Shanghai Life and Death(80)

For a communist, expulsion from the Party is a vital blow to his political life; he can no longer be one of the revolutionary masses; his social status, second only to that of a counter-revolutionary, is forever discriminated against; his family members, including his children’s children, have to suffer atonement for him. In my opinion, it was unfair that Huang Zuo Lin, who had made indelible artistic contributions to the Communist Party throughout his life, should be awaiting such a tragic fate. This situation made me indignant. I said firmly: “As far as I know, Huang Zuo Lin was a loyal member of the Communist Party and had not been a buyer. Since his father’s death, Asia has never had a buyer in Tianjin.”

“You refuse to cooperate with us?” The interrogator said, “Do you want to redeem yourself?”

“I have to stick to the truth.” I said.

They were furious. The military representative, his face purple and swollen, stared at me resentfully and fiercely.

The interrogator said, “We want you to write a document about Huang Zuolin, the buyer, and write down everything you know about him. If you want to cover up for him, you will have to consider the consequences. If you can provide some useful information, that is your contribution to the Cultural Revolution, you can be given credit. Remember well what he said to you and your husband. And record what you know about his experiences and some of his ideological views. He is a class enemy, and you must expose and criticize him. This is an opportunity for you to express your standpoint. If you expose him truthfully, it will show that you have an understanding of your own reformation.”

“If you want to redeem yourself, you have to criticize Huang Zuolin.” The military representative said immediately afterwards.

This was an insult to my character! However, this is a typical tactic they always adopt, encouraging the people to use lies to push the current political movement to achieve its intended purpose.

I am writing down everything I know about Huang Zuolin. I am familiar with his life experiences and ideological views, and he is convinced that the Chinese Communist Party can lead the Chinese people to advance and become rich and strong. But they threw the material I had written back at me and reprimanded me viciously. Because I refused to write that Huang was a buyer from Tianjin Asia. In this way, I endured several stormy sieges and was forced to write the situation over and over again several times. But I always stuck to my point of view and did not meet their demands. After a few weeks, the issue was set aside. The military representative of Ren Yi, like his sudden appearance, also suddenly disappeared.

Later, after I was released from the First Detention Center, I learned that the rebels were unable to brand Huang Zuolin as a member of the bought-and-paid-for bourgeoisie and expel him from the Party. He was only exposed as one of the members of Liu Shaoqi’s group. During the Cultural Revolution, they were subjected to criticism at a convention and supervised labor, picking burdens and carrying bricks at a construction site in the cold winter heat. Huang Zuo Lin’s health was greatly impaired and his once very beautiful wife was tortured into an old woman.

Soon after the death of Mao Zedong in 1976, the “Gang of Four” was arrested and the political situation in China changed, and both Huang and his wife were rehabilitated.

In the era of extreme leftist rule, the ugliest thing was that even in a relatively smooth and normal political situation, the people were still required to report various situations to each other in an antagonistic manner. And when a movement started, people would expose and criticize each other. This practice greatly hurts the relationship between people. Husbands and wives are wary of each other, and parents and children are hostile to each other. This practice inhibits human contact, so people are reluctant to meet friends, become silent, and even falsehoods. In order to save his life, he had to keep his thoughts closed in his head, and once he was forced to tell something, telling lies was the only way he could defend himself and his family.

When I was instructed to expose others, others were being forced to expose and criticize us as well. Often I could gauge what my friends and family were offering them from some of the questions the interrogator mentioned. It was easy to see that someone was still calm and unruffled, while someone had become panicked and disoriented. The account given by my brother in Beijing at the end of 1969 caused me a lot of trouble. This also shows that a knowledgeable and highly educated person, under strong pressure, can also have a nervous breakdown so that he cannot make a correct judgment.

In the midst of the sound of gongs and drums, Mao Zedong published another latest instruction, which was published in red in the newspaper, together with editorials from the “two newspapers and one magazine” (People’s Daily, Red Flag magazine and Liberation Army Daily). Mao Zedong published the following instruction: “The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution is a great political revolution of the proletariat against the bourgeoisie; it is the continuation of the class struggle of the proletariat against the bourgeoisie and the continuation of the class struggle of the Communist Party against the Kuomintang.” Since the publication of this instruction, the campaign to eradicate the remnants of the Kuomintang began. Every day, the newspapers carried reports of the uncovering of hidden KMT officers and those who had expressed sympathy for the KMT in Taiwan. In a short period of time, numerous enemies were unearthed, and it seemed as if China was full of people who privately missed the KMT. For years, the Communist Party’s propaganda against the Kuomintang seemed to have had little effect. As a result, people are scared and fearful, and this allows the ultra-leftists to take advantage of the opportunity to intensify political persecution, escalate the class struggle and create an atmosphere of terror and tension among the people. The only way people can prove their innocence is to show exaggerated admiration for the ultra-leftist group, shout slogans more loudly, and work hard in a spirit of self-sacrifice, regardless of pay. And to treat class enemies with cynicism and hatred. The newspaper appealed to the proletariat to be more vigilant, to pay close attention to the perverse activities and unpleasant manifestations of their neighbors and colleagues in the same unit, and to tighten control over those class enemies who remained outside the prison.

The next arraignment was what I expected. Those who tried to persecute me, to show that they were following the latest instructions, were not willing to let me escape from the class struggle in vain, because at least my husband was a Nationalist government official.

As soon as I entered the interrogation room, the interrogator immediately asked me to read the latest instructions from Mao Zedong and bowed to his portrait. After reading it, I was told to repeat it again. The interrogator then spoke up and said, “We want to expose the remnants of the Kuomintang, and you are one of them.” At this time there were two other people in the room, and suddenly the younger one of them yelled, “Give an account!”

“Account for what?” I asked.

“Don’t pretend to be calm and deaf, explain your relationship with the Kuomintang.”

“I have no relationship with the Kuomintang.”

“You are a loyal lackey of the Kuomintang.”

“I doubt very much that the Kuomintang would share this view of yours.” I said, while sizing up the other two. From their clothes and hair styles, I thought they were northerners. Everyone in China speaks Mandarin, and those two young men had some Beijing brogue in their accent. I couldn’t understand why these two men came from Beijing to attend my interrogation. At the time of my interrogation, I had already reported on my family members, including my brother and sister-in-law in Beijing, and the relationship between us over the years.