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On My Fugitive Road (10)
送交者: 董胜今 2016年06月07日06:07:06 于 [史地人物] 发送悄悄话

1.                        Affectionate Gaze


     Every cell room in the lockup in the Branch Station was divided into front and rear rooms. In the front room there was a stove for heating, while the rear room was for locking up prisoners. A locked metal grill door was installed in between, preventing inmates to get into the front room. But in my cell, the door was not locked, which granted me free access to the front room.


     It was the first time I was jailed in solitary. For the initial days I could put up with the isolation, but further on life became unbearable. For after all, human beings were gregarious animals. Once separated from the group, one would go under pressures both physically and mentally. I had to try every way to kill my time of solitude and loneliness. One day, underneath the brick bed I discovered a lot of odds and ends, of which the most attractive one was a big pile of dried sliced carrots. I guess the room had been a storage before, but had not been cleaned with care while turning into a cell, thus had those treasures left behind to my surprise. At the same time I found more other utensils.


     Food here was not too bad compared to that of Chongqing Post, but still far from enough. The best possibility here was, judging from the attitude of Director Chang, embezzlements form the officials during the catering process were possibly less. We had two meals a day, each with a sorghum bun weighing a little more than three liang, plus a bowl of vegetable soup. I took the advantage of my discovery, adding my dried carrot into the soup and heating it on the stove. This made me almost a feast. To be able to fulfill the stomach once in a while was the most enjoyable thing in my present situation.


     It was a pity that good days didn’t last long. In a week or so, I was brought to the office. The director told me that I was to be taken back by my original unit. He instructed me to confess thoroughly, to do my best to get a lenient punishment. In addition he asked: “Do you have anything to ask?” I reported my problem: “My clothes are not enough for the cold weather on my way.”  He did not fail my expectation. In the evening the guard brought a brand new padded coat to me; it’s of the jail style, but very thick and warm. Considering the general shortage of cotton cloth, this generous treatment to a lodging prisoner was exceptional.


     The second day, I was brought to a small room where two armed polices and two civil cadres from the Second Railway Construction Detachment were waiting, and one of them was a squadron leader. This indicated they paid no small attention to my case. Director Chang was already in the room. He assigned a seat for me saying: “These four comrades will bring you back. You must obey orders on the way. Don’t ever try to escape again”. After a pause he continued: “I have discussed with these comrades and we all agreed that you will get your full ration without deduction. Besides, so long as you behave yourself, you will not be shackled on the way.”  He especially made these speech to the face of the escorting personnel. I understood he had really been very considerate of my position and tried his best to maintain my dignity, if there was any.


     I was immediately taken out. Before stepping out of the gate on my way out, with a grateful impulse I looked back and saw Director Chang standing by the gate gazing at me, while secretly nodding his farewell to me. His affectionate and worrying gaze would stay in my heart forever.



      Thirty years had passed. After my rehabilitation, in 1992 I had been a vice director of an unpopular newspaper office in Beijing. Once I had a chance to visit the famous Tianjin Broadcasting Company. I took advantage of the opportunity to pay a visit to the River North District Police Branch Station. I asked several oldest workers there, but had got no information of Director Chang. How the world has changed!


     Fifty years had elapsed and I had been old. But whenever I thought of Director Chang, I could not stop the surge of emotion. It was absolutely not because he had sacrificed his breakfast for me, nor was of the heavy padded coat which had helped me through the cold winter nights in Sichuan lockup that almost saved my life. It was because from him, I sensed the righteousness and kindness of a Chinese old man, who had, despite the rigid frame of dictatorship, brought warmth into the ice-cold heart of a prisoner.


2.                        A Thief Calling to Stop Theft


The five of us took two opposite rows of seat in the car. I was assigned to the corner seat by the window, so that the four pistols could form a ring of encircle around me if needed. The younger cadre took out a plastic string bag with six wheat flour buns inside to hang on the hook right above my head and said to me, “This is your food on the way”.


The train was roaring along at top speed. Snowflakes were whirling outside the window. The vast, bleak plain of Northern China was decorated into a boundless expanse of whiteness. Facing the magnificent scenery for the first time in my life, a Southerner like me was sinking deeply in thought. Here, it had been the birthplace of the Chinese Culture, and our Motherland had lived through endless devastating sufferings to finally get “emancipated”. But the happy life which had been the dream of numerous generations was still unattainable. Hundreds of thousands of young students, who had been in sympathy with and helped the Communists to win their battle, now had been labeled as rightists and class enemy; scores of millions of hard working people had starved to death. Was this the paradise to where the “savior” was leading us? My heart was sinking deeply. An old song of the anti-Japanese war period  resounded in my mind: “We have nowhere to rove, and nowhere to escape.” My face was covered with tears.


With a heavy heart I fell asleep. The second morning after I was awakened, the six buns above my head disappeared. No one knew how. The squadron leader took me first as the target and asked: “Did you steal the buns and eat them all?” I instantly got angry and retorted: “Why do you single me out?” He tried to explain, but I was not going to stop: “Actually I should be the last one to be questioned.  Four of you were on guard against one prisoner in turn. Could anyone of you see me stealing but not stop me?” The leader did not have the least idea that I should openly expose the scandal in public, he could not but compromise: “OK, let’s forget it.” They had to make up for my loss. Again it reminded me of the story of the ‘angel’ cadre. What a terrible consequence the CCP had brought about that anyone could degrade himself into theft like this!


The second day after we arrived in Chengdu, we took the train to Guanxian where was the new construction site since I left. It was a gloomy morning. What impressed me most was the broadcasting in the train. It was the editorial of the ‘People’s Daily’, wherein Albania, the sole ‘comrade country’ of then Communist China and “Bright lamp in Europe” was denounced with the most ruthless language.


      Guanxian was totally a strange town to me, where also became a dramatic spot in my life. For it was the terminal point of my supposed long journey to ‘commit treason and defect to the enemy country’. Also I was confined here in a savage lockup, in a cell all by myself for more than three years.






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