Finale of Book Two! Surprise release :)
Finale of Book Two! Surprise release :)
All explosions have a moment of silence
All deaths have a lingering echo
–Bei Dao, All
“The Court calls the Defendant, Xu Ping, to the hearing.”
“The Defendant, Xu Ping, during his years at Railroads No.1 Secondary committed acts of homosexual perversion with Huang Fan, a senior student at the same school. Late at night on the fourth of June, 1989, Xu Ping attempted entry of the People’s Square against the kind warning of the People’s Police while the city was under martial law. The Defendant was well aware that the officers, Zhang Li and co., were performing their legal duties but still engaged in physical conflict with the officers and in the process injured Zhang Li’s eye with his fist, causing the brow bone to fracture, later diagnosed by the court physician as a minor injury. Afterwards, the Defendant blatantly covered up for Huang Fan, a core member who initiated the anti-revolutionary unrest, hiding Huang Fan’s whereabouts and aiding his escape.”
“The Court believes the Defendant has violated the criminal code for Offence of Obstructing an Officer in Discharge of Duties, for he purposely used violence against a federal worker who he knew was performing his duties, rendering the officer unable to fulfil his duties and, after arrest, chose not to disclose the whereabouts of the antirevolutionary criminal, Huang Fan. The People’s Procuratorate of City X finds the Defendant, Xu Ping, guilty of all charges. With regard to the criminal facts, the nature of crime, the details of crime and the dangers posed to the society by the Defendant and in accordance with the Criminal Law of the People’s Republic of China, Article 93, the Court’s judgment is as follows:
“The Defendant, Xu Ping, is guilty of Offence of Obstructing an Officer in Discharge of Duties and is sentenced to nine months of incarceration and a five-hundred yuan fine.”
“The Court has issued its sentence, and the documents will be delivered to the Defendant within five days. If objections exist, an appeal may be made through the Court or a higher court within ten days of receipt. Twenty-seventh of June, 1989.”
Xu Ping was handcuffed sitting on a bench by a window and waiting for the marshals to escort him to the car that would take him to the detention centre.
The sky was a clear azure. The oleanders were tipped with blossoms, their inky green leaves splayed out under the warm sunlight. A tiny dragonfly with translucent wings lined with delicate green lines landed on the other side of the window. The early summer breeze blew past, fluttering its two pairs of wings.
Very slowly he turned toward the voice. His eyes were out of focus, and he bore a stone-cold expression.
“Come over here! Someone’s here to see you!”
Xu Ping didn’t ask who it was, and he wasn’t curious either. Like an old man, he stood up from his seat.
The courthouse floor was made of green marble that was polished to a sparkling finish. From afar it looked like a stretch of water reflecting the scenery outside.
A marshal opened the door to a meeting room and pushed Xu Ping in by himself.
In the corner of the room was a big-screen television, and before the set sat a middle-aged officer in uniform.
Xu Ping stumbled and held the wall to steady himself.
“There you are.” Wang Yong pulled out a chair beside his own. “Sit down.”
Xu Ping only stared at him.
Wang Yong smiled, not angry at all.
“I have someone I know at the court, so I came to say hi since you are being sentenced today.”
Xu Ping continued looking at him coldly.
“I told you I don’t know anything, but you wouldn’t believe me. Now I’m sentenced to prison, what more do you want?”
Wang Yong fell silent before fishing out a video tape from his bag. He slid it into the VCR and switched on the television.
“Nothing. I’d simply like you to watch this tape.”
He turned the screen toward Xu Ping who was standing by the door.
In the beginning it was all buzzing static, but then the picture jumped to a female newscaster speaking in Cantonese. Subtitles appeared at the bottom of the screen in traditional Chinese script:
Student leaders on the run, Huang Fan and…and… arrived in Hong Kong after many obstacles and made a televised announcement.
The clip of the announcement was only ten seconds long – Huang Fan wearing a black suit with a sapphire tie, standing straight on a podium surrounded by cameras and flashing lights, speaking into dozens of microphones and recorders, his forehead clean and unwounded, his hair short but very tidy.
Xu Ping didn’t recognize the man for a long time. He squinted at the screen wondering who this man was.
This news story ended and continued onto international news. Wang Yong turned off the television.
“Huang Fan has escaped to Hong Kong.”
Xu Ping felt the oxygen leaving his lungs. He struggled to pull out a chair nearby and tumbled into it.
“The televised announcement was last night. I got news of it this morning.”
“Why are you showing me this?! You think I helped cover his escape?!”
“No, on the contrary, now I think you are innocent.”
Xu Ping couldn’t stop shuddering.
“He knew about your arrest several days ago, and we held our ground to see if he would come back for you on account of your past relationship. But judging from the news we received this morning, he has given up on you.”
Xu Ping’s lips curved into a smile that was uglier than a snarl.
“You were used, Xu Ping. Huang Fan used you as a smoke bomb to divert our attention on the one hand and find another way to escape on the other. You saw how he was, completely uninjured. Now he’s in Hong Kong using his identity to slander our country and government, lying to and attracting many Hong Kong people and making a name for himself.” Wang Yong ejected the tape. “The fellow looks nice and quiet, but his head is full of smart and ruthless ideas. You made such a big sacrifice for him, but he could abandon you. He’s only twenty years old. I can’t imagine what his character he will become in another ten, twenty years.”
Xu Ping threw his head back guffawing. Then his laughter got weaker and weaker until he began to bawl.
The officer thought he had touched upon a hurtful topic for Xu Ping, but what the boy actually was thinking was, “Ridiculous. Absolutely ridiculous.”
Wang Yong replaced the tape into his black bag. “You’re still young, and nine months isn’t that long. You’ll be out in no time. You should take the time in the slammer to fix that gay sickness that you have and come out a good man.”
Xu Ping hung his head down in silence.
“Oh right.” The officer took out an envelope from the side pocket of the bag. “Your dad wanted me to pass this on to you.”
Pausing for a second, Xu Ping slowly reached out for it. The marshal opened the door, saying, “Sergeant Wang, the ride is here. We’ll be late if we don’t move now.”
“It’s fine. We’re done here anyway.” He clapped Xu Ping on the back. “Keep it in your pocket and read it in the car.”
The prisoner van was no different from other police vans on the outside. POLICE was printed in blue ink over white paint, and a tri-coloured light perched on the roof. The only two points of difference were that the windows were barred with metal on the inside and that the front and back were separated with the same metal bars.
The chassis was very high, and Xu Ping had a tough time climbing in with his hands cuffed together. The door was then locked by the marshal.
The van rolled into the road and headed northward.
The detention centre was built in the countryside about an hour’s drive from the city. It was so remote that it was said to be close to the Gobi desert. Not a single plant grew in that extreme environment.
Sitting in the vehicle and rocking along for some time, Xu Ping felt the letter burning into him but couldn’t find the courage to open it.
His dad had sat by himself in the courtroom’s otherwise empty spectator gallery appearing ancient and exhausted.
His brother did not come. Xu Ping was glad. He couldn’t stand the idea of Xu Zheng seeing him in handcuffs. He’d rather die.
Xu Chuan listened to the fifty minute long trial in one position without moving a muscle, not even his facial expression.
Xu Ping was suffering from shame and guilt and didn’t hazard even a glance.
However, when the judge read out his verdict regarding his homosexual perversion with Huang Fan, Xu Ping panicked and irrationally looked up at his dad. But Xu Chuan averted his gaze.
He had lost everything. His education, his friendships, his future. Even his dad had abandoned him and felt shame that his son was a gay.
Xu Ping buried his face in his hands and began to laugh desperately. As he laughed, tears dripped from between his fingers.
He removed the envelope from his pocket wanting to rip it to shreds, but in the end he couldn’t do it, and the envelope lay wrinkled.
He flattened it on his lap and tore one edge open, sliding out a folded piece of paper.
Too scared to move, he clutched the neat square for a long time before opening it.
On the white paper was only one line etched in crooked writing:
I miss you, Gege. Come back.
Xu Ping stared at that line for a long, long time. Then, as though he were having a heart attack, he grabbed at his own chest and began shrieking at the top of his lungs.
The officer in the passenger seat jumped from the shock and banged on the bars, barking, “What is wrong with you, motherfucker! Shut the fuck up! I said shut up!”
Pressing the paper to his chest, Xu Ping screamed like a madman while his tears flowed freely.
His cries pierced through the car windows and frightened a few tree sparrows by the road, sending them beating their wings, propelling into the clear, azure sky.
The city was far behind him. No more tall buildings. No more livelihood.
The road continued on straight as though toward the end of the world. The blue skies, the white clouds, and below them the tender, green grassland, and even farther beyond that the beige mountains – they rose and fell in gentle waves, an endless streaming line.
END OF BOOK TWO
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ayszhang: And then there was book three...
Just a side note, the article regarding Offence of Obstructing an Officer is actually Article no. 277 not 93 as depicted in this story.
Brother - English Translation by ayszhang is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.