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"I glanced at [the scene], and immediately ran back home. I asked Mom how that old woman could be so fat. It looked like her entire body was swollen."

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  • Interviewer: Hi, thank you for accepting my interview. Please tell me the time period you were born in--for example, 1940s, 1950s, or 1960s.
  • I was born in the 1950s.
  • Interviewer: 1950s. Then, what area of China did you stay in from 1966 to 1976?
  • In Beijing.
  • Interviewer: In Beijing. Since you were born in [the 1950s], you must have some memories of the 10 years of the Cultural Revolution.
  • Interviewer: Even if you talked for several days and nights, you might not be able to say everything.
  • Interviewer: But if I only give you about 10 minutes, that is to say, in the first 10 minutes, without preparing, what memories would you like to share with us?
  • Every time I think about the Cultural Revolution, the 10-year Cultural Revolution, I feel fear and pain.
  • One [reason] is that when supporting the Third Front [Movement], mom and dad took my older brother[/s] and sister[/s] [and I] to Gansu [Province].
  • After we arrived in Gansu, my mom had heart trouble, so she took us kids right back to Beijing. So that means mom [had to] take care of her four children on her own in Beijing.
  • First of all, during the Cultural Revolution, someone [who lived] in the same courtyard in our neighborhood, who was called the director [of the revolutionary committee], kept bullying our family, baselessly saying my mom was Japanese.
  • His reasoning was that, for one thing, my mom was not very tall, and for another, her skin was very white.
  • Because of that, we were always accused [of things], and had to participate in manual labor, such as digging an air-raid shelter, etc.
  • Mom was very afraid at that time. Actually, I was only in the first grade.
  • [But] mom couldn’t find anyone [else] to consult, so she asked me, "Should I go to the revolutionary committee to proactively admit what mistakes I made in my work in the past?"
  • At the time, I thought about it, and I immediately thought of an old man in our neighborhood. His family background was not good, so he had to sweep the street.
  • [I thought of how] his granddaughter would be out on our street, clinging to her grandfather's leg, crying.
  • Another memory is [about] my father working in Gansu. He had been a cadre. During the Cultural Revolution, he was sent down to do manual labor in a workshop.
  • When he was setting nails, a nail bounced into his eye. As a result, he lost his sight in that eye. My father was a very handsome man.
  • He was tortured at heart, and really in pain, and soon he got serious hyperthyroidism.
  • Even now [I] still remember how he looked the moment he opened the door after returned to Beijing from Gansu -- he was already unrecognizable, a thin man who was already a bag of bones.
  • Another memory is that my elementary school principal was beaten. She was surrounded and struggled against by a group of Red Guards, [who] spit in her face.
  • This left a deep impression on me. I felt really terrified. At that time I just thought, could it be that when facing an enemy, the only thing to do was to raise your hands and fight?
  • Coincidently, and unfortunately -- though it also counts as fortunately -- later on this principal of the elementary school became my mother-in-law.
  • Therefore, this memory has become more painful, and I don't dare speak about this incident with my own husband and his family.
  • Another thing is that there was a big sports field near our home. At that time, hundreds of people held a struggle meeting [there] to struggle against people like Lu Dingyi.
  • At that time I saw...it was the first time I'd seen something called "jet plane style," pushing someone’s head down hard toward the ground, and lifting [that person's] arms up toward the sky. It was just terrifying to me.
  • Another thing is that I saw a neighbor, an old woman, beaten late at night. [I] could hear [her] miserable howling in the middle of the night.
  • The Red Guards beat her with their belts, which had iron buckles on them. They hit that old woman, who was actually very thin.
  • I glanced at [the scene], and immediately ran back home. I asked mom how that old woman could be so fat. It looked like her entire body was swollen.
  • Then there was my brother, who belonged to the class of '69.
  • When he was on the army farm, he hadn't gone along with a group of local people to steal some parts from the troop, some car parts, to sell.
  • Later on someone exposed this [theft]. [Those local people] suspected it was my brother [who had exposed it].
  • So, one day when they were all working, more than 10 people surrounded my brother and beat him, resulting in him getting a serious concussion, along with schizophrenia.
  • My brother was good at studying. During the Cultural Revolution…Before the Cultural Revolution, he was a sixth-grade student in elementary school.
  • I remember very clearly, the teacher said he might be able to get in to No. 4 Boys' High School, or at least No. 3 Boys' High School.
  • A composition he wrote in elementary school was exhibited and read in many other schools. He was a smart kid, and grew up to be so handsome.
  • But after [he was beaten], he suffered from schizophrenia up until he was in his 50s, when he passed away. [My] pitiful older brother.
  • What's more, his schizophrenia tortured him for practically his whole life. At the same time, it also tortured our entire family.
  • If a family has a patient with schizophrenia, life is tough for all family members.
  • Interviewer: [I] can imagine.
  • So every time the Cultural Revolution is mentioned, I feel pain and fear.
  • Not to mention, when the Cultural Revolution started, I was in the first grade, so basically I lost the opportunity to be educated.
  • At that time, the only thing you could do in school was read Quotations from Chairman Mao, in my memory.
  • Lots of my classmates cannot even really use Hanyu Pinyin very well now. Also, I couldn’t go to university because of [the Cultural Revolution].
  • Therefore, in my opinion, each time I think about these [memories]…Those are losses that we cannot…we can never get back.
  • They are pain and losses of our generation, the next generation after us, and even of the generation before us -- three generations of people. That’s all I want to say.
  • Interviewer: Thank you. Thank you for accepting my interview. Thank you so much!