Memoir of Mighty Mao: The Journal of Xiao BeiBy Haylie Woo 8-1Wednesday, May 15, 13
Our town after the drastic ﬂoodFather working in the ‘Backyard Steel’campaignPicture of me and my friends in the nurseryWednesday, May 15, 13
July 24, 1959Picking up my doll soaked with the muddy water, I noticed that everything was ruined since the harsh 9lood from last night. Last night’s rain trampled down like giant tears from the sky crying out for sincere. Mother, Father and I escaped to the top of the roof, cuddled around with a thick cotton blanket, trembling. We were an ordinary family living in Shunyi. Everything we wished, everything that Mother and Father had worked for all those years were now drowned under the ruthless 9lood. Glancing at the hot innocent sun, I closed my eyes and 9lashed back to the time when everything was perfect. “Xiao Bei!” It was the morning of a warm spring day. The breakfast was ready and Father read the newspaper for us while we were eating. He said that to develop our Chinese economy, it is necessary for peasants to join the higher-‐stage cooperatives to make further process of the Five-‐Year Plan. Although I couldn’t understand clearly, but by reading off Father’s anxious face, I noticed that it wasnt bene9icial for us. Everything was under the communist use, and Mother seemed to be concerned about the food shortages. I was so annoyed by how Communist Party stole my parents from me by making them to work all day long. Since the disagreements of my neighbors were getting severe, Mao generously encouraged us to have an argument by starting ‘The Hundred Flowers’. I still remember that day walking through the crowd with Father, watching people complaining about the harsh labor they have to complete in a day. I thought Mao would provide some solutions, but soon the Hundred Flower withered and people were banned to have a free speech. Since my parents seemed to be understandable of the purpose of Mao planning the Great Leap Forward, our family was positive about the reorganization of the people into communes. Father explained that living in the industrialized country with developed agriculture is the only dream of people. Everybody in our village, including my family, gave up our land and animals to the communist party. For several days, I couldn’t meet Mother and Father during the day. They had to eat their lunch in the communal eating halls to be not distracted.Although I couldn’t see my parents and spend time with them for several months, by looking at the posters, slogans, and newspaper articles posted on the streets, I could see the possibilities of China becoming the world’s most industrialized country. Mother always hummed the melody of the revolutionary music playing from the loudspeakers every morning, working hard with full of enthusiasm. After few weeks, several backyard steel furnaces were set up in our village. I still remember that tall gray buildings puking out the black smoke. According to Mother, Father transposed to the ‘Backyard Steel’ campaign to make tons of steel to become more industrialized country. However, I noticed that our family was suffering through the famine, and one night, Father came home with frown on his face complaining that he is tired of working in the ‘Backyard Steel’ campaign, because he had lack of time for rest and sleep. Even though the Great Leap Forward has 9inally ended now, the famine took in our village as everybody was working in industrial products. Every day coming back from the nursery, I think, what shall I eat for dinner? Some sorts of seeds were the only food we had. I even saw my neighbors chewing the earth. The only thing that Father said we could do is waiting for our great leader, Mao, to solve this problem. Wednesday, May 15, 13
Posters and slogans are everywhere!Me and my fellow companionscriticizing Professor WangWe, the Red Guards, proudly raising up‘The Little Red Book’ in Tiananmen SquareWednesday, May 15, 13
June 29, 1966 “Long live, Chairman Mao!” Every day, my life seemed to be getting better. It is my fellow companions and my duty to destroy the Four Olds and criticize the people who are known as “reactionary”. For me, anyone without the ‘Little Red Book’, the book 9illed up with the most intelligent and knowledgeable words of our remarkable leader Mao, would be known as the rightists and should be overthrown. Ever since the Three Bitter Years, the hope of living happily in the industrialized country with Mother and Father seemed as impossible follow by the straight three years of famine. Despite the fact that Mao has the responsibility of the Great Leap Forward, all of us disagreed of accusing him, which soon Liu Shaoqi took over the post of head of State. Even though the communes were reduced while we had back our own land and Mother could cooked me my favorite dish, man tao, again, both of my parents and I hate Liu who seemed as going against Mao, my only great revolutionary hero. After I moved to Beijing for a better career, the new society was waiting for me. Everybody was talking about Mao and recited his messages. Posters and slogans were ubiquitous; they were hanging down the streets and on the walls. After few weeks of school, I had noticed that some of my classmates aren’t appearing during the school day. Then one day in the beginning of the history class, my friend Wang Hong suddenly started to swear and yell at the professor while ripping off our textbook History and Culture of China in front of him. She ran out the class immediately. Soon I noticed that Wang Hong was also one of the Red Guards, and she encouraged me to join her and become one of the Red Guards. After seeing the Beijing University created Red Guards to assist Mao because of a young teacher who wrote dazibao to go against the school administrators and professors, I thought it is meaningful to support Mao and his idea of smashing the Four Olds for better future. Wang Hong became my best friend.Now everyone is required to have at least one copy of the “Little Red Book”. One day we saw Professor Wang walking down the street without the “Little Red Book.” We immediately hold on to him and punched his face while throwing rocks. Even though he explained that he couldn’t bring the “Little Red Book” because he doesn’t have a pocket in his shirt, we didn’t trust him. Why would we? We put dunce cap, a cone, over his head and cut his hair to teach him a lesson that this was what he would pay for as being a reactionary. He crawled up to me and cried out for mercy. But there’s no such a thing call mercy to me as he was being reactionary. I kicked his stomach off my way. What a ruthless man, I thought.Now, almost every week we proudly held up our Little Red Book in the air at the Tiananmen Square and chanted out the slogan. Our phenomenal leader Mao also applauded to our “right to rebel” and motivated us to continue with our cheer. It is my dream to touch Mao’s hand for once. But indeed, he never really appeared in person in the public, which made me a bit upset. The PLA, People’s Liberation Army, thankfully provided us some food, khaki uniforms and some transportation fee to appear in the rallies. Everything that Mao says is always correct. He is our only respective and liberal leader in China.Wednesday, May 15, 13
Poster advertising the ‘Down to theCountryside’ movementPhoto taken when Wang Hong and Iwas in ShunyiWednesday, May 15, 13
December 8, 1970 The cold wind punched me on my face. The weather was getting colder as I came back from the countryside, Shunyi. It has been one week after Wang Hong and I were free from having a “re-‐education” down from the countryside. I was lucky that I could ride on the truck; there were lots of other people came back to Beijing by walking for few days. The 9irst news that I read from the news article after I came back from Shunyi was that the Lin Biao is promoted to vice chairman of the CCP while he was known as Mao’s successor and comrade-‐in-‐arms. The city I saw from last two years seemed to be stronger by the reconstructions of the efforts of PLA. I was so glad to see Mao regaining his power again. All those years working in Haituo Mountain just planted some unexpected and horrifying memories in the head. I still can’t resist the memory when Wang Hong and I had been taken to the countryside by Mao’s commandment. Although I learned some new technologies on agriculture and industrial during two years in countryside, but the shocking vision I had was not right as I expected. Two years ago, when my peaceful Red Guards and I were marching down the street singing the revolutionary song while looking for any reactionaries, suddenly PLA blocked our way and seized us from being Red Guards and ordered us to go back to our home. One of the soldiers explained that despite the fact that we created a lot of devastating masses by imprisoning and torturing the people, our great leader Mao commanded us to 9inalize this. Then few days later, Wang Hong and I were sent to Haituo mountain, which located somewhere in the countryside in Shunyi, where once I had lived. We were ordered to learn some manual labor and be “reeducated” by rural peasants. Since it was the order from Mao, I followed and respected his words while uncertain with what is the real reason. When Wang Hong and I 9inally arrived in Haituo Mountain, the vision that I believed for was disillusioned. There were absolutely no greens growing in the vast of the land. The soil was all cracked up as if there was an earthquake. Were all the hopes I were dreaming for were just an imagination? I thought everything would be perfect with a start of a new generation. The Four Olds are destroyed and our lives seemed to be getting better as the time passes. But the reality in the countryside was horrible. What was really happening in the countryside while I was living happily and comfortably in Beijing? People I saw in Haituo Mountain were just like some zombies living in the hell. I was shocked for few days that I couldn’t even work properly. Every day Wang Hong and I worked in the farm, learning how to plant seeds and organize the dirt while plunk out the weeds. We felt fortunate that at least we didn’t have to work in “the little coal mine,” where all the boys were being naked while mining the coal.Coming back to Beijing after the ‘Down to the Countryside’ movement, I felt like I realized something that I should never know. It gave me a huge confusion on the purpose of destroying the Four Olds and welcoming a new generation. Was Mao already knew what was going on in the countryside? Is there a hidden reason that Mao wanted to hide? Wednesday, May 15, 13
Poster created by CCP to criticize Lin Biao Workers of the Printing House criticizingConfucius on the blackboardWednesday, May 15, 13
October 16, 1974In the morning of an autumn day, the open air swirled around my face, clean and fresh. As usual, I walked out to the front door and picked up the newspaper. It has been few weeks after “Criticize Lin Biao, Criticize Confucius” Campaign has ended. I have heard some news about Lin Biao and his death for several months, but no one really cared about the “Criticize Lin Biao, Criticize Confucius” campaign since we have seen a lot of campaigns come and go. It’s just useless, I think. But hearing of his death made me suspicious by the fact that the person who was known as Mao’s supporter as well as companion tried to overcome Mao’s power. When I 9irst heard the rumor from Wang Hong that Mao denied Lin Biao’s requested promotions for several times as tensions grew between the two, I could predict that poisonous branches were between Mao and Lin Biao which would lead the power of Lin Biao would dwindle and crashes like a weak branch from enormous tree. But like a miracle, my prediction came true. When I was eating jiao zi with Wang Hong in a Chinese restaurant, the announcer from the radio spoke out that Lin biao and his family died in plane crashes over Mongolia while 9lying to the Soviet Union, and that the Chinese government found out that Lin attempted a coup d’etat in the beginning of the September to assassinate Mao. He repeated several times as if he was sure with Lin’s betrayal. At 9irst, both Wang Hong and I were full of anger and felt treacherous from Lin. How could he attempted to kill Mao? Wang Hong’s face turned red as a tomato and shouted out that she has no understanding of Lin. She wondered why the person who was once Mao’s best student as well as supporter would betray him. The news of Lin Biao’s betrayal and his death spread all across China, which made his reputation to be completely down to the bottom. I thought he deserved it.However, when Da Wei told me that Jiang Qing created the “Criticize Lin Biao” campaign and addition with “Criticize Lin Biao, Criticize Confucius” campaign to blame all the mistakes of the Cultural Revolution as Lin’s fault, I changed my mind. I thought it was kind of strange to blame Lin for every mistake in the Cultural Revolution, and in my opinion, he didn’t caused any problems that were against Mao. Wasn’t Lin Biao was the one who created ‘The Little Red Book’ and always lead me to have a dream of living in a new generation? Besides Mao, actually Lin was my true hero who gave trust to me. I still remember the time when he was making a speech leading us one step closer to the Cultural Revolution. I really wonder if Lin should receive all the blame of the mistakes of the Cultural Revolution by being supportive and helpful to Mao. Then I suddenly thought that maybe Jiang Qing would have kill Lin who seemed to overcome Mao’s power. All those years the campaign “Criticize Lin Biao, Criticize Confucius” was on the news and the radio everyday, no one, including myself, really care about this campaign because there was often other campaigns criticizing the innocent people. Also I actually have loose the trust and became suspicious to Mao since I never thought he would be supportive to “Criticize Lin Biao, Criticize Confucius” campaign.Wednesday, May 15, 13
Poster emphasizing the Gang of FourPicture of Tiananmen Incident. People arecommemorating the death of Zhou EnlaiWang Hong and me crying for Mao’s deathWednesday, May 15, 13
October 7, 1976It was a clear morning; the blue and white mixture of paint swirled carefully together high up in the sky. I breathed the chilly air in through my nose and exhaled through my dry lips. The yesterday’s memory of watching the Gang of Four being arrested by Hua Gofeng, the new Chairman of CCP, was just a bit getting on my nerves because I am suspicious with all the power of Mao and the true face of him. I have a doubt on the reason accusing the Gang of Four with a possibilities that they might be the scapegoat of having blame on all the failure of the Cultural Revolution after the breakdown of the “Criticize Lin Biao, Criticize Confucius” campaign. According to Da Wei, the Gang of Four, including Jiang Qing, Zhang Chunqiao, Yao Wenyuan, and Wang Hongwen, were the four leaders assisting Mao that often delivered messages of him while constantly gaining the power. He told me that the government pointed out that they were the ones that made us to suffer while loosing our leaders, Mao and Zhou. However, in my perspective, I think the Gang of Four never committed any crimes that made us to suffer more drastically during the Cultural Revolution. Then why did they get all the blame of the mistakes results from the Cultural Revolution? Wang Hong guessed that maybe the arresting of the Gang of Four was a way for Mao to keep his “god Tigure image” to us, to indicate that he is innocent with any disasters happened during the Cultural Revolution. If that were true, it shows that Mao wasn’t blameless for all of the misfortune.Jogging around the Tiananmen Square with Wang Hong every morning, the memories of the Tiananmen Incident 9lashed back in my mind. It was a warm spring day when Zhou Enlai, the most respective advocate of modernization, died with cancer. Glancing at the Tiananmen Square reminds me of myself with Wang Hong being one of the attendees crying out for Zhou’s regrettable death. Everybody, were mourning and sobbing by his death since he was the moderate leader who had protected us for well being. We all commemorate in the memorial for his death quietly. Meanwhile, all of us carefully requested for “more openness in government, an end to dictatorship, and a return to the true spirit of Marxism-‐ Leninism”. But there was a small riot when Jiang Qing and her assistance attempted to con9iscate the memorial. I still remember myself criticizing Jiang Qing during the Tiananmen Incident; why does she want to stop us from requesting for a better life?My trust on the revolution policy for ten years has just broken into pieces after the end of the Cultural Revolution, which is after the death of our great leader, Mao. Last month, the Lord of the people died after a year of hospitalizing. Mao’s death was like a tragic for me. Even though my trust on Mao has been withered since the ‘Down to the Countryside’ movement, because of his power was so powerful and trustable, the death of him was unbelievable shocking news in my life. In whatever reasons, I am so glad that the Cultural Revolution has been 9inally marked the end peacefully. Even though the dream of living in a new generation seemed to not been successful, for ten years being involved in the Cultural Revolution, I learned a lot of lessons. Also, the memories of mighty Mao would be everlasting deep under my heart. Wednesday, May 15, 13
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