Narrator: Hu Ping｜Scholar and current affairs commentator
Hu Ping, born in 1947, grew up during the Maoist era, when class struggle and class composition were the main issues, and was denied the right to go to university because of his family’s poor composition (his father was suppressed and executed by the Chinese Communist regime). During the period of going to the countryside, he cut off one of his fingers in order to fight for the right to return to the city, so that he could get a “disability retirement” and return to the city. After the death of Mao Zedong and the end of the Cultural Revolution, which abolished university exams, he was admitted to the philosophy department of Peking University and became one of the first graduate students in China after the Cultural Revolution.
While studying at Peking University, Hu Ping participated in the university’s first grassroots “people’s representative” election in 1980, the first open competition since the Chinese Communist Party seized power in mainland China in 1949, and was successfully elected. During his campaign, he used “freedom of speech is the foundation of all freedom” as his campaign theme. Prior to that, he published a lengthy article, “On Freedom of Expression,” which had a wide impact and continues to have an impact in China today.
Over the years, Hu has been active in the Chinese media as a scholar and commentator on current affairs. Readers who enjoy his articles say that he is concise and easy to understand, elegant and logical. He is good at discussing current affairs and the behavior of the Chinese Communist regime in plain and sharp language. For example, he says that the CCP first deprived Chinese people of their private property in the name of communism, turning private property into public property, and then, in the name of reform, transferred property that belonged to the public to its own family, turning public property into private property, two diametrically opposed and harmful things that the CCP has done.
Hu Ping has another widely noted argument about the CCP (and communist regimes in other countries), which is that the CCP regime is different from all the dynasties in China. The rulers of the dynasties only went on a killing spree when they were fighting for the world, but stopped killing on a large scale after they seized the world, but the CCP regime went on a killing spree when it seized power and killed even more after it seized power. Communist leader Mao Zedong is widely regarded as the world’s most murderous dictator of all time, and most of his victims were killed after he came to power.
Among those killed was Hu Ping’s father. Under the Chinese Communist Party, those who are killed are not only killed themselves, but their families, descendants, and relatives are also persecuted or discriminated against. Hu Ping and thousands of other victims’ descendants were denied the right to attend college and other rights because of this CCP policy.
When it comes to the influence of family origin, especially the so-called “Guan Guan Killing” like mine, it is more severe than normal. This “killing” means that your parents were killed or executed, which is of course the blackest of the “Black Five”. You felt more and more excluded and marginalized in society, and probably from that time on, you were less fanatical compared to our generation.
My father was born to a peasant family in Henan Province and later enrolled in the publicly funded Central Political School. After graduation, he became a county police chief, a county governor, and an anti-smoking supervisor. In the winter of 1948, he joined the Kuomintang army, which declared an “uprising” the following year, in the summer of 1949. Therefore, my father became an officer of the PLA, and became an “insurrectionist”. However, during the counter-revolutionary movement in 1950, my father was treated as a so-called historical counter-revolutionary and was repatriated to his hometown in April 1952. Two months later, he was executed.
When Mao launched the crackdown, at first glance it looked as if the regime, which had won by arms and force, was trying to remove its old political enemies. This is commonplace in dynastic changes. But in reality, this is not the case. Nominally, the Communist Party says in its public documents that it wants to suppress those who kill and set fires, poison people, fight guerrillas, spread counter-revolutionary rumors, counter-revolutionary statements, and current counter-revolutionary activities. But in reality it was suppressing those former members of the Kuomintang who had long since given up their resistance and who had been promised by the authorities that they would not be pursued, arrested, or humiliated. There were also a number of “insurrectionists” like my father. When my father and his family “revolted” with the army, the Communist Party announced to them the policy of “no blame” and said that it was “honorable to revolt” and issued certificates to each of them. It was clearly written that “the uprising was honorable and no blame would be put on them”. After he became a member of the PLA, our family was treated as a military family at that time. There was a small wooden sign hanging at the entrance of the courtyard that said “honorable military family”.
In 1984, the People’s Court of Xuchang, Henan Province, contacted our family and announced that my father had been rehabilitated. The criminal verdict of the Xuchang County People’s Court reads: “In accordance with the Party’s policy of not blaming the past, the original verdict was indeed wrong. It should be corrected; in accordance with the provisions of Article 14 of the Organic Law of the People’s Courts of the People’s Republic of China, the study decided to revoke the original verdict of our court, restore his honor, and still treat him as a member of the uprising.”
So the absurdity lies in this place, you killed people, and later you think that the past is not to blame, you rehabilitate people. You said that you would not take the blame for the past, so how could you kill someone for no reason? My mother was very angry when she talked about this and could never forget it. When she learned that my father had been killed, the certificate of honor for the uprising was still in our house.
At that time my mother was very sad and distraught. She had already made arrangements to give me, my sister and my two-year-old sister to three relatives, and then she planned to go back home to Henan and throw herself into a well. But then she thought that the three children already had no father and could not live without a mother, so she insisted on surviving and raising us to adulthood. Throughout our childhood, because our mother never told us these things, our own feelings were still very happy, because we were completely ignorant. Our mother covered up all these cruelties outside.
In the 1950s, the authorities didn’t pay that much attention to family origins. It was only after the 60s that the so-called family origin became more and more important. The most important reason is simple: our generation is the same age as the second generation of the Reds, and we are all facing the same time to enter university, to go on to higher education, to get a job, etc.. And their parents of the second generation found that their children do not have an advantage in this area of competition, so they put special emphasis on family background. This article not only knocked us “black five” to the ground, but also made people of middle composition, those intellectuals, so that they also into the second-class people, so as to leave their children better opportunities. This was clearly written in the memoirs of many of their old cadres later.
I felt the discrimination of family background, the first is in the application to join the Communist Youth League, it is recognized that I am the best performance, but because of family origin to me down, to continue to test; then is the examination of high school, my test scores in the city is the top, but the city of Chengdu that several key secondary schools are not accepted me. That time made me feel strongly unfair. When it came to the Cultural Revolution, it goes without saying that, as the couplet says, “The old revolutionary son is a good man, the old reactionary son is a bastard. Our school also held a three-and-a-half-day debate on the so-called class line under the auspices of the Red Guards, three of which were devoted to criticizing me.
When it comes to the influence of family origin, especially the so-called “Guan Guan Killing” like me, that is more severe than the average. The “kill” is that your parents were killed, executed, of course, is the “black five categories” of the blackest kind. When I was in high school, the school director told me that in your case, with your grades there is no university in the country you can’t get into. But with your family background, no university in the country will accept you.
You felt more and more excluded and marginalized in society, so even though I still believed in the Communist Party’s theories, including Mao Zedong as a great leader, I was less enthusiastic than my generation from that time on. Later, when I read the article by Mao Zedong, I felt a high degree of resonance and started my own tabloid, which reprinted Mao’s article. Shortly afterwards, the Central Cultural Revolution Group declared the article to be a “great poisonous weed”. At that time, I felt very unconvinced, because the article was so thoroughly written and so clearly reasoned. At that time was also the beginning of my doubts about the Cultural Revolution.
At the beginning of the Cultural Revolution, like other students, I also wrote big-character posters to criticize teachers and principals. I also thought that they were all bourgeois, revisionist, and wrong. But when these teachers and principals were put into the cowshed and tortured, I was very dissatisfied with this cruelty. I had a hard time accepting the political persecution under the grand banner of so-called ideological education and ideological reform, which was actually very cruel. Even if the ideas are not right, you can criticize them, you can educate them, but why do you fix them and make them so cruel? My initial reactionary thoughts came from here, plus after accumulating, seeing more and more things, thinking more and more things, by 70 years I felt that we really live in the most authoritarian era in history, not to mention compared with any free and democratic countries, even compared with the history of China, that is the most cruel and worst era.
The Communist Party has been guilty of many crimes in the past 100 years, just like in the book “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich”, there is a sentence: “A thousand years are easy to pass, but the evil of the Nazis is hard to disappear”. I think this quote is perfectly appropriate for the Chinese Communist Party as well. The victims of the Communist regime are so numerous and widespread that there is no class of people in China who have not suffered from it, including the Communist Party itself. All the old cadres of the Communist Party, their own experience proves that they suffered far more in prison after the so-called successful revolution than they did before it. It is that absurd.
The Communist Party killed far more people after it seized power than it killed during the war before it seized power. This is one of the most extraordinary points in the history of the Communist Party, and one of its most inexcusable features. All the tyrants of the past killed many people in order to seize power, and once power was seized, the killing naturally decreased. The Communist Party, on the contrary, killed far more people after it seized power than it did before it seized power. In the case of the counter-insurgency campaign, the number of Nationalists killed in one campaign exceeded the number of Nationalists killed on the battlefield in the three-year civil war between China and the Communist Party.
Mao Zedong later also said, “We killed 700,000 people to suppress the counter-revolution, we killed a million people. You see Hungary is the counter-revolution killed too little. That’s what he thought. This kind of killing is the so-called kill a hundred examples, kill the chicken to scare the monkey. You don’t have to look at the people he killed who nominally held positions in the Kuomintang government in the past. In fact, he is intimidating everyone. You go to the revolutionary masses, to the suppression of counter-revolutionary conference shouting slogans, shouting that the people are happy, not enough to kill to civilian anger. In fact, you feel fear. Yesterday was fine, said kill and killed, so that everyone felt a great fear.