When my daughter was seven and a half, I was sent to a forced labor camp for practicing Falun Gong. My daughter came to visit me a few months later. The moment she saw me she started talking intently, “Mom, I've learned to play the clarinet. We now have a ‘little twinkle bell' in our house.”
She kept on chattering about the fun she had with the “little twinkle bell”, though by the end of her twenty-minute visit I still had no idea whether it was a toy, a pet or a person. At least I was relieved to hear her talking like that. I thought to myself, “Thankfully, a young child doesn't know the harsh taste of sorrow. It seems that she is happy and untroubled by her mother not being around.”
More than a year later I learned that her grandma had strictly forbidden her to tell others about my detention in a forced labor camp, where only criminals are supposed to be held. No matter how unjust it was, detention is considered shameful and demeans a family's reputation.
Being young, however, she was unable to restrain herself. She confided her secret to her teacher in an essay. Perhaps, subconsciously, she thought of her homeroom teacher as the mother she was missing. Grandma scolded her for that, because she wished to avoid any discrimination against her granddaughter. To avoid this, her father had to transfer her to a new school.
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