The "Cultural Revolution" Has Been Under Way for Two Thousand Years
Anonymous, as told to Feng Jicai
Source: "'Wenge' jinxingle liangqian nian" as translated by Xiaoxia Gong and published in Chinese Sociology and Anthropology: A Journal of Translations, Vol. 26, No. 1, Fall 1993, pp. 92-103. Originally published in Feng Jicai, Yibaige ren de shinian (One Hundred People's Decade) ( Nanjing: Jiangsu wenyi chubanshe, 1991), pp. 272-86.
You want someone to write about his or her experience during the ten-year Cultural Revolution, but I would rather tell you about my fifty years. Probably you think I stray too far from the subject. But, don't fear, my Cultural Revolution began fifty years ago.
After learning of my suffering over these fifty years, you will definitely conclude that the Cultural Revolution did not begin in 1966. How about a hundred years ago? No. The Cultural Revolution as I understand it has a two-thousand-year history in China!
I will tell you my story and my reasons as well.
I could not figure this out for decades. I joined the revolution several decades ago and was mistreated as a counter-revolutionary for dozens of years. I could not understand why I was not able to leave the ranks of the "enemy." In 1968 I was detained in a small room near a river, after being beaten by a rebel organization. The sound of the rushing water reminded me of the river in my hometown, where I grew up. When I participated in the Anti-Japanese War there, I crossed the river many times. It was so long ago. . . . Revolution, revolution, and again revolution; enemy, enemy, and again enemy. I participated in the revolution, but I am its enemy. The pain after the beating gradually left my body, not disappearing, but concentrating in my heart. . . . I do not know how, but suddenly it all became clear.
There were two lineages in our village, Wang and Li. I am a Li. From the very beginning, the two lineages fought each other without stopping. I can recall three battles. People were badly wounded. My distant uncle "Cripple Li" was crippled during one of them. No one could tell how and why the hatred began. When I was a kid in my