launch of a space "satellite" (1957 the Soviet Union launched the first artificial satellite, at that time the Soviet Union and China had not publicly split, so China followed to brag). This included so-called "planting experimental field": to dig and root in two or three meters dee-p, and to transplant rice of several mu to one mu field, so a child might jump on it. Every day newspapers reported high yield news on the front page with red big characters: tens of thousands or over hundred thousand jin (1 jin equals 0.5 Kg) per mu, as high yield as launching a "satellite". Mao also asked Tsien Hsu-e Shen for scientific proof. Tsien said that in condition of sufficient photosynthesis and fertilizer, such high yield was absolutely possible. Alas! A respectable scientist should make such an indiscreet remark and became an accomplice. I-t was said a Japanese leftist delegation visited China and said not without “admiration”: "You Chinese are really great, if we were so densely planting in Japan, we are afraid not only the water supply is impossible, even the air would not go through.” The People's Commune and Great Leap Forward resulted in the Gre-at Famine of three consecutive years, and over 30 million people (more than half the population of France) were starved to death. However, until January 2011, the official revision “History of the Communist Party of China,” Volume Two still deceived people and insisted it was "three years of natural disasters." In fact, specialists verified from the national meteorological records that there were no large-scale natural disasters in those three years. From north to south China, it was basically good weather. From the early days of "liberation,” I began as a kid with a good impression of the Communist Party, recoiled at the horror of large scale killing, then despised Mao’s vile and shameless in Anti-Righ-tist Campaign, and then observed with disgust the absurd the series of farce-s like Great Leap Forward and so on. The transformation of my thought was only for one reason: Seeing the facts. But I had never felt any sense of resistance; I just didn't want to be involved in politics. Assignment to Kunming Medical College as a Teaching Assistant Diploma of Beijing Medical College, 1959 In 1959 I was graduated from Beijing Medical College. Then I was trained for one more year in an advanced program as a future teacher. In 1960 I was assigned to Kunming Medical College as a teaching assistant. It was the time of the Great Famine - so-called "three years of natural disasters.” Except for the meager ration of food, almost nothing edible could be found. As a medical school teacher, I inevitably suffered from hunger and edema. When I got up in the morning and pressed my
                finger on the forehead, it left a concave. With urinary frequency and urgency, I was often too late getting to the toilet and wet my pants. Of course, I knew this was a symptom of malnutrition, but what was the remedy? My colleagues told me that suburban farmers sometimes would bring snails to sell, so I often went to buy them. I also wrote to my parents that I could buy snails to eat, reporting the good news while conceal the bad, so they wouldn't worry about me. After sev-eral episodes of this my father replied, "Each time you said snail, snail, I think what nutrition has that rubber stopper (black snail meat like a bottle stopp-er)?" But he felt helpless. Once a peasant woman brought a hen furtively covered with clothes to sell. When I learned that the price was 20 yuan (my monthly salary was 56 yuan), I was startled. Occasionally I talked with a colleague who answered me with a wry smile, "I heard that a farmer in Shanghai suburbs sold a goose for more than 100 yuan.” I said farmers were going to be rich. He disagreed and whispered to me, "You think the farmer can raise chickens easily, eh? No way! Each household is allowed only to raise two hens. Raising more than two is alleged ‘capitalism.’ Actually there is not enough feed to raise more. In addition, they have to sell eggs on a quota basis. The person from the Purchasing Station carrying a basket goes around to each house to collect them. I think that farmer would sell a hen most probably because some family member was sick or for some other reason urgently needed money. It's illegal to sell a hen privately to anyone. Once discovered by an officer of the Market Management Committee of
                Town the hen will be confiscated. We city people are also difficult, but anyway we have food rations. Farmers after paying ‘public grain’ (agricultural tax) and selling ‘surplus grain’ (a kind of obligatory purchase), what else do they have? Just mixed bran with vegetables to be eaten for half a year, so the
                farmers live hard!" Hearing that, I felt sorrowful. He did not dare to tell me more facts such as how many farmers starved to death in those years! Although the material conditions were very harsh, I enthusiastically devoted myself to work, with a heart to do something for the people. The Department allotted me most courses, so my schedule was almost full. Even in the evening I had to lecture to physicians graduated from middle medical school and to nurses - so called "Evenin-g College.” According to the instructions from higher authority, we were to do "Education Reform,” told first to re-compile the textbook. I was appointed as a member of the stem team. I was active in labor and even the amateur sports. I was popular with students and was accredited by the Faculty Board. According to their comments Zeng was good in everything but "red.” The Party branch had encouraged me to attend the "Party class" study - the first step for joining
                the Party. In fact, anyone could see clearly that in order to get privileges and benefits, it was impossible without being a Party member. However, I was not interested in politics, and was afraid of such a Party. Although there were good Party members who worked hard and tirelessly, I despised those who trampled on others to climb up to higher ranks, and those who did everything rather “left” than “right” or appeared “left” but actually were “right.” However, often such Party members got the upper hand. I found that Party members had privileges, but were also under more control. The regime of the Communist Party was like a network, the masses were at the bottom, and all Party members were meshes of different levels. The Party tightened the meshes from top to bottom to control the masses. I did not want to be in the mesh, so politely declined the invitation to attend the Party class. But I was willing to "listen to the Party,” willing to do the best in my job, and willing to take practical action to "serve the peop-le.” However, it was impossible to be tolerated even if I wanted to be a "docile" person. If you did a good job and achieved but were not a Party member, then you were "more professional than red.” During studying the advanced program for future teachers in Beijing Medical College, I wrote an article on the progress of the research of erythrocyte sedimentation rate, which was supplemented by
                my younger brother and published in the “Chinese Medical Journal,” 1963. As I was not a Party member, this professional achievement inevitably became evidence of being "more professional than red,” though they would not say so openly. In endless political studying, on every occasion of “criticism and self-criticism,” or on annual appraisal, the tag "more professional than red" was like a
                shadow following the body. In each political campaign, "not close to the Part-y,” "does not follow the Party" or "the backward person" became my qualitative mark. It was like the spell of the hoop on Golden Monkey's head and threatened me all the time. Implementation of the economic correction policy let up when it was said, "Let farmers take a breath," by pragmatists within the Communist Party. The so-called "three years of natural disasters" or Great Famine began to ease in late 1962. However, starting in 1963, Mao Zedong launched another politica-l campaign. This was known as the "Socialist Education Campaign,” i.e., the "Four Cleanups Campaign" (Cleanup politics, Cleanup economy, Cleanup ideology and Cleanup organization) for three consecutive years, proclaiming loudly, "Graspin-g on class struggle, it works all the time,” "Engaging in class struggle every day.” Therefore, we had to have two hours of political study almost every day or evening. The atmosphere became increasingly tense. Then Mao launched the world-shocking "Great Cultural Revolution" and pushed the whole country farther into the abyss of calamity. The paper on erythrocyte sedimentation rate as published in the Chinese
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                  Calamity Arrives: ‘The Great Cultural Revolution’

                  The Big Character Poster Siege

                  By early May 1966 during the Four Cleanups Campaign, the hours for political studying were gradually increased to all day long and every day. Regular teaching activities were stopped entirely so as to engage in the “Cultural Revolution.” The faculty, staff and students of the whole school, divided by department or class, were to learn the editorials of "People's Daily" or relevant articles, and to expose and criticize people and affairs that "do not conform to Mao Zedong's Thought.” The atmosphere was depressing and dull. None but a few knew what would happen next One day we heard, "Sailing in the sea depends on the helmsma-n,......." The broadcasting network of the Medical College suddenly blared it out loudly, deafening the ear with its growling roar as the sound wave shocked the whole campus. I was startled: What was happening? After the song stopped, the broadcast announced that all faculty and staff members were to go to the auditorium to read the “Big Character Posters.” Following my colleagues, I walked into the auditorium and was shocked to find numerous Big Character Posters. They wer-e written on old newspapers and hung on ropes in rows, each row about one meter apart from the other. On both sides of each row was a white paper label which conspicuously identified the object of criticism. I was taken to the rows with my name on the labels. There were three long rows with hundreds of posters. I gasp-ed, my body trembled with chills. What was written on them? I managed to calm myself and read the posters one by one, finding that the contents were astonishingly consistent in two points: One questioned my relationship with "counterrevolutionary" Wei Jiechen; the other asked why I should dare to marry a released counterrevolutionary. All posters were full of insult, slander and intimidation. I
                  studied the signatures, all written by students. Regarding the relationship with the "counterrevolutionary” Wei Jiechen: Wei Jiechen was the director and professor of ophthalmology at the First Affiliated Hospital of Kunming Medical Colleg-e. He studied in France many years before, and previously was my father’s intimate classmate at the Shanghai Aurora University School of Medicine (the predecessor of Shanghai Second Medical College). He also was a devout Catholic. When I was assigned to Kunming, my father told me, "I know many people back from France remained at Kunming due to turmoil and chaos of war, probably Wei also is there. I have never been in contact with him since we said goodbye on graduation. Bu-t you may as well try to find him.” Really I found Professor Wei and respected him as Uncle Wei. Two days earlier, I had seen him on the way to the hospital. By that time the atmosphere had become increasingly tense. He wore a mask and slowly walked forward without looking at either side as if he had not seen me. Bu-t I did not know that he had been labeled "counterrevolutionary.” I was wonder-ing and dared not greet him. How could he suddenly become a "counterrevo lution-ary?” It was simply baffling. There was a poster proclaiming: “When Zeng Qing Si came to Kunming, he held a letter of introduction and specifically looked for Wei Jiechen. What dirty deal you did?” What fabricated allegations! I felt angry but oddly amused. Regarding the charge of "Marriage with a counterrevolutionary": My wife Yu-ou and I were senior high classmates and parishioners of the same church. I was introverted, focusing on my studies; Yu-ou was an active, literary and art-loving girl, also a member of the church choir. At Christmastime in 1953, the choir members played a humorous drama "An Honest Day" based on a script from Hong Kong, which described a young man who wanted to tell truth to anyone he met for one day, but encountered a lot of troubles. Yu-ou participated in t-he performance. Authorities alleged that the show was a "bad play.” In the national college entrance examination 1954, Yu-ou was subjected to "political
                  censorship unqualified" and excluded from entering the gate of the college. Yu-o-u’s family was in Hong Kong, so she then applied for emigration there. In the 1950s the Communist government launched nationwide raids on all religions. Almo-st all clergymen and many believers were arrested on cooked up charges and imprisoned or even killed. I was spared probably because I had moved from Xingning to Guangzhou not long before and attended church activities less. In early 1958 Yu-ou’s aunt in Guangzhou died. Yu-ou had been close to her aunt since childhoo-d, so she went back to Guangzhou for the funeral. In those years, the government launched the "Three Self Reform" for Catholics and Christians, and set up the so-called "Patriotic Association" to control Catholics and Christians. When talking with friends Yu-ou inevitably referred to the attitude of Hong Kong Catholic priests and fellow believers against the "Three Self Reform" and "Patriotic Association.” Unexpectedly, after being turned in by an informer infiltrating the church, Yu-ou was arrested and convicted of "conveying the indication of foreign power and engaging in reactionary propaganda," and was sentenced to five years in prison. She was the so-called “imperialist spy” mentioned in the Big Chara-cter Posters against me. As Yu-ou and I were classmates and attended the same c-hurch, so we had more contact with each other prior to our marriage. My impress-ion being that she was a simple and kindhearted girl, I was indignant at her being persecuted arbitrarily. Before graduation from the medical school, I began t-o think about marriage. My early friendly affection for her became stronger gradually. More than a year after Yu-ou was released from the prison, I married her following the formal procedures, with the paper issued by the Medical College a-nd then registered by the government's Marriage Office. How could this marriage -be "illegal?” I was guilty by what law? How did the students know I was acquainted with Wei Jiechen? How did they know whom I married? Obviously all this was orchestrated by the authorities. The authorities had revealed these things to t-he students, so they attacked me on these two points. Among the Posters there were two that were different. One was derived from my lecture with the message: Z-eng Qing Si said: "Place the caterpillars one after another on a wire ring, as the caterpillar has a habit following the one in front, so the caterpillars will go around and around until exhausted."  This is an innuendo, viciously attacking the working people on blindly following the Communist Party. That experiment was by an English biologist in 19th century which I quoted to explain a text. I-t was so distorted as to justify charges against me, I was really dumbfounded.
                  Another Poster was: Zeng Qing Si never took notes with him no matter giving lectures or guiding experiments, so as to show that he is high and best. I smiled bitterly: I really didn't need to read notes, although I carried them with me. As I was preparing notes, I processed the contents carefully, so everything was in my mind. I did not need to refer to the notes again. What was the guilt in tha-t? I noticed that those hurling abuse at me were mostly not students I had taugh-t; and each of these posters was signed jointly by several students. So it seem-ed that they just followed and signed. Having observed many political campaign-s, I understood very well what had happened: Most people go with the flow, with some stirring up trouble and others being fooled. I also read the poster rows under other names, almost all of them aimed at the "label removed rightists,” "historical counterrevolutionaries", or professors and “academic authorities." Th-ey recklessly attacked and cursed. God knows how many facts, if any, were ther-e. I had a premonition that the next wave in my colleagues’ poster siege would appear soon. I walked out of the auditorium with heavy heart, filled with indignation, fear and helplessness. Feeling resentment, I was tempted to write a post-er for self-defense. My justification would be that my actions were merely so-c-alled "contradictions among the people" rather than "contradictions between ourselves and the enemy" - the most fashionable political slogan at that time (from Mao Zedong "On the Correct Handling of Contradictions among the People"): With Wei Jiechen, it was just relationship in common; and my marriage was, after all, a legal procedure. But I realized immediately that self-defense could only pr-ovoke an even greater calamity. These posters were written by students under th-e direction of the authority. Experiencing many political campaigns, I knew cle-arly that the so-called "masses movement" actually was "moving the mass.” It
                  was a "determined case" by the authority, so how could I ever be allowed to defend myself? I gradually realized that the root cause of the Poster attacks was that I was a Catholic: My wife was persecuted for religious belief and became a "released counterrevolutionary prisoner"; and Wei Jiechen became a "counterrevolutionary,” later I knew this was just because he didn't participate in the "Three Self Reform" and had contacts with some church members also unwilling to participate in the Patriotic Association. A few months earlier I was informed to view an internal photo exhibition: "The Reactionary Nature of Catholic Church.” I predicted that was an omen that the Catholic Church might soon be branded as a "reactionary organization,” just like the Catholic "Legion of Mary" (a charity of believers caring for the poor and sick) had been alleged to be a "reactionary o-r ganization" in 1953. But after the exhibition the Church was not yet labeled in this way. Based on what consideration? I did not know. However, actual persecution proceeded nonetheless. With exception of a few churches kept in use to
                  deceive foreigners, all the rest were confiscated by the government and occupie-d. The priests and faithful believers who adhered to faith and did not participa-te in the Patriotic Association were either arrested or forced to go undergroun-d. Catholics (and other Christians) in China were actually banned nationwide for a long time. Later my home was twice ransacked (so called "sweep four old"), an-d I was especially interrogated about my religious items. That confirmed to me that the crux of the matter was my Catholic faith. Later I realized that "overs-eas relationship" was a second important reason for the poster siege against m-e, identifying me as a "potential spy" on the Big Character Posters. I had famil-y members in Hong Kong and the United States, and an uncle who was a professor at a university in Taiwan. Although I saw him only once when he returned home t-o visit family in the year of the victory of the War of Resistance against Japa-nese Aggression when I was nine, and since then I had not any contact with him, I was still regarded as having "Taiwanese relatives.” Yunnan inland was differ-ent from Guangdong area. As long as you had overseas or Hong Kong or Taiwan rel-ations, you would be regarded as a "potential spy,” or "having revealed secret to foreigners,” or "betrayal.” During the brutal massacre in the Cultural Revolution, some people were executed only because of their "overseas relationshi-p.” Later I was ransacked twice, all the letters from abroad weretaken away intending to find out evidence of "having illicit contact with foreigners,” which showed how sensitive was "overseas relationship" to them. Of course, the label "more professional than red" with which I was always criticized, also contribut-ed a background for the poster siege. Whenever they wished they could easily trump up a charge. I was worried about what would happen next. Nine years before, the "Anti-rightist Campaign" had not so much momentum! Would they label me as a "rightist," or any "element,” or even send me to jail? In every political campaign, Mao stipulated five percent to be objects of attack and classified as "enemy.” The quota could only be more, but not less. Would I be included in the five percent? As each campaign added another five percent plus their spouses and ot-her relatives, how many innocent victims would there be? This kind of fear was like a sword hanging over my head, making me restless day and night and in
                  -a constant state of anxiety. I didn't know what to do, could consult with nobod-y, not even daring to talk to anyone. People also did not want to talk to me. E-veryone was expected to "stand firm,” "draw a clear line of demarcation" betwe-en themselves and me for the sake of self-protection. So I was left completely isolated.
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                    A Shocking Big Character Poster

                    There were new posters every day, inside and outside the auditorium, around several buildingsand in the corridors. Colleagues’ posters also appeared in batches, some of them against me andfocused on the usual two points, nothing new. I gradually became numb.However, one day, a new poster scared me:Look at the Ugly Face of Zeng Qing Si
                    1. Zeng Qing Si said: "In (19) 62, the Guangdong – Hong Kong border was suddenly open forthree days*, people swarmed to Hong Kong along the Canton Kowloon Railway and roads andwaterway." - Did you want to disseminate rumors so as to slander socialism?
                    2. Zeng Qing Si said, he rarely watched movies, because the domestic films always followed the  same pattern, when you saw the beginning, you knew the end; and those (imported) Hong Kong filmswere either weeping or noisy, and were worth nothing to watch. - Why did you so viciously slander the domestic films and the progressive films of Hong Kong?
                    3. Please look at Zeng Qing Si’s marriage attitude: Several colleagues had introduced girls to him, but were rejected. Prior to his marriage with the counterrevolutionary, the Party branch leaders had repeatedly advised him, but he insisted on. Why are you so loyal to the counterrevolutionary, what is the ideological base? If you are not wearing together a pair of pants, what else?
                    This Poster aroused a big uproar. Numerous posters with scolding, abuse and intimidation ensued with overwhelming effect!
                    I knew the most destructive was the first one - the so-called "open border" rumor. That crime of "fabricating rumor" alone could cause my arrest. Before long a colleague who used to gossip was handcuffed in the assembly and escorted away because he had "spread a lot of rumors.” The open border event was well known not only in the Guangdong area, but also in Shanghai and Beijing. Many people learning the news went into action without delay. In Yunnan, a remote province, the news was blocked, and people who did hear it regarded it as a fable like Arabian Nights. Teacher Liu who wrote this poster was also Cantonese and had family members in Hong Kong and many classmates and friends in Guangzhou. So how could he not hear anything about the event? I lamented this ruthless political campaign that so distorted our humanity. However, I could not defend by myself. The more I explained the worse things became. Nothing could I do but wait with heavy heart. When would I be handcuffed and escorted to the police jeep andtaken away?
                    –------------------------------------------------------
                    * In May 1962 during the so-called "three years of natural disasters" the Great Famine, the Guangdong–Hong Kong border had three days of "Big Opening" (as people so called it) or "Great Fleeing to Hong Kong": The authorities let the people freely go to Hong Kong. Usually a special exit permit or a border pass was needed to buy a ticket to the border city of Shenzhen, and that was available only in a few metropolitan cities, but during those days tickets were sold openly without any document. Not only the Guangzhou Railway Station had a rough-and-tumble, but also in Shanghai and Beijing many people rushed to buy a ticket. A friend of mine happened to be on a business trip to Beijing; he bought a train ticket to Shenzhen and successfully crossed the border to Hong Kong. Most people could not buy train tickets, so they used up other means: cars, bicycles, boats, walking or swimming. Along the Canton Kowloon Railway and other roads and waterways, crowds of people swarmed like ants to Hong Kong. According to the statistics of the British Hong Kong authority, more than 60,000 people arrived in Hong Kong within three days, and more than 40,000 were intercepted at the border by Hong Kong patrols and were sent back to the mainland. How many people had arrived in
                    Shenzhen but not yet crossed the border and were sent back? Nobody knew. Why did this weird thing happen? It was said that a VIP of the Communist Party said with full self-confidence, "Let a few people who are discontented with socialism go out, it’s nothin remarkable.” But soon he saw the huge exodus and immediately closed the border. According to domestic official records, there were at least four instances of a Great Fleeing to Hong Kong: 1957, 1962, 1972, and 1979. In addition to 1962 mentioned above, the number was the highest in 1979: 119,000 went to Shenzhen, but only 29,000 successfully arrived at Hong Kong. Since the blockade of the border in 1950 to the beginning of reform and opening up in the early 1980s, more than one million people have successfully fled into Hong Kong, accounting for one-third of Hong Kong's population. (See "Baidu" website; and Chen Bing-an: “Great Fleeing to Hong Kong". Guangdong People's Publishing House, 2010)
                    --------------------------------------------------------
                    Despite my apprehensions, this "rumor" event was never mentioned again and disappeared entirely from the scene. It seemed that the authority knew it was true and did not want to spread the hype. In fact, I had only talked with Liu privately four years previously. Now it became known to everybody that the one blamed for "disseminating rumor" should be him instead of me. Anyway, this was one among thousands of posters which hurt me deeply. Later, another colleague Teacher Li who used to be on good terms with me said to me, "The Party branch had asked me several times to write posters against you. I had to cope with that, but I would not write such kind of posters." Nevertheless, I understood that Liu had acted only under great pressure. Years later Liu sought my goodwill and I did not hold this against him. Criticized, Denounced and Sent to Labor The Party branch leader ordered me to write self-confession based on the "exposed" data from the posters, then to accept criticism and denunciation at the Department’s political studying session. Yet even with arbitrarily distorted and hearsay “evidences,” al
                    exposed data were around the usual two points, and "criticism and denouncement"
                    just repeated the words from the newspaper. Later, when there still was really nothing new, they excerpted some sentences from fragmentary records of what I
                    had spoken at the weekly Department political studying sessions. They added distortions and exaggerations to criticize and denounce me. I was resentful and helpless but felt I must be cooperative and deal with it carefully. Every day brought political studying, writing Big Character Posters, or reading other posters. In addition, there were assemblies of denunciation and struggle against objects at different scales ranging from the Party branch group to the whole college. At the time of writing Big Character Posters, I also had to write, so I racked my brains to come up with trifling things to include. It had to be done very carefully, or otherwise any petty mistake would be seized upon as a crime. Not only writing Big Character Posters, any utterance and other doings must also be cautious, because they could trump up a charge on any pretext. Once when we were in the auditorium to listen to a report from one of the authorities, one person carelessly spread a newspaper to cover the dirty, long wooden bench and sat down. At that time, the daily newspapers always had a large portrait of Mao on the front page. So that was a horrible blunder! The man was charged with “Pressing Chairman Mao under his buttocks,” and was pushed to the stage right away to accept criticism and denunciation. Once another "activist" learned that there were plaster busts of Mao on sale. To show his "loyalty,” he intentionally clamored to b y one quickly. Then he tied Mao’s plaster bust on his back with a rope and returned. But he unexpectedly was seen by others, he was charged with "tying Chairman Mao up with a rope,” and was criticized and denounced on-site. Considering
                    e was one of the "five red categories,” they only punished him by kneeling in front of the college gate for two hours. The faculty, staff and students of the Medical College went to the countryside to help harvest. I was assigned to a squad of students whom I had taught. They no longer showed me respect and care as
                    before, but also no hostility or trouble. Anyway, we all felt uncomfortable. During the break, we had nothing to chat about. To evade the embarrassment, I took to the latrine for my refuge. The local rural latrine was a small open-air pit surrounded by straw mats with flies fluttering and dung maggots crawling. Once I felt a bit cold and clammy on the ankle, then found a dung maggot crawling on it. It made me sick. I quickly picked up a leaf and wiped it off. Nevertheless, I preferred to squat on the latrine until starting work again. Once I had just come out from the pit and met a student. He nodded slightly to me and stood courteously on the side of the path to let me pass. I felt a bit of relief: The goodness of human nature was not annihilated. In addition to being criticized and denounced, sometimes I and other "cow demons and snake spirits" were ordered to do penal labor, such as mowing, removing rubbish mounds, cleaning the environment, etc. In fact, we were only besieged by the Big Character Poster, or were abused as "cow demons and snake spirits,” but had never been publicly convicted as "guilty,” or labeled as "elements.” However, without any basis in law or any formal procedure we still had to accept criticism and denunciation, be ransacked, or do penal labor. It had been decided internally by the authority that we were the objects of dictatorship (namely, enemies). When and how would we the "cow demons and snake spirits" next be punished? Of what "elements" would we be labeled? The menace was like a sword hanging over my head. I was in a constant state of anxiety, suffering from insomnia, dizziness and low appetite. I went to the college infirmary for blood pressure measurement: 132/90, i.e., 132 systolic and 90 diastolic. I knew it was not diagnosed hypertension according to the standard at that time. Dr. Chen glanced at me sympathetically but didn't say anything
                    and gave me a few days of tranquilizers. The First Ransack One day when we were in the Department political studying session learning about the editorial views of the "People's Daily,” a female teacher accompanied by the student's squad leader came in and whispered with the head, then commanded me to go out with them. Outside the door, she ordered that we go to my dorm for "sweeping four old" - a synonym for ransack. I followed them helplessly, followed by colleagues. When I was approaching the dormitory, a group of students were waiting there. They shouted slogans: "Sweep all the cow demons and snake spirits!” "Leniency to tho e who confess, severity to those who resist." I was ordered to bow my head
                    and hand over keys and all other items from my pockets for inspection. Then the teacher and students went in to ransack. There were more than 30 yuan in a drawer - the remainder of my monthly salary after buying meal tickets. The teacher instructed the students to give it back to me. This was a small discipline retained in the early days of the Cultural Revolution, or else I might have had no money to buy meal tickets. As a poor teaching assistant, how many belongings I might possess? Ransack finished, the teacher asked me: "Where about the diary?" I replied, "I don't write a diary." I knew the danger of a diary. Over the years of one after another political campaign, many people got into trouble and even lost their lives just because of a diary. Before long a colleague was shot because "a lot of reactionary remarks" were found in his diary. The teacher continued, holding a stack of my letters from abroad and asked: "Where are other
                    letters?" I answered, "All the letters from abroad are here. As for domestic letters, I discarded them after reading.” Actually, even letters from abroad I didn't want to keep, just to avoid possible charges of "Having illicit relationship with foreigners,” but I had kept them for verification and now it really counted. It also made me realize that "overseas relationship" was an important item for ransacking. In fact, it was known to all that all letters from abroad or Hong Kong and even some domestic letters were secretly inspected by the public security, the so-called "going into the dark room." If there were any problem in my letters, it would have gotten me into trouble already, so there was no need to
                    check again by them. Six cans of malted milk powder which I bought the day before were placed in a row on the desk, the teacher asked me: "Why did you buy so many?" I answered: "My child is just one year old, her mother’s milk is insufficient, and she cannot buy milk or milk powder in Guangzhou. The day before yesterday I saw malted milk powder on sale here, so I bought them to send back home."
                    This child, my daughter, was born in the second year of our marriage. I still had to work in Kunming, while my wife Yu-ou remained in Guangzhou. Alone, she faced the difficulties of pregnancy, childbirth, infant care and feeding. When she most needed support and care, I could not help, to my deep and lasting regret. In those days, the supply of consumer goods nationwide was very limited. In
                    Kunming, occasionally I could buy food for mother and child which I would send back to Guangzhou. This time I had only bought the malted milk powder and hadn't yet sent it before the ransack. I was really worried about it being confiscated. The face of my little daughter waiting to be fed appeared in my brain. ......
                    The teacher's husband was acquainted with me. With leniency, she told the studets to put malted milk powder back on the bookshelf. Later when I talked about this matter with friends, they said it was such only at the early days of the Cultural Revolution. Later the raids became more and more crazy. Anything the Red Guards wanted could be taken away, or walls and floors torn up, and even people were beaten half-dead. Ransack finished, my things taken away included: all photos, letters from abroad, a book, "Selected Songs in English and Chinese," and a few foreign language learning books (all bought from Xinhua Bookstore) and a new book, "The Sunzi Art of War With Annotations," published by Ancient Book Publishing House recently. They promised these things would be returned to me after inspection but actually were gone forever. I was very sorry for losing those photos: from infancy to the following years including family, friends and classmates, which were collected in a small album, all were gone. Our family photos in Guangzhou also were ransacked and lost because of my father's religious belief and overseas relationship, plus his status as a senior intellectual of the "stinking ninth category." My mother was a devout Catholic alleged “superstitious to intoxicated” by the Religious Affairs officers. So after 17 years when I went to the United States Consulate for applying an immigrant visa, I was not able to provide even a single family photo. Fortunately, the consulate officer understood, asked no more questions, and gave me the visa. The next day after my ransack, th  Party branch leader asked me: "Don’t you have religious items?"
                    "Last summer I took them back to Guangzhou.” I replied. By now I realized that "religious items" was one of the major goals for the ransack, and the reasons for the besiege by the Big Character Poster - Catholic, and overseas relationship - were glaringly obvious. A Pleasant Surprise I was unable to protect myself, but I was also worried about the situations of my wife and my parents, especially my wife. As a "released counterrevolutionary,” she might be thrown to the bottom of a political hell at any time. My daughter little Meng was just one year old and learning to walk. How was she now? I also feared great difficulty for my Catholic parents because my father, as a
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                      as a senior intellectual, had been placed in the "stinking ninth category"; and my mother had been summoned by the Religious Affairs Office for "talk" or "lear-ning” several times. I looked for family letters every day, and usually one would come every week or two. Now over four weeks had elapsed, and there was still none. What happened? I was anxious and fearful, and my heart felt like a big ro-ck was pressing on it. Finally, one day as I passed by the mail room, Xiao Huan-g from inside called to me that I had a letter. I looked at the envelope which was from my younger sister instead of Yu-ou. What happened to Yu-ou? My heart p-ounded. I dared not open the letter but put it in my pocket and hurried back to the dormitory. I opened it with my hands trembling. My sister prosaically said a few words about our parents, her own situation, and the weather in Guangzhou. In the end, it seemed casually she wrote: Our cousin has been discharged from the hospital, now rests at aunt’s home. "Yu-ou is free? Ah!" I immediately knew the meaning of that last sentence. I was so surprised that I almost cried out.
                      I did have cousins and an aunt in Shunde County, dozens of kilometers away fro  Guangzhou. Because my uncle was a civilian member of the Kuomintang government, he had fled to Taiwan in 1949. During this extraordinary time, we dared not to have any contact with my aunt. And I had never heard that my cousin had any ser-ious illness and needed to be hospitalized. Now such a sentence suddenly popped up in my sister's letter, I took the hint immediately: "cousin" referred to Yu-ou, and as Yu-ou's parents were in Hong Kong, "now rests at aunt’s home" meant Yu-ou was now in Hong Kong. My sister really racked her brain to write this let-ter, which made the officer who secretly examined the letter ignore it, but for me, it was quite understandable because hearts which have common beats are link-ed! I raised my eyes to heaven: Thank God, thank God. A picture emerged in my m-ind: A seagull (Yu-ou means jade gull) is flying freely in the blue sky. Ibrace-d myself up. As Yu-ou had extricated herself, I myself would find it much easie-r now to deal with any difficulty. But I still worried about little Meng. Who would take care of her? It was not mentioned in the letter, but I thought there m-ust be arrangements. I put the letter back in my pocket and took it to the toil-et of the teaching building, read it again and again. "Letter from home is wort-h gold.” But reason told me: This letter must never be left behind. I gritted my teeth and with hands trembling shredded the letter and the envelope and flushed them away in the toilet. At that time there were toilets only in the teaching buildings, but the dormitories of faculty-staff and the students had only publ-ic trough latrines outside. I thanked Xiao Huang because letters were usually p-laced on the letter shelf of the faculty-staff cafeteria for everyone to pick u-p. But this time Xiao Huang called me when she saw me passing by. At that time because of my identity as "cow demon and snake spirit,” people avoided contact with me. Xiao Huang did so, obviously out of sympathy, although she didn’t say anything. More than 10 years later, after the Cultural Revolution was over, I visited my family in Guangzhou, there I bought packets of cashew for export which I had never seen before. Returning to Kunming, I gave one packet to Xiao Huang in gratitude although I didn't say the reason. During ten years of the Great Cultural Revolution I experienced a lot of calamities, had several narrow escapes from death, and was in a state of panic almost every day. But I also had three very pleasant surprises, and receiving this letter was the first of these.
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                        A Dangerous Journey After many years I learned that Yu-ou's success in fleeing t-o Hong Kong was the result of risking her life to travel an extremely dangerous road. She was a "released counterrevolutionary": In the 1950s, the authority ba-nned all religions nationwide and religious people were subjected to cruel persecution. Yu-ou also was arbitrarily charged and put in prison for five years. After being released in early 1963 she was still deprived of “political rights” for four years and under surveillance and control. She was forced to do labor w-ithout payment at least three days a month, such as sweeping streets or public places, repairing roads, cleaning ditches, painting slogans and posters on the public walls, etc. Holidays and the Guangzhou Export Fair twice a year were the-ir busiest time, always working from daybreak until late at night. Sometimes sh-e would think: If the foreign guests found Guangzhou so clean but learned it was only by forced labor, what would the guests think? On the Spring Festival's Ev-e of 1965, when each family was having a reunion dinner around the table, Yu-ou and the other persons under surveillance and control were ordered to clear ditc-hes. With her pregnant belly, she had to laboriously dig the mud. She thought o-f the unborn little life: "You have not come to the world yet, why should your fate be so bitter?" She could not help but shed tears. Dirty and tiresome labor could be endured, but what was more terrifying was the action control and "thou-ght reform": Four hours distant from her home she must report regularly to the police substation; at least one evening per week she had to go to the police substation for political studying and individual reporting, or to be assigned specific task. Participants were those under surveillance like her or so-called "tai-nted" men in history. Political studying was generally to read "Mao’s highest directive" and the stereotyped newspaper editorials. Then everybody was required to speak a few words to self-criticize and mutually criticize, but it was most-ly a mere formality. Individual reporting was completely different, she must ex-plain in detail to the police about her behaviors and thoughts during that peri-od, what she had done, what she had thought, how she recognized her past "crime-s,” where she had gone, whom and what she had talked with and about, etc. What followed often was a severe reprimand. Yu-ou was much afraid of the police aski-ng what her mother-in-law (my mother) had said. (Her father-in-law worked outside of Guangzhou and came home only on weekends) The police said, "Chen XX (mothe-rinlaw’s name) is superstitious to the extent of intoxication. She helped priests released from labor-reform with money privately. Why do you always say that she hasn't said anything? You can ask her about the priest’s situation, you ca-n talk to her about Cultural Revolution. Ah? Then she will answer somethin-g."...... Therefore, Yu-ou returned to her mother-in-law’s home as seldom as po-ssible. But her mother-in-law was concerned about little Meng so she must take little Meng back for her to have a look. What made Yu-ou most frightened was that the police wanted her to visit certain people - mostly those under secret surveillance by police, and to visit one at a time. "You can talk to him with any
                        reactionary remarks, only report to us what you have said. Try to learn what he will reply, or what he wants you to do. You should do your best for meritorious service to atone for your crime. If your service is good, we can consider reducing your surveillance period. It is also good for your husband and child.” When Yu-ou heard the police wanting her to do such things, she could not help but ga-sp to herself: Wasn't this forcing her to become a stool pigeon? How could she do such a shameless deed by deceiving and entrapping relatives and friends with the appearance of "one of ourselves" or as "a victim"? Yu-ou felt extremely indignant. She tried to be perfunctory and prevaricated, but that resulted in severe reprimand and warning. She plunged into deep mental conflict and depression.
                        What was most suspicious was the contact with Liu Fei last month. Liu was her prison inmate who had been arrested for smuggling watches with partners in Hong Ko-ng. Although they were in the same labor camp, Liu Fei had little contact with Yu-ou and the "religious counterrevolutionaries". After release they had only occasional contact. But now the police ordered her to visit Liu Fei. As soon as Yu-ou arrived at Liu Fei’s home, Liu started to talk about the Cultural Revoluti
                         on describing how professors of Zhongshan (Sun Yat Sen) University were paraded in a group through the streets; a female professor’s hair was shaved half off and half on and her face tarred; Medical director Chen of XX Hospital was beate-n and ribs broken, he committed suicide by cutting his blood vessels. She continued that the Cultural Revolution might soon be extended to the urban areas, and just like countryside in those years labeling class status, fighting the landlo-rds and rich peasants. We as of the “five categories” certainly could not escape. Hearing all this, Yu-ou knew these were not words to report to the police. She stood up to go, but Liu Fei stopped her and said, "I have bought fried oil cakes and soy milk, let’s have it together." Liu glanced outside and, seeing n-obody, whispered to Yu-ou: "It seems the situation is getting worse. It is bett-er to do a gamble than waiting to die". She paused, and then asked Yu-ou, "Do y-ou want to flee to Hong Kong with me? I have a way." Yu-ou also felt the growin-g threat and horror, and had heard people talk about fleeing to Hong Kong. But she knew her own situation made that entirely impossible. So she politely rejec-ted Liu Fei’s recommendation. Back home, she was deeply troubled and didn’t know how to report to the police about this meeting. Finally she decided to repor-t only what Liu Fei had said about the Cultural Revolution, try to downplay it, and conceal Liu’s suggestion of fleeing to Hong Kong. Unexpectedly, her report was scorned as "seriously dishonest.” Then at the next session of political studying, the police directed Yu-ou to stand on the podiu--m, reprimanded her and ordered her to report once a week instead of once a mont-h. She almost cried out on the spot. Back home, she recalled over and over: Wha-t was “seriously dishonest?” The problem could only be that of Liu Fei! Who w-as Liu Fei? Was she also a stool pigeon who needed to "perform a meritorious se-rvice to atone for one’s crimes?” Yu-ou suddenly realized: As I was forced to spy on others, I myself also was the spied object! She shivered though not cold and felt extremely indignant. Liu Fei’s long face with small eyes and the policeman’s ferocious look alternately appeared in Yuou’s mind, impacting her nervous system. The Cultural Revolution expanded from schools and organizations to residential communities, the atmosphere becoming increasingly tense. Those who we-re under surveillance and persons with a tainted history went to the police sub-station to report or be reprimanded more frequently. Under police monitoring, they had to criticize and denounce each other. Several times they w-ere sent to the residential assembly to accept reprimand and even be beaten and kicked. After many years, Yu-ou recalling the nightmare events, said that if not for little Meng, she would have been tempted to selfdestruction. One day Yu-ou passed by an alley where she suddenly saw Uncle Ho of her learning group in the police substation standing on a small table, around his neck hung a board of mo-re than a square foot and on it written "Historical Counterrevolutionary Ho XX" ( He had been a little chief of a cultural office in the KMT era), his left han-d held a broken washbasin, right hand a small wooden stick. Ho knocked the wash-basin once, "clang!", then murmured that he was guilty and willing to accept surveillance of the revolutionary masses. Yu-ou was terrified and hurried back home with heart pounding, and with foreboding that the same disaster would befall her. Sure enough, the very next day, the Residents’ Committee member Aunt Ming came to knock at the door. Aunt Ming was a good friend of Yu-ou's mother before going to Hong Kong. Because her husband was a worker, she was elected a member of the Residents’ Committee. She stared at Yu-ou for a while and then said slowly, "Yu-ou, I watched you growing up since childhood. I have no choice but to tell you the police substation has instructed that you to take a wooden board, about this size (Aunt Ming gave a gesture), and write 'Released Counterrevolutionary Prisoner' and your name on it, then wear it with a string. Starting tomorrow, when you go out, you hang it on the neck; but do not hang it when you are at ho-me. Go out as little as possible. When you need to buy groceries or baby thing--s, ask the neighbors to do you a favor. This is police instruction, so I have n-o alternative." Yu-ou loudly burst into tears, and even sleeping little Meng wa-s awakened. Aunt Ming slowly retreated and gently closed the door. Hanging such a board on the neck to go to the street meant that the Red Guards, hooligans, anyone could hit you, kick you, or order you to be denounced and rebuked on the spot. “How can I live?” she thought. Although fleeing to Hong Kong was quite common in Guangdong, and even some friends had invited her to flee with them, she never dared. Because of her identity as a “Released Counterrevolutionary,” if she once failed, the consequences would be disastrous, and she heard that only few people had succeeded. The second reason was that little Meng was just one year old and she could not bear to leave the child. The third was that her hu-sband was far away in Kunming. During the high tide of the political campaign, how could she inform him to return and flee with her? However, now pushed against the wall, she had no choice but to rush into danger. Risking her life, she knew she must go. She prayed and committed everything to God. Yu-ou consulted her intimate friend Zhang Ting. Two days earlier she had talked with Yu-ou about fl-eeing to Hong Kong. Zhang Ting calculating the tide cycle (according to the wax and wane of the moon to calculate the time of rise and fall of tide, so to find out a suitable date and time to swim out to the sea), decided that they should go late that day, or else they must wait more than 10 days. Yu-ou gritted her teeth and determined to bet her life. She immediately paid Zhang Ting for buying the bus tickets. Yu-ou hurried back home, confused and sobbing, then packed her things. She planned to entrust little Meng to Aunt Yin who was her classmate's mother. She did not dare to give little Meng to her mother-in-law because her f-amily was also like a clay idol fording a river unable to help itself. Moreove-r, her mother-in-law was too old and weak to take care of a baby. Aunt Yin being attentive and careful, Yu-ou often asked her to take care of little Meng for a short time. She put the best clothes on little Meng, and tied to little Meng’s waist a small envelop with forty yuan in it – almost all she had, which was enough for both mother and daughter to live for a month. She also attached a note: "Aunt Yin, I have to go. Please take care of the poor little Meng. If I can survive in fleeing to Hong Kong, I will contact you as soon as possible." She wrote this also to prevent Aunt Yin from getting into trouble when the police should question her afterwards; Aunt Yin could show this note declaring that she had no idea beforehand. Yu-ou put two other sets of better clothes and infant supplies into a basket. Then she changed her own clothes, put on faded dark blue overalls, and pinned a Mao badge on her chest as usual.
                        [ 这个贴子最后由冰云在2020-1-29 14:03:44编辑过 ]
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                          Finally, Yu-ou took out an envelope from the bottom of the drawer, inside was a piece of paper.
                          She unfolded it and read it literally:
                          Recalling an Old Pal on Graduation
                          Twittering swallow, you have fully fledged,
                          Fluttering to fly high, your happiness I can imagine.
                          Is there another swallow flying with you?
                          Or have you built a nest and forgotten your old pal?
                          Crystalline swallow, who is trapped in a cage,
                          Your time and youth have been elapsed within;
                          Be endured until a heaviest storm comes,
                          Break through the cage and enjoy our life in peace.
                          The poem was written by me when Yu-ou was still in prison and I was graduated fo-m Beijing Medical College. Later I gave it to Yu-ou when we got married. There seemed to be an impulse when I wrote down the last two sentences and I felt a b-it strange. Yu-ou pressed it tightly against her chest, tears came down like rain. Regarding the last two sentences, Yu-ou had vaguely thought that to be out
                          of reach. Would it now come true? Could I break free and find a way out? She und-erstood that this piece of paper could definitely not be left behind. After hes-itation, she finally scratched a match and incinerated it. Yu-ou took little Meng to Aunt Yin. Because Yin's husband was a worker in a printing factory, if the police questioned her afterward there might be less trouble. She repeatedly considered whether to tell Aunt Yin about her escape plan but finally decided not,
                          fearing that Yin would dare not accept little Meng. Also, it would take time to explain it all. Yu-ou didn't have much time left, so she told a lie: "Aunt Yin, the police substation told me to attend a meeting, please take care of little Meng for a while.” Little Meng was falling asleep, and with her rosycomplexion, seemed sweeter than ever. Yu-ou hugged her tightly. Facing a parting which migh-t be forever, Yu-ou almost couldn't help but cry out. She gently handed little Meng to Aunt Yin. Little Meng sighed "um" but didn’t wake up. Yu-ou immediatel-y turned away barely restraining her tears. Aunt Yin felt a misgiving and asked suspiciously, "What meeting?" “I don't know. Nothing, I will be back soon." Yu-ou replied as she hurried away. Just out of the door, her tears streamed down.
                          Parting in life? Or separating by death? Who could tell? Zhang Ting and Yu-ou le-ft Guangzhou on the evening bus, and then checked into a hotel with fake travel certificates. The next day they used the fake certificates to board a boat and bus and pass militia checks. Finally they got off at the Xiaoli bus station in the evening and walked quietly along a narrow road. When it turned dark they sn-eaked into the mountains and began an arduous adventure, walking by night and h-iding by day. Both of them were unfamiliar with the area. Zhang Ting had heard a little bit but not more than the direction and the target characteristics. Th-ey had expected a four-day journey, but they traveled a total of ten days, including the bus and boat as well as climbing mountains! Becoming very hungry, they resorted to eating raw vegetables from farm fields. After several narrow escape-s, finally they climbed up to the Eagle Beak Ridge close to the provincial boun-dary at night. Below them was the sea! There was a dim blue light glowing acros-s the sea far away that they were sure was the Portuguese colony of Macao. Near the blue light they pinpointed a big rock next to a hill as their goal for swim-ming across the sea, and then descended the mountain. A path wound through the foothills. Zhang Ting had heard that border guards and militiamen patrolled the path with a very ferocious dog. They saw no patrol, so quickly crossed the pat-h. Down on the seashore, Yu-ou found not the beach she was expecting (Yu-ou had lived in Hong Kong and Macao in her childhood), but instead rugged rocks, sand dunes, puddles, mud, oyster shells, sparse sea grasses, and what they later learned were "sea olive groves". The sea itself was still dozens of meters away.
                          Day was dawning and the tide had been ebbing for some time. So they knew they mu-st move toward the sea as quickly as possible. They walked through the mud, hold-ing a branch as a cane, and nearly slipped several times. Their bodies stained with mud and their strength nearly exhausted, Yu-ou and Zhang Ting finally reac-hed the waterfront. They need to stop and rest, but the path along the foothill-s was not far away, and patrolling militia or border guards could easily spot t-hem. So they struggled farther, then squatted and hid among dense sea grasses a-nd olive trees. Sea water reached their chests and shoulders and waves splashed on their faces. Although it was hot summer, they still felt a chill when soaked by sea water in the early morning. Mosquitoes and other small insects flitted a-bout their heads and faces. As bugs swarmed, occasional small fish pecked at te-ir bodies and legs. Just ten minutes of rest did not make them comfortable. The-y also worried about sea snakes. Zhang Ting had heard that a particular sea sna-ke with an elliptical rather than a triangular head was poisonous. They stared at the path in the foothills, because the militia or border guards might appear at any time. By now it was daylight. They saw nobody patrolling on the path, so they stood up, tore off Mao’s badges, threw them into the mud, took off the wo
                           wash away. Then they blew up air pillows, tied tightly the shoes and the remain-ing half-bottle of water to their waists, and prepared to swim out. Yu-ou looke-d up and saw a flock of seagulls flying freely under the blue sky. She remember-ed the name her parents gave her: Yu-ou (Jade Gull). “This Gull is not as free as those gulls!" she sighed.They swam out toward the big rock previously identi-fied as their goal, trying to relax and changed their swimming postures from ti-me to time. The ebb tides helped push them quickly forward. Praying to their ow-n respective deities for mercy, they did not encounter patrol boats or sharks.
                          Zhang Ting had heard earlier that a man swimming to Hong Kong was attacked by a shark and lost a leg, then bled to death when not very far to the coast. They d-id not know how many hours they had swum and both of them felt exhausted, but there was still a considerable distance to the goal of that big rock. By this tim-e Yu-ou had noticed what appeared to be land just ahead. She gasped and said to Zhang Ting, "I cannot swim any longer. Look right ahead, it seems to be land, l-et us swim over to it.” Zhang Ting answered, "I can't swim anymore either. But does that land belong to Macao or Zhuhai (a county of Mainland China)?" Yu-ou s-aid: "No matter, just swim over there, or else we’ll drown in the sea." Yu-ou feared that if it was part of Zhuhai then, as a "released counterrevolutionary" fleeing, she would inevitably be sentenced to probably five or ten years. “Ala-s, ten years, how terrible!” she thought. “How can I get through the days? Ho-w would little Meng be? How would Qing Si get along?” Then she thought of the current chaos of the Cultural Revolution. Would she be tortured or beaten to de-ath by “masses dictatorship”? A chill of terror and bitterness seized her. Sh-e dared not think about it any longer but prayed, “God, everything is handed u-p to you, have mercy on us.” They dragged their tired bodies and swam mechanic-ally toward the land. Gradually they saw a beach. Paddling closer, they noticed two people swimming towards them. They were alarmed but there was no way to esc-ape. Their bodies were so weak that their hands and feet could only mechanicall-y paddle. They had to resign themselves to fate. As the two people swam closer, th-ey appeared to be a young man and a woman with no malicious intention. "What is the shore there?" Yu-ou asked feebly. “Macao.” "Oh, Macao!" They cried out in pleasant surprise as tears burst out and they gained new strength to swim quickly forward. The young man and woman followed them to shore. Finally Yu-ou and Zhang Ting felt the sandy seabed, immediately stood up, and stumbled onto the b-each. After standing, Yu Ou knelt down, looked up and raised her hands to heave-n: "God! Thank you for having mercy on us.” Zhang Ting also involuntarily knel-t down thanking a god she did not know. Yu-ou then lay prone on the ground, kis-sed the sand, then held her head in her hands, sighing with relief. They finall-y had arrived in a land of freedom! Yu-ou arose and saw the young man and woman standing in front of her. They were moved by the scene and looked affectionatel-y at Yu-ou. The man carried a mesh bag of biscuits, the woman handed Yu-ou a bo-ttle of soda. Zhang Ting already had been chewing biscuits and drinking soda. Y-u-ou suddenly felt long-lost human kindness, and with tears in her eyes thanked them. She took the soda and cookies: “Ah! The ‘Watson’ soda and ‘Garden’ b-iscuits of the free world, how many years I have not seen you!” She began to e-at and drink by the mouthful. Yu-ou suddenly paused, a mixed emotion surging u--p: “Yes, I am free. But how about little Meng? How about Qing Si and other rel-atives? When will their disaster be over?” She could not help but let more tea-rs trickle down her cheeks.
                          [ 这个贴子最后由冰云在2020-1-29 14:17:13编辑过 ]
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