No Words Wasted Sale
 
 

Special Offers see all

Enter to WIN a $100 Credit

Subscribe to PowellsBooks.news
for a chance to win.
Privacy Policy

Visit our stores


    Recently Viewed clear list


    Original Essays | January 12, 2015

    Christopher Scotton: IMG Five Hundred Mountains Destroyed for a @*&%$! Allegory!



    I found a hole in the perimeter fence on a Sunday when the haul trucks were idle and I could work my way up the shoulder of mountain undetected.... Continue »
    1. $18.20 Sale Hardcover add to wish list

      The Secret Wisdom of the Earth

      Chris Scotton 9781455551927

    spacer
Qualifying orders ship free.
$3.95
List price: $15.95
Used Trade Paper
Ships in 1 to 3 days
Add to Wishlist
Qty Store Section
1 Beaverton World History- China

Red China Blues: My Long March from Mao to Now

by

Red China Blues: My Long March from Mao to Now Cover

ISBN13: 9780385482325
ISBN10: 0385482329
Condition: Standard
All Product Details

Only 1 left in stock at $3.95!

 

 

Excerpt

Ten days after my reprieve, Cadre Huang surprised us by announcing we were going to the Beijing Number One Machine Tool Factory for fifty days of labor. Erica and I let out a cheer. We had been lobbying for months for a chance at thought reform. For foreign students like us, hard labor was an honor. In my case in particular, it meant I was no longer persona non grata.

According to Mao, everyone needed physical labor. For class enemies, it was a punishment. For ordinary people, it was an inoculation against bourgeois thinking. For intellectuals, sweating with the proletariat was both a punishment and a prophylactic. In one year, Scarlets class had already been through mandatory stints of kaimen banxue, or open-door schooling, at a farm, a factory, a seaport and a military base.

The Number One Machine Tool Factory, which made lathes, was one of six model factories directly under the political control of Mao and his radical wife. In 1950, Mao had sent his eldest son there to work incognito as deputy Party secretary. In 1966, Number One was the factory considered politically reliable enough to send Workers Propaganda Teams into Beijing University.

Erica, our teachers and I shared one small room in a dingy workers dormitory. The toilet stalls down the hall were so disgusting I learned to breathe through my mouth. Each morning, we ignored the first, ear-splitting 5 a.m. bell and got up with the 6 a.m. one. We washed in groggy silence, then donned coarse work suits, stiff denim caps and canvas work gloves with seams so thick they gave me blisters. It was still dark when we stumbled outside to board a city bus for the fifteen-minute ride to the factory.

Number One, a sprawling collection of low-lying ugly brick buildings in southeast Beijing, was originally a munitions factory. The Chinese government saw to it that the proletariat lived better than intellectuals. As “workers,” we now could shower every day, instead of just twice a week. And unlike the slop served at the Big Canteen, the factory dining halls provided a wide selection of dumplings, noodles, breads and stir-fried dishes.

I was “apprenticed” to Master Liu, a fortyish man with a perpetually anxious look on his face, probably because he was supposed to teach me how to use a lathe. According to socialist etiquette, I called him Master Liu and he called me Little Wong. He had typical class-enemy looks — sallow skin, shifty eyes and a scrawny build — but in fact he was a kindly man with a mania for playing basketball. Under his influence, I joined the womens team, where my towering five-foot, three-inch height was an asset.

In the middle of the first afternoon, Master Liu told me to start tidying up to get ready for a political meeting. Wiping the gunk off my hands with oily rags, I was beside myself with excitement; Beijing University had always barred me from political study. I joined about a dozen workers sitting in a circle on little folding stools. A middle-aged worker cleared his throat. “Today we are going to discuss with what attitude we should receive the opening of Beijings Sixth Labor Union Congress. Please, everyone actively speak out.”

I looked around expectantly. Granted, it wasnt the worlds sexiest topic, but what would the proletariat have to say? Nothing, it turned out. There was an awkward silence. Finally, a young worker in stained denim spoke up.

“Uh, uh, the proletariat, uh, um, the dictatorship of the proletariat, er, the proletariat is the leading class. It must lead everything.” He stopped, unsure of what to say next. He reddened slightly.

“Speak out,” said the middle-aged worker, nodding encouragingly.

“Uh, well, I think the way we should receive the opening of Beijings Sixth Labor Union Congress is to, ah, um, study Marxism! Study Marxism-Leninism! Yes, to correctly receive the opening we must study Marxism-Leninism,” he said. He sat back, looking relieved. Others, all men, began to talk in monotones. Many stared at the patch of concrete floor in front of them. The first worker had set the tone. Each speaker exhorted everyone else to study Marxism-Leninism. Even I felt my eyes glazing over. When the discussion leader finally announced the meeting was over, people bolted for the door.

That first night, waiting in line in the canteen, I spotted a commotion ahead of me. Two young men had faced off, their noses inches apart.

“You turtles egg!” one of them screamed, using the ancient Chinese word for bastard.

“I fuck your mothers cunt!” the other yelled back, using a more contemporary phrase.

At that, the motherfucker slapped the turtles egg, who responded by heaving a bowl of steaming dumplings in the others face. Someone threw a punch, and they began fighting in earnest until bystanders pulled them apart. I had a feeling my Chinese was going to take a great leap forward at the factory.

What Our Readers Are Saying

Add a comment for a chance to win!
Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Sari, November 20, 2011 (view all comments by Sari)
I adore this book. It's is everything a good memoir should be: funny, informative, and wise. Not only would I recommend this book to anyone, but if I were rich, I would buy copies and hand it out. It's simply excellent!
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)

Product Details

ISBN:
9780385482325
Author:
Wong, Jan
Publisher:
Anchor Books
Location:
Toronto ;
Subject:
Historical
Subject:
Biography
Subject:
Women
Subject:
China
Subject:
Historical - General
Subject:
Asia - China
Subject:
Far eastern
Subject:
China Social conditions 1949-
Subject:
Social conditions
Subject:
China Politics and government 1949-
Subject:
Biography-Women
Copyright:
Edition Number:
Pbk. ed.
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
19970531
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Yes
Pages:
416
Dimensions:
8.22x5.56x1.05 in. .81 lbs.

Other books you might like

  1. Deng Xiaoping and the Making of... Used Trade Paper $8.00
  2. The Private Life of Chairman Mao
    Used Trade Paper $10.50
  3. Thirty Years in a Red House : a... Used Trade Paper $19.00
  4. Red Azalea Used Trade Paper $2.13
  5. Women, the Family & Peasant... Used Trade Paper $23.00
  6. Gender and the South China Miracle Used Trade Paper $8.50

Related Subjects

Biography » Historical
Biography » Women
History and Social Science » Asia » China » Peoples Republic 1949 to Present
History and Social Science » World History » China

Red China Blues: My Long March from Mao to Now Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$3.95 In Stock
Product details 416 pages Anchor Books/Doubleday - English 9780385482325 Reviews:
spacer
spacer
  • back to top

FOLLOW US ON...

     
Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.