The Death of Elaine Lan Chao’s grandfather

Chinese Author: Yafa Wang wrote on 12-01-2017

Translator: Peddington

Auditor: Ana

In the early 1980s, I lived in the single dormitory of China Children’s Publishing House. My roommate- Zhao is a talker with the nickname “yenta”. He was born in a poor middle-class peasant, entered the Chinese Department of Peking University on the eve of the Cultural Revolution, and experienced the entire process of the Cultural Revolution in Beijing.

Image Source: Internet

“Yenta” likes to chat and talks about his experience in the Cultural Revolution in Beijing-about Nie Yuanzi’s first Marxist-Leninist poster; Peking University President Lu Ping wrote to Mao Zedong to complain about  Xie Jingyi; Tsinghua University Jinggang Mountain Corps held a crticize and struggle conference for  Wang Guangmei; The criticize and struggle conference for Colin C.Shu and Xiao Jun, the next day Colin C.Shu drowned himself in Taiping Lake and other historical trivia.

Stars have changed and time has passed. Many stories told by “Yenta” have been recorded in the historical annals, especially the Cultural Revolution historical annals edited by overseas scholars such as Song Yongyi and Wang Youqin.

“Yenta” is a native of Jiading, in Shanghai, who spoke pure Jiading dialect. He was born at the same village as Elaine Lan Chao’s grandfather and father, who was nominated by the incoming US President Trump as Secretary of Transportation. He has told me many times about the persecution of Zhao Yiren , the Elaine Lan Chao’s grandfather during the Cultural Revolution.

Image Source: Wikipedia
Image Source: Wikipedia

Elaine Lan chao’s grandfather, Zhao Yiren, is the principal of an elementary school in their village. He lives on education for his whole life. He is tireless in teaching students and is courteous , He was respected by everyone. But because Zhao Yiren’s brother and his unique son, Zhao Xicheng ( James Si-Cheng Chao , Elaine Lan chao’s father) went to Taiwan in 1949, they have been regarded by the government as class aliens( one type of CCP’s enemies). At the beginning of the Cultural Revolution, Zhao Yiren was brutally fought and beaten to death. After his death, he was thrown on a walking tractor and sent to the crematorium. Because he was tall, the carriage of the walking tractor was short, and his legs were exposed outside that was broke and squeezed into the carriage . “Yenta” said this, with a convulsive look on his face, perhaps he was the one at the presence.

After Zhao Yiren’s death, the CCP swept Elaine Lan Chao’s grandma out of the house and drove them into an abandoned hut next to the pigpen to live in. Recalling the sufferings of the old lady Zhao at that time, people who have not experienced that era cannot understand.

Around 1972 or 1973, when the ultra-left situation of the Cultural Revolution eased slightly, Zhao Xicheng, who was living in the United States at the time, wrote a letter to Zhou Enlai, to the effect that I lived overseas, but I will always be a Chinese. Filial piety, love and kindness over the years, and hope to come back to visit his mother. It has nothing to do with politics. I hope Zhou can make an exception for me…

Soon Zhao Xicheng’s request was approved by Zhou Enlai.

So Zhao Xicheng was going back to his hometown to visit relatives. At the time, it was a major event related to “diplomatic matters” (in Zhou Enlai’s words). From the central government to the village, leaders at all levels had already arranged everything. They first sent the old lady to the hospital for treatment. Simultaneously, in order to stimulus Zhao Xicheng’s homesickness, local government  retrieved the old furniture scattered outside the Zhao family, and restored the old house of the Zhao family intact. They also arranged for a few women activists in the village to brainwash the old lady all day long, inducing her to see how her son would promote the great situation in the mother land, saying that the Communist Party is good, socialism is good, and the Cultural Revolution is good…

It is said that when Zhao Xicheng returned to his hometown to meet his mother for a short time, the old lady was dressed in brand new clothes and a shiny Shanghai brand watch was put on her wrist.

Before leaving, Zhao Xicheng visited the neighbors and met childhood buddies, but the real folks and the childhood buddies stayed far away. When he saw them, they dared not speak much. Finally, he said a few simple farewells to the folks who saw him off: “Thanks to the folks for taking care of my parents over the years. I know and understand what happened over the years, and I will be back…”

Elaine Zhao is the eldest daughter of Zhao Xicheng, who was born in Taiwan and immigrated to the United States with her family when she was eight years old. From 2001 to 2009, she served as the Secretary of Labor in the Bush Administration. He was the first Chinese minister in the history of the United States. President Trump is nominated as Minister of Transportation.

Elaine Lan Chao’s ancestor was in Jiading, Shanghai. The reason why she has achieved today is related to his grandfather Zhao Yiren’s emphasis on education and the success of her father Zhao Xicheng. Zhao Xicheng once said: “I am deeply inspired and nurtured by my late father Mr. Zhao Yiren…” Jiading is said to be a place where traditional culture flourishes, and is the pride of this land; Elaine Zhao was born and enlightened in Taiwan, which is Taiwan’s pride that is inheritance of Confucian culture; Elaine Zhao was the first Chinese minister in American history and was appointed by two governments. This is the pride of American democracy.

Judging from the experience of the three generations of Zhao Yiren, Zhao Xicheng, and Elaine Lan Chao: compare the three humanities systems of Jiading, Taiwan and the United States, which is advanced, which is backward, which is civilized, which is barbaric, which is superior. it is self-evident which is better or worse.

All opinions come from the original author and have nothing to do with the translator.


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