The “Touching Personality” of the Communist Party of China, Shi Chuanxiang, revived

“Thirty-six years ago, a man shook hands with another man once. 26 years ago, another man went there, not even being able to say his real name. This one later learned that he was a bit mentally ill and soon went too. They died in the same ‘revolution’ called ‘culture’. This one was a Beijing dung puller named Shi Chuanxiang. The other was the president of the Republic, Liu Shaoqi.” These are the opening words of an article called “In Search of Time Chuanxiang” published on the mainland in 1995.

In just a few words, the tragic end of two characters of different status was revealed, and the life of the manure puller, Shi Chuanxiang, who could not read or write but was honest and willing to work, should have been uneventful, but was held hostage by the Chinese Communist Party and had ups and downs until the end of his life.

The “hero” is out.

At the age of 14, when his hometown was hit by a famine, he fled to the outskirts of Beijing, where he worked as a scavenger. After the establishment of the Communist Party of China, he joined the cleaning team of Chongwen District in Beijing and continued to work as a scavenger. In the 1950s, digging out excrement was purely physical work. It weighed about five tons that he carried every day. At that time, his monthly salary was 50 yuan, which could be considered a high income.

When Chuanxiang, with a grateful mind, worked more diligently, but also put forward the slogan “I would rather dirty one, in exchange for ten thousand house clean”. In 1954, he was honored as an advanced producer, and in 1956, he was elected as a people’s representative of Chongwen District and joined the Communist Party of China in June of the same year; in 1959, as a national advanced producer, he participated in the first national “Qunying Meeting” held in Beijing and was elected as a member of the “Chinese Communist Party”. “He was elected as a member of the Beijing Municipal Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference in the same year.

Liu Shaoqi met with Shi Chuanxiang

On October 26, 1959, Liu Shaoqi, then President of the People’s Republic of China, met with representatives of the “Qunying Association”. Liu Shaoqi held Shi Chuanxiang’s hand and said: “You are the people’s attendant to dig out the dung, and I am also the people’s attendant when I am the President. Time Chuanxiang said happily: “I will always listen to the Party, as a lifelong dung puller.” In order to encourage Shi Chuanxiang to learn cultural knowledge, Liu Shaoqi also took out a Hero brand pen from his own body and gave it to him, and asked him to write a letter to himself on New Year’s Day.

The day after the meeting, the photo of Liu Shaoqi and Shi Chuanxiang shaking hands was on the front page of every major newspaper in the country, from then on, Shi Chuanxiang became a famous model worker and representative of the workers of that era. The People’s Daily, the Central People’s Radio and other news organizations reported on his deeds. Beijing also organized a special training class for veteran workers, and thousands of teachers and masters listened attentively to Shi Chuanxiang’s report. The Beijing Municipal Palace of Labor and People’s Culture also held an exhibition of Shi Chuanxiang’s deeds, which was visited by more than 70,000 people at one time. Worker’s Publishing House also published a booklet introducing the deeds of Time Chuanxiang – “Let the spirit of proletarian revolution be passed on from generation to generation”, with a nationwide circulation of 1.8 million copies.

With the help of others, the semi-literate Shi Chuanxiang finally wrote a letter to Liu Shaoqi at the dawn of the New Year.

The national farce of carrying dung

The spirit of Shi Chuanxiang stirred the hearts of everyone at that time. At that time, the society set off the “manure carrying fever”: teachers and students of Beijing’s major and secondary schools all took it as a great honor to carry manure with him, and all the cadres who came to Beijing for meetings were deeply educated to carry buckets of manure with him.

At the beginning of June 1963, Wan Li, who was the deputy mayor of Beijing at that time, also came to work with Shi Chuanxiang. Wan Li’s action once again promoted the “carrying manure fever”, and more and more people came to learn to carry manure from Shi Chuanxiang.

In October 1964, Liu Shaoqi sent his 13-year-old daughter, Liu Tingting, to work in the cleaning team of Shi Chuanxiang to learn how to carry manure. Eventually, foreign guests from Germany, France, England, and Japan came, and Prince Yumanara, Prince Sihanouk’s nephew, came to learn for a week in a row.

At this point, it became a complete political necessity, if not a farce, to study with Sihanoukville.

Reaching the Peak of Destiny

In 1966, Shi Chuanxiang reached the peak of his destiny. That year, the Cultural Revolution began. Model workers such as Shi Chuanxiang were also invited to publish articles in the newspapers to express their views. It was with the fountain pen given by Liu Shaoqi that he wrote his bold words, “I will pull out all the cows, ghosts, snakes and gods”. But of course, he would not have thought that he would have to pull out the “cow ghosts and snake gods,” including Liu Shaoqi, who gave him the fountain pen.

On the “Eleventh Day” of that year, Mao Zedong specially took Shi Chuanxiang to stay at Zhongnanhai and invited him to Tiananmen Square as an honored guest for the “Eleventh Day” ceremony, which was the first time in his life that he climbed Tiananmen Square. In the city tower, when Chuanxiang saw Liu Shaoqi, however, the silent Liu Shaoqi neither shook hands with him to greet, nor spoke.

He was probably unaware that Liu Shaoqi had already been named and criticized by Mao for being the leader of the “bourgeois reactionary line”. Perhaps even more puzzling to Shi Chuanxiang was the fact that Liu Shaoqi’s ranking in the newspapers the day after the “Eleventh Day” celebrations had dropped from second to eighth place.

At that time, he took on a new identity: the leader of the “Red Workers’ Group for Defending Mao Zedong Thought”, an organization that was formed in November 1966. The group was founded on November 15, 1966, and claimed to be 300,000 strong, with the banner of defending Liu Shaoqi.

The nightmare begins.

At the end of December 1966, the “Leading Group of the Central Cultural Revolution” convened a symposium for revolutionary teachers and students from some universities and colleges in Beijing, attended by Chen Boda, Jiang Qing, Qi Benyu, Liu Zhijian, Zhang Chunqiao and others. At the meeting, Jiang Qing’s “Shi Chuanxiang has become a complete industrial thief, he has been bribed” began Shi Chuanxiang’s eight-year-long nightmare.

Starting from the New Year of 1967, he was often put into a car and dragged to the streets and alleys of the capital with a big sign around his neck that read “Worker Thief” and “Dung Bully”. Within six months, he was arrested and fought more than 200 times. His so-called charges include: “Shi Chuanxiang’s mother-in-law died, Liu Shaoqi gave 500 yuan for burial”, “Shi Chuanxiang was a dung stick before liberation”, “Before liberation, Shi Chuanxiang wore a long robe and a lab coat, and had two carts”. “Wait a minute. Overnight, Shi Chuanxiang became the “sinner of the ages”.

In addition to being publicly criticized, he was also deprived of his right to work, interrogated and tortured in a dark room, and even whipped with a wire wrapped around a three-cornered belt to force him to confess his “crime”.

The Final Tragic Death

After the “September 13th Incident” in 1971, Shi Chuanxiang was persecuted, incontinent and extremely weak. The rebels decided to send him back to his hometown in Shandong. However, before he arrived in Shandong, a telegram from Beijing had already arrived: this was the work bandit named by Jiang Qing, and he would be treated as a work bandit. At that time, Shi Chuanxiang’s condition was so serious that no local clinic dared to treat him, and his family was also implicated, with his youngest son unable to join the army and his daughter ineligible for higher education.

On May 19, 1975, he died in Beijing at the age of 60.

Perhaps, without his photo with Liu Shaoqi, his fate would not have been so tumultuous. The CCP never batted an eyelid at the death of such a minor character as Shi Chuanxiang, because its evil nature had already been determined.