China

A Guest in Wartime

On the day after the Chinese Communists withdrew from Jinzhou, a new army entered the city—the fourth in as many months. This army had clean uniforms and gleaming new American weapons. It was the Kuomintang. People ran out of their houses and gathered in the narrow mud streets, clapping and cheering. My mother squeezed her way to the front of the excited crowd. Suddenly she found she was waving her arms and cheering loudly. These soldiers really look like the army which beat the Japanese, she thought to herself. She ran home in a state of high excitement to tell her parents about the smart new soldiers.

There was a festival atmosphere in Jinzhou. People competed to invite troops to stay in their homes. One officer came to live with the Xias. He behaved extremely respectfully, and the family all liked him. My grandmother and Dr. Xia felt that the Kuomintang would maintain law and order and ensure peace at last.

But the goodwill people had felt toward the Kuomintang soon turned to bitter disappointment.

Jung Chang, Wild Swans, 1991

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