XIANG the Beard (5)
His bosom friend Lee who wrote to him had become a high officer of the new government. One month ago he had been summoned to a meeting of the highest council of the CCP about to start the so-called “The Movement of Suppress the Anti-Revolutionary” in nationwide. All of the wealthy include landlords and former KMT members were the anti-revolutionists as the meeting defined even those who were not KMT but once worked for KMT were included. Lee was concerned of Xiang Lan’s safety and invited him to Beijing to protect him. A shadow fell on his heart, as a seasoned revolutionary campaigner, Xiang had seemed to see the death between the lines of the letter, “… time comes to a new era, my friend, everyone will be chosen their side depends on their classes… this coming up movement is a great danger to you if I must tell; you are one among the anti-revolutionists as the Party defines. I know you are stubborn and faithful to your belief, so here I am not going to convince you to change your political standpoint (it is too late anyway). I am inviting you to visit me in Beijing, we have not seen each other years already, haven’t we? Please come over at once, Xiang the Beard, as soon as you get the letter. It is a life-or-death game…”
Yeah, I am stubborn, he frowned. He had seen the Red Army come and go, now come again with power in hand. They were like a faint spark in the First Agrarian Revolution War and now crazy wildfires spreading allover the prairie that had burnt KMT to ashes in only twenty more years. What a madness, another Agrarian Revolution, it seems that they want to eliminate the roots, worse, it’s the national power against wealthy and dissident citizens this time, there won’t be any power that can restrict or stop it since KMT had gone to the small Island Taiwan. Who can protect the landlords and the others then? None! So no one would be withstand it. Endless wars, chaos, crisis, people killing each other and together being slaughtered by Japanese, then beginning to kill each other again after won the WWII. Families were shattering, friends becoming foes. Have Chinese not died enough in the past half a century? “…time comes to a new era, my friend,” what a new era will it be? beginning from suppressing rich people and plundering their possessions? If there were reasons for slaying and plundering landlords twenty years ago because they were uprising, now they have dominated the nation and are supposed to give the country and the people peace no matter what classes they are, yet why they are still doing this? He asked himself desperately, into deep reflections.
He remembered when he followed Dr. Sun to revolution of overthrowing Qing Dynasty, they would involve no innocent people and did their best to do no harm of them. But the CCP was totally different, they were bloodthirsty, red in tooth and claw, green with envy. They decided that the more people involved their war the more successful they would be. He could see the so-called class-division theory of the Marxism and Leninism totally evil and anti-humanity by his background and knowledge. Yet it had poisoned some of radical and indignant Chinese intelligentsia including his two sons, they adapted it to brainwash common peasants. That awakened up their darkest side of human nature: envy; in the name of “all men were created equal”, ones could openly plunder whoever were richer than them and slay them at their will. “Eliminate the differences of all classes” was what they declared. He had warned his sons not to trust the CCP's propaganda nor join them, but they were too naive and too young to listen to him, as hot-blooded as he was and join the Red Army. And, lost them like thousands of thousands others who joined the Red Army in that war.
Even though deeply loathing the Red Army’s bloody violence, he still held certain sympathy to them in his heart. In a few years, the Red Army lost the war and their main force followed Mao Ze-Dong fleeing deep into the great Mountain Jinggang, and left thousands of thousands of their men, women and children behind suffering from bloody massacre. Many were taken captive awaiting to be beheaded, he had released a great number of them, in the name of the mayor. He did not want to shed blood in his place, especially when they were once his neighbours, friends or relatives. They were ordinary poor peasants who wished a better life. He still could remember how desperate those prisoners were.
Yet he would not change his political standpoint unlike some of his friends who betrayed KMT to join the CCP and turned their guns against KMT as they thought KMT was corrupting and rotting and hopeless. He could not forget his pledge to Dr. Sun and his “The Three Principles”, He always took the most dangerous tasks with his life in his hands to fight for it. What have I fought for? I was seeking neither fame nor gain nor power, I was seeking democracy and freedom and peace for my country and my people, now where are they? He had really been tired of those endless throne conspiracies and civil strifes that had torn the country apart. So from this point, he expected the CCP would rebuild China and gave the people peace and better life. Yet from what he had observed in the past year, he could not give a hope. Did he regret not to go to Taiwan when President Jiang invited him to? No, he thought not. He was old and tired, he wanted to live at River Pond with his wife and daughter peacefully, he did not want to wander in a strange island for his rest days, a falling leaf should settle on its root; actually in his deep heart, he secretly hoped the CCP will be grateful for he had once saved thousands of their men’s lives as well as his hands did not have one drop of their blood, he supposed he would be safe.
Now his friend told him what he had to face. It would not be a good herald…
He had arrived at the ferry at length as he was musing deep in memory. “Greetings! Xiang the Beard, haven’t seen you for a while, are you riding to battle again?” said the old boatman, smiling. They were friends, Xiang had saved his life in that massacre twenty years ago. “Oh, hey, Old Jiang, no, I’m not … oh yes, I am …” Xiang answered absent-mindedly, dismounting. “Where are you going to this time?” Old Jiang asked again. “Changsha,” said he, setting a foot on the boat. In that moment, he suddenly thought of one thing and drew back, mounting up again and striding to the way he had just come from…