Zhou Yang in the “alienation” whirlpool

July 14, 1975, No. 7 West Street, Wanshou Road, Beijing, Central Organization Department Guest House.

In an unremarkable two-story building with one room on the second floor, Zhou Yang, the former deputy minister of the Central Propaganda Department who had been imprisoned for nearly nine years, was finally reunited with his family. At that time, he was still “guilty”, and not only did he not resume work, but the so-called charges imposed on him were not settled.

In the 1920s, Zhou Yang joined the CCP and became one of the leaders of the CCP’s cultural undertakings in Shanghai. In the late 1930s, he came to Yan’an and was relied upon by Mao Zedong. After 1949, he became the “giant” of the CCP in the literary and art circles. In him, the history of contemporary Chinese ideology is almost condensed.

In the 60 years, although Zhou Yang is conscientiously loyal to his beliefs and career, he has been dancing with shackles. In the 1930s, Lu Xun listed him as one of the “Four Men”; in the 1950s, Mao Zedong criticized him for “not developing politically”, and on the eve of the “Cultural Revolution”, he also said that he “has inextricably linked with the bourgeoisie”; ” During the Cultural Revolution, he was regarded as a “counter-revolutionary two-faced” by Yao Wenyuan, and Jiang Qing publicly declared: “I hate Zhou Yang!” leader of the liberation movement. In the 1980s, Zhou Yang died of illness in July 1989 after a debate over the issue of “alienation”.

behind bars

In January 1975, Zhou Enlai was hospitalized with advanced bladder cancer, and Mao Zedong reinstated Deng Xiaoping to preside over the work of the State Council. In March of this year, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China decided to release the vast majority of those detained, under guardianship, or under ad hoc review in their original units. Lin Mohan, the former deputy director of the Central Propaganda Department who was assigned to Jiangxi because of the “Zhou Yang case”, was released from custody and assigned to work at the steel plant in Shaofengcheng County, Jiangxi Province.

Lin Mohan wrote to Mao Zedong to express his gratitude. On July 2, Mao Zedong, who was almost blind in both eyes, was silent for a long time after listening to the confidential secretary read the letter, and wrote this paragraph:

“Zhou Yang’s case seems to be dealt with leniently, assigning work, and recovering and treating those who are sick. Long-term detention is not the answer. Please discuss and decide.”

Therefore, in addition to Tian Han who died, the other three of the “Four Men” — Zhou Yang, Xia Yan, and Yang Hansheng were released successively.

In the 1930s, Zhou Yang led the Chinese left-wing revolutionary cultural movement in Shanghai. He was the party secretary of the Chinese Left-wing Writers’ Union of the Communist Party of China and the secretary of the Shanghai Interim Central Cultural Work Committee (referred to as the “Cultural Committee”). In the late autumn of 1934, Zhou Yang and Xia Yan, Tian Han, and Yang Hansheng, who were also members of the “Cultural Committee”, went to Lu Xun to report the work of the “Zuolian”, and were ridiculed by Lu Xun as “four men”. In fact, this term was just a neutral word at the time, but it changed its flavor later and became a cancer cell in Zhou Yang’s political life.

Gong Yuzhi recalled this detail in “Several Winds and Rains Recalling Zhou Yang”. In early 1966, on the eve of the outbreak of the “Cultural Revolution”, Gong Yuzhi went to the hospital to visit Zhou Yang, who was undergoing surgery for lung cancer. The visitor comforted Zhou Yang, and now the doctor is sure about lung cancer. Zhou Yang nodded. After a while, he said in a low voice: “I have two cancers on my body.” He explained: one is lung cancer, and the other is “thirties”!

As expected by Zhou Yang, a big hat of “Zhou Yang against Lu Xun” almost killed Zhou Yang during the “Cultural Revolution”, and the “Zhou Yang Case” also implicated as many as 76 people in the literary and art circles.

In fact, it was Jiang Qing who wanted to kill Zhou Yang.

From Shanghai to Yan’an and then to Beijing, Zhou Yang experienced different cultural environments as time and space changed. After the founding of the People’s Republic of China, Zhou Yang successively served as the deputy minister of the Ministry of Culture and secretary of the Party Leadership Group, and the deputy minister of the Central Propaganda Department. In the 17 years before the “Cultural Revolution”, he had been the most important leader of China’s ideology, and was known as the authoritative interpreter and executor of Mao Zedong Thought.

In the 1950s, Jiang Qing came to work, serving as a member of the National Film Steering Committee, director of the Propaganda Film Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, and other positions, claiming to be Mao Zedong’s “mobile sentinel” in the literary and art circles. Zhou Yang, as the deputy minister in charge of literature and art in the Central Propaganda Department, was the direct leader of the then “first lady”.

Once, Zhou Yang went to see Mao Zedong, and Mao asked about Jiang Qing’s work. Zhou Yang asked honestly: I don’t know which of Jiang Qing’s opinions belong to the chairman and which are her personal. They are the chairman’s instructions, and we will resolutely implement them. If it is her personal opinion, we can discuss it.

This past incident was mentioned by many parties, including Zhou Yang’s secretary Lu Fei and Zhou Libo’s son Zhou Jianming in their articles recalling Zhou Yang.

On November 10, 1965, Shanghai Wen Wei Po published an article by Yao Wenyuan, “A Commentary on the New Historical Drama “Hai Rui Dismissed from Office”, which was a big drama carefully planned by Jiang Qing.

Before Yao Wen was published, Mao Zedong asked Zhou Yang to talk. Mao believed in the materials of Kang Sheng and Jiang Qing, and believed that the “four men” dominated the literary and art world, and he wanted to publicly criticize the other three: Xia Yan, Tian Han, and Yang Hansheng. According to Zhang Guangnian, Zhou Yang’s old subordinate and former vice-chairman of the Chinese Writers Association, Mao said to Zhou Yang at that time, “You are inextricably linked with these people, so you can’t do anything, right?”

“Zhou Yang’s role as a banner sacrificer of the ‘Cultural Revolution’ is obvious,” said Xu Qingquan, Zhou Yang’s researcher and executive editor of “Yanhuang Chunqiu”.

come out again

On the third day after Zhou Yang was released from prison, Lu Fei came to visit Zhou Yang at No. 7 West Street, Wanshou Road.

With the door ajar, Zhou Yang’s wife, Su Lingyang, said loudly in the room, “Don’t worry, we will do whatever Chairman Mao says. After entering the room, Lu Fei realized that Su Lingyang’s words were for outsiders, and she was afraid that there were bugs in the room.

When Lu Fei saw Zhou Yang, she couldn’t help crying. The three of them stood under the lamp in the middle of the house and talked, thinking that they could stay away from the bug.

The hostel of the Central Organization Department at that time, many veteran cadres who were “liberated” in the later period of the “Cultural Revolution” lived there.

People are still terrified. Yu Guangyuan went to visit Zhou Yang and Song Renqiong who lived there, just in time to catch up with a “little story” that happened in the guest house: two days ago, a lot of security personnel came to the guest house, which made the people living here quite nervous, thinking that they would have to go to the guest house again. When I came to arrest it, it turned out that a sitting state leader was going to visit an old comrade in Xiaolou.

In 1977, the central government decided that Hu Qiaomu, Yu Guangyuan, and Deng Liqun would go to the Department of Philosophy and Social Sciences of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and rebuilt the department into the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. According to Yu Guangyuan’s memory, on November 26 of this year, Deng Xiaoping sent three people to listen to the report. At the end of the report, Hu Qiaomu asked if Zhou Yang could be transferred to the Academy of Social Sciences as a consultant, and Deng agreed. Zhou Yang returned to the public eye.

After the “Cultural Revolution”, Zhang Guangnian went to visit Zhou Yang. Zhang Guangnian said to Zhou with emotion: “Comrade Zhou Yang, what have we done these years? Did we do the work of infant killing?” When Zhang Guangnian said “baby killing”, he meant the stifling of creation. The term “Baby Killing” comes from an early Japanese left-wing play of the same name. Zhang Guangnian’s words touched Zhou Yang.

At this time, Zhou Yang, on various occasions in the literary and art circles, repeatedly apologized to the comrades who had been hurt by him in the past. His attitude has won the understanding and forgiveness of many comrades. But some people still refused to understand him.

After smashing the “Gang of Four”, Zhou Yang became active again. He not only made sincere reflections on his past “Left” mistakes, but also published many new literary and artistic theories.

In 1979, Zhou Yang made two important speeches.

At the academic seminar held by the Academy of Social Sciences to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the “May 4th Movement”, Zhou Yang made a report entitled “Three Great Mind Emancipation Movements”, which was published in the “People’s Daily” on May 7 .

In the report, Zhou Yang called the May Fourth Movement, the Yan’an Rectification Movement and the ideological emancipation movements since the Third Plenary Session of the Eleventh Central Committee as the three great ideological emancipation movements in modern Chinese history. This report made Zhou Yang famous and regained his ideological coquettishness.

“Whether China’s 20th century can be called the great ideological emancipation movement three times or twice is a topic that can be discussed. The formulation of ‘three great ideological emancipation movements’ was the height of his understanding at that time, which did not harm Zhou Yang at that time. The theoretical value of this proposition.” Gu Xiang, a famous literary critic and literary theorist, told China News Weekly.

In the autumn, the Fourth National Congress of the Culture and Culture was held. Zhou Yang made a keynote report on “Continuing the Past and Forging the Future, Prospering Literature and Art in the New Era of Socialism” at the conference. Zhou Yang was elected as the chairman of the All-China Federation of Literary and Art Circles. After the Literary Congress, he was transferred to the Central Propaganda Department as the deputy minister in charge of literature and art.

a storm

Wang Meng mentioned such a detail when recalling Zhou Yang:

“In 1981 or 1982, at a novel award ceremony, I listened to the usual concluding speech of Comrade Zhou Yang. Comrade Zhou Yang mentioned what a writer at that time said, saying that artists are about conscience, while politicians Otherwise, Zhou said, probably some writers regard him as a politician, which is ‘unconscientious’, while some politicians regard him as an artist’s umbrella, which is ‘liberal’ Speaking of which, the audience laughed.

However, Zhou Yang was very excited. He was speechless for a long time. Since I was sitting in the front row, I saw him shed tears. Real tears, not wet eyes or something like that. “

For a long time, dual identities—politician (revolutionary) or literary artist (theoretician), have become a collection of contradictions and intersect in Zhou Yang’s heart.

“Zhou Yang seemed to have a clear understanding of this in his later years, and tried to make himself closer to writers and artists, but in the end he did not escape the doom of political culture.” Zhou Jinglei, director of the Institute of Culture and Literature of Bohai University, said in his speech This is how Zhou Yang’s fate is explained in the article “Cultural Interpretation of the “Zhou Yang Phenomenon”.

At the end of 1982, the Central Committee decided that on March 14 of the following year, on the centenary of Marx’s death, two important commemorative activities would be held: one was a commemorative meeting, held by the Party Central Committee; the other was an academic seminar, held by the Central Propaganda Department, It was jointly held by the Central Party School, the Academy of Social Sciences and the Ministry of Education. The central government designated Zhou Yang to make a report at this symposium.

Just after the Spring Festival holiday in 1983, Gu Xiang received a call from Secretary Zhou Yang and asked them to go to Tianjin. Gu Xiang and Wang Ruoshui flew from Beijing, while Wang Yuanhua flew from Shanghai to Tianjin. At that time, Gu Xiang was working in the Cultural Bureau of the Central Propaganda Department, Wang Ruoshui was the deputy editor-in-chief of People’s Daily, and Wang Yuanhua was the head of the Shanghai Encyclopedia Publishing House. The purpose of the trip of the three was to draft a report for Zhou Yang.

The Tianjin State Guest House was built in the 1950s and 1960s. The main buildings in the park are four villas, which are said to be provided by Mao, Liu, Zhou and Zhu respectively. When the hotel was built, the “Cultural Revolution” was about to break out. Mao, Liu, Zhou, and Zhu had never been there, but they had received Jiang Qing a few times, and of course they lived in Mao’s villa. The hotel has never been open to the public.

Zhou Yang and his party lived in “Zhou”‘s villa. In Zhou Yang’s large suite, a 40-square-meter living room, floor-to-ceiling glass windows facing east, full of sunlight. Zhou Yang, Wang Ruoshui, Wang Yuanhua, and Gu Xiang sat around a small square table, each occupying one side, while the secretary was recording. Su Lingyang sometimes sat down to listen and never interrupted.

Two full days of “retreat”, half a day per person, Wang Ruoshui was the first to speak, and Zhou Yang was the last. After Zhou Yang finished talking, the framework of the four parts of the report came out. Namely: 1. Marxism is a theory of development; 2. Pay attention to epistemological issues; 3. Marxism and cultural criticism; 4. The relationship between Marxism and humanitarianism.

As soon as the “retreat” was over, an unexpected thing happened: Wang Ruoshui and his wife divorced, the court would hear it, and as a last resort, Wang Ruoshui returned to Beijing on the third day. The task of writing and drafting fell to Wang Yuanhua and Gu Xiang. Gu wrote the first and fourth parts, Wang wrote the second and third parts.

The fourth part wrote the first draft and sent it to Zhou Yang in the evening. The next morning, Zhou returned the manuscript to Gu Xiang, and said solemnly: After thinking about it for a long time, I still have to write “Alienation”.

Hurry up, hurry up, the manuscript is completed and it is approaching the session. On March 6, Zhou Yang and his entourage rushed back to Beijing, and they were typed in the printing factory of People’s Daily that night. Wang Yuanhua and Wang Ruoshui carried out proofreading and polishing together in the printing factory.

On March 7, the academic report on the centenary of Marx’s death was held as scheduled in the auditorium of the Central Party School. Zhou Yang gave a report entitled “Discussion on Several Theoretical Issues on Marxist Theory”. Zhou Yang made an opening remark, introducing the speech, which was written by several people after discussion, and then the report was read by a female announcer.

After reading it, he received a long round of applause. Zhou Yang told Gu Xiang that during the break of the meeting, Deng Liqun came forward to congratulate him and said it was a good talk. Wang Zhen also said it well, and also asked Zhou Yang what does “alienation” mean? Can you change a word? Zhou Yang told Wang Zhen that he could not change. Wang Zhen was the principal of the Central Party School at the time, and Deng Liqun was the secretary of the Central Secretariat and head of the Central Propaganda Department.

In fact, there was a problem in the afternoon of the report meeting. Some people think that it is inappropriate for Zhou Yang to express opinions on key issues involving the Party’s guiding ideology—Marxism, which are very different from those in the Party’s documents and propaganda at the time, without reporting to the central government and the central authorities in advance. This opinion is reflected layer by layer.

Regarding the issue of “alienation”, Zhou Yang’s report pointed out:

“Socialist society has great advantages over capitalist society. But this does not mean that there is no alienation in socialist society. In economic construction, due to our lack of experience, we do not understand the inevitable kingdom of socialist construction. , we have done a lot of stupid things in the past, and in the end we have suffered the consequences. This is the alienation of the economic leadership. Due to the imperfection of democracy and the legal system, the public servants of the people sometimes abuse the power granted by the people and turn to be the masters of the people. This is political The alienation of the realm, or the alienation of power.”

On March 16, the full text of Zhou Yang’s report was published in the People’s Daily, along with an article refuting Zhou Yang.

This caused a bigger uproar. A critique ensued.

This controversy not only alarmed the top leaders of the central government, but also turned Zhou Yang and Hu Qiaomu against each other.

On November 6, 1983, various newspapers in Beijing published a telegram of Xinhua News Agency on the 5th – a conversation between Zhou Yang and a reporter from the agency. Zhou Yang expressed his support for Deng Xiaoping’s speech at the Second Plenary Session of the Twelfth Central Committee and reviewed his speech at a seminar commemorating the centenary of Marx’s death.

In Gu Xiang’s memory, this winter seemed to be particularly cold. Gu Xiang went to Zhou Yang’s house every ten days and a half months. But at this time, Zhou Yang was depressed and spoke very little.

On January 3, 1984, Hu Qiaomu chose the auditorium of the Central Party School, which is the same place where Zhou Yang gave his academic report 10 months ago, and preached his main article criticizing Zhou Yang: “On Humanism and Alienation”. Later, Hu Qiaomu admitted to Gong Yuzhi that the critical article “overly politicized” the issue.

In 1984, Zhou Yang was admitted to the Beijing Hospital for five years. On July 31, 1989, Zhou Yang passed away.

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