Today I saw that the Epoch Times had started to publish in installments Ding Shu's book "Yang Mou", or "Open Conspiracy: the complete story of Chinese Communist Party's Anti-rightist Campaign". This made me recall a true story widely known in my hometown Zhongjiang County in Sichuan Province in China; and I feel like writing about it, as a small “supplementary” to Ding Shu’s “Yang Mou”.
The “open conspiracy” of “Anti-rightist Campaign” was instigated in 1957 by the then Chinese Communist leader Mao Zedong, and saw the political persecution of an estimated 550,000 people in China. Before that there was such a person in Zhongjiang County, who often expressed his dissatisfaction with the society, or “gave vent to his dissatisfaction with the Party and socialism”, if we use the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)’s language to say it.
When the “open conspiracy” began, the Party encouraged everyone to “speak out loudly” their opinions and criticisms about the Party, to help the Party to improve. People who knew that person all thought: This guy must be talking a lot, as he didn’t need any encouragement to speak out loudly in the first place.
However, a relative of this person worked in Beijing then, and had learnt beforehand that the “Anti-rightist Campaign" was an “open conspiracy”. So he warned this person against saying anything during this campaign no matter what.
As this relative was very serious when giving this piece of warning, the person chose to believe him. So then the campaign arrived, he did manage to seal his mouth tightly and said nothing at all.
However, the leaders and the “mass of revolutionists” all thought how come this person had no opinion at all about the Party, given that he had always criticized the Party before? He must have been secretly criticizing “the leader of our Party and country” in his heart all the same. And this was called “defaming in your heart without speaking out.”
Therefore, this person was still labeled as a “rightist”, and earned himself a special title: “A Rightist Who Does Not Talk”.
I haven’t had a chance to meet this “rightist who does not talk”. However, I’ve seen another rightist in Hanwang Town, Mianzhu County in Sichuan Province.
After my father was publicly denounced during the “Great Cultural Revolution”, he was relocated from Mianyang, a bigger and regional center city, to the remote town Hanwang, which had only a small population of 30,000 people. My mother and I didn’t go with him then.
When I was 4 years old, my sister was born. As my mother couldn’t look after two children at the same time, I was sent to my father. Since then I had been living with my father in a shabby shelter built on a barren floodplain, with barely anything inside it.
The only primary school of that small town, which I went to later, was as shabby as our shelter, and didn’t have a basketball court, or even a decent basketball stand.
However, inside such a school there was a dazzlingly handsome young teacher, who was so much taller than all other teachers. When I saw him for the first time, I immediately connected him with a famous Chinese idiom “a crane standing among chickens”. His handsome look, his air, and everything of his were so different and “out of place” in that shabby little town.
Later on, I learned that this extremely handsome young teacher was formerly a basketball player of the National Basketball Team, and was an excellent athlete with outstanding skills. However, he was unfortunately labeled as a rightist and relocated to Hanwang. His wife had divorced him, and he was there alone.
I never had a chance to speak to this “rightist” young teacher. When I looked at him from a distance, he always looked very mysterious to me. Sometimes I heard that as he was so handsome, many people wanted to do matchmaking for him. However, nobody dared to marry him in the end.
I left Hanwang after I finished my junior middle school. When I revisited that small town years later, I heard people calling him “Old Bachelor”. Twinkles had already spread to everywhere on his once very young and handsome face.
Later on, after the CCP somehow recognized the “Anti-rightist Campaign” had been “magnified”, and many of the convictions were revoked in 1979, I heard this “rightist” teacher tried very hard to be moved back to Beijing. But all his attempts failed.
Since then I heard nothing about him. The most possible scenario was that he could only continue his miserable life in that small town until he died.