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The Support Between Husband and Wife Determined the Outcome

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  • Interviewer: Hello! Thank you for accepting my interview.
  • Interviewer: Could you first please tell me the decade in which you were born?
  • Interviewer: You needn't say the exact year; just something like "1930s," "'1940s," "1950s" is okay.
  • No problem. I was born in 1967, in a county town in Jiangxi [Province]. During the entire Cultural Revolution I was there; that's where I grew up.
  • Interviewer: You could probably say a lot. If I give you about 10 minutes, in the first 10 minutes, what memories would you most want to share?
  • OK. I was born in the second year of the Cultural Revolution, so I was very small [during the Cultural Revolution].
  • I have some memories, though not a lot of them concern my own family [家庭].
  • Because at that time, I remember my father was sent "down to the countryside."
  • Originally, he worked for a bank and was sent to the countryside, that was so-called persecution, though I think it can't really be considered persecution, since everyone went to the countryside.
  • What he did in village, I never asked him.
  • He frequently came back with some special products from the village, some wood for making furniture. That's what I remember.
  • But in the later stage, when I was able to remember things, that was when Mao Zedong passed away in 1976, I must've been in third grade.
  • There was a memorial service, and adults and kids alike were crying, I remember.
  • Also, [I remember] some incidents from around that time, such as the Rectify the Class Ranks campaign, [when] the rebel faction of the time was struggled against.
  • Also, I have an impression of being in an auditorium, where people who had been struggled against during the Cultural Revolution poured out their grievances on the stage.
  • Those who had struggled against them stood to one side. It seems to me they were admitting their guilt.
  • I have a deep impression of it, because I was old enough to remember things at that time.
  • This was my own immediate family [直系亲属]. My mother worked in a factory at that time, so she never went "down to the countryside."
  • As for my extended family [非直系亲属] -- [what happened to them] wasn't necessarily directly related to the Cultural Revolution.
  • My paternal grandfather was a landlord who had passed away long before.
  • Up until today, I've never directly asked my father how he died.
  • I overheard some things about it later; it's possible he was [affected by] the Campaign to Suppress Counterrevolutionaries [in the 1950s].
  • I never met my paternal grandmother, but when my eldest brother was born in 1962, she was in another county in Jiangxi Province, and she came to help take care of him.
  • So at that time, she could go wherever she liked, and she helped my mother take care for my eldest brother.
  • Later I heard that during the Cultural Revolution, because [my paternal grandmother] was a member of a landlord family, was a landlady, her movements were restricted.
  • So, when my second elder brother was born around 1965, I'm not sure if she came, and then later she passed away.
  • These are the things I can remember about my extended family [非直系亲属] during the Cultural Revolution.
  • I did not have too many other directly-related feelings.
  • But I saw people struggling against others, and overheard that some neighbors were struggled against and paraded in the streets at the time.
  • I only heard about these kinds of things. I either never saw them myself, or else I saw some things but did not remember them later.
  • Yet I have deep impression of the Rectify the Class Ranks campaign after the Cultural Revolution.
  • These are my direct experiences [经历] from the Cultural Revolution. In fact, what I really want to talk about today are my own observations of the Cultural Revolution.
  • I love to read the historical literature about people from around that time, including those from the Republican era, since many of them also experienced the Cultural Revolution later.
  • What I want to talk about is why some people[’s experiences] during the Cultural Revolution were miserable.
  • Here, the people I'm talking about really aren't...I'll just give examples of some famous figures.
  • Famous people cannot represent all people, but since they are famous, there is a lot written about them that I have seen, so I can make comments [评论].
  • One striking [引人注目] observation is that some famous people were more miserable during the Cultural Revolution, while others survived [存活] better.
  • One important reason was the family [support] and the support [支持] between husband and wife.
  • I have pondered this a lot. I'll give some examples, starting with positive ones of people who survived [存活] the Cultural Revolution well.
  • Wang Meng is the first example. He eventually became Minister of Culture. He was persecuted during the Cultural Revolution, and sent to Xinjiang.
  • Why was his outcome [結局] relatively good?
  • [One reason was] he was optimistic; I've read many of his works. Another was that his wife [妻子] was really supportive [支持的].
  • She went to Xinjiang with him; they lived there together. They went back to Beijing after the Cultural Revolution, of course, and really prospered.
  • The quality of his literary works is another story.
  • However, he is a good case [例子] of some someone who survived [存活] the Cultural Revolution.
  • I respect him for the way he conducted himself.
  • The second example is Qian Zhongshu, who wrote
    Fortress Besieged
    .
  • He and his wife, Yang Jiang, were also sent down; I can't remember to where.
  • They were really optimistic, and supportive [支持的] of each other.
  • I've read their works; when they were on the reform through labor farm, they used some secret codes to communicate, and expressed some “petit bourgeois sentiment."
  • It seems like a small thing, yet it was very important for their spiritual support [支持].
  • Both of them survived [存下來了].
  • Though Qian Zhongshu wrote few works after Liberation, as a person [he] survived very well [自己个人存活的很好].
  • His wife Yang Jiang survived [活到]to be over 100; she only passed away recently [2016].
  • So this is another case [另一个例子] of how important family support [家庭的支持], the support of husband and wife, was to people go[ing] through [过来] and surviv[ing] [存下來].
  • The third example [例子] is Wu Ningkun. Wu Ningkun was a professor at the Institute of International Relations; I knew about him before, [knew] his name.
  • He was also involved in editing English dictionaries, if I remember correctly.
  • I became interested in him from the autobiography he wrote in English, called A Single Tear [一滴泪].
  • I originally saw it online, and then I found the original English version in print.
  • [His] case [例子] is very interesting. He went to university abroad, and then was called back to teach at Yenching University in 1949.
  • As a result of saying some inaccurate things, he [was labeled] a Rightist in the 1950s.
  • He was persecuted again in the Cultural Revolution, and sent down to Anhui.
  • He was actually very, very miserable: his family was poor, and some of his own children were persecuted, too, while others...anyway, [it was] a very bad outcome [遭遇].
  • However, he survived [挺过来]. The reason [for him to have] survived [存下來] is that his wife was supportive [支持].
  • Whether or not he and his wife [妻子][lived] together, I don't know.
  • His wife [妻子] and his mother-in-law were supportive [支持]; they were really close [亲密].
  • Though his [life] was miserable, extremely tragic, he survived very well [存活得很好]; he got through [熬过了] the Cultural Revolution.
  • Later, [he] was rehabilitated, and went back to the Institute of International Relations.
  • In 1980 [he] went to the United States, where he has been spending his remaining years peacefully; I believe he is still living.
  • He is another case [例子]. That is, although he was so miserable, the family was intact [完整].
  • He was with his wife, though maybe not with his kids; his extended family--his mother-in-law--really supported him, too.
  • So, he is a good case [好例子]. He was fiercely persecuted, but he survived very well [存活得很好].
  • Looking back, I think an important reason [that he survived well] was also because of family support [家庭的支持]. So this is a good case [例子].
  • Then, there are opposing examples. First is Peng Dehuai. He was a marshal in the army, who was persecuted to death around the 1970s.
  • Everyone knows about the Lushan Conference [in 1959]. He actually was also miserable.
  • Many famous people came to a bad end because their families were forced apart [被迫分开].
  • Peng Dehuai's case was that [his wife], Pu Anxiu, divorced him; according to online information, the Party organization made her divorce him.
  • In fact, the organization could make you do anything; some people obeyed, others did not.
  • But in Pu Anxiu's case [例子], she [chose to] divorce him. I think Peng Dehuai was really tragic.
  • What I read online is that Peng Dehuai wanted to see her before his death.
  • But Pu Anxiu was too aware of the aforementioned directive, [thought that] this would affect her or her family too much, and she didn't dare see him before he died.
  • I feel that Peng Dehuai suffering [痛苦] and passing away certainly had some connection to this.
  • This is the first case [例子]. The most famous person, Peng Dehaui.
  • The second one is another famous person, Li Rui. He is still living; he must be over 100 years old now.
  • He was Chairman Mao's private secretary during his most successful time. He was Vice Minister of Water Resources at one time, too.
  • I've read many things concerning him, such as diaries and letters to his family. His daughter Li Yangnan [Nanyang] wrote about her parents' situation.
  • [Li Rui] was miserable during the Cultural Revolution; the reason was that his wife had "made a clean break" with him.
  • His wife was Fan Yuanzhen. All of this was what [I] read in those books. At the time, Fan Yuanzhen was in Beijing.
  • [When] Li Rui was sent to Anhui, basically for reform through labor, it was tragic.
  • So, they became like enemies; anyway, they had a lot of issues [问题].
  • From my understanding, at the time Li Rui suffered so much [受了很多苦] because he and his wife didn't understand each other, and got divorced.
  • His wife had a lot of issues [问题]. But anyway [反正], this is another case [例子]; he had no support from his own family [来自家庭的支持], so he suffered a lot [受了很多苦].
  • However, Li Rui survived [挺过来] the Cultural Revolution, and he's now over 100.
  • I've read his diary; actually he did have family support [家庭的支持] at the time. It was his two older sisters, who went to see him often.
  • Of [Li Rui's] three kids, none went to see him. Later, Li Yangnan [Nanyang] seemed to be in the same boat with him.
  • But anyway [反正], I haven't read much in the Cultural Revolution literature about how his daughter [supported] him.
  • His support mainly came from his two sisters; they mailed him things he needed, and offered spiritual support.
  • So, if a person either suffered or survived [挺过艰难或仅能受苦] was greatly related to family support [家庭的支持].
  • The Cultural Revolution is a good window [窗口] [to see this].
  • So, anyway [反正], to summarize [总结], I think this understanding came to me from observing human nature during the Cultural Revolution.
  • Actually, it is a reflection of human nature; it also could reflect lives today, especially some current social issues.
  • No matter if it's in the United States or China: the importance of family [家庭的重要性].
  • Therefore, people could devote themselves to career management, but from the perspective of history,
  • especially from the perspective of the history of the Cultural Revolution, managing your family is probably [或许] most important.
  • That is all I want to share. Thank you.
  • Interviewer: Very well. Thank you! In these 10 minutes, you shared your thoughts from a special point of view--
  • I must've spoken for over 10 minutes.
  • Interviewer: No, it's okay. You expressed your feelings about the Cultural Revolution from a unique perspective.
  • Right. Though these are not my personal experiences, but rather are from what I read, at least [至少] [they're] reasonably accurate [相当真实], so I think I've pondered them deeply.
  • Interviewer: Thank you for accepting my interview.