Morning Sun

Reddest Red Sun | The Miracles of Chairman Mao

Exploring the Secrets of Treating Deaf-Mutes
(Peking: Foreign Languages Press, 1972)


"The iron tree bursts into flower, mutes regain their speaking power" is an old Chinese saying describing an extremely rare phenomenon. In fact, people had never heard of a deaf-mute who could speak or sing. But in the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution this actually happened -- just like many other things which had hitherto been considered out of the question -- when People's Liberation Army medical orderly Chao Pu-yu and his comrades succeeded in enabling deaf-mutes to speak, and thus opened up this "forbidden zone" in medical science.

This success created a big stir far and wide and was hailed by people everywhere. Workers, peasants and soldiers held that it had been possible because Chao Pu-yu and his comrades, guided by Mao Tsetung Thought, were bold in practising for the revolution. Some people, however, thought otherwise, saying that it was because young Chao Pu-yu was a genius, and cleverer than others. Which of these two arguments is right? Facts speak for themselves.

Chao Pu-yu joined the People's Liberation Army in spring 1966, when he was 18. He had only four years of intermittent schooling. Without professional training he became a medical orderly at an outpatient department of a P.L.A. hospital soon after his enlistment.

Chao Pu-yu's success is not surprising when viewed against the background of his struggle from dream to reality.

In 1967, when the storm of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution destroyed Liu Shao-chi's counter-revolutionary revisionist line in medical and health work, Chairman Mao's significant directive, "In medical and health work, put the stress on the rural areas", was publicized, bringing about a vigorous situation on the medical front. To put the directive into practice, Chao Pu-yu and his comrades formed a medical team and, with their kits and Chairman Mao's works, set up a medical station in a workers' district in the city of Liaoyuan.

In March 1968 the medical team took their acupuncture needles to the school for deaf-mutes in Liaoyuan to treat its pupils. The minute the team entered the gate they were surrounded by the children. A girl named Wang Ya-chin tugged Chao Pu-yu's hand and opened her Quotations from Chairman Mao Tsetung. She pointed to Chairman Mao's portrait on the wall and then to her own lips, indicating that she would like to shout "Long live Chairman Mao". But the only sound that could come from her lips was a strained "Ah...ah". She pointed to the Chairman Mao badge on Chao Pu-yu's jacket and touched her own ears, trying to express her wish to hear the voice of Chairman Mao. Tears flowed down her cheeks and Chao Pu-yu's own eyes were wet. A proletarian fighter's sympathy burned in his heart. In the nightmarish old days when the working people were weighted down at the bottom of the social ladder, he thought, they couldn't speak their mind nor even find a place to. Now that the labouring people have come into their own in the new society, they can speak and sing to their heart's content -- except for deaf-mutes. How sad it was for these pupils to be unable to hear Chairman Mao's voice or cheer "Long live Chairman Mao", though they had ears and a mouth like anybody else. Chao Pu-yu and his comrades pledged to Chairman Mao to do everything to open up the "forbidden zone", bring Chairman Mao's concern to the deaf-mute pupils and enable them to hear Chairman Mao's voice and express their feeling.


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