Yiwu City in Zhejiang Province is an alluring place.
I yearn for Yiwu not only because that it is a big base and market for the production and selling of nationwide small commodity, but also for the reason that Shentan Village in Yiwu is where the proletarian revolutionary, poet, writer and artistic theorist Feng Xuefeng was born and engaged in revolutionary affairs. Feng Xuefeng, who had a legendary life and close friendship with elites like Lu Xun and Mao Zedong, was sent to the countryside of Xianning Xiangyang Lake to do the
farming. As the vice-chairman of Culture Researches of Hubei Xiangyang Lake, I stepped into Feng Xuefeng House expectantly. It was in midsummer that I took along my wife and daughter to Shentan Village, Chi'an Town. At that time lotuses in pond by the roadside were in full bloom and their delicate fragrance caressed the cheeks. Looked from afar, an ancestral temple with architectural style of the Ming and Qing Dynasties was hidden among pine and cypress trees. By the entrance, there stod a stone tablet on which inscribed four characters”Huiyi Xuefeng” (回忆雪峰) by Hu Bangyao. On the left wall of the temple were four characters”Xuefeng Guju” (雪峯故居) inscribed by the famous writer Ding Ling. For the inscription ”峯”, my daughter asked me why the radical “山” was above the left partas it was usually on the left. I answered with a smile,” This character is an ancient Chinese character and it has evolved several ways of writing. Ding Ling was the left-wing writer, and she was also the student and comrade of Feng Xuefeng. Thinking from this aspect, her behavior can be regarded as her understanding of Feng's ideas.
My daughter nodded. She seemed to have realized the implied meaning.
When we were talking, Feng Chaozhong, the administrator of Feng Xuefeng House came in. He was Feng Xuefeng's nephew. We were introduced to each other by my companion Huang Yongzhong.“I'm deeply grateful that you still remember Feng Xuefeng. Three years ago, Li Chengwai, a Xianning person also came here,” said Feng Chaozhong with his hand in mine.
In the center of the cool ancestral temple, there stood the acrolith of Feng Xuefeng, Which perfectly showed his lean, fortitudinous and wise feature. We made a bow to it and gave an account of Feng's pictures, cultural relics and historical materials during every period, which made us known the integrity of a poet and the enthusiasm of a revolutionist. For the whole life of Feng Xuefeng, his revolutionary experiences were full of legends. He was an outstanding poet stirring the literary field for the "Lake Poets" in the period of May 4th Movement; he had a deep friendship with Qu Qiubai; He was the liaison between the Communist Party of China and Lu Xun; he was the man introducing Lu Xun to Chairman Mao and advocating the spirit of Lu Xun; he was the only Chinese writer experiencing the Long March. It was Feng Xuefeng who introduced the Long March to the American authoress Smedley in detail, so the heroic exploits of the Chinese Communists and the Worker –Peasant Red Army could be known by the world through the first report of Smedley. He stood the ruthless test of Shangrao Concentrated Camp and was rescued by our party. He wrote the script Shangrao Concentrated Camp to show people the indomitable image of revolutionists.
What was more, Feng's life experience was full of solemn and stirring tribulations. He was a determined revolutionist and
culture master who experienced the Long March. He developed himself in the battle against harsh conditions such as being equipped with millet plus rifles and put into the prison of nationalist party. After new China was founded, Feng hold a leading position in literary and art circles. He served as the chief editor of Journal of Literature and Art, president of People’s Art and Literature Press, vice chairman of Chinese Writers Association, etc. In 1954, Chairman Mao made a drive to research and criticizes A Dream of Red Mansions. He was criticized repeatedly for his articles on revealing the fact of suppressing the disadvantaged in the book. In 1957, he was convicted of the conspirator of Hu Feng since he stuck to the principles of seeking truth from facts and refused to participant in the movement of criticizing Hu Feng. In 1957, he was dismissed from all his posts and expelled from the Party the next year for being grouped into the Right Wing. During the period of the Cultural Revolution, he was suppressed and sent to the countryside to do labors in Xianning of Hubei Province.
Feng's life was also full of charming and fascination. He had the character of warriors and unique theory of literature. He had his own view on literary theory and never followed blindly osubmitted to current fashion. From his point of view, it was inappropriate to classify literary works by the stand that politics went first and artistic quality went second. In the period when we Chinese formed a national united front to resist against Japan, it wasn't enough for literature and art to serve workers, peasants and soldiers only. A literary work was a unity and artwork only when it had literary value; and its social value was the sum of all the meanings it brought to the society, which was also the objective value of a work. If literature and art were led by mechanical opinions, not by realism, they would become conceptualized, formulized and sloganized. Feng once created a novel the Death of Lu Dai from his experience of the Long March, but it was burned out by him when he wasaccused of having no right to write this kind of work, which was a great regret in the history of literature. Feng never concealed his political opinions, which made his second half of life full of frustration.
But he never damaged others, which showed the firm and unyielding character of a communist. For example, when he was demanded to offer certifying material that Zhou Yang once opposed Lu Xun, he said that Zhou Yang had never done so. His virtuous behavior greatly touched Zhou Yang. In May of 1975, when he worked in Xiangyang Lake District, many rebels asked him to investigate intellectuals like Zhou Yang, Xia Yan, Tian Han and some others who had old score with him. It could be safe to say that if Feng spoke ill of them, he would immediately extricate himself from the depressed situation. But from beginning to end, he never wrote any bad criticism on them because he had a strong sense of responsibility for the history, the people and himself. In some political movement, Zhou Yang served as the leader of our party to do the propaganda work and he once criticized Feng in a wrong way. But when he was informed that Feng was sick in hospital, he made a special trip to visit him. When they talked about this affair, the two men were touched to tears. Their experiences then became an interesting story. In the turbulent year of 1927, Feng Xuefeng joined the Party and was expelled for being unjustifiably labeled as “Rightist”. In 1961, soon after his unjust case was redressed, he insisted on resuming his party membership but was refused. In 1975, he tried for the third time and the result was still a failure. Until two days before he died, he still requested to rejoin the Party and be a member of public servants. His sincere heart for the Party was conspicuous. Till April of 1979, the Organization Department of the Central Committee of the CPC finally made his dream come true and he was rehabilitated his political reputation in the end.
On the book The chronicle of Feng Xuefeng's life, I read these words” From September of 1969 to June of 1971, I labored in Xianning of Hubei Province”, and they caught my attention.
“Does Feng have any other remains?” asked Feng Chaozhong with concern.
“Feng used to live in the Headquarter of the May Seventh Cadre School which belonged to the Ministry of Culture at that time. In his mud brick red tile-roofed house, there was nothing left except his bed and table.” I answered with emotion.In Feng Xuefeng House, I read his last work—the Golden Pheasant and Sparrow, which was an apologue written at the last time when Zhou Yang visited him. It inspired us with rational speculation. Feng was like a golden pheasant sacrificing the most beautiful feather to his belief and career, his comrades and even dissidents. Compared with those decorating themselves with beautiful feather, he had the splendid trait of a golden pheasant.
We were deeply shocked by the achievements and personality of Feng Xuefeng. During the visit, I was lost in thought: in Feng Xuefeng’s former residence in XIanning, we shouldn't just introduce his working experience in Xianning or simply show the cultural celebrity effect of Xiangyang Lake. We should prominently introduce his revolutionary experience, propagate the great contribution he had done for revolutionary culture, promote and develop his humanistic spirit. In this
way, the culture of Xiangyang Lake would be more profound and he would be a model for the Chinese revolutionary memory.
Out of Feng Xuefeng House, I saw blue sky, white clouds and green hills in my way to the back hill of the ancestral hall. In the place where the Yangzhi Pavilion stands, there was Feng Xuefeng's grave whose large head -shaped rock was engraved with inscriptions titled by the Premier Zhu Rongji. This was the only time for the Premier to do this kind of affairs for revolutionary predecessors. This precious allusion made me register profound respect.
My wife and daughter picked some wild flowers form the hill and presented them on the grave site of Feng Xuefeng. At last,
we made deep bow to express our grief for the revolutionary predecessor.
When we left, Feng Chaozhang gave us a book named Comrade Xuefeng and a disc named Staring at Xuefeng. He asked me to leave a message on the guestbook, I brushed to write "towering peaks, virtuous pine." (Written by Luo Yong)