Orphans of Communism I Am Your Prisoner For Life

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I don't remember seeing my grandfather, but I must have done so, since I have a picture of him in my mind. His forehead was furrowed, his back was bent, and his smile was forced.

In my whole life, I heard about my grandfather only twice. The first time was when I visited one of my mother's sisters. She told me that my grandfather was not cruel to his tenants, hence he was not punished by the Communists when they seized power in China. This aunt, incidentally, who told me about my grandfather, had helped my mother to escape from her family and to go to school.

Before the communist revolution, girls were not supposed to go to school, not even to elementary school. Hence many old Chinese women are illiterate.

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In fact, many young Chinese women, especially those who live in the countryside, never go to school and are illiterate, although hardly any young Chinese men are illiterate. The second time that I heard about my grandfather was when he died. He was alone at the time of his death.

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According to Chinese tradition, my mother and my uncle should have attended my grandfather's funeral, because my mother was the first child of the family and my uncle was the only son of the family. Because my grandfather was a landlord, however, my mother wanted to conceal her relationship with him, and she didn't go to his funeral.

My uncle disapproved of this, and there was friction between my uncle and my mother. Since my grandfather was a landlord, and thus, in the eyes of the Party, a criminal, my mother felt that she had to work harder than her colleagues.

As for my grandmother, she too tried to compensate for her association with a criminal; she humbled herself in front of my father, and treated him as her boss. At any rate, my earliest memory is of being left alone, when I was three years old, while my parents and my brother went to an opera.

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My mother gave me cookies as a consolation. In , relations between Russia and China turned sour. Russia recalled the technical experts that it had sent to China, and demanded that China repay loans that Russia had made to China. So there was poverty in China, and food was scarce.

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My brother and I weren't living with my parents. My parents were busy with their careers, so they sent us to a boarding school. Meals at the boarding school were meager. I remember that teachers at the boarding school asked young boys to climb trees and to shake the branches, so that flowers would fall to the ground.

The flowers were then collected and sent to the kitchen, where they were used to supplement our meals. During the winter, our school had no heat, and neither did my parents' apartment. To keep warm, we wore heavy coats in the daytime, and at night we put coats and sweaters and pants on top of our quilt.

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The coats and sweaters and pants would gradually fall onto the floor during the course of the night. If we were cold during the night, we'd get up and re-arrange our clothes on the quilt. As a rule, my brother and I went home only on weekends, but one day my brother knocked at my window when I was napping, and suggested that we go home and get an apple.

When we got home, my parents were having their mid-day nap, a custom in China. We woke them up, and they gave each of us an apple. Then we went back to school. With my mother and brother. Once, when I was six, my gym teacher left the room, and I suggested to my classmates that we push the desks together, form a stage, and perform an opera. My classmates liked my suggestion.

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While we were performing the opera, the gym teacher returned, and asked, "whose idea was this? I was a good student in elementary school. When I was in third grade, my teacher nominated me to be a member of a group called the Young Pioneers. Although members of this group were supposed to be nine years old and I was only eight years old, I became a member.

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My family. I'm on the left, my younger sister is in the middle. I was excited when I heard that we were moving to Beijing, and my friends were also excited, since we had heard so much about Beijing. We arrived in Beijing on February We were met at the train station by an official of the intelligence institute, and driven to our new home. Our new home was in the intelligence institute; in China, one's home is usually in or near one's place of work, and one usually rents one's home from one's employer.

When we were approaching the brightly-lit institute, my brother thought that we were in Tian An Men Square, where we had been hoping to see Chairman Mao. Our school textbook told us that one could see Chairman Mao standing on the balcony in Tian An Men Square, and we thought that Chairman Mao stood there perpetually.

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However, the Industrial Revolution had shown that nothing is fixed or immutable. In , his father was arrested for praising Studebaker, Dodge, Chevrolet, Ford, and other American vehicles. He was most remarkable in his appearance. The wearer of this tattoo was killed in an attack on a militiaman policeman. He was from a social democratic family, not communist but social democratic. To prepare for the fourth and final season of The Good Place , brush up on five important moral philosophy concepts that you might have missed. The autopsy was carried out by students at the Military Medical Academy.

My brother and I were disappointed that we arrived in Beijing late at night, since we knew that Chairman Mao would not be standing on the balcony in Tian An Men Square late at night — he would be asleep, like everybody else! The institute where my father and mother worked was located in a suburb west of Beijing. It was surrounded by rice fields, and our neighbors were mostly peasants. The peasant children didn't go to the same school as the institute children. A wide gulf separated peasant children from institute children, a gulf that persisted when we grew older.

When peasant children encountered institute children, fights and rock-throwing often occurred. As soon as I entered primary school, I discovered that a child from a little city like Hefei was given little respect. To make matters worse, I myself was little for an eight-year-old. I was seldom included in my classmates' activities. I was not listened to when friends got together.

I was not elected the head of a group of Young Pioneers, although my teacher thought that I deserved to be elected.

July 28, 2012

Another factor that contributed to my inferior position among my classmates was the position of my parents in the institute. The position of one's parents in the institute affected one's own position in the school. Those whose parents were important people in the institute were important people in the school, but my parents weren't important people in the institute.

I wanted to do everything that the other girls did. Since the other girls cycled, I wanted to cycle, too, but I didn't know how, and my family didn't own a bike on which I could learn. Day after day, I borrowed a bike from a friend, and practiced cycling. Finally my father bought a bike, but it was a large bike, made for a man, with a horizontal bar from the handlebars to the seat.

I rode this bike with my leg under the bar; I became so proficient at this that I could carry a friend on the back of the bike. Since the other girls swam, I wanted to swim, too, but I didn't know how to swim when I arrived in Beijing. My mother taught me how to swim at a lake in the Summer Palace, a lake that was made by hand in the nineteenth century in order to provide recreation for the Imperial family. The other girls often swam in this lake. They could swim from one side of the lake to the other, but I couldn't.