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Lions Roar : November 2009
60 SHAMBHALA SUN NOVEMBER 2009 back for only another very short period of time. Later my grandmother lived under Japanese occupation in poverty, but she also knew love. When the warlord general died she fell in love with an elderly doctor, and they got married. You lived with your grandmother growing up? yes, my grandmother really brought us up. Both my parents were incarcerated in the Cultural revolution, when i was fourteen and my youngest brother was four. My grandmother was the person who held the family together. after the publication of Wild Swans, i thought how nice it would have been if my grandmother were alive. she would really have enjoyed coming to the West—visiting beautiful boutiques and getting lovely things. My mother certainly doesn’t like shopping. Were both of your grandmothers Buddhists? My paternal grandmother was a devout Buddhist. My maternal grandmother also be- lieved in Buddha, but in a looser way. Wasn’t it a problem to be Buddhist under the Communist regime? yes. in the 1950s, my paternal grandmother and aunt would carry out their Buddhist practice behind my father’s back. in the prison camp, “Be Violent” Mao’s conscious campaign to cultivate the worst in human nature. on 2 JUne , a group from a middle school in Peking put up a wall poster, which they signed with the snappy name of “red guards,” to show that they wanted to safeguard Mao. Their writing was full of remarks like: “stuff ‘human feelings’!” “We will be brutal!” “We will strike you [Mao’s enemies] to the ground and trample you!” The seeds of hate that Mao had sown were ready for reaping. now he was able to unleash the thuggery of these infected teenagers, the most malleable and violent element of society... on 18 august, dressed in army uniform for the first time since 1949, Mao stood on Tiananmen gate to review hundreds of thou- sands of red guards. This was when the red guards were written about in the national press and introduced to the nation and the world. a leading perpetrator of atrocities in a girls’ school where the headmistress had just been killed was given the signal honor of putting a red guard armband on Mao. The dialogue that followed was made public: Chairman Mao asked her: “What’s your name?” she said “song Binbin.” Chairman Mao asked: “is it the ‘Bin’ as in ‘educated and gentle’?” she said: “yes.” Chairman Mao said: “Be vio- lent!” song Binbin changed her name to “Be Violent,” and her school changed its name to “The red Violent school.” From Mao: The Unknown story, by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday (Alfred A. Knopf, 2005). At the memorial service for Jung Chang’s father, an official is reading the Party’s assessment of him, which would determine his children’s future. The first version was ominously negative, but Jung Chang’s mother fought for changes and won.