Saturday, 23 March
At nine in the morning I went to visit Deng Xihou with Sun Fo and Mei Xinru. Then we went to visit Pan Zhongsan. We talked about the case of the stolen rice. Pan Zhongsan showed us documents captured locally from the culprits. Probably it was planned in advance. All of them thought that it was one of the CCP conspiracies. We visited officer He Guoguang (賀國光). He also mentioned the issue of the stolen rice. As for the soaring price of rice, he said it was caused by the increases of the evil merchants and a section of people working in the banks. As a result, the government was taking many measures to prohibit them so they could not short-sell or store rice for speculation. So the price of rice has fallen to some sixty dollars. Afterwards Sun Fo talked with me about this matter. He thought the trouble might have been made by the Yenan side or the Trotskyist communists. It was because during this war of resistance, the so-called Stalinist communists respected Moscow, which would help us strengthen our power in resisting Japan, and because of this they could not be responsible for it.
At 10.30 I went with Sun Fo, Lin Chaonan, Zheng Bonong(鄭伯農) and Zhao Juxu shopping in town. At the place of the Elder Hu Kaiwen(胡開文) of Chunxi Road, we unexpectedly found many Zihao and Jianhao brushes of He Lianqing (賀蓮青) of Beiping. Both Sun Fo and I bought as many as we could because things in the Chungking market are not so good. Then we went for Sichuan embroidery, whose textile covers are as good as the Hunan ones. The price of a piece was forty dollars. At the moment the value of the fabi is falling so this was not very expensive.
Chengdu is dubbed the name “small Beiping”. The city centre was a royal city in the past, now it is Sichuan University. The Southeast point is the commercial district (Chunxi Road). The west of the city was the bannermen district and now it is a residential area. The area selling antiques and second-hand things is the area around the Zhongyi temple which was in the northeast portion of the city. Those selling second-hand books were at West Yulong Street to the North of the city and the Xuedao Street at the Southeast point. The area outside the South Gate and the area around Huaxi University have already become cultural areas.
At noon our fellow Cantonese, Head Secretary Li Tieqiao(李鐵樵), Corps Commander Wang, as well as Commander Yan Xiaohu and Deputy Corps Commander Diao and others held an official lunch reception for us. Probably among the Sichuan people many had moved from our Guangdong. (After the rebellion of Zhang Xianzhong). Many of them migrated from areas around Wuhua and Xingning, so many of them were Hakka. But the native concept of Guangdong was quite strong, when Cantonese meet in other places (other than their home towns), they would become closer. I heard that Head Secretary Li Tieqiao was particularly helpful to Cantonese fellows. He has the style of a Confucian from the past, and he is quite honest. No wonder Officer Deng Xihou respects him so much.
At 2.00 in the afternoon I followed Sun Fo and others to the countryside first. We went to Liu Xiang’s (劉湘) tomb to pay our respects. It is near the Wuhou Shrine, and occupies some three hundred mu. It is still under construction, but it is a pity that there are not many good stones in Sichuan. Though a great deal of effort has been put into the construction, I am afraid that the tomb will not last long. Liu’s son came in advance to welcome us. He is just fourteen years old and he looks very similar to Liu Xiang. He is a really bright person. If he can be taught properly he will be a great person in the future.
We went to the Wuhou Shrine. Sichuan natives have a particularly strong emotional tie with Wuhou. Shortly after his death, during the first day of every month, people would mourn him privately everywhere. Even the natives here would tie a white band around their heads. It was said that it was mourning for Wuhou, so this practice was commonly known as “mourning for Wuhou”. The shrine was built in the Tang dynasty. The cypress tree in front of the shrine was said to be planted by Wuhou himself. Du Fu’s poem referred to this. The Zhaolie hall in front of the shrine was built in the Ming dynasty. Those people like Guan, Zhang, Zhao, Ma whom I could remember I read about in the Romance of The Three Kingdoms when I was young were all there. During the reign of Kangxi, the Viceroy Cai Yurong (蔡毓榮) thought that it was inappropriate that people paid more respect to Wuhou than to Zhaolie. (This was based on the concept of respecting emperors during authoritarian times.) So worship for Zhaolie was placed in the front hall, while Wuhou was put behind it. Nevertheless, people still only knew of the Wuhou Shrine so ignored the Zhaolie Hall. People’s emotional attachment cannot be easily changed. To the right-hand side at the back of the hall there was a Qin Pavilion. A wooden qin was placed inside. It was circulated and used during the double-bluff trick. This was without evidence and ridiculous. We passed the tomb of Zhaolie but it was already closed and we could not enter. We could only take a look outside and take several pictures.
We went to pay our respects at Xie Chi’s (謝持) tomb which was situated outside the town. Mr. Xie Chi was an old revolutionary comrade. When I was in Guangdong and Shanghai I was close to him. Unfortunately, he passed away last year.
We went to Wangjianglou. This place became famous because of the female poet Xue Tao (薛濤). The character of Xue Tao was Hongdu. She was born in the third year of dali (A.D.768). Her father, Xue Yun(薛鄖), lived in Sichuan because he was an official there. Xue Tao could compose poems when she was eight years old. On a certain day her father sat in the garden, pointing at the chair and said [Chinese poem, refer to original text]. Xue Tao immediately replied [Chinese poem, refer to original text. After her father died her mother was widowed. When Xue Tao was fifteen years old her poems were widely known. She could also do make-up very well. This was totally contrary to the gentry clan; she had been privately coached on this. When she was eighteen years old, Zhongling Wei Gao(韋皋) was stationed in Sichuan, and summoned Xue Tao to serve wine and to compose poems. He suggested the throne give Xue Tao the title of Jiaoshulang. So the fame of Jiaoshulang Xue was known near and far. The poets who responded to and composed poems with her were Du Mu (杜牧), Liu Yuxi (劉禹錫), Wu Wuling (吳武陵), Zhang Hu (張祜), Zhang Ji (張籍), Pei Du(裴度), Ninghu Chu (令狐楚), Niu Sengru (牛僧孺), and so on, who were some twenty in total. Even Bai Juyi (白居易), though he did not meet her, had poems influenced by her. Wang Jian (王建) had sent her a poem. So one could know her poetic fame. Yuan Zhen (元稹) could also write articles by the age of nine, and together with Bai Juyi they created the so-called ‘Yuan-Bai Style’, which advocated the teachings of “no regulation for the number of sentences in an article”, “no regulation for the number of words in a sentence” and “the meaning matters more than the style of the article”. As Bai Juyi and Liu Yuxi long cherished the name of Xue Tao, in the first year of Yuanhe (A.D.806) Xue Tao was thirty-nine years old while Yuan Zhen twenty-seven]. Yuan Zhen was given the title of Censor, and was instructed to go to Western Sichuan. His friend Sikong Yen Shou (嚴綬) introduced him to Xue Tao. Yuan Zhen was young and arrogant and he thought that he could write very well because of his talents. Xue Tao wrote speedily and composed the Ode of Four Friends. [Content skipped, refer to original]. Yuan Zhen felt humbled before her and thus fell in love with her. In the first year of Yongzhen (by the end of A.D.808), when Liu Bi (劉闢) was the regional military governor at Sichuan, Xue Tao was against his will. Xue was then exiled to Songzhou (Now the Songpan county). In her poem to Yuan Zhen [Chinese poem, refer to original] and in her poem to Gao Chongwen(高崇文) [Chinese poem, refer to original]. The following year Liu Bi rebelled against Tang Xianzong, and Xianzong sent Gao Chongwen to suppress him. Gao Chongwen welcomed Xue Tao to return to Chengdu. Once more she stayed together with Yuan Zhen for five years. In the fifth year of Yuanhe (A.D.810 forty-three years old), Yuan Zhen was demoted. The literati in Jiangling did not dare to get along with Xue Tao. She moved to Huanhuaxi, and dressed in female court attire but was rarely in touch with people. She only communicated with other poets. Yuan Zhen still responded to her poems. Xue Tao was interested in writing short poems and as she took water from the stream to dye paper in ten colours, so eminent people at the time called such paper ‘Xue Tao Paper’. Li Shangyin (李商隱)’s poems [Chinese poetry, refer to original] which reflected the circulation of red paper was wide. Also, Xue Tao wrote poems to Yuan Zhen on more than one hundred pieces of Songhua paper (light green with marks) [Chinese poem, refer to original]. Yuan Zhen sent poems to Xue Tao as [Chinese poetry, refer to original]. In the second year of Changqing (A.D.822, Xue Tao was fifty-five years old.) Yuan Zhen was reinstated to be Inspector of Zhedong, and he intended to welcome Xue Tao to go to Zhejiang, but such action was stopped by a prostitute at Huaidian, Liu Caichun (劉採春). Still he could not forget Xue Tao, so he wrote [Chinese poetry, refer to original]. Xue Tao moved to Bijifang (now Wanjianglou), and built Yinshilou and dug a deep well (Xue Tao Well). She took fresh spring water to make tea, brew wine and make paper. Xue Tao died in the fifth year of Taihe (A.D.831) in Bijifang at the age of sixty-four. Yuan Zhen also died in Wuchang the same year at the age of fifty-three. We first visited the Xue Tao Well. The well water was really quite good and many took it to use. But as for making paper I heard that the technique is no longer available. We passed Pipamenxiang, Wuyunyinguan, then Yinshilou and Chonglige, and from Chonglige we looked down and Jinjiang reminded us of the style of Qinhuai. At 5.00 in the afternoon we returned to the hostel.
I went with Deng Zhaoyin and Qihui to shop in the Chunxi Road.
At 7.30 p.m. Mayor Yang Quanyu (楊全宇) invited us to dinner at the hostel. At ten o’clock in the evening I went with Zhaoyin to Li’s residence to have a late-night meal. There were not many pretty companions. There was only one girl surnamed Zeng but she was just a common one. Returned early with Zhaoyin.
 And it still is!!
 Liu Xiang (1890-1938) was a Sichuan warlord.
 Xie Chi (1876-1939) was a veteran revolutionary from Sichuan.
 An official title.
 An honorific title.
 An official title.