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Friday, 8 May 2015

"He's alive! He buried me alive!"...GAME OVER ...CHAPTER XV

XV

Sunday 1st of October 2000


Nice weather on this 1st of October. It is the national holiday. Cao Yu is attending the festivities at the Language Institute of Sichuan, where she has taught since 1994. She has forgotten the episode of Lanzhou. With Weina, they have rebuilt their lives in Chongqing. The bad memories are buried. When they arrived in Chongqing they were received well. She must admit that the Iron Tiger and Wang Gang did things quite well. Nobody ever asked about their previous life. They live together in a small apartment in Ciqikou, actually a small house at the end of an alley, 400 m from the main street. Their house overlooks the Jialing River. Her son Zhen has grown considerably. He is beautiful even if some days he reminds her of Wang Jun. Wang Jun, she prefers to forget. Officially Zhen is the son of a soldier killed during the riot in Lanzhou! It gives him advantages. He is the son of a revolutionary hero died in battle. Their life is calm! Cao Yu's mother comes from time to time. She didn’t ask any questions when her daughter came to Chongqing. She also knows the price of silence. She saw her daughter come home. That's all that matters. She is happy: a grandson who will not experience the problems of her own children born from an enemy of the revolution with a poor social background. Finally, all is well. Even if this girl, Wang Weina, she has a lowly style. Sometimes some of their friends come from Beijing: girls heavily made-up and a Tibetan from the Aba district. But all is well. Life goes on. She would like her daughter to have a husband and stop living with Weina. She spoke to Cao Yu. The response was quick and clear:
"Mom! No! I do not want a husband. Mine is dead! I am a widow and Weina is my best friend, my sister. You cannot know what she did for me. We are real sisters, only death can separate us!"
She did not insist. She has seen too much in her life. Her grandson is lovely. He studies very well in school. He is very sociable. Today is the First of October, National Day.
Cao Yu spent the day at the Institute of Languages. Her son accompanied her. She would have liked Weina to have accompanied her also but the Hotel Yudu asked her to do extra work. Tourism is developing a lot in Chongqing. Weina has become a sort of leader of the receptionists. She speaks English perfectly now. She also has learned German and Cantonese to welcome the many customers who come from Hong Kong.
Cao Yu remembers all these years. Her life with Weina. Everyone thinks they are real sisters. Nobody asked questions. The only one who knows the truth is a special agent of the Office of Public Safety. He summons them at times to see if all is well. He is a man of sixty. He is very kind to them. He himself suffered during the Cultural Revolution.
She loves Weina. Sometimes they sleep together, their arms around each other. They have both decided to no longer have men in their lives. They are inseparable. Cao Yu sometimes asks:
"Don’t you regret your life of before? In Beijing? Was your life better? You earned more money! Could you go back?"
The answer is invariably the same:
No! We experienced some very difficult things. I am with you and your son. I have a job that I like!"
They are the same age. Today, Cao Yu is 32 years old. Ten years already! Wang Zhen turns 10 on Oct. 23.
The weather is so nice today. Weina has just returned from work. All three settle on the couch in their living-dining-all purpose room. In their small house there are just three rooms: the living room overlooking the street (bedroom for Cao Yu), a bedroom for Weina and another for Wang Zhen plus a kitchenette-bathroom. Concerning the toilet they have to go to the public toilets at the end of the lane in which they live. They dream of a real bathroom. Some neighbors are more comfortable. They have shower-toilet combination.
Weina puts the TV on. It is an old Sony device but it works well. Crackling sometimes but the picture is good.
There are all three of them there. The outer door is left open as usual in Chongqing.
 It's time for the news on CCTV1, live from Beijing, their only link with their former life.
The anchor is very classy and pretty. Make up with flashy lipstick and a gray flowered blouse. First of October in Beijing. Some pictures of the festivities. A quick interview with the Chinese President. A few words from the Mayor of Beijing. More images of celebration, children in the parks, the crowds of October 1 when all the parks are free for everyone. The camera zooms in to a reporter from CCTV at the Summer Palace. He speaks about maintaining order during the day, the hard work of police officers. Then, a long tracking shot of the camera to two police officers working traffic at the entrance of the Summer Palace. The reporter follows the movement of the camera and heads for the two agents. Nothing very unusual. But something intrigues Cao Yu.
The journalist is now close to both officers. He will question them. The camera zooms in on the first. Cao Yu opens her eyes wide. She does not believe her eyes. That's him. It is Wang Jun! The emotion is too strong. Suddenly she cries:
"Wang Jun! Wang Jun!"
Her son and her friend do not understand. Weina takes her by the shoulders.
"What’s happened, do you know this officer?"
Her son is close to her.
She is crying now. Great sobs. She finds it difficult to articulate, to say a few words:
"He's alive! He buried me alive!"
On the screen, the journalist continues his interview. Cao Yu hears nothing. She doesn’t see anything. Wang Jun is alive!

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Sunday, 26 April 2015

The price of a quiet life is your silence...GAME OVER A NEW EXCERPT...CHAPTER XIV

XIV

Lanzhou, Tuesday, October 23, 1990

"It's a boy!"
In the apartment shared by Cao Yu and Weina, it is happiness. Liu Hong, Deputy Director of the prison is present. Since Weina and Cao Yu came out of prison, their lot has improved. Their good behavior during the foreign delegation visit earned them favorable treatment. The Director tells her bodyguard to inform Wang Gang.
Things have changed in recent months. Persistent rumors about the closure of the prison due to mistreatment.
A Time article distributed illicitly and newspaper clippings of newspapers from Hong Kong.
Neither Weina nor Cao Yu have seen these items but they have heard something.
 An hour after the birth, the Director Wang arrives at the apartment. He embraces Weina warmly and enters the room. Cao Yu is sleeping peacefully, the baby on her lap. Wang watches. He seems touched. He leaves the room on tiptoe. He moves to the kitchen table. He motions to Weina and the Director to sit down.
He is all smiles.
He opens the satchel that never leaves him and tends an envelope to Weina.
"You'll open it when I'm gone. I have important things to tell you."
This sounds very serious.
He takes a newspaper from his bag. It is a foreign magazine. Weina recognizes it immediately. This is a copy of Time. She often saw this magazine when she was hitting on customers in hotels for foreigners in Beijing.
Wang catches her eye.
"You know what it is Weina?"
She smiles.
"No, Only I saw this magazine very often in Beijing. Foreigners read it a lot.
He responds in an ambiguous way:
"Generally they do not write about China. It does not interest them too much, well not us, Lanzhou, far away from the sun!"
He seems to be having a lot of fun. He looks at Weina. How beautiful she is. She’s wearing a cotton jacket under which she has a high-neck sweater. He smiles. He had sex so many times with her. She accepted everything. She was a faithful partner. She feels his thoughts and she remembers all their relationship starting with the first time in his office.
"In this issue, there is an article about us. We, or the company, or rather the Laogai Lanzhou!"
Liu Hong and Weina listen carefully. 
He stands up. Weina watches him. He is still handsome. He’s aging well. He looks at her again. Will he ask a favor? This man is not a common person. But no, he continues:
"This American newspaper is widely read throughout the world. But I must explain some things you should know."
This is all so mysterious. In the other room, Cao Yu budges a little. Zhou Xiaowen resumes:
"Both of you understand enough English to understand what it says. I will summarize. In this issue of Time, the cover ..."
He shows the front page. On it, a jazz trumpeter and a headline ‘The New Jazz Age’."
"The problem is not jazz. But rather an article inside. Under the heading ‘World’, between an article about Saddam Hussein and the emergence of a new left in Italy, but have a look for yourself."
He suddenly opens the magazine to an inside page.
CHINA: The Laogai kills. The massacre of nuns. The article is illustrated with photos from inside the prison, corpses lined up, armed soldiers beating prisoners. They do not understand everything. Their English is not good enough. They recognize the prison, and even some guards.
Wang continues:
"We are amongst friends! This article is good for my strategy and that of Zhou Xiaowen! I had contact with Beijing tonight before coming here. I can tell you they are not happy. We have found a way to handle it and to turn this into something positive."
He seems very sure of himself. He is dressed in civilian clothes. Goodbye the soldier, hello executive manager in suits and ties. Liu Hong says nothing. She expects more.
He takes a cup of tea.
"There were other items. Especially in Canadian newspapers like La Presse and Le Devoir. Europe has been calmer. Anyway, we know that Europeans are afraid of their own shadow. Canadians and Americans are more courageous. Anyway here's what happens. In your case things are simple. Liu Hong leaves for Shanghai tomorrow. You're retired and you’re going home. Everything is organized."
He takes an envelope in his bag and hands it to Liu Hong: 
"It's your ticket. Prepare your luggage! Don't worry. You are expected in Shanghai when you arrive. Your belongings will follow."
He turns to Weina:
"As for you both, I'm very happy. Our moral contract has been respected. I also respect mine. In the envelope that I gave you, there is money and airline tickets to Chongqing. Both of you will leave end of November. Upon arrival in Chongqing, you will be catered for. An apartment awaits you in the neighborhood of Ciqikou. You will both work at the Hotel Yudu. Next year, Cao Yu will be integrated as a student in the Language Institute of Sichuan in Shapimba, in the third year. We will give you both a vocational training certificate from a training center in Lanzhou, stating that you are both qualified both on hotel front desk."
He stops. He expects a reaction. Weina wants to jump for joy, to kiss, to party. She is moved! So the nightmare is over. He continues:
"There is one condition: your discretion, but I think you have already started. A new era is underway in China. What will happen here? When you are asked what you did in Lanzhou, well it is simple; you do not know of any Laogai. You worked as hostesses and interpreters for the showroom of the Lanzhou Clothing Factory. The child's father is a soldier with whom Cao Yu was married. His name is Wang Yuankai. Officially he was killed during the riot that took place in the prison. Cao Yu's son will therefore be called Wang Zhen. In the envelope that I have given you there are all the necessary papers. None of you should go to prison anymore. Tomorrow morning, a special unit of the Armed Police Force will enter the prison. They will arrest some people, including Deng Xiaolong, the detachment commander of the PLA responsible for the supervision of the prison. He will be indicted for his involvement in the mutiny. All the supervisors will be fired and charged with conspiracy and damage to state security."
Liu Hong is stunned. 
"Wang, you know that Deng has nothing to do with all this!"
Wang looks at her coldly. Liu suddenly remembers that the master mind of Zhou Xiaowen was Kang Sheng. Wang and Zhou are like the fingers of one hand. She looks down and whispers:
"Forget what I just said, forget it; it was the reaction of a crazy old woman."
Wang continues:
"Tomorrow the prison will be closed. The prisoners will be dispersed. Your whore friend, Weina, will be returned to Beijing with a small financial advance. The nuns who did not die will be returned to their home areas. The Laogai of Lanzhou no longer exists. The building will be razed to the ground in a month. We will build a new factory. A new company will be established with Canadian and Hong Kong money: It will be called the Lanzhou Clothing Factory Joint Venture Limited. Zhou Xiaowen is its first President and I am the CEO."
He stops. He looks at the two women.
"We'll never meet again. The price of a quiet life is your silence."
He opens his jacket. They can see a Makarov pistol in a holster.
"If you forget the silence ..."
He gets up and leaves the room.

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Wednesday, 18 February 2015

"You smell of female. Was she good to fuck, the slut?"...GAME OVER A NEW EXCERPT


XIII

Friday, September 21, 1990

Erwan leaves his apartment. So many things have happened. Adopting Emilie was done without too many problems. He had to pay travel for the notary office. As Dominique Meyer told him, as soon as the formalities were completed, everything would be solved. In August they went on vacation to Dalian. Why Dalian? A colleague of Cécile is a native of this city and offered to house them. At Dalian there is the sea! They spent the entire month on the beach. Relations with Cécile keep getting worse. Reproaches and recriminations, all the time. It usually starts in the morning. On vacation in China, the breakfasts are not easy to eat, especially for children. To have a large family does not facilitate relationships. Up until two children, it was easier! But then with four, it became downright hellish. Blame, jealousy, comments on Mona, Sandra or any girl he had the misfortune to meet. Erwan has had enough. But first they must return to France.
He leaves the hotel and hails a taxi. Soon a car arrives. He gives the address. Lost in thought he does not even realize he has arrived. The driver opens the door. And then they returned to Beijing in late August. The train from Dalian: no soft berth only hard, and so many people on the train. Nearly 11 hours of ride. The train left at 11 pm instead of 9:30. It was horribly hot. They stopped along the way. Finally, they arrived in Beijing the next day around noon. The children were excited. That was August 31, a Friday. Cécile was back to work on September 3. Then a phone call the 1st. Mona invited them to a farewell dinner on Saturday 15. She was leaving China. Erwan picked up the phone. He vaguely understood she no longer had enough cash. Her company had been bought by a company in Hong Kong. She was now a kind of VRP for the new company that had kept the old name. They were all invited. But Cécile was angry and refused.
"Mona, again! She wants you. My children won’t go to that whore's place!"
My children. She had said the right word. Erwan had increasingly felt that they were her children. He is the father, a kind of hybrid, just good to fuck her. Since the end of holidays, she had become hysterical. She stuck to him. Sexually aggressive. A real fury. The children did not feel good. Daily arguments. She is so close to Emily and Morgane. Fortunately, there’s the oldest. But for how long are they still going to be his children, their children.
He leaves the taxi and heads for the restaurant where Mona is organizing her farewell meal. He wonders who will be present. He has to cross a small park. He knows this restaurant. He already came here with Cécile shortly after the riots.
He advances automatically. It's unfortunate that Loïc and Lorraine are not here! But Cécile was categorical:
"You go to your bitch if you want but the children stay here!"
He should have been angry, shouted, ranted and raved, but he did not have the strength. He thinks about what Rochester told him a few days ago:
"You're too democratic, my Erwan! Kick her! Beat her! Things will be better after. You betray male solidarity by behaving like that!"
But he does not dare. Violence scares him. And then recently there was the incident with Morgane.
First, he took pity on Cécile. He realized she wasn’t well. On his first day working at Publishing House, she was summoned by her boss.
"Cécile, your contract ends later this month. We have decided not to renew it. You can keep the apartment until the end of September. But your visa expires in late September. You must leave China!"
She returned in tears, suddenly affectionate. All her bad temper seemed to have passed. The next day they went to the Belgian embassy and that of France to register Emilie on passports. It was complicated. No consular services accepted it. For them, the child was Chinese. Fortunately Mona was able to fix things. But he had to have it done. Emilie has a Chinese passport which states that she is the daughter of Erwan Le Floch. The Embassy of France granted a visa. When in France he will put things in order. Cécile has already decided that they will settle in Belgium and not in France.
And then that incident with Morgane.
At the exit of the Belgian Embassy in Sanlitun. Work on the street. Distraction! A cry from Cécile! Morgane in the street and a truck coming at high speed. He runs, grabs Morgane back suddenly onto the sidewalk. The reflex and then a slap on the kid’s buttocks. Cécile screaming. The girl crying and leaving to take refuge in the arms of her mother, watching him wickedly.
"Not you! Not you! Nasty!"
Workers had watched them and gave him a sign, the thumbs-up. Translation, that's how a father should behave.
He crosses the park. The door of the restaurant. This is a restaurant and an inn. It's nice. There is a pond with goldfish, a few ducks and an artificial mountain. Too bad that Cécile did not want to come. He climbs the stairs leading to the restaurant. Hostesses dressed traditionally welcome him and open the door. He tells them he was invited by Miss Huang. One young woman beckons him to follow. They cross a large room and reach the back of the restaurant. A small room. Many people are already sitting. Mona gets up on seeing him. She is elegant but seems sad. She’s wearing a flowered skirt and a silk blouse. She has a tiara in her hair. She comes to him, shakes hands and kisses him on the cheeks. She puts him on her left side. He knows almost everyone. There are not very many people. Frederick Rochester with his wife, Dominique Meyer is there. No Cosmos. Wang Jun is not there either. Guan Kai sits at the end of the table with Chinese people he does not know, probably colleagues. Professor Yang is also present but not the Director of the Institute for Minorities.

A lady in her forties is sitting next to Mona, on her right side. Mona introduces her to Erwan:
"Erwan, here is Mrs. Kong. She is from Hong Kong. She represents the company Sinowines Ltd."
The lady smiles. She is dressed as a businesswoman, strict suit and high heels! Obviously she does not understand a word of French. She shakes hands with Erwan. A firm handshake.
"Sit down Erwan, Rochester shouts. You are doing alright, next to a beautiful woman. Look at me, trying to make conversation with Meyer. You should have brought your wife, she would have watched you!"
As usual he laughs. The whiskey bottle is not far off. He fills two glasses, pushes one towards Erwan, and raises his glass and toasts.
Everyone is sitting now. Mona hesitates. Employees bring different dishes from the restaurant. Mona doesn’t feel well. She finally gets up and speaks.
"Hum! I want to thank you for coming. A lot has changed in my life since the death of my uncle!"
Erwan realizes that her aunt is not here.
"I’m leaving China, my studies are over and I’ve got my PhD!"
She seems very excited. Erwan and most people are aware of a part of her story. Her contract was terminated and he heard that Wang Jun and her were separated. Probably him soon too!
The young woman continues. She explains this is a farewell dinner but she hopes to see everyone because her company was taken over by a company from Hong Kong. She will be based in Bordeaux and spend her time between France and China. A young man enters the restaurant.
"Here is Yang Jun! He is the son of Professor Yang. He is a cook and has prepared the meal tonight."
The young man bows down.
Then, things go quickly. They all eat and drink well. Music. He dances with Mona. The lady of Hong Kong leaves. At one point she takes him upstairs.
"Come, I booked a room."
She opens a door. He is a little bit drunk. She closes and locks the door, kisses him passionately. Then she undresses, slips into bed and says:
“Come."
...
When they get back to the restaurant, there is hardly anyone: Rochester, his faithful friend and his wife, Guan Kai and some of the Chinese people he does not know, talking. Mona looks at him one last time. Then she turns her head as if she was crying. She says something to Guan Kai. Then she goes away without looking back.
Guan Kai approaches Erwan.
He speaks French. Erwan is stunned.
"I have to drive you home! Will you have another drink before?"
"No, no!”Erwan is disoriented.
"No, we can go."
He looks at his watch. It is nine o'clock. In the end, all that did not last very long. He still has the flavor of Mona’s kisses on his body. He greets Rochester and the remaining people and leaves with Guan Kai.
 A nice day in June, not too hot, just right. Guan Kai's car is in the restaurant car park. They walk both silently.
"I owe you an apology Erwan, but I could not speak French until now. I was supposed to be just a driver."
Guan Kai explains his mission. He is a member of the Special Services of the Armed Police, deputy to Lao Huang. He had to protect his niece.
Erwan understands. Mona is not the student she claimed to be. A police spy infiltrated into dissident circles. Everything else was a cover. Guan Kai explains the rest. He will remember nothing. All this is too complicated.
"What will you do now Guan Kai?"
Guan Kai takes him by the shoulder:
"I am transferred to Wuhan. Mona returns to France. Do not try to find me or contact me. I'm glad to have known you."
They both settle in the Mercedes.
Ten minutes later they are at the Friendship Hotel.
Erwan gets out and watches the car going away.
He goes to his apartment. Anguish now. He climbs the stairs. He enters the apartment. Cécile looks him with a dark look. Morgane is playing on the floor with Emilie, Loïc and Lorraine are watching cartoons on TV. Cécile says nothing. She gets up and beckons him to come with her to the kitchen. He feels the crisis coming. She approaches him:
"You smell of female. Was she good to fuck, the slut?"
He feels her violence.  Hysterical.
"But you have nothing! The children are mine, only mine!"
That he has known for a long time. He tries to calm her. Not a chance. Their argument becomes more serious. She opens a drawer and takes out a knife. Erwan loves to cook. His knives are very sharp.
"Cécile, be careful, that knife is dangerous!"
She looks at him, challenging him!
Aha! You’re afraid! But fear nothing! I will not kill you! Just look!"
Before he has time to do anything she turns the knife to herself and tries to cut the veins in her left arm. He grabs her arm. Not a chance. She has incredible strength, the strength of nervous hysteria. He cuts himself while trying to prevent her suicide. What to do? He slaps her violently in the face. She calms down instantly. At that moment he realizes that Morgane is just in the entrance to the kitchen, Lorraine also. He tries to explain. Morgane clings to her weeping mother. Lorraine yells:
"Dad hit Mom! He wants to kill her! Help!"
Loic also arrives. Finally, everyone goes to the living room. Cécile is in tears. She managed to scratch the skin on her arm. He looks for bandages. She is dazed. She settles into an armchair. He does not know what to do. Morgane yells:
"Not you! Not you!".
Lorraine is crying.
Suddenly, Cécile gets up and hurls:
"Get out poor fool! Get out of here! I loved you but now go to hell! Go find your whores!"
She stops. She is like an angry dog showing its teeth:
"Go away! I cannot bear to see you anymore!"
The tone rises again:
"Me neither, Cécile, I won’t accept your bad mood anymore! You're just a shrew! Yes I’m leaving! Manage by yourself with your children, as you say they are yours only!"
He leaves the apartment and goes away. Loïc does not seem to realize what is happening.
Outside, Erwan does not know what to do. He wanders into the garden. He returns to the apartment. All is calm now. Cécile is sleeping in a room with Morgane and Emilie. Loïc is still watching TV. He sits with him and takes him by the arm. Maybe he’ll still keep contact with his son in the future? The other three, the three girls, they belong to their mother. He cannot help it.
Loïc is asleep. He takes him in his arms and places him in bed next to Lorraine already sleeping. Then he settles on the couch, turns off the light and falls asleep quickly. Tomorrow is another day.

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Friday, 23 January 2015

You do not understand asshole! It's over between us!...GAME OVER, the story is going on...

XII

Monday, June 18 Afternoon

Wang Jun is lying on the bed. What a bad day. He tried to see Erwan. No luck, he was not there and the nanny couldn’t tell him anything. Bad relations with Yinghua. Since the death of Lao Huang he has hardly seen her. She is constantly with her aunt. Suddenly the door opens. She enters! He gets up to meet her. She looks upset.
"What‘s up Yinghua?"
She crosses the room and says nothing. Then she starts crying.
"Over!  Everything is over!"
He does not understand.
"But what's going on?"
She looks at him suddenly. He tries to embrace her, but she rejects him violently.
Leave me alone. You were a moment in my life, and it was short."
Wang Jun is stunned. At least she owes him an explanation.
"You want a divorce, right? But at least tell me why!"
She stands up. Looks in a fury! She scares him. He instinctively retreats.
"Yinghua! At least tell me what’s happened."
A torrent of words ensues. She was called by the new leader. She has been fired from the police and has to leave her apartments. Wang Jun is returning to traffic. She has no choice because otherwise she will end up in a labor camp, or worse sentenced to death for corruption. Wang Jun has difficulty in understanding. She has finished, she takes her bag and leaves the apartment. He follows her and takes her by the arm.
"Plainly speaking! What can we do?"
She emerges from his grasp and in such a fury:
"You do not understand asshole! It's over between us! I’m going to live with my aunt and you're nothing. I have a letter for you!"
She hands him a letter.
"Open it!"
He takes the letter and begins to read. It is his orders for transfer to traffic control. He is assigned to the District precinct of Jianguomen. Assigned to that major intersection. He starts the following day.
Mona slams the door behind her. He is alone!
He picks up the phone and calls his friend Li Changlin.
He's lucky. He is there. He briefly explains the situation.
“Well, okay. Take all your belongings and just come. I know someone who will be happy for you to come live and with us. She likes you a lot. When do you start?"
Tomorrow"
"And where?"
Wang Jun explains the situation.
"Well, old chap, you're going to go a long way to work. Have you got your bike back?"
"No, says Wang Jun, unfortunately! It'll take me hours of bus! It's better than the Laogai! I'll explain!"
He hangs up and begins to gather his belongings. Then he remembers something. He goes to the safe, opens it carefully. There’s a little money left. That will enable him to survive over the next days. Then he retrieves the box with Glocks and ammunition.
That, he says, I’m not leaving! It can always be useful.
As soon as he finishes packing, he calls a taxi.
"Five minutes sir!"
He leaves the apartment and sends down his luggage. The taxi is already waiting downstairs. He is afraid of meeting Guan Kai. But no, the guy is not there. He gets into the car. He closes the door. The driver starts off. He gives him the address of Li Changlin. The whole story is bullshit.

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Monday, 12 January 2015

"I'll tell you a little story that comes from the depth of the Laogai, Lanzhou ..." GAME OVER A NEW EXCERPT...

Monday, June 18, 1990

Mona comes through the door of the police central building. She is almost unknown here. She has to show her credentials to enter. Guan Kai asked to accompany her but she preferred to go alone. Since the death of her uncle, nothing has been working. She phoned her grandfather, just yesterday. She misses Bandol, France.
"Come back to France, Mona. You have no-one there. You can bring your aunt if she wants!"
Her grandfather is kind but things are not so simple.
All these rumors and disputes with Wang Jun.
It is clear that her special status is over. She passes between several blocks and approaches her office, the central building.
Since her uncle’s death she has lived with her aunt, to take care of her. The death was strange. She knew that her uncle had heart problems. How many times had she told him to seek treatment? In vain. And now! She feels orphaned for a second time. Wang Jun did not like her leaving the apartment. He returned to the Friendship Hotel. But he was bored. In fact, he is worthless. He is just plain crazy.
She enters the building. A messenger is waiting. He addresses her with deference.
"Miss Huang, our new Director, Comrade Zhang Pengpeng awaits you in his office."
She does not know this man. All she knows is that he is very close to Li Peng. He is the man that caused her uncle’s heart attack.
Everything seems quiet, too quiet.
They arrive at the door of the Director’s Office. Hers is right next door. She notices that it is busy. She hasn’t set foot here for months.
Her uncle’s secretary leaves the office. She looks embarrassed! Mona has got little information on the circumstances of Lao Huang’s death. Just a medical report. And that's it. Guan Kai tried to learn a little more. He contacted the Secretary who made him understand to mind his own business. He seemed sad when he told her about it.
"Please wait Miss Huang! Comrade Zhang will receive you.
She closes the door carefully.
The guard does not know what to do. Finally he leaves her. He is a young policeman.
Mona is dressed soberly for this meeting. She has prepared her arguments. She feels that it will not be a picnic.
The door opens again. The Secretary motions Mona to enter. Both come into the office. The layout has changed. The new Director is a tall man, dressed in Western style. He orders the secretary to go out:
"Miss Huang, I have important things to tell you which cannot be done in the presence of someone else!"
The tone is set.
The secretary leaves.
"Sit down, please!"
Politeness is present, but the tone is brittle.
He asks first after her aunt’s health.
"How is Lao Huang’s wife? This death is a tragedy!"
Mona replies in a formal way. It is better to shorten such formalities and get straight to the heart of the matter.
The Director sits down. He watches her carefully.
"Miss Huang - or do you prefer to be called Mrs. Wang?"
She feels the aggressiveness of this man.
"No Sir, Miss Huang, that's fine!"
He continues:
"Your position in the police is very particular. Since I have taken over from your uncle, I have tried to get a bit more specific idea about your activities. Of course I have official reports - and confidential - held by your uncle, recorded by his secretary. For several months he also was under investigation, conducted by the Office of the Prime Minister because persistent rumors reached our ears, concerning ... misconducts with regards to your business."
Mona wonders what he is talking about. What does he know exactly? She keeps a straight face but inside, it's bubbling!
"All this would not be so bad if there had been good results and if there had been no incidents the 3rd of June, especially those which happened at the concert attended by the Prime Minister, but also all those people dressed in white in the street, especially around Tiananmen."
She wants to say something, answer that it is not very important in relation to the information collected for over a year on dissident circles. Zhang stops her immediately in a dry tone:
"Miss Huang, you will speak when I ask you specifically to do so."
Mona looks down. She feels bad. She wants to leave, leave, but she cannot. Zhang continues!
"Huang Yinghua, you are Franco-Chinese! Your father was killed by the Red Guards in unclear circumstances. Your uncle, Lao Huang's brother, protected you and allowed you to leave China with your mother. But this is not the issue of our meeting!"
Mona is waiting! She keeps looking down!
"It took me a while to exactly understand the nature of your work and relationships, many of them established with counter-revolutionary elements. It is unfortunate for you that you did not take advantage of all this information to arrest a number of people before the anniversary of June 3! Yes, what a shame! One thing I was particularly surprised by was your relationship with Wang Jun. The way you worked was pure amateurism. What a strange idea to partner up with Wang Jun, a police officer who failed to do his job. However, traffic policing is not very complicated. And you wanted to transform this moron into an intelligence agent through a hazy association with a French journalist working on a comparative research project involving two prestigious academic institutions, the Academy of Social Sciences and the Institute for Minorities.  Wang Jun who has no qualifications!"
Mona feels that her whole project is being unraveled. But she will not accept it. She lifts her head, ready to attack, like a tigress in fury. Unfortunately, there’s no opportunity to say a word because Zhang continues:
"So here is my decision. I will not waste my time arguing. I’ve decided that as of June 30 you are fired from the Police."
She feels the anguish rising in her. But she should not break down. No, she will fight. She will use her usual relations. No, this won’t happen like this. But Zhang looks as if he’s reading her mind:
"Do not do anything that might call into question my decision because I have serious evidence against you."
She is stunned! But what is it?
"Miss Huang Yinghua, we well know the power of your late uncle's friends. But think before acting and listen to this. Open your ears! You disposed of huge benefits for your business. A cover company to sell wines that really has little or no activity, a three-bedroom apartment at the Friendship Hotel, another flat in a modern building, car and driver available at all times and a salary managed only by your uncle that allowed you to live a very comfortable life. All this for weak results, very weak. Also, I'll tell you a little story that comes from the depth of the Laogai, Lanzhou ..."
Mona suddenly looks concerned. He realizes this.
"I realize that this means something to you. In January, a young student at Beida, not specifically involved in the political protests, was arrested for prostitution and sent to a camp of reform through labor in Lanzhou. So far, no particular problem. Students seeking to supplement their monthly income, there are many. And why not do this job which is called the oldest profession in the world? This young student was living with a policeman, a certain Wang Jun! Shall I continue?"
Mona feels her world collapsing. Tears stream down her cheeks. They know everything and if she fights back they'll sue her for economic crimes and corruption. How did they learn it all? Zhang Pengpeng comes to her. He puts his hand on her shoulder.
"I see you understand. We want to keep this matter quiet. For the moment the Government is going well. We solved the Fang Lizhi case and soon the West will come and eat from our hands. They need our industrial production capacity and the order that only the Communist Party is able to preserve. Here is how things will happen."
He pauses, turns to sit and drinks a glass of water.
He takes a document in a folder carefully stored in a drawer of his desk.
"I've prepared a letter of resignation from the Police. You're leaving with a comfortable severance pay in dollars. You will see the figure yourself. A separate document must be signed which is your self-criticism. You know our taste for confessions from the years when Chairman Mao led the first revolutionary base in the 30s. I ask you to sign these documents immediately. As for your apartments, they must be left very quickly. I was told that you’re currently staying with your aunt."
"And Wang Jun? And the offices of my company at the Beijing Hotel?"
Mona is in tears! 
"Wang Jun! It's very simple, he returns to traffic duties as a basic officer. He will work in the district of Jianguomen. As for your company, you own it, so fund it by yourself!"
Mona feels trapped! She takes the documents, does not even read them and signs immediately!
She gets up and hands them to him.
"Can I get a copy?” She asks in a humble tone.
No problem! I will send it!"

He also gets up. The interview is over!

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Thursday, 18 December 2014

It was only a matter of money. Chinese leaders are very pragmatic...GAME OVER...NEXT EXCERPT

The taxi that carries Erwan arrives at the Minzu Hotel. He pays and gets out of the car, an old Toyota. He likes this hotel which is a bit outdated. A doorman greets him and opens the door. Lobby almost empty. Nobody on the armchairs. He is a little upset whenever he meets Dominique Meyer. In fact, Dominique Meyer or X, it is roughly the same.  A Jesuit or Dominican. No, there is nobody. He decides to move to the bar. Absolutely nobody. An employee arrives.
"Coffee!"
"Sorry, no coffee!"
"Well!  Tea then! "
"Yes sir, green or black?"
“Green."
The tea arrives very quickly. Erwan hoped for a small teapot with tea leaves. Too bad, modernity has also reached the Minzu. He is entitled to a large cup of too hot water and a teabag of something described as green tea. The bartender demands to be paid immediately.
 He pays.
The employee walks away.
Incredible. He takes the tea and sits at a table.
He carefully puts the teabag in boiling water, watches the liquid becoming greenish. Careful not to leave it in too long or it becomes undrinkable. He checks the label. No, it is not Lipton. They have not dared. The brew starts to change color. He forgot to take a spoon.
He gets up and goes looking for one at the bar. The room is desperately empty. He hears some voices in the lobby. Still no Dominique Meyer.
He returns to his seat. He removes the teabag from the cup, squeezes it to remove the excess water and deposits it in the ashtray on the table.
A person enters the bar and sits in chairs arranged in the back of the room. It is a man of forty, wearing a light black jacket. He throws a casual glance and immerses himself in reading a magazine. It seems exciting because the man does not even look up when another person enters the bar. A young woman elegantly dressed, high heels, designer dress, Louis Vuitton bag, not really cheap bought on the open-air market in front of Minzu (unless this is a fake!).
Erwan looks at his watch. 11:30 am and still no Dominique Meyer. He gets up! His tea is not finished but he does not care. He heads for the lobby. The man who was reading a magazine rises along with him. The woman remains seated. She sips a soda.
Erwan is walking. He finds himself in the lobby. He heads towards the outer door. Suddenly someone is behind him and pulls him by the sleeve. It is Dominique.  Spy style again.
"Hi Erwan! Have you been waiting for a long time?"
"Nah, no more than half an hour! It doesn’t matter! But I didn’t realize you’d arrived. You really are very discreet!"
"You should learn the Taiji! It would change your relationship with the world!"
Erwan suddenly remembers that Mona told him about her encounter with a practitioner of Taiji Qigong. And it upset her!
Dominique takes him by the arm.
"Well, come, we’ll go out!"
They leave the hotel.
"You noticed that you were not alone in the bar!" says Dominique!
"Yes, there were two people, one male and one female."
"That is why it’s better to go elsewhere, e.g. in the street."
They go out.
"Are you not getting a little paranoid, Dominique?"
"No, just careful!"
They walk. Dominique looks puzzled:
"You know, this story of adoption is complex. I asked around, where I work."
"In the Publishing House of Marxist Leninists Works?"
"Yes, I have a very good colleague. I’m working with him on a new edition of Volume III of the works of Chairman Mao. This is a particularly interesting period for understanding the evolution of China through Mao's thought. But I’m digressing from what interests us today, the adoption of Emily ..."
He stops, he opens his coat and takes a paper out of an inside pocket.
"Guo Anding, it doesn’t mean anything to you?"
"Never heard of him. Who is this person?"
"An important person who can help a lot. He is perhaps the key to open the right door. But I'm going too fast. Here are his details."
He gives the sheet to Erwan and continues:
"Last week, my colleague met a senior official who happened to mention this story to someone in the entourage of Deng Yingchao. You know who she is?"
Erwan tries to remember. The name is not completely new to him.
"The widow of Zhou Enlai?"
"Exactly, and ... the adoptive mother of Li Peng! She is very old. She no longer receives anyone but there is a cabinet around her ..."
"And...”
Dominique smiles
"Well, it's a response in Chinese style, but it's going in the right direction! According to my colleague, the difficulties you've had until now will disappear. But you have to be more discreet. The political situation is fragile in Beijing."
Erwan is nervous:
"But we’re not making politics and it’s a purely private matter."
Meyer looks at him with curiosity:
"From the beginning, I’ve considered this story as something beautiful. The Chinese administration doesn’t know what to do. As you know, here everything is political."
The statement does not surprise Erwan.
"The message is that Emilie’s adoption will over once the administrative process is complete. There are no political obstacles. The administration has realized that you're honest and you haven’t bought or stolen the child."
Erwan is flabbergasted.
"What is this about?"
"Ah, you're not aware?"
"No, what is it?"
"Your wife’s employer, the Foreign Languages Publishing House, contacted the Notary about a month ago. They said they believed there was child trafficking. I'll spare you the details but things were going wrong in May. Many meetings were held. Fortunately, Mona and her uncle influenced attitudes! They were successful in changing the Notary’s opinion, but ..."
"Because there is a but!"
Dominique smiles again!
"Erwan, you've been in China long enough to know that there is always a but, and a very tangible one. I am going to tell you a story."
They are walking close to Tiananmen.
"I'll tell you a story, Erwan, a true story that is currently experiencing its epilogue. Do you know Fang Lizhi?"
"Yes, the astrophysicist who is a refugee at the U.S. Embassy!"
"Exactly, says Dominique. There have been negotiations since he arrived in the embassy last year. It’s someone who has written texts on democracy and supported the democratic movement for a long time."
Erwan is somewhat surprised by the turn of the conversation!
"Kissinger met with Deng Xiaoping, Ambassador Lilley negotiated unsuccessfully. Deng called for self-criticism on his part. Fang Lizhi was ready to write. The culture of self-criticism is something purely formal. Nobody gives it any real importance. It gives legitimacy to a negotiation, but that's not enough in itself to break a stalemate. I assume that your wife had to write such a document for the Beijing Review?"
"Yes, indeed, Erwan answers but nothing changed after."
"In the case of Fang Lizhi, it was the same thing. Deng called for the lifting of economic sanctions for releasing Mr. Fang. The Americans flatly refused.  A few days ago, in secret negotiations, the Japanese made an offer to China. They will provide state loans to China if the Fang case is resolved."
"And so, says Erwan, as far as I know, Fang is still in the U.S. Embassy ..."
They are right in front of the Imperial Palace.
"In less than two weeks, Fang Lizhi will fly to London. Everything is ready. It was only a matter of money. Chinese leaders are very pragmatic. They had their ransom and they will not lose face in front of their people as they will can still produce the Fang Lizhi’s confession, the traitor sold out to imperialism."
Erwan scratches his head. It is so warm! A policeman on duty at a crossroads looks at them with indifference.
"What do you advise me to do, Dominique?"
"You have to pay! That's all."
"But pay for what? They wanted to put Emily in an orphanage and after a while they would have given her back. However, we would have to have paid for the orphanage."
Erwan digs in his memory. No, there is something else. And suddenly, his face lights up. He takes Dominic in his arms.
"Eureka! I’ve found it! Yes, but of course, that’s it! "
Dominique is now intrigued.
"Now tell me!"
Erwan keeps walking. He makes great gestures when speaking.
"A month ago, I went back to the Notary with Mona and Guan Kai. From what we knew, Emily is a native of Qingdao. When we went looking for her, her mother gave us a document, a kind of birth certificate issued by the hospital. The notary office raided the hospital. Their conclusion was that the documents weren’t valid."
"Yes, still, very interesting!"
"But the entries were correct in the records and everything stuck. After, we tried to influence them. Friends tried to contact the family of the notary office manager, without any result. We even suggested gifts. She is truly incorruptible. And then she said a little sentence that I remember now."
"Which was?"
Dominique is now curious. Erwan is thoroughly excited. They are almost at Tiananmen Square now. It is a little windy. Some children are flying kites. Erwan resumes:
"She said: we need to do a serious investigation in Qingdao. Mona told them that with the means of the Beijing police, it wasn’t necessary to go there, her uncle would contact his counterpart in Qingdao directly."
“So what?"
“So what? Although she refused, the cow! She said that only the notary office was entitled to such an investigation. This put Mona into a rage. We went out, and since it has been completely blocked."
Dominique smiles.
"Now you understand why I told the story of Fang Lizhi?"
"Thank you Dominique. I'll talk to Cécile and reconnect."
Dominique looks serious:
"More specifically, do you have enough money to fund a tourist journey of the Notary Bureau to Qingdao?"
Erwan pouts:
"It will be hard but I still have a few savings. Yes it should be fine!"
It must be 1 pm. He will invite Dominique to lunch.

He turns. He has vanished. He hears the door of a taxi slamming. 

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