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By Richard F. Staar


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By contrast an article published in China Reconstructs (now China Today) insists that Hua was 17 years old in autumn 1938 which puts his year of birth at 1921, although there is no reference to a specific date in this article (Wang and Wu, 1977, p. 6). 3 Confirmation that 16 February 1921 was indeed Hua’s date of birth came in the many obituaries (both official and unofficial) that were published after Hua’s death in August 2008 (see Conclusion). Details of Hua’s parentage and childhood are very sketchy.

In the months leading up to and including the Taiyuan Campaign, Hua was based in Yangqu County (now under the jurisdiction of Taiyuan) where he was appointed Secretary of the Yangqu CCP and Political Commissar of the Yangqu Guerrilla Detachment in autumn 1947 (RMRB, 38 Mao’s Forgotten Successor 1976a, p. 2). Both appointments represented an advance in Hua’s political career to a larger and more strategically significant area. As he had done previously, Hua was responsible for organising small guerrilla units as back up to the main CCP forces, carrying out covert intelligence work and acts of sabotage in Yangqu and other local areas such as Xiaodian and Yingze.

After the performance of Jin Wu in Xiazhuang, Jin himself took the stage to denounce the treachery of ‘local traitors’. Encouraged by troupe and party members to do likewise, many of the audience stood up and 36 Mao’s Forgotten Successor joined Jin in the denunciation, often expressing themselves in angry tones (TWG, 1978, p. 11). By writing plays based on familiar issues relating to the Japanese occupation and encouraging members of the audience to articulate their feelings and emotions after the plays had been performed, the Village Drama Movement brought local audiences much closer to the cause of the CCP.

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