Fifty years of literary life
WHEN the Chines people were liberated and the People's Republic of China was founded, I wanted to use my pen, which had been used to writing about darkness and misery, to write about new people and new deeds, to celebrate the people's victory and joy. But I had not the time to familiarize myself with these subjects. I also took part in non-literary activities.
I wrote widely in praise of our new society and our new life. These writings were used as evidence of my "crime' and were condemned as "poisonous weeds' during the ten years of the "Great Cultural Revolution'. I myself was illegally detained and suffered from all kinds of mental torture and humiliation. During these ten years I was deprived of all my civic rights and denied the freedom to publish.
These ten unforgettable years constitute an important episode in the history of humanity. Few writers in the world experienced such dreadful, ridiculous, strange, painful events. We were all involved, we all played a part, and today when we look back at what we did during those years we find our behaviour ridiculous--but it didn't seem like that at the time. I often say to myself that if I don't sum up those ten hard years and analyse myself sincerely, I may one day again regard cruelty, savagery and stupidity as part of the normal order of things. …