On the afternoon of March 5, 91-year-old Zhu Shijian, the chairman and founder of Yunnan Hongta Group Co., Ltd. and Yuxi Hongta Tobacco (Group) Co., Ltd., died.
At the age of 90, the excitement disappeared, and the words of time, history and destiny disappeared. Hes still here. He gets up early to buy vegetables. He amused two big dogs at home. He went to visit his grandchildren. He ordered his wife. Books are no longer read. Time passed slowly in the house of Yuxi Daying Street.
Now, everything is settled. Anything in the world will no longer have a relationship with him.
This article was first published on January 17, 2018.
Wen | Luo Ting
Head Picture Visual China
In six days, it will be Mr. Chu Shijians 90th birthday. He is tired and wants to retire.
More than a month ago, old friend Wang Shi visited Ailao Mountain. During the meal, he spoke leisurely, Now (I) is 90 years old. There are many times when the heart is not strong enough, which is also a natural phenomenon. But in my life, I am content to be worthy of the country, the society and the generations of my family.
Earlier, Yu Huafeng, the original CEO of his life, went to Yuxi. Chu Shijian also told him, I am 90 years old this year. I have no regrets. I can easily pass 100 years old.
When he said this, he stood in the orange garden of Ailao Mountain with white hair. One year in turn, the harvest season arrives on schedule, it is orange time. In a blue sky, clouds and mists linger in the distance, and the waterfall rolls down with white waves. Each color is clear and bright.
After leaving prison in 2002, Chu Shijian spent 15 years here. Similar to the days before his life, he was willing to work, to pursue technology and to control all the details. The staff around him said, when he asked, Did it rain today? The correct answer to this question is not down or down, but down, from what time to what time, how many millimeters have been dropped.
But after all, it is old age, people now see him more in the vegetable market near Daying Street in Yuxi.
This face is too recognizable in Yuxi. Zhu Yibin, son, said that the old man had been stolen four or five times in recent months. He was so angry that he took only 200 yuan of vegetable money out every day and hid it in his jacket pocket before getting off.
When meeting Wang Shi, some people took pictures of Zhus family. Chu Shijian sat on one side of his wife Ma Jingfen, on the other side of his grandson-in-law Li Yaxin, and on the other side of his son Chu Yibin. Granddaughter Ren Shuyi and granddaughter Chu stood aside. The family looked harmonious and friendly.
Its not easy to be in such a state. In the past two years, only the closest person knows what kind of self-torture the family has experienced.
In the past two years, Zhu Jias exposure to the public is not low.
In 2015, orange quality declined. Small, uneven skin color, sour taste, high rate of bad fruit... The markets feedback this year is not optimistic. Chu Shijian apologized publicly in the media, and proposed ways to improve the quality, ways and brand. The next year, they cut down 37,000 trees.
In the same year, in 2015, the Chu family was rumored to be fighting inside.
In October of this year, Chu Yibin held a conference to announce the exclusive cooperation with Tianmao Mall. Just 11 days later, Li Yaxin made another announcement to clarify that Chu Orange had no plans to cooperate exclusively with Tianmao. Chu Shijian attended both of the press conferences.
Chu Shijians only son, Chu Yibin, wandered abroad for more than 20 years and was eventually summoned by his father to plant oranges from Singapore. Li Yaxin, the grandson-in-law, has been rooted in Ailaoshan since 2008, and established the marketing system of Zhu Orange. He was the second person to talk about Zhu Shijian after Zhu Shijian at that time.
For a time, the confrontation between the two meetings was interpreted as internal struggle and successor struggle, while Chu Shijians two attendances were interpreted as choosing dilemma in the face of his son and grandson-in-law.
This time, people visited Chu Shijian and his close relatives everyday. They all said that things were much simpler than rumors and not so complicated.
But there is also a real part of the rumor. They all admit that Chu Shijian was really thinking about his successor at that time.
It took him nearly two years to make this choice.
He was depressed and sick. In addition to diabetes, protrusion of the caudal and lumbar intervertebral discs has also become serious. Documents are not visible to the eye. His right leg muscles are slowly atrophying due to nerve compression. In this interview, we saw that he had to support the shoulders of people around him in order to walk reluctantly.
Chu Yibin even felt that his fathers scattered mind was the main reason for the problem of Chu Orange at that time. Agriculture is faced with a living organism. It is not as standard as industry, but as the weather changes, the way of management will change. So once confused, judgment is easy to make mistakes. Father is not God, but man.
This is not his style. He fought with the market for decades. At the height of his life, he was in charge of the Red Tower Group, which paid taxes of 20 billion yuan. They were all very popular.
This is Chu Shijians weakness. Everyone has another side. Can you see it from here? Thats no trick.
What are his weaknesses?
If you have seen the family photos of Zhus family, its hard not to sigh. Zhu Shijians granddaughter Ren Shuyi (nickname Yuanyuan) and her daughter Zhu Yingqun look so much alike - big eyes, thin chin, thin lips, they have the same sad and even sad eyes.
For him, the round face is like an eternal reminder of debt, regret and longing. Li Yaxin knows that Chu Shijian is projecting all his love for his daughter on Yuanyuan.
Daughters are not easy. From birth to growth, she experienced the Anti-Right and Cultural Revolution. She was fluttering and migrating for more than ten years. Chu Shijian once described the life of those years as follows: I changed from one farm to another, three farms in three or four years, and the fate of the family was led by others. Whats the way? In those days, few people could decide their own destiny. Place names dont really matter in every place weve been to. For me, those places represent only one word, suffering.
In 1995, Chu Shijian, then chairman of Yunnan Hongta Group, was prosecuted and involved in the case of provincial and ministerial leaders seeking personal gain by smoking in Yunnan, and his wife and daughter were detained. Shortly after his imprisonment, Chu Yingqun committed suicide in Henan Prison.
When he heard the news, Chu Shijian was at Ling Huans house, then deputy secretary of the Yunnan Provincial Party Committee, and immediately burst into tears. This is the first time that he has lost control in front of people since he became an adult. Lawyer Ma Jun remembers that when he met, Chu Shijian took his hand and cried, The girl died in Henan and committed suicide! The second sentence is, I hurt my girl. If I had listened to the girl earlier and retired, she would not be today.
The death of Chu Yingqun made it impossible for anyone in Zhus family to get through it for so many years. It spreads out and enters their daily life like air.
Round circles are equally difficult. After the death of Chu Yingqun, Chu Shijian and his wife Ma Jingfen were tried. Chu Yibin, the only son, fled abroad. Because parents had already divorced, they could not go to their father, Yuanyuan became an orphan girl, fostered in other peoples homes, and even changed her surname. Nobody knew that Zhus family would be today. At that time, Zhu Shijian was worried that the case would affect her future development.
She spent her adolescence in silence and introversion, with a huge shadow on her shoulders. Li Yaxin said that when she borrowed her old friend from Chu Shijian to Ren Xinmins house, she was so embarrassed that there were few decent clothes. Ren Xinmin could not see them. It was pitiful to say that I took you to buy clothes.
Around 2000, Yuanyuan graduated from high school and went to Canada to study, where she fell in love with Li Yaxin. Ren Xinmin is responsible for the tuition fees. She dares not ask for too much. She works hard and gets scholarships. Even if there is an urgent need, its embarrassing to find someone to talk to.
Family changes shaped her character. Now she has become a mother of one child and one daughter. Her family is happy. She still does not like talking and meeting people. In the company, she is in charge of finance, living in front of the books. After work, she returned home, with little contact with the outside world.
Another thing that Chu Shijian cant ignore is that in 2008, the hardest year for him to do Chu Orange, Yuanyuan and Li Yaxin gave up their jobs, visas and possible green cards in Canada and came back. When we thought they were old and nobody was around, we said thats all. Then well come back.
The first year back, Li Yaxins monthly salary was 1200 yuan. By the end of the year, they had checked their accounts for a year, and the total revenue of the company was 396,000 yuan. Li Yaxin was confident that they would soon get married and have children. At the same time, they would have to bear the daily expenses of the old couple and employees. This income is really difficult.
The orange orange orange and the original life, both of them know little and grow gradually in the future, and both sides have established enough trust in each other. The orange orange orange orange orange orange orange orange orange orange orange orange orange Li Yaxin said that in the first few years, they had not even signed a contract. Yu Huafengs comment on Li Yaxin is that he is a very smart, well-understood and down-to-earth young man.
Chu Shijians family photos in his youth come from the Internet
At the end of November 2017, I met another heir of the Chu family, Zhu Yibin, in Kunming.
He and Li Yaxin really have nothing in common. Li Yaxin, 35, is a doer. During the conversation, his eyebrows are locked and his mouth is full of data, direction and strategy. In some moments, you even feel that he and Chu Shijian share a rigorous old soul. Chu Yibin, who is 50 years old, has more freedom and casual things in his personality.
On a rainy night in Kunming, where the temperature is no more than 3 degrees, he wears a shirt and asks for an interview on the terrace. The successor, without making any preparations, went straight up to the contradiction between him and his father. For more than 50 years, he has brought out stories of disputes, pressure and mistrust between them.
The father and son disagree on many issues. Chu Shijians life was full of twists and turns. He was beaten into a rightist, a jailed and a lovelorn girl. People, especially the wealthy class, gained a projective recognition of his own situation and paid him sympathy and respect. But his obedience to the collective state and his care for interpersonal relations have remained unchanged. At the age of 90, he still watches news broadcasts every day, learns the report of the Nineteenth National Congress and praises the courage of leaders.
Chu Yibin is different. He spent his youth abroad, believing in individual freedom and soul independence. He has a strong love and hatred, in his words, Grace for grace, revenge for revenge. He thought his fathers imprisonment was unfair.
Pressure from fathers comes from childhood. When he was a child, he was poor in living conditions. He was short of calcium, and he was still walking and wrestling in the third and fourth grades. As the father and son walked back and forth, he suddenly fell down. Instead of encouraging him, he shouted at him, Why cant he walk at this age? What else can you do? Can you eat? He dared not cry, got up in silence and went on walking.
When he graduated from university, it was the peak of Hongta Group. He tried desperately to escape from his fathers life, thinking that this kind of love is too heavy, because love does not make him independent, and because love, hate iron is not steel. Its the most boring and hurtful. I dont want it, I want to avoid it.
Chu Shijian offered to let him go out when he got married. He immediately found someone to marry and divorced soon after he left home. Thirty years later, he confronted us and defined the relationship as a marriage purely for the sake of freedom.
But they were fathers and sons after all, breaking bones and joining tendons. Chu Yibin remembers his fathers most vulnerable moment. It was 2005, when Chu Shijian fell ill because her mother Ma Jingfen was treated for cancer in Shanghai. Because of his sensitive identity, Chu Yibin has not returned to China for many years.
On that occasion, he was really worried about flying from Singapore to Shanghai. When he entered the ward at more than 7 oclock in the morning, Chu Shijian saw him, jumped up and grabbed his hand. How did you come back? Is there any problem? The kind of care and care in his eyes, Chu Yibin has never seen in his forties.
By the end of 2012, Chu Shijian, a tough man, had compromised with his son. On the multinational phone, he asked Chu Yibin, who was far away in Singapore, I am too old to run. What do you think I should do?
Chu Yibin understood what his father meant. Its not easy for him to say that. I understand. Chu Yibin also answered quickly.
This year, he really returned to the mountains of Yuxi and grew oranges with his father.
Photographs by Chu Yibin and Ma Shengshan
In June 2017, rumors of infighting have long been suspended. Chu Shijian finally decided to stop fighting with his heart. It took him two years to make a decision.
Before the family meeting, he called Li Yaxin and Yuanyuan to inform them of their own arrangements, and they accepted them.u2014u2014
Chu Shijian decided to hand Chus parent company Xinping Jintai Fruit Products Company to his son Chu Yibin.
In the spring and summer of 2018, Chu Yibin will officially take over the Orchard of Ailao Mountain, which has bred Chu Orange. Thereafter, the general will only undertake the work of consultants and no longer care about the specific business. At present, the company has been managed by Zhu Yibins daughter and Zhu Chu, who returned from studying abroad.
In addition, Ren Shuyi, his granddaughter, Li Yaxin, Chu Chu and Chu Yibin will have their own companies and bases.
Asked how to view Chu Shijians decision, Li Yaxin did not evade it. He said he supported any decision made by Chu Lao and listened to their arrangements. I have nothing, 1,200 yuan salary, and now I have my own base and fruit selection plant. And Chu Lao teaches me how to do things and how to be human. I dont think people can be too greedy. He can teach me enough about these two points. Now Ive seen it very dimly. It doesnt matter.
But it can still be seen in a moment that he does not care at all. Towards the end of the interview, I casually asked Chu whether he had raised the question of successors in his early years. He quickly told me, mentioned it, and reported the source of the news report. He picked up his mobile phone to search it out. At first, he did not find it. He got up and took a phone call. Then he looked for it. Finally, he found it and showed it to me.
Thats a report from Phoenix. com in 2010. Zhu Shijian said in an interview that he could still work for seven or eight years. By then, his granddaughter and his grandson-in-law would have been almost trained, and the orchard would be given to them.
Under the current situation, it is difficult to see the future development direction of Zhujia.
Chu Yibin believes in the power of capital. This is his experience of climbing and rolling in Singapore. He supported his family by financial investment. A few years ago, he also talked to Chu Shijian about introducing investment, or going public in packages, and was rejected by Chu Shijian.
At some stage, he resented the integration of industry and capital market. Several articles mentioned that he was a conditional objection to the listing. Everyone said that he was a craftsman. I was wrong, absolutely wrong. If he was a craftsman, in the 1990s, he built the first highway in Yunnan Province. He built the hydropower station on the Lancang River and invested tens of billions of dollars. He also borrowed money from the bank to invest. This is a strategy, a pattern.
Capital is what Li Yaxin opposes.
In a two-and-a-half-hour interview, he spent nearly an hour explaining how much capital would hurt the orange brand. As he said, he took out the instant noodles in his schoolbag and put the suitcase beside him. This month, he flew from Yunnan to Wuhan, then to Shenzhen, Shanghai, and finally to Guangxi to visit dealers. The orange brand is not easy to maintain.
This is what he is most afraid of losing. If a lot of capital comes in, they are demanding a return. You have to expand your base or make other investments. How can you guarantee the quality of the orange? There is no foreign fruit company listed, why not? Because standardization of agriculture is too difficult. Should not be orange to make money, to make capital money, which is a great impact on the brand.
When we talk with them, we can feel that they have different opinions in many aspects, and even have the meaning of spacing debates. But in fact, they havent really sat down and talked for so long.
They live in such a special family. Zhou Huahua, the author of Chu Shijian Zhuan, once made a conclusion called wisdom by Yu Huafeng: Except Li Yaxin, almost everyone in the family had great pain in their hearts, and for many years, the family did not live together. Looking back at the familys experience, many of the past is unbearable for ordinary people. Obviously, it is too demanding to ask the Zhu family to have the same carefree happiness as the ordinary peoples family.
But they have the most basic consensus, that is, to maintain harmony in life. When they are old and healthy, they hope that they can at least do it and not let the old people worry about their relationship any more.
After announcing the successors decision, everyone noticed the relaxation in fitness. He finally abandoned the last problem that the world had imposed on him.
Zhou Hua, the author of Chu Shijian Zhuan, meets him every year. She said that what he wanted most now was silence: Chu Lao is a man who is eager for a dull life and has been disturbed too much by the outside world in recent years.
Back in the family, hard faded, soft exposed. He tried to take care of everyone in a restrained and clumsy way.
On Yuanyuans birthday, he will write to her. Older, he can not write too much, but will repeat the truth of life, I hope she really do a good job. In Zhou Huas opinion, this is really affectionate.
I had a meal with Li Yaxin. At the table, he said he didnt eat chicken because Chu Shijian always cooked chicken soup and sent it to her home when Yuanyuan sat on the moon. Yuanyuan only drank soup. Li Yaxin had to digest too much chicken.
He was equally attentive to round children. One son, one daughter, and the boys nickname was Xiao Pang. The girl followed his surname directly. Once, Xiao Pang wanted to eat watermelon, but at that time the watermelon was not on the market. Zhu Shijian told the driver to drive 40 kilometers and bought watermelon from Tonghai County.
They live in a small neighborhood and walk for two minutes. Li Yaxin and his wife were busy. If they hadnt gone home for two days for dinner, they would get up early the next morning. Chu Shijian was sitting in front of their house. They had been waiting for a long time. This is a silent reminder.
Last October, there was news on the Internet that he had died. Chu Yibin talked with the company that day. He kept calling all the way. At first, he felt nothing. At 11 noon, Wang Shis phone came. Once he got through, the tone was heavy: Brother, you have to be calm! What does he mean by asking? Wang Shi said, Didnt the old man leave?
Knowing this, I laughed when I cooked at Yuxis house. Now I know that there are so many people in the society who care about me. Chu Yibin said that his heart is solid.
At the age of 90, the excitement disappeared, and the words of time, history and destiny disappeared. Hes still there. He got up early to buy vegetables. He amused two big dogs at home. He went to visit his grandchildren. He ordered his wife. Books are no longer read. Time passed slowly in the house of Yuxi Daying Street.
There was such a calm air on his face that everything seemed to have settled down. Anything in the world will no longer have a relationship with him.