Shanghai Life and Death(61)

The entrance to the building where the arraignment room is located is blocked by a blue cotton curtain. The guards were no longer leaning listlessly on chairs in the small room by the entrance, but stood solemnly at the ready. The PLA patrolled the aisles, and a few men in blue uniforms came in and out of the open door of the arraignment room. It seems that I was the first to be arraigned, as I had just started work here. Thinking about everything that happened last night, I expected this encounter to be fierce and unpredictable. Because the plot of the group of guys fell through, they are annoyed. I once again admonished myself to be both resourceful and courageous, no matter what, I want them to expose themselves, the more exposed, the easier it will be to unravel their Western mirror. Because there are many questions that I can not understand.

The guards opened the door of one of the rooms and yelled, “Go in!”

The four walls of the interrogation room had been painted, appearing a little brighter and cleaner. Two banners hung at the ends of the windows, with two slogans written in white paint: “Long live the dictatorship of the proletariat!” “Long live the Great Leader Chairman Mao!” There was also a portrait of Mao Zedong on the wall.

A group of five men were sitting opposite the door, one of them in military uniform, and I tried to gauge his rank. Since the abolition of Lin Biao’s rank in 1963, the entire PLA had worn the same wide uniform, reviving the traditions of the guerrilla war, so it was quite accurate to estimate the rank of this round-faced young soldier in this eerie interrogation room. But the fact that he had four pockets on his uniform indicated that he was an officer. Because the average soldier, the upper uniform only two pockets. The oldest one among them, with wrinkled face and rough and hard hands, looked like a working man. I was sure that the officer was representing the Military Management Committee, the older worker and a few others, were representing the Labor Propaganda Team, and one, probably a representative of the rebellion that took over the Municipal Public Security Bureau.

I looked at all five of them one by one. All five were beneficiaries of the successful revolution of 1949, and their attitude toward Mao and the Communist Party was definitely different from ours. But among them, only the old worker had really suffered from the old society, while the others had no impression of it at all. So I was prepared that they would treat me, the wife of a reactionary government official and the daughter of a rich family, as an enemy. Since 1949, China had closed itself off from the West. These people have come to know the Western countries only from the propaganda of the state, which is nothing but an endless criticism of capitalism and imperialism, including the great attacks on the West, especially the United States, in the Korean War and the recent Vietnam War. It was a very difficult task to dismantle this iron wall of prejudice and ignorance that I had built between me and them. I was almost desperate. But if I wanted to fight for my freedom and clear my name, I had to try my best.

Once inside, I stood by the prisoner’s seat with the transcript in my hand and waited for their instructions to read the transcript. The interrogator waved his hand and pointed to the statue of Mao Zedong on the wall, “Bow to the great leader, Chairman Mao, and ask forgiveness.” He said.

A plea? This was an opportunity to mess up their process. “I’m not guilty, I can’t ask for a sin.” I said with a straight face.

“What? You have the audacity to refuse to bow to the great leader Chairman Mao! How dare you! Every Chinese has to bow to the statue of the Great Leader sooner or later, and you dare not perform?” The interrogator shouted in a stern voice and stood up without realizing it. The others stared at me with astonished and disbelieving eyes. That morning, for the first time, I felt a great deal of relief and pain in my body.

“You misunderstood. I’m just saying I didn’t commit a crime, so I can’t plead guilty for something I didn’t do. I did not say I would not bow to the statue of Chairman Mao. Of course I have to bow and salute him.” I said calmly. Because by now, my whole body felt much more relaxed.

“Then bow now. What are you waiting for?” The interrogator barked at me again, while sitting down again.

I bowed to the portrait, and my resistance paid off, and during the next few interrogations, no one mentioned that I had to plead guilty again. Whenever I entered the interrogation room, the interrogator simply waved his hand at the portrait without saying a word.

The quotation chosen by the interrogator, as I had read in the past, was one of the most popular sections of the Cultural Revolution: “After the enemy with a gun has been destroyed, the enemy without a gun still exists. ……” After reading this paragraph, he asked me to read a quotation about the army The people’s army is not the people’s army, there is nothing for the people. In the Cultural Revolution, this quote was also used to show the power of the PLA and the power of the Minister of National Defense Lin Biao.

I sat down on the prisoner’s seat. A few feet in front of me was a high table, and the interrogator sat behind it. The table’s panel, painted white, clearly and strikingly reads, “Confession is lenient, resistance is severe.” On either side of the statue of Mao Zedong, there were also many slogans that prompted the prisoner to give an explanation.

I heard the small window behind me being carefully opened, only to see the interrogator glance over my shoulder inquiringly, then nod knowingly and begin.

“You have written several letters to the labor propaganda team asking to talk, now, are you ready to give a full account?”

“I asked the Labour Propaganda Team to make a full verification of my case and clarify the unjust charges against me. I know that the Worker Propaganda Team represents Chairman Mao, and I hope that you will act according to Chairman Mao’s policy and distinguish between guilty and innocent. I have been here for two years. Is it too long to keep an innocent person in a detention center for two years?” I said.

“It is true that you have been here for more than two years, but your attitude has not improved. You are still trying to muddle through. You know that the proletarian rebels have won a great victory, and the situation now is very different from the time of your first arraignment. Have you not heard the resolution of the Central Committee concerning Liu Shaoqi? Even Liu Shaoqi could not slip through the net at the hands of the proletarian rebels, let alone you!”

“I have nothing to hide; I ask you to lay out the facts.” I said.

“We will make your facts public, just as we did with Liu Shaoqi, the agent of overseas imperialism, the Kuomintang in Taiwan and the Chinese bourgeoisie, the number one capitalist walker and your general backstage. You should now put it into perspective that all plots to undermine the Chinese socialist system have gone bankrupt.”

“Who wants to destroy Chinese socialism? I don’t know what you’re talking about.” I said.

“You guys who belong to the bourgeois category are all agents of the existing or latent imperialism and the Kuomintang, and Liu Shaoqi’s group are hidden agents who have infiltrated the Party.” That interrogator said.

His arguments were so absurd, and his accusations against Liu Shaoqi so ridiculous, that I was sickened to hear them. It is an insult to the intelligence of the people that those ultra-left leaders demand that the Chinese people believe in the resolutions made by the then Central Committee against Liu Shaoqi.