The morning after the celebration, David received a call from Roche’s headquarters.
“Hello, am I speaking to David Andorio?” A weak voice came from the other end of the phone.
“Oh! Jesus Christ! Finally, I got through! This China’s phone system is amazing, I’ve been calling all afternoon, from work to now. The first person who picked up was an old man, and I thought I had the wrong number. Then I called again and was scolded by him. It was only later that I found out what post office was needed to transfer a call from China, followed by a lady with a strange accent, and we invited almost all of Roche’s Chinese employees before we managed to contact you. It was an amazing experience.” The man on the other end of the phone sounded very excited.
David let out an amused chuckle, delighted at his colleague’s experience. Where do you think the dark circles on David’s face came from? He had been fighting with the older man and woman in the Chinese telephone transfer station last night. It was so gratifying to hear that someone else had the same experience as him.
“You are solemnly informed, Mr. Andorio. President Robert has invited you to return to Switzerland for a debriefing on the practical tips you have discovered.”
So David declined the suggestion that the Ministry of Health and the Haitong Province hold a grand signing ceremony and took a morning flight straight back to Switzerland.
David left with a smile on his face and a lot of enthusiasm, and he left Li Zheng his residence and telephone number in Xiangjiang, and repeatedly assured that the patent documents would be delivered to Li Zheng as soon as it was done.
As for the preparations for the construction of the pharmaceutical factory, David said that he would hire a manager to be in charge of the Poplar Proline Pharmaceutical Factory and leave everything to him.
The decision caught many people off guard. Before the reform and opening up, there were only state-owned enterprises in the land of China, and the relationship between government and enterprises was so complicated that it was perfectly normal for administrative leaders to meddle in the affairs of enterprises. Sometimes, even quotas for workers in newly built factories were distributed among officials as benefits.
These people took it for granted that it wasn’t the same for foreign built factories. As soon as the news that Roche was going to invest in a factory in Yantian County came out, a lot of well-informed people ran their errands and poked around up and down, waiting for the new factory to be built so they could stuff their friends and family into it.
Now they were actually told that the new factory was completely under the responsibility of a strange manager and they couldn’t get involved at all, which was undoubtedly completely unexpected for these people!
Especially Wang Aijuan, she became like an ant in a hot pot. She knew about her son’s expulsion from school, but like Yang Kaijian, she felt that entering a foreigner’s factory was more promising than going to school. However, factory workers were recruited by the so-called manager and required a high school education or higher.
As soon as this condition came out, Wang Aijuan couldn’t breath and almost convulsed. She really didn’t know how to explain to Yang Sheng.
After the incident with the foreigner, Li Zheng became famous in Qinghe Town, and when the townspeople mentioned Li Zheng, they said, “That Li Zheng is promising, he speaks foreign languages and makes friends with foreigners. It was Li Zheng who persuaded his foreign friend to build the pharmaceutical factory.” They spoke with a look of pride.
Zhou Sitian was also surprised that her younger brother suddenly spoke a foreign language, but when Li Zheng moved two boxes of foreign books out from under the bed, she fell silent.
These two boxes of foreign books were left behind by Mother Li, who was a university student and had even gone to France to study before, only to encounter political turmoil shortly after returning to China.
In any case, leaving her child and husband to flee would be extremely dishonorable anywhere. Zhou Sitian hated her for abandoning her and Father Li, and therefore extremely rejected everything about Mother Li. Therefore when Li Zheng moved out the two boxes of books, she just took a glance at them and quickly walked out.
Li Zheng breathed a sigh of relief, it seemed that Zhou Sitian didn’t know the details of these foreign books left by Mother Li, and some of his changes could be pushed onto these books in the future.
Li Zheng put the books back under the bed, and as he pushed the box inside, a stack of books inside the box suddenly fell down. Li Zheng sighed and resigned himself to squatting down to pick up the books, and a black leather-covered notebook appeared in front of him.
The black notebook was very delicate, with fancy English on the leather, so it had to be something from abroad. Li Zheng hesitated, sat down cross-legged and opened the notebook.
It was Mother Li’s diary, written in a mixture of English and French, recording her journey from the time she was sent down to flee.
Mother Li was born into an honest family. Her mother was a lecturer at Huajing University. The political turmoil of 1968 suddenly changed the happy family, and her mother, unable to bear the humiliation, jumped off the building of Huajing University and perished. Mother Li and her father were sent to Qinghe Town together.
The father and daughter worked in the fishing grounds during the day, but only a humble house kept out the cold at night, and they lived very poorly. And because of being delegated, the villagers in Qinghe Town were very unfriendly to them.
One day, there was a sudden rainstorm during the day. Zhao Guanghua, Mother Li’s father, got caught the rain in order to take back the dried fish. That night, he had a high fever, and the old man’s immunity was weak. Mother Li was so anxious that she went to the town health clinic overnight to get medicine. On her way to get medicine, she met Zhou Sitian’s father, Zhou Deqing, an unemployed man.
At night, a heavy rain, a beautiful women walking in the rain and a hot-blooded young man, a tragedy happened.
Zhou Deqing thought that Mother Li was just a woman. She would only swallow her pain, but he didn’t think that Mother Li received western education, and even joined feminist societies in college.
Mother Li stood up and the whole town made a fuss. Zhou Deqing was taken away, but at the same time, the days of Mother Li and her daughter were even more difficult.
Reality smoothed out the edges and corners of Mother Li, and she finally realized that blind idealism would only make her and her father’s life more sad, so she saw Father Li. A woman who had thoughts and culture and had experienced the influence of French romanticism was almost fatal to men, even if she had a daughter born out of mistakes.
Li Zheng showed a complicated look on his face. He could understand but didn’t agree with Mother Li’s behavior and put the notebook back in the box.
“You never know what you have lost. He left with resentment against you.” Li Zheng whispered and slowly closed the box.
“Sister, I’m going to the post office.”
“OK, come back before lunch!”
After the hostel incident, Li Zheng finally realized that he was no longer the former researcher of Cold Spring Harbor, honorary professor of Huaqing University, and Li Zheng, head of the National Drug Research Office. He was now a fisherman’s boy. His father was missing and his mother ran away, leaving only the fisherman’s boy with his sister.
God let him be reborn in this life, and he would cherish it. Therefore, Li Zheng was going to send out this paper on his hand, but didn’t think about Science and Nature and he was afraid that the paper of an unknown high school student wouldn’t even be eligible to submit for preliminary review.
For journals with passable impact factors and low threshold, Li Zheng thought of a Microbiology society, which was founded by several Ivy League universities in the United States. Most importantly, it was the best journal to implement the blind examination system. As long as his papers passed the examination of three reviewers, they could be published in the journals, without exception.
“Microbiology” had made a lot of jokes, but at the same time it was the place where geniuses were most likely to emerge.
Li Zheng went through several alleys and walked to the post office door.
At the post office, several aunts ate melon seeds and chatted loudly.
“Do you know that Zhou Deqing is out?”
“Zhou Deqing? Who is Zhou Deqing?”
“It’s the strong criminal, the one with Li Qiang’s wife, who came out last week. My cousin saw him when he went to Yantian County. He also asked my cousin about his daughter.”
“His daughter? Zhou Sitian? Will he come to her?”
“Old Zhou’s house is already empty, he’s out alone and lonely, and he’s only got one daughter, so of course.”
Li Zheng could no longer listen to what those aunts were saying, he turned and ran towards home. Zhou Sitian, sister, you mustn’t be hurt!
Li Zheng ran breathlessly into the house, nearly tripping over the threshold as he entered because of his weak legs. Zhou Sitian came out of the kitchen with a bowl of rice cakes, her cheeks were scuffed with black ash from baking the rice cakes.
“What are you running for, the rice cakes are reserved for you.” She looked at Li Zheng with amusement.
Li Zheng looked Zhou Sitian up and down, seeing she didn’t look different, he was relieved and sat down at the table.
“It’s nothing, I was afraid you’ll steal my share.”
Zhou Sitian rolled her eyes, her brother was getting less cute by the minute.
“Didn’t you want to send a letter, why didn’t you send it?”
Li Zheng took a glance at the envelope that was clenched and crumpled in a corner of his hand and skimmed over it, “Suddenly I don’t want to mail it, some other time.”
On the other hand, Xiao He was fired from the inn for falsely accusing Li Zheng of stealing something. For someone like him who lied in front of the governor, no organization in Qinghe Town dared to use him.
The girlfriend he’d been dating for a long time had also fallen through because of this, and Xiao He was waiting at Yang Kaijian’s doorstep, wanting an explanation for himself! He had listened to Wang Chengcai and Yang Kaijian before he went to smear Li Zheng for stealing something.
It was not that he didn’t want to go over to Wang Chengzai, but Wang Chengzai’s house was in Yantian County and he lived in the county government courtyard, so he couldn’t enter at all. Yang Kaijian was different, his house was not far from Xiao He’s, and the Yang family was richer than the Wang family.
He had already planned to ask Yang Kaijian for a sum of money and go into business!