Shanghai Life and Death(75)

One day, as I was about to eat my morning bowl of rice, the cell door opened and a male guard shouted, “Come out!” I just pretended not to hear, full mouth full of rice into my mouth, not even care to chew.

“Come out!” He called again, but didn’t break in.

My chopsticks flew around, sweeping the rice into my mouth. To face the new challenge, I first had to pack a full stomach. I suspected that they kept prolonging the interrogation just to keep me from eating.

“Come out!” He called out loudly for the third time and came in, taking the cup I had filled with rice and setting it aside without a word, “You can come back and eat again.” He said.

I hastily used another cup to scoop a full cup of water into the noodle bowl and washed my mouth to wash down the rice grains left in my esophagus.

“Hurry up! Why are you dilly-dallying like this.”

“Please step outside for a moment, I need to use the toilet.”

He had to steer clear and let another female guard come in to keep an eye on me. I washed my hands and wiped my mouth and was about to get the copy of Mao’s quotations when the more amiable female guard shook her head at me and whispered, “Don’t bring it.” So I put it back on the bed and followed her out.

The military guard came down the hallway, panting and yelling, “What are you doing! Why are you so slow?”

I followed her out of the women’s prison and into the courtyard, where another male guard was waiting for me with a pair of handcuffs in his hand. The female military guard twisted my hand backwards, snapped on the handcuffs, and then pushed me so hard that I stumbled and stumbled, and then just as I was standing, she pushed me hard again and so stumbled to the entrance of the guardhouse. The same white car, a driver was already sitting inside. He honked his hand and made a harsh whining sound intermittently until he saw me come out. The well-dressed young man was pacing over there, and the teacher was also standing on the side.

Seeing me come out, they approached. The youth’s facial expression made me estimate that today they were going to punish me for my resistance. I saw him say through gritted teeth, “Now you are going to attend the meeting to celebrate the triumphant closing of the Ninth National Congress and the creation of new members of the Central Committee. You have to take it seriously and stop putting on that arrogant and arrogant tone, or the rebels will smash you up.” He shushed me, as if the rebels had really smashed me to pieces, making him feel gloating.

“We at the First Detention Center treat prisoners with policy, so you have always been treated with generosity and kindness. The situation is different when you get out of this gate. The rebel factions are all true to their word, you should be careful, do not speak too much. You can only behave more obediently, or they will really kill you. Many people were killed by them.” The teacher said.

I think they are not really afraid that I will be killed, they are just afraid to be criticized for not subduing the prisoners. Maybe this meeting will also be attended by higher leaders, they hope to give the leaders a good impression.

“Do you understand?” The youth asked me.

“As long as they no longer offend me, I will not make any arguments.” I told him.

“It seems that you should really be taught a lesson before we leave.” He said as he clenched his fist and waved it in front of my eyes.

“You should understand that flesh and blood will not seal my mouth. The more you guys try to offend me, the more I’m going to retort.”

“Well, then, let the crowd teach you a lesson. Just wait, and if you don’t obey, let them make you alive.”

“According to you, it means that I should die without speaking, even if I am asked?” I wanted to get a feel for the situation.

“Yes, as long as you bow your head and admit your guilt.”

“I would rather die than confess to a crime that doesn’t exist.”

“Then don’t utter a word, no matter what they say, don’t open your mouth.” The old worker said, it seemed that of the two, he was the kinder one.

“Okay, I’ll muffle it, no matter what they say. But that doesn’t mean I’ve admitted my guilt.” “The crowd doesn’t judge whether you’re guilty or not.” The old worker continued to hold me steady.

The young man made me get into the car, and I sat in the back seat with the old worker and another person, and the young man sat by the driver. As the car turned off the road, another car, with the same people who had been at my latest arraignment, sped out right behind.

April in Shanghai is a very beautiful season. The streets are lush and green on both sides, and the industrial city, which has always been dense with a chaotic and choking pollution, looks fresh and refreshing for a while, showing everywhere the renewal of everything after a harsh winter. The car windows were open, the yellow silk curtains, with the breeze swaying, through the curtains, I saw our car was heading north through the city. Several times, the car was blocked by the parade on the road to celebrate the “nine” closed Mu. The red flags and colorful banners everywhere on the road, the noisy gongs and drums and the portrait of Mao Zedong were exactly the same as the scene at the beginning of the Cultural Revolution. However, I felt that the participants of the march were completely different from three years ago. They lacked the enthusiasm and initiative of the past and showed a sense of weariness and boredom. They walked lazily and slowly, chanting slogans in a weak and perfunctory manner, and some did not even chant along with them. They seemed to be tired of the fatigue of the class struggle that had lasted for three years. It is more likely that they have no illusions about the prospects of the cultural revolution. Most of them had children who had been Red Guards, and now the Red Guards had been driven to the countryside to settle in squads. They must mail food and clothing to finance them. Others may have felt increasingly burdened by the growing social chaos and lack of supplies caused by the Cultural Revolution.

On normal days in the past, there were always many pedestrians strolling in the streets of Shanghai. But now, on this windy spring day, except for the parade after parade, there are no more such leisurely and comfortable spectators. I couldn’t understand this because I didn’t expect that the Red Guards and the rebel faction were so violent and brutal that they had driven the masses out of the streets and alleys; that the fights between the factions would often send out stray bullets that hurt people, and that the Red Guards and the rebel faction could beat people up at will in order to maintain their majesty.