There was a giant chalkboard by the school entrance, where I usually stopped on my way home to look up new announcements. That afternoon, beneath faded handwritten messages, a sheet of paper taped near the bottom stood out.
The body of the text started with my father’s name, followed by his titles. The action word was “passed away.” The paragraph concluded with his number of years on earth, “thirty-six.” It was a familiar format. But what surprised me were the seven characters immediately after his name, separated only by a comma: 中国共产党党员 (zhōngguó gòngchǎndǎng dǎngyuán) — “Member of the Chinese Communist Party.”