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3 Chinese Historical Figures 1966 – 1976

Xu Weixin

2010
Portraits of Chen Yaowen, Huang Shuai, Jiang Qing, Jin Xunhua, Lao She, Li Zhensheng, Lin Biao, Liu Changyu, Liu Shaoqi, Luo Ming, Meng Fei, Peng Dehuai, Shen Lili, Tian Jiaying, Wang Hongwen, Weng Deguo, Yao Wenyuan, Yu Xiangzhen, Zhang Guixian, Zhou Enlai are included in this small sample of the entire series.
Print 65 x 40.5cm (Based on 2006-2007 oil paintings 100 x 250cm)
Beijing
Courtesy of Stephanie Hemelryk Donald

An account of the series is attached to the large image of Shui Tianguang in the online gallery.
All images have a biography attached, most of which are supplied by relatives of the subject. We include some below to give the reader a sense of the range of subjects in the series.

1. Chen Yaomen was born on March 14, 1960, on Tanggemu farm, one of the largest labor reform camps in Hainan Tibetan autonomous prefecture, Qinghai Province. At three years old, he was sent back to his father’s hometown in Zhao Village in Wuzhi County, Henan Province, where he was raised by his grandparents. In 1966 he returned to live with his parents. In the spring of 1967 the family moved to Xi’ning, the capital of Qinghai province, where Chen attended the Xi’ning Nanshanlu Elementary School.
During the Cultural Revolution, Chen joined the Little Red Guards, the Red Guards and the Communist Youth League. In school, he was chosen to be the Vice Class President, the Class President and Party Branch Secretary. He became a platoon leader in the militia and a member of Xi’ning 11th High School Youth Corp Committee. He witnessed armed fights between different political factions. He touched the half-shaven head of humiliated members of the Royalist faction; he witnessed massive parade and participated in denigration gatherings organized by the Residents’ Committee. With the help of his father’s social networks, Chen became a military trainee at the Fourth Hospital of People’s Liberation Army in Qinghai Province. In the early years of his military career, he served as a movie projectionist, a leader of laundry services and a hygiene instructor. In the summer of 1979 Chen participated in national entry exams for military academy. He won the first place in the exam of Qinghai Military District, but was rejected by the Fourth Military Medical Institute due to his poor eyesight. In 1980 he passed the exam again and was enrolled in laboratory science at the Military Medical School in Lanzhou Military District. In 1982, he joined the Chinese Communist Party and entered medical school. Chen was promoted to be an army officer, ranking in administrative level 23 and as platoon leader in military-level. He was then allocated to work as a laboratory technician in the military hospital which his school was affiliated with. In the meantime, he studied Chinese literature assiduously. In August 1985, Chen published a series of poems ‘Long live soldiers’ in The People’s Liberation Army Daily. A few months later, he went, as a propagandist, to the frontline of Laoshan battlefield of the China-Vietnam War. He was appointed as an editor at a frontline military tabloid, Intense Attack. Chen also set up the Laoshan Spirit Poetry Society, where he served as director and published numerous poems and essays.
・In May of 1987, he returned to Shaanxi Province with the army.
In 1990 Chen started a career in broadcasting for the military. The crew he led in the 47th Army Group won the first prize in TV reporting in the People’s Liberation Army in 1991. In August 1992, CCTV aired his special report ‘From 600 Meters Under’ that he produced national wide. It won the first prize in the national army news, the first prize in national TV news. Additionally, he was awarded with a second-class merit from the army. In 1994, Chen was a cameraman and editor for ‘Focus Interview,’ a segment in Oriental Horizon. In the following years, Chen was involved in producing and reporting of a series of important news nationally and international. Among them are 1997 handover of Hong Kong, the construction of Three Gorges dam, the success in hosting the Beijing 2008 Olympics Games, the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster, the Gulf War, the Palestinian elections, the arrest of Saddam Hussein. The news programs won him China News Award.
His documentary, The December 8th Fire Disaster in Karamay, Xinjiang was produced in December 1994 but was not aired. Chen, however, published four detailed reports with pictures on his blog under the title of ‘Belated Report – A Behind-the-Scenes Story of Karamay on December 8’ -12 years later. In August of 1997, Chen was discharged from the army as Lieutenant Colonel.

2. Jiang Qing (1915 -1991)
Jiang Qing was born in Li Yunhe in Zhucheng County of Shandong province. In summer of 1921, Jiang was enrolled at Zhucheng Girls School in Shangdong.
In the spring of 1929, Jiang began to learn Peking (Beijing) Opera at the Experimental Peking Opera Troupe affiliated with Shandong Experimental Opera School in Ji’nan. Later, she moved to Qingdao and worked in the library at the university. She acted at the Haimo Theater and took part in propaganda activities. Soon after Jiang joined the Communist Party in February 1933, she moved to Shanghai and acted for amateur opera troupes and theatre houses. Five months later, she lost contact with the party. In October 1934 she was arrested by the Nationalist Government in Shanghai, and was then released in December of the same year. Thereafter, she adopted a stage name of Lan Ping and became an actress for a film company. She played a role in The Bachelors. In the fall of 1937, she went to Yan’an and studied at the Anti-Japanese Military Academy. She reinstated her party membership and was actively involved in theatre and other artistic activities. In 1938, Jiang married Mao Zedong. And she had once taught at the Lu Xun Art Academy in Yan’an. In March 1947, she followed Mao and fought in the northwest regions after the headquarter office of the CPC withdrew from Yan’an. Jiang was assigned as political assistant in the subsidiary brigade under the Central Brigade of the CPC. In the summer of 1949, Jiang followed the Party and moved to Beijing. Upon the founding of the PRC, Jiang was appointed the Film Industry Committee Member of the Culture Ministry under the State Council, Director of the Film Department in the Publicity Ministry. For many years, Jiang claimed to have poor health and was involved in few social or political activities. In 1964, at the Modern Peking Opera Festival, Jiang delivered her speech on “Revolutionize Peking Opera”, which became the creation guideline for the model opera at a later stage. In 1965, Jiang published “Comment on the New-version Opera of Hai Rui Dismissed from Office”, in support of Yao Wenyuan. In February 1966, Jiang held an art forum in the army and wrote “The Summery of Art Forum of the Military on Behalf of Lin Biao”. On November 28, Jiang spoke at the rally of Proletarian Revolution in the art circle. She blew the bugle for “Smashing Three Olds”. During the Cultural Revolution, Jiang supervised and directed Peking Operas and musicals, Story of the Red Lamp, The Village Shajiabang, Taking Tiger Mountain by Strategy, On the Dock, and Raid on the White Tiger Regiment, two ballets Red Detachment of Women, White-haired Girl, and one symphony The Shajiabang Village. They were later referred to as the “Eight Model Plays”. And Jiang was named the “Revolutionary Standard bearer in Art”. In May 1966, nominated by Mao Zedong, Jiang was appointed Deputy Director and Acting Director of the Central Cultural Revolution Leaders’ Group, Adviser for the Cultural Revolution Leaders’ Group of the Liberation Army. Jiang was elected the Member of the Political Bureau of the CPC at the Ninth and Tenth National Congress of the CPC. In October of 1976, Jiang was put under house arrest and under investigation according to a decision made by the Political Bureau of the CPC. In July of 1977, based on the verdict passed at the Third Plenary Session of the Tenth Central Committee, Jiang was permanently expelled from the Party and deprived of all her positions in the party and in non-party organizationsFrom November of 1980 to January of 1981, the Supreme People’s Court held a public hearing on Jiang’s case. On January 25, 1981, the Court verdict of “Lin Biao-Jiang Qing Counter-revolutionary Clique Conspired to Overthrow Proletarian Leadership” from the Supreme People’s Court read, “Defendant Jiang, was the main criminal in the counter-revolutionary clique, which conspired to overthrow people’s democracy. Jiang, who headed and organized the clique, is the primary member of the Lin-Jiang Counter-revolutionary Clique. Jiang was, directly and indirectly, responsible for the crimes committed by the clique during the 10 years of turmoil. Defendant Jiang has committed the following crimes against the Criminal Law of People’s Republic of China: offence of Article 98: organizing and leading counter-revolutionary activities; offence of Article 92: conspiring to overthrow the government; offence of Article 102: propagandizing and instigating counter-revolutionary thoughts and activities; offence of Article 138: framing up innocent people. Jiang has posed substantial threat to the state and the people of China, and the consequence of her crime is absolutely vile. The Court sentences Defendant Jiang to death with a two-year reprieve and the deprivation of political rights for life”.In January of 1983, the Criminal Court of the People’s Supreme Court reduced Jiang’s sentence from death penalty to life in prison. The deprivation of her political right for life, however, remained unchanged. On May 14 of 1991, Jiang committed suicide at her residence in Beijing while she was on bail for medical treatment.

3. Meng Fei was born in Beijing in 1959. He was 7 in 1966 at the start of the GPCR, and was enrolled in a primary school on Fuxing road of Beijing. Like most of the kids, Meng joined the Little Red Guards and devoted himself to the revolution. In 1971, he moved to Xinjiang with his parents and studied in the 14th Middle School of Urumqi. In his younger days, Meng was immersed in painting, Chinese calligraphy and photography. Meng graduated from \middle school in 1978. Soon after his graduation, he was, due to all sorts of unexpected incidents, admitted into English Department of Xi’an International Studies University, though he wanted to pursue study in arts and history. In 1982, after four-year study in Xi’an, Meng was allocated a job in Foreign Trade Bureau of Xinjiang government. Between 1988 and 1989, he was appointed by the Chinese government and the Canadian government to study business administration in Grant McEwen College in Edmonton, St. Mary’s University and Dalhousie University in Halifax. In the fall of 1989, Meng finished his study. He continued to work in the foreign trade institution of Xinjiang government upon his return to China and was promoted. As a beneficiary of China’s reform and opening-up policy, Meng was one of the blessed “three-door” (passing smoothly through the door to the university, to the official institutions, and to foreign countries) elites. At the end of 1993, Meng left Xinjiang for Beijing and worked in Hainan World Trade Centre of Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation. Later, he gave up the post in the government and set up his own international trading company, Sinohigh, which was mainly engaged in the business of wind energy and drinking water. In 1996, Meng emigrated to Canada. Meng now travels between China and Canada as a self-employed businessman.

4. Shen Lili was born into an ordinary cadre family on October 16th 1959 in Beijing. One day in 1966, at a mass gathering against “capitalist-roaders” held in a courtyard belonged to Xinhua News Agency, Shen and her slightly older sister were among the many onlookers on to watch the scene of bustle. Surprisingly, they found a familiar face in the procession – their father was seen tortured. A big-character board weighted with four, five blocks was attached to his body by a thin steel wire hanging around his neck. The steel wire was deeply enchased to his father’s neck where cherry-red blood was seen ceaselessly oozing from the wounds. To stop Shen seeing the brutal torture, her sister tried to bury Shen’s head in her bosom. But it was too late. Shen had witnessed the scene and cried out loud. The two sisters then hurried after their beloved “capitalist-roader” father, who was led to parade through the street. The horrified scene has since then left an indelible imprint in the mind of the pretty, unsophisticated little girl. As she grew up, she became more and more introvert, sensitive, lonely and fragile. In her girlhood, Shen was enrolled into the First Primary School at Yangfangdian of Haidian District in Beijing in 1967. Later, she studied at the 57th Middle School of Beijing in 1972. When she was a high school student in the autumn of 1976, Shen developed schizophrenia. She has lost ever since her ability to work. As a disabled person, Shen now lives on the state’s benefits.
(Note: the text was written by Shen’s elder sister Shen Danfeng.)