Hua Dezhongâ€™s Journal By Max Li
Introduction The Cultural Revolution of China was a great age of change for people of all social rank. The rich, the poor, the intellectuals, and the poorly-educated alike all had their lives changed forever by the conquests and accomplishments of the Communist Party of China. Among the group of people defined as intellectuals, there was a certain Hua Dezhong.
Teaching at one of the most prestigious and respected universities, The Beijing University, Hua could be recognized as one of the most intelligent and well-educated people in the country. While this fact seems great today, during the Cultural Revolution, intellectuals were recognized as a threat to the Communist Party. To the CCP, these intellectuals may very well be supporters of the capitalists and part of the anti-party. Hua Dezhong, regardless of his innocence, was forced to endure the strenuous events of the Cultural Revolution.
Less than a week prior to his first journal entry, a mainly student-formed group called the Red Guards were created to fulfill the will of the Chairman. They would build anything and destroy anything, in order to carry out the wishes of Mao. Amongst their â€œenemiesâ€? lay the intellectuals, including Hua Dezhong. While the chairman himself may not have wanted things to go out of hand, the Red Guards soon went out of control, and became a force that not even the great chairman himself could control.
May 20th 1966
In the beginning, when it first began, I was inspired by the new China in our chairmanâ€™s eyes. The things he preached, about how Communism was our key to happiness and perfection seemed flawless then, and brought nothing but admiration and respect from me. It was supposed to be the beginning to be a kinder, greater, and perfect life for us all. Of course, it seemed like a long shot, but to us, Chairman Mao was the the type of man that could make even the craziest of fairy tales become reality. It started out great, it really did. There were no more signs of discrimination or inequality. Everyone had become comrades, and there was nothing more important than working with one another. We had become nothing short of a perfect society. Slowly and gradually though, things began to change. The shares that people received grew less and less, and the urges to demolish the anti-party and the capitalists grew stronger and stronger. A few days ago, on May 16th, what was named as the â€œ5.16 Circularâ€? began to call the students of the country to arms, and told them to destroy the anti-party and those who defied the CCP. In response to the call of duty, The students formed the Red Guards, and began to skip school in order to fulfill the conquests and promises of our great Chairman. Even with these new changes, I still continued to follow and support the Communist Party with all of my heart.
Our Great Chairman
Over time, the student attendance rate of the Beijing University began to drastically drop in number. At first, there were 60 students in the Class of Architecture in which I teach, then 40, then 10, and finally, only 5 students remained. Of course, I knew of the reason of this sudden event. With the passing of each day, the Red Guards grew stronger and stronger, gaining more and more support throughout the country. Though the teachers and myself do not fully approve of this new development, as it meant the young students would be lacking their necessary education, we had no power against the full support of our Chairman. With even our great leader in full support of this organization, I have no choice but to sit and watch.
The future of New China may hold many changes and developments. Though I have no idea what may become of us all in the future, especially with this strengthening military force, the Communist Party of China will forever have my full support, as I know that the path through equality is always the path to justice, and perfection.
The flag of the Communist Party
October 31st 1966 In the span of a few weeks, the simple notion that all intellectuals may hold some connection to the capitalists and the anti-party has grown, expanded, and mutated beyond the control of even our Chairman. The Red Guards with members that are, or used to be, my own students, have multiplied drastically in quantity, and begun carrying out actions that they believe to be the will of the our Chairman. Whether or not our leader intended to have the Red Guards to behave in such a manner, the events that occurred today have convinced me of a thought that, if ever spoken aloud, would mean the death of myself. This entire country has gone completely mad, to a degree that even our great Chairman cannot restore order upon. Earlier today, as my fellow colleagues and I were preparing for the afternoon classes, we were expecting yet another near-empty classroom. Of course, we knew the reason of the lack of attendance of our students. They had all left school to participate in the Red Guards. Though none of my fellow teachers, including myself, supported this as it meant our students would be missing out on essential knowledge, we had no power compared to the will of Mao. If Mao wanted it, all could do nothing but to oblige, whether they liked it or not. In the past, we all supported his conquests and alterations with glee, but recently I have begun to feel certain doubts about the integrity of his actions.
The Red Guards rallying.
To my surprise, as I walked across the hallway and caught a glimpse of the Chemistry Lab, the teacher of which was Lin Shao, I noticed that the doorway was flooded with over 50 students! Why had these students, who had been away fulfilling the will of Mao not 5 days ago, come back all of a sudden? Suddenly, I heard a few shouts, objects being thrown, and a devastating thud. The door swung open once again, and I saw Lin being dragged by the collar of his shirt across the floor, face bloodied and arms bruised. Still frozen in fear, I could do nothing but watch from a distance. In a mighty swing, Linâ€™s own student, his favorite one in fact, slammed him against the wall. With one more swift kick, Lin lay unconscious against the wall, sitting in a pool of his own blood. Then, almost as quickly as they came, the students left. Though I am not entirely sure what caused this, and why the students were so provoked, I can only assume that what is happening can only worsen. If students as intelligent and sensible as the students of the Beijing University have begun to cause havoc, what will become of the rest of this country? Will our Chairman be able to pull this country out of the darkness in which it currently lies, or will the Republic of China plunge into an even more grim state?
One of the many signs encouraging people to attack intellectuals.
September 20th 1971 I cannot believe this. Though I have had my doubts before regarding the integrity of The Great Leap Forward, only now am I fully convinced that the Communist Party, the organization that includes myself, has begun to crumble apart.
It was quite sudden, actually. Before it all happened, things were seemingly taking a turn for the better. Our Chairman was watching over all that took place in China, and made sure events took their designated courses. His Right-HandMan in all of this, Lin Biao, was also helping to clean up the faults that had been laid upon this country, whilst also enjoying his power. The Red Guards had taken their attention off us intellectuals, fighting amongst themselves, and we were no longer harassed and attacked for our beliefs. The future was bright for all, and it seemed that it was going to be alright. However, suddenly, the attention of the entire population of the Peopleâ€™s Republic of China was turned to the breaking news that was beginning to sweep the country. Lin Biao, Maoâ€™s most trusted and favored subordinate, actually attempted to wage an assassination against our Chairman. In addition, if this was not stunning enough news, Lin was killed in a plane crash whilst attempting to escape to Mongolia.
Lin Biao in one of his many posters.
The reason behind these stunning events, I do not know of. What could possibly drive a man with as much power and security as Lin Biao to attempt to assassinate Mao and try so desperately to escape China confuses me. However, it also brings to focus a different question. If Mao made a mistake in trusting this man with power, what if there are more? What if every single one of our Chairman’s “careful” judgments and decisions are all mistakes and faults, and will lead to the downfall of us all?
Now, unfortunately, there is nothing that can be done by me to help. It is far beyond my power to attempt to heal this broken country, and my only hope is in watching our Chairman either fix this issue or possibly worsen it. In the meantime, I will have to remain part of the CCP. Though I have already lost nearly all hope in the power that Mao possesses, it is the safe option to remain and lay low for a while, even if it means lying about my beliefs and ideals.
A photo of Lin Biao’s plane crash.
April 20th At first, worsening situations of the past actually begin lighten. According to numerous government announcements and a few believable rumors, Chinaâ€™s economy gradually, then swiftly lifted from the grave condition it was in, through opening China up to free market economic reforms and Western style capitalism. Though these actions went directly against the beliefs of the Communist Party, it still succeeded in making this country a more economically stable place to live. The cause of this sudden shift in events: Premier Deng Xiaoping.
Originally meant to succeed Zhou Enlai as premier and merely maintain the current state in which China was currently in, Deng Xiaoping made changes and alterations to the Peopleâ€™s Republic of China that was far beyond what any of use expected. Sure, perhaps a small change here and there was expected of a man granted so much power, but completely renovating the ways of the Chinese Government seems, even to an openminded person like myself, to be a little on the extreme side. However, this does not strike me as the most startling fact. The notion that stunned me the most is that Deng Xiaoping, a man second only to the great Chairman himself, directly contradicted the will and desire of Mao. Was the aim of this revolution not to eliminate all traces of the capitalist party?
Premier Deng Xiaoping
However, it seemed that I was not the only one who felt this way. With Deng Xiaoping directly ordering the Communist Party’s worst foe to be brought into this country, it sparked the anger and protest of many, but most importantly, the group that had recently come to be called the “Gang of Four”. The group consisted of four very powerful individuals; Jiang Qing, Zhang Chunqiao, Yao Wenyuan, and Wang Hongwen, who altogether formed a formidable force that could even be comparable to the chairman himself. Seeing the Anti-Socialist motives behind Deng’s actions, on April 5th the Gang of Four had Premier Deng Xiaoping removed, through what means I am not sure. Now, with China under the rule of both our Chairman, as well as an equally powerful force, I truly do not know what will come of this country. It is not unwise to believe that these two forces will not let each other be. When two unstoppable forces collide, one must fall to make way for the other. I can only hope that the one that remains, will be the one that does the best for this country.
September 15th 1976 I can never look upon this Earth in the same way ever again. Not more than a week ago, the world was as right as it always was, but suddenly, I feel a great feeling of emptiness in my heart, as I know that the world has lost a great man, perhaps one of the greatest of all. As of September 9th, 1976, the Peopleâ€™s Republic of China lost its beloved leader and respected comrade, Chairman Mao Zedong.
According to the numerous reports I have read in the Da Zi Bao on display outside of the Beijing University, his death was the result of a tremendously fierce heart attack, though I cannot be completely sure of the legitimacy of the information released. Of course, the entire country already knew that our Chairman was old. So old that many were surprised that he was still alive at age 82. Taking his age into perspective, we all knew that his untimely death would soon come. However, none wished for it to happen, for he had done the undoable, and pulled China out of the darkness and into a bright new future. Now that he is really gone for good, I realize that no one in the generations to come, no matter how intelligent or knowledgeable, will be able to do what this man has accomplished, as our Chairman truly was a man like no other.
Da Zi Bao outside of the Beijing University Campus.
With Mao’s death, there was an empty “vacuum” of power that opened, poising as a position for any worthy man to take. However, the Gang of Four, seeing their opposition in power fall, took the time to seize power. Though there have been no major changes or alterations so far made by the Gang of Four, I still have much to worry about, as I have heard that they are nothing but cruel, sadistic, and powerhungry people. However, there is still a part of me that is convinced that nothing can go wrong. No matter how much power that the Gang of Four has, or what changes they make, they will still not be able to undo what our great Chairman has given us all. He built us a country that we can live in, and his death provided us with his ultimate legacy. He has given us the People’s Republic of China, a country we can all be proud of.
Chairman Mao, a man like no other.
Conclusion: Following the death of Mao Zedong, a new man was appointed the position of Chairman, Hua Guofeng. However, even as the vacuum of power left by Mao’s passing was sealed, the Gang of Four was still an extremely fearful and powerful organization. Their many cruel acts of violence and torture to achieve their goals had become known across the country, and they were hated by nearly all. Seeing the Gang of Four as an unnecessary organization, a sadistic group, and a threat to his power, Hua Guofeng immediately had them removed from power. All members were tried, found guilty, and jailed for the rest of their lives. As the government of the People’s Republic of China finally stabilized, and most traces of corruption were eliminated, the Cultural Revolution of China finally drew to a close.
Over the course of a few years, Mao had completely renovated China’s customs, beliefs, ideas, and habits. As a result of the expulsion of capitalism, China’s economy was completely destroyed. Also, due to the many students ignoring their education in order to enter the Red Guards and carry out the will of their Chairman, many of the people of the next generation were severely uneducated. This meant that the intelligence rate drastically decreased in one generation of people, as they chose not to attend school.
In addition to the concept of a communist, equal world being conceptually flawed, perhaps one of the greatest reason that led to the ultimate downfall of the Communist Party was that each member lacked faith in one another. For example, Lin Biao believed Mao to be a power hungry madman, while Mao believed that Lin Biao was a threat to the communist party. While none of the two were guilty of the crimes, their suspicion caused irreversible events. Lin Biao tried to eliminate his foe, but with failure, had no choice but to escape (unfortunately dying in a plane crash trying to escape). This was not the only situation in which one party lost faith in another, but sometimes one may be right to suspect. In some instances of the Cultural Revolution, it was power that corrupted. Power can corrupt beyond anyone’s anticipation, and as the quote says, Absolute power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
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