Hot off the press! A close and personal look at the Cultural Revolution.
A timely reminder of the way communist regimes behave when push comes to shove.
The story of Amei’s life began in a warm and comfortable family in an inner suburb of Beijing. Her time in the selective high school is delightful until Mao reactivated the class war as a vehicle to retain his paramount leadership after the disasters of the Great Leap Forward (the Great Famine).
Then came the nightmarish rampage of the Red Guards and the ensuing ten-year debacle until Mao died and the Gang of Four, headed by his wife, was brought down.
Amei spent most of those ten years in a village, 850 km west of Beijing on a high plateau not far from Xian. She met two old scholars who were sent out years before and they became her personal tutors as she read voraciously in their libraries, including the classics of western literature in Chinese translation.
She learned enough English to help the old scholars run a program for English teachers when the education system began to revive after it closed down for the duration of the cultural revolution. She managed to get to university to study English and then she became an English teacher.
She experienced some of the horrors of the Tiananmen Square massacre as her students came back from the square carrying their dead and wounded friends in their arms.
Eventually she seized an opportunity to come to Sydney where she studied maths and taught in high schools and a coaching college until she retired in2017.