Wild Swans: Just a story of ONE China’s family (Part 1)

Jung Chang emphasized Wild Swans just a book of her own family, her grandmother, her mother and she in many interviews. Still, I can see readers, especially those around me here in Britain, no matter my friends or book reviewers regards this book as the microcosm of China’s society. Indeed, the background of these three generations reflects the changing of China, but being a Chinese, I can understand things that the writer criticized or seems ridiculous to people who was not born in China. Of course, I have no intend to judge the writer telling the wrong story to mislead readers, in contrast, I totally agree with Jung that the book is only about her own family.

Image from Wild Swans

Be the concubine of Xue Zhi-heng

I tried to find more information about Xue Zhi-heng as he seems to be a big figure in the Warlord era, fortunately, he deserved his reputation as one of the Republic of China military generals which means the stories of Three Daughters of China definitely gonna different from most of the Chinese families. Even though Xue Zhi-heng is only one of the generals, but it is still endowed him quite a high reputation. Also this kind of family are being called the Senior cadres of the family (Gao gan jia ting) in China which means there is at least one elder family member who was working as the senior position in national government or departments; meanwhile, children, grandchildren, even nephews or nieces who were born in this kind of family are being called Gao gan zi di. Never mind if you never heard about this term, as soon as you know most the state enterprises and government departments in China are controlled by those people nowadays.

Being a concubine might be a shame, but be the concubine of Xue Zhi-heng will definitely be the life turning point of the family. There is one old saying in China, A lean camel is bigger than a horse. Even though Xue Zhi-heng dead when he was 57 years old; Jung’s grandmother and mother had been set free; Xue’s wife seems does not know Jung’ mother still alive. In China, power and status will never die only because of the dead of someone, not to mention that Xue was one of the military generals. Even today, the President of China also as the Chairman of the Central Military Commission, because China’s history taught everything. More important, Jung’s great grandfather already had everything he wants.

Besides, though Jung’s grandmother obtained freedom after ten years miserable marriage, but she will be forever on the Xue’s genealogy. Moreover, Xue and Jung’s grandmother had a daughter. Consanguinity or blood relation will never be wiped away. Jung’s mother is the daughter of Xue, daughter of one of the Republic of China military generals, she will never be forgotten.

Indeed, Xue’s wife has been told that Jung’s mother was dead, but I think no one will believe this. Be the wife of the Republic of China military general will never be a simple character, though there is no any information about the wife. I assume the only reason Xue’s wife did not want to get to the bottom should be Jung’s mother was a girl. In China’s history, there are tons of stories about the Jealousy between wife and concubines, especially those concubines who has sons. As daughters will take husband’s family name in the past, so daughters seem never been regard as a threat. Even though some of them are fabricated, history and reality still confirm that the important role of sons in big families of China.



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