‘The whole family is Red’ (1969)

In May 1969 the state-sanctioned magazine China Pictorial published an editorial column titled “The whole family is Red”:

“During the vigorous Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, Mao Zedong Thought has been propagated and popularised on an unprecedented scale among hundreds of millions of people. Their spiritual outlook has undergone a profound change and numerous stirring happenings have occurred. Among these, for instance, are the deeds of the Ting Lai-yu family Mao Zedong Thought propaganda team.

Ting Lai-yu is a poor peasant of the Lunghua brigade in Polo County, Kwangtung Province. His family of eight includes six children, the oldest 14 and the youngest not yet three. Cherishing boundless love for our great leader Chairman Mao, the red sun in our hearts, they enthusiastically propagate Mao Zedong Thought in literary and art form. With song and dance, they warmly praise Chairman Mao, the great Chinese Communist Party and the great Chinese People’s Liberation Army. The broad masses of workers, peasants and soldiers give them a name: The ‘Whole Family Red’ Mao Zedong Thought Propaganda Team”.

Before liberation, oppressed by the exploiting class, Ting Lai-yu’s family lived a life worse than that of beasts of burden. When he was 13, his parents died one after the other of poverty and illness. His five brothers and sisters either died of starvation or were sold. Within a year, Ting Lai-yu found himself the only survivor of the family. When Ting’s wife Chang Chiung was young, she was also sold as a slave-girl to a landlord’s family and underwent untold sufferings.

The east is red, the sun rises. After liberation, Ting Lai-yu was emancipated and became master in his own house. He raised a new family and lived a happy life. Now his family again has eight members. Bit the two families, just as the old society and the new, are poles apart. Ting often teaches his children: Now that we are emancipated, don’t forget the Communist Party; we owe our happiness to Chairman Mao!

In March 1967, with the enthusiastic help of the People’s Liberation Army, a Mao Zedong Thought study class was set up in Ting Lai-yu’s family. This further promoted their ideological revolutionization and aroused an inexpressibly deep class feeling of loyalty to Chairman Mao. Every member, with the exception of Hung-ping who is less than three, can recite the “good old three” articles and over 100 quotations from Chairman Mao. Every bit they learn, they apply, combining study with application. The invincible thought of Mao Zedong is the lifeblood of the revolutionary people. They feel that in addition to studying and applying well Mao Zedong Thought themselves, they should also propagate it among more people. They study and practise every day. So far they have learned to sing more than 100 revolutionary songs and perform 50-odd minor revolutionary items of literature and art.

They disseminate Mao Zedong Thought with soaring enthusiasm, giving expression to their boundless love for and loyalty to the great leader Chairman Mao. Ordinarily, they perform for the local poor and lower-middle peasants. When arrangements for them to go on tour are made by the departments concerned, they think nothing of crossing mountains and rivers to perform for the workers, peasants and soldiers. They are always compiling material about the moving deeds of the poor and lower-middle peasants which shows their fervent love Chairman Mao, elaborating it and arranging it into new items. Whenever a new instruction of Chairman Mao’s is published, they find it set to music in the newspaper, learn to sing it as quickly as possible, sometimes adapting dance movements to it, and propagate it among the revolutionary masses. At present, a total audience of 400,000 has enjoyed their performances. The broad masses of workers, peasants and soldiers acclaim them as ‘singing what is in the bottom of our hearts and expressing our deep feeling of infinite loyalty to Chairman Mao’.”