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At that time, my father was already 84 years old, but despite his old age, they dragged my father out into the streets, and the first time some Red Guards whipped my father with a belt some 21/2 inches wide.
The second time, one Red Guard held my father's head and pushed it toward the ground while two others held my father's two arms and pulled them upward. They had a very fancy name for this. They called it "the jet plane” because the victim was made to look like a plane standing on its nose.
The third time, they hung a piece of metal weighing some 50 pounds with a very thin wire on my father's neck. The weight was so heavy that the wire ate into the flesh of my father's neck, and his blood dripped to the ground.
Because of his age—he was 84—he could not stand this kind of torture. Soon he fell sick, and he died within 2 weeks.
That was the first reason why I chose to escape from the mainland.
After my father's death, my family was blacklisted as a counterrevolutionary family. It used to be a revolutionary family. Now my family has become a counterrevolutionary family.
As a party member myself, I knew very well what fate the members of a counterrevolutionary family faced.
Also, as a party member, I knew that in each political movement, at least 5 percent of all intellectuals and party cadres involved should be purged. That is a stipulation by the party.
So, as a member of a counterrevolutionary family, and also an intellectual, I sensed the great danger I faced at that time. I told myself, “I am not going to stay here and wait for them to come and get me.” So I made up my mind to flee the mainland.
I must confess here that my escape was helped by several party officials and officials of the local government. Like one of them gave me a travel permit. To travel on the mainland, even for a short distance, you have to have a travel permit. I got that travel permit from a local police officer.
Also, they introduced to me someone who knew the way leading from the town of Pao-an to the seaside, so that I could make my swim.
As I said, my swim took 8 hours, which brought me to Hong Kong and freedom.
I lived, studied, worked for 15 long years in mainland China. I think I am qualified to tell you the true conditions in mainland China, the true face of Chinese communism, and that was the main purpose why I came to make this speaking tour of the States and, also, that is the purpose of my making this testimony here this morning.
As I do not know in what aspects of the mainland life you are interested, I think it is better for me to let you ask questions. I will do my
best to answer them.
Mr. PREYER. Do you have any questions at this time, Mr. Guyer?
Mr. WU SHU-JEN. That is correct.
Mr. Schultz. Would you tell the committee why you joined the Communist Party!
Mr. WU SHU-JEN. It is not easy to become a party member. They have a strict screening system. So it is considered a privilege to join the party. You have to be qualified to become a party member, and once a party member, you have a much brighter future.
You have a choice of good jobs. You have faster promotions.
So every young person, especially young intellectuals, naturally would like to join the party, if he is qualified.
Also, at that time, I was a young student. I had not come to see the pathetic tactics of the Chinese communist. I had nothing but admiration for their political slogans, if you can call them that, and political goals.
Those were the reasons why I joined the Communist Party.
Mr. SCHULTZ. Did you select your career as an engineer, or was this selected for you by the party?
Mr. Wu SHU-JEN. I took an entrance examination for college, and my first choice was the department of mathematics, but the selection committee for the university decided that I should enter the Tsinghua University and study mechanical engineering; and, also, after my graduation, the party decided that I should be assigned to the arsenal at a certain location. I did not make those decisions myself.
Mr. SCHULTZ. What freedom is there to select the vocation and location of this vocation in China?
Mr. WU SHU-JEN. None. Because all those decisions are made by the party. If the party assigns you to a certain place to do a certain job, but you refuse to go, you become jobless; and without a job, you do not have the food coupons and the coupons for other daily necessities. In other words, you just cannot live on like that without a job.
Also, in more serious cases, the party can accuse you of disobeying the party's order.
Mr. SCHULTZ. Do I understand, then, that the workers and professionals, such as you, Mr. Wu, were required to have a permit to work?
Mr. WU SHU-JEN. That is not exactly a permit, because your job is already assigned by the party committee, and with a letter of recommendation-maybe that is what you think is a permit—that is a letter of recommendation, and, also, your personal file; with these two documents, you go to report to your unit, and then your unit will receive you with the letter of recommendation from the party committee.
Mr. Schultz. Then the letter of recommendation is directly tied to your employment and, also, whether you continue to eat by showing up for your regular employment?
Mr. Wu SHU-JEN. Yes, sir; that is a necessity.
Mr. SCHULTZ. Would you tell us, Mr. Wu, as a professional man, whether you had access to Western scientific literature that might be of interest in engineering?
Mr. WU SHU-JEN. Only those translations and abridged versions from those Western publications. We do not have any knowledge where those original books were printed.
Mr. Schultz. Are unions permitted in China ?
Mr. Wu SHU-JEN. Before the Cultural Revolution, there were labor unions, but they were suspended during the Cultural Revolution, and I heard after the Cultural Revolution, those unions have been reinstated, but as far as I know, those unions have no powers at all.
The party officials say the unions are under the direction of the party, and it is only a helping hand of the party committee.
Mr. Schultz. Would you describe for us the general economy of mainland China, and particularly as you experienced it, both as a student and as an amateur swimmer for the polo team? I don't believe you were professional. It was an amateur sport.
Mr. Wu SHU-JEN. I would like to cite some figures for you. The average earning for one worker each month is 42.50 people's currency, JMP.1 On the other hand, the minimum living expense for one single person is 25. That means, if the worker has a family of more than two-usually the family consists of four members—it would not be possible for him to support his family at all.
All food and daily necessities are rationed, as I have said, in mainland China. The figures are roughly like this:
Each person, each month, is allowed to buy by showing his coupon. The commodities are not free; you still have to pay, and you also have to hand over the coupon. He is allowed to buy 25 pounds of grain, 11/2 pounds of pork, 112 pounds of fish, 1/2 pound of sugar, 12 pound of cooking oil.
One person each year is allowed to buy 5 yards of cotton cloth. [At this point Mr. Preyer left the hearing room.]
Mr. Wu SHU-JEN. The living conditions are even worse in the farming villages. The life of a farmer is directly connected to the harvest he makes. If the harvest is good, he is better off, but if the harvest is poor, his life will become very hard, because there is a regulation that a farmer should hand over at least 70 percent of all his harvest to the government, and the rest, 30 percent, he can keep for himself.
So there are many, many women who went from the villages to find jobs in the cities. They do not do that because of women's liberation. They have to do it. They have to take a job in order to earn some extra income to support their families.
The policy of the communist government is to lower the salary scale in order to employ more people.
Mr. SCHULTZ. The amount of food that you have just enumerated here, 11/2 pounds of pork, 11/2 pounds of fish, 1/2 pound of sugar—that hardly seems enough for a swimmer to train and get into the arduous exercise of water polo.
Was there a special allotment of food for the athlete in mainland China ?
Mr. WU SHU-JEN. The figures I just gave you are for an average worker in a city. Of course, being an engineer, you can have much better treatment, like when I was an engineer, my food rationing was at least three times more than the figures I gave you. And it is even better for an athlete.
When I was a member of the water polo team, I could eat as much as I liked. The standard of my board, my food, is 109 JMP. As you can
i The unit of currency in mainland China is the jen min ni or yuan. In 1965, 1 jen min pi or yuan was equivalent to $0.382 in U.S. currency. Thus, 42.50 jen min pi at that time was equal to $16.23 in U.S. dollars.
see, that is 21/2 times the total income of a worker. This was for food alone.
Mr. SCHULTZ. That is 109 a week?
Mr. SCHULTZ. I would like to ask you about your travel with the water polo team.
Did you at any time in your travel outside of mainland China have the urge to escape, and, if you did, did you have the opportunity, or why didn't you make your attempt at that time?
Mr. 'WU SHU-JEN. Not only myself, but I am sure other members of our team, did have the urge to escape, but it was hardly possible for us to carry it out, because for the 12 members of the water polo team, there were as many as five so-called political officials who were sent there to watch us.
Also, none of us was given a single cent of the foreign currency needed in a foreign country.
Also, we were not allowed to move freely alone by ourselves. We had to move around in a party of two or three.
So, as you can see, it was very hard for us to escape.
Mr. SCHULTZ. Mr. Wu, up until very recently, we have had extremely limited knowledge about mainland China, except through individuals such as you.
What steps would be taken by the party or officials in control of mainland China to present a favorable picture of the living conditions of the Chinese, if any, for a Western observer?
Mr. WU SHU-JEN. I would like to tell you a piece of my own experience that was in 1955 or 1956–I cannot remember the exact year.
The late Prime Minister Clement Atlee of Great Britain paid a state visit-maybe I should say official visit—to Peking.
At that time I was a student at Tsinghua.
Prior to Mr. Atlee's arrival, the school suspended classes for 2 whole days. The first half day, the school officials lectured us on how we should act in front of this prominent visitor, how we should answer any questions he might come up with, and then we spent 112 days dividing into small groups, discussing what we should do.
Then, just before the Prime Minister made a tour of the Peihai Park in Peking, all the students put on their best dresses and acted as tourists, as citizens in the park, while the public security officials kept out all the ordinary citizens, so when Mr. Atlee toured the park, he saw nothing but happy faces, colorful dresses, and young people in general having a good time.
We did have a good time, because we did not have to attend the class, and we had our best dress on.
That is what a foreign visitor would see when he visits mainland China today. Mr. Zion. Would counsel yield ?
Mr. Wu, this was in the fifties, was it not, when Clement Atlee was there and was treated to such a fine picture of healthy, happy Chinese people; in the fifties?
[At this point Mr. Guyer left the hearing room.]
Mr. WU SHU-JEN. If you ask my own experience, I can tell you only that. But in 1964, when the former President of Indonesia—1964 or 1965—President Sukarno of Indonesia paid a visit to Canton; at that
time I was also in Canton. Although I did not take part in this welcome, I knew that the local government did the same thing to this visitor.
This is an open secret among the mainland people. They call the actors the mobile props, like in the movies or a stage play.
Mr. Zion. This was in the fifties and, again, in 1964. We have recently seen movies that came from mainland China in which we also got the impression people were clean, neat, happy, well dressed, and well fed, and so forth.
Do you have any communication with people in mainland China that would tend to make you believe it is still a farce, play-acting? Do you have any knowledge at the present time that the same procedure is carried on as it was in the fifties and the sixties in order to make a favorable impression that does not necessarily reflect the true picture in mainland China ?
Mr. WU SHU-JEN. As you know, I left mainland China in 1969, so I really do not know whether the Government is still doing the same thing to the foreign visitors, but I think if the foreign visitor would not tour large cities alone, and if the regime would allow the foreign visitor to travel freely in mainland China and go to small towns, remote towns, and talk to the people there, see the situation there, he would have a much better picture of the true life conditions in mainland China.
Also, I would suggest that when the foreign visitor speaks to a mainland citizen, he should pay close attention to the facial expression of the one who is talking to him, because, as I know, every single person who dares to talk with a foreign visitor would be closely watched by secret policemen, and you can tell from his facial expression whether he is telling you the truth or not.
Mr. Zion. Back in 1946, I attended church services in Shanghai. From your experience, when Mao took over the Government, was there the same freedom of religion under Mao as there had been under Chiang Kai-shek?
Mr. WU SHU-JEN. Again, this is my own experience.
From 1945 to 1948, I attended a Christian junior high school in Shanghai. My high school years were spent in Hong Kong, also in a Christian school. It was during those years that I was baptized and became a Christian.
But after I went back to mainland China in 1954, I never had any chance to attend the church, because there were no more religious activities.
Also, being a member of the Chinese Communist Party, I was not allowed to have any religious belief.
Mr. ZION. As a member of the Communist Party, you were not permitted to practice any religious programs at all; is that correct?
Mr. WU SHU-JEN. Not only party members are not allowed to take part in any religious activities, but, also, the party officials. Officials are not necessarily party members, but all the party officials are discouraged from having any religious belief, because the party thinks the philosophies of religions run counter to the materialism of communists.
So, since 1958, all religious activities have been suppressed on mainland China, except Moslem, because Moslem is also an ethnic minority of China.