Shanghai Life and Death(79)

Before my current trial, I had read several newspaper articles criticizing a film called “Battle of Shanghai” directed by Huang in the 1950s. This film, which celebrated the heroic war effort of the Communist Party in liberating Shanghai, was not only artistically brilliant but also served as a good propaganda. Not only was it artistically superb, but it also served as good propaganda. After the film was released, the consensus was that it was an outstandingly effective work. Now, the newspapers have spent several days and many pages criticizing his film, accusing Huang of depicting the Nationalist soldiers defending Shanghai as heroes, thus degrading the image of the PLA. These critical articles also pointed out that in showing footage of the war-torn city of Shanghai and the suffering of its citizens, he revealed his own intentions against the armed struggle, and especially against the Communist war of liberation. Significantly, the sudden wave of criticism against him in the press indicated that he had been targeted.

Why did a man like Huang Zuolin, who had made so many contributions to the Party, become the target of a severe crackdown? Like others, he was a victim of the Cultural Revolution. It turned out that the person who appreciated him and introduced him to the Party was Jiang Qing’s arch rival in Shanghai in the 1930s. At that time, she was a second-rate movie star trying to move up the ladder, while Huang Zuolin and the others were the leaders of the Left League in Shanghai at that time. The Left League was a group of left-wing writers, literary artists and members of the underground party under the leadership of Liu Shaoqi. Apparently, most of the intellectuals of the Left Wing despised Jiang Qing, considering her to be of degenerate character and not highly skilled. For a long time Jiang Qing held a grudge against this. During the Cultural Revolution, once she had gained leadership of the cultural sphere of the Communist Party, she threw them all into prison and accused them of being Liu Shaoqi’s henchmen. Because in Chinese political life, the power to delegate positions still depends on the higher-ups, often when any leader falls, it inevitably affects his or her subordinates.

“Do you know Huang Zuo Lin, the buyer of the foreign bank?” I was asked by the representative of the military control committee of the Shanghai People’s Arts, who was sitting next to the interrogator, just after I had finished reading the quotations assigned by the interrogator and had just taken my seat on the prisoner’s seat.

I summarized and analyzed the questions he asked and concluded that: since they could not pick any fault in Huang’s personal life, they made a big deal out of his family origin and experience.

The position of the Buyer’s Office, as a liaison between foreign companies and Chinese officials. This system originated in the late nineteenth century with the Qing dynasty imperial family and was established to manage foreign trade. Since the implementation of modern commercial measures, by the thirties, this system had eliminated itself. However, large companies like Asia did not fire their buyers, they simply stopped producing new ones after the old ones died. The Chinese Communist Party considered the buyers to be the most and most reactionary class of the bourgeoisie. After the liberation of Shanghai, those who were classified as members of the “buyer class” were arrested or fined large sums of money. Huang’s father, who was a buyer for the Tianjin Asia Company, died during the war.

“The Huang Zuolin I knew was a famous film and theater director.” I replied.

“He was also a buyer for Asia!” The uniformed representative from Ren Yi said, “We know you well enough to know that you are a stubborn reactionary and imperialist agent, and we are not surprised at your evasive attitude.”

“Huang Zuo Lin has serious problems. He is a class enemy who has infiltrated the Party. If you try to harbor him, the consequences will be serious and you will only make things worse for yourself. If you are still clear-headed and willing to work with us, that would be your contribution to the cultural revolution.” My interrogator said.

“I assure you that I am telling the truth.” I said.

“If you are telling the truth, then you can say that he is a buyer for the Asia Company.” The military representative said.

“His father was a buyer for the Asia Company. Huang Zuo Lin’s family was once very poor.”

“After his father died, he succeeded as the buyer.” The man said.

“The buyer system has long been abolished. After his father’s death, the system no longer exists.” I told him.

“Then what is this?” The man threw a document on the table, and the interrogator passed it to me. It was a deed to a piece of land in Tianjin in the name of Huang Zorin. As soon as I saw the number on it, I knew that it was a document taken from Asia’s archives.

“That’s an old document.”

“Whether it’s new or old, it shows that Huang Zorin was a buyer for Asia. He’s been hiding it from the Communists.”

“If you want to hear it, I can tell you the whole story.”

“You tell.” That interrogator of ours said.

“I don’t remember the exact date, but it was always before the war, when the Kuomintang issued a decree forbidding foreigners from owning land in China. At that time, all the foreign companies, they passed their properties to their buyers. Asiana was no exception. When Huang’s father passed away, Huang inherited all of his family’s property. During the war, the Japanese occupied Tianjin, when Huang was not there, and Asia retreated. After Pearl Harbor, Asean’s business was completely paralyzed. At that time, I don’t know which agent of Huang, put his seal on his father’s property vouchers, including the land deed that belonged to Asean. But this is not the same as Asean hiring Wong to be their buyer.”

“Asean pays him a salary.” The military representative of that human art said.

“I don’t know.” I answered him.

“Your husband did pay him a salary as the general manager of Asia.”

“He did not tell me about it.” I thought it best to deny that I knew about it. In this way, they would know that I was unable to assist them in exposing Huang Zuolin and would no longer come to tangle with me. In fact, my husband told me that the company was going to give Huang Zuo Lin a sum of money as a token of our appreciation for his father’s service to the company, even though the land had been confiscated by the government in 1950 during the land reform. This show of tolerance and generosity on the part of Asean did not match the image later propagated of foreign companies brutally exploiting China.

“Lies. Your maid said that your husband discussed everything with you.”

“He didn’t tell me about it; maybe he didn’t think it was worth mentioning at all.” I said, “Of course, we don’t bring up every official matter in his office and discuss it.”

“We don’t believe that.”

“Then you’ll have to do as you please. I don’t know anything about paying for anything. But that doesn’t mean you can’t look into it. You can look it up in the office files or check with the accounting department.”

“It was investigated a long time ago. Do you think we would overlook something like that? We are in possession of a lot of evidence that confirms that your husband had money for him.”

“In that case, it doesn’t matter much whether I know about it or not.”

“We want you to admit that Huang Zorin is a buyer for Asia and that the company pays his salary. You are the most senior Chinese employee of Asia, and you can confirm everything you know. Huang Zorin is a member of the buying bourgeoisie, and the buying bourgeoisie is the most reactionary of all. He is to be expelled from the Party. You and your husband are his friends. You know him well, and you can provide important material to expose him.” That military representative said.