Renditions no. 65 (Spring 2006)​

Three cases of political dissent

Hu Feng, Qin Zhaoyang and Gao Ertai were three of the many intellectuals labelled Rightists during the Anti-Rightist movement of 1957. In the biographical writing, memoirs, and interview in this issue, they reflect on their experiences during these years of persecution and hard labour that lasted until the end of the Cultural Revolution.

120 pages


Table of Contents

Editor’s Preface 5
Zhang Xiaoshan Fragments of Recollection: excerpts
Translated by Andrew Endrey
Richard King After the Hundred Flowers: a 1981 interview with Qin Zhaoyang 38
Qin Zhaoyang My Quest
Translated by Eva Hung
Gao Ertai In Search of my Homeland: excerpts
Translated by David E. Pollard
Tang Suqin
The Blue Coat
The Mark of Happiness
Paradise Ungained
Curious Tales from the Cow Shed
Book Notices 115
Notes on Authors 119
Notes on Contributors 120

Sample Reading

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My Quest
By Qin Zhaoyang
Translated by Eva Hung

I WAS FORMALLY LABELLED a Rightist in the second half of July, 1958, and on 25 July I was stripped of my Communist Party membership. It was from that time onwards that I got a real taste of what it meant to be stuck with the Rightist label. It went with you wherever you were; everyone who knew of you also knew about your label. But what cut me to the quick was not being labeled as such, but the fact that my Party membership was taken away. Stripped of my Party membership, I lost the centre of gravity in my life, my internal focus. What I loved most next to life itself was taken away from me, and I was made an enemy of my own people. My heart was plucked from me! My soul was cut adrift!-all this was a huge burden on my spirit. This was why in November 1961, when my friends congratulated me in private upon the lifting of my Rightist label, I said to them in reply, ‘I don’t feel any more light-hearted or any happier as a result of this.’ How could I, when I had failed to regain that most precious thing of which I had been stripped? My heart had not been returned to its rightful place; my soul was still left adrift; my life still lacked its focus. I threw myself whole-heartedly into work to fill some of the emptiness inside me, but the effect of that was only temporary. It was a kind of consolation for the helpless. Unlike some other people, I did not believe that ‘as long as I give my all to the Revolution the same way that a good Party member does, I’ll still count myself as a Party member’. No, I lacked that kind of strength. I was a weakling who constantly inflicted mental suffering upon himself. I have lost count of the times I cried bitterly before my Rightist label was taken off in November 1961, and in the many years between the lifting of my label and March 1979, when my case was ‘rectified’, the times when I shed tears were innumerable. On two or three occasions I cried so hard that it actually led to serious eye disease.

I am that kind of a straightforward fellow. This serious attitude towards right and wrong had taken root in my childhood, and after I had joined the Revolution, the Party further nurtured this seriousness in my personality.

And so, soon after I had been transferred back to Nanning from the Liuzhou machinery plant in the spring of 1962, I submitted my request regarding my membership to the Party: ‘I’d be willing to go through all the process of a fresh application …’

A year passed, then two years passed, but I never received a reply from the Party.

By the summer of 1964, I found it impossible to wait patiently any longer. Taking advantage of my wife’s summer holiday which was to be spent in Beijing (she was teaching at that time in a secondary school in Liuzhou), I applied for leave to return to Beijing to visit our children. An even more important goal, however, was to se the opportunity of leave application to sound out my superiors about my chances of rejoining the Party.