Two: Anything For Political Gains
2: A Bargaining Cuckold
Wang Ye-ping graduated from Shanghai Foreign Language Institute. She is Wang Zhe-lan’s niece. After Jiang Ze-min transferred from the Japanese puppet Central University to Shanghai Jiao Tong University, he visited her family and somewhat liked her, though neither of the two thought much of it at the time. In 1949 when it’s obvious that the CCP would soon seize power, Jiang Ze-min was struck by an idea and began pursuing Wang Ye-ping. Jiang Shi-jun regarded his brother Jiang Shang-qing as communist bandit, and after the brother got killed, never gave Wang Zhe-lan’s family any financial help. When Wang Zhe-lan saw Jiang Ze-min and her niece were dating, she didn’t realize that what Jiang Ze-min wanted was the glory of the son of revolutionary martyr. She thought that Jiang Ze-min was different from his cold-hearted, disloyal father. She was pleased about their relationship.
In December of 1949, Jiang Ze-min swiftly married Wang Ye-ping.
In 1956, soon after Jiang Ze-min returned to Changchun from the Soviet Union, his wife, Wang Ye-pin, and their two young sons moved from Shanghai to Changchun. He first became the head of the department, and then was promoted to deputy director and concurrently the party branch secretary. In terms of technical skills, his colleagues knew that he wasn’t good at his job. Jiang Ze-min’s forte was not so much resolving technical problems, as accompanying delegations visiting the plant.
But he was good at something, talking. His talent was concentrated in his mouth. His relationship with the Soviet experts at the plant was most collegial, reaching new highs whenever Russian folk songs came into play. His colleagues thus gave him, in jest, a foreign sounding nickname “Kericon”, a name suggestive of the times. Kericon is a character in a Russian novel, who makes falsy, exaggerated and empty statements, being a person ever keen on doing things for his own gains. Upon assuming any real work, his imcompetent is exposed. The nickname “Kericon” not only suited Jiang’s personality, but was also be fitting the standards the CCP used to promote people.
During Mao Ze Dong’s Great Leap Forward, exaggerating and lying reached a peak. In the automobile industry, within half a year, more than 200 types of automobiles were said to have been designed and manufactured. Moreover, the CCP claimed that advanced technologies were put into the new vehicles. China’s auto-industry was said to be advancing rapidly, and surpassing other countries.
One of the more advanced auto-mobile was allegedly created by Jiang Ze-min and his co-workers. The new auto-mobile employed a wooden air pump, and, a bamboo body. Of course, Jiang Ze-min knew that his group’s inventions were not much use, but one thing, he understood perfectly, was that only by doing so could he keep in step with the Party and continue to rise through the ranks.
The Great Leap Forward brought about economic disasters and horrible famine that spread to the entire country. Some entire households and villages starved to death. In many areas where the famine was particularly severe, people even ate other people’s children. Experts estimated that from 1959 to 1961, between 20 and 50 million people died due to starvation.
During the Great Leap Forward, Jiang Ze-min’s lying suited the Party’s taste and got himself promoted to the head of the branch. Therefore his family was not affected by the famine at all, instead they lived quite well. However, Wang Ye-ping was not happy. She blamed Jiang Ze-min for moving the family to such an icy frigid place. She loved to dress beautifully, but here she had to wrap herself in a heavy thick cotton jacket and cotton quilted pans most time of the year.
In addition, after Jiang Ze-min returned from the Soviet Union, he was missing the beautiful spy Clava. He was seldom home. Upon getting off work, he often went to sing and dance with the Soviet experts. Wang Ye-ping was left at home alone to take care of the two children. She could feel that Jiang Ze-min’s heart seemed left behind somewhere in the Soviet Union. Whenever asked about his life in the Soviet, Jiang Ze-min always responded evasively and kept his lips sealed. This made her only more suspicious and resentful.
She couldn’t talk about her suspicion to others, of course, but one time she couldn’t help but pour her heart out to the director of the second branch. Today many people find Wang Ye-ping’s appearance to be rather lacklustre like an owl, but back then Wang Ye-ping was one of the three beauties at the plant, being noticeably pretty. Having received a warm consolation from the director, she thought of a way to heal her emotional wounds, having an affair with the man.
Bad news travels fast. But when Wang’s affair was exposed, she kept doing things her way no matter what others said. At that time, rumors about the affair were the main topics of gossip at the factory. In public, Jiang Ze-min pretended not to know, but at home the couple quarrelled badly.
Jiang Ze-min hated to leave prosperous Shanghai, but looking at things from a long term perspective, he expected that moving to Changchun would eventually pay dividends and get himself further promoted by Wang Dao-han. And now, the affair gave him an excuse to make demand. Jiang came to Wang Dao-han asking to transfer to a different location. His most compelling reason was “ Now that everyone knows my wife has been having an affair, How can I run things here?” Wang Dao-han, having once been promoted by Jiang Shang-qing, was deeply sympathetic to the plight of the adopted son of the deceased man.
So in 1962, Wang Dao-han assigned Jiang Ze-min to the post of deputy director of the Shanghai Electrical Research Institute under the First Ministry of Machinery Industry. Seeing that the deputy minister, Wang Dao-han, had personally helped to place Jiang, the subordinates were especially attentive,and assigned Jiang Ze-min a nice and spacious two bedroom apartment.
From this experience, Jiang Ze-min appreciated even more the power of political authority. From that point on, he was even more mindful of pleasing Wang Dao-han. Jiang Ze-min’s career was extremely smooth, thanks to Wang Dao-han’s personal attention. He was not only glad that uncle Jiang Shang-qing was once a CCP official, but also that he had died so early in life. Otherwise, given uncle Jiang Shang-qing’s relationship with Jiang Ze-min’s father Jiang Shi-jun, no one would have helped Jiang Ze-min get anywhere, as the son of a traitor.