凌耿 The Making Of a Red Guard(1970.1.4) (2023)

ON June 1, 1966, the Cultural Revolution reached our high school in Amoy, a port city in the South Chinese coastal province of Fukien. Actually, it had been vis ibly approaching in May, when in tense criticism mounted in the news papers against the literature, plays and movies called “poisonous weeds.” As the outside disturbances pene trated our classrooms, our teachers lost their pep and appeared uneasy. Many of them were worshipers of the “poisonous weeds.” They became very cautious and no longer told lit tle personal anecdotes to their stu dents.

The author of this article is a 19‐year‐old student who, from the age of 16, took part in China's momentous “Cultural Revolution,” becoming a leader of a major Red Guard faction in Fukien Province. In July, 1968, he fled the mainland by swim ming to one of the off‐shore islands near Quemoy. The rea sons for this act are complex: He saw no future after the Red Guards were downgraded; he realized that they had been used; he became disillusioned with the reality of the mainland, and an older brother to whom he was extraordinarily devoted had de flee.

The student's story is one of a number compiled as part of a research project in the political psychology of Communist China under the direction of Dr. Ivan London of Brooklyn College. Over several years, Dr. London, his wife, Miriam, who is his re search associate, and Chinese colleagues have interviewed about 250 Chinese Communist refugees. They talked with the student for close to 100 hours in Taiwan, where he is now a high school senior hoping to enter college to study physics.

This article was prepared by Mrs. London and Dr. Ta‐ling Lee, another research associate of Dr. London as well as an as sistant professor of history at Southern Connecticut State Col lege. To protect members of the family remaining in China, the student's name has been omitted and the names of all others re ferred to have been changed.

Mainland youths of my generation, living in times of difficulty and trial, have cultivated a sensitivity on polit ical matters. Looking at our teachers, we realized that they must be re calling terrible experiences in the cruel “anti‐rightist” struggle nine years before.

Even though we were prepared for the coming of a new movement, when it came there was initial shock. On June 1, I was awakened at 5 A.M. by a broadcast on the public‐address system. I could not quite make out what it was all about, but, sensing excitement, I rushed off to school. School usually started at 7:30 in the summer, but that day most of the students had heard the broadcast and were in school around 7 A.M.

There were no classes that morn ing. At 9 A.M. everyone, including the teachers, gathered in the school yard. We all noticed, however, that the teachers were not, as usual, walk ing among the students to see that order was maintained. They were standing separately in a row. Then we all listened to a repeat over the school loudspeakers of the earlier Communist Central Authority official broadcast to the nation. The broad cast was a recording of speeches made by a panel of leaders, includ ing Chou En‐lai; Mao's wife, Chiang Ching, and Chen Po‐ta, Mao's per sonal secretary, at a reception of the first so‐called Red Guard Combat Team of Tsinghua University Affili ated High School and students of other high schools. Mao's wife pre sented the meaning and aim of the Cultural Revolution — to uproot re visionism completely. She described the Cultural Revolution as historically without precedent. Chou En‐lai pre sented the summary. All universities, high schools and technical schools, he said, were to be closed. He did not include primary schools. Junior high students were to go to school in the morning and participate in the in the afternoon.

After the hour‐long broadcast, members of the “work team,” a se lected group of outsiders with wide investigatory and other powers (the head of the team outranked the school principal), addressed us, say ing that schools would be closed so that the students could join the “Great Socialist Cultural Revolution.”

The head of the work team at our school was the provincial athletic association director. The group, which was made up of about 30 people with “spotless” political records, had ar rived at the school in 1964. It held absolute power.

At 11 A.M. we went home, return ing at 2 P.M. for classroom discus sions and to write letters of “deter mination and challenge,” which were submitted to the school party branch and the work team. At 5 P.M. we met again in the schoolyard, where a rep resentative of each class read our letters aloud. During the meeting, which was over by 7 P.M., we again noticed that the teachers were not taking part along with the students.

That evening I got together with several classmates at a friend's house. We sat on the roof and talked and ate fruit until past midnight. We talked about our studies and the coming movement. Generally, we were relaxed and happy because there was no school; we imagined it would be closed for only a few weeks. On the other hand, we were worried because we would soon have to face university entrance examination. I went home late. It was a very hot night and it was hard to sleep.

Our tasks in the next few days disturbed me deeply. The work team required each student to write 10 posters containing 50 charges exposing our teachers. The charges could range from such minor matters as teachers being late to class or punishing students to such serious offenses as airing complaints or attack ing the Communist party. The more one could expose, the better. There was no strict format; one could use wall posters, cartoons or slogans. This was an attempt to cre ate a lot out of nothing. If a teacher had said that life was hard or that there was not enough food, this could be construed as “anti ‐ Commu nist” and “hostile to the dic tatorship of the proletariat.”

A first‐person account reveals what it meant, to be caught up in one of the great convulsions of modern history—Communist China's “Cultural Revolution.”

Troubled, I went to the home of my teacher of Chi nese, Yang Hsin‐yung, whom I greatly admired, to seek his advice. He recalled the “un usual spring days” in early 1957, when many intellectuals poured out their minds, na ively believing that their criti cism would be accepted. He said to me: “Be silent and you will be at least half safe.”

But the students were all busy writing posters exposing teachers, then inviting the teachers to read them. After reading the posters attacking him, a teacher was asked his reaction. Most of them said, “I agree with this. I welcome this.” But a few turned their backs on the posters after glancing at them and walked away. This would only result in the appearance of more posters attacking them.

At first the students wrote trifling things and signed the posters en masse. They were afraid of the work team and mindful that their chances of entering the university were in the team's hands. But they were also afraid of misunder standing and possible revenge by their teachers. Many stu dents, therefore, wrote to the teachers privately, explaining that they had been forced to do these things. Only a few troublemakers, who were also poor students, used this as an opportunity for revenge, open ing up on teachers who had paid too little attention to them in the past.

SEVERAL times I wanted to point out to the others that most of our teachers were good and revolutionary, that we should not treat them as all bad, but every time I re membered Teacher Yang's words and kept silence. To follow the trend, every time my schoolmates finished a poster, I signed my name in the last place in such a way that it was barely legible.

At heart I was struggling with myself. Chou Pai‐yin, who was the principal and party branch official, and our teachers had been very good to me. I had been happy and favored all along. My elder brother and sister had won many honors for the school, the teachers all knew me and the relationship of my family to the school was close. Should I turn against the prin cipal and teachers, it would be an act of ingratitude that my family would not allow. I would be acting against my own conscience. And since I had been a “red person,” a favored person, before, if I were to become a “red per son” again under the work team, my schoolmates would naturally hate me. I would be a “dragon with changeable color” that managed to “stay red every generation.” I al ways hated this type of per son, but now found myself in exactly that position. On the other hand, if I were to enter the university, I needed political capital, which I could acquire only by dis regarding my conscience.

ONCE I thought about pre tending to be ill. I even hoped that something might happen in my family, such as a death, that could extricate me by giving me an excuse to with draw from everything. I wanted the days to pass very quickly, and indeed they did. On the evening of the eighth day, the work team sum moned me. Chu Lo, the team leader, wanted to have a chat.

“This is a mass campaign,” he said, “like the turbulent waves of the sea. But what have you been doing?”

I had long rehearsed my answer: “I have been think ing about how to follow the trends of the campaign in or der to make some contribu tion to the party.”

“But,” said the team leader, “according to some reports, your attitude has been rather unclear. For example, every one should be writing posters, but you haven't done anything yet.”

“I have been writing them with other schoolmates.”

“No, you intentionally signed your name in that scratchy way to show your silent re sistance and to imply some thing else. Besides, you real ize that you know a great deal about Chou Pai‐yin and the old party branch here. For ex ample, they used the revision ist method to cultivate you as a model of expertness, not ‘redness’ You have been try ing to evade all this.”

He was referring to my school standing. I had been an “outstanding” student four years in a row. But, because of my middle‐class back ground, I had not been ac cepted by the Communist youth corps until just re cently.

I said, “I believe ‘One should be split into two,’” re ferring to the dialectical me thod of looking at things from both sides.

“This is conservative think ing that you should discard,” the team leader said. “Other former protégés of Chou Pai yin have all come out to ex pose criminal deeds.”

“I will handle myself cor rectly.”

“Are you hesitant or afraid of something?”

“No,” I lied.

“Well, then, go back and think hard. Good‐by.” He tapped my chair twice. I felt as though my head were being struck with an iron hammer.

ON the morning of June 12, on orders of the central authorities, the work team formally left the school. But first it set up a revolutionary preparatory committee of 12 members to replace the origi nal student council of 30 to 40 members. One work‐team member, however, remained behind as a member of this committee. The youth corps secretary, a teacher, was also left behind as a member of this committee, which was headed by a student. As ex pected, even though I had been leader of my class and deputy chairman of the stu dent council, I was not among the students selected. I felt deep resentment against the work team.

The work team left so that the students could “launch revolution by themselves.” At 9 A.M. on June 12, the team handed over a blacklist to the revolutionary preparatory committee and made public the files of one teacher after another. One was accused of having been a member of the Kuomintang, the Nationalist party; another was linked to the Nationalist youth corps during World War II. “Now it is in front of you,” the work team said. “Let's see what stand you take.” With this kind of encouragement, the students were ready to use force in a “life‐and‐death class struggle” against the teachers, their class enemies.

But I didn't know it would come so soon. At 12 o'clock on June 12, as a few of us were on our way back from a swim, we heard screams and shouts as we ap proached the school gate and some schoolmates ran up to us shouting: “The struggle has begun! The struggle has be gun!” I ran to the athletic field and saw rows of teach ers, about 40 or 50 of them, all with black ink poured over their heads and faces to make them truly a “black gang” [a term used from the begin ning of the Cultural Revolu tion in condemnation of intel lectuals]. Hanging on their necks were placards with such words as “Reactionary aca demic authority‐So‐and‐So,” “Class enemy So ‐and‐So,” “Corrupt ringleader So‐and So,” “Capitalist roader So and‐So,” all taken from the newspapers. On each placard was a red cross, making the teachers look like condemned prisoners awaiting execution. They all wore dunce caps painted with similar slogans and carried dirty brooms, shoes and dusters on their backs. Hanging around their necks were pails filled with rocks. They were barefoot, hitting broken gongs or pots as they walked around the field, shouting, “I am black gangster So‐and‐So.” Finally, they all knelt down, burned incense and begged Mao Tse tung to “pardon their crimes.”

I was stunned by this scene and felt myself go pale. A few of the girls nearly fainted.

I had never before seen the tortures I was to see here: eating night soil or insects, be ing subjected to electrical shocks, forced to kneel on broken glass, being hanged by the arms and legs.

The instigators of the tor ture were the members of the work team, but they relied upon the school roughnecks, who were members of the five red classes (workers, poor or lower‐middle peasants, mem bers of the party cadre, mem bers of the People's Libera tion Armed Forces and revo lutionary heroes or the chil dren of such people). Most of them were from the north, were coarse and cruel and did poorly in school. Presumably, they resented the teachers be cause of this. At first there were only five or six of the roughnecks.

Most of the students were still somewhat afraid of the teachers. Some may never have hit anyone in their lives, and for a while they did not know what to do. The work team instigators who had been left behind began to “fan the fire,” however, organizing stu dents into groups to study Mao Tse‐tung's report on the “Peasant Movement in Hu nan”* and hailing the violent movement as a good one.

All the students needed was the right atmosphere, which the work team had now cre ated. Greatly emboldened, the students shouted, “Beat them!” and jumped on the teachers, swinging their fists and kick ing. The stragglers were forced to back them up with loud shouts and clenched fists.

*The March, 1927, document in which Mao stressed the important role to be played by the peasants in the coming revolution and justified the use of violence and terror by the peasants against the land lords.

There is nothing strange in this. Young students are pri marily peaceful and well‐be haved, but once the first step was taken by those who dared to hit teachers even in or dinary times, others were bound to follow.

JUNE 12 was an unforget table day. I learned a great deal: I realized, for instance, that slow physical torture is more cruel, a thousand times more cruel, than mass killing by an atom bomb.

That night I had many nightmares, dreadful ones. I had said nothing to my fam ily; my mother would have been terribly frightened. I sank deep into thought. Was this a way for human beings to treat one another? One kills a chicken with only one stab of a knife, but these tortured men could not even have a quick death. I thought that if I were a teacher I most cer tainly would have committed suicide. (Actually, many teach ers without families to sup port later did just that. Be fore death, they appeared calm. One wrote: “I don't blame you. But I have never thought of an ending to my life of teaching like this. You will understand what I mean someday.”)

I thought of how many peo ple had died in the past of wars, hunger and disease. What was the difference be tween deaths? I thought, if someone wanted me to die, I would die if it were an easy death because, no matter how successful a career one has, death is still waiting at the end. Why, then, fight to stay in this world, to witness all the unpleasantness?

What is wrong, I thought, with a Communist society in which people are all equal and which follows the prin ciple “From each according to his ability and to each accord ing to his needs”? But the Communists were resorting to killing as a step toward this goal! Is it justifiable to use killing to achieve the goal of nonkilling?

I did not dare tell such thoughts to the others. I gath ered enough courage to go to school the next morning, to witness more of this torture. I became numb and tried to calm myself by thinking: “This is nothing. There are even more cruel things.” After 10 days or so, I became used to it all; a blood‐smeared body or a shriek no longer made me feel uneasy.

During this period, the worst shock to me was the fatal beating of my most re spected and beloved teacher, Yang Hsin‐yung. It was reac tionary to try to protect some one, and I was powerless to stop the roughnecks. Several times, I tried in vain to save him. I even tried writing to his attackers, warning them to “give me some face” or I would make it “a tooth for a tooth.” Teacher Yang wrote in his will: “I am a Chinese of integrity. I die in integrity.”

Teacher Yang, advanced in age and suffering from high blood pressure, was dragged out at 11:30, exposed to the summer sun for more than two hours, then paraded through the streets carrying a placard and hitting a gong. He was dragged up to the fourth floor of a building and down again, being savagely beaten along the way. Imagine, a man over 60 years of age! He passed out several times, but was brought back to con sciousness each time with cold water splashed into his face. He could hardly move his body, his feet were cut by glass and thorns. But his spirit was unbroken. He shouted, “Why don't you kill me? Kill me!” This lasted for six hours, until at last he col lapsed. They dragged him on to the athletic field and again poured cold water on him. Even the killers were stunned momentarily, for this was probably the first time that they had ever beaten a man to death, as it was the first time for most of us to witness such a scene. People began to run away, and the killers were a little frightened.

They got the school doctor and told him: “Check care fully whether he died of high blood pressure. You are not allowed to defend him!” The doctor examined him and pro nounced him dead of torture. The gang seized the doctor and beat him. Finally, the doc tor wrote on the death certifi cate: “Death due to a sudden attack of high blood pres sure.” When Mrs. Yang rushed to the scene, she was forced to confirm this before she was allowed to take the body away. Many outsiders did not realize that a lot of the “teachers of the people” whose sudden deaths during the Cultural Revolution were officially certified as natural and many Communist cadres who were later declared dead due to illness or declared miss ing by the Red Guards actu ally died under torture.

A FEW days after most of the work team left, I raised the anti‐work‐team ban ner together with 70 per cent of the former members of the student council and Commu nist youth corps who had not won the favor of the work team. I must stress that I ini tiated this move entirely out of my hatred for the work team. (Our victory, at a much later date, resulted from the fact that the work team's members turned out to be fol lowers of Liu Shao‐chi. But we did not act on Mao's orders at the beginning. After we won, we merely followed the trend by saying that we had used Mao Tse‐tung's thought in our resolute strug gle and, in saying so, we gained further favor from the party.)

In a matter of days, we had seized classroom power, first by making use of the prestige of the old student council to win over the other students to our ranks. Numerically speaking, we were in a supe rior position. There was wide spread anti‐work‐team senti ment because the work team had always been so arrogant and insulting toward the stu dents.

I also relied on my own friendly relations with my schoolmates. When I had been deputy chairman of the stu dent council, I had never thrown my weight around and had always been conciliatory. So I succeeded in setting up an “anti‐work‐team organiza tion” in my class. We tried to befriend those students whose parents had previously held leadership positions in the school, using the slogan: “Pro tect parents, drive out the work team!” By doing this, we were able to win over many more followers.

In establishing control, I first proposed that the stu dent council be suspended and the cadres of the council join in with the students in their class activities. In short, I proposed that the council no longer be an independent au thority.

This approach convinced many students, for who would want his former equals to ride over his head now? The revolutionary preparatory committee, on the other hand, invariably assumed an uncom promising and arrogant atti tude, thus alienating a large number of students. The stu dents either passively delayed carrying out the committee's orders or boldly defied them. The committee became in creasingly unpopular and without real authority as a group. Meanwhile, I success fully covered up my attempt to build a power center around myself.

IN the circumstances, I felt that I had to name a few powerholders as “reactionary academic authorities” and “cow ghosts and snake de mons,” even though I was not very fair about it. I laid out the names of all 178 teachers and staff members of the school. The principal was my benefactor; he was already overthrown and naming him would not do any good. The deputy principal, Pai Chung hua, was an old‐time cadre member who had taken part in the Long March, but he was corrupt. I hate corrupt people and gangsters; such people are despised in a Communist society. Most of the people I named were of this type. In particular, I named people with peasant and worker backgrounds who had since “changed character”—abused their new authority as mem bers of the five red classes. I did so to avenge my family members—grandfather, father and uncles—who had lost their considerable property and jobs and land because of such scoundrels. All together, I named more than 20 people.

I avoided naming teachers I respected or members of the five black classes (landlords, rich peasants, counterrevolu tionaries, “bad elements” and rightists or the children of such people). I sympathized with them because we had the same fate. As a result, I was strongly opposed by those in my class with “five‐red” back grounds, who pointed out that this was “intentional class re venge.” However, these class mates were overruled because they were in the minority. (This was an exceptional characteristic of our school— students of the five black classes were in the over whelming majority.) At a meet ing, we decided to kick our “five‐red” students out of the class on the charge of be trayal. They later joined an other class, half of which belonged to the “five‐red” category.

The two classes became the rallying centers for all the high school students. At the peak, there were more than 300 students in our group and close to 200 in the other one; among them were students of an associated junior high school. Students who did not join either group maintained close contact with them.

At first, the rivalry between the groups was very pro nounced. The leaders often at tacked each other through polemics, and on rare occa sions there was even physical fighting. They competed in sponsoring meetings and in propaganda work. But by mid‐July the rivalry had eased greatly as attention shifted to a campaign to de stroy the “four olds.” [The campaign represented an in tensification of an earlier drive to destroy old thoughts, old culture, old customs, old habits. The signal to launch the campaign against the “four olds” was given by press editorials urging the rev olutionary youth to carry their struggle into society.]

Classroom power was con centrated in the hands of the leaders of the two groups. Jointly we set up the “black den of the cow ghosts and snake demons,” a prison con sisting of two to three rooms in a two‐story building on school grounds. About 60 teachers were imprisoned in the den, 20 to 30 in one room. We adopted a regular system involving guards, interroga tions and, toward the end, visiting times for families. The senior high students in the “leading groups” had the power to summon the “cow ghosts and snake demons” from the “black den.” Later a unified control was set up, and I and a member of the rev olutionary preparatory com mittee were put in charge of an eight‐man group. Any mem ber of the group could author ize interrogation. If a class wanted to summon a particu lar teacher, permission had to be secured from us first.

The interrogation of teach ers was both violent and non violent. I was for the non violent method. During the two‐month struggle I seldom struck anyone. I wanted to show others that I was a well brought‐up youth, not a row dy. In addition, I was able to substitute written attack for the use of sheer physical force. Of course, I, too, occasionally shouted, “Beat 'em up!” Sev eral teachers provide graphic examples of the cruel strug gles:

OUR physics teacher was thrown into the “black den” on charges of having been a “big landlord” and “old reac tionary.” He was condemned to hard labor day and night. He was a bit hard of hearing, and when his hearing aid was destroyed he could not hear very well. His tormentors accused him of “slyness” and “pretending to be deaf” and tortured him most cruelly. He could not endure the torture, so one morning when they made him sweep the third floor of a school building, he jumped out a window. I re member that morning. I had been sleeping in that building (having begun, with others, to live mostly on the school grounds) and, just as I woke up, heard a sound like some thing being dropped from a window. Shortly afterward, someone came and told us that Teacher Huang had com mitted suicide. We ran out and saw him on the ground. He was still able to talk, though he did not dare tell the truth, saying only that he had fallen. He was bleeding profusely, but people just stood around watching him as he lay there groaning. Finally two other “black gangsters” took him to the hospital and summoned his family.

The students charged his family with having gotten him to pretend suicide and forced one of its members to confess: “Huang was wrong in doing this. We must draw a clear line between him and us. We must struggle against him for taking this defiant action.” He died five days later. It was not until then that his family told everyone the truth: “We were forced to say what we said a few days ago. You must not misunderstand us. . . .”

TWO days after his death, the physics teacher's home was raided. “Revolutionary teachers and students,” as we Red Guards were then called, took his radio, his books, even his bank records. Some of them dug three feet into the ground and broke into the attic and the walls on the pretext of searching for opium. Actually, they were looking for gold because many families had hidden their jewelry or even gold bars around their houses or yards after the revolution.

I was one of the raiders, and I looked especially for material that I could use in further “struggles.” I found his diary and discovered, to my surprise, that this quiet person was compassionate and far‐sighted. Certainly, he did not have the “ugly face of a landlord,” nor were “each and every one of his blood vessels filled with peo ple's blood and sweat.” I also found that he had paid atten tion to my idle thoughts. He wrote: “This lad is worth cul tivating. It is a pleasure to teach such a student. The edu cation field has become dark er and darker during the last dozen years. Many times I have thought of quitting. It is only because of outstanding students like this that I can not give up.” My eyes filled with tears. I knew that I had lost a good teacher who had really cared about me.

Before we left, we ran sacked the house and sealed the doors despite the pleas of four members of the family who were on their knees. I was moved, particularly when I saw his son, who was about my age and who, because of all that had happened to his father, had scarcely been able to raise his head in school.

During the raid I seized a pair of binoculars belonging to his son. At the time, my de sire to keep them overshad owed my conscience. Later, I used the binoculars to watch Mao Tse‐tung during the Pe king audiences. On my return from Peking, I wanted to give them back, but by that time, the whereabouts of the son were no longer known to me. So I threw them into the sea, hoping that the churning waves would wash the stain from me.

Our solid‐geometry teacher was accused of being a “faith ful running dog of the Kuo mintang.” To me he had al ways been an old bookworm who had paid little attention to anything other than teach ing. He was a dedicated and fair‐minded teacher. Later, I found out that the crime had been fastened on him by a few students who had flunked his course. He was savagely beaten and kicked, then thrown into the “black den.”

OUR music teacher was an anti‐Communist. He was very well versed in music. Because of former carelessness in his speech, he was condemned as a “rightist trying to rebel” and was thrown to the ground “to be stepped on so that he would never turn over.” A fat man, he was punched in his face and belly and whipped over his buttocks. Then he and his wife, also a music teacher, were ordered to sing a duet: “We are the black gang.”

Our chemistry teacher once mentioned in class that the “mutual attraction of positive and negative electrons is like the union of man and woman.” He was ordered to take off his pants and give a demonstration for the amusement of his torturers. He had often stressed the im portance of getting more stu dents to enter the university, so he was condemned as a “bourgeois educator” who must be “brainwashed.” He was forced to confess how many students he had “poi soned” through the years, to eat insects, to play clown, to draw an ugly caricature of himself.

Our sports equipment su pervisor had been denounced as an “old rightist” during the 1957 antirightist campaign. Now this “old account” was to be settled anew. Since he was hunchbacked, he was abused for amusement. He was stripped of his back brace and tied to an iron bar in order that his hunchback be “cured.” He was ordered to climb down the stairway head first from the fourth floor. Then he was subjected to such abuse as having a student ride his back.

Our homeroom teacher was the only one who taught us who escaped abuse, largely because of my efforts. He once wrote me a long, moving letter that said: “Witnessing the struggle of the last few days, I still cannot believe it is true. It all feels like a night mare. We endure tension in daytime, terror at night. Many teachers have undergone tor tures beyond human endur ance. People have lost all their dignity and have wound up mentally disturbed. If not for the family, I would cer tainly take my own life. . .”

In reply to this letter, I asked him to write a “self examination,” which I edited four times and submitted to an “evaluation meeting.” At the meeting, I pointed out that he was taking part in the movement enthusiastically and that his “self‐examina tion” was very sincere. There was no objection, so he was saved.

There are too many other examples to be enumerated here. Those who were guilty of these deeds were not necessarily the torturers them selves — roughnecks with strong arms but little brains. The guilty ones were those who instigated the torture from behind the scenes. A work‐team member left in the school did his part, contribu ting this instruction: “It is a small matter to beat someone to death, but it is very im portant to conduct revolution, to uproot revisionism, to pre serve ‘redness.’ These ‘cow ghosts and snake demons’ are all antiparty, anti‐Socialist and anti‐Mao Tse‐tung thought. The more of them that die, the less peril there will be.”

The torturers were Instruct ed to say: “The country wants me to hit you, Chairman Mao wants me to hit you. Once you acquire the correct ideol ogy, you will no longer feel the pain.” Some “black gang sters” asked for a beating. This showed that they could take the initiative, and they were beaten less.

We invented the “self‐revo lution” and “mutual rev olution” methods, whereby the “black gangsters” were ordered to slap their own faces while repeating “I de serve death, I deserve death” or were ordered to fight each other as an example of using “poison to attack poison.”

Everything in daily life could be an inspiration to the torturer. Even holding chop sticks at meal time made one think how to use them as in struments of torture. Some students concentrated on tor ture all the time. It was quite the fad to hold small meetings for the “exchange of experi ence” on how to beat up people for pleasure.

I felt that these students were going too far. Even more serious, the girls were becom ing barbarous. They were hot tempered and merciless; they banged on the table and glared at people with round eyes. Once I overheard the kind of language they were using in interrogating the “black gang”: “son of a bitch,” “you stinking whore” and much more obscene words, which they must have learned from the boys. Later they learned to pinch and slap faces. Others even wanted to “compete” with the boys.

A few of us at the top did not have to beat others per sonally, but we did order sub ordinates to do the job. How ever, we had to guard against excesses, too, for the ultimate responsibility was still with the leader. I tried to curb excesses and was a bit in sympathy with those being tortured. But I was mainly looking ahead to being the first to get at the provincial education commissioner, Yu Keng‐wang, and become the vanguard of the rebels in the whole province.

An interesting aspect of this was that I had some minor grudges against Yu Keng wang. Once when she was at our school on an inspection tour she had lunch with me and a few others. I couldn't swallow the coarse, rice and put it aside. When she saw me doing that, she chided me and commented at a meeting, “Waste has become a serious problem here. Even the stu dent council leader indulged in waste.” I thought she had not given me “face” and I disliked her.

It turned out later that I was right in launching a struggle against Yu Keng‐wang, but I did not do so because I had listened to Mao Tse‐tung. This was a calculated risk and we won by sheer luck. If we had aimed at the wrong target— if Yu had been a Maoist—we would have been put down as “counterrevolutionaries.” Many times, we Red Guards had this kind of worry. In our struggles against the local cadres and military command ers, it was like making a bet with Mao—win lose.

MORE and more now, all I thought about was getting material to use in personal attacks. Because I believed that the struggle was primari ly a contest of intelligence, I always interrogated those of the “black gang” I had sum moned; I could not trust others to do it. I realized that physical torture alone would not do. The “black gangsters” might capitulate for a while, but the moment the torture stopped, they would again avoid telling the truth. There fore, I began to use a “soft approach.” I first selected a few prisoners and allowed them to go home. I worked out a set of regulations for special treatment. For ex ample, one who confessed more would get more rest and less labor, would get better food and would sleep in better quarters. This way there was incentive and competition. Each day, there might be someone allowed to move to a better place and this might very well be an incentive to others. Even more important was my use of persuasion.

I often talked to them pri vately and very sincerely, tell ing them that I was under pressure from my superiors and that I felt that I was get ting it from both sides. I also pointed out that Yu Keng wang was bound to topple, that no one would be able to save her and that I was not afraid of her taking revenge.

I did not deceive them; many “black gangsters” were allowed to go home once they had written their material, and some were even allowed to go home to write it, then return it within a given time. I received many appreciative letters praising me as “under standing and considerate” and hailing me as an “outstanding youth.” The flattery made me feel rather uneasy.

I BEGAN to try to develop my ability to handle all kinds of situations and to discipline myself rigidly. I set up my own motto: self‐confidence, self‐reliance, self‐discipline. I strove to shake off childish ness and set ambitious goals for myself. Every night I looked like a real boss, sitting in my office, wearing a coat and reading widely to in crease my knowledge, often late into the night. I particu larly paid attention to biog raphies of such world‐famous persons as Hitler, Mao Tse tung, Stalin, Sun Yat‐sen and Chiang Kai‐shek. I had several boxes of books that I had taken during raids on librar ies, among which were many banned by the Communists as reactionary. Many of my schoolmates went crazy over the lustful novels. Since they had never read such books be fore, they became addicted to them and talked about them at night with gusto. Some even wanted to practice what they read in them.

In the face of all this, I felt that self‐discipline was of great importance. In this state of anarchy, it was very easy for one to go astray. In deed, this campaign was a test of a very different kind of strength. Most of the stu dents felt that “youth comes only once in a lifetime, so one should make the most of it” and that one should make the most of the freedom allowed during this “rebellion.” How ever, those with ambition were thinking differently.

I do not deny that I was not stable enough at the time. Surrounded by pretty student secretaries and nurses who lived with us at school, I found that socializing was un avoidable. But the flirtatious and giggling girls sometimes made me apprehensive. I found it difficult to get my orders carried out. I was sick of all this and felt these girls were low‐class. Flirtations in the office struck me as irre sponsible. However, I didn't stop these people among them selves at night and during rest time, thinking that the more mixed up they were, the better.

In mid‐July, seven of us, five boys and two girls, un officially set up a “psycholog ical study” group to exchange the day's experiences each evening. We avoided mention ing the tortures, but we re garded torture as an art (just as the Nazis did when they skinned the rose‐tattooed French prisoners and used the skin to make lampshades). We talked almost casually, but many “black gangsters” were destined to suffer torn skin and flesh. For example, we would talk about fear. Why fear? Is it good to be fearful? Gradually, we discovered that the various responses we had from “black gangsters” could be of value to us in working out methods to deal with other prisoners. Thus, we might say to a comrade: “Use method No. X.” This is what Mao called “the right medi for disease.”

This kind of “psychological study” group could not exist openly because it was a very serious crime—it had not been authorized through regular channels. But we did not stop and the group eventually grew to about 30. Indeed, we found our study inadequate. For example, there were many methods we could not test.











46–54‐UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL such as drugs to control the prisoner's nervous system. In the course of our study and practice, we seldom paid any attention to popular slurs di rected against us: “kids who struggle against adults,” “Red terrorist animals.” We all but forgot that our targets were our teachers and elders.

EACH had his own methods. Some advocated the use of corporal torture, others were for mental torment, threats and blackmail, still others were for using a combination of the strong and soft approaches.

I always tried to use a new method and never copied those of others. I often asked unexpected questions so that the person under interroga tion could not use prepared or stereotyped answers. Mao's motto, “Never fight an unpre pared war,” was not the rule in my interrogations. I like being casual and flexible.

I was proud of myself and loved to show off. I always wanted the prisoner to yield to my arrogance. If I found him stronger, I often got mad. Once I went so far as to order the guards away and close the door so as to have a “heart‐to‐heart” chat with the prisoner. But he turned out to be a hot‐tempered man. Pressed, he exploded, “I'll kill you first,” grabbed a chair and came right at me. I tried to avoid being hit as we cir cled in the room and realized that I had been neglectful in that I did not even have a weapon for self‐defense. At last the guards heard the noise, rushed in and subdued him. Luckily, I had escaped injury, but the office was a shambles and a small vase that I liked was smashed to pieces. I was burning mad and shouted, “Beat him, beat him!”

By the time I had calmed down, I heard the fellow groaning. Still, I wasn't satis fied. I had him dragged out and questioned him again until I felt totally satisfied. An hour later, as I quieted down, I regretted my lack of patience and loss of compo sure. I felt bad that he had been so brutally beaten and wanted to apologize but was prevented from doing so by my fear of loss of prestige.

THIS kind of psychological warfare lasted for two months, and I was surprised by the great change in myself during such a short period. My care free student days and ado lescence were over. Although I was only 16, I felt I was now a man, with a man's share of responsibility.



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