søndag 29. september 2019

‘Mao inspired me in 1949, but my dreams were soon shattered’

He Yanling was full of hope for a “new China” in 1949. On the eve of the ceremony marking establishment of the People’s Republic on 1 October that year, the then 27-year-old page editor at the People’s Daily worked through the night to ensure the paper would come out without a glitch. The next day he joined the celebrations with his colleagues, while his wife stayed at home with their baby.

The streets were filled with the sound of people chatting and singing. With the five-star red national flags billowing, hundreds of thousands of people waited for hours before Mao Zedong appeared on the balcony of the Gate of Heavenly Peace to announce the founding of the PRC. “We were so excited. We thought: at last, the Chinese people are united,” said He, now 97. His first article after the founding day was headlined “From darkness into brightness”.

“We had a decade of civil war before ... so we were looking forward to building a democratic and peaceful China under a coalition government,” he said.