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

By Michael Schoenhals | Go to book overview

control my thoughts, I recalled the scenes of the burning books. I clasped my books to my chest, my eyes full of tears. I imagined seeing Secretary Lin, carrying her books, sadly shaking her head. One day I shall return to the library of my old school to see how many books are left.


67
Comrade Wu Han, I Apologize!

Zhang Yidong

Source: "Wu Han tongzhi, xiang nin daoqian!" 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. 1-4. Translated by Håkan Friberg.

It all took place in June 1966. I was fifteen years old and a third- grader in the Beijing No. I Middle School for Girls. At that time, the whole country was criticizing [ Wu Han's play], Hai Rui Dismissed from Office. In the papers we read article upon article criticizing the play, and though at first we were only mildly curious, as we read on, the case quickly had us totally absorbed. Newspapers and the printed word--these were sacred things! The more we read, the more enraged we became. We even stopped going to classes, day in and day out doing nothing but paying attention to affairs of state.1

How could we stand idly by, doing nothing, if so many years after Liberation there were still people in the capital who attacked our Great Leader by innuendo?

One afternoon, at the end of June, while in the midst of a discussion in one of our classrooms, we suddenly noticed the students in the "Long to Be Red" schoolyard surging toward the gates, shouting "To Wu Han's home!" and "Let's go struggle against Wu Han!" Our hearts burning with rage, we too followed the crowd as it charged through the school gates and ran along Nanchang Avenue to the entrance of Wu Han's home at the north end of the street.

____________________
1
The author is alluding to Mao Zedong's famous remark of August 1966, quoted in Document 2: "You should pay attention to affairs of state and carry the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution through to the end."

-329-

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