heroic deed.” Leaving the youngster dying on the street in a pool of
blood, she walked up to a man peddling ice-suckers and clenched the
bloody dagger between her teeth while she fumbled in her pockets for
change. “Ten ice-suckers for Chairman Mao's true Red Guards!” she
said proudly. The peddler was so frightened that he dared not take
money for the ice-suckers. The dead boy turned out to have belonged
to the same faction as the killer. (Wu 1993, 206-7)
Hundreds of thousands of people met with violent deaths in China
during the Cultural Revolution. Nien Cheng's daughter Meiping was
murdered in Shanghai during the Cultural Revolution, and after the
10-year nightmare finally ended, Nien Cheng began to seek justice
and resolution of Meiping's case. She wrote many petitions seeking re-
dress until a government official finally asked her to stop writing them
and to be patient.
“I have come here today to tell you to stop writing petitions. In due
course your case will be reviewed, since it is the policy of the Party
and government to review all cases of the Cultural Revolution.”
“How much longer will I have to wait?” I asked him.
“Do you know how many cases we have to deal with in Shanghai?
Ten thousand people died unnaturally in this city. Their deaths were
all related directly or indirectly to the Gang of Four and their
followers. Many times that number were imprisoned. Many are still
detained. Our first priority must be to examine these cases immedi-
ately and to release the innocent people. Then we will examine the
cases of those who are out of prison and are still living, like yourself.
After that we will come to the cases of those who are dead, like your
What he said seemed reasonable. I had not realized the magnitude of
the problem facing the officials charged with reviewing the cases.
“It's good of you to take time off to visit me today. I want to thank
you and the government you represent. I must say your visit has some-
what restored my confidence. You are very different from the officials
I have had to deal with during the past ten years.”
“Of course I'mdifferent. I've only recently been rehabilitated myself,”
the man said with a twist of his mouth that might have been a bitter
smile. (Cheng 1986, 488)
Things became ominous in the summer of 1967 when entire ship-
ments of weapons disappeared and mob rule prevailed in the southern
Chinese city of Guangzhou. When it appeared that the PLA itself might
also be sliding into chaos, Mao finally concluded that his Cultural
Revolution had gone too far and tried to restrain it. When he toured