Under the Communists, no one was safe. Anyone, no matter what his class label was, once he crossed the party line, daring to speak outside the script or lead an un-prescribed life, he would for sure be punished.
Born into a family that nurtured a long line of civil servants and scholars, we were treated as “quasi class enemies”, deprived of any chance of advancement. When the Cultural Revolution began, we became explicit “class enemies”. In 1988, I was able to get out of China at the age of 39 with $300 in my pocket. In two years of time, I completed my MA in ESL and half of PhD course requirements in Linguistics. At my son’s arrival from China, I placed my pursuits on hold and became a high school teacher in New York City to provide steady financial and emotional supports for him, which then, by a twist of fate, became my means of livelihood for the next 22 years. I’m now retired.
A man who threw the entire nation into such turmoil and brought upon its people such sufferings in the name of “revolution” and “building communism just to hunt down his political rivals could not be as good as they purported him to be. A party that allowed such lunacy to take place could not be as good as they declared to be.