Shanghai Life and Death(63)

“Some people are involved? Do you mean the old staff of the Asean Shanghai office?”

“Of course not. What are they? As insignificant as you are. What we want to know about are the masterminds behind the scenes who directed you and other fellows like you to sabotage our national security secretly for the benefit of imperialism.”

“Who are you referring to here? Liu Shaoqi? I promise I’ve never met him.”

“Liu Shaoqi is one of them, but now he is no longer effective, but there are others who are still fighting the red flag against the red flag! They have not yet been exposed, and they are the ones who have developed the policies that have allowed your conspiracy to succeed and come to engage in activities against our country for imperialist interests.”

How incredible! It turned out that they were persecuting me and accusing Asia, but not because of xenophobia, or executing class revenge. The situation is much more complicated than I thought. It seems that their target was the Communist Party leadership cadres who formulated the policy of allowing foreign companies to operate in China. If they branded me and others like me as foreign spies, then they could assert that by allowing foreign companies to operate in China, they were providing a base and a breeding ground for foreign agents to conduct espionage activities. One way or another, I had become a hostage in a war of policies within the Communist Party that were incompatible. As I argued against them, I was defending certain senior cadres within the Communist Party whom I did not know and about whom they had no knowledge. This delicate situation made me laugh and cry. It was like an impressionistic portrait, which only someone who knew the subtleties of it would understand.

The interrogator interrupted my thoughts. “Now recall the circumstances under which the Kuomintang ordered your husband to stay in Shanghai before the Communists liberated the city in 1949? Did they instigate him to lurk within the People’s Government and thus wait for an opportunity to sabotage it?”

“My husband stayed in Shanghai because he hoped that the People’s Government would extricate war-torn China from its economic and political crisis and build a new, rich and strong China for the Chinese people. My husband and I are both materialists and have no understanding of class struggle. Chairman Mao’s articles were in Shanghai and were only circulated among the underground party. Some of the documents, which our professor friends who taught at the university had also given us to read, never seemed to mention the class struggle; Chairman Mao only proposed to organize a united front to unite all patriotic Chinese.” I explained to them.

“This policy was correct in that period, the aim was to unite the bourgeoisie and thus covertly destroy the Kuomintang rule. When the Kuomintang was completely defeated, naturally that kind of policy would no longer apply. In any case, we must first unite the secondary enemy in order to concentrate on the primary enemy. When the main enemy is defeated, that secondary enemy will be raised to the new main enemy. So the struggle is permanent. This is dialectical materialism.”

I was speechless to answer. It was my own fault that I had not been able to see this before. After a while, the interrogator asked, “Did your husband discuss with others his plan to stay in Shanghai? Perhaps he had consulted with foreigners?”

“No, that was entirely his own idea. At the beginning of 1949, my daughter and I were in Hong Kong, and my husband wanted us to return to Shanghai. When I came back, he told me he had decided to stay. It seems that he was influenced by an old classmate from his college days in the Democratic Party. As you all know, members of the Democratic Party all embrace the Communist Party and are closely united around it. They assisted the Communist Party in propagating democratic ideas among the intellectuals and the political circles of the Kuomintang. I know that the reason why many intellectuals decided to stay in China at that time was because they were quite influenced by some of the leading figures in the Democratic Party.” I said.

“The Democratic Party is a tool of the U.S. imperialists, and their leaders are delusional in their dreams of establishing a parliamentary system in China and dividing the ruling power with the Communists. What would politicians do without an army? In the anti-rightist struggle of 1957, numerous leaders of the democratic parties were reduced to rightists, and they deserved it.”

“In 1949, they had done a lot of work for the Communist Party.” I reminded that interrogator. The fate of some leaders of the Democratic Party was a typical example of the ultra-leftists’ cadre policy of “having someone to work for, but no one to work for”, which was chilling to hear.

“The situation is constantly changing.” The interrogator began to preach dialectical materialism again.

“I understand that this is an expression of dialectical materialism ……,” I interrupted him quickly, lest I have to listen to that cliché again.

“Our conclusion is that the Kuomintang ordered your husband to stay in Shanghai, thus allowing an imperialist to lurk in the Foreign Ministry of the People’s Government.”

“After the PLA entered Shanghai, Zhang Hanfu, who was later transferred to Beijing as Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, took over my husband’s duties in Shanghai. When he would go to Beijing to take up his new position as Vice Minister, he had invited my husband to work with him at the Foreign Ministry in Beijing. My husband refused Zhang Hanfu’s invitation. If my husband had wanted to sneak into the Foreign Ministry, why did he refuse to go to Beijing in 1950?” I asked them.

At this point, I recalled that a few KMT diplomats had gone to work at the Foreign Ministry in Beijing. Later, the former KMT ambassador to Burma was imprisoned for counter-revolutionary crimes, and all the others escaped in successive political campaigns. I think it’s a good thing my husband turned down Zhang Hanfu’s invitation.

“Zhang Hanfu was a member of Liu Shaoqi’s anti-Party group. He was arrested by the Kuomintang before liberation, betrayed Communist Party secrets, and now he has been arrested.”

What he disclosed startled me because I knew that Zhang Hanfu was a subordinate of Premier Zhou.

“But at the time he invited my husband to work for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Government, he was vice minister of the Ministry. The fact that my husband did not accept is also well documented. If my husband had really wanted to infiltrate the Foreign Ministry, would he have refused to go to Beijing?”

The question I asked was obvious and very logical, so the interrogator was momentarily speechless. I took advantage of this to say a few more words and simply put an end to the question once and for all.

“The fact that he stayed in Shanghai and did not go to Taiwan was a sign that my husband harbored good feelings toward the Communists. He was a Kuomintang official, but he did not obey orders, so it should be up to the Kuomintang in Taiwan to raid his house and put us in jail. But now they no longer have the right to do so, but you, on the contrary, are doing it instead of them. In this way, who is really serving the Kuomintang?”

The rebel was denounced as working for the Kuomintang, which was a great insult, and the interrogator’s face turned white, and the veins at his temples bulged, and he did his best to suppress the rising anger, but the soldier jumped up and assumed another gun-drawing position.

“Stop it!” He shouted.

The old worker was the only one who said in a conciliatory manner, “You can make your point. Chairman Mao said, ‘Set out the facts and reason,’ and we allow you to plead your case, but you cannot slander the rebels and say they serve the Kuomintang.”

The interrogator looked at the time, whispered and exchanged views with those around him, then turned to me and said; “Now you go back to your cell and the interrogation will continue in the afternoon.”

I was summoned to the trial on an empty stomach, so by this time I was famished and weak all around. As I rose to my feet, I only felt a dizzy spell, the house was spinning, and it was pitch black before my eyes. I had to hold on to the back of the chair with my hands, and both legs were shivering like sieve chaff. I feared I could no longer walk steadily back to my cell with my head held high. But I couldn’t let them notice that I was too nervous. So I pointed down at my swollen neck and said, “I’m going to protest to the guards who kicked me last night!”

“Nonsense! Guards are not allowed to kick or hit prisoners.”

“But that guard sure kicked me.” I followed the male guard out of the interrogation room with a stumble, muttering all the while.