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Growing up During the Great Proletarian Revolution

This research paper summarizes and comments upon the account of Liang Heng, which his American wife, Judith Shapiro helped write and translate, of what it was like to grow up in China in the period leading up to, during and right after the Great Proletarian Revolution. The book provides a devastatingly authentic portrait of what conditions were like for Heng and his family during that turbulent and confusing era. The overall message is one of hope because the efforts of the communist regime in the People's Republic of China did not succeed, if this report is at all representative, in homogenizing Chinese society to the point where basic human values died.

Heng came from an ordinary family which lived in the city of Changsha in southeastern central province of Hunan. As the story begins, Heng's father and mother are supporters of the regime, each holding responsible lower level positions. His father, Liang Shan, is a reporter and editor of the local party newspaper, the Hunan Daily. His mother is a cadre in the Changsha Public Security Bureau. Even though their marriage is one of convenience, Heng and his two older sisters are being brought up in a stable family structure in which there is a considerable degree of warmth and mutual support. The children are largely looked after by the grandmothers, Waipo and Nai Nai. They take care of the children while their parents spend long hours at work.

In the 1957-1958 period, when Heng is three to four years old, things begin to change for the worse. His mother is accused of rightest tendencies because of some innocuous criticisms she made during the Let the Hundred Flowers Bloom period. She loses her position and is sent to a suburb to be reformed and later to work as a peasant and in a factory. Her husband and Nai Nai turn against her and she loses custody of the children. Reng "came to resent my mother for making my life miserable . . . became solitary and self-reliant" (...

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Growing up During the Great Proletarian Revolution. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 22:30, November 30, 2021, from