Br, Joche-Albert Ly

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15-A good day
There appeared on the university notice board these laconic phrases, written by the university regent himself: “Who is a perfect communist?” He who accuses his sins!” The effect produced was dramatic and magical at the time as it had been indicated. But to conclude the course, a general assembly of all the five faculties was held. It was presided over by the above-mentioned regent, who exposed with skill, persuasion and deep conviction, his final thought: “The course is nearing its end. You have delved into the principles of Soviet Communism, its promises, its realities and its obligations. You will come out of this place transformed into new citizens, ready to propagate the Communist ideal. You will promote the national welfare under the aegis of the leader Mao Tse Tung… The autobiography of each and all of you is the proof of your sincerity and submission to liberating Communism. It forms the final stage. But, comrades, there is a superior stage, it is not a compulsory one; it certainly is most free. It is only for the perfect ones, those citizens, those colleagues who, through a supreme effort, not only pretend to blot out their former egoism, the usufructuary on the inferior, the abusing of the people (that all of you have realized while writing the autobiography and whose pardon you have obtained), but, furthermore, carried away by that acute sorrow and grief, “you hanker once more for taking away the burden of your own sins” before that very people, before this very worthy assembly of comrades, which represents the popular masses, and is it self the Chinese people… Therefore, he who would like to give a more authentic proof of his sorrow and feelings, let him make here and now a spontaneous public self-confession of all his sins, even the most secret ones.”
Once the discourse was over, the audience stood hypnotized, asserts Brother Philip, and in a very short time 60 or 70 self-confession request were signed, among which were those of Brother Philip and Albert Ly. There was such a pile of them on the chairman’s desk that the regent ordered that the collection should be stopped. On the spot, half of a dozen were chosen at random and the penitents began their confessions… As Brother Philip was ranked among the first ones in the university, he had the honour of making public confession…! We must say that Brother Philip as well as Brother Albert Ly believed to be merely forced to do so, on pain of creating suspicions and prolonging the captivity for a second or a third course, a risk they wanted to avoid at all costs, even if they were to be brought out hanged.
The move was superbly successful. Brother Philip made his own sincere accusation and ended his university and graduated with the highest honours. Neither in his self-confession nor in his autobiography did he compromise himself. Nor did he put any third person at risk, a trap that the seven Marist avoided at every moment. Various full university sessions were held in order to obtain the most free confession of five students. It was the turn of a lady fully 35 years old. Such was the sincerity she showed, so many tears did she shed, that the audience was moved, and many burst in tears. The witness we follow in this report in the guarantor of this contrition which, in such solemn moments, takes possession of those present, particularly of the contrite penitent. And these were not sentiments of pure blushes or expedite. Two other gentlemen auto-accusers, as they were placed on the platform, facing the impressive audience, at times turned away their faces in order to dry up their tears…
Classes closed down with indescribable jubilation on January 20th, but the students veiled their jubilation it in order not to show that they detested the so called voluntary confinement and captivity. Our seven Marist were offered a destination in localities very far away from their colleges. Their protest was so unanimous and firm that the directors judged it was not prudent to force them into accepting the offer. The argument brought up by the Brothers was: “We have our superiors and from them have we received our teaching duties; we have to report to them and present an account of our colleges and schools in Chefoo and Wei Hai Wei. Therefore we claim the right to be reinstated in our former posts.” This was done in the third part of January 1946.

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