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Chinese Communist leaders’ daughters share childhood recollections of WWII

May 05, 2015, 18:13 UTC+3 BEIJING
Daughters of China’s Communist revolutionary leaders, Mao Zedong and Liu Shaoqi, lived at the Ivanovo international children’s home in the USSR during the war
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© Oleg Knorring/Forokhronika TASS reproduction

BEIJING, May 5. /TASS/. Daughters of China’s Communist revolutionary leaders, Mao Zedong and Liu Shaoqi, have shared their recollections about the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945 with a TASS correspondent. Back then, many children of China’s Communist leaders lived at the Ivanovo international children’s home in the USSR.

"When the war broke out, I was a little girl. But I remember bombings quite well," Li Min, daughter of former chairman of the Chinese Communist Party Mao Zedong, told TASS. "On air raid alert warning we were taken to a bomb shelter. I remember when we once left the shelter after a routine air raid I saw a house collapsing before my very eyes. It was a hard time. People were starving. But they always helped each other."

Li Min and her mother He Zizhen [Mao’s third wife in 1927-1937 - TASS] returned to China only in 1947.

Liu Aiqin, a daughter of another Chinese Communist leader and China’s President in 1959-1968 Liu Shaoqi, also shared her recollections of the war time. "During the war, we lived at the Ivanovo international children’s home," she told TASS. "Air raids were nearly every day - German warplanes were flying to bomb Moscow and when they encountered dense air defense fire they dropped their bombs onto Ivanovo. It was terrifying, especially at first but then we somehow grew accustomed. We dug holes, dugouts to hide in during air raids," she said.

"I wouldn’t say we were starving but food was not abundant. We had no meat at all, sometimes there was not enough of bread. The first year of the war was the most hungry," she said. "Later on supplies of canned foods from America were organized. I remember canned corn - we occasionally had it instead of porridge. It tasted not very palatable but we got accustomed to it too. We did not like corn and I recall myself cursing the Americans in a fit of anger, calling them "American dickens."

"I stayed in the Soviet Union throughout the entire wartime. I remember well the Victory Day! We were in Ivanovo then. People were so joyful, shouting something, jumping, never getting a wink of sleep all through the night! Of course, we shared that joy. After the war, in late 1949, I graduated from the Moscow Institute of Communications and left home, to China," Liu Aiqin recalled.

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