政治

從獨步長城到重走長征路|威廉_中國工農紅軍

最近回到雲南去拜訪老朋友楊肖。當我站在金沙江邊,使我想起自己也曾是一個長征路上的戰士。在1990年和1991年間,我重走了長征路上最重要的地段·。

我一向對“長征”一詞非常著迷。在我家的書櫃裡,珍藏著10冊一套的百科全書。其中一冊從1月1日到12月31日,按照時間順序列出了在365天裡歷史上發生的最重要的事件。我十分好奇,在我生日10月16日這天世界上有什麼大事發生。這裡提及的是“中國工農紅軍長征開始”。查閱百科全書那會兒,我剛15歲。

1987年我獨步長城之後,逐漸瞭解古代的中國。於是我開始思考,如何理解中國的近現代?重走紅軍長征路或許是一個瞭解現代中國的好方式。儘管我的腳上肯定會打泡,還可能因為是個外國人會遇到各種阻礙。

我要做的第一件事就是找到一個事件,一個紀念日作為契機,開始策劃我的行程。

時值1989年,那一年是紅軍長征55週年紀念。但這還不足以說服一個倫敦出版社為我出書。因為我的期望值很高,出版社不僅要向我約稿,還得提前支付部分費用,讓我開啟行程。

於是,我一直等待著找到一個新的發現。

1988年,我和吳琪剛剛結婚。她回到老家西安收拾行囊,準備赴英國開啟新的生活。她必須決定什麼東西帶走,什麼東西留下,什麼東西扔掉。

看到她從櫥櫃裡,倒騰出來的落滿灰塵的“寶貝”,讓我驚歎不已。最讓我痴迷的是那些毛主席像章。

上世紀60年代,每個中國人都佩戴過。如同我孩提時代積攢的那些郵票,紀念不同的人物、事件和事件發生地點和年代。但這些像章更具體,集中表現一個人做過的事、地點和時間。

一些像章上凸顯建築和橋樑,另一些是用來對某次會議的紀念,有些上面鑄有像1893-12-26這樣的年月日。

我意識到,如果在這個數字上增加100年,那就是他的百歲誕辰。正是他宣佈了中華人民共和國的成立。

我把這個時間節點告訴出版社,他們很喜歡。

1990年我和吳琪回到中國。我的主要目標就是重走長征路,在三年之後出版一本書。

我的長征路線就是由這些像章的引導而形成的。所以後來我寫的《與毛一起長征》的書裡就有一章叫做“像章路線”。

當年紅軍在1934年10月中從江西瑞金出發,我也選擇相同的日子。另外我還要走到許多重要事件發生的地方,如:貴州遵義、金沙江、瀘定橋、夾金山、諾爾蓋草地,最終到達陝北吳起鎮。當然還有延安。

然而,與我的獨步長城最大的不同是,長征沒有一個像長城那樣的地標去跟隨。我只是從一個地方走到另一個地方,途中如果有幸遇見一個老紅軍或者瞭解紅軍長征的當地人,可以與他們交談。

1990年和1991年雖然我重走長征成果豐碩,但是還不夠完整,不足以寫成一本書。為了增進我的體驗和理解,我決定拓寬長征的視角,瞭解更多的與長征有關的人和事;更重要的是抓住成就了新中國的長征精神。

在1992-1993年間,我又從毛澤東的出生地韶山走到北京天安門廣場上的紀念堂。最終,出版了我的第二本書《與毛一起長征》(第一本是《獨步長城》),這已經是25年前的事了。

來韶山參觀的孩子們,現在也都40多歲了。

1992年我在瀘定橋上。

無疑,我長征的一個亮點就是渡過金沙江。

這本書的“在皎平渡的勝利和懲罰“一章中,我寫到了1935年的紅軍長征,以及1991年我個人長征的古怪經歷。

雖然離我寫的那個章節已經過去了四分之一的世紀。楊肖提出要帶我去長江第一灣看看的建議,使得那些模糊的記憶又一點一滴地清晰起來。

我、吳琪和楊肖乘車穿山越嶺,90分鐘後到達目的地。然而在25年前,這個大約100公里的路途,我得走上好幾天。

我先從昆明乘大巴去祿勸,再步行前往皎平渡。這是過金沙江的一個著名的渡口,那裡有一個張姓人家經營擺渡生意。

走了整一天,我來到三營盤。當我詢問皎平渡怎麼走時,一個農民模樣的人扒開人群朝我走來,說他家住在四川會理,他要走路回家就得經過皎平渡。

這個農民也姓張。他解釋說乘大巴回家又貴又繞路,所以他決定徒步。他把兩個小包用繩子拴住,一前一後搭在肩上。

去皎平渡的土路,彎彎曲曲。在很多地方只有腳印,車輪無法企及。總共路程說是55公里,但是我們用了一整天時間。除了偶爾小歇一會,聊上幾句,其他時間都在匆匆趕路。我很高興在那個膠片時代,用彩色反轉片和黑白膠片留下了“四川張”的身影。

四川張

我們一到皎平渡口,就直奔擺渡人的家。三分鐘之後,我就如願以償地見到了當年曾為紅軍渡江擺渡的張朝滿。這家人熱情好客,一再留我過夜。說第二天可以多聊聊當年的事。

然而我知道,在這個不對外開放的地區,為了防止遭遇不測,拍照要越快越好,記錄也要越早越好。我調整了一下光線,拍下老張抽菸袋的照片;飯前,我試著向他詢問當年紅軍渡江的情況。

左下角這張圖是抽菸袋的張朝滿。

張達為本書畫的插圖

與他交流,顯得我半瓶子的漢語比他的要好,他說一口當地土話。不過,這家人很樂意讓他給我講紅軍的故事,就找來一個村裡的一個年輕人,幫我把他說的話寫下來。正是我想要的!年輕人把擺渡張的故事寫在了幾頁紙上。

天晚了,我們開始鋪床睡覺。但是還沒過一會兒。有人把我從夢中搖醒。由於屋外滔滔的河水聲,在場的人也得扯著嗓子說話。我急急忙忙穿上衣服,衝下閣樓,一個警察在等我。

哈哈,肯定是有人無事生非,報告公安,說這裡來了老外。

如同以往的盤問:姓名?年齡?工作?來此地公幹?民族?這麼多年,我常常經過一些非開放地段,遭到盤問的內容大致一樣。這次有點不同。

最後一個問題:你是什麼民族?我回答:我是英國人。

接著問:“你是什麼——民族?”

我解釋說,我們國家不分民族,都是英國人。

但是他總不能讓那個格子空著。

我問他:“你是什麼民族?”

他回答:“當然是漢族。”

我停頓了片刻,回答:“那我跟你一樣,也是漢族。”

他記錄下來,滿意地走了。

第二天一早,這個警察又來了,看著我離開當地,他的任務才算完成。

這也是我預料之中的。

————————-

Going back to Yunnan and the Golden Sands River recently reminded me that I too am a Long March ‘ veteran. ‘

In 1990 and 1991 I retraced what I thought to be the most important sections of the Long March.

It was a name that I’d always been fascinated by, and I came to know of personally at a very early age, perhaps when I was about 15.

In our family bookcase we had a set of 10 encyclopedias. One volume had an year calendar running January 1 to December 31, and it listed the most important events on 365 days in history. I was curious to learn what had happened in history on my birthday, October 16. It listed that ‘the Long March of the Chinese Red Army commenced’.

After my Great Wall adventure of 1987, in which I began to learn a little about the vastness of ancient China, I began to think that a look at the Long March would be a fitting sequel: from a ‘great’ Journey in China to a notoriously ‘long’ journey. Moreover, if I walked, I would certainly get blisters on my feet but it would be headache free - perhaps a politically pain free opportunity to get to know the foundations of modern China.

All I now needed was an event that made my proposed journey imperative. Something like an anniversary. But it was 1989, the 55th anniversary of the March, and that wasn’t a very well rounded figure to convince a London publisher to part with a book advance to get me on my way.

The answer actually was just waiting to be re-discovered.....

The year before, in 1988, just before my marriage with Wu Qi, she went back to her family home to pack for her new life. We were soon to go to the UK, and she had to decide what to take with her, what to leave in her parents’ home, and what to throw away.

I was fascinated to see the bric-a-brac that emerged from dust covered suitcases. One of the most fascinating was a large brown envelope of red badges that were all adorned with the God of China’s image.

All Chinese are wore them in the revolution against culture of the mid Sixties onwards.

I noted they were like the postage stamps that I collected as as boy, but they focussed in one man, and what he did, where and when.

Some showed buildings or bridges, others marked meetings or May Days, and one had the numbers 1893 12 26 upon it. Yes, you’ve guessed who!

If I added a century onto this date, then 1993 would mark the centenary of the birth of the man that founded modern China, and then became its all powerful God.

I told my publisher and then liked the time hook and bought the book idea.

So actually, one of the main reasons we came back to China in 1990 was for me to tackle the Great March.

My route was guided by this red badges, so much so that in my book there wound be a chapter called “A Route of Badges”.

I set off from Ruijin in Jiangxi Province during the exact week that the Marchers left in mid October of 1934. Other key sections that I targeted were Zunyi in Guizhou where He took power, the army’s crossing of the Golden Sands River, their crossing of the Grasslands, the Great Snowy Mountains, their battle at the Luding iron-chained bridge and eventually their teaching of Wuqi on Shaanbei to establish a new base area.

But unlike my following of the the ruins of the Great Wall, which to some extent was a huge way marked route across Northern China, following the route of the Long March was entirely different. There was no physical marker. I was just tracking from place to place, on the home if meeting an army veteran or a local who eyewitnessed the army’s passage back in 1934 or 1935.

The results of my efforts in 1990 and 1991 were excellent, but in some way incomplete.

To improve my experience and understanding I decided to widen the scope of my look back at the March by trying to get to grips with the events and people that led to the LM taking place, and more importantly getting a grasp of what the LM eventually led to - the foundation of the PRC.

To this end, in 1992 and 93 my net of revolutionary travels and researches led me to all the places where significant episodes of His life were lived, and died. Cradle to mausoleum travels, literally, from Shaoshan to Tiananmen Square.

Exactly 25 years ago I published my second book Marching with Mao : A Biographical Journey in London.

Certainly, one of the journey’s highlights was my trek to the Golden Sands River.

My experience of this section of my own March are retold in a chapter of the book called ‘ Victory and Punishment at Jiaopingdu’, which is both a summary of a local’s experience there in 1935 - and an odd outcome of my own experience there in 1991.

A quarter of a century has flown by since I wrote the chapter, which began to drift back into my mind as Yang Xiao suggested that we should drive north from Lijiang to the First Big Bend on the Yangzi River.

Our drive there took about 90 minutes across the mountains, which I estimated would be about the distance I had walked 25 years ago - perhaps 100 or so kilometers in a few days.

According to my book, I first took a bus from Kunming to Luquan. From there I set off on foot towards Jiaopingdu, a renown crossing point on the Golden Sands River due to the presence of a ferry service operated by a family surnamed Zhang.

After a day’s road Marching I reached Sayingpan. As I asked the way to Jiaopingdu, a farmer in a small crowd responded that he was heading for that village, en route to going home to his town of Huili, north of the river in Sichuan.

His name was Zhang Chanyuan. To reach Huili by bus was expensive and circuitous. So he was walking there. His small bundle of luggage was tied with rope into a makeshift backpack.

The entire trail to Jiaopingdu tuned out to be along a zigzagging dirt road. In many places, those traveling on foot before us has made short-cuts tracks where cart traffic could not go. It was said for be 55 kms to Jiaopingdu, a distance we covered in the day by shuffling along at quite a pace with only brief stops for drinks or the exchange of words.

I’m glad that even in this days of penny-pinching photography that I did spend a few exposures of my films, some color, some black and white, to take ‘Sichuan Zhang’s’ photo.

And as soon as we reached the tiny riverside hamlet in the river gorge we headed straight to the ferryman’s home. Within three minutes of entering the settlement I was talking to one of the brothers who ferried the Red Army soldiers across the River.

Their family insisted that I would stay the night. Tomorrow, they said, there wind be plenty of time to talk about 1935.

But I knew what to do in closed areas. Take photos ASAP and make notes ASAP. I’m fading light I took a photo of Zhang lighting his pipe. And before dinner I tried to ask him about the Marchers and their crossing of the river.

The problem was that my Mandarin was much better than his - he spoke a local dialect. The family was very keen for him to Tell me his story, so they arranged for a young man in the village to write it down! Perfect!

The young man wrote down Zhang’s historic story on a few sheets of paper.

It was late when we decided it was time to sleep.

I soon dozed off. But not for long.

Someone was calling, asking me to wake up. Everyone spoke loudly because the roar of the river had made most people partly deaf.

I hurried down the stairs and saw a police officer.

Haha, the same old story. Tongues had been wagging and the arrival of a foreigner had percolated to the local cop shop.

It was, like all the many trespass I closed area that I have endured, a pretty miserable affair. But it was one with a difference.

As usual, the Chinese inquisition. Name, age, occupation, reason for traveling here, and citizenship.

To the last question I was sif corse British.

They came a tough one.

‘Ni shi shenme minzu’ he asked.

I did explain that we had no national minorities in Britain, and we were all British. But he insisted on me answering so he found fill the gap in his form.

It was late and I was tired.

‘What’s your nationality’ I asked.

He replied ‘’Hanzu, of course’

I pondered for a second.

“Then I’m the same as you, Hanzu’ I replied.

He wrote it down. And he seemed to be happy with my decision.

We said goodnight.

Next morning the police arrested me and took me, as I was expecting, to the nearest open town.

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Reference:大中國

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