Beaten, the first lesson of “re-education” of the youth

“Take up your pens, all of you, and live up to the hardships of this life!”

I was moved by this proposal. It is a responsibility that our generation should be obligated to. Picking up the fragments of memory that belong to me, I wrote down a personal experience of just going to the mountains and the countryside.

The memory touches the pain in my heart, and my thoughts bring me back to Jianou in the mountains of northern Fujian.

At the beginning of February 1969, the young people from Fuzhou just set foot on the land, and went into the county to petition for their own destiny. The team braved the freezing weather, crossed the mountains in the dark, walked for dozens of miles, rushed down the mountain with torches held high, and collectively cut off the car and broke into the city. They were surrounded by workers’ pickets and were beaten and beaten up, and fled amidst the shouts of arrest and beatings. Full of anger provoked a frenzied impulse, the youth smashed the “youth office” ……

It is as if the scene is back in front of you and the sound is ringing in your ears.

The boldness of the youths’ actions was a sensation. The first lesson of “re-education” was given to us by the beating.


At the beginning of 1969, it was soon to be New Year’s Eve, but there was no New Year’s flavor at all. My mother did not prepare for the New Year with joy, but always worried about us going to the countryside.

“Intellectual youths go to the countryside to receive re-education from the poor peasants …… to a mobilization.” The “Go to the mountains and go to the countryside” movement swept in like a huge wave. The street is full of newspapers, large-print posters and slogans all over the place, and the tannoy of the propaganda car shouts loudly on the way, that is, the cable radio at the doorstep of the house is also called incessantly.

Street cadres banged gongs and drums, the neighborhood committee’s aunt visited the door, and the mobilization to go to the mountains and the countryside had been door-to-door. Our family, my sister and I have been the first to be designated as “honorable objects”.

The military propaganda team and the labor propaganda team went into the school to catch the revolution, just as the propaganda and mobilization to go to the mountains and go to the countryside was being publicized with great fanfare. The second group from Fuzhou City went to Jianou County. After our 15th Middle School and other schools were announced, they acted with thunder and lightning.

The call of “the wide world, the great work” excited the “revolutionary kids”, who had “millions of red hearts beating fiercely”, as if their blood was boiling with chicken blood. The students who were mobilized to take the lead in signing up soon posted “petitions”.

School bragging sessions, big and small, about the local countryside – “a great place for us to go” – were also exaggerated. They blow and coax you to sign up quickly, eager to get things done. The way we headed up the mountain was already a ‘mine’ planted.

I was still hesitant and many students, like me, by the tightening of the drum has been rushed to panic, and into a lot of “soul soup”. I thought to myself: I can’t go to the countryside, I can’t avoid the first day of the month, I can’t avoid the fifteenth day of the month; it’s better to go late than early, early to go and choose a good place.

Finally, I signed up. When I went through the procedure, when the account book was heavily stamped with “moved out” that moment, I was still shocked, but I did not expect this move out, the road to go so difficult.

When I went home and returned the account book to my mother, she shed tears behind my back. I just got sad in my heart.

The movement to the countryside was an irresistible trend, and we were swept away helplessly into the whirlpool. I was only 17 years old!


On February 7, 1969, led by representatives of the school’s military and labor propaganda team, we boarded a “special train for young people” consisting of a boring train to Nanping and then to Jianou.

That night, Fuzhou Railway Station Square held a grand campaign. The train station was surrounded by people sending us off, and it was full of people inside and outside. On the platform, parents held the hands of their children, a lot of advice; classmates, friends and relatives hugged, shook hands to say goodbye. It was a great scene. When the whistle sounded, the steam engine spewed out a loud roar, the wheels rolled the moment, and suddenly a cry went up and down the platform …… At this moment, I felt that I really had to leave this city and go up the mountain.

In the night, the train opened and stopped to climb the mountain. The students, who had just been moved to tears, gathered together again in the carriage, chattering and jostling noisily as usual. The car stopped and some people got off and walked around. I saw a lot of students still wearing the old uniform that the Red Guards liked and fashionable in those days, wearing military caps and belts, from time to time neatly under their proud image. Someone prank, to get off the urine of the girls, with a flashlight messy shine a row of bare ass, causing a burst of wild laughter and commotion.

A group of children who are still teenagers and do not know how to worry, the body of the “Cultural Revolution” years burned by the fervor and passion has not yet receded. Perhaps most of the students were not fully awake to the fact that their identity had been replaced by that of the Red Guards and that they were heading down the bumpy road of tormented youth.

The next morning, the car arrived in Nanping. The cold spring gloom of the mountains made us shiver. Dozens of cars sent us to Jianou County, which is more than 70 kilometers away, and then to various communes.

We are to Jiyang commune, the county town this go have more than 40 kilometers road. The mountain road is rugged, curved, the car all the way bumpy, arrived at Jiyang has been the sun in the west, the cold air came. As soon as we got off the bus, there was chaos, some vomiting, some running to the toilet, some looking for luggage …… I stepped into cow dung, and my classmates laughed at me for “taking the cow shit luck”.

That night, we spent the night in the upper floors of Jiyang Primary School. The next day, we continue to drive to the mountains, but also to walk more than 20 miles to the Dafu brigade, some students have to walk more than 40 miles to Qiaoxi brigade. The peasants helped to pick up the luggage, and the representatives of the labor propaganda team led the way as we followed through the sheep paths and over the mountains. We were all out of breath, and most of us were too tired to walk because of the ups and downs along the way. Some students began to complain, and some girls were in tears as they walked.

It was hard to get to Dafu, everyone was already exhausted and complained. Students who had to walk another 20 miles or so still had to hurry. The local arrangement from the brigade and then allocated to the small team to settle, we are separated again. The problem erupted when the allocation went on. The arrangement of the promised voluntary combination was disrupted, and the original idea was to be able to rely on each other’s partners were scattered to various natural villages; some remote villages hanging on the side of the mountain unreachable, daunting; some of the division down and back to complain about the dilapidated dwelling, mixed with animals and people, dirty intolerable ……

I and five students in the same class were assigned to the Dongkeng inter-squad. That is from here to go another five miles, to go over two hills, landing in the edge of the primeval forest of small mountain villages, almost as if to isolate from the world. Already tired, we could not walk, and did not want to walk. The four girls in the same class, to be assigned to more than 40 miles away, have long resisted and stayed in Jiyang Commune, not to go.

Looking at the vast mountains, facing the poor countryside, which is really different from the “good place” advertised by the school, the students were frustrated. Grievances provoked anger, like a “mine” buried in the heart exploded. Full of anger, the students opened fire on the leader of the labor propaganda team, and for a while they were fighting to the death. “You lied to us!” The girls cried out, and the boys tried to fight in the argument. The leader of the team was besieged, anxious as an ant on a hot pot, and at a loss as to what to do. And his own children about the size of the youth to be thrown in this poor ravine, he also momentarily heart sad, although a little sympathy, but do nothing. In the end, he slipped away, like the cadres from the commune, and ran away, never to be found again.

Can’t find anyone to express their demands and solve some practical problems, everyone is angry and frustrated. The trust and reliance on the leader was now a complete disappointment. The students were furious and the “spirit of rebellion” washed over them again. They organized themselves and decided to go to the commune to complain, and if not, to sue the county.


In the afternoon, the group of students gathered in the Dafu brigade headquarters, held a meeting, said to do, immediately take action. While discussing, we also prepared a torch to travel in the dark. Several students collected a lot of pine branches and used it to insert in bamboo tubes to light the fire.

The team set off and the sky was getting dark. The cold, dark and confused valley was silent, and the sound of the footsteps of the youth broke the dead silence. More than 20 miles of mountain road, red hot dozens of torches illuminate the vast team, all the way to Jiyang. The sky-rocketing torches were like angry burning fire dragons rushing down the mountain. The local people have never seen such a scene, passing villages, many villagers are scared to close the door.

When they arrived at Jiyang, the youths, holding torches and shouting slogans, rushed into the commune compound. But the building was empty and no one could be found inside. There was only one person who claimed to be a gatekeeper, and also looked like a cadre, who dealt with us by asking three questions.

At this time, the night in the mountains was very cold, and everyone was so cold that they had to hide inside the compound, curled up in a corner and stayed up the cold night. After calming down, we felt that the people of the commune were already hiding and ignoring us, and we should go to the county to petition. We decided to intercept the shuttle bus from Jiyang to the county early tomorrow morning and go directly to the county “youth office” to file a complaint. There are two pairs of tall “four brothers” in the class, they are from the provincial authorities and the automobile department of the family, two brothers have learned to drive, so this plan can be implemented.

Early the next morning, the students observed the terrain of the shuttle bus site and began to move in groups that had already been divided. Most of the students lined up to occupy the previous spots on the bus first. When the shuttle bus rattled into the field from the mountain fog, several students put down the log pile on the side of the road to block the way out. Before the bus stopped, several other students quickly surrounded the cab, grabbed the driver and grabbed the car keys. The driver fell out of the car in a panic and shouted in fear.

At once, the scene was chaotic, the students took the opportunity to quickly climb up from the half-open rear compartment, occupying the entire car. The driver was held hostage by several students, daggers against his back, somehow shaking with surprise.

After understanding, only to know that the youth to “carjacking”, he hurriedly begged around the “youth brother”, or let himself drive, mountainous mountains, high water, rugged roads, you can not drive, accidentally fall into the ravine or stream, you and I are dead. Finally, the students still stuffed the driver into the cab to let him drive, will drive the two brothers sitting around to escort him. After the wood was removed, the shuttle bus turned around and drove to the county seat.

In the early morning, the town was in an uproar. The local villagers were dumbfounded by the audacity of these young people’s actions.

A group of young, childish and reckless youth, in those absurd years by the “Cultural Revolution” “rebellion justified” beliefs poisoned, the Red Guards “violent revolution” passion and burning up the frenzy of the He was so impulsive that he got into a big trouble and made his own tragedy.


Shuttle bus all the way to the county, bumpy for more than two hours, the car finally slowly drive into the Jianou County bus station. Who did not expect the proud soldiers in an ambush. The car has not yet stopped, we have been surrounded by the workers’ pickets at the station. From the back box jumped out of the car students were one after another by a large group of people came up to beat, the front was surrounded in the cab of the two brothers shouted for help.

Most people had not yet fully reacted, some students had already wrestled with them in the fight. Those wearing red armbands blew their whistles and shouted, “Get them!” The pickets yelled with wooden sticks in their hands, and some picked up bamboo poles and chased them.

At once, the station was in chaos, shouting, passengers fleeing, stretcher, baskets thrown aside, chickens flying and dogs jumping, a mess. Some of the students who were able to untie their military belts waved them, and some grabbed the passengers’ stretchers and started to fight back. One student was knocked to the ground and croaked, leaping to his feet and shouting, “Let’s fight them”.

In the melee, the two brothers trapped in the cab to be captured after struggling to get out. Smaller I froze my feet, just jumped out of the car and fell, and then long and short bamboo poles split over, knocked the shoulder and hit the buttocks one after another. At that time, I could not care less about the pain, I quickly turned around and ran for my head.

The melee for a while, looking to continue to fight will be a human life. Suddenly a sharp whistle sounded and they slowed down their movements. We took the opportunity to escape in a hurry, from the station side door driveway to kill a way to escape. The youths, who had been beaten to death, were terrified and scurried up to the West Water Bridge, retreating in disarray towards the city. Fortunately, they did not catch up with us, perhaps intentionally let us off the hook.

The frightened group assembled again at the east end of the bridge and consolidated their ranks. The students who had been beaten up shouted that they would go straight to the county revolutionary committee to “sue”. At this point, someone came to “meet” them, claiming to be from the “County Youth Office”, and advised them to take refuge there so that the workers’ pickets would not come after them.

The county was a small place. The group soon rushed into the office compound to have a “Sun Wukong’s big disturbance in the sky”. But the scene here also surprised everyone, “the day to day” office building how also set “empty city plan”. The “youth office” and “four oriented office” are working together, are not seen. It is obvious that they came to “meet” just to deal with us. The fact that no one was there meant that they didn’t want to listen to us and didn’t want to solve the problems we were facing.

I was so angry, but I couldn’t find anyone to take it out, so some of the students wanted to hit the “catcher”.

Luckily, everyone stopped them. However, most of the students were overwhelmed by anger, that crazy emotions always want to vent, smashing the office tables and chairs, knocking on the windows, breaking the glass, tearing down the wall slogans …… arms chanting slogans, singing revolutionary songs, wild.

The company’s main business is to provide a wide range of products and services to the public. We were ambushed and caught in a trap.

Before we came, another group of students who had gone to Longcun had already arrived here to “make a scene” with great fury. When the large group of people went up to the mountains in Jianou County separated, the 15th Middle School military propaganda team led another group of students to Longcun Commune. Conflict also broke out when the specific resettlement settlement. The students were strongly dissatisfied and the leader of the military propaganda team argued, and the commune ignored them, so they had to organize themselves to resist and petition to the county.

The students who had just traveled all the way from Fuzhou to here were already exhausted, and Longcun was more than 90 miles away from the county, plus it was freezing cold in the mountains at this time, but nothing could stop them. They stayed up all night, braving the biting wind, is worn out feet also want to go over the mountains, walking dozens of miles in the dark in the middle of the night, gritting their teeth, bear the pain, run to the county town to sue.

That sensational action has rushed ahead of us.

The two teams barged into the city together but brushed past each other, and the time difference was one day, and they did not converge together, both hastily laying down.

At this time, the county is also afraid that the youth of the matter bigger and bigger, by all means to return to the original place to solve the problem of the reason, coaxing everyone to return. Although the students are extremely reluctant, but there is nothing they can do but go back. This “Jiyang youth disturbance” was soon quelled.

Leaving the county, we are still indignant, anger, but the mood is like a deflated ball, everyone hanging their heads, brought back a tired bruises and a stomach of grief and aggression. Some students also cried sadly, tears fell from the face of the bullied.

We were responding to Chairman Mao’s call to go to the mountains and the countryside, but someone provoked the workers’ pickets to beat us up. Two days ago, we were the “glorious subjects” who were sent off with gongs and drums, but today we are the “intellectuals” who were cheated, beaten, and thrown into the ravine and ignored. Despite the fact that the first-time youths suffered from a big mistake, and this and that wrong, should these young people be dealt with so hard and so heavy? What is the reason for this? Why? Is the “necessary” “re-education”, “beaten” is the first lesson for our young people?

When I think about it, my heart is full of sorrow and sadness, and the pain is engraved in my bones!


The New Year is coming up in a few days. The students who just left home are still attached to home, after some tossing and turning, the New Year is more homesick. So a few of us decided to “climb the train” home. In those days, young people “climbing the train to escape” is also a common thing.

Suddenly, knocking on the door in the middle of the night, I woke up my parents. They were very surprised, how to go to the mountains in a few days to run back. Did not ask much, my mother said one after another, come back is good, come back for the New Year is good ……

Soon, the news of Jianou’s “youth disturbance” reached Fuzhou. It is said that the arrangement of going to the mountains and going to the countryside was interrupted for a while, and only later continued.

The first time I got back was a few days ago, and a well-informed neighborhood committee lady came to my door to “care” about me as a young man. She told my mother in a stern voice that I had to report for a “temporary registration”; she also rolled her eyes at me and yelled, “When will you go back to the mountains? That face full of “class struggle”, and with an aggressive tone, she came to the door to “greet” me on New Year’s Day. My mother was very angry, but she dared not say anything.

At once, I also felt as weak as a thief, hiding in the house and being inquired about. Suddenly I realized: there is no longer your account here, which means you do not belong to the city, there is no place for you here; you have only one identity called “youth”, you should go back to the village where you settled at any time.

Go back! So what if you go back? No one is going to care about you, no one is going to talk to you seriously about what “revolutionary principles”; only the hard work of carrying the sunny sky and facing the mud; and let you taste the sweet and sour taste of the real life. No one treats you as an onion, maybe you are a burden, a burden, a self-perpetuating grass. That just also booming enthusiasm, instantly turned into a cold indifference, you want to “mess” he will beat you!

Calm down, always think about how to go back to the day to live?

To go over the mountains for more than 20 miles, and then climb over two hills, hanging in the primitive forest – “ten thousand woods” edge of the small mountain village, that is your home, you have to withstand the almost isolated loneliness; that is the malaria-infested mountainous areas. “You have to endure the torture of the disease; each family is stuffed with lard in a bamboo tube, touching a pot to cook the food, and the food cannot get a bit of oil, plus the rations are insufficient every year. You have to withstand the hunger; wearing a hat, wearing a straw raincoat, wind and rain, the heat of the sun, soaking in the deep water in the terraces head to toil, you have to withstand the hard work ……

More hardships and difficulties, you have to carry, boil down. “Roll a mud, practice a red heart”, with your youth to toss that wasted years, because you have no other choice.

I have been back for several days, several times in the middle of the night always haunted by nightmares, confused always go over the mountains to catch up, and suddenly there are people chasing to fight over …… several times shouting and screaming to scare the parents. Later, parents also know about the beating of the youth, the painful mother always secretly shed tears.

After the New Year, stay at home day after day, but also can not mix. I had no choice but to go back with my classmates and return to the small mountain village that I didn’t want to go to.

The beating was only the first lesson of “re-education”, followed by the trials and tribulations of life began. That terrible and lingering nightmare stayed with me through the torturous days of going to the mountains and going to the countryside.