Wei Jingsheng Foundation News and Article Release Issue: A205-W101



Release Date: May 14, 2006



Topic: In Memory of My Mother on Mother's Day (Part of Wei Jingsheng' Memoir) -- by Wei Jingsheng

标题:母亲节忆母亲及其它 - 魏京生 (魏京生生平回忆节选)


Original Language Version: Chinese (Chinese version at the end)



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In Memory of My Mother on Mother's Day (Part of Wei Jingsheng's Memoir)

-- by Wei Jingsheng



I never joined the Chinese Communist Party.  However, when I was young, I called Jiang Qing, Mao Zedong's wife, "Auntie."  This is the past that is not deniable.  And there is no need to deny this fact.  Neither closeness nor remoteness can trump principle. 


Soon after the Communists took power in 1949, Mao's family and mine were neighbors at the Summer Palace in Beijing.  During the Cultural Revolution, my mother burned many photographs of Jiang Qing cradling me in her arms when was a little.  I said to my mom, "These aren't taboo.  What are you doing burning them?"  My mother said, "I don't want to have any relationship with her.  I look down at her for her conduct.  Remember: if there's ever a day when we're in dire straits, we must not look for her help even if we need protection.  That would make me disgusted."  I laughed then and I agreed to my mother.  My mother was one who knew clearly what she loved and hated. 


Then I asked my mother about the relationship between Mao's family and mine.  My mother had the best words for MAO AnQing (note by the editor: Mao Zedong's eldest son who was killed in the Korean War); MAO Zedong came second, and Jiang Qing was the worst.  Both women came from Qingdao, it had truly been a while since my mother and Jiang Qing were close like sisters.  Yet, she was no different than Mao Zedong's nearby aids, who quickly lost their tolerance for that real actress who treated all of real life as a play.  Of course, before Jiang Qing dared to bully my mother around, my mother had already respectfully kept her distance from her.  Thus, when Jiang Qing was arrested (in 1978), it's not a coincidence that there were no aids or security guards to protect her.


My mother recalled that at that time notions of rank were already beginning to form in the Communist Party, so when senior officers saw a minor cadre like her (a deputy section chief), those who knew her personally would nod to her, but those who didn't would pretend that they hadn't seen her.  But to the least, Mao ZeDong was one of a few highest senior officers who would still ask about others' well being, or at least greet them.  She said that at that point, she felt that the Communist Party was changing and was no longer like it was before, where they would "love the people like their children, and where officers and soldiers were equal (as the Chinese Communists' slogan)."  It wasn't like the ideal of a people's party and army of the sons of the people.


Mao AnYing had just come back from the Soviet Union at that time.  Mao Zedong said that although Mao AnYing got good grades, he had just learned a few foreign playthings only, and that if he didn't understand Chinese culture, he would still be useless in the future.  Mao stipulated this son to quickly take lessons on the ancient Four Books and Five Classics of Confucianism.  AnYing didn't understand the content of the texts and went to ask his father.  Mao said, "I don't have the time to give you classes on this, and furthermore, I don't often live outside the city.  Next door, there is Mr. Wei, who was a schoolteacher by trade, and who is an expert on the texts.  Ask him to teach you."  Mao ZeDong had Jiang Qing pay a personal visit to my parents for the arrangement.  At that time, Jiang Qing and my mother still called each other "sister."  The only good thing my mother had to say about Jiang Qing was, "I have never seen a better stepmother; she treated her step-children by Mao's ex-wives even better than her own child."


From then on, whenever Mao AnYing saw my father's car at home, he would come to our home to attend his class.  When he came, he would always ask my mother, "does the leading cadre have time today?  If he is busy, I could come the next time."  When departing, Mao AnYing would always bow (to my father), and say, "I've wasted so much of your time, and have troubled Teacher Du (my mother has surname Du from her father) as well.  I'm really sorry."  From the first time to the last time, he would always be just as polite.  My mother said, "He was like one of the Japanese POWs I used to be in charge of.  He wasn't like a typical Chinese, and even less was he like the CCP Central Committee Military Commission people with their soldier-like, bandit attitude."


She then sighed, saying, "If AnYing were still alive, Chairman Mao wouldn't have indulged Jiang Qing so much in her defiance of both human and divine laws.  Chairman Mao has been irritated by Jiang Qing from early on; the one he likes the most is AnYing."  I immediately ridiculed her womanly views, saying that Jiang Qing only helped Mao commit his bad deeds, and only you women would like AnYing's effeminate manner.  My mother, smiling, scolded me, saying, "That sounds like something you labor-reform brutes would say.  This way, you will never find yourself a wife."  On political issues, I was always the "opposition faction" to my parents' views.  We went from me having to admit that they were right at the beginning; to the point there they had to admit that I was right.  After I was sent to jail, my father was my first line of fans.  He would refuse all those of his old comrades-in-arms, friends, or officers who said bad things about me to visit him.  Every day, he would eavesdrop on "enemy broadcasting stations" to hear news about me, just like the rule set by the Deputy Commander-in-Chief Lin Biao (who revolted and was killed in 1972 but said during the Chinese Culture Revolution time): listen every day, be unyielding.


In 1993, when I was on parole, I ran into an old neighbor named Zhang Yuzhen (the wife of Li Rui, one of the top Chinese Communist theorists and officials).  Upon seeing me, she pulled on my arm, saying, "You are such a dutiful son!  Your mother is so blessed!"  I was at a total loss as to why she was saying this.  She continued, "You waited until your mother passed away to go to jail.  Isn't that smart and respectful?  Otherwise, your mother would be in so much pain during this time."  I said that this point had never occurred to me.  I thought, my father is still alive; is this being disrespectful to him?  But my father didn't see it this way.  He said, "Do well, and act like a son of mine.  Back then, your father also had trouble being both loyal and possessing of filial piety."  I said, "I am different than you back then.  I opposed your Communist Party."  He said, "These are the same.  We were also hanging our heads on our belts in an effort to let the common people live well."  I thought then that I should mature more and not always force others including my own father to admit defeat to me in arguments. 


This is exactly what my mother often said, " Neither closeness nor remoteness can trump principle."  This has always been the way of my family, and the way my parents learned when participating in the revolution.  It was way of the Communist Party when it was successful, and when the Party discarded principle later on, the reason for its failure.  This is precisely the way that we the democracy advocates must learn and maintain, the way of democracy. 


I am writing this essay to commemorate my parents.  As Mother's Day fast approaches, I attach a poem I wrote while in jail in 1983, cherishing the memory of my mother.


In a dream, I again saw my mother, who criticized me for not understanding how to be careful.  After I started to argue with her and made her leave with upsetness, I suddenly realized how many years it had been since she had died, and how hard it was to see her even once.  I awoke, profoundly sorrowful.  I then composed the following rough poem:


Listening to your voice, facing your countenance, my soul comes to this dreamland,

Grieved, and nervous, my heart is broken;


Fulfilling your duties to the greatest extent, you pass away,

I am left alive, but distraught and get carried away;


The loving mother still holds in her loving heart her son,

Yet, she was gone upon return of this prodigal son;


Tears of shame and regret cut off the path to the Netherworld,

How can apologizing help to build bridge across the River Styx?



(Translated by the Wei Jingsheng Foundation.  Published with slightly alternation. Contents in parenthesis added by the editor.)



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Wei Jingsheng Foundation News and Article Release Issue: A205-W101



Release Date: May 14, 2006



Topic: In Memory of My Mother on Mother's Day (Part of Wei Jingsheng' Memoir) -- by Wei Jingsheng

标题:母亲节忆母亲及其它 - 魏京生 (魏京生生平回忆节选)


Original Language Version: Chinese (Chinese version at the end)








母亲节忆母亲及其它 (魏京生生平回忆节选)

-- 魏京生
























对面音容魂梦国, 凄恻惶惑方寸折。

鞠躬尽瘁您先死, 失意忘形我仍活。

慈母盼儿心还在, 浪子回头人不得。

愧悔泪断黄泉路, 负荆何计渡冥河。










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