Written by: Yi Qing
Translated by: Er Bai
No one knew what would happen in Shaoshan that day? The whole of the day would be at leisure as usual in a casual way.
That morning, the whole village was veiled in mist which mingled with kitchen smoke, inextricably intertwined up to the tips of pine trees, blowing in the wind far away.
In the early 1980s, when non-Maoism was the prevailing attitude all over
During that period, on the right morning of that day, Li Na – youngest daughter of the late Chairman Mao (also Mao Zedong or Mao Tse-tung) – set out from
Li Na was born in Yan’an in 1940, but Shaoshan felt like hometown to her all the time. Li Na is the youngest and beloved daughter of Mao Zedong and his fourth wife Jiang Qing.
In 1961, Li Na was once ill, pleading with her father, “Papa, I want to go and visit Shaoshan.” Her father did not agree, because Li Na was very weak then, but he agreed to her going to Shaoshan when she recovered from her illness.
Later in 1966, Li Na graduated from
She was always looking forward to a pilgrimage to Shaoshan.
In August 1984, Li Na finally grabbed the chance to board the train to Shaoshan.
The road which took Li Na to Shaoshan was the right one which took her father home twenty-five years ago.
She felt that the wind blowing around her ears was just the one around her father’s cheeks. The stream flew beneath her feet, rippling in the soft wind as if she saw her father’s reflection in it.
Li Na was gazing about calmly – the hill, the stream, the grass, and the trees. She was burdened with untold misery at the moment when she set foot in Shaoshan. She didn’t dare to come alone. Nor did she dare to let her identity known by the others.
For that reason, she first went to meet her husband Wang Jingqing in Nujiang River Military Division,
So only the name of his husband – ex-Chief of Staff Wang Jingqing – was signed on the guest list of Shaoshan Administration Bureau.
On the dirt road to the former residence of Chairman Mao, the folks clustered together, showing him around.
Li Na was lagging behind. She seemed to be talking to her native soil as well as to her family folks. She put a gentle touch on the furniture and farming implements, which her father took hold of when young. She felt thrilled with some inexplicable mood. She stayed behind a bit further so as not to disclose her excitement and identity.
All kinds of feelings welled up in her heart when Li Na moved her hand gently over her father’s farming implements. It seemed as though she felt extra warmth of her father.
Li Na’s behaviour looked a bit bizarre to those who worked for Shaoshan Administration Bureau. They wondered why ex-Chief of Staff Wang Jingqing brought with himself an ordinary woman, middle-aged and not well-dressed.
Walking through the main hall of the former residence, they entered the cowshed. Li Na could hardly help but lean against one of the doorposts. Seeing that, Wang Jingqing felt an urge to go over to giver her a hand. However, at the thought of her specific request she made the night before he gave up the impulse. He ducked his head and followed the visitors toward the threshing ground at the rear hill.
They all reached the threshing ground in a while, where they found a bulletin board, on which wrote “This is the field where Chairman Mao did manual labour”.
Li Na noticed this board, too. That was a board and field that she dreamed a lot of times.
Li Na could not control herself any longer. Her heart was overwhelmingly broken. Tears welled up in her eyes. She let out a depressive cry, got down on her knees on the field ridge, and dug down with her hands deep into the soil.
Li Na’s burst of impulsive behaviour came as a shock to all. No one knew what was happening. No one knew why she was weeping openly and strongly. No one knew the true identity of this middle-aged woman.
Wang Jingqing rushed out of the crowd at once. He knelt down, too, to help Li Na up, ardently wiping the tears off her cheeks.
Wang Jingqing felt that he could not conceal the fact that she was Li Na. He then said to the administrators of Shaoshan Bureau, “This is Li Na. She is the youngest daughter of Chairman Mao!”
Was she? The youngest daughter of Chairman Mao?
What on earth was happening? They all stood dumbfounded, looking her up and down. She WAS the youngest daughter of Chairman Mao, bearing a close resemblance to her father in the contours of the face.
Li Na wiped away tears, speechless, and staring at the fields and the hills, as if her father was climbing and working there. Joys and sorrows permeated every part of her life.
The administrators gave Li Na a telling-off, “How come you didn’t let us know who you were?”
Wang Jingqing was about to explain, but he did not know how to say it.
Li Na told her main worry, “I am the daughter of Jiang Qing. What my mother has done causes bitter resentment of the whole nation, so I was afraid …”
One of the administrators said, his eyes filling with tears, “You are the daughter of Jiang Qing. That is true. But you are the daughter of Mao Zedong as well. Chairman Mao’s daughter, you know? Now you’re back in Shaoshan. Isn’t Shaoshan you home too?”
People let out a heavy sigh. Some began sobbing uncontrollably.
A local woman appeared absolutely petrified, with the basket dropping off her hand, tears streaming down her face. No one knew who she was…
Heavens above! Isn’t that history? Aren’t those politics? How come you keep fooling us around?
land seemed to witness the pain and suffering caused by the ups and downs of the century.
(People were all shocked on the threshing ground.)
Li Na was BACK!
Li Na was back in SHAOSHAN!
The youngest daughter of Chairman Mao came HOME!!!
This news caused quite a stir all over Shaoshan. The relatives and the folks – old or young, rich or poor – were running around to tell each other that Li Na was back, as though Chairman Mao were back himself.
People stretched out their hands. Li Na reached out right away to shake hands with them. Hand in hand. Heart to heart. What a long breakup it looked! Longer than centuries! It was clear to all who they were yearning for, but nevertheless, at that moment in 1984, non-Maoism was still prevalent in the country, you know.
Li Na struggled to hold back her tears. The suffering became alleviated. The pain vanished. She had not hoped that the first time she met the folks in Shaoshan, they treated her as though she were their own daughter.
Note, please cite as follows:
Yi Qing. (2008). Why Li Na Knelt down in Shaoshan. Yi Qing&Erbai Blog -- Understanding Mao Zedong Retrieved (Access Date), (Access Year), from http://blog.ifeng.com/article/1573558.html
Yi Qing. "Why Li Na Knelt Down in Shaoshan". 2008. Blog. Yi Qing&Erbao Blog -- Understanding Mao Zedong. (Access Date) (Access Year).
Yi Qing. 2008. Why Li Na Knelt Down in Shaoshan. In Yi Qing&Erbai Blog -- Understanding Mao Zedong, http://blog.ifeng.com/article/1573558.html. (accessed (Date), (Year)).