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By William Hinton

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They lost patience with him, decided that words were not much use, and gave him a good beating instead. Because he didn't want another beating he decided to do as he was told! "In fact, at the very moment they were beating him—it was out behind the brigade office in the old orphanage compound—I came by and discovered what was going on. I didn't stop them. ' " Clearly I had overestimated the power of moral persuasion in Long Bow in 1948. An experiment in village democracy had begun. People had taken part in the first real elections in history and had chosen a council of dediUNEXPECTED TWISTS / 29 cated people who had both prestige and authority.

What really happened was that the night before he went out to work so docilely Ch'un-hsi and Wang Man-hsi 'repaired' him. They gave him a serious beating. They beat him because he assaulted Ch'un-hsi and almost broke his thumb, and because, when they locked him up, he refused to stay put and broke out twice. They lost patience with him, decided that words were not much use, and gave him a good beating instead. Because he didn't want another beating he decided to do as he was told! "In fact, at the very moment they were beating him—it was out behind the brigade office in the old orphanage compound—I came by and discovered what was going on.

I could hardly contain my excitement as I climbed toward a spot on the flanks of Great Ridge Hill where neither trees nor tall summer crops obscured the view. I finally stepped out on a small terrace planted to millet from which the whole broad valley to the north could be seen. I stood and looked, and looked again, and saw nothing that I recognized. During the many years I had been away, and especially during the years that I worked on the book Fanshen, I had constantly re-created Long Bow in my mind's eye, and that imagined village had come to have an existence of its own that was for me more real than the Long Bow that remained in China.

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