Tonight Like a Hurricane: Commemorating My Brother, Yu Luoke’s 46th Anniversary of Martyrdom

Dawn erases the night. It’s March 5 in China. The cell phone chimes signifying messages being received. One-by-one, I open them to discover, articles, poems, invitations and inspiring pictures commemorating the life of Yu Luoke (遇罗克). Diverse friends from all over call and ask, “How are things this year?”

These notions once again reminded me that today is the anniversary of my brother!

Yes, every year on this day it is the most painful for my family. Even without any reminder, I could not forget this day. However, no doubt, this is absolutely not the same as in previous years, it seems that more and more people participate in the commemoration of Yu Luoke, old and young alike. Among young people, some still do not know who Yu Luoke is. From their naïve words you get the feeling they know nothing about the Cultural Revolution, but they know there were people fighting for equality, devoted to human rights. They want to offer their genuine admiration for such people.

Therefore, “equality” in today’s society has become an elusive luxury to such an extent that the youth commemorate a figure without any [historical] awareness.

Human rights, equality, and freedom are matters people instinctively crave. They should be as innate like the sun, air, and water. People are helpless as if dependent on charity rather than themselves. In any civilized country there is no need to explain universal values. It’s common sense.

A few decades ago we did not know the phrase “universal values,” but we knew that everyone should be equal, so we fought! It was a painful time; it is the culmination of a period called the Cultural Revolution. The Cultural Revolution, the most ridiculous, the bloodiest, most absurd incidents against humanity from the “bloodline theory.”

To explain “bloodline theory”, is to say that: “Your parents’ identity will determine your future.” There is no reason at all; there is no equality at all. Everyone from birth begins on a different starting line. Is this something new? No! Consider: If your father is a farmer, you will bear the stigma of a farmer. In the past, you were forbidden to leave your birthplace. Today there has been some progress. You can go to the city to work, living the life of a laborer, but you’re considered a “migrant worker.” Many cannot handle the treatment. You had wanted to succeed in life, provide your son with a better education, toiling to enter your son into the city’s high schools. From elementary school until high school, he was looking forward to going to college, but it’s not that easy. He must return to his [rural] birthplace to take the entrance exam, where the admission rate is more challenging than several large cities. If your son is not extraordinary, you endure the same fate.

If your son is indeed exceptional, even with the best of luck: admittance to a great university, after graduation he soars to success, he becomes a high ministry official, everything is going smoothly, you’ll believe his status has changed. But no! You’re once again wrong. The central authorities specialized in these matters will uncover his class origin. Thus, society has entered a “fight father” era. You’ll understand jus sanguinis (bloodline theory) is nonsense. You’ll also understand Yu Luoke fought against this theory with great magnitude. So you’ll understand why the authorities hated him. To the extent that Zhou Enlai publicly denounced him shouting, “If we don’t kill him, who shall we kill?” So far in China’s official publications, Yu Luoke’s name is prohibited. It’s been erased. The authorities still use this class system. This is of course the role of historical regression.

Today, more and more people feel the Cultural Revolution is making a resurgence. A period when people were labeled by their character. Laypeople will undoubtedly remember the heroes of human rights. Today’s fanfare is unprecedented. Tonight’s storm [of support] will make more people aware of Yu Luoke’s legacy. If more and more people know that equal rights are attainable by their own efforts, then his blood would not have been shed in vain!

Yu Luoke's (遇罗克) brother and author, Yu Luowen (遇罗文)

Yu Luoke’s (遇罗克) brother and author, Yu Luowen (遇罗文)

Yu Luowen

March 5, 2016


Translated from the original