Sleepless nights in Tsinghua Garden

The moment the gate of Tsinghua Second Campus was pulled down

On the night of August 24, 1966, thousands of Red Guards in the capital “washed Tsinghua Park in blood”.

The Second Campus Gate, which had witnessed the rise and fall of Tsinghua University for more than half a century, collapsed to the sound of the song “Pick up the pen as a sword and spear, concentrate your firepower to fight the gangsters”.

When hundreds of old and frail university professors and department heads were beaten with belts and driven by the Red Guards, prostrating on the ground with the broken bricks and stones after the collapse of the Second Campus Gate, and when the Red Guards wrote the word “Dog’s Blood” in ink on the concrete ground stained red by the blood of the injured, what a shocking destruction of civilization it was!

Na Tong, a candidate in the Guangxu period, was an important official of the court in the late Qing Dynasty. In 1925, this old man of the Qing Dynasty who had experienced the changes of the Republic of China was still able to die in his Home in Jingyu Hutong, Beijing. However, the Dong’an market he built and the gate of Tsinghua University with the inscription were not at peace during the Cultural Revolution. In 1966, when the Red Guards broke the Four Olds in Red August, one was renamed and the other was knocked down. Although the second school gate was judged by the Red Guards to be a feudal capitalist because of Natong’s inscription, the bloodbath in Tsinghua Park had nothing to do with Natong, but started when Liu Shaoqi was deposed.

On August 18, 1966, Mao Zedong, dressed in military uniform, received millions of Red Guards at the Tiananmen Gate Tower in a glowing manner. Liu Shaoqi, the president of the country, was still with him, but he looked dull, and his ranking in the press was reduced from number two to number eight in the party. In the political air of China, this is like a shocking thunderbolt. Probably because Wang Guangmei, Liu Shaoqi’s wife, was present at Tsinghua Park at the beginning of the Cultural Revolution to guide the movement, Tsinghua students, who were politically sensitive or denounced as very opportunistic, were moved by the wind and posted large-character posters hitting Wang Guangmei and Liu Shaoqi.

On August 19, Tang Wei and Chen Yuyan, a pair of “golden girls” who had emerged in Tsinghua Park, fired the first shot, posting a large-character poster, “Wang Guangmei is the No. 1 pickpocket in Tsinghua Park”. The sensational headline had an explosive effect.

A group of senior cadres who had shaped the direction of the Tsinghua movement at the beginning of the Cultural Revolution were not willing to be left behind. On the same day, seven people, including He Pengfei, Li Lifeng, Qiao Zonghuai, Lei Rong, Wang Xiaoping, Yuan Seifeng and Wang Xinmin, followed Tang Wei and Chen Yuyan by jointly posting “Three Questions for Wang Guangmei”.

On August 21, Liu Shaoqi’s daughter, Liu Tao, a student of the Department of Automatic Control, had to come forward and take a stand, posting “Vowing to follow Chairman Mao for the rest of his Life in revolution”, staging a scene of great righteousness.

Mao Zedong in Zhongnanhai personally wrote the large-character poster that put Liu Shaoqi to death, “Cannonball Command” also leaked out from some channels, was copied in Tsinghua Park. The text is not named, only a few hundred words, but it is concise, including “self-righteousness, long bourgeois prestige, destroy the will of the proletariat, and how poisonous it is! This sentence is surprising, and it also makes people feel Mao’s resentment against Liu Shaoqi on the paper.

Of course, there are many people who dare not or refuse to believe that this is true. After the transcribed large-character poster was posted, it was quickly torn off or covered, so it was reposted again. So repeatedly, tearing and posting, posting and tearing, must have made Mao Zedong feel the freedom of speech in China is not easy.

At one Time, the Tsinghua Garden was crowded with people and bustling with activity, just as the world’s first holy place, attracting revolutionary masses from Beijing and around the country to worship and learn from the experience. In those days, the masses outside the school who flocked to Tsinghua Park to see the big-character poster of Liu Shaoqi, there were as many as 100,000 people every day.

So far, no one has come forward to prove that the Tsinghua students were instructed by anyone to beat up Liu Shaoqi. If every major event in the Cultural Revolution needs to find a mastermind, I think only Mao Zedong should be held responsible, just as he confessed to Kuai Dafu two years later that he was the “mastermind” behind the tens of thousands of workers entering Tsinghua to stop the armed struggle.

In the midst of great historical changes, unusual noise often implies murder.

More than three hundred years ago, in the year of Jiashen, Li Zicheng entered the capital and Emperor Chongzhen hanged himself on the coal mountain. When the peasant generals, who had not yet gotten rid of their rogue spirit, “kidnapped Wu Xiang and pursued Chen Yuanyuan” (Guo Moruo: “The Three Hundred Years’ Sacrifice of Jia Shen”) and made a fuss about the capital, they did not expect the rising Feminist tribe in the Liaodong land outside the Shanhai Pass.

When the bookish Tsinghua students blustered and shouted, “I dare to pull The Emperor down” (Wang Xifeng’s famous words in “Dream of the Red Chamber”), they did not notice the Red Guards rising in the campus of Tsinghua High School, which was just a wall away.

In the early summer of 1966, the students of Tsinghua High School, who were deeply influenced and nurtured by Soviet literature, used the term “Red Guard” used in the Russian October Revolution as the name of their rebel group. At the time of its founding, I am afraid they did not expect that the Red Guards would come out of nowhere and kill the whole country as quickly as the Qing troops had entered the country.

The early Red Guards, mainly the sons of high cadres and the Red Five, were more famous for their bronze headbands than for their articles advocating rebellion, which were praised by Mao Zedong. The Red Scare they created with their copper headbands in Red August had scared the people.

In Chinese history, student movements have always been started by college students, but this Red Guard movement was led by middle school students. With a few years less schooling, it is not surprising that copper headbands were used instead of pen and ink.

In any case, the Cultural Revolution allowed the Chinese people to enjoy the right to freedom of association under the dictatorship of the proletariat for once. Not only could they have an organization and a program, but some Red Guards groups were actually armed before they were due to withdraw from the stage two years later.

Because they were mainly the sons of high cadres and the Red Five, these early Red Guards limited their revolutionary targets to the rich, the bad, and the right, their “sons”, as well as the principals and teachers who they saw as warm and fuzzy to the sons. When the university students in Tsinghua Park directed the big-character posters at Liu Shaoqi, they felt keenly that the movement would endanger their Parents in high places, or, to put it nicely, the Red Mountain.

Here is where history comes to a rather interesting curiosity: the Red Guards, personally supported by Mao Zedong, went against his will to bring down Liu Shaoqi. Just six days after Mao Zedong received the millions of Red Guards and put on their armbands, the Red Guards of a dozen high schools in Beijing decided to wash Qing Hua Yuan in blood, tearing down the large-character posters that had beaten Liu Shaoqi.

In fact, this is a bit of putting the cart before the horse. The Red Guards should first go to Zhongnanhai to tear up the large-character poster written by Mao Zedong, which is definitely more effective than tearing up hundreds of insignificant large-character posters in Qinghua Park.

If they could do so, their parents and themselves could be spared the subsequent suffering.

History books say that 100,000 Qing soldiers were introduced into the country by Wu Sangui, a feudal lord of the Ming Dynasty.

Thousands of high school Red Guards were also introduced to Tsinghua University by a few leftist leaders at the beginning of the Cultural Revolution.

In late August, Liu Jufen, a student of Tsinghua’s Department of Automatic Control and a son of a high cadre, went to Tsinghua High School and staged a scene in which Wu Sangui begged for troops, pleading with the Red Guard leaders of the high school to “quickly select elite soldiers and enter the South Gate and West Gate directly, while Jufen led his own troops to the two school gates, so as to destroy the rightists in Tsinghua and show great righteousness in China”.

South Gate and West Gate are the two main gates of Tsinghua Park.

I don’t know how Liu Jufen’s words were so earnest to move those middle school students, I made up this passage for her, the original text is from Wu Sangui to the Qing Regent King Dorgon’s book: “quickly choose the best soldiers, straight into the middle and west ward, Sangui led the troops, combined troops to the capital gate, exterminate the foreign invaders in the court, show great righteousness in China.”

The letter refers to Zhongwei and Xiwei refers to Xifengkou and Longjingguan, the two gates of the Great Wall.

Although it is applied, the same Juffin senior’s statement back then can be almost concubine?

August 24 at 4 p.m., several thousand middle school Red Guards led by Liu Jufen and He Pengfei and others killed in Tsinghua Park. According to the recollection of Zhong Weiguang, a student of Tsinghua High School back then, “that day the black pressed bicycle team concentrated in the large playground of Tsinghua High School, a faded military uniform, carrying a wide military brass head belt, the hordes killed the university.”

He Pengfei, a Tsinghua mechanical student whose father was He Long, the Founding Father, has behaved intriguingly in the past few days. A few days ago, he took the lead in posting the large-character poster “Three Questions for Wang Guangmei”, and when many students who admired him followed him to ask Wang Guangmei, he led the Red Guards to tear down their large-character posters.

Could it be that only the state officials were allowed to set fire to the city and the people were not allowed to light a lamp?

Under the unified command of Liu and He, the thousands of Red Guards from the twelve high schools were like regular troops to blockade and divide and surround Tsinghua Park, forming a closed-door dogfighting situation, just like when Peng Dehuai engaged in the Battle of the Hundred Regiments. The sporadic battles of small groups of Red Guards that took place in Beijing and around the country at that time were really small compared to it.

The battle unfolded in a way that showed the military skills of the commanders. Not only were the military targets to be captured (gangsters, reactionary academic authorities and writers of big-character posters) well planned, but there were also battlefield broadcasts to disperse the enemy and create an atmosphere of terror.

Immediately after entering Tsinghua, the vanguard troops occupied the broadcasting station, and the tannoy repeatedly played the “Notice to the People”: “Don’t you want to ‘give up the death of the body and dare to pull down the emperor’? Then you will be given the death of the body!” and “Song of Rebellion”.

Take up the pen as a sword and spear, concentrate your firepower to fight the gangsters. Whoever dares to say anything bad about the Party, let him see the King of Hell immediately!

If you are revolutionary, come over here, if you are not revolutionary, get the hell out!

At that time, I was writing a large-character poster in the classroom. The sound of the radio broadcast made people feel that the visitors were not good, and I warned myself: Don’t lose your heart tonight (don’t be careless tonight). It’s not fun to die or to see the King of Hell.

I hurriedly left the classroom and rode around the campus, only to see the Red Guards, who had already entered the campus, unfolding their formation and getting into battle positions.

At the entrance to Mingzhai, where the Tsinghua Broadcasting Station was located, I happened to run into He Pengfei and a few Red Guards coming out of it. When He saw me, he stopped, pointed his finger at me, and said something to the Red Guards beside him.

On August 22, I had posted a large-character poster, “The black line in the former Northern Bureau must be purged,” alarmingly saying that in the history of our Party there had been incidents of Gao Gang and Rao Shushi anti-Party groups, most of whose members came from the former Red Army in northern Shaanxi. It is no coincidence that many members of Liu Shaoqi’s anti-Party group also came from the former Northern Bureau, such as Peng Zhen, Yang Shangkun, Liu Lantao …… and others.

This large-character poster is I read too many revolutionary memoirs, perceive a little bit of the party’s mountain headism after the traces of the play, rather like the Cultural Revolution in the fight against a large and strapped to the nine clans of color. I was a young man and I did not know what was in store for me, so I commented on the struggle within the Party. But at that time, because Mao Zedong had beaten Liu Shaoqi in the first place, my large-character poster was posted and went viral, and it caused a small stir.

He Pengfei’s pointing made me understand immediately that I was the target of this military action because of this big poster. But I also understood that the time had not yet come for their general attack and that they would not strike me immediately. Therefore, I rode my bike in a demonstrative circle in front of them and then took off.

To be fair, after all, it is the son of a tiger from the general’s Family, He Pengfei commanded this operation with a good voice, and there are a lot of points to be made. The first is to pull down the iconic building of Tsinghua University, the second school gate, to cover up the smashing of the old Tsinghua to cover up the real intention of tearing down the large-character posters, the second is to play a deterrent effect on the enemy, and as when the liberation army put the red flag on Chiang Kai-shek’s presidential palace, it became a sign of victory.

However, history tends to joke with people. Today, the photo of the moment the second gate of Tsinghua School fell has become or will become the iconic shot of the Red Guards of the middle school, mainly the sons of cadres, creating red terror in the early days of the Cultural Revolution.

In all fairness, if the Red Guards hadn’t torn down the gate of the second school and ravaged the so-called reactionary academic authorities and gangsters in the school to cover up their actions against Mao Zedong’s will to tear down the big-character poster of Liu Shaoqi, today, when Liu Shaoqi has been rehabilitated and the Cultural Revolution has been completely denied, history would have written a heavy mark for their counter-current spirit against Mao Zedong’s will.

The weird thing about the Cultural Revolution is that everything was done in the name of revolution. The students of Tsinghua University saw the shelling of Liu Shaoqi, the biggest capitalist in the Party, as a revolutionary action, while the Red Guards of secondary schools saw the overthrowing of the second school gate of the feudal capitalist school and the rampage against reactionary academic authorities and gangsters as revolutionary actions.

After the dust has settled, all the revolutionary actions have been judged by history.

Luckier than those old professors and cadres who were prostrated and beaten by the ruins of the Second Campus Gate, I escaped from Tsinghua Park before the Red Terror raged. When I left Mingzhai, I guess the south and west gates must have been blocked, but the entrance and exit, which the Tsinghua people call the southwest gate, might not have been fortified yet. I slipped away from this “Huarong Road”.

Thanks to Wu Sangui to the Qing Regent Dorgon’s book did not mention the direct entry into the southwest coercion.

As I recall, it was a very small gate, not guarded by a single soldier, not to mention Guan Yunzhang’s crossed swords. I first hid by the nearby teacher’s dormitory building to confirm and unguarded before resolutely riding out at speed.

Now the old gate has been sealed off and has become part of the fence, but it is still vaguely recognizable. Because the road outside the gate is about 1 meter higher than the path inside the gate, there is a sharp slope of about 30 degrees out of the southwest gate, which is a bit of Huarong Road.

That night, it is said that nearly 100 Red Guards came to my dormitory to arrest me, saying that they wanted to give me a death sentence. But they failed. If I had been caught by the Red Guards that day, I might have had the honor of being listed in Wang Youqin’s “Sufferers of the Cultural Revolution”.

The Red Guards’ rampage in Tsinghua Park continued into the morning with the heart-stopping slogans of the procession, and the “gangsters” and “reactionary academic authorities” hiding in their homes were not spared. The Red Guards went from house to house to clean up the battlefield, and in addition to those who were dealt with on the spot, many were beaten and put together in the Biological Hall.

After losing their human dignity, they could be considered as some kind of creatures.

After escaping from Tsinghua, I made another wise judgment. Instead of going home, I mingled with the hundreds of students who had come to Beijing to join the cohort, and lay down on the straw-covered floor in a dining hall at Peking University and slept peacefully.

While I was in dreamland, another wave of Red Guards entered the Literary Union. Overwhelmed by the humiliation, Lao She threw himself into the lake at Taiping Lake in Beijing.

It was a horrible night that made sleep difficult for many people.

The next day, the Red Guards did come to my house again to search for me, but once again they failed. Three days later I decided to flee Beijing for Chongqing with Yao Yongning, a student of the Department of Agriculture.

Because I was poor and had no extra clothes, I had to go back to school to get them, almost throwing myself into the net.

Late at night, I took advantage of the darkness to sneak to the student dormitory building 13, and seeing no one there, I parked my bicycle at the east entrance, not locking it in the rush. I went upstairs and quietly sneaked into room 329, only to see a large banner saying “Hang Ye Zhijiang” at the door and on my bed, so I hastily took my clothes and returned the way I came.

To the stairway, suddenly saw “a tall and a short” two people are chasing from downstairs, anxious to turn around from the west side downstairs. I found that the car had been locked, but I had a spare key, unlocked the car and flew into the car, slipped away.

In the Romance of the Three Kingdoms, there is a story of a famous horse saving the Lord. When Liu Biao’s men tried to kill his uncle Liu Bei, the latter rushed out of Xiangyang on his horse. When he came across the Tangxi River, the river was three feet wide and all his men and horses were trapped. When there were pursuing soldiers, Liu urgently called “Dilu” three times, and the horse leaped up from the water and flew to the other side, saving Liu’s life, so there was a battle of the three kingdoms.

This bike, which I bought with the money from the math bulletin, also saved my life.

After I returned to school, I reviewed that night’s chess game with “a tall one and a short one”.

I asked: there are two people, why not leave one person at the car to wait for the rabbit.

Answer: because the car has been locked, forgive me to escape. After seeing me unlock the bike to escape, it was too late to regret.