Chronicle of re-education in military farms

I. Into the military reclamation farm

At the end of 1968, we, the graduates of the 65th grade and the 64th grade, left Wuhan and came to Dashahu Military Reclamation Farm in Honghu, Hubei, which belonged to the 8227th Army, with a monthly salary of 36 yuan, to receive re-education of the PLA.

The army is really a melting pot. In Wuhan, the rebels, the conservatives and the protesters were clearly separated. They were either angry with each other, or they did not offend each other. But when they arrived at the farm, those barriers collapsed at a conference the next day – at the end of the conference, when the list of students holding deputy positions at the company and platoon levels was announced, all the college students understood: the army didn’t care half a bit, not a bit, what faction you were in school, what position you held, how much you contributed to the Cultural Revolution or how much damage you brought. How much damage was done.

The highest position of the students in my company, deputy instructor, was held by a party member of the Huazhong Normal College, who was a “hard-core royalist” in the school (the subsequent year of military life proved him to be quite a good person), while the director of the Revolutionary Committee of my school, Zhou Kongxin, a rebellious old-timer in Wuhan, became a deputy platoon leader under him. A deputy platoon leader.

The funny thing is that a girl from our school, who was nothing in the school and had not prepared herself for anything, was announced as the deputy commander of the company’s only female platoon, as if she had won the lottery.

It was a harsh winter, and the old north wind of Dasha Lake was blowing like a knife. Morning tiredness in the nest simply do not want to come out. However, the “Morning Call” ceremony was carried out on time. Yes, the ceremony has been condensed into a very simple one: take the quotation book and follow the duty squad leader in unison, “To our great leader Chairman Mao, longevity and longevity. To the health of our Vice Chairman Lin, and to his health forever.” That’s OK.

But even simpler can not be done under the covers. As soon as the whistle sounded, everyone immediately lifted the quilt and got up, lined up outside on a sunny day and in front of the bed on a rainy day. The movement is slow, and then how to love the bed to be in place at the moment the mouth of the duty officer opened. As for your clothes buckled, pants tied securely, shoes are wearing or dragging, no one is generally pursued. And the portrait of Comrade Mao Zedong himself posted on the wall, looking at such a sparse, loose, perfunctory, no respect, no devotional ceremony, but also had to pretend not to look.

The “evening report” has neither an official, nor a folk ritual procedure. Most of it was mixed into the evening political study. Within a few days of arriving at the farm, there was a rumor from the girls’ platoon that the dark-skinned, Henan-accented company commander was in the “evening report”: I reported to Chairman Mao that I still had bad bourgeois ideas. My lover is not good-looking, I often want to divorce her. I don’t know what the intention was to tell this in front of a group of beautiful female college students.

However, the core of the “late report” is to tell the truth, to tell the truth to Chairman Mao. Perhaps the company commander is to give his female soldiers to set an example of truth-telling. Half a year later, the company commander’s lover came to visit his family. Sure enough, she was really not pretty, and the company commander did not smile at her during this period. But we concluded from our observations that she was ugly, but very gentle.

When you first arrive at the army, some of the rules inside are really headaches. The chief – the cadres above the platoon level were covered by this word that sounded like the central government – and you had to stand up immediately when you arrived at the dormitory. Sometimes you had to stand up when you were studying, sometimes you were doing something else, even when you were warming up under the covers and sleeping on the bunk, even if you were standing on the bunk in a pair of pants, cold and silly.

At the beginning of the week at night, stand up and sit, sit up and sit, sit up and sit, sit up and sit, sit up and sit, overwhelmed. Queuing up at every turn also made us, who were used to being scatterbrained, feel a lot worse. To a few miles away from the regiment to open a mobilization meeting or something, the queue is naturally not to say, but to a wall of brothers row dormitory late roll call also line up, before dinner also line up, it is really pants fart, redundant. When the head of the queue if the mood, but also to sing. Good or bad to hear do not care, care is loud, shouting the higher the better. It would be better if it all started and fell together.

The word “again” consists of familiar words such as “come again”, “go again”, “goodbye” and so on and so forth. There is also a familiar word “remarriage” that used to be said shyly and now is said happily. The term “re-education” was entirely created during the Cultural Revolution. These three words have many interpretations. One of them is: if you don’t get it right the first time, you have to get it right the second time.

The head of our company was initially convinced of this interpretation. He spoke harshly and looked at people with crossed eyes. One night the instructor said this in front of the entire company of male and female college students roll call: some of you see female students, say a not very nice words, like a dog saw something. Such an insulting language he as an instructor are able to say, we can see what we march into the farm of college students in their minds?

Second, eat the meal of remembrance of hardship

During Lin Biao’s time, the troops had a lot of political inventions: publishing Chairman Mao’s quotations day after day in the PLA newspaper, printing the Red Book, casting Chairman Mao’s badge, holding lecture sessions, giving early instructions and late reports, reading quotations before entering the meal, and it is safe to say that eating the rice of reminiscence was mostly invented by the troops. I think in the army to eat this kind of rice to form a certain scale, produce huge benefits, and then spread to society.

The rice is not rice, is a variety of hard to eat things and bran-based paste. The purpose of the rice is to remind you of the hardships suffered by yourself and your family during the Kuomintang rule before the liberation, and if you can remember that 2/3 of the world’s people are still living in deep water and suffering, and you can’t even eat the rice of remembrance of hardships, it is naturally very good; thus, it can arouse infinite love for the new society and Chairman Mao.

Not half a month after arriving at the farm, we had a meal of remembrance of hardships to coincide with the afternoon meeting of complaining of hardships.

The meal of remembrance of hardship was carried. Everyone gathered around as usual and picked up spoons to scoop into their bowls. Some students obviously wanted to stand out and actually served a full bowl. I had eaten the rice for remembrance of hardship no less than four times before, and it was not good, but this time was the most difficult to swallow. The color was almost greenish black, and the coarse bran and dead leaves gave off a strong musty smell.

I reluctantly sent a small spoonful into my mouth, that bitter, that astringent, that sour, that dare to chew half down? But that rough, that sticky, a mouthful and can not swallow. That’s really a sin! I squatted on the side of the road, is ready to secretly spit out, raised his eyes to see the company commander is ironically staring at me, no choice, so I had to force swallowed. But I didn’t eat a second bite, and took advantage of the gap when the company commander was distracted, and poured out the rest of the bowl.

Afterwards, I learned that this time to eat memory meal because the whole regiment is unified arrangement, so the door of the place selling pig feed was almost crushed. By the time our chief of division arrived, the chaff had already been sold out. And there must be no chaff in the meal of remembrance of hardship, otherwise “we ate chaff and swallowed vegetables before liberation” from where to speak? So will the ground on a layer has been light green, everywhere is the shoe print moldy chaff with the shovel shovel pick back, to into the pot. This kind of reminiscence rice, if even eat three days, the whole company students do not die half is strange.

When eating the rice of remembrance of hardship, in addition to the tongue buds, esophagus, intestines and stomach painful feeling, there is no other feeling. The people who are more conscious and have a stronger stand will never think about how it was before liberation and how it will be after liberation. What’s more, you are informed in advance that you have to think this way, just like a theater director telling the actors about the play. To say that eating rice with remembrance of hardships can raise people’s class consciousness and make them hate the old society and love the new one more and more is a complete fraud and a pseudo-science.

If eating remembrance of hardship rice really has this effect, then the way can also be enriched, perhaps better results. For example, playing “memory stick”, pumping “memory whip”, strong “memory rape”, and so on. The sad thing is that no one dares to come out and break such a simple and understandable truth, allowing such boring activities and disgusting scams to wreak havoc in and out of the military.

What’s even more absurd is that many organizers have taken the willingness to eat a meal of remembrance of hardship as a legal parameter to measure a person’s high class consciousness and deep feelings for Chairman Mao. If you are willing to eat, you will have a negative test result, otherwise you will have a positive test result. That trouble will come one after another.

We have heard a lot of complaints. So the whole afternoon, whether the general assembly to listen to or class discussion, seem to be lukewarm. When I was about to finish, I didn’t expect one of the class leaders of the neighboring class to bawl as he spoke. His grief was like nothing I’ve ever seen in the dozens of meetings I’ve heard. I believe the other students were as surprised as I was.

The female platoon soldiers began to curiously look this way, and finally could not resist, hit the first one or two, followed by seven or eight, and finally all gathered around. And the squad leader was not shy, still crying. In the middle of this he also instructed a Liu students will be his pad of cotton wool from the bunk shake out to show the public. The responsible Liu side also acted like a lecturer to tell the origin of this bed lint.

As the owner’s cries were mixed together, most did not get very clear, it is estimated that the cotton wool used for several generations. But I see that the cotton wool old is very old, but also not broken to pieces, compared to the class education exhibition hall of similar things, but also can be passed on to three generations, and therefore the educational significance is greatly weakened. In fact, the male and female students onlookers, in addition to surprise, curiosity, were not infected by the cries; or show indignation at the evil old society, accompanied him to shed tears of sadness.

This class leader is usually big-hearted, and get along with us around very painfully. There is no way to see how deep the city is. This time the performance was so extreme that it was really surprising and inexplicable.

Third, I set a record

Dasha Lake Farm was reclaimed by troops around the lake. It is the heavily infected area of schistosomiasis in Hubei Province. As long as there is water here, as long as there is grass, there is a schistosome parasite snail. If you move your feet half a step and enter the water three times, there is a possibility of getting sick. Once infected, it is as if the roof beam into the nest of termites, a moment does not die, but the health is completely ruined.

In those days, from the highest leaders to the lowest leaders, or ourselves, most did not take the lives of ordinary people very seriously; on the contrary, as long as you take care of your health, life, a humiliating “philosophy of life” hat, will come as expected, you can no longer push off. The ecological environment is so bad, but all of us “military soldiers”, no one said “no”, but also dare not say “no”, naturally, come in, not allowed to say “No”.

In March, everything revives. Gusts of warm spring breeze, uncultivated virgin land, tender green grass, the wind girl’s soft delicate fingers gently smooth to the side; beautiful cut red tail feathers of small birds, chasing happily in the grass …… these, so that my heart that there is bitterness, there is no place to tell the depression, suddenly feel a lot of relief. With the rice planting season came. This kind of time and physical laborious farming work, so that most students talk about it.

I came from a rice-producing area, and since I was seven years old, I have been crawling around in the paddy fields, bending my back 180 degrees and planting seedlings one by one into the field – truly the earliest generation of child laborers in the Republic! Year after year. Whenever I was so tired that my back was sore, and when I slowly straightened my back in the field, and I wanted to cry, I kept calling out in my heart: “Chairman Mao! Tell someone to build the rice transplanter. The atomic bomb has been built. The rice transplanter is easier to build than the atomic bomb. Despite the fact that there were hundreds of millions of people calling out with me, the rice transplanters that could be used in the rice-planting season of 1969 were still not made.

But the troops had their own set of effective ideological work methods. The company commander and instructor pounded on the rice-planting pep rally and set the fire in the hearts of the young students to “miso”. I was not in the mood and started to wander away from the atmosphere of the hot competition. After three days, the hormone-fueled silly desire to perform and make a splash finally caught up with me. I decided to take out my unusually strong skills, which I had been practicing since I was seven years old, to record the whole thing, to showcase it, to win a light and a commendation for my platoon.

When I came up with the idea, the squad leader was particularly supportive and sent a special delivery of rice at my request. The next day, the weather was fine. I chose a white field with an area of one acre and two minutes. The water depth and soil quality were very ideal. I applied preventive (schistosomiasis) oil and went down to the field, and within a short time, I got a feel for it and got into shape.

My right hand inserted the seedlings into the field almost silently – like a diving athlete: the smaller the splash, the higher the skill – and the left hand holding the seedlings swung to the right, and the thumb instantly split the next plant, while the right hand came over to catch it and insert it into the field again. The buttocks undulate rhythmically as the rice plant unfolds from left to right, and the two feet move backwards at the same speed as the rows are staggered from front to back, and so on and so forth.

At the peak, the left hand and right hand, the left foot and right foot, the upper waist and bottom, and the inanimate rice plant, water, and mud really work together in a perfect and seamless way. Especially the fingers, that pick rice, into the water, into the mud, the feeling is simply wonderful. Let’s say that someone can type more than a million words a day, think about it, what is the feeling of the fingers on the keyboard? By 5:00 p.m., the 1.2-mu field was finished, with neat rows of plants and even thickness of seedlings.

I don’t know how I got back to the barracks. I lay down on the bunk and felt a soreness and pain in my back, as if my spine had been broken into several pieces. At that moment, the platoon leader, who was still full of children, ran in happily, shaking me around like dough while saying happily: Our platoon won the first place today. First place! I was also very happy. I said it and I did it.

However, in the company commander, my record of 1 mu 2 points, nothing special repercussions. I just heard him reply to the second platoon deputy about their remarkable achievement of someone inserting 5 points that day, and said: there are people in the first platoon inserting 1 mu 2! The company commander didn’t even want to name me.

In fact, 1 mu 2 points is a very impressive record in the history of rice planting. The average person can plant 5 cents a day, and the rural laborers can plant 7-8 cents, and it is very rare to plant 1 mu. Students on farms can only insert 3~4 points. Do not look at 1 mu 2 points only less than 4 points quadrupled, it is more difficult than the gross national economy quadrupled almost almost! 1 mu 2 points, at least at that time is the record of the entire military farming front. If according to the current mode of operation, I may have taken a few commercials, silver piles of mountains.

Fourth, the closing of the nine

On April 27, 1969, the Ninth National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party closed. For quite some time before that, the newspapers and radio stations had been building up a strong propaganda campaign around the Ninth Congress. By 8 p.m. on the 27th, the whole country and the world knew that the meeting had been held. Afterwards, the relevant departments, many journalists were overjoyed, that this conference confidentiality work is particularly excellent, practitioners are particularly good. “A lot of foreign journalists circled around the Great Hall of the People those days, but they didn’t know that the 9th Congress was being held inside.”

I didn’t think so. In peacetime, is it necessary to keep the party congress so secret? Besides, in addition to a list of dignitaries that almost all can guess, a few ordinary people can also be based on the set of two paragraphs of the document report, and what can be kept secret. Indeed, the then party chairman Comrade Mao Zedong, “open, fair, impartial, transparent” these universally accepted and certainly suitable for the governance of the country and the party’s scientific advanced ideas, is very disdainful.

The next day after breakfast, we will beat the drums and gongs and parade to the town of Datong, ten miles away, to participate in the military and civilian grand celebration of the victory of the closing of the Ninth Congress. The first two days it rained, the road was full of mud that is unique to the lake area and as thick as high-quality flour so strong shaking. You step on the front foot, the back foot is as hard as a person in the ground like a mischief dead tug, it takes a lot of effort to pull out. Often the feet are bare out, shoes and socks are still in the mud and you fight. To the venue, the whole sweat are soaked through the underwear.

And at this time thousands of people in the venue, really a mess on the ground, a mess on the ground. Think about it: the feet of mud, the thousands of pairs of feet. Completely in the muddy pond inside the meeting. Everywhere is the “croak croak croak” sound of feet on mud, listening to ourselves can not help but laugh out loud. Without a decent team, of course, it is impossible to make the team look like this under such conditions. The students took the opportunity to meet and talk with their friends and classmates from other companies, not to mention the people, who were inviting friends.

The meeting was held because the sound of drums and firecrackers was loud. But that’s all. After this speech that speech, it is absolutely certain that thousands of people did not listen to a person! That boring full of the most dear, great and good, hooray hooray hooray the same old, even if the voice is shouted, the trumpet shouted fried no one listened. As usual, the following crowd is boisterous, can not open. If not from the Lake Arts military soldiers last few solo solo show to cheer, then the thousands of military and civilian wind to mud to go to the hard work of the whole day, all for nothing.

Not long after, the documentary of the Ninth Congress came to our company for screening. Then it was organized to discuss. Inside the barracks four classes each occupy a corner, we all talk, the atmosphere is hot and cozy. Almost all are these three points: see Chairman Mao so healthy, the mood is particularly excited; nine political report, said our hearts, I a thousand support, ten thousand support; I want to be more …… I also thought of three points, no, is deeply felt three points, did not speak out. That dare to speak out?

On the podium of the Great Hall of the People, with the frenzied atmosphere of the whole venue, with the smug look of the members of the Cultural Revolution Group, and with the kind face of Chairman Mao Zedong, there was a great contrast between the cold faces and the stern eyes of the old masters sitting on the right, like Ye Jianying and Chen Yi. This extremely incongruous picture, to the people, to the Republic will bring is uneasy? Is it hope? Or something else?

Sun Yuguo, who became famous overnight in the Sino-Soviet battle of Zhenbao Island, gave a performance on the podium of the 9th National Congress that certainly left an uncomfortable impression on me and many others. His hysterical and incessant shouting of “Long live, long live, long live”; the hands and feet dancing, I do not know whether it is really very excited or fake very excited, people feel that this is like a battalion commander? And how can you be a military commander?

Comrade Mao Zedong in the film, although not yet the old age, but also the old age. Especially the teeth seem to completely fall off the formation of the upper lip wrapped around the lower lip of the habitual action, that from time to time appear not too natural some stiff smile, are in the country: only in terms of physical condition, Comrade Mao Zedong has been completely unsuitable to continue to serve as the party chairman of this important position related to the rise and fall of the country, related to the fate of the people.

But at this time, Mao Zedong, the 76-year-old man, did not even think in this direction. He kept accusing people of usurping the party and seizing power, and provoking rounds of so-called line struggles, while guarding the supreme power. In fact, the most urgent and wise task of the Chinese Communist Party at that time was not to carry out a continuing revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat and to defeat whatever power-holders who had taken the capitalist road, but to urge Mao himself to hand over power voluntarily so that the country could quickly get out of the mire of the Cultural Revolution and escape the plight of the national economy facing collapse.

V. Back to Back

Just after the rice planting, we had not yet recovered from our exhausting work, and a struggle for ideological cleansing began among the college students receiving re-education. The purpose is to thoroughly, one by one, check the college students from the inside out: what are the problems in this person’s mind and behavior? What is the nature of these problems? –Are they of the enemy’s own or of the people’s own? The decision to engage in this struggle should be made by the relevant departments of the central government, and is a new battlefield opened up in the great battle of the Cultural Revolution.

This struggle has several very distinctive features when compared with the hundreds of struggles, large and small, since the founding of the country.

1, it took the large group of college students who entered the field as the target of the struggle, not leaving half of them behind. This is completely different from the familiar, accustomed, expected or feared struggle program: first to find the leftists to hold a small meeting, using them as the backbone to mobilize the majority to report and expose the rightists, followed by a big meeting to fight small meeting to criticize, and then isolate this small group, and finally to put them into another book.

2, the struggle is extremely single, using back-to-back – that is, to confess their own problems at the same time, to report the problems of others. Then the material will be collected and categorized, and the relevant parties will send people to investigate internally and externally to make a conclusion. In the past, the movement of those varied and colorful forms, such as accusations, denunciations, confrontation; roots of tandem, reminiscence, kill the chicken to scare the monkey, civil attack and military combat, etc., are not used.

3, short time. The vast majority of students will enter a normal state after a week, less than 3% of the key figures a little later relief.

Do not underestimate the “back to back”. Although the word is three, however, the power is so big and powerful. The class struggle after class struggle that Mao Zedong started after the founding of the country, especially the Anti-Rightist Movement in 1957 and the ongoing Proletarian Cultural Revolution that has been going on for three years and still has no end, his theory of class struggle, especially the easy-to-recite and easy-to-recite seven-word phrase “struggle with others, the joy is endless. The words poisoned the normal relationship between people, completely destroyed mutual trust, and distorted family and friendship in the world, to such an extent that there was a movement in which wives denounced their husbands, and fathers and sons turned against each other.

Back to back, it is in such a social and humanistic environment, it is very popular and tried and true. The three days of back-to-back began. We either sat on brick benches with bunks as tables, or simply sat on the bunks with our backs against the wall, with the quilts on top of the large crotch spread with the official paper issued by the company. The atmosphere inside the barracks was gloomy and silent.

The struggle of my mind was not really easy at this time. In the Cultural Revolution or back to my teenage, childhood and even childhood, there were really no sinful acts that I could take to heart. But if there were two items that would push me into the hostile camp, the outcome was really a variable. To give or not to give? Not to speak? Back to back is too powerful, others will certainly report. After thinking about it, simply, the bamboo tube pour beans, for confession from leniency; also avoid the future from morning to night in the heart of suspicion, anxiety.

The idea to take a decision, it will be a drum, writing, the next day transcribed clear to hand over from time to time in our surroundings stirring “each of you the situation of the troops clear very. Now just give you a chance to take the initiative and get credit” platoon leader.

The three most important items in the material are as follows: 1. Listen to the enemy radio (collectively). This is the most damning thing. This happened in the “May 7 Exploration Team” organized by the school. One person listening to it is a big deal, and the collective crime adds several grades (whether it is first grade or second, third or fourth grade, obviously depends on our attitude). I added a bracket to blur the concept of the word “collective”, (because only four or five people listened to it), the seriousness of the fight against private criticism of the heart still has a lack of honest components.

2, in the school dormitory, one day I was reading a book, He students with a “loyalty” sign came in and told me that everyone in the classroom to do. I took a look at the sign and said: what is the use of doing this, like a fly swatter. At that time, there were only two people, He and I. Indeed, God knows what. For this one poor me in the account or not to deliver really racked my brain. He and I had worked together in the Cultural Revolution, comrades and brothers, but I was afraid he would report this valuable material that could put people in a desperate situation to claim credit.

  1. In 1968, the Soviet Union sent troops to Czechoslovakia, and the Chinese government issued a statement strongly condemning this act of aggression. In my diary, I argued that in 1956, when there was political unrest in Hungary, our government asked the Soviet Union to send troops to intervene, and now the situation in Czechoslovakia is almost identical to the situation in Hungary, and I am puzzled by the attitude of our government.

This last item was written in the diary, as if there had been no communication with anyone. I actually confessed the truth. My guts, alas! A few days afterwards, some of our former 6504 classmates got together to talk about this “back-to-back”, and I mentioned that I had handed in the materials, and they didn’t know anything about the last two, so what? I was trying to hit the wall, I think the network understand.

Our company ended up with two key figures. One was naturally Zhou Kongxin. The other is a girl from Huashi. She is a saying: “father pro mother pro than Chairman Mao pro”, how I always still think my mother or pro more. I should say, this is a big truth. However, this sentence is to risk the world, a little to mention the outline is against Chairman Mao. What’s more, the girl’s mother is the wife of a capitalist!

The brother company has a key figure nowadays is the most fun to think about. On the first day of the New Year, the morning invocation was held as usual. He because it is the New Year, eat fish and meat, especially happy happy, heard the squad leader whistle, lift the quilt and get up, learning the “Wisdom of the Mountain” in the accent of the bandits, a long yell: “to the three masters to pay respect to the life of Luo ……” “three masters “It is the head of the bandits Zha San Eagles, early to ask for instructions to face who? Chairman Mao! You say, you say, is to drag this guy immediately to the door and shot, the boing! The!

The result of this back to back seems to have not moved into the field college students a hair, that is even the key people. That’s pretty much what we all thought. In fact, the materials have been carefully organized, many of them have used human and material resources after careful external investigation and verification, and then make the appropriate conclusions, put into the file. To our society, officially participate in the work, live in a variety of Mao Zedong Thought study classes, only to know the power of those materials.

Sixth, the Yangtze River collapse

In the middle of July, the sky broke overhead, like a heavy downpour day and night, when weeding in the fields, the water column pumped in the body, but also vaguely painful; down on the strength of the time, but see a cloud of rain and fog, visibility greatly reduced. Even let a person produce a kind of inexplicable fear. When the geography and hydrology enthusiasts in our proposed, only a few dozen miles away from the barracks of the Yangtze River dike has the possibility of a breach, this fear all of a sudden clear, vivid, swelling up. For several nights in a row, many military soldiers had the same dream: rolling floods rushing in, themselves struggling in the whirlpool ……

The night of 17, sleep suddenly whistle loudly, the company commander sharply ordered: the Yangtze River broke the dike! Emergency assembly. My heart, the hearts of all students, pounded. I hurriedly packed my backpack, ran out of the dormitory, stood in the middle of the line, and then panicked, led by the company commander to run in the dark all the way north along the machine road, surprisingly all without a sound.

Half an hour later, found and was brought back to the company, only to know that it is engaged in exercises, false alarm. The instructor then asked those who could swim to sign up, and then organized by the squad leader in groups of three, raw and cooked; then ordered some of them to build rafts using gasoline barrels or something else in case of urgent need. In today’s terms, an “emergency plan” was made.

In the following days, the rain stopped completely. The sun was baking hotter and hotter every day. We thought that the danger was over.

On the night of July 20, just after the lights out, we were still thinking about our own thoughts on our bunks before going to bed. A short emergency rendezvous whistle suddenly sounded. Then there were two crisp gunshots – to the military farm for more than six months, have not heard the sound of gunfire. Everyone ran out of the barracks and saw another soldier riding by on horseback. Unusual ah! The instructor’s voice changed when he spoke in front of the team: “Listen up, everyone. Just received an order from the regiment. The Yangtze River dike broke early this morning, the flood is coming to us in this direction. We must immediately evacuate to safety. This is not a drill! Now give everyone 5 minutes to go back to simply pack items, can not take away must not bring. In addition, eight comrades will stay behind and be responsible for cleaning up the company’s important materials and finally retreating. Now I will announce the list.”

Five minutes later, with panic and fright on our backs, we moved at a fast pace toward the north. From time to time I looked back to see if the flood had caught up behind me. In addition to the backpack on my shoulders, less than 100 yuan of cash in my underwear pocket, and carrying in my hand the deep rubber boots that I had asked my classmates to send from Zhanjiang a thousand miles away from the lake area. The rest, all put in a soap box, left in the barracks under my less than 1 meter 2 wide bunk.

When we reached the safety zone, that is, the Yangtze River embankment, the east has shown fish belly white. Brothers, companies, people from all over the world, have rushed to the embankment. The sound of people, mixed with the sound of chickens and dogs, cows and pigs shouting, that is “panic, a mess”!

At ten o’clock in the morning, a helicopter flew in our direction. It hovered above for a while, getting lower and lower, and finally roared down in a rocky beach below us. Everyone ran over, only to see a stout cadre wearing a white Liang short-sleeved shirt get off the plane, followed by a secretary-like soldier who said loudly to the surrounding military soldiers in a loud voice: Listen up, everyone. This is the commander of the Wuhan Police District, Zhao Fen. He has something to say to you.

Zhao Fen also did not speak any polite words. When he heard that we still had many items thrown in the barracks, he said: You guys hurry back to grab things. It’s not too late. We saw clearly in the plane, the flooding to here still have a few hours. Hearing his words, and without anyone organizing, everyone ran in the direction of the barracks. I didn’t move. I felt very uncomfortable, and I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to run through the flood carrying a soap box. Besides, there were no valuable things in the box, a few changes of clothes, two dense diaries of the Cultural Revolution, and a full set of the Revolutionary Rebellion newspaper.

To say that the soap box nailed by a dozen rough pine slats will be worth more than one million yuan in a few decades, no one will believe it. I wouldn’t believe you if you tore me to pieces and threw me into the rolling torrent at my feet. But it’s true – in my diary, there was a set of quadruple stamps of “The Nation’s Mountains and Rivers are Red”, which I bought at the postal agency of the school’s logistics office and issued on the same day.

At noon, there was another plane hovering in the sky overhead. By the time we could see the pilot’s face, a big bag of stuff was thrown down. The result was a big disappointment – no goodies, all dull yellow oil cakes. I picked one up, took a bite, cold and rock-hard, and threw it away.

Although overnight became a disaster, but we do not lack of food. The company canteen was open as usual. Not only as usual, but also to eat. The company’s pigs are not well fed on the embankment, killed. Last night on the way to transfer, a big fat pig from another company ran in in a hurry, and the feeder took it by hand. In the embankment for fear that someone will come to claim it, take advantage of the chaos also killed.

That night in the embankment sleep. Listening to the sound of the river waves hitting the embankment in front of people’s fears such as thousands of horses, imagining what it would be like if the embankment below the buttocks was suddenly “boom” washed away, where can I sleep? Until the early morning of the 21st, only to doze off in a daze. The day dawned. I got up already feel groggy, can not stand; feel the forehead, actually burned hot hands. With the help of my classmates, I was taken to the regiment’s health center under the embankment. The temperature was as high as 40 degrees. In 1967, I lost consciousness while taking penicillin at school and almost lost my life.

It was strange that the doctors didn’t know what to do, and even stranger that they didn’t give me fluids for such a high fever patient, except for oral medication (nowadays you must have a three-day medical bundle of fluids if you enter a hospital even if your hand is dinged by a mosquito). I don’t know how many days passed in the chaos ton, until the division medical team came down and actively contacted several local hospitals, found a drug that could replace penicillin, and promptly hooked up a bottle of infusion, and the fever that had reached 41 degrees slowly came down. My life was recovered.

For this serious illness, I also looked up a lot of information and consulted doctors later. That should not be a bad cold, a bad cold is not so dangerous. Most likely it was an acute attack of schistosomiasis. This is a common and frequent disease in the region where our farm is located.

July 20, for the people of Hubei, is a day to be alert.

Seven, rest and recuperation

After surviving half a month on the Yangtze River dike, the military soldiers were ordered to move for rest and recuperation. At 4 p.m. that day, I was carried on a stretcher by a few comrades from the division medical team onto a ship docked at the river. The sick man stayed in a very comfortable third-class barn. The ship arrived at the port of Wuhan, and the ambulance waiting at the pier took us to the PLA Hankow 161 Hospital.

Strangely enough, when we arrived at the hospital, we were mostly cured. That night, the routine checkup, half a month has not been normal body temperature is actually normal – and this has not even started treatment. Although the meat and vegetable dishes at 161 were particularly attractive, and the nurses with their beautiful Beijing accents were particularly attractive, I had to leave after three days. Recovered, there is no reason to stay in 161.

Our company was arranged to rest and recuperation in a high school near the town of Fushui in Anlu County. Soldiers of the military recuperation were given a week-long family visit leave in installments. Soon after, the health department examined and treated all farm personnel for schistosomiasis. As a matter of health importance, the boys and girls took the trouble to carefully wrap the stool samples in waste paper and put them in the prepared gabion basket with some embarrassment. They were sent for three days in a row. Once the schistosome eggs were found through the microscope, the owner of the sample was notified to go to the designated military hospital for treatment.

I was supposed to be the definitive, “If I’m not, who is?” of schistosomiasis, but it was surprising that it was not detected. Whether I was particularly well placed to apply prophylactic oil before going into the water on a regular basis, or the vermin in my veins were too lazy to ovulate those days, is not known. But I lost such a good opportunity for treatment. I stopped by the PLA 195 Hospital not far from our home when I returned from visiting my family. The students who were treated for schistosomiasis there were painful and dangerous to administer antimony, yet in general, they seemed to be happy. I was so envious when I saw them talking and laughing with the nurses and fighting with them.

Twenty days later, we had target practice, but no military training. It was only natural to use this time for military training. But there was none. There was no boring formation practice, especially the tedious and easy-to-learn step walk; there was also no hard classes such as the Portuguese prostration and weighted march. Even for the target practice, the management was quite lax. At the beginning, it was still fresh, lying down, aiming, firing, and so on, but it was serious; when the guns were sent down, the ones who grabbed the guns carried them, and the ones who grabbed them rubbed them.

After two days, the interest was lost. No wonder, so a few simple movements, endless dao practice, dao practice, who can stand it. It was hard to wait for the live fire. One person nine bullets. Holding the bullets in his hands, his heart was a little scared. This is a far cry from shooting people, but it’s not what I could do when I was a kid playing with slingshots and water guns. The first two shots were a little nervous, but it felt okay. The more you play, the more fun you have. The last few shots, the recoil of the gun butt hitting the shoulder, actually brought an inexplicable pleasure. Unfortunately, the nine bullets were finished at once.

After a month in that dilapidated high school, there was still no movement. In the prime of life, there was no call for career, no hope for progress, and no love to nourish, a pessimistic mood of when is the end, the future is uncertain gradually spread among us. The food is getting worse and worse, so this emotion has seeped into the irritation and dissatisfaction. The company commander and instructors were competent. They did not hold a general meeting to criticize this “unhealthy” thinking and add fuel to the fire, but only to talk to people below one after another, kind words to persuade, and try to ease down this unstable situation.

Due to the extreme dullness of life – no work, no books, no singing, no love, and no literary performances. So the other day when we heard that a troupe had come to the company to perform the Peking opera “The Red Lantern” for the soldiers, we all cheered, and the smiling faces that we normally rarely see were like spring flowers opening up overnight, brilliant as hell.

I love Peking Opera, and I know all the singing in “The Legend of the Red Lantern” with piano accompaniment. When I sang two passages, I felt that my voice was so resounding and my expression soaring. Before dinner, everyone was preparing the seating equipment for the opera, while discussing how many cars would come to the troupe, how beautiful Tie Mei would be, and whether Li Yuhe and Qian Hao would have a higher or lower appearance than each other. After dinner, I was surprised to find that the playground, which should be noisy, was not moving. Even the stage is not set up.

After an hour, the ears did not hear the sound of the motor of the troupe’s car. It seems that the date was wrong. While we were grumbling in the classroom converted into a dormitory, we were suddenly informed that we were going to see the play. The surprise, the excitement, there was nothing to say! When we arrived at the playground with all kinds of seats and chairs, our hearts were cold all of a sudden – hard.

What kind of theater group? A few people dressed like peasants and with their faces smeared with flowers were pumping up a gas lamp, not even a second one! This only one is not a good bird either. The only one was not a good bird either. It was bright and yellow and black, as if it was not to light the show but to direct the passing traffic.

Don’t mention the Peking Opera “The Red Lantern”. Make the monkey’s ass face “Tie Mei” as soon as she opens her mouth, you have to be ashamed of her straight to the ground, long and thin like a fishing rod “Li Yuhe”, carrying a horse lamp in the “stage” The hand does not know where to stretch the foot does not know where to lift, vomit you want to drag him out of the circle. Jiang Qing, who spent a lot of effort to reform Peking Opera, would have fainted three times if he had watched the “Red Lantern Story”!

Eight, the day of the dike repair

Two months later, we boarded a containerized military train all the way north, arriving in Xiangfan in the evening and sleeping overnight in the spacious and full of bunk beds; early the next morning, we boarded a small fireboat and headed south down the Han River, arriving at Zhongxiang Shipai late at night, moving us to the local villagers clothed in clothes and torches to light up the way for us along the way.

Our new re-education base, Diao Xiuhu Military Reclamation Farm Camp, was located on a hill. In front of us was the shimmering Diaojiao Lake, behind us was a flat fertile field, a small river winding from the north, and a few members of the community driving a canoe on the river driving cormorants to catch fish, the view was really good. We were also impressed by the frequent and earthy sound of the local people’s speech.

After a week’s break from studying, the battle of dike repair “started”. The college students had to build a dike along the north side of the river nearly 4 meters high and up to 10 meters wide to several miles long. The purpose is to ensure that the troop farm crops in the flood season from the scourge of flooding. To do a great harvest in the year of the disaster. The south side of the river is the people’s village farmland, once the flood, the past flood to both sides of the river, now only towards the people; the past only one meter head of water, the field particles, but the farmhouse is still protected, now to bear two meters head of water, movable property will be destroyed; if the head of water reaches the design elevation, the troops crops are still safe, while the people’s homes into the disaster.

Property, regardless of whether it is moving or not, destroyed does not matter much, can be recreated; people died also does not matter, survivors can be regenerated. But the decades to build the people’s love of fish and water, but also will all go with the water. This belongs to the political sphere, the relationship is greatly, “the most important”. However, the head of our troops at this time “the most important” is to immediately on the project, so that those college students have something to do, can not always idle. Otherwise there will be chaos.

Our tools of labor were three major items: a stretcher, a skips, and a shovel, much the same as those used by Wan Xiliang to build the Great Wall more than a thousand years ago. The dike itself is a purely physical job that requires no science, chemistry, mathematics, or foreign languages. Every day, they wake up at dawn, wash up casually, and eat breakfast; then they each pick up their tools and walk to the site. Soil collection at the river with a shovel will be shoveled up into the skips, soil transporters will be picked up to the embankment, the embankment in addition to the crawler tractor back and forth crushing, and a group of eight boys carrying a ram shouting a special primitive help tractor tamping the surface of the embankment.

Take the soil requires hand and foot force at the same time, of course, but also speed. Usually the feet do not stop stepping, hands do not stop shovel, waist does not stop bending. Especially at the beginning, the distance from the soil collection place to the embankment is short, we shovel like the wind, sweat like rain, waist like the wind in the willow. Think about it, ten hours a day, one hundred and twenty days in a row! Pick soil more than a hundred pounds of heavy burden on the shoulders, two feet all the way to the trot, a day down, quite heavy rush more than a hundred miles! Not to mention the young man who rammed the earth, the north wind blowing in winter, they wore single coats still full of sweat!

With such long working hours, huge workload and high labor intensity, we were paid 36/30/10 – 0.12 yuan per hour. At that time, we were eager to liberate the American people, who were suffering in “deep water”, and the monthly salary for college students was generally 2,000 US dollars. This translates into RMB 42.00 yuan per hour. It is clear to see who lives in paradise and who needs to be liberated, and there is no arguing.

What’s annoying is that our newspapers and radio stations have been saying it backwards for decades, so that a billion people across the country believe they are living in bliss. The sad thing is that Mao Zedong himself, the founder and master of the republic, was extremely supportive of and condoned such a prolonged and massive falsification by the propaganda department and news media under his rule.

Another brother unit, which was re-educated at Honghu, was transferred to Hanchuan to sink the lake after 7.20. After the rest they were also ordered to build a dike. Unlike us, their project was more challenging and more blind and destructive. In the harsh winter of the ninth month, the university students, both male and female, used extremely rudimentary tools to build the dike and create a field around the lake in knee-deep mud and water. They were covered with mud and cold air, and they suffered day after day.

The Spring Festival of 1970 came and went, so dull and lifeless that when I think of it today, I have nothing to say. And once the Spring Festival was over, it was already March. The willows were green and the river was green. Just when we saw the completion of the A dike, worried about the B dike, suddenly “in this bright and beautiful moment of spring, came the very good news”: in the army farm to receive re-education of college students, all assigned to work.

The relevant departments of the army are forbidden to do so, and the program was issued in less than a week. It is hard to believe and hard to understand that in this military farm where we got nothing but some diseases, the army got nothing, the country got nothing, just wasted a year, the moment we parted, but staged a good touching scene: boys and girls, military students, reluctantly, embracing each other and crying; our car started, two platoon leaders, like children, while following car, while bawling ……