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‘In those days we dedicated our whole lives to The Party. We put it first, before anything else, whether that was family, love, or even life itself. I will tell you a fact about the path my life has taken – to survive is victory!’
This is the true account of the life of Lin Xiangbei, during a century of tumultuous changes in China. Lin was born in 1918 in Yunan, a small town in north-east Sichuan Province. In 1938, under the influence of a remarkable figure later known as ‘The Double Gun Woman’, Lin became a committed Communist. He worked tirelessly as an underground agent, believing the ideals of Communism would bring a better, fairer society to the people of China. But in 1957 Lin was accused of being a ‘Rightist’, spent several years in and out of labour camps, and was almost broken by the experience. Then came the decade-long nightmare that was the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution.
And yet, through it all, Lin Xiangbei remains committed to the principles of Communism and is proud of his country today. His account gives us not only a glimpse into the lives of ordinary people in twentieth-century China, but also an insight into the hardship, fear and insecurity of those years – and the comradeship, self-sacrifice and heroism of the people around him.