Feng Jicai on mistreatment in a peasant commune (1981)

Feng Jicai is a Chinese athlete turned author who wrote about his experiences during the Cultural Revolution. Here he recalls the mistreatment of his sister at the hands of a commune bookkeeper, who went unpunished:

“Then something I’d never expected happened. Damn it, my little sister was raped. It was the worst blow of my life. To this day my mother doesn’t even know about it… My father told me the details of my sister’s situation.

What had happened? She lived in a small room all by herself, very close to the bookkeeper’s house. That bookkeeper was in his 30s and had a wife and kids. The first time he forced his way in at night, my sister fought him, but how could she fight against such a big, strong man? Afterward she didn’t dare tell anyone. I understand. She was so young, all alone, without a single relative there with her. How was she to know what to do? She thought about dying, but didn’t want to if her family would be in the dark about why.

She was torn. But a few days later he came again, that bookkeeper. After the second time, my sister truly couldn’t take it anymore and she went and told a commune leader. The commune notified my father, who didn’t know what to do either, so he wrote and told me…

My sister was staying with the chairwoman of the Women’s Federation then. She was just lying there when we came in, and as soon as she saw me she buried her head and started crying. She was too young, just turned 15. I wanted to go and have it out with the man, one on one. So what if we both died? My father held me back. I ran over to the commune leaders and demanded that they punish him severely, and they agreed…

A few days later I went back to my sister’s commune to ask about the procedure for her transfer, and to demand again that they deal with that bookkeeper. Actually, they never touched him, even afterward. In the countryside, the bookkeepers control the finances, and they’re tight with the production brigade cadres… local tyrants, every one of them! As far as I know they haven’t dealt with him to this day.”