Remembering the four students who were shot and killed during the Cultural Revolution

Tombstone inaugurated, a female student of the 40th Form who participated in the memorial service for the dead, July 1968

The famous Red Guard (August 15 faction) graves in Shaping Park (formerly Sha District Park) in Chongqing are the only surviving graves of the victims of the Cultural Revolution in China that have been preserved in their original form. There are 131 tombstones and 573 victims of the “August 15th” faction buried in the adjacent Shapingba District, the youngest being 14 years old. Among them are my Chongqing 40 “August 15” tomb (grave) two, buried male and female students 4.

Classmates aged 16 to 18 years old, “poor Wuding River bones, especially in the dream of spring”. They were not “dreaming of springtime”, but their parents, siblings and friends and relatives were torn apart for life.

“After the Cultural Revolution, Chongqing and the country as a whole were ordered to tear down all the tombstones of the dead of the sect. In 1985, the Secretary of Chongqing Municipal Party Committee, Liao Bocang, gave instructions to set the tone, according to the three principles: “no demolition, no publicity, no opening”. Shaping Park Red Guard group tomb lucky to stay, as Chongqing municipal historical relics closed management.

Most of the Red Guard graves are erected with torches in the shape of the word “8-15”, and the inscriptions on the main monument are lofty: “For the sacrifice of many ambitions, dare to teach the sun and the moon to change to a new day”, “The head can be broken, blood can flow, Mao Zedong Thought can not be lost “Long live the dead martyrs”, etc. The monument base is surrounded by the engraving of the death and life, and the grave plaque is engraved with the names of the dead and their death. The tombstone is sitting in the west and facing east, which means that the dead “always have their hearts facing the red sun”.

Chongqing 40 Middle School is a small junior high school in the central district of Chongqing, with 24 classes of 66, 67 and 68 classes during the Cultural Revolution. The school had no significant history and was dismantled at the end of the last century due to demolition. In the crazy farce of the “Cultural Revolution”, the two opposing factions of the 40th Middle School were supporting actors in the cultural attack and military defense in Chongqing, and were not well known.

40 middle school is located in Chongqing Caiyuanba railway station and the Chaotianmen ferry terminal in the lower half of the city on the highway trunk, between Nanji Gate and Chu Qi Gate. Facing the Yangtze River, the back is connected to the famous Eighteen Steps. To the west, the school is close to the Municipal Court, the new transfer station of the Public Security Bureau, Nanji Men Middle School (South Middle School), and to the east, Chongqing Daily, West Jiefang Road Middle School (Xiexi Middle School) and Kaixuan Road Middle School (Hongyan Third Middle School).

During the “Cultural Revolution”, most of the locations in the central district of Chongqing and around the forty middle schools were occupied by the “August 15th” faction, except for the area around Liangjiao and Niujiao Tuo, where the “anti-final” faction was still stationed. The city’s roads are intertwined. The roads in the city were staggered and defended in sections.

On the evening of March 31, 1968, the “Kunlun Sword”, the “August 15th” fighting regiment of the 40th Middle School stationed at the school, gathered more than 30 people, carrying military bayonets, pistols, semi-automatic rifles and other weapons, and drove to the Caiyuanba train station in a truck (driven by Yang × Zhi of Xiexi Middle School). The truck was driven to Caiyuanba Railway Station (driven by Yang×zhi of Xiexi Middle School) to check the arrivals and departures of trains and to seize weapons from time to time. At about 11:00 p.m. that night, they returned to school by bus.

When the car arrived at the intersection of Nanjimen and Zhongxing Road, a gun went off and someone shouted “Stop!” in the dark. Yang × Zhi brakes in the middle of the dingzi intersection, is under the street light. We didn’t panic, we knew this intersection was guarded by the South China “8-15”.

We shouted “40”, and a few students with guns came out from behind the pole on the left side of the road to greet and talk with us.

Suddenly a shot rang out. Immediately afterwards, I heard someone shouting, “I’ve hit someone, the ‘monkey’ has been shot”. The “monkey” is 40 middle school “8-15” combat regiment leader Hou Tianlin (junior class 66, Communist Youth League members), he sat in the driver’s seat, the left and right door pedals stood Yu ×, Song × yuan.

Everyone got out of the car in a panic. I saw Hou Tianlin leaning on the driver’s seat, Yu × covered Hou Tianlin’s face with his own military cap. South Middle School students saw the situation has been unknown.

Back to consciousness, I and some of my classmates with the car to send Hou Tianlin to Lin Jiangmen Hospital. Doctors to armed students sent to the wounded, knowing that death, but also to make a resuscitation, so as not to cause misunderstanding. The doctor later said that Hou Tianlin died on the spot, the gunshot penetrated through the right eye. Yu × recalled: “Hou Tianlin double eyes were falling in the hat that covered him.”

In the middle of the night, the school’s treble speakers blared over and over again the great leader’s poignant and mournful poetic song “I lost my pride and joy, and you lost your willow”. Those who experienced the “Cultural Revolution” knew that any place where this poetic song was played repeatedly must have produced another “martyr”.

40 Middle School and Nanjimen Middle School are adjacent to each other and belong to the same faction. South Middle School said that “the sudden shooting was due to someone’s nervousness that led to an accidental discharge”. In case of retaliation, Nanzhong took refuge for a few days.

After the Red Guard’s efforts to mediate with the Chongqing police district’s central branch, Nanzhong also did its best to apologize and appease the family of the deceased, and the matter was reconciled internally.

To this day, I don’t know which person in Nanzhong fired the shot by mistake, nor have I heard of anyone taking responsibility for it. However, late in the “Cultural Revolution”, the head of the Nanzhong “8-15” Ren × × × was arrested and shot for other crimes, as retribution.

Five days after Hou Tianlin was killed, the lament of “I lost my pride and joy, and I lost my willow” was sobbing day and night over the 40th grade. 40th grade “August 15th” was shot and killed by two people at a time, and nine people were lightly and seriously injured, the victims were junior 67th grade Li Ningyuan and junior 68th grade Fan Ronghui (female). The victims were junior class 67 Li Ningyuan and junior class 68 Fan Ronghui (female). However, the bloodshed was caused by the rival “anti-final” faction.

Since 1967, schools and units such as Major (Chongqing University) “8-15” in Shapingba District have been building graves of the dead in Shaping Park. (27 people died during the Cultural Revolution, making it the deadliest university in China. Later, the “August 15th” faction in the surrounding area also sent their victims to be buried here. Our university also chose to bury Hou Tianlin here.

On April 5, the 40th Form College held a memorial service at the school, and more than 100 mourners took a truck to send Hou Tianlin’s casket to be buried in Shaping Park. In the afternoon, more than 40 mourners returned to the school (in the city’s central district) by the same route in a truck driven by Tang × Liang (Little White Face) of South Middle School.

40 middle school to Shaping Park is about 20 kilometers. At that time, it was considered relatively safe for the funeral vehicles to take the line of Niujiao Tuo, Li Ziba and Hongyan Village. Along the way are occupied by the “August 15” faction, although there are “anti-final” faction strongholds near Niujiao Tuo, but they are not close to the road. Funeral vehicles hanging white flowers, the occupants barehanded, the sign is significant, passing through the day, the problem is not big.

Tang × Liang, Qi × Chun recalled: “via Li Ziba connected to the U.S. General Stilwell’s former residence road before the intersection, saw the roadside jeeps and trucks parked, more than 10 armed men raised guns to stop the car. The funeral car cab only a gun, the bullets are not loaded, which has the power of confrontation. To paralyze the other side, Tang × Liang slowed down to the side, and shouted ‘we are the funeral car’.”

In the other side put down the gun to close the vehicle, Tang × Liang gear acceleration, towards the Niujiao Tuo run wild. The other side drove a jeep chase strafing, until near the Niujiao Tuo flour mill before turning back.

Tang × Liang stopped near Niujiao Tuo, then went to the nearby 6 “32111” (“8-15” faction) for help, by 6 armed escort drove to Chongqing Surgical Hospital. Li Ningyuan and Fan Ronghui had been shot dead, nine male and female students were lightly and seriously injured. “We attended the autopsy: Li Ningyuan was shot in the back, Fan Ronghui was shot in the left thigh into the abdominal cavity.”

He × into recalls: “I was at the carriage rear railings, many people car shaking, it squatting on the ground. Li Ningyuan support against my back, left and right crowded × × ×, Wei × and. Suddenly listen to the sound of intensive gunfire, the rear railings were hit by bullets ‘flap, flap’ rattling. We were in the carriage, do not know what happened, and nowhere to hide. There was a lot of crying and blood all over the place.

Suddenly the car stopped for a moment, and immediately more than 10 students jumped for their lives. My back, left and right classmates were not dead or injured, I crouched on the ground to escape a disaster, a pair of thousand layer of cloth shoes completely wet with blood. At that time the scene was too terrible.”

My class Zhang × Gui jumped out of the car, see a male classmate shot in the leg walking difficulties, regardless of personal safety, carry the classmate on the run, stop a two factions are allowed to drive the grain and coal special car sent to the hospital.

My sister (a student of Sichuan Post) went back to Chongqing from Chengdu to escape the armed struggle, but she did not know that she had met the armed struggle when she attended the memorial service of our school. Fortunately, my sister and the girls in my class did not return on this bus.

When the bad news reached Shaping Park, people were scared and could not go back on the original route. My sister and all the stranded people in our school were received and placed by the major “8.15”, and sent to the West Division (Southwest Normal College) in Beibei District, and then took a boat back around to the central part of the city along the Jialing River.

The “4.5 incident” killed Li Ningyuan, Fan Ronghui, and Hou Tianlin in the Shaping Park buried together a grave.

Wang × Zhen recalls: “the construction of 40 in the ‘8-15’ tombstone, is a major metallurgical department (or mining department) students recommended the construction unit near Chenjiawan, sent a few masters to host. I and Yu × Rong, Zhang × Fen (my class girls), Lei × Bi (my class girls), Chen × Bi, Li × Zhong, Wang × Rong, fat × and more than 10 forty middle school male and female students volunteered to help on site, which took nearly three months to complete. We transferred cement and river sand in the cemetery, and lifted even two stones (bar stone), very hard, but willingly.”

Zhu×huai (the successor leader of the “August 15” faction of the 40th Central School) recalls, “For the ‘4.5 Incident,’ I went to the 54th Army headquarters (Goose Ridge) twice to attend the debriefing sessions hosted by Chief of Staff Geng Zhigang. At that time, there was nothing the troops could do other than collect and report the situation. But Geng’s chief of staff gave the 60th Form 800 yuan, a small consolation, I think.”

Later, we learned that the people who intercepted and killed our schoolmates were the armed forces stationed at Chongqing Stadium (two intersections) defending the Road High School (defending the middle school) and the Second Light Corps “against the bottom”. Somehow they sneaked from the two intersections (mountain) to Li Ziba (river) to set up an ambush to stop the car. “After the Cultural Revolution, it is not known whether anyone was responsible for the indiscriminate killing of innocent people.

The year 1968 was really a calamitous year for the 40th grade “8-15”, and on July 31, there was another dispute with the new prisoner transfer station, and the first 67th grade Luo Fulian (dumpling) was killed by a sentry firing a gun.

At 9:00 on July 31, we were still sleeping at school when we were suddenly woken up. More than 30 people gathered and went to the nearby Public Security Bureau’s new prisoner transfer station (Phoenix Terrace Prison) to demand an explanation. At that time, the transfer station was guarded by the army, and the students did not have guns with them (I do not exclude that some people carried short guns).

My memory is that Zhu××, my class Yin×× and others returned to school to shout at us. It is said that they went to the street early in the morning to post signs celebrating “August 1st Army Day” and had a dispute with the gatekeeper of the transfer station, scuffled and suffered a loss, so they went back to school to ask the soldiers for an explanation. I am not sure of the details so far.

The big iron gate of the transfer station is usually locked, leaving a lookout and a small iron gate for single people to enter and exit. Students flocked to the transfer station before it could be closed, and the students swarmed in and stood all over the dam, demanding that the assailant make amends and apologize.

The transfer station dam was small and there were several steps to get into the prison. The gun-toting guards retreated up the steps and confronted the students. At this point, a cadre asked the students to withdraw and send a representative to negotiate the situation.

The students listened to the greeting anyway and began to withdraw. But the iron gate was small and the exit was slow. We had already exited the door when we suddenly heard several gunshots in the courtyard. In shock, we saw a pool of blood gushing out from under the iron gate. Everyone exclaimed, “Someone has been hit!”

A few students and I immediately squeezed into the door and saw three or four other students in the courtyard by the iron gate were waiting to come out, my class Yun × Ming finger each other still shouting what to say. But Luo Fulian fell against the iron gate and was shot dead. The armed guards all ran up to the second floor window and blocked the doorway to the prison.

Zhu × Samuel recalled: “There was a lot of pressure. Both to persuade to stop the extreme behavior of a few students proposed night revenge transfer station, but also need to timely request to the Red Police District City Central Division to coordinate the troops to clarify the facts. I was with Zhao×qiao (teacher), Guo×pei (teacher), and Tang’s military representative at the Chongqing Police Command (Daliangzi), reporting the details to Commander Tang Xingsheng (and head of the Revolutionary Committee of the Shizhong District), and there were great differences. There was a demand to qualify the ‘7.31 Incident’ as a counter-revolutionary incident in which students stormed the prison with guns. After much communication and coordination, Commander Tang finally made a decision: ‘It is a serious mistake that the students did not listen to the greetings and stormed the transfer station; however, the ‘7.31 Incident’ was not qualified; the school was asked to do a good job in the aftermath of the families of the deceased and the students’ emotions.'”

During the “Cultural Revolution”, the Chongqing garrison and the “August 15” faction is more harmonious, “7.31 incident” is also the only way to end. The source said that the gatekeeper was a new recruit, who did fire a warning shot and accidentally injured the students, and was subsequently discharged from the army in advance.

So, a new grave was added next to the “August 15” tombstone in Shaping Park 40.

The 40th grade “August 15th” dead and wounded were not blood-spattered martial arts scene, purely by mistake. Although Li Ningyuan, Fan Ronghui, Luo Fulian and most of the gunshot victims were partisan, they did not return to school to participate in the cultural attack and martial arts activities, so they should be considered free.

Wang × Zhen recalls: “Fan Rong Hui family poor. The ‘4.5 incident’ morning, she was still helping her father pull the plate board car (rubber wheelbarrow) to make a living. She met her classmates by chance at the intersection of the South District and was killed by way of participating in the funeral.”

Luo Fulian’s family had overseas connections and avoided the Cultural Revolution. During the “7.31 Incident”, he and his classmates returned to school by chance and were killed by mistake when they joined the crowd.

Woe to my classmates who died unjustly! Woe to those who lost their lives in vain!

In 2010, I returned to Chongqing at the turn of spring and summer, and personally made a special trip to Shaping Park to pay respects to the graves. At that time, surrounded by walls, iron gates locked. I went to the park to explain the situation and agreed to send someone to accompany me inside. I saw weeds and vines inside the wall, trees and branches, decaying stones and monuments, and a walkway that was hard to find. Some of the stone inscriptions have been weathered and indistinguishable, there are also altar residues of sacrificial offerings, should be sorrowful people have come. The cemetery rarely sees daylight, all music is silent, a cold wind swept by, can not help but shiver a few. The time and the people, this situation, this scene, a real time warp, people sad from the chest.

The administrator took me to a civic organization (in the park) that collects information on the victims of the Red Guard graves, and I was greeted by two men and women. I was asked to e-mail them the details of the dead and wounded at the school, and I was also given an oil-printed song sheet from the “12.4 incident” in Chongqing in 1966, “Where are you, dear comrade? Later, because some details could not be confirmed, I was afraid of violating the facts and gave up.

More than 50 years have passed, have the ghosts of the deceased students found the real culprits in the underworld? If they are reborn and reincarnated on earth, will they still fight to be “infinitely loyal” Red Guards?

“The Cultural Revolution was not an “arduous exploration” of China’s road. The Third Plenary Session of the Eleventh Central Committee of the Party has long been characterized: “The Cultural Revolution was a civil strife launched by the wrong leaders and exploited by counter-revolutionary groups, which brought serious disasters to the Party, the country and the people of all races.”

The lessons of blood must be remembered! We cannot fall down in a pit many times!

Still if there are literary scholars again advocating: movement! Let’s move! You and I have come to our senses, but will your children and grandchildren go back to their lives and sacrifice their lives for blood?

November 2020 in Chengdu