Renditions no. 31 (Spring 1989)​

Essays by Lu Xun; Yunnan folk tales, poetry by Gu Cheng and Mang Ke and dissident drama, The Retrial of Wei Jingshen by Wang Keping.

174 pages


Table of Contents

Editor’s Page 6
Zhang Xianliang Good Morning, Friends: excerpts
Translated by Mark Kruger
Li Yu The Seven Ruses of a Female Chen Ping
Translated by Don J. Cohn
———— Two Yunnan Tales
Translated by Guo Xu, Xu Kun and Lucien Miller
Stories About Bubo: A Zhuang Myth
The Origin of the Sixth Month Sacrifice: A Buyi Legend
Shen Congwen While in Kunming
Translated by Wong Kam-ming and Jeffrey C. Kinkley
Lu Xun Zawen
Translated by D. E. Pollard
Ah Jin
The Evolution of the Male Sex
———— Four Contemporary zawen
Translated by D. E. Pollard
Lao Lie: What Lies Behind the Expression “A Certain”
Li Honglin: Truth and the Club
Xiao Wenyuan: A Bizarre Kind of Robbery
Ren Yongxing: And Now, “Mouth Borrowing”
Joseph S. M. Lau Unto Myself Reborn: Author as Translator 73
———— Four Classical Poems
Translated by Graeme Wilson
Tao Qian: Sons
Li Bai: Green Mountain Mind
Li Qingzhao: Egret
Xu Deke: Party Ending
Gu Cheng The Bulin File
Translated by Eva Hung
Mang Ke Ape Herd
Translated by Nicholas Jose and Wu Baohe
Wang Keping The Retrial of Wei Jingsheng
Translated by Charles Fosselman and Janice Wickeri
Books Notice 171
Notes on Contributors 173

Sample Reading

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The Retrial of Wei Jingsheng
By Wang Keping
Translated by Charles Fosselman and Janice Wickeri



(WEI JINGSHENG is in a small one-man cell. He is racked by hunger, cold and sickness. He looks around his new cell, then lies down on the bed. All kinds of noises sound around him. Scenes from the past appear indistinctly on the side of the cell. Suddenly the court proceedings appear. The public prosecutor, ZHANG FENGGE, reads the indictment.)

ZHANG: The accused, Wei Jingsheng, 29 years old, is employed as a labourer by the Peking Municipal Parks Department. On 29 March 1979, the accused was arrested for counter-revolutionary crimes by the Peking Public Security Bureau, with the authorization of the Municipal People’s Procuratorate. The case was solved by the Public Security Bureau and referred to this court for investigation and indictment. The investigation has verified that the accused, Wei Jingsheng, has committed the following crimes: I) passing Chinese military secrets to foreigners; 2) disseminating counter-revolutionary propaganda and inciting counter-revolutionary activities.

VOICE OFFSTAGE: I’ve never come into contact with anything designated as classified, so my passing anything legally classified to anybody is out of the question. In talking with reporters and diplomats from friendly countries, it would be impossible to avoid commenting on various aspects of the domestic situation. Following the outbreak of the Sino-Vietnamese conflict, I talked about that with foreign reporters too; for example, when I mentioned the name of the front-line commander. Of course, you can follow Chinese practice and consider all casual chats with foreigners as treachery …

ZHANG: The accused, Wei Jingsheng, edited the reactionary magazine “Exploration” and wrote reactionary articles such as: “Democracy—the Fifth Modernization, and other matters,” “Human Rights, Equality, and Democracy,” slandered Marxismeninism-Mao Zedong Thought, slandered our socialist system as a feudal monarchy concealing itself under a cloak of socialism.

VOICE OFFSTAGE: The current historical trend is towards democracy. Unless the social system is reformed, unless fascist dictatorship is uprooted, unless democracy is thoroughly implemented and the people’s democratic rights safeguarded, Chinese society cannot progress. There will be no four modernizations without democracy. Without the fifth modernization—democracy—modernization is nothing but a new lie.

(Late at night. LIU QING and a university student enter, paste up a few hand-bills on the wall and exit. A plainclothes policeman enters, discovers the handbills, tears them down and exits. The university student enters once more, discovers the handbills have been tom down and pastes up another. Several plainclothes police rush in and seize the student. LIU QING hurries up.)

LIU: What grounds do you have for seizing him?

POLICEMAN: Putting up reactionary handbills!

LIU: What reactionary handbills? These are just the transcripts of the trial of Wei Jingsheng.

POLICEMAN: Wei Jingsheng is a counter-revolutionary. So whatever he says is reactionary!

LIU: Haven’t the authorities stressed time and again that this is a public trial? Since it is public, why can’t the transcripts be made public? Won’t you listen to reason?

POLICEMAN: If you want to talk reason, come along to the station.

(He tries to drag the student off.)

LIU: Let him go. If you want to take someone, take me. I was the one in charge of distributing and posting the handbills.

POLICEMAN: Aha, so you’re Liu Qing.

LIU: Yes, Liu Qing of the “April Fifth Forum”.

(The policeman releases the student and drags LIU offstage. MINGMING enters.)

MING: Wei Jingsheng—Wei Jingsheng—where are you? I went to Qinghai to see you, but they said you weren’t there any more, that you’d gone back to Peking to live the good life. They’re having me on again. Where are you? Are you still alive? Dead or alive, this time it’s goodbye forever, for real. I’ve got a foreign boyfriend and we’re going to be married and go abroad. Are you still searching for truth? What is truth? I believe that the only thing that’s true is the repulsive reality I see all around me. I don’t believe any more that democracy and freedom will come to China. I don’t have the courage to fight; I only want to get out as soon as I can. Fortunately there are other countries in the world which are free and democratic. I wish you. … (She exits.)

(LIU QING, in prison clothes, enters. He has aged a lot. Let out for exercise, he paces back and forth and then knocks on the wall of WEI JINGSHENG’s cell.)

LIU: Wei Jingsheng-Wei Jingsheng-it’s Liu, Liu Qing. How come you’re back in Peking? Somebody told me there was a counter-revolutionary from Qinghai, doing fifteen years, locked up in solitary. I guessed it was you right away. Qing-hai must have been pretty hard to take. A lot of people have been brought in recently and they’ve had plenty of news. Peking is a mess; prices soaring, everybody complaining. Corruption among officials increases by the day; the economic reforms are in trouble and calls for democracy have grown stronger. Many official newspapers have also taken up the issue of political reform. The cry of the ’79 Peking Spring Democracy Movement has been raised again. … (Exits)

(WEI’S FATHER enters, reading a newspaper, talking to himself.)

FATHER: Political reform, reform of the system, democracy. … Democracy, human rights, freedom—my son’s views entirely, aren’t they? Here it is in the People’s Daily too. (Sighs) It’s OK to talk about it now, but ten years ago it was counter-revolutionary. Oh, Jingsheng, my son, Dad understands you now. Dad blew up at you then because he was afraid you’d get hurt. But my son, you had vision, your theories were completely right. For a few years all the neighbours and my old army buddies avoided me. But now they’re not afraid to come and see me and they’re always asking how you are. Our new section head sometimes passes me news about you. He says a lot of the important higher-ups think you ought to be released. (Exits)

(Suddenly the big light in the cell goes on and the door opens. HUANG FEI enters.)

HUANG: Hello, Wei Jingsheng. (Extends her hand)

(Startled, WEI looks at her.)

HUANG: (Takes out her card) I’m Huang Fei, a director of the Chinese-American Lawyers Association. (Her hand stiffens in mid-air before she withdraws it.) You still don’t know? Your case is set for a retrial. (WEI is unmoved.) At the request of Amnesty International, I’ve agreed to act as your defense counsel. Is that acceptable to you? I’m quite familiar with the facts of your case. (HUANG takes a book from her bag and hands it to him.) In late 1979 a book titled Peking’s Political Trial—Transcripts from the Trial of Wei Jingsheng was published in New York. I was the one who translated it into English. Here’s my picture. It’s been ten years but I haven’t changed that much, have I? (WEI turns the book over, looks at the picture on the cover, then back at HUANG.) Trust me, please. Will you agree to my acting as your defense lawyer? Will you? Agreed.

WEI: Ah, ah … (Wants to speak but can’t) Ah … (A loud cry. He puts out his right hand. HUANG puts out hers. The two shake firmly.)