China's Wen recalls family past of persecution

Wed Nov 2, 2011 2:45am EDT
 
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By Chris Buckley

BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said his family was "constantly attacked" in Maoist political campaigns that convulsed the country over past decades, giving a rare glimpse into his tumultuous past as he prepares to leave office.

China's wary leaders rarely talk about their pasts. But the premier opened up in comments to students and teachers that were published in the China Education News on Wednesday, saying his father was dismissed as a teacher and sent to tend pigs.

"After I went to high school and university, my family suffered constant attacks in the successive political campaigns," Wen told the audience at Nankai High School, his alma mater in the north port city of Tianjin near Beijing.

Wen, 69, has stood out among China's ruling Communist Party leaders as the most persistent advocate of measured political relaxation under party control, and his published comments to the students perhaps help explain why.

Wen comes from a family of teachers, and during Mao Zedong's era of fervent Communism, the party attacked and demoted citizens deemed to have bad "class" backgrounds or suspect pasts. Wen's father and grandfather were among the victims.

"In 1960, my father was also investigated for so-called historical problems. He could no longer teach and was sent to work on a farm on the outskirts of the city to tend pigs, and then later worked in a library," Wen told the students when he visited the school on October 25, according to the transcript in the Chinese-language paper.

Surviving files about Wen's grandfather from the school he taught at showed he constantly had to write "self-criticisms" before he died of cerebral haemorrhage in 1960, Wen said.

"I was the one who carried him on my back to the hospital," he said.   Continued...

 
<p>China's Premier Wen Jiabao gestures as he delivers a speech before the launch of China's unmanned space module Tiangong-1 in Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, Gansu province September 30, 2011. REUTERS/China Daily</p>