Monday, November 06, 2006

Life and Death in Shanghai

If you're not familiar with the insanity and brutality of communist China under Mao Zedong, pick up a copy of Life and Death in Shanghai by Nien Cheng. This extraordinary woman survived to write the story of her 6 and a half years of imprisonment in China's cultural revolution of 1966-76. With the help of her Christian faith and mental strength, she steadfastly refused to make a false confession, tormenting her tormentors with her stubborn resolve.

After her release, she was closely monitored by neighbors, her party-appointed maid, old friends pressured to spy on her, and a "student" of hers (she taught English). All these people repeatedly set traps for her, hoping she would say something to incriminate herself. She eventually learned that her long ordeal was the result of the power struggle at the highest levels of the party, where Mao's wife, Jiang Qing was trying her best to discredit Zhou Enlai to secure her succession of Mao.

The communist party eventually declared the cultural revolution to be a flawed policy, but all the official blame was placed on Jiang Qing and her comrades in the so-called gang of four, sparing Mao the brunt of the blame and perpetuating his personality cult.

No comments: