Chronicle of a Critique of Chen Yi

I am not trying to explain anything, but I am just writing down what I experienced truthfully.

In 1967, the year after the Cultural Revolution began, I was a freshman in high school in Beijing, and one day in early August, I was given a ticket to attend a criticism meeting of Chen Yi at the Great Hall of the People, starting at 7:00 p.m. I arrived early, and the meeting was organized by the rebel corps of the Beijing Foreign Studies University (I can’t remember the exact name, but it was the “Red Flag of Northwestern”). I arrived early, and the meeting was organized by the Rebel Corps of the Beijing Foreign Studies University (I can’t remember the exact name, but it was the antithesis of the “Red Flag of Beijing Foreign Studies”). The atmosphere of the meeting was very warm, most of the participants were university students, as a middle school student I quietly sat in the corner to watch the fun.

It was time for the meeting, and the presiding officer was a young man in a white shirt, who must be a big head and very eloquent. He said that Premier Zhou had promised to attend the meeting, but today he was very busy. He asked Comrade Li Fuchun to attend the meeting on his behalf (Li Fuchun was then a member of the Politburo Standing Committee). Only then did I notice that there was a shiny old man with a bald head on the podium.

The moderator added, “We welcome Comrade Fuchun to this meeting, but we hope that Comrades Jiang Qing, Boda, and Kang Sheng from the Central Cultural Revolution will also join us. We are in contact with the Central Cultural Revolution, and we will meet again when they come. There is a slight commotion down below, and we don’t know if or when the Central Cultural Revolution will come, so we have to wait patiently. Poor Li Fuchun Hall, a member of the Politburo Standing Committee, was sunning himself with these students.

The students were happy to be in the air-conditioned People’s Assembly Hall, which was much more comfortable than the dry heat outside (it was the first time in my life I felt the air conditioning). Some simply slept in, others were chattering and chatting. I marveled at the fact that these hairy student heads could talk directly on the phone to Premier Zhou and the Central Cultural Revolution.

After about two or three hours, there was a commotion in front of the venue, and the mood of the venue rose. A group of people surrounded a man in military uniform on the stage, I immediately recognized the man as Chen Boda, a short, fat man wearing black-rimmed glasses, and a few other people accompanying him also in military uniform. Someone was shouting slogans: “Learn from Comrade Boda” “Salute to Comrade Boda”. The atmosphere of the venue a warm up. Chen Boda walked while taking off the grass-green uniform, wearing a snow-white shirt. Moderator up, immediately announced the meeting, first comrade Boda to speak.

Chen Boda’s southern Minnan Mandarin has made great progress, a year ago I heard Chen Boda speak, the general public simply do not understand, and the Cultural Revolution Group’s Wang Li as a translator. Chen Boda first expressed his support for the conference, saying that it was good that you had set up a liaison station for the approval of Chen, and the students next to him whispered to correct the name of the liaison station. He also said some high-sounding words that I can’t remember. The speech was interrupted from time to time by students’ slogans such as “Salute to the Cultural Revolution of the Central Committee”, and the atmosphere was very warm.

Chen Boda said, “I would like to make some suggestions to the generals,” he said. Before the students could respond, he said, “Premier Zhou supports this meeting, but he is too busy to come, so he asked Comrade Li Fuchun to replace him. He said, “You can have the meeting, but you have to come from the Cultural Revolution. This is not good, and is blackmailing us.

In the middle of the speech, someone took a picture of me, and the flashbulbs kept going. Finally, I would like to make a request to you: I have said a few words here today, but tomorrow I will not be taking to the streets with slogans such as “Comrade Boda’s speech is very good”. It’s fine what I say na. Then got up to leave, a group of people crowded together. Chen Boda came and went in a hurry, and it was only ten minutes before and after.

The moderator immediately announced the start of the criticism, and only then did he find that Chen Yi was already standing on the left corner of the stage. He wore military civilian clothes, no collar and no hat, and bowed his head slightly. Standing behind a podium with a microphone on it. Someone started shouting slogans: “Long live the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution”, “Criticize the reactionary line of the bourgeoisie”, “Down with Chen Yi”, and others shouted. “Chen Yi will be defeated if he doesn’t surrender.”

A male student walked to the podium in the middle of the stage and began to speak, the subject of his speech being that, in the early days of the Cultural Revolution, some students at the Beijing Institute of Foreign Languages had posted big-character posters against the working group stationed at the school, and that Chen Yi had sent police officers to patrol outside the school at night on charges of suppressing the student movement. The speech was read from a script, and the voices were strong.

At the end of the speech, the boys shouted at Chen Yi and asked him: “Did you send these policemen? Chen Yi also answered very quickly: I sent them. Q. Whose orders are you carrying out? Chen replied, “I am following the black will of Liu Shaoqi.” I feel that Chen Yi is really a quick person.

The latter spoke on the subject of Chen Yi fixed Chen Boda’s black material, and spoke endlessly for a long time, and finally asked Chen Yi whether to admit. Chen Yi said, when the foreign affairs mouth of Zhang Yan fixed Chen Boda’s black materials, show me, I think he is to provoke me and Boda comrades relations, these materials I read after the Premier to Zhou.

The students seemed to be at a loss as to how to respond to Chen Yi’s defense, so they chanted slogans such as “Chen Yi must be honest,” “Down with Chen Yi,” and so on. Chen Yi said, “I know, the eyes of the masses are discerning, sophistry is useless, you can ask Premier Zhou if you do not believe. This round students really a bit speechless. So they shouted slogans to cover up their embarrassment.

The next speech was about exposing and criticizing Chen Yi’s revisionist literary and artistic ideas. Chen Yi had been the director of the Foreign Cultural Affairs Committee and had made many speeches on foreign literature and literary thought. The speakers were impassioned, and before they finished their speeches Chen Yi interjected, “Well done! It’s a pain to approve!”

There were other critical themes that I can’t remember. At the end of the conference, I asked Li Fuchun to speak. Li Fu-chun had a heavy accent, but he was still understandable. He said that Comrade Chen Yi was wrong and should be criticized, which Chairman Mao and Premier Zhou agreed. One of the slogans you shouted was “Down with Chen Yi!

It’s been 50 years since the incident, and that part of history really shouldn’t be forgotten. I’m writing it here while my mind is still clear, for the reference of those who study that part of history.