The birth of a village revolutionary committee

Shortly after the outbreak of the fierce “Cultural Revolution,” a new name for the regime emerged in China – the “Revolutionary Committee. The Revolutionary Committee was first created by Zhang Chunqiao, Yao Wenyuan and Wang Hongwen in Shanghai to rebel and seize power, and was initially named “Shanghai People’s Commune” without the approval of Chairman Mao Zedong. After that, the Great Leader issued the supreme instruction that “revolutionary committees are good”, and only then did revolutionary committees sprout up everywhere.

At that time, the People’s Daily and the People’s Liberation Army Daily would publish an editorial to congratulate the establishment of each revolutionary committee in each municipality, province and autonomous region. In Shanxi Province, the title of the editorial was “The Great Victory of the Proletarian Cultural Revolution in Shanxi Province”, and in Hubei Province, it was “The Yangtze River Rises with Great Ambition”. A number of editorial titles were chosen directly from Chairman Mao’s poems, which were very colorful and distinctive. Chairman Mao’s hometown of Hunan Province is “Hibiscus country all the sunshine”, Guangdong Province, more words, “warriors finger to see the southern Guangdong, more lush”.

Then, the provinces, cities, localities, counties, communes, brigades, factories, schools, have set up a revolutionary committee. This revolutionary committee, from the political requirements of the faction to engage in a large coalition, from the age of cadres required the old, middle-aged and young three combination, from the work required to carry out “fight criticism” “grasp the revolution to promote production.” The two largest factions in Wanrong County are the “three divisions” and the “Red Union”, the newly established County Revolutionary Committee members, both the original “three divisions” faction figures, and the original “Red Union” faction The members of the newly established County Revolutionary Committee are both the former “three divisions” faction and the former “Red League” faction, embellished with individual “capitalists” who have been criticized by the former county government and have come back to the fore. The director of the revolutionary committee is a military leader who participated in the work of the “three branches and two armies”.

Although the factional struggle in Dingfan Village was not as strong as in the surrounding villages, it was difficult to gather people’s hearts and minds, and the establishment of the Revolutionary Committee lagged far behind other villages. In view of this, so the superiors pay special attention, the brigade revolutionary committee was established on the day, the scene is quite grand and enthusiastic.

It was August 15, 1968, the village streets had long been cleaned, new, the members of the community were happy, more lively than the Spring Festival. Around nine o’clock in the morning, representatives from neighboring villages came one after another to attend the celebration, beating gongs and drums, carrying red flags, carrying placards, carrying congratulatory posters, filling the streets and alleys, becoming a sea of people, a sea of red flags, a sea of placards, a sea of joy.

I was in the fourth grade of elementary school, so I hurriedly ate breakfast, put on my brand new white shirt and blue pants, and ran to school with great enthusiasm. The school was closed that day, but I was given a special task to participate in the Mao Zedong Thought Propaganda Team that had just been formed at the school to present a program for the celebration. This is the first time after the establishment of the school propaganda team on stage, and in such a grand occasion, my feelings are both excited and happy, but also vaguely a little stage fright.

The school was on a high platform at the east end of the village, and just after I reached the gate, I saw a team with guns coming from the east side of the road, 20 to 30 people, dressed in civilian clothes, carrying rifles, and two light machine guns. The group entered the school with a neat pace, and the leader of the group called out “Dismissed!” The team members scattered to the village entrance, the brigade headquarters, the entrance to the theater and other places to stand patrol. One of the light machine guns was set up on the roof of the school’s main gate, which was only one street away from the theater where the meeting was held, so it was easy to control the whole scene from above. They were specially sent by their superiors to defend the inaugural meeting, and looking at the position, there was indeed a kind of shocking majesty and murderous aura.

Before the start of the General Assembly held an entrance ceremony, the representatives of neighboring villages and the village brigade enterprises and institutions, the production team team entered in full formation. Once inside the gate firecrackers, playing music. Drum band has traditional gongs and drums, foreign drums and Western instruments, local suona flute, a time, the stage below the firecrackers, drums and music, smoke, the crowd is boiling.

We propaganda team actors early on the back of the stage, I had time to quietly hide behind the curtain, curious to peek below the stage, the first time to see such a cheerful scene.

The sound of firecrackers gradually, the official start of the General Assembly, leaders at all levels in the theater on the podium. The first item of the meeting procedure is, as usual, to wish Chairman Mao a long and unbroken life, to wish Vice Chairman Lin good health, singing the song “East is Red”. Then, the leader of the revolutionary committee of Gaocun Commune read out the list of members of the revolutionary committee of Dingfan Brigade approved by the county revolutionary committee, a total of five people were elected, they are: the director of the revolutionary committee Feng Guozheng, an ordinary party member, never served as a brigade cadre before, honest, gentle character, a little stuttering. He came out to take the lead, a “dark horse” that surprised the masses. It is also possible that the faction dispute, finally reached a compromise of some kind, he “fisherman’s gain”.

Feng Yingsen, the root of the red seeds, has been in the brigade department as a general cadres, this time all of a sudden became the deputy director of the Revolutionary Committee, considered a high promotion. He also served as secretary of the brigade party branch for many years. Feng Deping, who had served as secretary of the party branch of the brigade for many years before, is smart, competent and has a high reputation among the masses. This time into the Revolutionary Committee team, probably as a veteran cadres role was combined in. Feng Tian Guan, a former brigade cadre, is in charge of agricultural production, has a strategic approach, outstanding political performance, serious and solid work, fair and decent work, the people are convinced. Feng Renrong, young and promising, straightforward personality. However, he was a cadre of the Revolutionary Committee for a short time, he went to work for the brigade supply and marketing agency, and then died young due to illness.

The above five newly elected members of the Revolutionary Committee are my elders, and I should respectfully call them uncle or uncle, and several of them have passed away. It would be disrespectful for me to call them by their first names here. As I was young, I mostly listened to the people’s comments, and I do not have any personal grudges, so please understand if I am wrong.

It is quite surprising that Feng Tianci, who was the secretary of the party branch of the brigade at the beginning of the Cultural Revolution, was not combined into the leadership team this time. Previously, he had been criticized numerous times, and the rebels had asked questions and made up charges, listing his so-called ten major crimes. One of them was that he “obstructed the poor peasants from listening to the voice of Chairman Mao and the Party Central Committee and colluded with the class enemy. The evidence cited was that he had given my family a cable radio speaker. My father was wrongly classified as a “historical counter-revolutionary”, a charge that was quite damaging. The real situation is that the superiors gave the village more than 10 wired broadcasting speakers, each priced at 5 yuan, and many members of the community did not want them, so my father bought one and installed it at home, not realizing that it caused a big trouble.

Mr. Feng Tianzhi is a stout man with a good appearance, good at writing articles and first-class eloquence, and once played the role of Jiao Yulu in the rehearsal of the brigade troupe, which was praised by the audience. “At the beginning of the Cultural Revolution, he suffered a lot of hardships, and during the New Year, the rebels put a pair of white couplets on the front door of his house. “Later in the Cultural Revolution, he continued to serve as a brigade cadre for many years.

Let’s go back to the conference. After the awarding ceremony of the Revolutionary Committee, the director of the Commune Revolutionary Committee spoke, the guest representatives spoke, and finally the grand finale was the speech of a deputy director of the County Revolutionary Committee. It is said that the leaders of the county revolutionary committee would not participate in the establishment of the village revolutionary committee, and it would be nice to send a general cadre or a congratulatory letter at most. The presence of the deputy director of the county revolutionary committee showed the importance of his presence. In his speech, he hoped that the majority of cadres and masses in the brigade under the leadership of the Revolutionary Committee team, good grasp of the revolution and promote production, nothing new.

The last item of the meeting was a cultural performance. Our school propaganda team performed a dance program, I acted as an announcer. Standing at the exit of the stage, for the first time in the face of a large crowd of people on stage, and so big county leaders, my heart like a small rabbit in the thumping. It was time to go out, no time to think about it, I gave up, I clenched my hands on my chest, ran up to the front stage, “snap” a ding-zi shape, and then shake my head and recite: “Lone peak stretching arms to raise the red flag.

Lone peak stretching arms to raise the red flag.
The Yellow River is playing a triumphant song.
The mountains are cheering and the water is laughing.
The red flag is like a forest and the song is like a tide.

The following dance “Revolutionary Committee is good” was performed. Performer: Mao Zedong Thought Propaganda Team of Dingfan School. Then, turn your body backwards, clasp your hands to your chest and run off the stage.

This dance was performed by 8 female members of the propaganda team, with dance music set by Mr. Niu Yongsheng and lyrics now made up. He filled in the lyrics one by one with the names of the newly elected members of the brigade revolutionary committee, humming and singing them, so I still remember them vividly.

August 15, 1968.
Dingfan Revolutionary Committee was established.
The mountains are cheering and the water is laughing.
The revolutionary committee is good!

Guozheng, Yingsen and Deping.
And Tian Guan and Ren Rong.
The leadership team is revolutionary.
Oh, Yi’er!
The revolutionary committee is good!


Now look, this dance is completely to match the situation, very childish and crude. I never thought that my simple announcement would be a sensation. On such a special occasion, in front of so many spectators on stage, let the students envy. The audience on stage asked each other who the child was, who was handsome and articulate. My mother was in the crowd and was very proud of me as she heard compliments from people around her.

Unfortunately, my father did not get to see my first performance, as he was not qualified to attend such a grand meeting. Several days before the meeting, the village’s “black five elements” were ordered to level and clean the alleys, set up the venue, move tables, chairs and benches, post slogans, busy day and night. However, on the day of the meeting, a group of them were concentrated in the brick kiln at the west end of the village to participate in labor, in order to prevent these bad guys from carrying out sabotage and disruption activities.

That evening, the Mao Zedong Thought Propaganda Team from the county performed on the stage. Of course, they did not perform feudal superstitious costume plays, nor did they perform revolutionary model plays, but performed a dozen small programs, such as lip-synching, three-and-a-half sentences, and small singing. These small programs were very fashionable at that time, and the lyrics and performance words could be made up and performed according to the needs of the political situation. Since I was a member of the school propaganda team, I was fascinated by the show.

I remember the performance of a program is Shandong Express, a male actor standing on stage, holding two small brass pieces, jingling, the content of the satire, sarcasm, criticism of the Party’s largest “capitalist” Liu Shaoqi and Deng Xiaoping. One of the lines is: “Just Shaoqi said Deng, Xiaoping, he was born a child file, file, file, a revolutionary comrades will ask, what do you mean file? File is next to the word gold plus a sitting word, file is short, short is file; file is small, small is file; file is low, low is file ……” extreme personal attack, but won the stage a laugh.

I first heard this “file” word, know this “file” word, from this Shandong Express performance to get. Who would have thought that ten years later, it was the small man who could not be defeated, Mr. Deng Xiaoping, led the people of the country to carry out the great cause of reform and opening up, and the first to benefit from precisely the rural areas and farmers, the joint production contract responsibility system so that the people suffering from the “big pot of rice” full of food!

After the establishment of the brigade revolutionary committee, and the brigade party branch is two pieces of paper, a set of personnel. Secretary of the Party Branch and the Revolutionary Committee director of one shoulder, that is, a hand of the brigade. Under the administrative structure of the Revolutionary Committee, there are political unit, financial unit, vice industry unit, security unit, etc. The main members of the party branch and the Revolutionary Committee, as well as those who hold positions in these units, such as the head of the finance unit, accountants, custodians, are brigade cadres, who are given a fixed number of work points each year by the brigade and take them back to their respective production teams to participate in the year-end distribution.

The security unit is a special department, similar in nature to today’s urban security agencies, some of whose members are village bachelors. Their specific task is to guard the crops in the fields, night patrol, to protect the lives and property of the village community members. When the village cadres wanted to fix a member of the community, the security unit staff often acted as fighters, foxes and tigers, tricky and brutal, chilling. In the village, “the rich, the rich, the bad and the right”, like my father, had to do a lot of compulsory work for years and years, and were under the supervision of the security unit.

After that, almost every silent night, the tannoy of the brigade headquarters would broadcast over and over again: “All the branch revolutionary committees, all the branch revolutionary committees, come to the brigade meeting! Hurry up to the brigade meeting!” It was hard for the cadres to pass on the endless documents, hold endless meetings, and stay up with the lamps.

The production teams under the brigade revolutionary committee originally had only three people: the production leader, the accountant and the custodian. For a while, the emphasis was on political leadership, and a political captain position was added. Under the two captains, there were several other major members, namely the accountant, the custodian, the cashier, the head of the poor association group, the women’s captain, the militia captain, etc., forming an 8-member production team team committee. However, these eight people do not take off work, every day with the community members to work in the field, but according to different positions, the end of the year to give some subsidized work points. At that time, there were a lot of members who were fighting to be the captain and these members.

The “Revolutionary Committee” was established in full swing, but it did not completely curb the social unrest, and serious armed struggles even occurred in local areas of Shanxi Province. It was not until July 23, 1969 that the CPC Central Committee issued the extremely harshly worded “July 23” proclamation, ordering all factions to stop the martial fighting and to implement a grand coalition. The situation improved only after Chairman Mao instructed the government to “do as it is told” and send it out for implementation and the military to intervene. This is an afterthought.

From the situation of our brigade, after the establishment of the Revolutionary Committee, the previous situation of pride in rebellion, the creation of hills, the absence of a leader and social disorder was temporarily quelled. The duty of the revolutionary committee is to grasp the revolution and promote production, in fact, to grasp the revolution, to grasp the class struggle, to grasp agriculture to learn the Great Walled City. The revolutionary committee is only learning the skin, repairing the Dazhai fields, “cutting the tail of capitalism”, all year round, tying the members to the land, no increase in food production, still hungry belly; no increase in dividends, can not afford to buy oil, salt, soy and vinegar. To put it bluntly, the revolutionary committee is just a fashionable name for a new regime.

The name “revolutionary committee” continued to be used throughout the country until 1979, when it was completely abolished. In the rural areas, the brigade revolutionary committees were replaced by village committees, which were autonomous by law, and the villagers voted to elect the chief and deputy chief of the village committee and the village committee. The revolutionary committee was discarded as a historical symbol in the moldy “Cultural Revolution” archives.