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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - April 11, 1973, Lethbridge, Alberta The LetHbridge Herald I Third Section Lethbridge, Alberta, Wednesday, April 11, 1973 Pages 33 to 44 Reading netvspapsr Chinese style o cadre looks at a wall newspaper 'cadre schools9 Bridging the wide gulf between two lifestyles CANTON. China It was raining hard when the ageing Humber pulled away from the courtyard of the East Wind Hotel and headed north, threading its way through the suburbs and out into the. open country along an undulating road flanked on either side by sodden rice paddies, lying fallow now for the winter. For nearly two hours the car motored gently along, the only sound that of the tires singing on the wet pavement, the road deserted save for the occasional plastic-caped cyc- list crouching low against the rain, and here and there a soldier standing guard out- side a straw lean-to of the BY John Burns special to The Herald kind that serve as check- points along the way. The road, straight and nar- row and flanked on either side by carefully-spaced plane trees, evoked memories of rural France. But beyond the trees, the scene was all China: Oxplows lying idle in pools of water that dotted the paddy-fields, straw-hatted pea- sants walking cat-like along the footpaths between the fields, and overall a soft mist that lent its own beauty to the landscape. Reaching Chaihuo, a cluster of whitewashed buildings straddling the road about 30 miles out of Canton, the driv- er pulled over to ask She way of a group of villagers shel- tering on a porch. After some debate a white-whiskered oM man in patchwork pants came forward with direc- tions, and the car lurched for- ward again, still heading north. A mile or two further on, the driver turned off the main road onto an unpaved track winding through scrub coun- try planted with acre after, acre of tea shrubs. Satisfied at that he was on the right road, he brought the car to a halt, rubbed the con- densation off the windscreen and pointed to a group of buildings gathered on a low hill just ahead. he said, turning to his back-seat passengers with a broad griin. "The May 7 Cadre LETTER On May 7, 1366, on the eve of the Cultural Revolution, Mao Tse-tung wrote a letter to Lin Piao, then his right- hand man, elaborating his conception of the many-sided socialist man that the revol- ution was to produce. It was an ambitous prescription, destined to be quoted and re- quoted during the upheaval that was to follow: "With hammer in hand they will be able to do factory work; with hoe. plough or harrow they will be able to do farming; with the gun they will be able to fight the enemy, and with the pen they will be able to express them- selves in writing." Two years later, as the chaos of the revolution be- gan to subside, the Chairman issued another directive, de- fining the means by which this extraordinary socialist man was to be nurtured. Thus, in October, 1968. was a new institution bom: the May 7 Cadre School. The idea behind the school simple enough. To bridge the traditional gulf between city and countryside: to in- ure respect among city-dwel- lers for the innate wisdom of the peasants: to suppress bourgeois thinking and to re- mould their thoughts along proper Maoist lines, all cad- res were to be shipped off to the countryside for periodic stints of labor. The term cadre itself re- quires explanation, for in China it has come to mean more than just party and gov- ernment officia's. It includes them, but it also covers white collar workers of all descrip- tions, from university profes- sors to bank managers in short, anyone in a position of responsibility, in whatever in- stitution. ATTACK These were the people who had coma under attack wben Chairman Mao declared open season on all established in- sitiutions at the outset of the Cultural Revolution: among them were those whom the Red Guards dressed in dunce's caps, mounted atop trucks for exhibition before jeering crowds, snd forced into humiliating self-castiga- tion before pubic rallies. Such excesses were a brute attempt to accomplish' some- thing the Chairman now sought to achieve in a more gentle and in the end. more effective fashion: At the May 7 schools, all cadres were to be re-educated by manual labour, by exposure to the peasants, and by di'i- gent study of the Marxist classics. In the beginning, those sent down to the schools were those who had come tinder the heaviest fire during the Red Guard rampages. But in principle, there was to be nothing punitive about the schools: They were to be a regular feature of all cadres' careers, without regard to rank or merit, except as such factors might require shorter or longer terms at the schools. Within weeks of the Chair- man's directive, tens of thousands of cadres were oa their way to the countryside, often to barren, sparsely populated areas where they had to furnish the means of survival for themselves: dor- mitories, kitchens and study rooms had to be built; imple- msr.te fashioned for use in creating cultiveable land out of territory previously consid- ered too sandy or waterlog- ged to be worked by the pea- sants themselves; and final- ly, buildings constructed to store the first harvests, and to process them. At first, assignment to the schools was for an indefinite period: for as long as it took for each individual to re- mould his thinking, as judged by his peers the people runrir--: schr B1'1 time passed and the country's administrative msc.__mry gan to return to a semblance of normal operation, key men found themselves being call- ed back to the cities, to be re- placed by a new batch of re- cruits from the cities. TERMS VARY And so it has gone ever since. For those with needed skills, or who are otherwise judged indispensable, the length of assignment can be short as three months: for others whose skills are less in demand or who fail to shape up to the exacting ideological standards, a term of three years o r more is not uncommon. Some of the schools are or- ganized on a regional basis; others cater to cadres of a particular vocation: still oth- ers serve the needs of a single institution. Examples of the latter are the Foreign Ministry, and The People's Daily, which have their own schools in the vicinity of Pe- king. A typical institution can Continued on page 42 Rung school Ho Yi-Cbian, vice-choirpian of revolutionary committee. Purging''bourgeois habits9 CANTON, China Ho Yi- chJan Jit another cigarette. blew his first mouthful of smoke towards the ceiling, and watched abstractedly as it spread itself against the blanket of smoke already hanging there. Then, leaning forward, effiows on the table, hands clasped beneath his chin, he launched into the crux of his story. 3n short, staccato sen- tences, hurriedly scnbblcd down by the interpreter sit- ting beside him. he sot ou1 to explain why the party had found it necessary to send tens of thousands of the country's best administrators down to the countryside 1o work with the peasants, and what results had been; in short, the purposes and ac- complishinejils of the May 7 Cadre School. "Our purpose iin organizing a May 7 school." he began, fixing his gaze upon his guest across the table, "is lo pro- vide cadres with education in ideological and political lines, so as to raise their conscious- ness of class struggle, com- hal the revisionist way of thinking, and ensure the con- tinuation of the reAohjIVm imdcr the dictatorship of 1bc proletarial. "According to Chairman Mao's infractions, we ac- complish this by orcanizina the cadres lo po ricran lo countryside, where they can receive re-cducaiion from the poor and Sower-middle peas- ants and purge themselves of bourgeois habits. ESSENTIAL "Our experience has taught iis that this is essential if we arc nol lo stray from the palh of the revolution, and open thr door lo the restora- tion of capitalism. This is Ibc significance of Chairman great call, which was c'stood and by the ias1 majoritj of rcs, who saw il as an excel- lent opportunity to re-odu- calc themselves. "To renrh a full of our hare, you shouJd some- thing the experience of cadres before ths Gresl Pro- letarian Cultural Revolution, when they cainc under the in- fluence of Liu Shao-Chi's bourgeois revisionist line.