Ann and Pao-yu Ching discussing the dazibao and answering questions. Fred Engst joins them via internet from Bejing. Eric Boehm was also a guest through the internet.
In August of 1966, Ann and three other Americans wrote a dazibao. In the People’s Republic of China that is a wall poster written in large characters, expressing a political opinion. On September 8th – 50 years ago today – Mao Zedong wrote a dazibao supporting theirs.
Photograph from the time – Ann in the foreground with the hat, Erwin Engst shielding his eyes behind her. Joan Hinton in the back, 2nd from the right. Bertha Sneck took the photo. That’s Fred Engst inset in the upper left corner.
Ann just held a small celebration for the 50th anniversary of what was for her a very special moment in her life. Fred Engst, son and nephew of two of the writers, joined her from Bejing through the wonders of the internet. Pao-yu Ching was the moderator.
Fred Engst – coming from Bejing
Here is the dazibao (written in the style of the time) and Mao’s response:
The 4 American Dazibao, as copied by Pao-yu Ching
4 American Dazibao
Why is it that foreigners here in the heart of the world revolution are being pushed down the revisionist road?
What devils, demons, and snake spirits are behind the treatment of foreigners working in China?
Why is it that foreigners regardless of class or attitude toward the revolution, all get the same 5-don’t have, 2-have treatment?
5 Don’t haves
1) Physical labor
2) Ideological remolding
3) Contact with workers and peasants
4) Class struggle
5) Struggle for production
1) Super-high living standards
2) Special treatment
What kind of thought is behind this treatment? It is not Mao Zedong Thought!
It is Krushchev’s Thought!
It is revisionist Thought!
It is the thought of the exploiting classes!
What is the object, what is the result of this treatment?
1) To prevent foreigners who want to be revolutionaries from grasping Chairman Mao’s Thought!
2) To gradually soften up revolutionary foreigners living in China and push them down the revisionist road.
3) To prevent foreign children brought up in China from becoming revolutionaries.
4) To isolate foreign revolutionaries from their Chinese brothers, to break down their mutual class love, to undermine proletarian internationalism!
We think this is not a question of a few individuals, but a question of principle related to world revolution.
We resolutely oppose this kind of treatment!
We are determined to become real revolutionaries!
We are determined to become staunch fighters against revisionism!
We are determined to steel ourselves for an all-out struggle against U.S. imperialism!
Our children must become staunch successors to the revolution! They must never be allowed to become revisionists!
Therefore we request:
1) That we be treated not like bourgeois experts but like class brothers.
2) That we be permitted and encouraged to join physical labor.
3) That we be given every assistance in our ideological molding.
4) That we be permitted and encouraged to have close contact with workers and peasants.
5) That we be permitted and encouraged to join the three great revolutionary movements.
6) That our children be treated the same as that of Chinese children and have the same strict demands made on them.
7) That our living standard be the same as that of Chinese personnel of the same category.
8) That special treatment be abolished.
Only in this was is there a chance for us to become revolutionaries of the kind calledfor by Chairman Mao Zedong!
Long Live the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution! Long Live the Great Unity of the People of the World! Long Live the Great, Invincible Thought of Mao Zedong!
Love Live the Great Leader of the Chinese people, the International Proletariat, the Oppressed Nations – Comrade Mao Zedong
Erwin Engst – Joan Hinton – Bertha Sneck – Ann Tompkins
August 29, 1966
Mao’s dazibao, as copied by Pao-yu Ching
Mao Zedong’s dazibao
I agree with this big character. Revolutionary foreign experts.
Revolutionary foreign experts and their children must be treated exactly the same as Chinese, no differences allowed. Please discuss this. All those who wish to must be treated this way without exception. Please discuss and decide how this is to be done,
September 8th, 1966
Translated by Joan Hinton and Sid Engst