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Times Past | From a grass heap...

Li-Min is a Chinese boy working in the countryside near Kaifeng, Henan Province. He does not often write in English but was moved to write about his everyday life to his American grandmother who does not read Chinese. His letter is printed here as he wrote it. :

Dear Grandmother and Mother,

How are you ? Now I am - well in a hole of a grass heap and writing to you.. There have many interesting stories in the countryside and l want to tell them to you. Do you want to know ?

When I come back at National Night, on the way any village I went by, they were many boys and girls singing songs of Chairman Mao's thought or reading Quotations from Chairman Mao under the silver light of the moon with a glad voice. They listened who sung good and they visited whose reminiscence too. Far by the village you could feel they were spending a very merry National Night.

When night comes you can hear a lot of children are reading in our village. If you come near them, you may know they are reading Chairman Mao's works. Really they are reading for villagers. They are Red Guards. So all the villagers can study Chairman Mao's works, the Red Guard have this good idea: when night comes they standing at street, every one hundred foot a guard. The leader reads a sentence. The second guard read it again then the third read again ... and so on. They just like radio station. After peasants Iabour all day long they can listen to Chairman Mao's works for their rest.

When peasants rest in the field after their labour they will take Quotations from Chairman Mao and ask a man to read it, If he don't want to read they will not be glad.

Now no man steal crops. If you harvest crops and can't take them home for it's too late, you can let crops in field and don't look at them. No man want to steal them.

If you have lost something you may tell others at team meeting and if some people picked it up they will give it to you.

Summer the day is very dry. We get wheat in field. Two months ago some families have no food. Our Motherland gave our team some grain. We wanted give this grain to families which have no food. But some of other families don't agree to do so. They said that the grain were given to our team and they belong to our team. So they must have some too. For this problem. our team members had studied Chairman Mao's works: In Memory of Norman Bethune. After studied all of members said: '“We must not think of ourselves but do everything for others. We must do what Chairman Mao said”. And the grain were given to hungry families.

Now it's too late. If you want I can write more next time.

Good Night, Li-Min

Boy and Buffalo
Village scene with buffalo. © Sally & Richard Greenhill Photo Library

© Copyright Society for Anglo-Chinese Understanding (SACU) 2001, reprinted from SACU News January 1967

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