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Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China by Jung Chang
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“When he asked my grandmother if she would mind being poor, she said she would be happy just to have her daughter and himself: 'If you have love, even plain water is sweet.”
Jung Chang, Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China
“If you have love, even plain cold water is sweet.”
Jung Chang, Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China
tags: love
“...go in the direction your head is pointed in.”
Jung Chang, Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China
“...boredom was as exhausting as backbreaking labor.”
Jung Chang, Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China
“As a child, my idea of the West was that it was a miasma of poverty and misery, like that of the homeless 'Little Match Girl'in the Hans Christian Andersen story. When I was in the boarding nursery and did not want to finish my food, the teacher would say:'Think of all the starving children in the capitalist world!”
Jung Chang, Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China
“When a man gets power, even his chickens and dogs rise to heaven.”
Jung Chang, Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China
“Father is close, Mother is close, but neither is as close as Chairman Mao.”
Jung Chang, Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China
“as the revolution was made by human beings, it was burdened with their failings.”
Jung Chang, Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China
“I could understand ignorance, but I could not accept its glorification, still less its right to rule.”
Jung Chang, Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China
“Most peasants did not miss the school.

"What's the point?" they would say.

"You pay fees and read for years, and in the end you are still a peasant, earning your food with your sweat. You don't get a grain of rice more for being able to read books. Why waste time and money?

Might as well start earning your work points right away."

The virtual absence of any chance of a better future and the near total immobility for anyone born a peasant took the incentive out of the pursuit of knowledge. Children of school age would stay at home to help their families with their work or look after younger brothers and sisters. They would be out in the fields when they were barely in their teens. As for girls, the peasants considered it a complete waste of time for them to go to school.

"They get married and belong to other people. It's like pouring water on the ground."

The Cultural Revolution was trumpeted as having brought education to the peasants through 'evening classes." One day my production team announced it was starting evening classes and asked Nana and me to be the teachers. I was delighted. However, as soon as the first 'class' began, I realized that this was no education.

The classes invariably started with Nana and me being asked by the production team leader to read out articles by Mao or other items from the People's Daily. Then he would make an hour-long speech consisting of all the latest political jargon strung together in undigested and largely unintelligible hunks. Now and then he would give special orders, all solemnly delivered in the name of Mao.”
Jung Chang, Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China
“من الطرائق المهمة التي تعبربها المرأة عن حبها لزوجها , توافقها معه على كل شيء”
يونغ تشانغ, Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China
“Meanwhile, Mme Mao and her cohorts were renewing their efforts to prevent the country from working. In industry, their slogan was: "To stop production is revolution itself." In agriculture, in which they now began to meddle seriously: "We would rather have socialist weeds than capitalist crops." Acquiring foreign technology became "sniffing after foreigners' farts and calling them sweet." In education: "We want illiterate working people, not educated spiritual aristocrats." They called for schoolchildren to rebel against their teachers again; in January 1974, classroom windows, tables, and chairs in schools in Peking were smashed, as in 1966. Mme Mao claimed this was like "the revolutionary action of English workers destroying machines in the eighteenth century." All this demagoguery' had one purpose: to create trouble for Zhou Enlai and Deng Xiao-ping and generate chaos. It was only in persecuting people and in destruction that Mme Mao and the other luminaries of the Cultural Revolution had a chance to "shine." In construction they had no place.

Zhou and Deng had been making tentative efforts to open the country up, so Mme Mao launched a fresh attack on foreign culture. In early 1974 there was a big media campaign denouncing the Italian director Michelangelo Antonioni for a film he had made about China, although no one in China had seen the film, and few had even heard of it or of Antonioni. This xenophobia was extended to Beethoven after a visit by the Philadelphia Orchestra.

In the two years since the fall of Lin Biao, my mood had changed from hope to despair and fury. The only source of comfort was that there was a fight going on at all, and that the lunacy was not reigning supreme, as it had in the earlier years of the Cultural Revolution. During this period, Mao was not giving his full backing to either side.

He hated the efforts of Zhou and Deng to reverse the Cultural Revolution, but he knew that his wife and her acolytes could not make the country work.

Mao let Zhou carry on with the administration of the country, but set his wife upon Zhou, particularly in a new campaign to 'criticize Confucius." The slogans ostensibly denounced Lin Biao, but were really aimed at Zhou, who, it was widely held, epitomized the virtues advocated by the ancient sage. Even though Zhou had been unwaveringly loyal, Mao still could not leave him alone. Not even now, when Zhou was fatally ill with advanced cancer of the bladder.”
Jung Chang, Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China
“I was extremely curious about the alternatives to the kind of life I had been leading, and my friends and I exchanged rumors and scraps of information we dug from official publications. I was struck less by the West's technological developments and high living standards than by the absence of political witch-hunts, the lack of consuming suspicion, the dignity of the individual, and the incredible amount of liberty. To me, the ultimate proof of freedom in the West was that there seemed to be so many people there attacking the West and praising China. Almost every other day the front page of Reference, the newspaper which carded foreign press items, would feature some eulogy of Mao and the Cultural Revolution. At first I was angered by these, but they soon made me see how tolerant another society could be. I realized that this was the kind of society I wanted to live in: where people were allowed to hold different, even outrageous views. I began to see that it was the very tolerance of oppositions, of protesters, that kept the West progressing.

Still, I could not help being irritated by some observations. Once I read an article by a Westerner who came to China to see some old friends, university professors, who told him cheerfully how they had enjoyed being denounced and sent to the back end of beyond, and how much they had relished being reformed. The author concluded that Mao had indeed made the Chinese into 'new people' who would regard what was misery to a Westerner as pleasure.

I was aghast. Did he not know that repression was at its worst when there was no complaint? A hundred times more so when the victim actually presented a smiling face? Could he not see to what a pathetic condition these professors had been reduced, and what horror must have been involved to degrade them so? I did not realize that the acting that the Chinese were putting on was something to which Westerners were unaccustomed, and which they could not always decode.

I did not appreciate either that information about China was not easily available, or was largely misunderstood, in the West, and that people with no experience of a regime like China's could take its propaganda and rhetoric at face value. As a result, I assumed that these eulogies were dishonest. My friends and I would joke that they had been bought by our government's 'hospitality." When foreigners were allowed into certain restricted places in China following Nixon's visit, wherever they went the authorities immediately cordoned off enclaves even within these enclaves. The best transport facilities, shops, restaurants, guest houses and scenic spots were reserved for them, with signs reading "For Foreign Guests Only." Mao-tai, the most sought-after liquor, was totally unavailable to ordinary Chinese, but freely available to foreigners. The best food was saved for foreigners. The newspapers proudly reported that Henry Kissinger had said his waistline had expanded as a result of the many twelve-course banquets he enjoyed during his visits to China. This was at a time when in Sichuan, "Heaven's Granary," our meat ration was half a pound per month, and the streets of Chengdu were full of homeless peasants who had fled there from famine in the north, and were living as beggars. There was great resentment among the population about how the foreigners were treated like lords. My friends and I began saying among ourselves: "Why do we attack the Kuomintang for allowing signs saying "No Chinese or Dogs" aren't we doing the same?

Getting hold of information became an obsession. I benefited enormously from my ability to read English, as although the university library had been looted during the Cultural Revolution, most of the books it had lost had been in Chinese. Its extensive English-language collection had been turned upside down, but was still largely intact.”
Jung Chang, Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China
“حين ينال الرجل سطوة حتى فراخه و كلابه تصعد الى السماء”
يونغ تشانغ, Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China
“They verbally attacked each other with Mao's quotations, making cynical use of his guru-like elusiveness––it was easy to select a quotation of Mao's to suit any situation, or even both sides of the same argument.”
Jung Chang, Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China
“Much of Chinese society still expected its women to hold themselves in a sedate manner, lower their eyelids in response to men's stares, and restrict their smile to a faint curve of the lips which did not expose their teeth. They were not meant to use hand gestures at all. If they contravened any of these canons of behavior they would be considered 'flirtatious." Under Mao, flirting with./bre/gners was an unspeakable crime.

I was furious at the innuendo against me. It had been my Communist parents who had given me a liberal upbringing.

They had regarded the restrictions on women as precisely the sort of thing a Communist revolution should put an end to. But now oppression of women joined hands with political repression, and served resentment and petty jealousy.

One day, a Pakistani ship arrived. The Pakistani military attache came down from Peking. Long ordered us all to spring-clean the club from top to bottom, and laid on a banquet, for which he asked me to be his interpreter, which made some of the other students extremely envious. A few days later the Pakistanis gave a farewell dinner on their ship, and I was invited. The military attache had been to Sichuan, and they had prepared a special Sichuan dish for me. Long was delighted by the invitation, as was I. But despite a personal appeal from the captain and even a threat from Long to bar future students, my teachers said that no one was allowed on board a foreign ship.

"Who would take the responsibility if someone sailed away on the ship?" they asked. I was told to say I was busy that evening.

As far as I knew, I was turning down the only chance I would ever have of a trip out to sea, a foreign meal, a proper conversation in English, and an experience of the outside world.

Even so, I could not silence the whispers. Ming asked pointedly, "Why do foreigners like her so much?" as though there was something suspicious in that. The report filed on me at the end of the trip said my behavior was 'politically dubious."

In this lovely port, with its sunshine, sea breezes, and coconut trees, every occasion that should have been joyous was turned into misery. I had a good friend in the group who tried to cheer me up by putting my distress into perspective. Of course, what I encountered was no more than minor unpleasantness compared with what victims of jealousy suffered in the earlier years of the Cultural Revolution. But the thought that this was what my life at its best would be like depressed me even more.

This friend was the son of a colleague of my father's.
The other students from cities were also friendly to me. It was easy to distinguish them from the students of peasant backgrounds, who provided most of the student officials.”
Jung Chang, Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China
“...Inflation had risen to the unimaginable figure of just over 100,000 percent by the end of 1947--and it was to go to 2,870,000 percent by the end of 1948...”
Jung Chang, Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China
“Our textbooks were ridiculous propaganda. The first English sentence we learned was "Long live Chairman Mao!" But no one dared to explain the sentence grammatically. In Chinese the term for the optative mood, expressing a wish or desire, means 'something unreal." In 1966 a lecturer at Sichuan University had been beaten up for 'having the audacity to suggest that "Long live Chairman Mao!" was unreal!" One chapter was about a model youth hero who had drowned after jumping into a flood to save an electricity pole because the pole would be used to carry the word of Mao.

With great difficulty, I managed to borrow some English language textbooks published before the Cultural Revolution from lecturers in my department and from Jin-ming, who sent me books from his university by post. These contained extracts from writers like Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, and Oscar Wilde, and stories from European and American history. They were a joy to read, but much of my energy went toward finding them and then trying to keep them.

Whenever someone approached, I would quickly cover the books with a newspaper. This was only partly because of their 'bourgeois' content. It was also important not to appear to be studying too conscientiously, and not to arouse my fellow students' jealousy by reading something far beyond them. Although we were studying English, and were paid par fly for our propaganda value by the government to do this, we must not be seen to be too devoted to our subject: that was considered being 'white and expert." In the mad logic of the day, being good at one's profession ('expert') was automatically equated with being politically unreliable ('white').”
Jung Chang, Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China
“When a man gets power, even his chickens and dogs rise to heaven.” But”
Jung Chang, Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China
“For each self-criticism, there were many criticisms. My mother's two comrades insisted that she had behaved in a 'bourgeois' manner. They said she had not wanted to go to the country to help collect food; when she pointed out that she had gone, in line with the Party's wishes, they retorted: "Ah, but you didn't really want to go." Then they accused her of having enjoyed privileged food cooked, moreover, by her mother at home and of succumbing to illness more than most pregnant women. Mrs. Mi also criticized her because her mother had made clothes for the baby.
"Who ever heard of a baby wearing new clothes?"she said.
"Such a bourgeois waste! Why can't she just wrap the baby up in old clothes like everyone else?" The fact that my mother had shown her sadness that my grandmother had to leave was singled out as definitive proof that she 'put family first," a serious offense.”
Jung Chang, Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China
“But her greatest assets were her bound feet, called in Chinese "three-inch golden lilies" (san-tsun-gin-lian). This meant she walked "like a tender young willow shoot in a spring breeze," as Chinese connoisseurs of women traditionally put it. The sight of a woman teetering on bound feet was supposed to have an erotic effect on men, partly because her vulnerability induced a feeling of protectiveness in the onlooker.”
Jung Chang, Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China
“The news filled me with such euphoria that for an instant I was numb. My ingrained self-censorship immediately started working: I registered the fact that there was an orgy of weeping going on around me, and that I had to come up with some suitable performance. There seemed nowhere to hide my lack of correct emotion except the shoulder of the woman in front of me, one of the student officials, who was apparently heartbroken. I swiftly buried my head in her shoulder and heaved appropriately. As so often in China, a bit of ritual did the trick. Sniveling heartily she made a movement as though she was going to turn around and embrace me I pressed my whole weight on her from behind to keep her in her place, hoping to give the impression that I was in a state of abandoned grief.

In the days after Mao's death, I did a lot of thinking. I knew he was considered a philosopher, and I tried to think what his 'philosophy' really was. It seemed to me that its central principle was the need or the desire? for perpetual conflict. The core of his thinking seemed to be that human struggles were the motivating force of history and that in order to make history 'class enemies' had to be continuously created en masse. I wondered whether there were any other philosophers whose theories had led to the suffering and death of so many. I thought of the terror and misery to which the Chinese population had been subjected. For what?

But Mao's theory might just be the extension of his personality. He was, it seemed to me, really a restless fight promoter by nature, and good at it. He understood ugly human instincts such as envy and resentment, and knew how to mobilize them for his ends. He ruled by getting people to hate each other. In doing so, he got ordinary Chinese to carry out many of the tasks undertaken in other dictatorships by professional elites. Mao had managed to turn the people into the ultimate weapon of dictatorship.

That was why under him there was no real equivalent of the KGB in China. There was no need. In bringing out and nourishing the worst in people, Mao had created a moral wasteland and a land of hatred. But how much individual responsibility ordinary people should share, I could not decide.

The other hallmark of Maoism, it seemed to me, was the reign of ignorance. Because of his calculation that the cultured class were an easy target for a population that was largely illiterate, because of his own deep resentment of formal education and the educated, because of his megalomania, which led to his scorn for the great figures of Chinese culture, and because of his contempt for the areas of Chinese civilization that he did not understand, such as architecture, art, and music, Mao destroyed much of the country's cultural heritage. He left behind not only a brutalized nation, but also an ugly land with lit He of its past glory remaining or appreciated.

The Chinese seemed to be mourning Mao in a heartfelt fashion. But I wondered how many of their tears were genuine. People had practiced acting to such a degree that they confused it with their true feelings. Weeping for Mao was perhaps just another programmed act in their programmed lives.

Yet the mood of the nation was unmistakably against continuing Mao's policies. Less than a month after his death, on 6 October, Mme Mao was arrested, along with the other members of the Gang of Four. They had no support from anyone not the army, not the police, not even their own guards. They had had only Mao. The Gang of Four had held power only because it was really a Gang of Five.

When I heard about the ease with which the Four had been removed, I felt a wave of sadness. How could such a small group of second-rate tyrants ravage 900 million people for so long? But my main feeling was joy. The last tyrants of the Cultural Revolution were finally gone.”
Jung Chang, Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China
“Startled, he tried to comfort him. But Father said slowly, "I ask myself whether I am afraid of death. I don't think I am. My life as it is now is worse. And it looks as if there is not going to be any ending. Sometimes I feel weak: I stand by Tranquillity River and think, Just one leap and I can get it over with. Then I tell myself I must not. If I die without being cleared, there will be no end of trouble for all of you… I have been thinking a lot lately. I had a hard childhood, and society was full of injustice. It was for a fair society that I joined the Communists. I've tried my best through the years. But what good has it done for the people? As for myself, why is it that in the end I have come to be the ruin of my family? People who believe in retribution say that to end badly you must have something on your conscience. I have been thinking hard about the things I've done in my life. I have given orders to execute some people…"

Father went on to tell Jin-ming about the death sentences he had signed, the names and stories of the e-ba ('ferocious despots') in the land reform in Chaoyang, and the bandit chiefs in Yibin.

"But these people had done so much evil that God himself would have had them killed.

What, then, have I done wrong to deserve all this?"

After a long pause, Father said, "If I die like this, don't believe in the Communist Party anymore.”
Jung Chang, Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China
“The summer of 1950 was the hottest in living memory, with high humidity and temperatures above 100 F. My mother had been washing every day, and she was attacked for this, too. Peasants, especially in the North where Mrs. Mi came from, washed very rarely, because of the shortage of water. In the guerrillas, men and women used to compete to see who had the most 'revolutionary insects' (lice).

Cleanliness was regarded as un proletarian When the steamy summer turned into cool autumn my father's bodyguard weighed in with a new accusation: my mother was 'behaving like a Kuomintang official's grand lady' because she had used my father's leftover hot water. At the time, in order to save fuel, there was a rule that only officials above a certain rank were entitled to wash with hot water.

My father fell into this group, but my mother did not. She had been strongly advised by the women in my father's family not to touch cold water when she came near to delivery time. After the bodyguard's criticism, my father would not let my mother use his water. My mother felt like screaming at him for not taking her side against the endless intrusions into the most irrelevant recesses of her life.”
Jung Chang, Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China
“She was a pious Buddhist and every day in her prayers asked Buddha not ro reincarnate her as a woman. "Let me become a cat or dog, but not a woman," was her constant murmur as she shuffled around the house, oozing apology with every step.”
Jung Chang, Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China
“At the end of the vacation, I took a steamer alone from Wuhan back up through the Yangtze Gorges. The journey took three days. One morning, as I was leaning over the side, a gust of wind blew my hair loose and my hairpin fell into the river. A passenger with whom I had been chatting pointed to a tributary which joined the Yangtze just where we were passing, and told me a story.In 33 B.C., the emperor of China, in an attempt to appease the country's powerful northern neighbors, the Huns, decided to send a woman to marry the barbarian king. He made his selection from the portraits of the 3,000 concubines in his court, many of whom he had never seen. As she was for a barbarian, he selected the ugliest portrait, but on the day of her departure he discovered that the woman was in fact extremely beautiful. Her portrait was ugly because she had refused to bribe the court painter.
The emperor ordered the artist to be executed, while the lady wept, sitting by a river, at having to leave her country to live among the barbarians. The wind carried away her hairpin and dropped it into the river as though it wanted to keep something of hers in her homeland. Later on, she killed herself.

Legend had it that where her hairpin dropped, the river turned crystal clear, and became known as the Crystal River. My fellow passenger told me this was the tributary we were passing. With a grin, he declared: "Ah, bad omen!
You might end up living in a foreign land and marrying a barbarian!" I smiled faintly at the traditional Chinese obsession about other races being 'barbarians," and wondered whether this lady of antiquity might not actually have been better off marrying the 'barbarian' king. She would at least be in daily contact with the grassland, the horses, and nature. With the Chinese emperor, she was living in a luxurious prison, without even a proper tree, which might enable the concubines to climb a wall and escape. I thought how we were like the frogs at the bottom of the well in the Chinese legend, who claimed that the sky was only as big as the round opening at the top of their well. I felt an intense and urgent desire to see the world.
At the time I had never spoken with a foreigner, even though I was twenty-three, and had been an English language student for nearly two years. The only foreigners I had ever even set eyes on had been in Peking in 1972.
A foreigner, one of the few 'friends of China," had come to my university once. It was a hot summer day and I was having a nap when a fellow student burst into our room and woke us all by shrieking: "A foreigner is here! Let's go and look at the foreigner!" Some of the others went, but I decided to stay and continue my snooze. I found the whole idea of gazing, zombie like rather ridiculous. Anyway, what was the point of staring if we were forbidden to open our mouths to him, even though he was a 'friend of China'?
I had never even heard a foreigner speaking, except on one single Linguaphone record. When I started learning the language, I had borrowed the record and a phonograph, and listened to it at home in Meteorite Street. Some neighbors gathered in the courtyard, and said with their eyes wide open and their heads shaking, "What funny sounds!"
They asked me to play the record over and over again.”
Jung Chang, Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China
“When I heard about the ease with which the Four had been removed, I felt a wave of sadness. How could such a small group of second-rate tyrants ravage 900 million people for so long? But my main feeling was joy. The last tyrants of the Cultural Revolution were finally gone. My rapture was widely shared. Like many of my countrymen, I went out to buy the best liquors for a celebration with my family and friends, only to find the shops out of stock there was so much spontaneous rejoicing.

There were official celebrations as well exactly the same kinds of rallies as during the Cultural Revolution, which infuriated me. I was particularly angered by the fact that in my department, the political supervisors and the student officials were now arranging the whole show, with unperturbed self-righteousness.

The new leadership was headed by Mao's chosen successor, Hua Guofeng, whose only qualification, I believed, was his mediocrity. One of his first acts was to announce the construction of a huge mausoleum for Mao on Tiananmen Square. I was outraged: hundreds of thousands of people were still homeless after the earthquake in Tangshan, living in temporary shacks on the pavements.

With her experience, my mother had immediately seen that a new era was beginning. On the day after Mao's death she had reported for work at her depas'uuent. She had been at home for five years, and now she wanted to put her energy to use again. She was given a job as the number seven deputy director in her department, of which she had been the director before the Cultural Revolution. But she did not mind.

To me in my impatient mood, things seemed to go on as before. In January 1977, my university course came to an end. We were given neither examinations nor degrees.

Although Mao and the Gang of Four were gone, Mao's rule that we had to return to where we had come from still applied. For me, this meant the machinery factory. The idea that a university education should make a difference to one's job had been condemned by Mao as 'training spiritual aristocrats.”
Jung Chang, Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China
“The most direct path to Party was raising pigs. The company had several dozen of these and they occupied an unequaled place in the hearts of the soldiers; officers and men alike would hang around the pigsty, observing, commenting, and willing the animals to grow. If the pigs were doing well, the swine herds were the darlings of the company, and there were many contestants for this profession.

Xiao-her became a full-time swineherd. It was hard, filthy work, not to mention the psychological pressure.

Every night he and his colleagues took turns to get up in the small hours to give the pigs an extra feed. When a sow produced piglets they kept watch night after night in case she crushed them. Precious soybeans were carefully picked, washed, ground, strained, made into 'soybean milk," and lovingly fed to the mother to stimulate her milk.

Life in the air force was very unlike what Xiao-her had imagined. Producing food took up more than a third of the entire time he was in the military. At the end of a year's arduous pig raising, Xiao-her was accepted into the Party.

Like many others, he put his feet up and began to take it easy.

After membership in the Party, everyone's ambition was to become an officer; whatever advantage the former brought, the latter doubled it. Getting to be an officer depended on being picked by one's superiors, so the key was never to displease them. One day Xiao-her was summoned to see one of the college's political commissars.

Xiao-her was on tenterhooks, not knowing whether he was in for some unexpected good fortune or total disaster. The commissar, a plump man in his fifties with puffy eyes and a loud, commanding voice, looked exceedingly benign as he lit up a cigarette and asked Xiao-her about his family background, age, and state of health. He also asked whether he had a fiance to which Xiao-her replied that he did not. It struck Xiao-her as a good sign that the man was being so personal. The commissar went on to praise him: "You have studied Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought conscientiously. You have worked hard. The masses have a good impression of you. Of course, you must keep on being modest; modesty makes you progress," and so on. By the time the commissar stubbed out his cigarette, Xiao-her thought his promotion was in his pocket.”
Jung Chang, Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China
“Traffic was in confusion for several days. For red to mean "stop' was considered impossibly counterrevolutionary. It should of course mean "go." And traffic should not keep to the right, as was the practice, it should be on the left. For a few days we ordered the traffic policemen aside and controlled the traffic ourselves. I was stationed at a street corner telling cyclists to ride on the left. In Chengdu there were not many cars or traffic lights, but at the few big crossroads there was chaos. In the end, the old rules reasserted themselves, owing to Zhou Enlai, who managed to convince the Peking Red Guard leaders. But the youngsters found justifications for this: I was told by a Red Guard in my school that in Britain traffic kept to the left, so ours had to keep to the right to show our anti-imperialist spirit. She did not mention America.

As a child I had always shied away from collective activity. Now, at fourteen, I felt even more averse to it. I suppressed this dread because of the constant sense of guilt I had come to feel, through my education, when I was out of step with Mao. I kept telling myself that I must train my thoughts according to the new revolutionary theories and practices. If there was anything I did not understand, I must reform myself and adapt. However, I found myself trying very hard to avoid militant acts such as stopping passersby and cutting their long hair, or narrow trouser legs, or skirts, or breaking their semi-high-heeled shoes. These things had now become signs of bourgeois decadence, according to the Peking Red Guards.

My own hair came to the critical attention of my schoolmates. I had to have it cut to the level of my earlobes. Secretly, though much ashamed of myself for being so "petty bourgeois," I shed tears over losing my long plaits. As a young child, my nurse had a way of doing my hair which made it stand up on top of my head like a willow branch. She called it "fireworks shooting up to the sky." Until the early 1960s I wore my hair in two coils, with rings of little silk flowers wound around them. In the mornings, while I hurried through my breakfast, my grandmother or our maid would be doing my hair with loving hands. Of all the colors for the silk flowers, my favorite was pink.”
Jung Chang, Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China
“The cult of Mao and the cult of Lei Feng were two faces of the same coin: one was the cult of personality; the other, its essential corollary, was the cult of impersonality”
Jung Chang, Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China

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