The Roaring Water of Xiangjiang River
--To commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Zunyi Conference
At that time, there was no electricity in Zunyi City, and the time when electricity started to be used in Guizhou Province is still unknown. However, Zunyi, which was also the first Hydroelectric Power Plant of Guizhou, was a Tianmendong Hydroelectric Power Plant of Tongzi in the 1940s.
前不久,我还在朋友的陪同下参观了这个发电厂,看那从德国进口的黑乎乎的机器仿佛一只巨大的陀螺定在那里一刻不停地转了七十年,真让人称奇叫绝啊。Lately, I visited the Power Plant with my friends, and looked at the black machines importing from Germany as if a huge gyro that had been spinning around for 70 years. It was amazing!
As a matter of fact, Zunyi City had no electricity in 1935, let alone household appliances such as televisions and air-conditioners. Without this noise of electricity, cars and motorcycles, Zunyi was a cool and tranquil city.
Nature and human seems to exclude each other forever. When the city had no man-made noise, the voices of nature have a kind of vigoroso power, blending in our ears, hearts and even souls.
I once saw a fade coloured picture of the 1930s, which frames areas from Honghuagang to T-intersection in ancient Zunyi, and the Xiang River crossed through the two places. To my surprise, there was a cofferdam in the middle of Xiang River and a mill at the river bank. These signs showed that the old Xiang River had a large drop, producing the endless clattered sound as well.
Who can tell that the roaring of Xiang River does not produce any impact to those people who stood around shoreside.
一九三五年元月七日,中央红军从丰乐桥进入遵义城。为记住这一历史的瞬间,遵义人把始建于清咸丰元年 (1851年)的丰乐桥这座老石拱桥更名为 “迎红桥”。
On the 7th Jan, 1935, the Central Red Army entered the main urban area of Zunyi through Fengle Bridge. To commemorate this historical moment, Zunyi people renamed the ancient Fengle stone arch Bridge, which was built from 1851 to 1861, to Yinghong Bridge.
On the Channel Meeting, Central Red Army gave up meeting with the 2nd and 6th Regiment of Red Army in the western part of Hunan province and accepted Mao Zedong's proposal to transfer to Guizhou where there were less opponents. Li De (Otto Braun）, who was dispatched by the Comintern, was absent from the Li Ping Meeting because of illness.
Therefore, Central Red Army decided to continue to head into northern area of Guizhou. In the Hou chang Conference, the Red Army put forward to a new strategy that they would breakthrough Wu River, conquer Zunyi, the second largest city of Guizhou, and establish a base between territorial boundaries of Sichuan and Guizhou.
That is to say, the turning point of Chinese revolution started from these three meetings, and the Zunyi Conference, which was climax of the revolution, was a crucial meeting in Chinese history.
I do not know how the surf of the Xiang River knocked on the hearts of this group of foreign and native intellectuals, and stirred their patriotic emotions so that the conference bearing on the destiny of our country seems more like a cultural struggle years later.
The Xiang River in Zunyi is expressed as 湘江in Chinese. In Chinese, 湘means Hunan Province of China, a geographical place. I searched a large amount of data and consulted a lot of experts, and I thought the Chinese expression of 湘江may be mistaken as 香江(Chinese character 湘and 香 have the same pronunciation, but the 香 means perfume).
。Xiang River originates from a valley where there are many camphor trees and other fragrant flowers, and their fragrance incense the whole river. When it flows through the first city Zunyi, it still scatters luscious scent. Therefore, in my opinion, Xiang River meant a fragrant river, and it should have been called 香江instead of 湘江 in Chinese.
可我错了,湘江就这个地理含义的 “湘”,跟形容词的 “香”没有一点关系。
But I am wrong. The Chinese character 湘 should keep its original geographical meaning, and it has nothing to do with Chinese adjectival character 香.
。Nonetheless, a river is an important component of local civilization. Where did the Chinese character 湘 come from? The answer is not recorded in any document or literature, and nobody can explain it clearly.
As a result, Xiang River is shrouded in mystery. The constant singing was obscure and difficult to understand even for native people in Zunyi.
On the other hand, the Red Army who walked from Fengle Bridge, even if an ordinary soldier, was able to realize the significance of Xiang River. More than one month ago at that time, there was a cruel battle at the Hunan Xiang River.
More than 50000 soldiers died or injured at that battle, and as a result, the name Hunan Xiang River had become a painful and lingering nightmare of every soldier.
而现在,疲惫不堪的红军脚下又冒出来一条湘江,它像一把长剑,把红军准备落地生根的遵义城一破为二,格外给这个冬天穿着单薄的红军添了另一种寒冷。 Now, the debilitated Red Army met another Xiang River (Zunyi). Like an ice-cold long sword that divided Zunyi, where the Red Army prepared to live and develop for good, into two parts, adding to extraordinarily chill for Red Army with light clothes in this winter.
Although Xiang River in Zunyi was indescribable, it seemed to be arranged by God, waiting for the advent of this army in mountain for a long time and waiting for the Zunyi conference to be held.
I believe as a poet, Mao Zedong certainly was aware of something. As a vice chairman of the CPC Central Military Commission, John Knight surely also realized something.
As members of the Political Bureau, majority intelligentsia who received foreign education or domestic education, were unlikely to unconscious about it as well.
However, Li De, who was sent by the Communist International to China as a military adviser, might not understand the meaning of this conference. Actually, he is blind to Chinese culture because he is a German.
What does Xiang River mean in Zunyi Conference?
Mao Zedong, Zhang Wentian, Wang Jiaxiang as well as the majority of members of the Political Bureau dwelt at an ancient temple lane in a new urban area, which was just several hundred meters away from the Xiang River as the crow flies. The Site of Zunyi Conference was located at Ziyin road at old town. It was also only a few hundred meters away from Xiang River as the crow flies.
白天,中央及其军委的领导都要处理各种各样的事务。会议在晚饭后召开,一直开到深夜。遵义会议开了三个晚上。他们每个夜晚都要在湘江河上走一个来回。During the daytime, central leaders and the Military Commission Leaders were busy at various affairs, so the conference was held after dinner until late at night. The meeting lasted three nights, and they walked the length and back along the Xiang River every night.
Whatever they had meetings at conference room or lay in bed, I firmly believe that the roaring of Xiang River would reach their ears, becoming an alert and a hint.
导致五万红军将士葬身鱼腹的湘江惨败并不是偶然的。事实上,还在第五次反 “围剿”,红军在战略战术上就出了问题。正是第五次反 “围剿”的失败,红军才被迫开始了漫漫长征路。
It is no accident that they lost the battle, resulting in fifty thousand Red Army officers and soldiers’ death in Xiangjiang. As a matter of fact, when the Red Army faced the fifth anti-siege, their strategy and tactics went wrong. It was the failure of fifth anti-siege that the Red Army was compelled to start Long March.
而战略战术的问题,归根结底是一个领导权的问题。However, after all, the issue of strategy and tactics was caused by leadership issue. In the three-person group, as a Central general manager, Bogu (Boguslaw Kaczmarek) acted on behalf of the central military command.
John Knight, who was a vice chairman of the central military commission, was responsible for the executive order. Li De (Otto Braun）, who was sent by the communist international, appointed as a military adviser.
No matter what the problem was, Bogu asked Li De (Otto Braun） because he did not know anything about the military. In this way, Li De (Otto Braun） was actually the supreme leader on central military.
At the Zunyi Conference, the essential issue that they should deal with was to decide the leader of the Red Army.
The surf of Xiang River was exceptionally loud at night, rushing as if repining.
The conference looked a little crowded, except for the politburo members, alternate members, there were directors of at all legions. Everybody concentrated on the meeting, creating a gloomy and tense atmosphere.
Xiang River" stood for death for the Red Army. However, the Xiang River in Zunyi city is actually clear and bright without any sense of blood. Instead, it just keeps on flowing and repeating a sound in a simple tone, which surely sounds like a word: injustice!
博古的主报告和周恩来的副报告对第五次反 “围剿”以来的错误进行了检讨。但主报告却过分强调客观因素,继续为 “左”倾冒险主义进行辩护,会议没有通过。
Bogu had reviewed his mistakes since the fifth anti-siege in the main report, and so did John Knight. However, in Bogu’s report, he overemphasized objective factors and continued to plead for left-adventuriam. As a result, his report did not be adopted.
On the other hand, John Knight made a self-criticism sincerely, took the initiative to undertake the responsibility, and asked for resigning job of vice chairman of China's central military. The report was adopted, but it was clear that John Knight was the man who could make the final decision for the military.
In fact, the whole city area of Zunyi locates around the Xiang River valley. The nippy wind in winter blew in from the other side of the valley, adding some misery to the roaring of Xiang River.
毛泽东长达一个多小时的发言,成了会议的一个高潮,对第五次反 “围剿”以来的 “左”倾教条主义者从进攻中的冒险主义变成退却中的逃跑主义进行了批判,指出博古、李德指挥下的战略转移变成了搬家行动,从而使部队行动缓慢,敌人有时间调集兵力,对红军实行围追堵截,这是湖南湘江之战惨败的一个重要原因。
It was a climax of the meeting that Mao Zedong delivered a more than one-hour speech. He criticized that during the fifth anti-siege, pinko-dogmatism transferred adventurism in attack to escapism in retreat. He also pointed out that the strategic shift led by Bo Gu and Li De became moving with a lot of heavy things, thus making the troops marked slowly. Consequently, it gave the enemy troops a good chance to assemble and prepare for new siege. This is an important reason for the failure of Hunan Xiang war.
All people tentatively listened to the torrential sound of Xiang River that unrelentingly and unswervingly came through the dormer windows, and Chinese revolution was on the point of life and death choice.
After the heated discussion, the central committee appointed Mao Zedong as a committee member of the political Bureau and removed the supreme military leadership from Bogu and Li De. John Knight was appointed as the chief leading cadre of central military commission, and Zhu De directed military.
The waves of the Xiang River rushed like a continuous applause, giving special encouragement to people.
At the deep night on 17th, January, an evening when the Zunyi Conference finished, Mao Zedong and his fellows walked along Xiang River, stopped every now and then, enjoyed the waves and listened to surf. These details were not recorded in history.
However, I am sure that all of them would have a feeling of resurrection, independence and freedom when they walked out the old city, walked along the Xiang River and went back to Ancient Temple Alley. Thus, they walked confidently.
Many years later, I read some verse about Xiang River which was written by Mao Zedong after he came back to Hunan province. I felt extremely excited when I read
:“独立寒秋,湘江北去,橘子洲头。看万山红遍,层林尽染”,“鹰击长空,鱼翔浅底,万类霜天竞自由”,“怅寥廓,问苍茫大地,谁主沉浮’” ……我格外有一种激动。Alone I stand in the autumn cold on the tip of Orange Island,
The Xiang flowing northward;
I see a thousand hills crimsoned through by their serried woods deep-dyed, and a hundred barges vying over crystal blue waters.
Eagles cleave the air, fish glide in the limpid deep;
Under freezing skies a million creatures contend in freedom.
Brooding over this immensity,
I ask, on this bondless land who rules over man's destiny?
I think Zedong Mao not only understood the sounds of Xiang River but also integrated the mysterious Xiang River into his great heart when he was strolling on the river back and forth at that three nights which decided Chinese revolution where to go further.
It is the truth that, in numerous museums of revolutionary history and culture, only the name of Zunyi Conference Museum, Site of the Zunyi Conference, was Mao Zedong’s holograph inscribe. (2010)
The Obsession to the Literaure
----Preface of the Love for Wu River
In the early 1990s, Zhonglu Chen began publishing novels in Mountain Flowers, a monthly magazine in Guizhou Province. At that time, although the traditional literary style, books and magazines as a carrier, had showed a downward trend, it was impressive that he could publish novels in Mountain Flowers since it required for the author’s formidable knowledge of literature as well as a kind of spirit.
不像现在有那么多的 “潜规则”,有那么多的“运作”。差不多二十年光景,文学的阵容纷纭变化,文学的涵盖眼花缭乱。这之间,陈忠禄除了长得更黑一些,多出来几分成熟男人的魅力,履历上也增加了什么书记、部长、主席的头衔,而对文学的那一种守望,却一点也没有动摇。Unlike nowadays, there were less "hidden rules" or "shady deals" at that time. For almost two decades, there were a lot of great changes during the literary development, and the literature covers a broad scope, making us dazzled. However, Chen still kept watching on literature without any shaking his mind, apart from getting darker with more charming of a mature man and more titles such as secretary, minister and chairman being added in his resume.
Perhaps because of this obsession or fascination, Chen forgot the transition between literature and life. He ignored the subtle distance between the two, thus subconsciously regarding literature as life, as well as life as literature.
About 2007, I chaired a seminar on Chen’s works and hoped to help him to clarify the affiliation between literature and life. In fact, drawing a distinction between life and arts is a key problem that must be solved during the process of literary creation.
A Russian writer once said that it is crucial to distinguish what you want to express to readers from what you actually express to readers.
Two years' time passed quickly. During these two years, Chen attended a writing training for northern Guizhou writers, which was organized by Zunyi City and held in Beijing. In just one month, except for a few days for observation, lessons were arranged almost all of the time.
More than 40 masters from the capital systematically and profoundly explained the problems of literature from different perspectives. In those days, Chen, blushing with excitement, privately told me that his early thought was totally changed. I was really delighted to hear that.
Now, Chen delivered his collection of novels, The Love to Wu River, to my desk and asked me to comment on it. I did not refuse since I simply wanted to see Chen’s change.
通过具体的文学作品去了解作者,其实是一件很有意义的事情。很多人认为,作家创作的指向就是读者,就是由广大的读者形成的社会,这是有失偏颇的。Understanding an author based on his/her literary works is actually very meaningful. It is biased for people to think that the writer's target of creation is readers and the society formed by the majority of readers.
By contrast, a successful writer, when he/she narrates events and portrays characters, often includes his own shadow in those descriptions. His/Her descriptions may even be a self-dissection and self-shaping.
A writer awakening society by his/her works is just one aspect. In other words, one aspect of utilitarianism to some extent. However, actually, it is the writer himself/herself that gains the benefit. The process of creating works, in fact, is the process of the author repairing his/her heart and sublimating his/her spirit.
Only when we could care about literary works from human being’s point of view, concerning with the growth of the soul as well as the sublimation of spiritual instead of simply concerning with their sociality, the real spring of literature will arrive.
Six novels were collected by The Love to Wu River in total. The Love to Wu River, which makes up most of the book, is undoubtedly the most important novel in this collection. If judged by words, Wujiang Love, less than 150,000 words, can only be assessed as a "short” voluminous novel. However, this novel, which promotes the development of plot by the character's destiny, has abundant implication.
It seems that the two turning points of the protagonist's fate are formed by a misunderstanding and a coincidence, which can be said to be the two most important fulcrums of the work structure. However, if "Beima Mountain" is not homophonic to "Baima Mountain" in Chinese, or if the ladder to the rock cavity is not broken, the entire plot will collapse.
But it seems that a novel, especially a voluminous novel, cannot be judged as a success or failure according to this. Plots, which are shown in a story, also exist in the world. When facing dramatic life, the choice of hero is crucial.
Plot development and character creating, in fact, cannot stop choosing. The author stands at the crossroads to make various decisions and choose uniqueness from countless possibilities.
A plot is an extension while a character is a pile. According to lots of vivid details, the works depicts the heroine's perseverance and show her spiritual realm of true love and philanthropy after transcending enmity.
It can be said that Cherry, a near-perfect female in Wu River in the author's works, is actually a symbol of perfectness. The author placed too much desire and affection to Cherry, including his desire and pursuit to the great life in the great era as well as his love and admiration to the great spirit of nature.
There is no doubt that Chen has an obsession with traditional foundation and folklore, which can also be seen from other novels in this collection. For example, In Re-marriage, Chixiu and Ruojun, in order to pursue their beautiful love, suffered a lot before becoming a couple. In the minds of this couple, love became a belief in life.
In Jade Sword, when facing a homicide case, Mr. Yao distinguished right from wrong based on tradition, enabling justice to be upheld while evil to be punished. God of Joy is solemn and humorous. It portrays a folk, folklore but principled image of a leader, demonstrating selfless and fearless values.
These works, no matter story lines or characters, all reveal and inherit unforgettable values of our nation and traditional culture.
However, perhaps the “subversion” of Chen's creation is actually realized in the novels Child, You Are Mother's Baby and Miss Nine. Perhaps because of my sixth sense, I called Chen and asked him the creative time of these two works. He admitted frankly that they were created after coming back from the Beijing North Guizhou class for writers.
This answer is the same as my guess. This northern Guizhou writer class, which creates a precedent in the history of Chinese literature, is effective. In terms of content, these two novels shows the author's attitude towards life, which is also covered in his previous novels.
However, as the use of virtualization of the internet in Child, You Are Mother's Baby and the use of anthropomorphism in Miss Nine, these works give readers a complete new feeling from content to form.
These works are a mixture of truth and falsehood and transfer to and fro between the subjective and objective worlds. These mixture and transfer are not only free and light, but also make the works produce an extraordinary expressive force to reveal the essence of life thoroughly.
Chen gets a good return on his watch to literature. The Love to Wu River, which was published by Popular Culture& Arts Publishing House, can be seen as a transition of Chen’s creation. It not only contains the author's summary of a previous stage, but also raises his desire to a new state of creation.
Literature needs this kind of excitement. Only with constant excitement, can authors, as the main part pf creation, discover themselves, excavate themselves, and push the entire realm to a higher level.
Zhonglu Chen was born and grew up in Wu River. His love to Wu River, just as a tree loving the land, is not only selfish but also greedy. Chen's watch to literature is reasonable.
However, if a tree grows into a towering tree, it not only needs sunlight, but also needs to experience wind and rain. Giving more strength to Chen is beyond my abilities, and what I can do for him is expressing my sincere expectations by writing down these words.