Thursday, September 25, 2014

Surge in Foreign Prisoners in Beijing

Foreign prisoners marching in Shanghai Qingpu Prison. Image credit: Phoenix Weekly

The paucity of statistics on China’s prisoner population sometimes results in observers concluding that recent events represent new trends. For example, a recent spate of arrests and convictions of foreign nationals—e.g., Canadians Kevin and Julia Garratt on suspicion of espionage, Briton Peter Humphrey and Chinese-American Yu Yinzheng for allegedly trafficking in private information, and naturalized American citizen Vincent Wu for allegedly running a criminal enterprise (China does not recognize Wu’s American citizenship)—has raised concerns that foreign firms and businesspeople operating in China are being treated more harshly. Official statistics uncovered by Dui Hua indicate that growth in China’s number of foreign prisoners may be an ongoing trend, but that historically, the most common reason for incarceration probably relates to a different business, trafficking in drugs.

Annual volumes of Beijing Prison Yearbook show that the number of foreign citizens (not including Taiwanese or Hong Kong and Macau “compatriots”) imprisoned in the capital nearly quintupled between 2006 and 2010, reaching 232 prisoners, or 1.8 percent of the prisoner population in China’s second largest city. The number of countries with citizens incarcerated in Beijing rose from 22 to 53. The number of Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau residents incarcerated in Beijing rose 170 percent to 68 prisoners.

Breakdown of Foreign Nationals in Beijing Prisons by Nationality, 2006‒2010
Region Country 2006 2010 Region Country 2006 2010
Europe France 1 3 Latin America Brazil 3
Lithuania 1 Columbia 3 3
Portugal 1 Peru 1 4
Russia 1 1 Uruguay 1
Sweden 1 Africa Benin 1
UK 1 Cameroon 9
Middle East &
Central Asia
Afghanistan 2 Congo 2
Iran 1 8 Egypt 1
Kyrgyzstan 2 Gambia 1
South Asia Bangladesh 1 Ghana 1 9
Cambodia a Guinea 5
India 2 3 Guinea-Bissau 2
Indonesia 3 Ivory Coast 2
Malaysia 3 3 Kenya 4
Pakistan 2 24 Lesotho 1 1
Philippines 1 4 Liberia 1 3
Singapore 2 4 Mali 1
Sri Lanka 1 Malawi 2
Thailand 9 Morocco 1
Vietnam 1 Namibia 1
East Asia Japan 3 3 Nigeria 4 47
Mongolia 1 South Africa 2
N. Korea 1 Sierra Leone 1
S. Korea 13 7 Tanzania 5
Oceania Australia 5 Togo 1
Nauru 1 2 Uganda 11
N. America Canada 1 4 Zambia 1
US 3 5 Zimbabwe 10
Total 49 232

Growth in the number of foreign prisoners took place virtually across the board. The combined number of prisoners from North America, Europe, and Australia tripled. However, the biggest growth came from African and South Asian countries, specifically Nigeria and Pakistan. The number of African prisoners rose from just nine in 2006 to 121 in 2010 to account for more than half of Beijing’s foreign prisoners. Outside Beijing, Dongguan Prison is known to be holding a large number of African prisoners who reside in Guangdong Province, home to tens of thousands of African migrant workers, business people, and those seeking political asylum in Hong Kong.

The reasons for the sharp rise in foreign prisoners in Beijing likely vary by country. Drug trafficking is probably a primary reason for the uptick in Pakistani and Nigerian prisoners, if not for prisoners of other countries. According to a report from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), China arrested 1,559 drug traffickers from 50 different countries in 2009. The previous year foreign drug traffickers arrested in China were primarily from Burma, Pakistan, Nigeria, Hong Kong, and Malaysia. Nigerians and Pakistanis accounted for an equal percentage of drug trade arrests in Pakistan from 2000 to 2008, and police in Kazakhstan frequently report the involvement of Nigerians in trafficking Afghan heroin to China from Kazakhstan, the UNODC report said.

Although official data does not break down foreign prisoners by crime, a prison inspector told Dui Hua that most foreign nationals are convicted of economic crimes, including smuggling common goods, and drug-related crimes. A smaller percentage is convicted of violent crimes, and very few are convicted of endangering state security crimes, making the espionage charges against the Garratt’s quite rare. American geologist Xue Feng (薛峰) is the only foreign national known to be presently serving a sentence for endangering state security in China. He was transferred to Beijing No. 2 Prison to serve his sentence in 2011.

Direct foreign investment in Beijing rose a relatively modest 40 percent over the five-year period from 2006 to 2010. The 2008 Summer Olympics took place during the period, but the numbers of tourists visiting the capital in August 2008, the month the games were held, were a disappointing 388,000, considerably less than the anticipated 500,000. The poor attendance was due to the global economic crisis, which also affected investment and trade, and to strict security and visa controls imposed on visitors to Beijing.

South Korea, Malawi, North Korea, and Sweden were the only countries for which official data showed a decline in prisoner numbers. The number of South Korean prisoners dropped from 13 in 2006 to seven in 2010. This may be due to requests for prison transfers. According to a report by The Global Times, South Korea originated 107 of the 198 requests for prisoner transfers (both within China and to foreign countries) that the Ministry of Justice had received by early 2012. Dui Hua research indicates that South Korean pastors and missionaries have been imprisoned in China for helping North Korean refugees enter South Korea, while those charged with proselytizing have been deported.

Of the 232 foreign citizens in Beijing prisons at the end of 2010, 184 were men and 48—a striking 21 percent—were women. (Women generally account for 2 to 10 percent of national prison populations.) Most men were incarcerated in Beijing No. 2 Prison where they accounted for nearly 15 percent of all prisoners. Women were incarcerated in Beijing Women’s Prison. As in most provinces and municipalities with large foreign prisoner populations (e.g., Shanghai and Guangdong Province), in these Beijing prisons, foreign nationals are housed in separate cell blocks. Foreign prisoners, like prisoners from Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau, generally do not mix with inmates from the mainland. Yancheng Prison, China’s only prison run by the Ministry of Justice and not by a provincial prison bureau, is located immediately across Beijing’s border in Hebei Province. It houses scores of foreign nationals, including several sentenced by Beijing courts.

Managing large numbers of foreigner prisoners poses challenges for the Beijing Prison Administration Bureau (PAB). In addition to granting prisoners regular monthly visits from their family members, countries with consular agreements with China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs are permitted regular access to their citizens, in many cases in the form of monthly visits. In 2010, the PAB arranged more than 3,000 visits to foreign prisoners by diplomats, embassy officials, and family members from more than 40 countries and translated over 300 letters. That year, Beijing prisons also received 145 overseas visitors on legal exchanges including members of judicial delegations from Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan. A delegation of American experts organized by Dui Hua visited Beijing’s only juvenile reformatory in May 2010.

In 2008 a report by the Ministry of Justice called language and healthcare the two biggest problems facing the management of incarcerated foreign nationals, The Global Times reported. These and other issues can cause tension, and disciplinarily actions are sometimes taken. A group of 10 foreign citizens who were deemed to “pose management problems” was dispersed from Beijing to prisons in Inner Mongolia, Heilongjiang, Liaoning, and Jilin in 2010.

Deaths of incarcerated foreign nationals, though rare, do occur. A Zimbabwean woman died of heart complications resulting from AIDS in 2010. The Zimbabwean Embassy was notified, and the woman was cremated.

Beijing statistics provide a glimpse of what may be a national upswing in the number of foreign nationals imprisoned in China. Nationwide, there are more than 6,000 foreign nationals serving sentences in Chinese prisons, The Global Times reported citing Guo Jian’an, director of the Ministry of Justice Department of Judicial Assistance and Foreign Affairs. In order to ensure the health, rights, and dignity of these men and women, consular involvement and access as well as Chinese laws are necessary—China’s Prison Law does not mention foreign prisoners.

Prison transfers should also be considered. China has signed bilateral prisoner transfer agreements with 11 countries and has been approached by more than 20 other countries regarding such agreements, according to The Global Times report. Guo Jian’an said China is willing to work on a case-by-case basis to transfer prisoners and has transferred more than 40 foreign prisoners, or about 10 people per year.

Particularly where drug crime is the major driver of incarceration, root causes like drug use, addiction, and poverty must also be addressed both inside and outside China to help people lead free lives.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Zhonggong: The Subversive Business of Qigong

Qigong practitioners "receiving energy (qi)" from a qigong master. During the 1980s and 90s, gatherings like this were popular in China. Image credit: Netease News 

Qigong—involving mediation, breathing, and movement—is meant to heal, but according to Chinese authorities, it can also harm. The central government has banned 14 “harmful” qigong organizations not including the popularly known Falun Gong, which was outlawed as a “cult.”[1] Though distinctly branded, at least one lesser known qigong organization, Zhonggong, has experienced government suppression similar to that of Falun Gong.

China’s qigong craze lasted from around 1978 to 1999. Qigong was popularized by the Communist Party as “somatic science” under the banner of the “Four Modernizations,” which included national defense, agriculture, industry, and science and technology. During the 1980s, the homegrown healing practice instilled confidence in Chinese ingenuity at a time when the country was still reeling from decades of internal upheaval.

Zhonggong, also known as China Healthcare and Wisdom Enhancement Practice (中华养生智能功), was established by Zhang Hongbao (张宏堡) in 1987. Zhang gained popularity by publicly demonstrating his mystical healing powers, and at its peak, Zhonggong claimed to have 38 million members and 100,000 employees nationwide. Some scholars believe that, until about 1995, Zhonggong was more popular in China than Falun Gong.

However, with qigong popularity, came high-level opposition. In April 1999, state-run media ran an article entitled “I Don’t Support Youth Practicing Qigong,” calling Falun Gong “superstitious” and “harmful.” In response, 10,000 Falun Gong practitioners surrounded Zhongnanhai and demanded an apology. Unwilling to make concessions to a group that threatened party loyalty through mass mobilization, the central government outlawed Falun Gong as a cult in July 1999. Zhonggong was branded a harmful qigong organization later that year and banned for defying leaders; spreading superstition; and engaging in criminal acts such as pyramid schemes, rapes, and murders.

Shortly after the ban, Zhang Hongbao fled to Guam. China filed a request for his extradition, but the United States declined in accordance with the UN Convention Against Torture. Receiving protective resident status in 2001, Zhang faced a series of civil lawsuits and felony charges in the United States between 2003 and 2005. Some accusations, such as domestic violence, were related to his personal life, while others related to Zhonggong. By the time Zhang died in a car accident in July 2006, however, most of these cases had been withdrawn.

With the exception of Zhang Hongbao, individual Zhonggong leaders have garnered little international attention. They are generally not viewed as victims of religious or political persecution. This is due in part to the fact that Zhonggong has historically been more commercial than Falun Gong, making it seem at times more akin to a business marketed on its health benefits than a spiritual organization. (Zhonggong members are more or less required to purchase practice sessions and publications to increase their group rank.) It is also important to note that, perhaps influenced by religious persecution during the Mao period and the celebration of somatic science that continued into the 1990s, many qigong practitioners, including Zhonggong adherents, do not identify as religious followers. Still, the focus on qigong’s “extraordinary powers” has led some western scholars to recognize Zhonggong as part of the “new religious movement”—the emergence in China of a number of non-mainstream religious sects after reform and opening began in 1978.

While official Chinese media often claim that Zhonggong was banned to protect people from social harms (e.g., defiance, superstition, and criminal activity), the crackdown on the group, if not religious, is at least partly political. According to data in Dui Hua’s Political Prisoner Database, Zhonggong leaders are more likely than Falun Gong leaders to be convicted of endangering state security (ESS) crimes. The database includes information on two dozen Zhonggong leaders detained or sentenced since 1999.

1999-2002: Early Suppression

Within the first two years of its banning, Zhonggong saw 600 leaders detained nationwide, according to overseas media reports. Nearly a dozen were sentenced for inciting subversion, an ESS offense. ESS charges stemmed from the distribution of two critical letters about Jiang Zemin, then Chinese president, to thousands of police stations. Written pseudonymously by two people who claimed to be police officers, the letters stated that Jiang’s crackdown on Zhonggong resembled Mao Zedong’s lawlessness during the “Three-Anti and Five-Anti Campaigns” and the Cultural Revolution. Police who received the letter were urged to defy Jiang’s order to arrest Zhonggong practitioners. As a result of the letter campaign, 11 Zhonggong leaders from Henan, Jiangsu, and Qinghai provinces were convicted of inciting subversion and sentenced to 1‒4 years in prison or reeducation through labor (RTL) between 2000 and 2001.

Perhaps due to the fact that they caused less of a stir, Zhonggong leaders received shorter sentences than Falun Gong leaders in the first years after they were banned. The lengthiest sentence Dui Hua has recorded for a Zhonggong leader during this period is seven years’ imprisonment, handed down to Zhou Xinyang (周新扬) for tax evasion in Hunan. Several other leaders in Hubei, Chongqing, Guangdong, Guangxi, and Zhejiang were sentenced to 1‒3 years in prison or RTL for disturbing social order or illegal medical practice. A number of Falun Gong leaders who participated in the Zhongnanhai protests were sentenced to more than 10 years in prison on cult charges.

In Qigong Fever: Body, Science and Utopia in China, sociologist David Palmer argues that unlike Falun Gong, Zhonggong declined swiftly in the face of repression because its leaders were primarily motivated by money. Public security records in Sichuan also suggest that many Zhonggong members stopped holding practice sessions immediately after 1999.

Some official records indicate, however, that Zhonggong’s influence remained. Dozens to hundreds of active practitioners continued to be found in counties in Anhui, Hebei, Henan, Shaanxi, and Xinjiang. Local governments launched a series of crackdowns on Zhonggong revivals known as the “first reorganization.” For example, in 2000, Sun Haixin (孙海欣) and Hu Wanping (胡皖平) were detained in Anhui for possessing more than 100 tons of Zhonggong books and audiovisual materials and “illegally raised funds” exceeding 4.7 million yuan. In 2002, Hu Suyan (胡素艳) and Ji Sujuan (纪淑娟) were said to have sold dozens of Zhonggong publications and antiseptic products in Gaocheng City, Anhui. Official sources do not mention whether these individuals were convicted of any crimes.

Sentenced Zhonggong Leaders by Crime, 1999‒2001
Name Location Sentence Facility
Inciting Subversion
Huang Wanping 黄万平 Jiangsu 4 years Prison
Qin Zhaoyang 秦朝阳 Jiangsu 3 years Prison
Zhai Xuehai 翟学海 Jiangsu 3 years Prison
Dong Jielan 董佳兰 Jiangsu 2 years Prison
Ju De 居德 Henan 2.5 years Prison
Ye Yaonian 叶耀年 Henan 2.5 years Prison
Rui Guojie 芮国杰 Qinghai 1 year RTL
Zhao Zegen 赵泽根 Qinghai 1 year RTL
Yang Weihu 杨卫虎 Qinghai 1 year RTL
Xiang Renbo 项仁波 Qinghai 1 year RTL
Chai Jinchun 柴景春 Qinghai 1 year RTL
Disturbing Social Order
Cheng Yaqin 程亚琴 Hebei 2 years RTL
Xi Dafang 席大芳 Guangxi 1 year RTL
Illegal Medical Practice
Chen Jinlong 陈金龙 Zhejiang 2 years Prison
Tax Evasion
Zhou Xinyang 周新扬 Hunan 7 years Prison
Li Xiaoning 李晓宁 Chongqing 3 years Prison
Wang Xuemei 王雪梅 Guangdong 2 years Prison
Yan Xiehe 严协和 Guangxi 3 years Prison

Mid-2000s: “Second Activation”

Zhonggong Founder Zhang Hongbao. Source:

Around the mid-2000s, the term “second activation” began to appear in government sources to describe Zhonggong’s second revival, and local government records began labelling Zhonggong activities as “anti-China.” This development followed an increase in Zhang Hongbao’s political activism overseas. After taking up residence in the United States, Zhang claimed to have raised $2.7 million for China’s democracy movement. In 2003, he founded Zhonggong’s US headquarters and declared himself president of “China Shadow Government,” an opposition group in exile which advocated for political reform.

Official yearbooks condemned activities involved in the second activation. In 2005, 20 “reactionary” slogans—“Let’s unite, reclaim our Zhonggong bases, and learn from the Falun Gong spirit”—were discovered in Baoji, Shaanxi. In 2006, Zhonggong leaders reportedly aligned with overseas hostile forces to establish an underground opposition party in Wushan County, Chongqing. That same year, four months after his death, Zhang was labeled by Tianjin’s Anti-cult Association—a non-profit, voluntary group whose members often have government backgrounds—as a traitor who used funding from hostile western forces to divide China.

During this period, Zhonggong leaders faced harsher punishments than those reported from 1999 to 2001. Li Zhanling (李占领) was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment for inciting subversion in 2004. According to his defense lawyers, Li was appointed a leader during Zhonggong’s first and second reorganizations. He was in charge of organizing practice sessions and training leaders in Cangzhou, Hebei Province.

In a separate case, an online verdict indicated that seven leaders detained in 2006 in Donggang City, Liaoning, were sentenced to 6‒15 years’ imprisonment in September 2008. Although Zhonggong is not officially classified as a cult, it is often targeted in anti-cult propaganda, and one of the defendants in the Donggang case, Gong Shaohong (宫绍洪), was convicted on cult charges. (The other six leaders in this case were sentenced for illegal business activities.)

Prosecutors accused Gong of compiling and editing three banned books that “rejected atheism,” widely cited Zhang Hongbao’s theories, and “spread apocalyptical rumors.” Over 6,000 copies of these books were sold as teaching materials in 10 provinces, and the sales of all publications (including but not limited to the book) generated revenues exceeding 7 million yuan. Confessing to tax evasion and illegal business activity, Gong insisted that he was not involved in any cult activity. Nonetheless, he was convicted on all three charges and sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment, the longest known sentence for a Zhonggong leader.

After their release in 2011, some individuals involved in the Donggang case published online posts claiming that they were victims of forced confession. They said the charges were fabricated by a state security officer who confiscated and embezzled their book sale revenues. While admitting to practicing Zhonggong in the past, they claimed to have relinquished it soon after the national ban. They also stated in Gong Shaohong’s defense that his books aimed to cultivate love for the party and the nation.

Sentenced Zhonggong Leaders by Crime, 2004‒2008
Name Prison Sentence Release Date
Inciting Subversion
Li Zhanling 李占领 10 years 2014
Organizing a cult to undermine implementation of the law
Gong Shaohong 宫绍洪 † 15 years Apr 5, 2021
Illegal business activity
Wang Shujuan 王淑娟 6 years Nov 30, 2011
Yu Yongxiang 于永香 6 years Nov 30, 2011
Yu Yongfang 于永芳 ‡ 8 years Nov 25, 2014
Xi Yong 刁勇 5 years Nov 25, 2011
Gong Shaoying 宫绍英 5 years Nov 25, 2011
Guo Zhenfeng 郭振凤 Suspended --
† Gong Shaohong was also convicted of illegal business activity and tax evasion.
‡ Yu Yongfang was also convicted of tax evasion.

Post-2006: Lingering Influence

Internal frictions arising from Zhang Hongbao’s death in 2006 are believed to have further weakened Zhonggong’s influence in China, but Zhonggong groups continue to operate. Local government records still mention crackdowns on Zhonggong alongside suppression of Falun Gong and banned Christian groups such as Almighty God.

For example, in May 2010, two Zhonggong leaders from Hebei and Sichuan provinces were given admonitions for inviting nearly 500 practitioners from more than 10 provinces to join a secret gathering to celebrate the birthday of another Zhonggong master. A sentence for attempting “to illegally amass vast fortunes” was handed down to the man whose birthday was to be celebrated at a Buddhist temple in Wuxue City, Hubei.

In January 2011, Ningxia’s government website expounded upon the “reactionary” nature of Zhonggong. It proclaimed that Zhonggong founder Zhang Hongbao had a hidden agenda to turn qigong classes into another Whampoa Military Academy. (The academy produced a number of prominent mainland Chinese revolutionary leaders from its founding in 1924 until it was relocated to Taiwan in 1950.) The article also stated that Zhang urged his followers to be independent of the party’s control and to listen to Zhonggong’s US headquarters. It said some members deemed Zhonggong’s ideology as the only cure to widespread corruption in China. In 2012, multiple townships in Hebei, Hunan, Shanxi, and Sichuan provinces released anti-Zhonggong directives on their government websites.

The most recently published Zhonggong case involved ESS charges. In 2013, the Hubei High People’s Court sentenced a Zhonggong leader surnamed Wang to three years’ imprisonment for inciting subversion. The court found that Wang had organized two Zhonggong training courses for nearly 40 practitioners in Zhangjiajie and Xiangtan, Hunan. Participants paid 1,200 yuan for each of the courses during which Wang made “slanderous” remarks about the party. (He described it as a “demon” and a corrupt regime that murdered many people during the Cultural Revolution). Witnesses confirmed that Wang gave lectures on how the party persecuted Zhonggong and Zhang Hongbao. In addition to circulating the Nine Commentaries, a banned Falun Gong publication, Wang was also said to have distributed Charter 08, the political manifesto that largely led to the imprisonment of Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo (刘晓波), and materials about June Fourth. At his home, Wang was found to have saved 21 copies of Falun Gong documents on multiple electronic devices.

Zhonggong is officially “harmful,” but the grounds for its stigmatization are not entirely clear. Is the group too religious or superstitious? Is it violent or fraudulent? Or is it merely defiant? Official media have set the tone by reporting on sensational Zhonggong cases and individuals but could it be, as public records show, that the problem with Zhonggong is not that it is harmful, but that it is political?  

[1] The Chinese names of the “14 harmful qigong groups” are: 1. 中华养生益智功(简称中功)2. 香功 3. 菩提功 4.元极功 5. 华藏功 6. 中华昆仑女神功 7. 人宇特能功 8. 三三九乘元功 9. 日月气功 10. 万法归一功 11. 慈悲功 12. 沈昌人体科技 13. 一通健康法 14. 中国自然特异功。(Source: Meishan Daily)     top

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Identifying Cult Organizations in China

After a killing by alleged "cult" members, Xinhua published an article on the "truth" about cults in China. Image credit:

Chinese media scrambled to identify “cult” organizations after a woman was reportedly beaten to death by six members of Almighty God at a McDonald’s restaurant in Zhaoyuan, Shandong, on May 28, 2014. Almighty God (also called Real God Church or Eastern Lightning) was outlawed as a cult in November 1995 by the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party and State Council. As recently as December 2012, the group made headlines when hundreds of members were detained for spreading rumors of apocalypse.

Back in 1995, the Central Committee, State Council, and Ministry of Public Security identified at least 13 groups as cult organizations. Eleven of them were Christian and two were Buddhist. After the McDonald’s killing earlier this year, at least three “cult” lists began circulating online. The longest list names 20 organizations and was compiled by the China Anti-Cult Association (CACA), whose website calls the group a volunteer-run humanitarian nonprofit. The CACA says the list was drawn up by experts in technology, law, and religion.

Major Cult Organizations Identified by CACA

Name Category Founder Year & Place Founded Scale & Influence
Falun Gong
Qigong Li Hongzhi
1992 Jilin Believed to be the largest “cult” identified by the CACA, particularly active in Shandong and northeastern China.
Almighty God
Christian (Shouters offshoot) Zhao Weishan
1989 Henan Estimated to have millions of followers nationwide.
Christian Li Changshou
1962 US Introduced to China in 1979, by 1983 it had up to 200,000 followers across 360 counties and cities in 20 provinces and autonomous regions.
Society of Disciples
Christian Ji Sanbao
1989 Yao County, Shaanxi More than 350,000 followers across over 300 counties in 14 provinces as of 1995.
Unification Church
Christian Mun Son-myong
1954 South Korea Believed to be active among ethnic Koreans in northeast China.
Guanyin Famen
Buddhist Shi Qinghai
1988 Taiwan Introduced to mainland China in 1992, it had 500,000 followers across over 20 provinces at its peak.
Bloody Holy Spirit
Christian (New Testament Church offshoot) Zuo Kun
1988 Taiwan Introduced to China in 1987, it has been active in 20 provinces and municipalities.
Full Scope Church
Christian Xu Yongze
1984 Pingdingshan, Henan Tens of thousands of followers across over 88 counties in 15 provinces and autonomous regions as of 1991.
Three Kinds of Servants Sect
Christian Xu Wenku
1986 Henan Claimed to have a million members, most in Anhui, Sichuan, and northeast provinces.
True Buddha School
Buddhist Lu Shengyan
1979 US Introduced to China in 1988, it was once active in 13 provinces and municipalities
Mainland China Administrative Deacon Station
Christian (Shouters offshoot) Wang Yongmin
1994 Anhui Over a thousand followers in Anhui, Jiangsu, and Henan as of April 1995.
Source: CACA, Dui Hua. Note: The other nine groups identified as cults by CACA are: Spirit Sect (灵灵教), South China Church (华南教会), Established King (被立王), Lord God Sect (主神教) (as recently as 2012 three women in Guangxi were sent to prison for their involvement with this group), World Elijah Evangelic Mission (世界以利亚福音宣教会), Yuandun Famen (圆顿法门), New Testament Church (新约教会), Dami Mission (达米宣教会), and Children of God (天父的儿女).

Under Article 300 of the Criminal Law, individuals who participate in cult organizations may be charged with “organizing/using a cult to undermine implementation of the law” and face prison sentences of 3-7 years. According to a joint interpretation issued by the Supreme People’s Court and Supreme People’s Procuratorate in 1999, cult crimes can be applied when one “resists group bans by relevant departments, resumes banned groups, establishes other sects, or continues [illegal] activities.”

Falun Gong

Falun Gong is perhaps the one group identified by Chinese authorities as a cult that is most well-known inside and outside China. It is also the first group on the CACA list. Falun Gong practitioners faced severe persecution in the decade after the qigong group was outlawed by the central government in 1999. But in recent years, police and courts have generally imposed fewer arrests and less severe punishments. According to Dui Hua’s Political Prisoner Database (PPDB), the number of Falun Gong prisoners known or believed to be in custody has nearly halved since 2009 (see table below).

Documented Falun Gong Prisoners
Year No.
2009 4,139
2010 3,845
2011 3,121
2012 2,675
2013 2,369
2014 2,201
Source: Dui Hua. All figures are as of December 31 except 2014 which is as of June 30.

Falun Gong is perhaps the one group identified by Chinese authorities as a cult that is most well-known inside and outside China. It is also the first group on the CACA list. Falun Gong practitioners faced severe persecution in the decade after the qigong group was outlawed by the central government in 1999. But in recent years, police and courts have generally imposed fewer arrests and less severe punishments. According to Dui Hua’s Political Prisoner Database (PPDB), the number of Falun Gong prisoners known or believed to be in custody has nearly halved since 2009 (see table below).

Almighty God

As mentioned previously, there was a spike in arrests of Almighty God adherents in December 2012. According to Legal Evening News, more than 1,300 people across 16 provinces had been detained for propagating rumors of impending apocalypse during that month. The majority (800) of the people detained were apprehended in Qinghai and Guizhou. A Xinhua news report from June 2014 says that Ningxia police had detained more than 1,000 members of Almighty God since 2012 and that Liaoning police had arrested 113 leading members since 2013.

Official sources say that there are millions of Almighty God members nationwide and characterize most members as under-educated rural women around age 50. With the exception of Henan Province, which publicizes most of its court verdicts online, most jurisdictions do not report the names of people detained in Almighty God cases. That said, according to Southern Weekly, of the 161 Almighty God verdicts published online nationwide, 109 were in Henan and 134 involved violations of Article 300. Among the 134 Article 300 cases, which involved 335 defendants, the lengthiest sentence was eight years’ imprisonment, handed down to only one defendant. Most defendants were sentenced to three years’ imprisonment or above, and one third of defendants received suspended sentences. Defense lawyers participated in only one third of these 134 criminal cases.

Shouters, Society of Disciples, and Spirit Sect

The Shouters lost much of its popularity when it splintered into several groups including Almighty God. Both it and the Society of Disciples reported having hundreds of thousands of followers in the 1980s or early 1990s. Before Article 300 made it into the Criminal Law in 1997, many leaders of the Shouters and Society of Disciples were convicted of “organizing/using a sect or feudal superstition to carry out counterrevolutionary activities,” indicating a political bent to their persecution.

Unlike the groups mentioned above, Spirit Sect is not prominently featured on the CACA list. However, Dui Hua has discovered Spirit Sect verdicts on Chinese court websites that are more recent than those of the Shouters and Society of Disciples. The PPDB has information on 25 Spirit Sect members sentenced for cult activities since 2013, compared to only eight members of the Shouters and Society of Disciples combined. (This may indicate that the Spirit Sect is more active or visible or that there is a difference in public reporting regarding these groups due to divergent local practices or otherwise.)

Common among verdicts for all three groups is that the vast majority of defendants are sentenced to three years’ imprisonment or lesser punishments and that Article 300 is not always applied. A number of defendants are sentenced to administrative punishments or are released after receiving “education.”

Breakdown of Sentences in PPDB, since 2013

Sentence Group
Shouters Society of Disciples Spirit Sect
Suspended 1
2 years 3
2.5 years 14
3 years 3 14
3.5 years 1 2
4 years 1 1
5+ years 1 1
Unknonwn 1
Source: Dui Hua

Other Christian Sects

Cases involving other Christian sects are much less reported in official media sources today. Throughout the 2000s, Full Scope Church, Three Kinds of Servants Sect, and Bloody Holy Spirit were identified in government records as police targets, but the PPDB contains no sentencing information on members of any of these groups since 2010.

Information about Mainland China Administrative Deacon Station is even scarcer. Dui Hua research indicates that the sect remained active in Anhui at least until 2002—seven years after it was outlawed by the Central Committee and State Council. In 2002, two of the group’s leaders Teng Binglian (腾丙连) and Wang Qishu (王启书) were detained for investigation, but the outcome of their case is unknown.

Originating in South Korea, Unification Church is believed to have some influence among ethnic Koreans in northeast China, but as of this writing, no one in China is known to have been convicted for joining this sect. Unification Church is often characterized in official narratives as a source of foreign infiltration largely because its overseas connections are at odds with the “three selfs” principles of China’s officially sanctioned religion: self-governance, self-support, and self-propagation. (Read Uncovering China’s Korean Christians for more information about Korean Christian groups in China.)

Buddhist Sects

Guanyin Famen (GYFM) and True Buddha School are highly commercialized Buddhist groups marketed on healthy practices like vegetarianism and meditation. Although both are frequently listed in local records as inspection targets, no one affiliated with True Buddha School is known to have received prison sentences as of this writing.

GYFM appears to be more suppressed. The PPDB has information on over two dozen GYFM members detained mostly between 1996 and 2005. The most recent conviction reported in Chinese media was in 2012. Two members from Jilin were sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment for purchasing 2,600 copies of “cult” books. (Read The Cult of Buddha for more information about Buddhist sects.)

More than 20?

The CACA only lists 20 cult organizations nationwide, but Dui Hua has discovered official documents in which local public security offices refer to other groups as cults. Chinese authorities may deem the size and reach of these organizations to be too small to warrant calling them out on the national level. But it is also the case that some local authorities apply different metrics to determine whether groups meet the criteria of a cult: “deifying leaders, deceiving people, and spreading superstitions and heretical beliefs.”

For example, Kindness Sect (恩惠教) was declared a heretical organization in Urumqi in November 1999, but Dui Hua has not found information about the group’s activities in other locations. Active for two years in rural Xinjiang since its founding in 1997, the sect was led by former assistant village head Pan Wei (潘卫). Official sources say that Pan became fervently involved in illegal religious activities after meeting a Korean American missionary in China. From 1997‒1999, Pan and the missionary attended underground meetings in Harbin and organized 30 house-church gatherings throughout Xinjiang. No information on criminal punishments related to the sect has been discovered.

In January 1997 the Henan Public Security Bureau banned China Gospel Fellowship (中华福音团契). Headquartered in Tanghe County, the group allegedly spread ideas that its followers could cure illnesses without medicine and that non-members would go to hell. In 2005 over 80 members were detained in Chengcheng County, Shaanxi. Most were released after receiving “education.” Dui Hua has learned of just one conviction of a China Gospel Fellowship member, but it was a suspended sentence, handed down to He Guangming (何光明) by the Henan’s Xiayi County People’s Court in 2002.

Since 2011, local governments in several provinces including Guizhou, Jiangxi, and Zhejiang have explicitly stated that Amitabha Society (静空学会) is a cult. Despite winning multiple honorary awards overseas, founder Chin Kung (净空), a naturalized Australian citizen born in Anhui in 1927, stands accused by local governments of “deifying” himself through cultural exchanges, trainings, and publications. Expanding into more than 30 provinces since it was introduced to China in the 1990s, Amitabha was initially well-received among religious officials. In February 1998, academic journal Jianghuai Cultural History lauded Chin Kung as a benevolent philanthropist and patriot who supported “the peaceful unification of the motherland.” Today, official sources often accuse Chin Kung of overseas religious infiltration.

Although Amitabha is frequently mentioned in official records of campaigns against cults and foreign or religious infiltration, none of the individual cases Dui Hua has found have resulted in convictions of cult crimes. Most cases result in property confiscations rather than severe criminal punishments. The only individual known to have been imprisoned in connection with Amitabha is Lin Lidong (林立东), who was sentenced to five years in prison for “illegal business activity” around 2005. Official sources say Lin produced a large number of Chin Kung audio materials and “colluded with Amitabha overseas.”

There appears to be consensus on the existence of 20 cults in China, but the number of groups that are being targeted in anti-cult campaigns is greater in number and varies from place to place. Although it was a violent incident that sparked the recent uptick in Chinese media reports on cult organizations, Dui Hua research indicates that violence is only rarely involved in cases involving these organizations.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Outside Beijing: Official June Fourth Accounts (Part IV)

Protesters fill Guangzhou’s Haizhou Plaza on June 5, 1989. Photo credit: Guangzhou Yearbook 1990

Nationwide 1,602 individuals were imprisoned as a result of the unrest and counterrevolutionary rioting that occurred across China in the spring and summer of 1989, according to judicial records released in 2003 by the Hunan provincial government.[*] Hunan said it imprisoned the most people, accounting for 133, or 8.3 percent, of the “two disturbances” prisoners.

Most other provinces and municipalities have remained silent about these numbers, but in 2005 Shandong made public that its courts sentenced 81 people in 1989 for counterrevolution and “beating, smashing, and looting” during the political turmoil. Of these 81 people, 46 were sentenced to imprisonment of five years or more, two to death with two-year reprieve, and one to death with immediate execution.

This data in conjunction with data in Dui Hua’s Political Prisoner Database (PPDB) indicate that Shandong took a more hardline stance against two-disturbances prisoners than other provinces. The PPDB includes records of 20 such Shandong prisoners; 15 of whom were sentenced to at least 10 years in prison. In comparison, the PPDB shows that these lengthy sentences were handed down to only five of 11 two-disturbances prisoners in Guangdong.

External pressures, not the scale of the disturbances may be the key to this discrepancy. Protests were smaller in Shandong, but economic crisis and international pressure track with early releases in both places. Counterrevolutionary and violent cases in Shandong mostly occurred in the provincial capital of Jinan and the port city of Qingdao, but even in these cities protests stayed relatively small, according to available official information. While protests in the smaller cities of Harbin, Heilongjiang, and Yinchuan, Ningxia, saw demonstrations of 40,000 to 50,000 people in the spring and summer of 1989, Jinan’s largest demonstration peaked on May 21 at 9,000 people spread across several train stations throughout the city. On June 4, an average of 2,000 students protested across five cities: Jinan, Qingdao, Dongying, Taian and Liaocheng.

In Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong, 20,000 people joined May protests that were reportedly sparked by the 70th anniversary of the May Fourth Movement—a series of patriotic demonstrations triggered by the terms of the Treaty of Versailles that transferred Germany’s concessions in Shandong to Japan. After the killings in Beijing on June 4, 1989, tens of thousands of demonstrators blocked the Haizhu Bridge that crosses the Pearl River in Guangzhou, and “beating, smashing, and looting” ensued.

Some foreign governments responded to the killings and detentions with demands for greater human rights protections and clemency; some foreign businesses scaled back their investments. Having grown tremendously since the reform and opening in 1978, Guangdong felt keenly the loss of foreign investment. In this context, leaders in Guangdong eventually found it pragmatic to yield to demands for clemency. As early as 1992, three Hong Kong residents imprisoned in Guangdong were released on medical parole (see table). Within the first five years after 1989, at least four more prisoners received sentence reductions, parole, or medical parole.

Shandong avoided these pressures until the 1997 Asian financial crisis led to an exodus of the Korean firms, the largest investors in the province. After 1997, as Shandong attempted to appease western investors and stimulate economic recovery, at least eight prisoners were released early (see table).

Guangdong may have opted to serve less severe sentences because it was paying closer attention to its foreign friends from the start. Although the entire nation takes directives from the central party and government, regional differences cannot be ignored, then or now. Twenty-five years later June Fourth remains taboo for the state, but awareness about universal human rights is more widespread on the ground. Making interventions on behalf of human rights may seem like an endless and arduous journey, but there is evidence that these interventions make a difference when we narrow our focus, and seek to help individual prisoners.

June Fourth Prisoners in Shandong and Guangdong

Name Sentence Crime Clemency Release Date
Chen Lantao
18 yrs CR propaganda and incitement, gathering a crowd to disturb social order Released 7 yrs early 2000
Hao Fuyuan
10 yrs CR propaganda and incitement Released ~3 yrs early Jul 18, 1996
Hao Jinguang
11 yrs CR propaganda and incitement Released ~4 yrs early 1996
Jie Jinyu
6 yrs Unknown Jun 6, 1995
Li Haiyun
12 yrs CR propaganda and incitement Released ~2 yrs early 1999
Liu Yubin
3 yrs CR propaganda and incitement Jun 1992
Meng Qingqin
10 yrs CR propaganda and incitement Paroled Apr 26, 1997
Niu Shengchang
12 yrs Conspiring to overthrow the government 2001
Shan Zhenheng
3 yrs (RTL) Disturbing social order 1991
Shao Liangchen
Death with 2- yr reprieve Sabotaging transport and infrastructure Commuted to life (1992); reduced to 17 yrs (1994); reduced 42 mos (1998, 2000); reduced 1 yr (2002); medical parole (2004) 2004
Sun Baohe
Death Arson
Sun Weibang
12 yrs CR propaganda and incitement Released early 1999
Wang Furong (女)
王福荣 (F)
5 yrs Unknown 1994
Wang Lixin
10 yrs Sabotaging transport and infrastructure 1999
Wang Yong
10 yrs Sabotaging transport and infrastructure 1999
Zhang Jie
18 yrs CR propaganda and incitement, gathering a crowd to disrupt traffic Released early 2001
Zhang Xiaoxu
15 yrs CR propaganda and incitement Reduced 4 yrs (1994, 1996); paroled 1998
Zhang Xinchao
3 yrs CR propaganda and incitement 1992
Zhang Yafei
11 yrs CR propaganda and incitement 2001
Zheng Quanli
15 yrs Organizing/leading/actively participating in CR group Reduced 3 yrs (1994, 1997) 2001

Name Sentence Crime Clemency Release Date
Chen Pokong
3 yrs CR propaganda and incitement Jul 1992
Chen Zhixiang
10 yrs CR propaganda and incitement Sentence reduced 24 mos (1995) Nov 1995
Lo Hoi-sing
5 yrs Giving harbor and protection to criminals Medical parole 1991
Li Jiaoming
18 yrs Hooliganism, robbery Reduced 1 yr (1994), 1 yr (1998); commuted Sep 2004
Li Lung-hing
4 yrs Giving harbor and protection to criminals Medical parole 1992
Lin Songlin
8 yrs CR propaganda and incitement Deceased
Lai Pui-sing
5 yrs Giving harbor and protection to criminals Medical parole 1992
Liu Baiqiang
10 yrs Robbery Released 5 yrs early Jun 2001
Wu Jiandong
10 yrs Espionage Reduced 20 mos (1993), 24 mos (1995) Aug 1995
Yi Danxian
3yrs Robbery Released 11 mos early Aug 1991
Zhang Yi
13 yrs Espionage Reduced 15 mos (1992), 1 yr (1995), 1 yr (1996); commuted May 1998

* Hunan Records: Judicial and Administration Records, 1978-2002 湖南省志:司法行政志.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Outside Beijing: Official June Fourth Accounts (Part III)

Thousands of students gather in front of provincial government building in Harbin, Heilongjiang. Photo credit: Harbin Public Security History Record

In the spring of 1989, protests spread to townships and cities in China’s northernmost province of Heilongjiang. Some residents were encouraged to head to Beijing, while others took action closer to home. University students demonstrated in Jiamusi and Daqing on May 18 and 19. In Jiamusi, 5,200 students took the streets and attracted more than 10,000 onlookers. In Daqing, home to China’s largest oilfield, 700 students from Daqing Normal University protested. The unrest appears to have been tame. Even in the wake of the violence in Beijing on June 4, public security in these cities did not report any “beating, smashing, and looting.” Instead they reported scores of reactionary messages and slogans found on college campuses. Similarly, at a checkpoint bordering the Soviet Union in Hegang’s Luobei County, armed police confiscated hundreds of reactionary leaflets, photos, cassettes, Hong Kong newspaper clippings, poems, and speeches from local residents returning from their studies in Beijing.

The protests in the provincial capital of Harbin were larger and presumably more intense. Gaining momentum from the hunger strike in Beijing—said to have been started by 2,000 students demanding direct negotiation with the central government on May 13—a total of 100,000 Harbin residents took to the streets between May 15-19 with 40,000 people (including 80 hunger strikers) demonstrating on May 18 alone, according to government sources. Participation ebbed after martial law was declared in Beijing on May 20, with the number of protesters dropping to an average of 4,600 per day between May 21-28. By the end of the month, three-quarters of schools had resumed classes. The situation took another turn, however, after the killings in Beijing on June 4. Within days, a third of Harbin’s students joined strikes and set up barricades to paralyze traffic under the leadership of the Harbin University Student Federation of the Patriotic Democratic Movement (HUF). “Beating, smashing, and looting” began and continued until around June 17.

Among those detained for the “political turmoil” was Zhang Jianhua (张建华), a HUF leader and assistant professor at Shandong College of Civil Engineering and Architecture. He was detained on July 18, 1989. Eighteen months later, in January 1991, he was exempted from indictment on charges of disturbing social order and gathering a crowd to disturb traffic.

Not all detainees were students. By June 8, 1989, 38 members of the “Citizens’ Support Group,” later renamed the “Patriotic Dare-to-Die Brigade,” had been detained, and six group leaders went on trial that year. According to Heilongjiang Daily, the group comprised people recently released from prison, people who were unemployed, and “hooligans” who were “dissatisfied with the party and government.”

By June 28, the Harbin Public Security Bureau had arrested a total of 11 labor organizers. The municipal government identified the Harbin Workers’ Autonomous Federation (HWAF) as an illegal organization along with HUF and the Citizens’ Support Group in a notice it issued on June 15. Established on June 5, HWAF aimed to collaborate with students to organize workers’ strikes and demonstrations and to resist any military control that might have been imposed in Harbin, according to an unofficial account widely circulated online. Wu Renhua (吴仁华), a historian in exile in the United States, wrote that 1,000 workers from bearings factories and automotive plants joined the demonstrations in Harbin on June 7.

Harbin Local Party Organization Records: click to expand

Chapter Five Putting Down the 1989 Political Turmoil
Harbin Local Party Organization Records
(April 1999)

Between the spring and summer of 1989, the political turmoil that occurred in Beijing spread to Harbin. After mid-April, some students at some Harbin universities successively began to receive illegal propaganda mailed from Beijing. Individuals who claimed to be students from Beijing came to some universities to agitate, while posters with content like “Support the Beijing student movement” appeared in other universities, interfering with the normal order of the campuses.

On April 19, the Harbin Municipal Party Committee held a city-wide meeting with responsible people from relevant departments to convey the provincial party committee’s instructions “to pay attention to social trends and be vigilant for a few troublemakers” and “to pay attention to student tendencies and offer timely persuasion and education.” The committee also announced the establishment of the Emergent Incidents Prevention and Management Leading Small Group led by Deputy Municipal Party Secretary Zhang Delin and with Vice Mayor Fan Pengxu as one of the deputy heads. On April 27, the committee held a city-wide meeting with party and government leaders and cadres to convey the speeches by central leaders and the spirit embodied in the April 26 People’s Daily editorial titled “We Must Unequivocally Oppose Unrest.” On April 28, in accordance with the instructions of the provincial party committee, the municipal party committee established a Counter-turmoil Team led by Deputy Municipal Party Secretary Shan Rongfan. On April 30, nearly a thousand students from two universities protested near university campuses. They were dissuaded from doing so and quickly returned to school.

On May 13, some Beijing college students conducted sit-ins, hunger strikes, and petitions. On May 16, the municipal party committee held a city-wide meeting with party and government leaders and cadres to inform and communicate about the situation and to give instructions to “stabilize the situation, be persistent on positive persuasion, and avoid the intensification of conflicts.” The municipal party committee put forth a seven-point requirement for stabilizing the situation. It specifically required that party and government cadres obey a strict political discipline of “no onlooking, no donating, no supporting, and no participating.” The municipal party committee also required leaders and cadres at all levels to have a good grasp on stabilizing the situation and on [maintaining] production, work, and daily life. On the same day, the municipal party committee and municipal government held a meeting with cadres at the three levels of city, district, and street (township) requesting each district and street (township) to strengthen social control to prevent bad people from seizing the opportunity to reoffend. On May 18, nearly 40,000 people took the streets of Harbin, and more than 80 students gathered at the provincial government office and announced a hunger strike (later [the number of hunger strikers] gradually increased to nearly 200). Some students gave speeches on major streets in the city center, fundraised, and hung posters with information on the Beijing student movement. On May 19, nearly a thousand students charged the Harbin Railway Station, ready to forcefully board trains to Beijing to provide support.

After some students began to hunger strike, the municipal party committee and municipal government instructed the municipal health bureau director-general to take full responsibility for rescue work and required emergency centers to send 20 ambulances to ensure the safety and lives of the students. The No. 1 Provincial Hospital and the No. 2 Hospital of Harbin Medical University each provided 50 beds; doctors at every major hospital adjusted their shifts to prepare for any emergencies. On the same day, the municipal party committee met separately with party and government leaders and cadres from different branches, requiring them to righteously educate and counsel the branch offices, employees, teachers, and students to make every effort to control the development of events and to maintain the order of production, work, studies, and daily life with a firm focus on production and work. The municipal party committee also required public transport and business service departments to ensure normal operations and to ensure the normal supply of grain, oil, and other necessities. The education department was required to instruct primary and secondary students not to join the protests, not to engage in activities to support the movement, and to maintain the normal order of teaching. News and propaganda departments were asked to follow party principles and have a good grasp of propaganda directions. Public security departments were asked to concentrate on fighting itinerant criminals to ensure social security.

At 6pm on May 20, the day that martial law was declared in parts of Beijing, representatives of the “Students Autonomous Council,” who hailed from 12 Harbin universities, held a meeting and established an illegal organization called the “Harbin University Student Federation of the Patriotic Democratic Movement” (referred to below as “HUF”). They decided to carry out a city-wide university protest against martial law on May 21. At the same time, they decided to go to factories and enterprises to establish ties, to go to the city center to give speeches, to distribute propaganda, and to engage in a so-called “rouse up the people” campaign to gain sympathy and support from society. From May 21‒28, a total of 37,000 Harbin university students marched to the offices of the provincial party committee, provincial government, provincial people’s congress standing committee, and local garrison liaison office to petition, conduct a sit-in, and submit a Protest Memorandum and a Petition Letter. Student demonstrators and bystanders caused traffic jams on some roads. Some students also illegally set up “radio stations” to broadcast recordings of rumors and posted slogans and posters everywhere. On May 24, one university organized a “Dare-to-Die Brigade to Beijing” of 250 people to forcibly board train No. 138 bound for Beijing, causing a seven-hour train delay.

Starting on May 20, the municipal party committee organized all party members, cadres, and masses in the city to diligently study the important speeches made by Li Peng and Yang Shangkun on May 19, and declared that the central government’s spirit be used to unify ideology and direct action. On May 21, the municipal public security bureau caught nine criminals who were disturbing social order in the square in front of the provincial government’s office, [thus] deterring bad people. On May 22, the municipal government issued the Notice to City Residents expressing its hope that all students would “no longer demonstrate, strike, or petition” and would “resume normal campus order”; that all cadres and workers would “obey discipline, remain at their posts, work hard, work efficiently, and maintain the normal order of production and daily life”; that all city residents would “not believe or spread rumors or put up any banners or posters”; and that all police officers would “maintain the flow of traffic and social order” and “relentlessly strike against all illegal criminal activities.” On May 23, the municipal party committee held a city-wide meeting with leading party cadres to convey the instructions of the provincial party committee and to require leading cadres at all levels to handle affairs in accordance with the law, widely publicize the law, refuse to allow students to give speeches and to establish ties at factories and shops, take effective measures, and restore order as soon as possible. On the same day, leading members of the municipal party committee, municipal people’s congress standing committee, municipal government, municipal Chinese people’s political consultative conference, and municipal commission for discipline inspection were divided into eight groups to conduct thorough investigations of 29 major enterprises to assist in stability work.

On June 4, more than 8,000 students organized and commanded by HUF marched in protest on the streets of Harbin. On June 5, more than 8,000 students set up 132 roadblocks at 83 major junctions around the city. They used public electric buses to block traffic and caused blockages among 26 bus routes. Some students went downtown and incited labor strikes at the entrances of 15 large and medium-sized enterprises. Meanwhile, some criminals took the opportunity to set up illegal organizations, like the “Citizens’ Support Group” (later called the “Patriotic Dare-to-Die Brigade”) and “Harbin Workers’ Autonomous Council,” and commit other illegal activities like beating, smashing, and looting. Around the city, this caused 9.6 million people to be unable to go to work and nearly 100,000 factory workers to be unable to get to the factory on time, reducing the city’s output value by 60 million yuan and affecting nearly 10 million yuan in profit tax. Tensions surrounded the production and supply of grain, oil, vegetables, and other staple foods. By June 8, 20,000 students across the city (accounting for 36.7% of the total number of students) walked out of schools due to HUF’s incitement. In order to calm the turmoil, the municipal party committee conscientiously implemented the Party Central Committee and the State Council’s “Notice to All Communist Party Members and People across the Nation.” On June 6, the municipal party committee held a city-wide meeting with party and government leaders and cadres to inform and communicate about the situation. It required all factories and enterprises to unequivocally publicize the law and defend the labor rights of workers. After the situation had calmed down, the municipal party committee again called on all city residents to “quickly restore the normal order of production, to regain lost time and wealth, to effectively boost supply, and to take concrete actions to maintain overall peace and unity.” From June 7‒9, 200 vehicle trips and more than 5,000 people were sent to cleanup traffic barriers, to restore public transportation operations, and to remove all the posters on the streets. In accordance with the municipal party committee’s directive to “grasp trends, strike momentum, and prevent a situation,” public security organs first struck against and captured key members of some armed, illegal organizations that incited disturbances. On June 16, the municipal government issued the Notice on Banning Illegal Organizations and demanded that the leaders and key members of illegal organizations and people who committed illegal criminal acts register or surrender themselves to public security organs by June 23. Starting June 17, the key members of the illegal organizations successively registered with the public security organs. Thus, the political turmoil in Harbin was completely put down.

Chinese Source(原文):
“平息一九八九年政治风波”,《哈尔滨市志 中共地方组织》,第285-287页。
Click on icon to expand

《哈尔滨市志 中共地方组织》