Comrade Fong entered his office in Beijing and took his place at the table. The corruption clean-up was going well throughout the country. Some of the leaders in provinces had been misusing their influence and needed to be re-educated. Money arising from exploitation was forfeited to the state. It was their job to serve the people, not exploit them. It was the corrupting influence of Chinese rulers of the past which had made necessary the Communist revolution. China was no longer the plaything of foreign nations. It was politically and economically strong. The knowledge and wealth of foreigners had initially fuelled Chinese resurgence but now they were becoming a nation to be reckoned with in the world again. Soon they’d lead the world as it was the right of the Middle Kingdom to do. It had been their history it was now their destiny!
He glanced at the pile of documents on his desk. Rehabilitated leaders were to be examined to see if they’d learned from their punishment. The file on top of the pile had the Chinese characters for the family of Wu. It was a common name to be distinguished by their full name from each other. He glanced again in surprise. Waiting to be interviewed in the holding room was his old friend. He’d not seen him since they’d attended Communist conventions together when he was in charge of a province at a lower level of administration some years ago. They’d formed a firm friendship at the time and he knew this friend as a loyal Communist and citizen. How could it be this man could be next on his interview list?
He indicated to his assistant the work for the day should begin. Wu should be bought in for interview.
Wu sat as indicated a broken man. Fong shook his head in dismay. “Comrade Wu, what are you doing here?” Wu sat hunched and remained silent. It was a humiliation to be bought in disgrace before his friend Fong, but the party could make no exceptions. It was the way things were done.
Fong gazed at his friend sympathetically and began to review the file. He made notes as he did.
“Call Comrade Chow,” he barked to his assistant. Chow came running and bowed as he stood in front of Fong. “Please explain the process followed Comrade, and how you arrived at this conclusion. We are here to root out corruption but there seems to be some gaps that need explanation. It would be unfortunate if innocents were caught up in our righteous campaign wouldn’t it Comrade? I have many questions about other files reviewed which we’ll discuss later!”
And so it was that over the next week witnesses were called and files checked until Wu was returned to face Fong for a final interview and clearance to re-join his family who Fong noted with alarm had been reduced to poverty. There was an application pending for their clearance to join children in the United States. He was to make a determination as to the advisability of this request.
The time had come and Wu was called to face Fong.
“I see a relative has been appointed to manage the Wu brother’s industries seized and he has been given rights to your former home Comrade. Would you like to explain why that was necessary? Your relative has applied to be granted ownership of these industries.”
It’s written in the report I signed Comrade if you’ll be so kind to read it.”
“Lies, all lies! You’ve signed a document in front of me which is all lies Comrade! Why did you do that?”
Wu bowed expecting to be sent back for further re-education. Be that as it may, his life was over anyway and he’d never recover from the injustice done him. Separation from his family was bad but the crushing of his feeling of self-worth was even worse. He was now a non-person, enemy of the state.
Fong’s voice softened. “Look at me old friend and comrade!
Wu looked up in surprise.
“You have been done a great injustice. I’ve reviewed the reports and re-examined witnesses. I cannot tell you how I came to the conclusion, but after carefully examining all witnesses including Comrade Chow I find there has been a conspiracy of lies constructed to seize your assets without justification and to the benefit of those bringing witness against you. They’ll be dealt with more severely than you’ve been so unjustly dealt with! The campaign to root out corruption has in some cases produced corruption. Your relative who is now in custody has been removed from his position administering the Wu brother’s industries and control has been returned to your sons who’ve been exonerated from all charges against them. Your former position in the party has been restored and your record is clean. Word will be spread that you have been treated unjustly and are in good and regular standing with the party. However, we cannot release you in your present physical condition. You will spend time in a rehabilitation centre with your wife until health is fully restored. I am however, recommending that you be elevated in position and this may require you to be present at the highest levels of our party in Beijing if your health permits. We’ll talk about that when your health recovers.”
Fong paused and smiled at Wu who was still too shocked to respond.
“There is only one unfortunate further thing I’m to tell you and it deals with your daughter Wu Mei. She too has been dealt with unjustly, but she has acted precipitously and foolishly. You will not have heard this, but instead of waiting for her country to act honourably she has gone over to the foreign devils and taken citizenship abroad which complicates our relationship with her. No doubt you’ll be very disappointed in her. She’s to be stripped of her Chinese citizenship and as an Australian citizen now with this mark against her it may not be possible for her to visit her country again for a very long time. I’ll leave it to you to decide how you should relate to her in future.”
Fong rose and came to where Wu was sitting in shock. He tenderly lifted him to his feet and accompanied him downstairs to where his wife was waiting to join him. He withdrew discretely as the old couple cried together. After several minutes a driver tapped them on the shoulder and motioned them to follow to the limousine in which he and his wife would be transported to a luxury resort where those in top levels of administration were sent to recover their health.
Wu Mei was reassigned temporarily to New York for further experience soon after her citizenship ceremony. The romance with Cheng continued and on completion of her stay in New York she was married to him in the presence of her brothers, including those brothers who’d been reinstated to their industries and wealth in China. They’d travelled to attend the wedding.
Wu who considered his daughter had disgraced the family and her country by seeking foreign citizenship instead of trusting Chinese justice refused to attend. In his opinion she was compounding the problem by marrying a man once considered as a potential enemy to the country. His friend Fong assured him there was no such suspicion but Wu struggled to accept Cheng. Eventually the brothers seeing him as a potential help to their business with his broad experience worked with Wu until at last he agreed to meet Cheng, and having warmed to him there was an eventual acceptance of Wu Mei again.
Grant Adams had indicated at the time of Wu Mei’s citizenship ceremony he’d been asked to move into politics and the position he’d occupied within the consultancy was open. Cheng applied for and was accepted as his replacement. Wu Mei applied for and was successful in getting a government job where she was assigned a position in the department facilitating foreign trade.
Cheng and his new bride made their home on the Sydney Harbour North Shore close to where she’d enjoyed her student days. Now that her relationship with China had been approved again they were often guests at the Chinese Embassy where some of those she knew still remained.
Eventually Cheng and his wife applied for and were granted visas to visit Cheng’s ancestral village where they paid respect to his ancestors. A Wu family gathering was planned on their return from that visit and her brothers from the US made the trip to China with their families to attend the family reunion. Wu smiled happily as the family gathered to honour him and pay their respect.
“© Copyright Ian Grice 2016 All rights reserved”