I. Classes were suspended
In 1966, I was nine years old and a fourth-grade student at Zhengzhou Jing San Road Primary School. This school was newly built in the administrative district after the capital of Henan Province moved to Zheng. The so-called administrative district was the location of the centralized offices of the provincial government. I remember when I was transferred here in the second semester of the first grade, there were no fifth or sixth grades yet. The only thing that was new to me at the beginning of the new school year was the big character class, where I had to learn to write brush characters. But without a few days of novelty and excitement, the frenzy of the Cultural Revolution blew from Beijing to Zhengzhou.
I don’t know when it started, but there were many university newspapers in the school, criticizing the “revisionist education line”, and also criticizing this and that teacher by name. At that time, there was a fever of name change in the society, and many students changed their names to revolutionary names, I also caught a fashion at this time, and changed my name to “Xiangdong”, which has been used to this day.
But at that time the new name was launched, but also experienced a “revolution”, because I did not know how to think at that time, to our class teacher He wrote a large-character poster, I can not remember the specific content, just posted, He came into the classroom, I guess because the content is too shallow and too simple, the teacher read and did not publish what I think because the content is too shallow and too simple, the teacher read it and did not say anything, but pointed to the last name and asked: who is this Xiangdong? The class also did not know that I changed the name of the class at that time, a moment also looked at each other, no one answered.
I hurriedly stood up and said it was me. The teacher took a look and couldn’t help but laugh, the class also laughed along. Now think about it, nine years old, do not know anything yet, actually a serious write a big word to criticize the teacher, perhaps even the teacher as a joke to see it? After the incident, the large-character poster did not have much repercussions, but my new name got out through it, which was an unexpected gain.
As the movement to criticize the capitalists in society became more and more heated, I remember that our school also held a criticism meeting, and those who were criticized were mostly school leaders, the most impressive was the school’s teaching director at that time, as if she was called Li Xiuyan, a female teacher, 40 or 50 years old, not tall, fat. In fact, if there was no such opportunity, we, as elementary school students, “little kids” in the eyes of adults, may not even come into contact with this teacher Li, but on such occasions, so that we have the opportunity to observe.
The beginning of the criticism is quite orderly, the teachers on stage to read the speech, shouting slogans, but open and open, I do not know who is excited on the stage to Mr. Lee moved his hands, the scene immediately got out of hand, not only the teacher hit, even some of the senior students also followed the teacher’s example to move the hands. I only remember that Ms. Li blood on the forehead, broke away from the people who grabbed her, stumbled off the stage, out of the school gate to the right, along the three roads all the way to the north, followed by a lot of people chasing the fight and watching the crowd.
At that time, I was confused and could not figure out why the revolution had to hit people. Since then, I haven’t had any contact with this teacher, and I don’t know what happened to her. What I can recall from time to time is only her short, fat, swaying figure.
Of course, the “revolution” in society was more fervent and brutal. The place where my family lived at that time was famous in the administrative district, with eight buildings enclosing a large courtyard, a kind of former Soviet-style building. The public prosecutor and the law of Henan province were all working in these buildings, and the provincial civil affairs department also occupied a building. It was called the “East Block Eight”, and accordingly, there was a West Block Eight, not too far away from here.
One afternoon, I heard the sound of drums and slogans in the courtyard behind me, so I looked down from the window of the courtyard on the second floor where we lived, and saw that the leaders of the Provincial Public Security Department were being escorted through the streets. They were followed by a large group of people, who were supposed to be cadres and workers of the authorities, and they were shouting slogans while walking, “Down with xxxx! In front of the “capitalists” there was a group of students about the same size as me, who not only shouted after the adults, but also laughed and joked around, some of them even jumped up and spat in the faces of those wearing high hats, doing actions to humiliate them.
During that time, not only was there criticism of the parade, but you could constantly hear worse news, some of which came from my side. The director of the provincial civil affairs department, surnamed Shi, who lived near us, hanged himself in a wooded area. I can’t imagine what the situation was, but only from the slogan, which was called “Death to the people, death to the Party. The chief prosecutor of the provincial prosecutor’s office tried to hide from the criticism, but he was found out and committed suicide by taking poison on the spot, but fortunately he was saved by effective measures. Later, in the 1970s, I became a youth to the countryside to Runan team, but also went to visit him then serving in the Zhumadian area, a very kind person, treating people very well.
At that time, I and a small partner upstairs idle nothing to do, together often exchange these news from different sources. Because, at that time, school was no longer in session. The official name was “Revolutionary Suspension”.
Second, “revolution” to go
The suspension of classes was exciting for us, at least at first, because it meant that we had all the time at our disposal. In addition to the naughty play, we were also interested in the “revolution” of course.
My “revolution” actually began with the “breaking of the Four Olds”. At that time, the Cultural Revolution had just emerged, and I remember that the slogans proposed were “break the four olds, set up the four news”, “anti-imperialist and anti-revisionist”, etc. The most direct result of this was that the goldfish at home suffered, and they were poured into the yin well downstairs one night. I also followed my mother to Kaifeng to visit the exhibition “Breaking the Four Olds”, where the results of the family raids were displayed, right? But what left the deepest impression on me was not the exhibition, but the peanut cake and marinated rabbit meat in Kaifeng, the sweetness of which stayed with me through my teenage years.
After the suspension of classes, reading large-character posters became almost a compulsory course for me. At that time, the most concentrated places in Zhengzhou were Zhengzhou University (now the old campus of Zhengzhou University) and He Medical (now the First Affiliated Hospital of Zhengzhou University), and it is no exaggeration to describe them as overwhelming. My elder brother and I ran to these two places from time to time, my elder brother is two years older than me, in the sixth grade, in fact, at that time we could not understand the “adult world”, I think it is more to watch the hilarity.
What attracted me most to the big-character poster was its headline and the names of the people in it: the headline was shocking, but almost the same, just “Down with”, “Smash”, “Step on a foot” and so on. The names of the people are a source of pride when you go back and talk to your buddies. On the content, what I like to read most is the article between the two factions attacking each other, both sides quoting Chairman Mao Zedong’s quotes to prove their own right and moral supremacy, and often arguing and cursing each other up, like the usual quarrels of our children.
Later, as more and more students came to Zhengzhou from abroad, we lived downstairs also set up a Red Guard reception station, a large room, all the floor, full of people living. One of the students from Renmin University, surnamed Li, I forget the name, and big brother relationship is quite good, they printed leaflets in Zhengzhou to engage in crosstalk, we helped to distribute, those leaflets are first engraved steel plate, with red and green paper of various colors oil printing out, not only a fragrance of ink, but also very good-looking, I collected a lot as a treasure, has been saved until the 1990s, but unfortunately in the process of several moves were Unfortunately, it was lost during several moves.
The more exciting thing was to attend the mass meeting, I got up early in the morning and sat on the spare tire behind their partial tricycle, and drove down the wide Jinshui Avenue, People’s Road into the city stadium, where the red flags were waving and the crowd was boisterous, and I seemed to feel a bit high and mighty.
At that time, the Red Guard organization was only available in secondary schools, and the Young Pioneers in elementary school were later renamed the Red Pioneers to show that they were a backup organization to the Red Guard. Brother and some of his close classmates, also not willing to lag behind, not only set up a battle group, but also organized to participate in a large group, to go on foot from Zhengzhou to Beijing, to participate in Chairman Mao to meet the Red Guards. At first I also made a fuss to go, but no one at home agreed, so I had to give up.
Brother and his party of seven or eight people with a red flag on the road, but the team attrition, about two or three days, to Kaifeng East Dam head across the Yellow River, only the elder brother and another Jiang students left. The two of them, walking and stopping, also participated in the movement at Anyang Iron and Steel Factory for some time, and finally really walked to Beijing. It was not until the Spring Festival of 1967 that my father ran into my elder brother on a business trip to Beijing and brought him back. I remember that when my elder brother walked into the house, he was still carrying a fake gun with a wooden handle and iron barrel on his back, which made me envious for a long time.
In 1967, the atmosphere in the society became more and more tense. First of all, one night, the southeast corner of the eight courtyards, building 6, the provincial procuratorate’s office building, the sudden noise of people, it turned out that a group of red guards from Zhengzhou seven middle school ran here, must be a procuratorate car “borrowed” away. Of course, the “borrowing” process is not very smooth, the nearby residents have also come to see the fun. I mingled in the crowd, the mind is quite puzzled, the Red Guards how to come here to “borrow a car” it?
Later, I saw two familiar faces among those Red Guards, who were living in the same building as us, and then I understood the matter. Later, one of them came back with a gun, opened the door accidentally touched the trigger and broke his leg, this is an afterthought. But that night, the Red Guards finally won and took the car.
After the Spring Festival, I saw my father bring back a newspaper from Qinghai, which was full of headshots, with the headline “×××× martyrs immortalized”, remembering that there should be at least a hundred or eighty people. Later, I learned that they were the photos of some of the victims of the “February 23rd Incident” in Qinghai, which made me feel inexplicably scared. In Zhengzhou, you could see more and more people wearing steel helmets and carrying sticks, and sometimes a car with a siren full of heavily armed people whizzing through the streets. The most impressive slogan at that time was “civil attack and military defense”, and later read an article that said this slogan was invented in Henan.
Zhengzhou is more famous for the “5.30” cotton factory incident, then known as the “May 30 tragedy”, we learned about it the day after the incident by listening to the radio, it is said that one of the three major organizations in Henan at the time ” It was said that one of the three major organizations in Henan at the time, the “General Association of Henan”, had besieged the “Erqi Commune” and used a crane to hit the building, killing and injuring many people. A few days later, my elder brother and I went on foot from the eastern end of Zhengzhou City to the six cotton factories in the western suburbs to see the scene, although the buildings were empty, but the remnants of the armed struggle can still be felt at that time and the fierce and exciting.
We also visited an exhibition in the basement of the office building of the provincial geological school, which was said to be the underground stronghold of a certain faction, where a wooden board full of nails and bloodstains used for interrogation was chilling and still looms in my mind.
One night in the summer, when we heard the news that an organization was going to cleanse the “Red Public Security” (the name of a faction of the Provincial Public Security Department), my father and mother took us away from home in the night and ran to the eastern suburbs of the countryside, where we were met and taken to a crop field, just like the depiction of the revolution in literature. The family stayed there the whole night and only returned home carefully the next morning, which was a false alarm.
The last martial arts fight I saw was in the summer of that year, after the Central Cultural Revolution announced its support for the “Erqi Commune”. I was expecting to see a quick battle with an overwhelming advantage, because just a few days before, at the crossroads of the Henan Hotel, I watched heavily armed people standing on trucks celebrating their victory and occasionally raising their guns to the sky, scaring me so much that I covered my ears and closed my eyes for fear that a bullet would fall on my head, but what I saw was a battle scene from the cold-weapon era.
The attacking party advanced from the bridge between the two buildings, and the opposite building smashed down bricks and stones and so on, so that the attacking party was helpless. Later, the attacking side pushed a few wooden boards into a large “shield”, people are wearing steel helmets or wicker hat cat behind that “shield”, little by little to move forward, but still can not enter. I watched as the victors, with their swords and spears, took a long line of prisoners out of the building and drove them to the cars to be pulled to some unknown destination, not knowing what fate awaited the losers.
After a few days, we went to the cold storage of the Zhengzhou Freezing Factory and saw the bodies of five people who died in the “May 30th Tragedy” at the Sixth National Cotton Factory, and in the heat of the day, we wore cotton clothes into the cold storage and actually froze so much that we couldn’t even speak. Of course, there is also the element of seeing the tragic state of the corpses and being frightened by it!
Not long after, we received notice to return to school. Again, the official name was “resumption of classes and revolution”.