Like many of the audience in
The biography was written by He’s wife, Liang Lijuan, a journalist. It was translated into English by myself and published by the Foreign Languages Press as He Zhenliang and China’s Olympic Dream (2007). Unfortunately this section, along with almost all of the other sections about the Cultural Revolution, were deleted from the English translation because they were said to be personal stories not relevant to China’s sport history and of little interest to foreigners.
It is interesting to note that the Zhuang Zedong mentioned here was the same table tennis player whose friendly interactions with the American Glenn Cowan at the 1971 World Table Tennis Championships in
Excerpt from the end of Chapter 6, 梁丽娟，《何振梁与奥林匹克 》[Liang Lijuan, He Zhenliang and Olympism] (
[…] After Comrade Xiaoping returned to supervise their work and the situation had just started to straighten out and show some positive prospects, things suddenly collapsed again.
At the time the table tennis athlete Zhuang Zedong had already been officially appointed as the Director of the Sports Commission and authority over the entire Sports Commission was systematically held in the hands of people who shared his way of thinking. The former high jumper Ni Zhiqin became the head of the International Department. All the slogans raised by Zhuang Zedong and his buddies were in opposition to the methods advocated by Premier Zhou and Xiaoping, about whom they said that their tactics “worshipped foreign things and toadied to foreign powers” and were “capitulationism.” Everything was criticized and negated, sometimes to a laughably absurd degree. For example, they regarded referees as expressions of “capitalist privilege;” they didn’t assign places in competitions and there was no separation into first, second, or third; and they even twisted the spirit of “friendship first” so that no competitions reported scores and recorded points; and so on. In sum, the more “left” everything was, the better it was. […]
The management of the Sports Commission by Zhuang Zedong and his buddies was also absurd. At the time the newly-elected president of FIFA, Joao Marie Havelange, accepted an invitation to visit
[…] When would the Cultural Revolution finally come to an end, when would normal living conditions finally return to the nation and to his own home? Although they wanted Zhenliang to abandon the sports diplomacy that he had done for so many years, he could not bear to leave it, but those intolerable difficulties often made him just want to go back to school to teach or to the Foreign Affairs Ministry that had wanted him in the past. However, transferring posts was not something that an individual could solve, and although he often wanted to do it, he was ultimately unable to make it happen. During that time there were unbearable days when “you can’t do what you want to do, can’t go where you want to go.” He sometimes truly felt that the days wore on like years.
The 1976 Olympic Games were in
During the Olympics, the
At the end of September 1976, the Ministry of Education borrowed Zhenliang as a adviser to their delegation to the UNESCO session in
When Zhenliang came back from the UNESCO session he heard the irrefutable news that the “Gang of Four” had fallen from power. Everyone felt as if they had experienced liberation. […]
The ten years of the Cultural Revolution were finally over, and the great mountain pressing on our heads was finally pushed off. Although the best years of our lives, which had been wasted, were gone forever and could never be regained, it was worth celebrating that although we had passed through all kinds of torment, no one in the family had lost an arm or a leg, we were all mentally sound, we could still use the rest of our lives to do many things. We have a photo album at home with photos of children from small to big. In the front section there are so many happy ones, but at the end are some taken during these ten years. Everyone in these photos wears a dull expression and a forced smile. Going through the hardship of these years, we all forgot how - or were unable to - laugh. The record of this photo album abruptly stops at this point - there is nothing pasted after it. Let us end let this period of heartbreaking history here, and in the future our family will write again of a new life.
After our beautiful country had once again been restored to order, life turned over a new page. The sun shone again on every corner of the land, laughter again filled our warm home. Zhenliang hoisted the sails, put out to sea, and sliced through the waves on behalf the development of Chinese sports, so that