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

By Michael Schoenhals | Go to book overview

revolutionary activities?" We Red Guards shouted back: "OK!" With an understanding laugh, Premier Zhou waved his hand and said: "We are in agreement." The Red Guards raised their arms high in the air, as if they had just passed a resolution affecting the world revolution. They laughed and expressed their approval.

I was sitting only a few meters from Premier Zhou when all of this happened, and I can still recall his relaxed posture and smiling face. Twenty years later, the memory has not yet faded. However, with the passage of time I have gradually come to realize that it takes true wisdom to tell the sound of a wise laugh from that of an ignorant laugh.


69
All Because of On Practice

Zhao Yiming

Source: "Du Shijian lun de fengbo." 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. 52-55. The author is now a cadre in the PLA Air Force. Translated by Björn Kjellgren.

If I were to tell you that during the Cultural Revolution one could not even read [ Chairman Mao's] On Practice, perhaps you would not believe me. But this is something I actually experienced myself.

In March 1968 I left my home near Fudan University in Shanghai to join the army. The only books to be found in our company barracks were [ Mao's] Little Red Treasures (even the books on weaponry had been locked away because their authors were "old revisionists"). Now--being someone who had grown up on books--I found it impossible to change my habit of constantly reading. Without books I would have suffocated. So the only thing left for me to do was to go over the Selected Works of Chairman Mao from cover to cover. One Sunday, just as I was reading On Practice, old Shen Aihua came over for a "heart-to-heart conversation." He asked me if I understood On Practice. I said: "Yes, more or less." He lowered his voice and whispered to me: "People are talking about you. You shouldn't go on

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