Chui Leng Lau

The life of Chui Leng Lau

Written by: Leslie Lau

The rise of communism had a profound effect on the people of China. My grandmother was one of the millions affected.


In 1911 Mao Zedong left home and joined the Nationalist army.(Merwe,

In a training college in Changsha, Mao was introduced to the philosophy of Marxism. (Merwe, Marxism was to have a huge impact on his later policies.

In 1924 My grandmother migrated to China with her parents. At that time China was still a Republic. People were still allowed to own their own businesses. (Lau, 12 May 2006)

By the second half of the 1930s the Communists were beginning to organize a sizable underground (Chang, p.157)

Mao had the support of the farmers, who made up roughly 85% of the population. (Merwe,

The Communists soon restored order and got the economy going again. The food situation improved immensely (Chang, p.106). Mao treated the poor, and women with equality thereby slowly earning himself an ever larger following. (Bulliet, p.789)

My grandmother married my grandfather, who was in the air force in the Kuomintang (KMT) (Lau, 12 May 2006)

At the time the Communists main goal was to resist the Japanese. They wanted to cooperate with the KMT in the resistance against Japanese invasion. "Chinese must not fight Chinese" (Chang, p.158) was the communist position at the time. The Kuomintang, however, had a different position "The Japanese are a disease of the skin, the Communists are a disease of the heart" (Chang, p.158)


In 1945 China was plunged into a bloody civil war between communist armies led by Mao Zedong and nationalist forces under Chiang Kai-shek. (Britannica)

"Suffering will make you a better Communist" (Chang, p.253). This quote embodies the Communist motto at the time.

In 1949 the Kuomintang forces were collapsing everywhere. As the Communists forces approached, high-ranking Kuomintang members fled to Taiwan. In October, Mao announced the founding of the People's Republic of China. (Bulliet, p.798)

After the defeat, my grandfather fled to Taiwan with his leaders (of the KMT), taking my grandmother with him). (Lau, 13 May 2006)

Communism at that time

After the Communists seized power, they slowly turned away from their original intentions and became more and more corrupt. Their aims set the society to a backwards pace.

"To stop production is revolution itself"

"We would rather have socialist weed than capitalist crops"

Acquiring foreign technology became: "sniffing after foreigners' farts and calling them sweet"

For education: We want illiterate working people, not educated spiritual aristocrats"

A student at that time said "Our textbooks were ridiculous propaganda. The first English sentence we learned was 'Long live Chairman Mao!'" (Chang, p. 6221)


After escaping the communists in China, my grandmother settled into Taiwanese life. Taiwan's economy was in ruins due to Japanese occupation, so when my aunt moved to the United States to seek better opportunities, my grandmother followed. (Lau, 12 May, 2006)

In China, Communism continued to grow, wrecking havoc on China's society and economy. In 1989, Thousands of protestors (students and civilians) gathered in Tiananmen Square, demanding more democracy, and an end to inflation and corruption. (Bulliet, p.862


Chang, Jung. Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China. London: HarperCollins, 1991.

Bulliet, Crossley, Headrick, Hirsch, Johnson, Northrup. The Earth and Its Peoples: A Global History Second Edition. Boston, New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2001

Merwe, Christopher van de. Communism in China: A period of Blooming Flowers and Suffering Art and World Cultures. 2006

Communism. Britannica Student Encyclopedia. 2006. Encyclopædia Britannica Premium Service. 24 May 2006

Last updated: October 21, 2016