另 一位62岁陈先生在农一师生活了30年，当年也只有16岁。他心酸地回忆，知青住的是地窝子，吃的是发了霉的玉米馍，和粑籽馍，加一勺无油的咸菜汤，过着 猪狗不如的生活，因吃不饱有的就偷东西吃。有不少孩子精神上、生理上、心理上承受太大，超出极限，不少人自杀，永远留在了那里。
Veterans of Cultural Revolution Protest for Entitlements
A crowd of nearly 1,000 veterans gathered in front of the Petitions and Appeals Office of the Shanghai municipal government on April 20, demanding the release of their imprisoned leader.
Such scenes unfold in China every day, but this group was different: the protesters were “educated youths,” individuals sent to remote Xinjiang fresh out of high school in the 1960s and 1970s as part of the Cultural Revolution.
The protesters raised banners and chanted slogans saying “Release Zhang Weimin!” Zhang is a rights activist who had represented the group seeking housing, retirement and medical benefits—things that these people have been denied for decades after the authorities went back on their promises to provide them.
Over a dozen police cars and surveillance vehicles were on the scene while over 100 police officers stood guard.
If the plight of the protesters were known to the wider public it is possible that indignation against the regime would swell, given their historical sufferings because of the Party’s political campaigns and the sympathy they are accorded in society.
Hardships at a Young Age
Between 1963 and 1966, the Shanghai city government sent over 100,000 young people, including some who were under 16, to the remote Gobi Desert in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region. Their task was to “Construct the Border Area.”
It was difficult for 62-year-old Mr. Wu to recount his days in Xinjiang. When he was sent to the Xinjiang Agricultural Reclamation Regiment, he was only 16. Every morning everyone got up to the sound of the bugle call and listened to instructions. Then they went to work.
After reporting his or her thoughts in the afternoon, everyone went back to work. The evenings were filled with brainwashing sessions.“They tried to train you into being a robot. You were brainwashed with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) indoctrination. You were completely deprived of individual thoughts,” Mr. Wu recalled.
Mr. Wu said that when he was 20, he started experiencing enlargement of the bone tissue in his spine behind his neck, his chest, and his waist. He suffered from inflammation in his spine. His body became deformed. He suffered mentally and physically. After living in Xinjiang for 14 years, he returned to Shanghai due to his illness. He worked in a neighborhood production unit, earning 0.70 yuan a day.
Mr. Chen is 62 years old. He also went to Xinjiang at the age of 16. He sadly recalled that the “homes” for the educated youths were caves, their food was mouldy buns made from corn grits; soup was made from pickled vegetables, with no oil. Many young kids could not survive the terrible living conditions and slave labor. They could not wait till the day that they would be allowed to return to Shanghai, and several committed suicide. Their remains were buried in the desert.
Mr. Wu could not suppress his outrage while pointing out that the CCP did not honor a single promise it made to the young people who were sent to Xinjiang, “I was deceived twice. The first time it took me 14 years of reclamation labor before I was able to return to Shanghai. The second time the government forcibly demolished my home. Now I have nowhere to live.”
Mr. Wu said that he was born in 1949, the same year the CCP seized power. He has witnessed each political campaign launched by the regime. He summed up his life’s experiences, “The CCP has destroyed several generations of Chinese people. The more you listen to the CCP, the more you are deceived.”
Mr. Wu said that his retirement salary was only a little over 1,400 yuan (US $215). He is having a hard time making ends meet and he has to be supported by his children. Many people who are now in their 60’s are covered by medical plans for Xinjiang residents, the coverage of which is greatly inferior to similar plans for Shanghai residents. Mr. Wu observed that this is just one example of how the educated youths have been treated upon returning to Shanghai.
Another from the group told The Epoch Times that one of the major issues is housing—which they were not given, as promised, by the Shanghai government.
He said that ten years ago, the possibility for revolt by this population was at its height. They jointly went to Beijing to petition but were intercepted, arrested, and otherwise suppressed.
He said angrily, “The government knows that we are getting old. Even if we want to revolt, we are not as energetic. They kept procrastinating and doing lip service. They drag on and on to outlast you. They see to it that you have nowhere to appeal until you are silenced by illness or death.”
Read the original Chinese article