16. China National Petroleum Corp. 1946.8-1949.5

China National Petroleum Corporation was established by the reorganization of the Gansu Oil and Mine Bureau of the Resources Commission. Most of the personnel came from the Gansu Oil and Mine Bureau in Chongqing. Only You Yinzhao, Cao Zue and me were transferred from the foreign material group. Soon You Yinzhao resigned and went to work for Chen Changtong in the foreign exchange management office of Bank of China.

My first son was born in Hongren Hospital located on Beijing Road on July 18th of the lunar calendar, 1946, and at that time, we lived in the dormitory of the Ministry of Economic Affairs on Yuyuan Road. Sister-in-law Fang gave birth to her youngest son about half a month earlier. I remembered that a feast celebrating the first month of a newborn baby the youngest son was held in the newly built Fenyang Road residence in Xi’s house. Soon my first son was one month old, and the Western food party was at the Hollywood Ballroom on the left side of my dormitory on Yuyuan Road. Liu Zhiguo enthusiastically helped us to organize the party, and everything was arranged by him. Liu Zhiguo followed the “Five sons passing the imperial examination” story, divided the table into five long strips, and placed a large plate of red eggs on each strip. There were five main seats: brother Kai, sister-in-law Fang, I, Zhongxian, and brother Chang. There were more than 100 guests, including relatives, friends, classmates and colleagues.


Brother Kai went to Nanjing on June 7, 1946 as the Director of the Materials Department of the Ministry of Transportation. He was highly praised in our hometown, because he was the first person to hold a such high post. Some people persuaded me to also go to the Materials Department and take a position. I had carefully considered this idea and did not adopt this suggestion.

My thoughts at the time and before were: Brother Kai helped me out, and I started coming to Hong Kong from Baishuiqiao to increase my experience. After several years of work experience in Singapore, Myanmar, India, Chongqing and other places, I have the independent ability to do things. I originally had the idea of saving the country by industry, and believed that a country without industry would never be prosperous and independent. The same was true for a person. Without economic strength, it was difficult to start a business, but there were also examples of starting from scratch. We had no foundation in our hometown, but we can only go step by step from small to large. I didn’t want to study, and I had no hope of being an official. Therefore, I didn’t need any qualifications when I tried to start a business. If I wanted to work under my brother again, it was like the possibility of “being bound together for good or ill” in the book “Dream of Red Mansions”. If the work was done well, it was OK, but if it was done badly, it would certainly hurt my brother. As we were brothers, it was inevitable to be talked about appointing a private person, which was detrimental to my brother Kai’s further development.

It now seemed that my thoughts at the time saved me from a disaster. Fu Yuanqing was unemployed and came to Shanghai to consult with me. After I introduced him to brother Kai, he joined the Department of Materials. In the ten years of turmoil, both Fu Yuanqing and Shen Huilin worked in the Materials Department, so they were involved, suffered a lot, and almost died, but I avoided it because I had not worked in the Materials Department.

Since brother Kai became the Director of the Materials Department, the eldest brother-in-law and Uncle Haoran had all been to Nanjing and wanted to apply for jobs. I knew that it was really difficult for my brother Kai. They were relatives, and the fundamental reason was that there was no proper job arrangement for them. Otherwise, if they do have expertise, brother Kai could not avoid relatives. The dissatisfaction in their hearts was really a dilemma.

I have deep sympathy for my relatives, friends, and neighbors in the home village. I felt that the income from farming or teaching was meager, and their life was hard. How could I help with a little bit of my own strength? Relying on job introductions and seeking trivial matters would not help much. So I had always had the idea of starting a business, and I had the strength, that was, in the east of my village, in my land built oil mills, brick and tile factories, etc. Or set up a weaving factory to create employment opportunities for women (there was a small weaving factory in Mahangqiao at that time). The waterway in our village could be directly connected to Changzhou and Qishuyan. The transportation was convenient. Although the distance was relatively long, it had little effect on the cost. All personnel were from villagers, family members and close relatives. If you asked Jingxiang, brother Chang, etc. to serve as directors, Kaijia as the manager, because he had business experience, also was familiar with the rural situation and the people, and had some ability, as long as we mastered it properly, there would be no gaps.

I would ask the eldest brother-in-law to master the accounting, and the second brother-in-law to take charge of the internal affairs. Zhong Qi and others could also be absorbed into the business. Workers could be neighbors, from near to far, starting from the village, in order to manage well and then expand the absorption of people from other villages. In this way, it could be fundamentally solved. The people’s hopes and requirements for us who did things outside were to recommend something to do, or lend some money to use. If it could be done well, it was in line with the trend of social and economic development at that time, and it might be further developed. In addition, I thought that I was able to finish high school for free and jumped out of my hometown. The gifted children in the local village would also be given the opportunity to study, uncle Haoran and others should be given higher treatment to run Maoyan Voluntary Primary School with peace of mind. All students would be subsidized for gradual further studies. But the times were different, just my fantasy.

I work in China National Petroleum Corporation for water transportation. I often contacted customs, shipping companies, and the transportation industry. I was familiar with import and export trade and transportation. At the same time, I had the above reveries, so I wanted to start from the transportation industry and laid the foundation for my own business from small to large step by step. I once did a second transportation report with others, in the second half of 1947 and 1948, but they were all unsuccessful and it was hard to get a wish.

In about September or October 1946, Jingxiang came to Shanghai for a tour and lived at the home of Xiaosheng on Wuchang Road. After I heard about it, I chose a Sunday. At that time, I was still living in the dormitory on Yuyuan Road, and brother Chang was also in Shanghai. I borrowed a small car from Yu Huifang. I drove it by myself, and I drove to Baoshan Road with Zhongxian and brother Chang to check the new dormitory that had been allocated to me, and then drove to Wuchang Road to invite Jingxiang and cousin Xiaosheng to take a car ride back to Yuyuan Road for lunch. After a break in the afternoon, I drove to Zhongshan Park and visited other places, and sent them home after dinner. When Jing Xiang returned to his hometown, told everybody that I was able to drive, and he was very happy after taking a ride in the car. Jingxiang got along well with my father, liked brothers. When my father worked in big cities, he took care of our family in the village sincerely, everything was discussed with him, and he tried his best to help to make proper arrangements, such as building a house and my father’s funeral. I was glad to have this opportunity to ask him to take a car tour in the park. This just was a small token of my deep appreciation.


It was about the autumn of 1947. When my aunt was in Changzhou, she came to Shanghai with my elder sister-in-law. After they arrived, Zhongxian and I were both very happy. We borrowed a jeep from classmate Wang Wuxiang, this Jeep belonged to his father. on Sunday, we visited Longhua and other places, and seemed to have gone to Jiaotong University to look for Xu Tongsheng, but he was not there. Although we asked, my aunt refused to live longer in Shanghai, and still went back to Changzhou with the elder brother-in-law. In my aunt’s life, she never went to other places except for a trip in a boat to Hangzhou for burning incense and praying before Buddha. It’s unexpected to come to Shanghai by chance.

In late April 1948, I invited my mother and brother Chang to Shanghai, preparing to visit Hangzhou. Because my aunt had been there, she stayed at home in the village to look after mother’s house. After two or three days of staying in Shanghai, we took the morning train to Hangzhou and stayed in a hotel not far from the lakeside. After dinner, we took a short rest and walked around the lakeside park to see the scenery of West Lake. And strolled around the street scene, and immediately returned to the hotel to rest. At that time, the traffic was inconvenient, and brother Kai once wrote a business card to introduce the bus tour to travel around. However, some tourists in the hotel said that the bus was too fast to pass by in a flash, so it was better to take a rickshaw to watch it carefully. After I heard it, I thought it made sense, so I booked three rickshaws that night and planned for a day trip tomorrow. The next morning, after having breakfast, we took rickshaws and slowly pulled through the lakeside, along the inner circle of the West Lake, across the broken bridge, and visited Huagang Viewing at Flower Pond and many other places, as far as Lingyin Temple.

My mother was very pious. She hung a sachet made of yellow cloth. When she saw the Bodhisattva in the temple, she lit incense candles and bowed down, wishing all her relatives safety, and returning via Sudi to complete the whole day tour. After the tour, we felt that the rickshaw was pulling slowly, and we could take a good look at the surrounding scenery, which was indeed better than a touring bus. The next day, we took a boat tour of West Lake, and I met Sheng Dingsan and his wife and his siblings at Three Pools Mirroring the Moon or Louwailou and they were also visiting the West Lake. On the third day, we took a touring bus to Liuhe Pagoda, watched the Qiantang River Bridge, entered the mountain to Hupao Spring, and returned to the city in the afternoon. It seemed to have a look in front of Zhejiang University, and then went back to the hotel. Returned to Shanghai by train. A roll of photos was taken, but it was destroyed during the ten years of turmoil, it was a pity.

West Lake (杭州西湖)Image by 彬彬 王 from Pixabay


On the Lunar New Year in 1949, I and Zhongxian, who was pregnant (the second son) at the time, brought my first son back to my hometown in Maoyan, Changzhou, and spent a new year with my mother, aunt and brother Chang. This year, on February 16th of the lunar calendar, 1949, the second son was born in Gongji Hospital by the Suzhou River. A feast celebrating the first month of a newborn younger son was held at home, two tables of guests were all colleagues of China National Petroleum Corporation. This is a photo of the younger son.


In early 1949, the personnel of China National Petroleum Corporation had plans to transfer Taiwan in batches. At that time, my thoughts were waiting for dispatch. I remembered two batches were going, and then Another group of people transferred back to Shanghai from Taiwan.

At the end of April 1949, brother Chang came to Shanghai to visit. In May 1949, my brother Kai, sister-in-law Fang and three nephews decided to leave Shanghai for Taiwan and bought air tickets for brother Chang. But before finally boarding the plane, brother Chang thought mother and aunt were in the hometown, he rather stayed with them. So he decided to return the plane ticket and stayed in Shanghai instead of going with brother Kai’s family. My Nanyang Middle School classmate Yin Zhongkui originally worked in Taiwan and returned to Shanghai with his family in April. After a short stay, he sent his family back to their hometown in Shangyou, Jiangxi province. Now it seemed that brother Chang could go but did not leave, and Zhongkui could stay in Taiwan but came back to Jiangxi. Since then, they have been upside down for decades. Liu Zhiguo’s departure from Shanghai to Hong Kong that could also be said to have reversed his future. Was this destiny? I don’t believe in destiny. It is just an unforeseen decision made by a person’s mind in a specific environment at the time, but the consequences are so different that it cannot be explained.

It was a pity for me to think of brother Chang’s life. If he hadn’t become ill since he was a child, he would have studied and worked outside. He was serious in everything and had a strong memory. If he had been going to school, his achievements would be above me. If he was going out with elder brother Kai’s family at that time, he might also do some work. There must be a different situation.


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