Li Nanyang: After the robbery and set foot on American soil, Li Rui completely awakened

Narrator: Li Nanyang|Li Rui’s daughter

Li Rui, born in 1917, is a veteran of the Chinese Communist Party, former secretary of Mao Zedong, who was purged three times, and a representative of the liberal wing of the Chinese Communist Party. Mao’s secretary. At a 1959 meeting of the Communist Party leadership in Lushan, Li Rui expressed support for Peng Dehuai, then Minister of National Defense, and opposed Mao’s blind command of the economy, and was therefore purged by Mao.

Mao refused to accept Peng’s criticism, dismissed and persecuted Peng and his supporters as an “anti-Party group,” and insisted on his already disastrous economic policies, which eventually led to the starvation of tens of millions of Chinese people during three years of good weather. Li Rui’s “Lushan Conference” was written based on his own notes during the conference, making it a rare first-hand, detailed historical record of the brutal struggle at the top based on what the party witnessed and heard at the time.

While studying at Wuhan University in 1937, Li Rui joined the CCP as an underground activist and arrived in Yan’an in 1939. He later recalled, “I entered Yan’an at the age of twenty-two and left Yan’an at the age of twenty-eight, and the six years of life and work in Yan’an should be said to have had a fundamental impact on my life.”

Li Nanyang claimed that she grew up rarely with her father and was not close to him; it was only later, as she herself grew older and more experienced and as Li Rui’s thinking changed, that their father-daughter relationship grew closer and she became the person her father trusted most during his lifetime. Finally, Li Rui entrusted Li Nanyang with all the archival materials of his life that are valuable for the study of Chinese history and the history of the Chinese Communist Party, and she forwarded them to the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace at Stanford University. The materials there are open to all researchers.

Li Nanyang focuses here on Li Rui’s experiences in Yan’an, which show that the CCP has a long tradition of false accusations and the systematic and massive use of torture in its intra-party struggles. However, after experiencing false accusations and torture in Yan’an, Li Rui did not awaken from it. Li Nanyang says that Li Rui’s complete awakening came at the end of his life at the age of 102.

I once asked my father, “Since when have you been more enlightened? Was it because you were expelled from the Party at the Lushan Conference in ’59 and you spent time in Qincheng Prison during the Cultural Revolution that you figured it out? He replied, “No, it was after I was rehabilitated and came to the United States in 1979, and as soon as I got off the plane, I came to my senses – the Communist Party’s line had been completely wrong.

Before they entered Yan’an, the Communist Party had only 40,000 to 50,000 members, and it was a very small party. But after they arrived in Yan’an, because of the influx of intellectual youths, and many intellectual youths joined the Communist Party in the rear, the Communist Party expanded from 40,000 to 50,000 to 400,000 to 500,000 at once, and it grew a lot. He was a new blood and a new force in the Communist Party.

After entering Yan’an, he immediately felt this inequality. But he said that he accepted it because the old Red Army had gone through the hardships of the Long March, which was a very remarkable achievement. One of the old Red Army told him that on the Long March, when people were so hungry that they had no choice, they would cut off the arms of people who died on the roadside and bite them as they walked. He had a feeling of admiration for them, so he didn’t resent the hierarchy. He took it for granted, or there wasn’t a sense of great equality in traditional Chinese culture – originally the emperor was the emperor and the common people were the common people. In 1942, when the Liberation Daily was reprinted, Mao came to speak and he went to listen. He said that Mao Zedong spoke out against the dissatisfaction of Ding Ling and Wang Shimi with the hierarchy in Yan’an. He (Mao Zedong) said, “I just light two waxes, I just wear twill, I just wear hanging pockets.

My father thought that you are so narrow-minded, we are just criticizing and criticizing, there is nothing to do, but you are so vehemently refuting back, so loudly proclaiming that you want to be special. He was very disgusted by this.

He always said later that he was the least tortured. He was not allowed to sleep or blink for five days and five nights. He said he made it through, but the other man who was in the security office was not allowed to sleep for 15 days and 15 nights, and he was tied to a wooden cross. You know what else he said? There was a tiger stool. In fact, it was not their security office that was powerful, it was the party school. The Party School was under the direct leadership of Kang Sheng of the Ministry of Social Affairs. It was a place where people were locked up together and you could fight with yourselves until you bit your ears off. He said that place is completely without rules and regulations, is very powerful.

Later I asked him, I said you have been locked up for more than a year, you think this is nonsense, completely nonsense, why do not you think this Communist Party is not right na, and then follow it a piece of the front ah? He said, because the Seventh Plenary Session of the First Central Committee will soon be held, at that time, the war of resistance will soon be won, at that time, Li Fuchun made a report to give him great encouragement, we unite, towards the bright, free and democratic new China. I think he was still influenced by the thought that in the whole revolutionary flood, individuals are insignificant, and it does not matter if they suffer a little bit of aggression and persecution, it is an inevitable sacrifice. The Chinese culture is still deeply rooted in the marrow of the bones, plus Marx, Leninism, the Communist Party, the individual is indifferent, especially Liu Shaoqi’s “On the Cultivation of Communist Party Members”, the man is a screw, he is not something human.

The first thing you need to do is to take a look at the whole thing. He said: “The so-called rectification, to put it simply, is to rectify the intellectuals who have not yet joined the Party ideologically and have not yet become ‘tame tools’. …… to the Communist Party and its leader Mao Zedong, the Yan’an rectification campaign was certainly a success, both inside and outside the Party, up and down, especially intellectuals, the ideology was ‘transformed’, class, party, eliminating all human nature, party members have become tame tools. “

In 1959, at the Communist Party’s “Lushan Conference”, he was branded a “member of Peng Dehuai’s anti-party group” for criticizing the “Great Leap Forward” campaign launched by the authorities. “He was dismissed from the Party, expelled from the Party, and sent to work in the Great Northern Wilderness. During the Cultural Revolution, he was thrown into Qincheng prison for eight years for criticizing Chen Boda, then head of the Cultural Revolution Group of the CPC Central Committee, until he was released in 1975 and rehabilitated in 1979.

His own recollection of this period later said, “At that time, there was no longer an element of admiration for the Party and for Mao Zedong, but I think he had feelings for the Party and for Chairman Mao. His diary and appeal materials reflect this very clearly. He wanted to say: I essentially want the revolution, I am a loyal fighter in the Party, I have no second thoughts about this Party and Mao; I made mistakes, I sincerely admit that I made mistakes, I am trying to correct them, and I still hope that the Party will enable me. I think he did not realize very clearly that this party was really no longer wanted, really an anti-human, anti-people, anti-state party. Perhaps it was because the whole social and political atmosphere at that time was very high-handed and people did not have much room for free thinking.

I think later on he was able to calm his mind down and thoroughly go back to reflect and think that should be June 4. At that time, he had already fundamentally rejected the Party. He felt that the Communist Party had come to this point and was finished, and had come to the end.

After June 4, he was asked to take over the compilation of the organizational history of the Communist Party, and he came into contact with a lot of information from before he entered Yan’an. Because of the strict hierarchy of the Communist Party, he, a member of the Ministry of Water Resources and Electricity who worked in engineering, did not have access to these communist organizational materials. He was an intellectual of the younger generation after entering Yan’an, and he had no knowledge of what happened in the Central Soviet Union before the Red Army entered Yan’an. This part of the historical archives made him very shocked. There was also the time when Deng Yingchao watched, guarded, and made sure to destroy many things from Zhou Enlai’s life, which was through his hands. Before the destruction, he saw many of Zhou Enlai’s instructions, he felt than the “Gang of Four” also “Gang of Four”, that was also a very big shock to him, realize that from the root of the party, from the beginning is not right, I think with his access to a large number of historical materials have a very big I think it has a lot to do with the large amount of historical materials he came across.

The Communist Party, before seizing power, carried out more than one purge of its own people, including the purges in the Soviet Union and the AB Group, which killed 100,000 people, as well as the trial and rescue campaigns in Yan’an and the anti-Trotskyists in the base areas. These issues are still inconclusive.”]

I asked my father, “Since when have you been more enlightened? Was it because you were expelled from the Party at the Lushan Conference in ’59, and you were in Qincheng Prison during the Cultural Revolution, that you figured it out. He said no. He said it was after he was rehabilitated and reinstated that he came to the United States in 1979, I think it was in May. As soon as he got off the plane, he understood. He saw the kind of affluence in the United States, the kind of freedom of the people, the casual and open look on their faces, and the peaceful atmosphere of everyone. He was also particularly interested in the supermarkets, the cars on the street, and the highways. He had only been to the Soviet Union in the past, which was actually very poor at that time. But when he came to the United States, he saw what it was like. He didn’t know that the Western world had become so affluent. He said that the moment he stepped on American soil, he was completely awakened: this is the socialism we are pursuing, this is the ideal country we are pursuing. At that moment, he came to his senses – the Communist Party’s line had been completely wrong.

His final and complete awakening was that Xi Jinping wanted to amend the constitution to be re-elected, and the old man was completely desperate. Because Xi Jinping took this step, then he completely saw it.

[Editor’s note: In February 2019, Li Rui passed away at the age of 102. Ding Dong, a scholar of Chinese history and one of the compilers of Li Rui’s Oral Past, wrote: “Mr. Li Rui participated in this revolutionary movement with enthusiasm in his early years, encountered the revolution that devoured his own children in his middle years, and reflected sorrowfully on the revolution in his later years. His life is a microcosm of the history of the Chinese Communist Party and a microcosm of the vicissitudes of the Chinese nation over the past century.”]