General Note / OCR
Yang Nai Wu Yu Xiao Bai Cai - Mi Shi Xiang Hui [Yang Naiwu and Xiao Bai Cai - Meeting Behind Closed Doors]. Sung by Yan Xueting. Produced by Zhongguo Changpian Chang [Chinese Phonograph Records Studio/Factory]. No date given. An opera in the Ping Tan form [story-telling and singing in Suzhou dialect]. The story happens in Yuhang county, Zhejiang Province in the late Qing [Manchu] dynasty, during the reign of Guang Xu. Bi Xiugu, the child-daughter-in-law of Ge Xiaoda, a soybean curd-maker and manager. Xiugu was very good looking, and was called Xiao Bai Cai [a variety of Chinese Cabbage; pakchoi]. Four years ago, she was passionately in love with Yang Naiwu, a winner of the Imperial Examination. But since being formally married to Ge's family, she severed relations with her former lover and lived in harmony with her husband. However, her beauty brought her misfortune; Liu Zihe, son of the Yuhang county magistrate, Liu Xitong, took a fancy on her and raped her after secretly drugging her. Liu also poisoned her husband. Upon the death of Bi's husband, father of Liu, the county magistrate who had been on bad terms with Yang, charged Yang instead of his own son for the murder of Bi's husband. Subsequently, Bi is duped into accusing Yang for her husband's death and Yang confessed to the false charges under torture. This abuse of law angered the gentry's circle of Yuhang county and the jointly signed an appeal to Hangzhou prefecture. However, the prefect was related to the county magistrate and had received bribes and, therefore, the death penalty for Yang stood. Later on, the case was channeled to the governor of Zhejiang Province. The Governor arranged a retrial, but the key figures in the legal institutions under his administration received bribes and maintained the sentence. Finally, Yang's sister trekked a long distance to the capital of Beijing to appeal to the highest law institution for her brother. And it happened that the Qing court was under a bitter power struggle between two factions. One faction took the case as a means to uproot the other. So a retrial was staged by bringing up all the people involved in the case, including those local officials. Because Bi still refused to tell the truth out of feare, the case was not reverted even at the highest court. This is when the interrogation department arranged a seemingly private meeting between Yang and Bi while eavesdropping on their dialogue. The truth was revealed and justice was restored. Mi Shi Xiang Hui is an episode in this story.