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My father taught me...

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  • Interviewer: Thank you for accepting my interview. Please don’t be nervous. First, could you tell me in which decade you were born?
  • I was born in the 1960s. During the time of the Cultural Revolution, I was born and completed elementary school.
  • Interviewer: Where were you living in China during the ten years of the Cultural Revolution? Which provinces or areas?
  • I lived in Xiushan County, which at that time was part of Sichuan Province, but is now a part of Chongqing.
  • I was born in Xiushan, and lived there until I graduated from high school.
  • Interviewer: If we only give you ten minutes and let you speak freely about your memories of the Cultural Revolution,
  • Interviewer: ...what would you want to share with us?
  • Originally, my parents lived in Hunan.
  • But during the 1950s, because they were makers of porcelain china, they were invited to Xiushan to help build up a china factory.
  • They had a relatively superior family background, neither landlords nor wealthy peasants.
  • They were respected by local people, because they belonged to the community of skilled workers.
  • Before Liberation, my father, as an able-bodied man, was summoned to work as a bodyguard for a distant uncle.
  • At that time, that uncle served as a senior official for the Kuomintang Party.
  • Even though he was always hardworking and conscientious, my father was never able to become the factory director, because of this issue.
  • He was always vice director. This situation is one I have deep impressions of during the Cultural Revolution.
  • Another issue concerns my neighbor’s daughter, who was my best friend from elementary school to middle school.
  • At the start of the Anti-Rightist Campaign, her father was identified as a Rightist and was continuously persecuted.
  • I didn’t quite understand it. My friend’s mom was also very kind to me.
  • My friend’s father was not very healthy because he was constantly repressed during the Anti-Rightist Campaign and the Cultural Revolution.
  • The four kids in this family couldn’t find jobs, because work wasn’t arranged for them by the work unit.
  • Later on, one of the “aunties” from our neighborhood introduced a boyfriend to that family’s eldest daughter,
  • and they invited the local Party committee secretary to dinner.
  • I don’t know what happened next, but the eldest girl was then arranged to work in a collective enterprise’s store.
  • This left a deep impression on me.
  • Why would the same person receive different treatment in different times and under different circumstances?
  • So this is something that left a deep impression on me during the Cultural Revolution.
  • Interviewer: Now that the Cultural Revolution has already been over for many years, do you have interest in understanding it more?
  • Interviewer: Would you like to share it with the younger generation?
  • Of course. In retrospect, everyone had different experiences during the Cultural Revolution.
  • From my point of view, and from my family’s perspective, although my father went through such a hard time, he never had any complaints about the Party [CCP].
  • He said he believed the Party would set everything straight.
  • In accordance with my father’s own excellent work performance in the factory, he also cared about our education;
  • for example, [he taught us that] we had to study hard always.
  • He also said that no matter what things are like today, after all,
  • compared with what his life had been like growing up, things were still much better.
  • His family was very poor when he was young, and they often needed to beg for food.
  • [My father taught me that] now, China was a new society where people had enough nutritious food to eat, so we should be grateful to the Party.
  • Because of this traditional education, from the time I was small, I studied seriously;
  • my academic performance was always the best in my class and school.
  • In my political life I didn’t really experience much influence.
  • For example, I served in the Red Guards,
  • and since I had the best grades it was only natural that I was team leader [of the Young Pioneers], and class monitor.
  • By the time I got to university, although my father was still being influenced [by the Cultural Revolution] himself
  • – the situation still hadn’t changed – of course he still encouraged me to make progress.
  • So, I feel that I saw the different fates of people.
  • In retrospect, [I think we] should think more. [For example], we were such good friends;
  • how could it be that her fate was not as good as mine? Later on, I watched some films and read “scar novels,”
  • and got to know that there were more people who had even more miserable experiences [during the Cultural Revolution.]
  • Why? I think we should think more deeply about it, for example, about why such situations happened.
  • Did these things really have to happen? Could they have been avoided?
  • Interviewer: Very good. Thank you!