China's Cultural Revolution, 1966-1969: Not a Dinner Party

By Michael Schoenhals | Go to book overview

ments, believing that she would give the doll back to me. Instead, she unexpectedly put it in the corner next to the picture of Chairman Mao, a place we children weren't allowed to go near. I remember crying loudly for a while and also my father being criticized because of this: "How could you buy it for the child to play with? If it gets dirty or broken, then what do we do?"

From then on my only company were "songs of praise" and [slogans wishing Chairman Mao] "long life" and [expressing the hope that Lin Biao would remain] "forever healthy." Once when my aunt returned from the Production and Construction Corps [in Heilongjiang], to recuperate from an illness, she taught me to perform the "Loyalty Dance." Nobody ever told me any beautiful children's stories, but my grandmother often took me along to "recall-suffering meetings." I never understood what they were all about, but still I did not dare to make any noise. I only did what my grandmother did: When she cried, I cried, and when she shouted slogans, I shouted slogans, too.

Believe me, I really did have a childhood without any toys. But now I have a big doll given to me by my parents on my tenth birthday. Are they spoiling me? When visitors ask this question, I answer just like my mother and father: "It is in memory of a childhood without toys."


66
Burning Books

Liu Yan

Source: "Fenshu." In Li Hui and Gao Lilin, eds., Dixue de tongxin-Haizi xinzhong de wenge (Bloodstained Innocence--The Cultural Revolution in the Hearts of the Young) ( Beijing: Zhongguo shaonian ertong chubanshe, 1989), pp. 171-72. The author now works in the Qianmen Hospital, Beijing. Translated by Björn Kjellgren.

Except for those books whose covers featured Chairman Mao's portrait, almost all of the books in the library were removed and carried out to the center of the sports ground by the "Black Gang."1 Forcing

____________________
1
This was the label affixed to "reactionary academic authorities" and other "bourgeois" elements in schools all over China during the first months of the Cultural Revolution.

-327-

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