Written by students of FC1750.06
at Founders College, York University
by Kevin Perkins
The most notable dissident is He Jingfu, a teacher at a prominent university, who openly criticized Xi Liu and defended the rights of Xie. He Jingfu printed a poster with the catch phrase "Let us hope that Xi Liu will behave more humanely." In an interview, He told Road to East Asia Xi Liu was caught in the momentum of party politics and used propaganda-style manipulation of the incident on behalf of the government. Xi Liu infuriated advocates of human rights when he issued a public statement that Xie's "capitalist mother" must be disowned. As a champion of these rights, He Jingfu says the Chinese government "should be generous towards an ordinary working woman."
Another teacher, Xu Hengzhong, disagreed with what he called "the slander" and launched a poster campaign against He Jingfu. In his own defence, Xu now says he only executed Xi Liu's order in 1957. Subsequently He Jingfu fell victim to the campaign and was named "a Grade One Criminal."
Minimal dissent was felt within the party as well. Whenever Sun Yue, department secretary, thinks of Xie and He Jingfu, she feels guilty, and asks why Xi Liu is allowed to "get away with it."
Xi Liu's actions are even criticized by his own son. Xi Wang, a student, in an exclusive interview lambastes his estranged father. People like Xi Liu have been destroying the age- old ideals that have built China into a nation, Xi Wang says. According to him, the Xie case testifies to the inhumane doctrines of Communism. Disallowing Xie to see his mother went against China's family values -- filial love and respect.
In response to criticism, Xi has little to say. When accused of being a central figure in the demoralizing Anti-Rightist Campaign, Xi Liu denies autonomy for his decisions to persecute students. "I'd taken charge of the broadening struggle but all the order had come from above," he said.
The Chinese Communist party has ignored the Confucian ideals of benevolent leadership. Chinese history is a record of revolutions and counter-revolutions. Perhaps the negative force will give rise to a positive reaction and restore the glory of the Chinese people.
Editors' note: This report is based on interviews with the characters in Dai Houying's novel Stones of the Wall, translated by Frances Wood , published by Michael Joseph (London, 1985).