Life and Death in Shanghai Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Life and Death in Shanghai

Reflective Study

Nien Cheng, a lady of wealth, culture, and social refinement, was unused to the treatment she would ultimately receive at the hands of Mao Zedung's Red Guards. Viewed as a natural enemy to a Communistic regime - based on a measure of wealth and education - the mostly teenaged "Red Guards" invaded homes and workplaces in search of people disloyal to Zedung and the political environment of the day.

Considered "too aggressive and too independent in mind and spirit for a Chinese woman," Ms. Cheng would be humiliated in "town meetings" where false and unfounded accusations were used to force a confession of subterfuge and espionage, tortured, imprisoned for over 6 years without news of her only daughter, Meiping, who had been murdered by Maoists revolutionaries for refusing to denounce her mother as a spy, and placed under house arrest.

The Red Guard destroyed everything she owned, decimated her health, fed her food with little nutritive value, and tortured her own brother into admitting that she had a picture taken in front of the Kuomintang flag. She refused to confess to being a British spy or subversive to the current Communistic regime.

The very characteristics, which likely made her a focal point for imprisonment, were the ones that probably saved her physical life from the brutalities she endured; too aggressive and independent for a Chinese woman. That resilient spirit was necessary even after her release from prison - coping alone with the murder of her daughter and enduring a hostile environment where everyone - including her maid - spied on her.

The strength and character found in this wonderful woman are inspiring to those who will never be required to endure the hardships of torture, family loss by violence, starvation, brutality, and the end of life as it has been previously experienced and enjoyed. The complacency of the routine, mundane aspects of the "average" life threatens American lives far more than the terrors…

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