One of the silent victims of the Communist regime in China who had spent 15 years behind the bars in Chinese prison for taking part in the infamous ‘Hundred flowers’ campaign led by Mao breathed her last and left for heavenly abode on 22nd September 2009 in Paris. Mrs. Lin Xiling a.k.a Cheng Haiguo was also labeled ‘rightist’ for raising her voice against the Chinese version of communism spearheaded by Mao and his comrades. She was a born revolutionary and a devoted communist, but her definition of Communism has always been associated with the people’s rights.
In June 2009, Lin, along with other Chinese dissidents, met His Holiness the Dalai Lama during his visit to Paris. She had said she hesitated before agreeing to meet the Tibetan leader because she was somewhat influenced by the Chinese government propaganda demonizing His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Lin was very ill and was supported by a wheelchair. But, at the meeting with the Tibetan leader, she was so happy and excited that she managed to stand up for a while without any support, and in front of His Holiness she declared:
“Dear Dalai Lama, you and I are both living in exile. You are non-violent and supporting Middle Way approach. So do I, and for the first time I am able to talk directly with you. So I'll give up speaking like a Han imperialist! Actually, I also gave up believing in the Chinese Communist Party and its policy. For such a long time, I have been labeled as a “Rightist” because of my involvement in the “Hundred flowers” campaign in 1957. Since then I kept on opposing to the Party policy. They jailed me for 15 years. Today I have been living in exile in Paris, since 20 years. Despite such a long time, the Party leaders never rehabilitated me and they still label me as an enemy to the Chinese People. From now on, I don't care anymore. I will not pray them for rehabilitation. On the contrary, one day it will be the Communist Party that will kneel down and beg us for our mercy.”
Lin's biography "Lin Xiling l'indomptable" by Marie Holzman
Lin graduated from the famous Renda University and she was a lawyer in her own rights. She was 74 at the time of her demise and is survived by her only son Pascal Lau. She escaped into exile in France in 1983. Since then she never stopped being a rebel to the Chinese communist regime. She had always been a fervent Christian and a passionate democrat. Despite her contribution to the rise of the communism in China, it is pitiful that she remained an‘unsung hero’ for the rest of her life in her own country.
Marie Holzman, her French friend and a writer, begins Lin Xiling’s biography with these lines: “Lin Xiling seems to have been born just for contesting. Tireless, indomitable, she has crossed through many countries and years, yet undiminished. Rebel by birth, unable to keep silent, hating lies, she has never betrayed her inner beliefs”.
During the 50's, after taking part in the Communist victory, Lin became one of the foremost Chinese dissidents of the Maoist era because she bravely spearheaded opposition campaigns to the supremacy of the Great Helmsman. In the early 50's she was sent as a journalist to the countryside and she was appalled by her discovery of the true reality of country life. She had then had her first revulsion of the cities churned out by the new communist regime which was infested with corruption, injustice and so on. Then she began to doubt the legitimacy of the Communist Party. In 1957, with her exceptional oratorical skill, she made a famous speech at the Beijing People's University about the ‘three nuisances’ of the regime: dogmatism, bureaucratism and sectarianism. This was immediately followed by her long indefinite imprisonment.
Jailed from 1958 to 1969, she was then sent to a labor camp (laogaï) until 1973. Since that time she has never been rehabilitated nor cleared of those infamous ''rightist'' accusations. All such challenges and hardships transformed her into a strong character, with a tough mind and indomitable obduracy.
In exile, she had also undergone a period of paranoia due to the sadness of exile life and being far from her native land. Most painful has been the eradication of her name and contribution of a new China from the collective memory of the Chinese people.
Pascal Lau (her son) writes: “Her death marks the end of the “Hundred flowers” generation of 1957. But be sure that the spirit and ideals incarnated by those people will stay forever alive in history. Lin was endowed with a strong personality and charisma. She had exhibited bravery and carefreeness of the youth. Today, in the new China, do those ideals still exist?”
Marie Holzman writes: “ What could have happened if more Chinese people had been granted as much courage as LIN Xiling, the courage to say 'No' to a murderous ideology “?. In fact there had been very few ''LIN Xiling'', and that made things easier for the Authorities to eliminate and label them as “insane and social misfits”. edited by Chime Tenzing