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
Unknown
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: rbw.org.cn

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: xinhuanet.com

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
法轮功
Qigong Li Hongzhi
李洪志
1992 Jilin Believed to be the largest “cult” identified by the CACA, particularly active in Shandong and northeastern China.
Almighty God
全能神
Christian (Shouters offshoot) Zhao Weishan
赵维山
1989 Henan Estimated to have millions of followers nationwide.
Shouters
呼喊派
Christian Li Changshou
李常受
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
门徒会
Christian Ji Sanbao
季三保
1989 Yao County, Shaanxi More than 350,000 followers across over 300 counties in 14 provinces as of 1995.
Unification Church
统一教
Christian Mun Son-myong
文鲜明
1954 South Korea Believed to be active among ethnic Koreans in northeast China.
Guanyin Famen
观音法门
Buddhist Shi Qinghai
释清海
1988 Taiwan Introduced to mainland China in 1992, it had 500,000 followers across over 20 provinces at its peak.
Bloody Holy Spirit
血水圣灵
Christian (New Testament Church offshoot) Zuo Kun
左坤
1988 Taiwan Introduced to China in 1987, it has been active in 20 provinces and municipalities.
Full Scope Church
全范围教会
Christian Xu Yongze
徐永泽
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
三班仆人
Christian Xu Wenku
徐文库
1986 Henan Claimed to have a million members, most in Anhui, Sichuan, and northeast provinces.
True Buddha School
灵仙真佛宗
Buddhist Lu Shengyan
卢胜彦
1979 US Introduced to China in 1988, it was once active in 13 provinces and municipalities
Mainland China Administrative Deacon Station
中华大陆行政执事站
Christian (Shouters offshoot) Wang Yongmin
王永民
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

Shandong
Name Sentence Crime Clemency Release Date
Chen Lantao
陈兰涛
18 yrs CR propaganda and incitement, gathering a crowd to disturb social order Released 7 yrs early 2000
Hao Fuyuan
郝付元
10 yrs CR propaganda and incitement Released ~3 yrs early Jul 18, 1996
Hao Jinguang
郝劲光
11 yrs CR propaganda and incitement Released ~4 yrs early 1996
Jie Jinyu
解金玉
6 yrs Unknown Jun 6, 1995
Li Haiyun
李海云
12 yrs CR propaganda and incitement Released ~2 yrs early 1999
Liu Yubin
刘玉滨
3 yrs CR propaganda and incitement Jun 1992
Meng Qingqin
孟庆秦
10 yrs CR propaganda and incitement Paroled Apr 26, 1997
Niu Shengchang
钮盛昌
12 yrs Conspiring to overthrow the government 2001
Shan Zhenheng
单振衡
3 yrs (RTL) Disturbing social order 1991
Shao Liangchen
邵良臣
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
孙保河
Death Arson
Sun Weibang
孙维邦
12 yrs CR propaganda and incitement Released early 1999
Wang Furong (女)
王福荣 (F)
5 yrs Unknown 1994
Wang Lixin
王立新
10 yrs Sabotaging transport and infrastructure 1999
Wang Yong
王勇
10 yrs Sabotaging transport and infrastructure 1999
Zhang Jie
张杰
18 yrs CR propaganda and incitement, gathering a crowd to disrupt traffic Released early 2001
Zhang Xiaoxu
张霄旭
15 yrs CR propaganda and incitement Reduced 4 yrs (1994, 1996); paroled 1998
Zhang Xinchao
张新潮
3 yrs CR propaganda and incitement 1992
Zhang Yafei
张亚飞
11 yrs CR propaganda and incitement 2001
Zheng Quanli
郑全利
15 yrs Organizing/leading/actively participating in CR group Reduced 3 yrs (1994, 1997) 2001

Guangdong
Name Sentence Crime Clemency Release Date
Chen Pokong
陈破空
3 yrs CR propaganda and incitement Jul 1992
Chen Zhixiang
陈志祥
10 yrs CR propaganda and incitement Sentence reduced 24 mos (1995) Nov 1995
Lo Hoi-sing
罗海星
5 yrs Giving harbor and protection to criminals Medical parole 1991
Li Jiaoming
黎觉明
18 yrs Hooliganism, robbery Reduced 1 yr (1994), 1 yr (1998); commuted Sep 2004
Li Lung-hing
李龙庆
4 yrs Giving harbor and protection to criminals Medical parole 1992
Lin Songlin
林松林
8 yrs CR propaganda and incitement Deceased
Lai Pui-sing
黎沛成
5 yrs Giving harbor and protection to criminals Medical parole 1992
Liu Baiqiang
刘柏强
10 yrs Robbery Released 5 yrs early Jun 2001
Wu Jiandong
吴健东
10 yrs Espionage Reduced 20 mos (1993), 24 mos (1995) Aug 1995
Yi Danxian
易丹轩
3yrs Robbery Released 11 mos early Aug 1991
Zhang Yi
张益
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。
发布日期:1999年4月
http://218.10.232.41:8080/was40/detail?record=108&channelid=50196&presearchword=
Click on icon to expand


第五节平息一九八九年政治风波
《哈尔滨市志 中共地方组织》

1989年春夏之交,北京发生的政治风波波及到哈尔滨市。4月中旬以后,哈尔滨部分大专院校有些学生陆续接到寄自北京的非法宣传品。有的院校有自称来自北京的学生到校进行鼓动。有的院校内出现“声援北京学生运动”等内容的大小字报,使正常的校园秩序受到干扰。

4月19日,市委召开全市有关部门负责人会议,传达省委关于“注意社会动向,警惕少数人闹事”、“注意学生动向,及时做好疏导、教育工作”的指示,宣布成立市委预防处理突发事件领导小组,由市委副书记张德邻任组长,副市长范鹏绪等任副组长。4月27日,市委召开全市党政领导干部会议,传达中央领导人的讲话和《人民日报》4月26日社论《必须旗帜鲜明地反对动乱》的精神。4月28日,根据省委的指示,市委成立反动乱小组,由市委副书记单荣范任组长。4月30日,两所大学近千名学生在校园附近游行,经劝阻迅即返校。

5月13日,北京部分高校学生在天安门广场静坐、绝食、请愿。5月16日,市委召开全市党政领导干部大会,通报情况,传达省委关于“稳定局势,坚持正面疏导,不使矛盾激化”的指示,市委对稳定局势提出7点要求,特别是要求党政机关干部“不围观、不募捐、不声援、不参与”,并且作为一条严格的政治纪律。市委还要求各级领导干部坚持一手抓稳定局势,一手抓好生产、工作和生活。同日,市委、市政府召开市、区、街(乡)三级干部会议,要求各区、街(乡)加强控制社会面,防止坏人乘机重新犯罪。18日,全市有近4万人上街游行示威,有80多名学生在省政府门前宣布绝食(以后陆续增加到近200人)。有些学生还在市区中心街道演讲、募捐和张贴大小字报,传播北京学潮的消息。5月19日,有近千名学生冲击哈尔滨火车站,准备强行登车进京声援。

哈尔滨市出现学生绝食的情况之后,市委、市政府为保证这些学生的生命安全,责成市卫生局局长全面负责救护工作,要求市急救中心出动20辆急救车,省第一医院和医科大学附属第二医院各腾出50张病床,市属各主要医院调整值班医生,做好各项急救准备。同日,市委分别召开各系统党政领导干部会议,要求各系统、各单位理直气壮地做好本系统、本单位职工、师生的教育工作和疏导工作,尽全力控制事态发展,维护好生产、工作、学习和生活的秩序,坚定不移地抓好生产和工作。要求公共交通和商业服务部门保证公共交通正常运营,保证粮油和生活必需品的正常供应。要求教育部门教育中小学生不上街游行,不搞声援活动,保证正常教学秩序。要求新闻宣传部门坚持党性原则,把握好舆论导向。要求公安部门集中打击流窜犯罪分子,保证社会安全。

5月20日北京部分地区实行戒严后,当日晚6时,哈尔滨的12所院校“自治会”的代表开会,成立非法组织“哈尔滨市高等学校学生爱国民主运动联合会”(以下简称“哈高联”),决定于5月21日举行全市高校抗议戒严大游行。同时决定,到工厂企业串联,到市中心地区进行街头演讲、散发宣传品,搞所谓“唤起民众”的活动,以争取社会的同情和支持。从5月21—28日,全市大学生有3.7万人次上街游行,到省委、省政府、省人大常委会和驻军机关门前请愿、静坐,递交《抗议书》、《请愿书》。由于学生游行和群众围观,造成部分路段交通堵塞。有些学生还非法设立“广播站”,播放谣言的录音,到处张贴标语和大小字报。5月24日,一大学“学生自治会”组织250人的“赴京敢死队”强行登上开往北京的138次列车,造成列车晚点7个小时。

从5月20日起,市委组织全市广大党员、干部和群众认真学习李鹏、杨尚昆5月19日的重要讲话,要求用中央精神统一思想,指导行动。5月21日,市公安局在省政府门前广场,抓获9名扰乱社会秩序的违法犯罪分子,震慑了坏人。5月22日,市政府发布《告市民书》,希望广大同学“不要再游行示威、罢课、请愿”,“恢复正常的校园秩序”;广大干部、职工要“遵守纪律,坚守岗位,做好工作,搞好生产,维护正常的生产和生活秩序”,全体市民“不要听信和传播谣言,不张贴标语、大小字报”;广大干警“要维护好交通秩序、社会秩序”,“严厉打击一切违法犯罪活动”。5月23日,市委召开全市党员领导干部会议,传达省委的指示,要求各级领导干部依法办事,广泛宣传法律,拒绝学生进工厂和商店讲演、串联,采取有力措施,尽快恢复各项秩序。当天,市委、市人大常委会、市政府、市政协和市纪委的领导成员分成8个小组,分别深入29个重点企业,帮助做好稳定工作。

6月4日,全市有8000多名学生在“哈高联”的组织指挥下,上街游行。6月5日,有8000多名学生在全市83个主要路口设置路障132处,用公共电汽车封锁交通,使26条线路全部停运。部分学生还到市内15个大中型企业门前,煽动罢工罢市。与此同时,一些不法分子乘机活动,先后成立“市民声援团”(后改为“爱国敢死队”)、“哈尔滨市工人自治会”等非法组织,乘机进行打、砸、抢等违法活动。致使全市9.6万人不能上班,近10万人不能按时到厂,全市减少产值6000万元,影响利税近1000万元。全市粮油、蔬菜等主副食品的生产和供应,一度出现紧张状况。在“哈高联”的煽动下,到6月8日全市有两万名学生(占学生总数的36.7%)离开学校。为平息风波,市委认真贯彻执行中共中央、国务院《告全体共产党员和全国人民书》。市委于6月6日召开全市党政领导干部大会,通报情况,要求各工厂企业理直气壮地宣传法律,捍卫职工的劳动权益。在局势恢复平静以后,市委又号召全市人民“迅速恢复正常的生产秩序,把丢掉的时间抢回来,把损失的财富夺回来,把有效的供应搞上去,以实际行动维护安定团结的大局”。6月7—9日,全市出动200辆车次、5千多人次,清理交通隔离桩,恢复公共交通线路,清除街头上的大小字报。公安机关按照市委“抓苗头,打势头,不使其成气候”的指示,首先打击身带凶器、煽动闹事的一些非法组织,收审其骨干分子。6月16日,市政府发出《关于取缔非法组织的通告》,要求非法组织的头头、骨干分子和有违法犯罪行为的人于6月23日前到公安机关登记或投案自首。从6月17日起,非法组织的骨于分子陆续到公安机关登记。至此,发生在哈尔滨市的政治风波完全平息。


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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Outside Beijing: Official June Fourth Accounts (Part II)

Workers supporting student protest in Beijing. Source: Internet image.

In most official narratives of the “counterrevolutionary rioting” in 1989, workers are portrayed as passive participants instigated by student rioters and uninformed of the “truth.” While government suppression was carried out in the name of restoring social order and safeguarding the right to work for tens of thousands of working class people, workers had reason to be discontent. Affected by the privatization of state-run enterprises, a key element of Deng Xiaoping’s economic reform since 1978, they questioned why factory cadres held on to management posts while they were first to be laid off. Many worried about mass shutdowns and complained that their pay rises failed to match inflation, which the Hong Kong Monetary Authority says rose close to 30 percent in 1989.

The formation of workers’ federations in 1989, albeit short-lived, represented the first non-Communist Party affiliated, large-scale, grassroots effort to defend labor rights since the founding of “new China” in 1949. For example, the Beijing Workers’ Autonomous Federation, established on May 19, boasted 10,000 members. It supplied student protesters with medicine, food, and water and formed its own “dare-to-die brigades” to prevent the army from entering Beijing.

In other cities similar workers’ federations were set up spontaneously to coordinate strikes and protests, several of which turned violent. (Reports from unofficial sources claim that dozens of people were executed for their involvement in these protests, most of whom were workers.) One of the most violent workers’ protests took place at the Xiangtan Electrical Machinery Plant in Hunan Province. Unofficial media reported that more than 1,000 workers protested after one worker was injured by security staff. At least half a dozen workers were arrested and sentenced to long terms in prison. Chen Gang (陈刚) was sentenced to death with two-year reprieve, while Peng Shi (彭实), Liu Zhihua (刘智华), and Liu Jian (刘健) were sentenced to life imprisonment. All of them were convicted of hooliganism—a crime that was removed from China’s Criminal Law in 1997. As a result of international pressure from governments and civil society actors including Dui Hua, most of these workers sentenced for their involvement in the Xiangtan protest received sentence reductions. Chen and Peng were released in 2004 after serving 15 years in prison, while Liu Zhihua was released in 2009 after serving 20 years. The fate of Liu Jian remains unknown.

Not all strikes organized by workers in response to the suppression of the Beijing protests were dealt with as harshly as the Xiangtan shutdown. The account below vividly recounts what happened at Hefei Steel Company, one of Anhui Province’s largest state-owned factories, on June 7, 1989. In that instance, government information confirms that several young workers—ranging in age from 18 to 36—involved in the disturbances were dealt no more than short sentences of reeducation through labor (RTL).

Prisoner Sex Birth year Punishment
Ding Hua
(丁华)
M 1971 Released after receiving "education"
Huang Dezhen
(黄德珍)
F 1953 Sentenced to 1 year RTL for disturbing social order
Lin Hua
(林华)
M 1965 Released after receiving "education"
Liu Zhu
(刘柱)
M 1970 Released after receiving "education," sentenced to 1 year RTL for larceny in September 1990.
Lü Weizhong
(吕卫中)
M 1966 Sentenced to 1 year RTL for injuring a police officer

Two of the workers named in the Anhui Daily account, Huang Dezhen and Zhang Xuezhi (张学芝), are women. Women were disproportionately affected by privatization and earned lower wages for the same work. Women also faced employment discrimination in part due to government propaganda stressing that their main role was in the family, not economic production. To this day women continue to face workplace discrimination as evidenced by, among other things, the enforcement of an earlier retirement age.



Anhui Daily - The Whole Story of Hefei Steel’s June 7 Incident : click to expand

Ironclad Proof Beijing’s Counterrevolutionary Riots Were Coordinated
The Whole Story of Hefei Steel’s June 7 Incident

Anhui Daily
August 12, 1989

The student uprising and turmoil was like an epidemic that spread from the national capital in Beijing to [Anhui’s] provincial capital in Hefei.

After the counterrevolutionary rioting in Beijing in early June of this year, the illegal organizations Hefei “Students’ Autonomous Federation” [SAF] and “Workers’ Autonomous Federation” [WAF] planned a coordinated action with Beijing to block traffic, surround and block factories, incite workers to strike, and, above all, spearhead an attack on the Hefei Steel Company. During the disturbances, a small number of lawbreakers started rumors and incited people at this large-scale, principal enterprise in Hefei, poisoning public sentiment and causing two serious incidents that had a terrible influence.

Lying on the Track Forces Blast Furnace to Stop Production

On June 6, traffic was stopped in Hefei by a roadblock at the intersection of Huizhou Road and Wuhu Road. In the afternoon, the group of students from the Anhui Institute of Chinese Medicine who had set up the roadblock and caused the disturbance started to make their way back to school. When they passed the provincial college of education, a student leader accepted the task from the SAF to help students from Hefei Polytechnic University block the main entrances to Hefei Steel the following day.

On the morning of June 7, three of the main entrances to Hefei Steel’s No. 1 Factory District were blocked by crowds of students from Hefei Polytechnic. At the time, a student leader from the Anhui Institute of Chinese Medicine rushed over with about 80 fellow students to act as “reinforcements.” When they saw that the entrances were already blocked, they went to the intersection of the road near Hefei Steel’s Workshop No. 250. There they gave speeches and showed so-called “color photos of the suppression of students in Beijing,” thereby starting rumors and confusing the crowd. Some of the onlookers suggested that the students go to the No. 2 Factory District. Zhou Jun, the on-duty supervisor of the No. 2 blast furnace in the company’s ironworks, came out of the crowd and led this group of students to the site of the No. 2 Factory District, where they gathered in anticipation. At the entrance to the No. 2 Factory District, Zhou Jun, with ulterior motives and fearful that someone would recognize him, told the students to take off their black armbands and white flowers and roll up their banner. After that, he took three student leaders on a back road straight to the company’s ironworks. Underneath the elevated railway line that led to the blast furnace, he told the students: “You go up above, and I’ll head back.” He then quickly took off. At 9:45 in the morning, the students from the Anhui Institute of Chinese Medicine climbed up and lay down on the elevated railway, thereby interrupting the flow of materials to the three blast furnaces.

At noon, the broadcasting station that had been seized by students on the campus of Hefei Polytechnic sent out a broadcast asking a certain student leader to lead students to Hefei Steel to act as reinforcements. After the student leader heard the broadcast, he immediately gathered more than 20 students from his school, stopped a vehicle, and got a ride to the company’s No. 1 Factory District. Some students told them to go to the [No. 2] Factory District and help the students from the Institute of Chinese Medicine block the railway. On Heyu Road, they stopped a vehicle and got a ride to the No. 2 Factory District. At around 2 p.m., they found the students from the Chinese Medicine Institute where they were blocking the elevated railway to the blast furnace. At the same time, the conveyor belt transporting molten iron that was produced in the blast furnace from the ironworks to the No. 2 Steel Mill’s 20-ton converter was blocked, causing a delay of materials to the converter.

During this time, leaders from the Hefei Steel Company, its ironworks, and the No. 2 Steel Mill, as well as security personnel and school leaders went to the scene on several occasions and tried to persuade the students to stop. It wasn’t until after 5 p.m. that the students finally withdrew from the scene. During this whole incident, the blast furnace had been forced to stop production for 9 hours and 50 minutes, resulting in direct economic losses of 104,469 yuan.

Attack on Hefei Steel’s Special Police Unit

Hefei residents perhaps still remember that there was a rumor going around the city during the turmoil in early June that “Hefei Steel’s special police unit beat students and stole money.” Even some well-meaning people once asked about this. But what really happened? Let’s turn the “camera lens” back to the disturbances of the day!

On June 7, dozens of students from Hefei Polytechnic locked the No. 3 Entrance to the Hefei Steel Company. Thousands of workers and students were stuck on either side of the gate and could not go to work or class. The crowds started to criticize these students. At around 3 p.m., the students saw that their incitement was yielding no results and shouted the slogans, “Overthrow colonial slavery, overthrow the lackies,” and then withdrew from the No. 3 Entrance. Just then, a university student took an unsealed “donations box” and put it on the windowsill of the gate’s sentry post and said, “We’re returning this, we don’t want it.” On-duty workers from the steel company stood in front of the crowd of spectators and counted the 26.30 yuan in the box, then sealed it and instructed someone to safeguard it.

Unexpectedly, a female worker named Zhang Xuezhi who worked in a large collective in one of the company’s mid-sized factories took what had been a very clear situation and muddied it. She jumped up and started the rumor that “the people’s police rob people.” Assistant foreman Guo Zhijun of the company’s first rolling plant and worker Zhang Yingmu heard this rumor and pointed and shouted at the on-duty guard at the gate. Afterwards, Guo Zhijun returned to his team with a group of workers who didn’t know the truth. Entering the No. 3 Entrance, he made the inflammatory statement: “The special police unit beats people and say that workers at our first rolling plant are the ones who beat people.” Zhang Yingmu said, “Anyone who leaves is a coward,” and encouraged the workers not to leave the scene.

At around 3:40, Qian Jiarui, a worker in the ironworks’ sintering workshop who had been previously sentenced to three years’ imprisonment for bodily assault with a knife, went from being a rowdy onlooker at the No. 3 Entrance to locking the door of the No. 1 Entrance. He then got into a car and led the students who were preparing to return to school back to the No. 3 Entrance, shouting as he went, “The special police unit beats people! The special police unit beats people!” thereby poisoning and confusing the minds of the students and crowds laying siege to the No. 3 Entrance. At that time, Zhang Xuezhi smashed the glass of the No. 3 Entrance sentry post with her right hand, causing her hand to bleed. She then put her bleeding hand over the “donations box” and shouted nonsensically, “Blood has been spilled.” Just then, Guo Zhijun went back to the steel mill, stood in the midst of the workers and incited them by saying, “The special police unit beats people and steals their money.” He then took a piece of white cloth from a woman and wrote on it, “All Hefei Steel workers are on strike,” and prepared to lead the people to the security area to demonstrate. Guo was blocked by the factory leaders, but several people who didn’t know the truth went ahead and rushed to the security area to demonstrate, shouting wildly “Support the students, punish the murderers.” Then, the group of people at the No. 3 Entrance sentry post who had been incited, including Zhang Yingmu, Zhang Xuezhi, Qian Jiarui, and Huang Dezhen together with students and a part of the crowd rushed into the courtyard of the security area. Huang Dezhen stood in front of the comrades of the special police unit and spread the rumor: “The special police unit beats people and steals their money. I saw it with my own eyes. They stole 800 yuan. It was Li from Tangchong who did it.” Yu Qingjun, the organizer of the self-proclaimed “Patriotic Corps,” personally went to the security area courtyard and made contact with the students who were then broadcasting speeches. The students broadcast for him a notification to workers to take to the streets and demonstrate. At around 8 p.m., Yu Qingjun led a group of workers and students in a demonstration at the municipal government square. Someone notified the illegal “Voice of the People’s Broadcasting Station,” who then broadcast the rumor that “The special police unit of Hefei Steel Company beat students and stole their money,” a rumor whose influence spread throughout society.

That evening at 11:30, it rained. The workers who were demonstrating at the entrances to alleyways in the city stopped a car and got a ride to the Shu Guang Movie Theater. There they got out of the car and met up with Lin Bin, one of leaders of the WAF and other leaders of the federation, as well as groups of demonstrating students. They went together to the Hefei Steel Company and ran directly toward the special police unit, shouting, “Crush the Hefei Steel special police unit.” Unemployed worker Ding Hua, who had previously received several public security punishments for fighting and theft, along with more than 20 others smashed and pushed over police cars parked in the courtyard. When the police cars were overturned, Ding Hua and others smashed out their windows. After that, these lawbreakers rushed to the door of the special police unit, tore off its placard, flung it to the ground, stamped on it, and smashed it. Just then, someone instigated [the crowd] by saying: “Severely punish the murderer. Go to Tangchong and find this ‘Big Cannon Li.’” Reeducation-through-labor (RTL) escapee Liu Zhu, ex-RTL inmate Lü Weizhong, and close to 20 other people joined the group of students. This group was led to Tangchong by a female worker. At around 1 a.m., they called for the sleeping Li Xuchang, a member of Hefei Steel Company’s special police unit, to come out of his house. They made false charges against him for beating students and then pushed, beat, and insulted comrade Li Xuchang, causing him to sustain many injuries. A temporary Hefei Steel worker surnamed Li also threw bricks and smashed the windows of Li Xuchang’s home. Afterwards, the group took comrade Li Xuchang to Hefei Polytechnic, so that the so-called “beaten students” could identify him, and found out that Li Xuchang had not beaten any students.

Rumors only destroy themselves, and the truth will eventually come out. A small number of lawbreakers threw Hefei Steel into disorder, and the delusional people who caused trouble in Hefei did not succeed in the end. Currently, those involved in the two serious incidents mentioned above have either been taken in for shelter and investigation or are being handled according to the seriousness of their circumstances.


Chinese Source(原文):
策应北京反革命暴乱的铁证——合钢 “6•7”事件的始末
《安徽日报》
发布日期:1989年8月12日
Click on icon to expand


策应北京反革命暴乱的铁证——合钢 “6•7”事件的始末

学潮、动乱,像一场瘟疫,从首都北京波及省城合肥。

近年 6 月上旬,北京反革命暴乱发生后,非法组织合肥“高自联”、“工自联” 与北京遥相呼应,策划堵塞交通,围堵工厂,煽动罢工,并首先把矛头直指合钢公司。动乱中,少数不法分子在这家合肥市的大型骨干企业造谣煽动、蛊惑人心,造成两起影响恶 劣的严重事件。

卧轨,迫使高炉停产

6 月 6 日,合肥徽州路与芜湖路交叉处,交通被路障所阻。在这里设障闹腾的安徽 中医学院部分学生,下午返校,途经省教育学院时,一学生头头领受了“高自联”布置的次日帮助合工大学生堵拦合钢大门的“任务”。

6 月 7 日早晨,合钢一厂区的三个大门被一群合工学生堵住。这时,安徽中医学院的一个学生头头带领本校约 80 名学生,急匆匆赶来“增援”,看到门已被堵,他们便在合钢 250 车间的十字路口向群众宣讲,并展示所谓“北京镇压学生的彩色照片”,造谣惑众。围观的人群中,有人提议学生到二厂区去。合钢炼铁厂二号高炉值班炉长周峻从人群中窜出来,带着这批学生前往位于大兴集的二厂区。到了二厂区大门口,心怀鬼胎的周峻 生怕被熟人发现,叫学生摘掉戴的黑纱、白花,卷起旗子。接着,有带着三个学生头头从小路直奔合钢炼铁厂,到了高炉高铁架路线下,周峻对学生说,你们就在这上面,我回去了。随即匆匆走开。上午 9 时 45 分,安徽中医学院的学生上到高架铁路卧轨,中断三座高炉的给料。

当天中午 12 时,合工大被学生占领的校广播站广播要本校某学生头头带学生到合钢增援。这个学生头头听到广播后,立即召集本校 20 多名学生,拦车来到合钢一厂区, 有学生叫他们去厂区配合中医学院学生堵铁路。他们在合裕路上拦车来到二厂区。下午 2 时许,找到了高炉高架铁路线上卧轨的中医学院学生,同时,将铁厂通往二炼钢厂 20 吨 转炉的高炉产品铁水输送线铁路堵死,造成转炉待料。

在这期间,合钢公司、铁厂、第二炼钢厂领导、保卫人员及学校领导多次到现场劝导,直至下午 5 时以后,学生们才撤离现场。在这次事件中,高炉被迫定产 9 小时 50 分 种,造成直接经济损失 104469 元。

冲击合钢刑警队

合肥市民也许还记得,在乱哄哄的六月上旬,省城曾流传“合钢刑警队打了学生,抢了钱”,一些善良的人也曾抛出问号。然而,事实是怎样的呢?还是让“镜头”摇回那动乱日子吧!

6 月 7 日,合肥工业大学数十名学生将合钢三号大门锁死,数以千计的工人,学生被堵住在三号门两边,不能上班、上学,群众纷纷指责这些大学生。下午 3 时许,学生们眼见煽动无效,便喊着“打倒亡国奴、打到奴才”的口号,撤离三号门,这时,一位学生将一个未封口的“募捐箱”放到门岗的窗台上,说:“还给你们,不要了。”合钢执勤人 员当着围观群众面,请点了箱内的 26.30 元现金。封存后指定专人保管。

不料,本来很清楚的事却被合钢中型厂大集体女工张学芝搅浑了。她跳出来造谣说:“民警打人抢钱了。” 合钢初轧厂副工长郭志军、工人张应木闻此谣言,指着门卫执勤员大喊大叫,随后,郭志军回到班组带来一部分不明真相的工人进入三号门,煽动说:“刑警打人,还讲是我们初轧厂工人打的 。”张应木说:“谁走就是孬种”,鼓励工人不要离开现场。

三点四十分左右,在三号门起哄的炼铁厂烧铁车间工人、曾因持刀伤人被判刑三年的钱家瑞,将一号大门封门、最后上了汽车准备返校的学生带往 3 号门,边走边喊:“刑警队打人!刑警队打人!”蛊惑学生和群众围攻三号门。此时,张学芝又用右手击碎 3 号门岗玻璃,手披划破流血,她将手上的血擦在“募捐箱”上,胡说:“这是流血事件。”这时,郭志军又返回初轧厂,在工人中煽动说:“刑警队打人,抢钱了。”并从一妇女处拿了块白布做横幅,写上“合钢工人总罢工”,准备带人到保卫处示威。郭被厂领导劝阻。但一些不明真相的人仍涌到保卫处示威,狂呼:“声援学生,严惩凶手”。这时,在 3 号门岗起哄、煽动的张应木、张学芝、钱家瑞、黄德珍等人又与学生及部分群众涌到保卫处大院。黄德珍当着刑警队同志的面造谣说:“刑警队打人了,抢钱了,是我亲眼看见的,抢了 800 元钱,是塘冲姓李的干的。”自称“爱国队”组织者的余庆军亲自到保卫处大院与正在广播演讲的学生联系,学生为他广播了号召工人上街游行的同志。晚 8 时许,余庆军带领部分工人和学生游行到市府广场,有人通知了非法的“人民之声广播站”,广 播里播了“合钢刑警队打了学生,抢了钱”的谣言,在社会上扩散影响。

当晚 11 点 30 分,天下着雨,参加游行的工人在市内范巷口处拦车到曙光电影院 下车,遇“合肥市工自联”负责人之一林斌等带领的“工自联”和学生游行队伍向合钢走来,这伙人同他们混在一起直奔合钢刑警队,狂呼“踏平合钢刑警队”。曾因打架、盗窃多次被治安处罚的无业人员丁华等 20 余人,砸、推停放在院内的警车,将警车掀翻,丁华等人还砸碎警车玻璃。 接着,这伙不法分子又涌向刑警队大门,将刑警队的牌子摘下掼在地上跺、砸。此时,有人煽动说:“严惩凶手,到塘冲去找‘李大炮’”。劳教逃跑人员刘柱、解教人员吕卫中等近 20 人混在学生队伍中,这伙人由一个女工带路到塘冲,深夜 1 时许,将正在家睡觉的合钢刑警队警员李绪昌从家中叫出,诬陷他打了学生,并推搡、殴打、谩骂李绪昌同志,使他身体多处受伤。合钢临时工李某还用砖头砸碎李绪昌家窗户玻璃。尔后,李绪昌同志被这伙人带到合工大,由所谓“被打学生”辨认,确认李绪昌并未打学生。

谣言不攻自破,真相大白天下。少数不法分子搞乱合钢、搞乱合肥的痴心妄想终未 得逞。目前,上述两起严重事件的参与者,有些已被收容审查,有些将视情节轻重分别予以处理。


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