I checked into the Hotel and was introduced to my China Travel representative. It was explained to me that Mr. Quang would be with me for my entire stay in China. In those days foreigners were not allowed to travel freely or alone. Mr. Quang was a nice man and very polite but I would later find out he was with the PSB, Public Security Bureau. At the time I found it odd that he slept in a chair outside my room and would be at my side as soon as I stepped through the threshold, but he never once asked to come into my room. To this day I have no idea where the man went to the bathroom.
After breakfast on my first morning, a representative from the government came to see me and apologized for not meeting me at the airport. Neither they or myself realized that there was a calendar day difference between China and the United States. I had left New York on the 22 of June but it was the 23rd in China. I arrived at the airport a day early. I shrugged it off, realizing this was really a foreign Country. My first few days were a whirlwind of meetings and banquets. The meetings were all similar, We would all sit around the perimeter of the room in over sized red velvet chairs all with crocheted white doilies adorning the back and arms of the chairs. My interpreter Ms.Xia would stand behind my chair and whisper everything that was said. Years later when I picked up the language I realized Ms. Xia took a lot of literary license with the translation. there would be at least two banquets per day. Each banquet consisted of three tables for 12 and 1 table for twelve in another room for drivers and staff. I often felt that I had entered a drinking contest. The banquets began with the host toasting and the saying Gom Bai, bottoms up. I was expected to drink the entire glass in one shot. The liquor was 145 proof called Mao Tai, it is made from sorghum and I think kerosine. There was a toast by the host at each new course, there were generally 7 to 12 courses. As a guest I would have to return each toast and by this time I would have consumed about a half bottle. At some banquets each person would toast which meant I would consume over a bottle and a half. Poor Mr. Quang had to carry me home more than once.
I had been in China for over two weeks when I first met Deng Xiaoping for the first time. It was a brief encounter but I knew he and I would share some part of our lives. A week after that meeting Mao had Deng arrested and put in prison. I learned that Mao greatly resented the fact that Deng was educated and attended University in France. Deng was popular with the people and Mao was afraid of him. The only thing Mao ever said to me about Deng was that Deng was the best little hatchet man he had ever had.
I had arrived in China in a very interesting time in its history. Mao was undisputed as the political and cultural leader of China but he had many problems. He was concerned about Deng, Martial Yao from Canton was making plans for a military coup, Mao's wife Quing was unfaithful and powerful, she would later become part of the infamous gang of four. The people were getting tired of the red guard and he had to do something.
I was a tool, they paraded me around in public to show his openness and readiness to do business with the west to bring prosperity to his people. My knowledge of business was limited in those days but I would be thrust into meetings with various dunways, work units, and asked questions about business and methodology. I was young and on one hell of an adventure so I went along with the program. I was on the inside of the growth of a Nation and wasn't going to give up the position. It did not even occur to me at that time that I was maybe 1 of fifty foreigners in the entire Country of 1.6 billion people. I did however allow them to believe I was more naive than I truly was. I saw the oppression and the mind games this communist society played to keep its power. It really was all about power. On one occasion I will relate to you Mao showed his power by having every person in the Country go to their roofs and blow whistles and bang pots. It went on for three days. The purpose was to kill all of the birds, which he believed were hurting the agricultural push then going on. They kept the birds from landing and they actually died in flight from exhaustion. That was the very first time I understood what abuse of power truly meant.
end of installment 2