(Minghui.org) Most Chinese people still believed the concept of reincarnation in the 1950s and 1960s. Reincarnation stories were also passed on by word of mouth.
For example, for decades, the reincarnation story of Li Zhengting, former Party secretary of the Fujian Provincial Committee of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and executive deputy secretary of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, was widely circulated in Yulin, northern Shaanxi Province.
As the story went, at the end of the Qing Dynasty and the beginning of the Republic of China, there was an influential household in Liujiapo Village of Shamao Township, Shenmu County. The head of the household was Liu Zitong, who was very kind and generous and helped others. As a result, he was blessed and his family became wealthier and more prosperous.
Four years after Liu Zitong passed away, a four-year-old boy named “Baiwa” from a Li family in Xidouyu Village in the same county claimed to be the reincarnation of Liu Zitong.
When Liu Zitong’s son heard about this, he went to see Baiwa to check him out. He found that Baiwa not only knew his name, but also many family affairs known only within the Liu household.
Liu Zitong was said to have buried a lot of silver coins when he was alive in places only known to himself. His son had heard about this vaguely from other family members. So, he asked Baiwa where the silver was buried. Baiwa told him one location straightaway.
After Liu Zitong’s son returned home, he indeed dug up a big jar filled with silver dollars right where Baiwa told him it would be, but he didn’t give any to Baiwa’s family. Baiwa was rather upset about that and saw that the descendants of the Liu family had little virtue left and that the family would take a downfall. As a result, he never mentioned where else the silver dollars were buried.
Due to poverty, Baiwa was adopted into a Wang family in Houshengou Village when he was 13. Later, he joined the army and served under Liu Zhidan, a military commander and communist leader, who established the Shaanxi-Gansu-Ningxia Base Area in northwest China, which later became Mao’s Yan’an Soviet.
After the CCP seized power in 1949, Li Zhengting (Baiwa) served in a series of high-ranking positions, such as Deputy Secretary of Harbin City, Deputy Minister of Labor, CCP Secretary of Fujian Province, and Deputy Secretary of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, and so on. He died in 2011.
According to those who lived in Xidouyu Village and Houshengou Village, Baiwa had told them his reincarnation story since he was a child. The story went like this:
After Liu Zitong died, he found himself squatting on the beam of the outer gate of his family’s cave dwelling. He saw his whole family dressed in mourning clothes, and people busily coming and going.
He got down from the wall, but none of his relatives or friends could see him. He followed the flow of people to the big pit where his coffin was, but the pit was like a bottomless black hole. Then, a geomancer started chanting.
Suddenly, a whirlwind came straight at Liu Zitong, trying to drag him into the grave. He struggled hard to escape, ran down the mountain, hopped on a donkey, and went all the way to a courtyard in Xidouyu Village in Wanzhen Township. He hid under the donkey saddle throughout the night.
The next day, he climbed to the top of the cave and saw smoke coming from a chimney. He wondered why there was smoke since it wasn’t time to cook. He went up to the chimney to take a look, but fell straight into it. When he looked again, he found he had turned into a newborn baby with small hands and feet. The family named him “Baiwa.”
The strange thing was that Baiwa knew how to chase away hens pecking rice on the brick stove the day after he was born, and he even yelled “eagle” in the local dialect to scare away the hens.
This happened a number of times, terrifying his grandma who said, “If you talk again, you will be drowned in a urinal as a monster.” Upon hearing that, Baiwa stopped talking.
As a child, Baiwa often told villagers that one day he would become a high-ranking official, but everyone laughed it off, saying, “You are so poor, you don’t even know where your next meal is coming from, yet you talk about becoming a big official!” No one expected that Baiwa’s prediction would indeed come true later in his life.
However, Li Zhengting’s (Baiwa’s) reincarnation story crossed the red line of the atheist CCP. During the Cultural Revolution, when he was serving as first deputy minister of the Ministry of Labor, authorities in Beijing sent two batches of investigators to his hometown to find out if he had spread “feudal superstitions.”
Officials in the first group were sympathetic towards Li Zhengting. They told the local villagers to deny that Li Zhengting ever told them stories about his reincarnation.
When the second group came the next day and asked the villagers to confirm that Li Zhengting had promoted superstition to them, no one in the village did, and thus protected Li Zhengting.
Even so, Li Zhengting was persecuted for four years during the Cultural Revolution. After the Cultural Revolution, his case was redressed and he was appointed as the executive deputy secretary of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection.
He went back to his hometown to visit relatives numerous times in the 1980s and 1990s and met with Liu Zitong’s descendants.
In the mid-1990s, qigong practices became popular among the people in China. Someone interviewed Li Zhengting, but he no longer dared to mention his reincarnation experience, traumatized by what he had been through during the Cultural Revolution.
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Category: Traditional Culture