SOURCE: PEN America
Twenty-five years ago, before the Tiananmen massacre, my father told me, “Son, be good and stay at home. Don’t provoke the Communist Party.”
My father knew what he was talking about. His courage had been broken by countless political campaigns. Right after “liberation,” in his hometown Yanting, they executed dozens of “despotic landowners.” But that wasn’t enough fun for some people. They came back with swords, severed those broken skulls, and kicked them down the riverbank, to float away.
My father never said a bad word about the Communist Party. Even as we suffered through the famine of the Great Leap Forward, when almost 40 million people starved to death, even when I, his little son, almost died, he said nothing. People ate grass and bark; they ate Guanyin Soil, a foul-smelling clay. And if they were lucky, they caught an earthworm—that was a rare delicacy. Many people died from Guanyin Soil, their stomachs bloated. It was hell on earth. My grandmother also died; she was just skin and bones
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Tiananmen Massacre Presentation