The Common Program of the People's Republic of China 1949-1954

Article 10 of the Common Program

The new authorities have two important tasks in 1949, first to consolidate military control in all Regions and second to obtain political control. In the Common Program, four articles are dealing with public security. Article 7 deals with the suppression of counterrevolutionaries. Article 23 describes the importance of a people’s militia to maintain local order. Article 17 abolishes all oppressive laws of the GMD. The fourth is Article 18 which deals with the combat against corruption.
To coordinate all these required actions, the Central Political Juridical Commission is founded, it controls the Public Security Ministry, the Interior Ministry, the Justice Ministry. Members of this commission are Dong Biwu, Luo Ruiqing, Kang Sheng, and Peng Zhen. The commission did not control the internal intelligence and security section. The Secretariat of the CCP controls this section and has five departments: Organization, Espionage, Counterespionage, Intelligence, and Training. The task of the police is divided into 2 duties, one secret, the other public. The secret task involves counter-espionage, infiltration, and checking the loyalty of CCP cadres.
The tasks of the PLA will be described in Chapter 3

"In reviewing the police or security work during the year 1950, Lo Jui-ching, Minister of Public Security, reported that during the first 10 months of 1950, 664 special service cases and 9 cases of international espionage had been unearthed, and 13,812 special agents had been arrested in the whole country, and that a large number of these agents had been severely suppressed."
The open task is based upon laws and directives; however, it also involves the prevention of anti-communist movements and the suppression of counterrevolutionaries. The distinction between these 2 tasks is arbitrary. After the Census of 1953, the results of the census are used to control and organize the people. Every household possesses a census record book containing information such as names, gender, occupation, family status, political affiliations, and personal connections. Due to the Communist Party's previous criticisms of the Nationalist government's control mechanisms, they opted not to introduce personal identity cards. Instead, a residence card was allocated to the head of the household. Nevertheless, this didn't exempt individual residents from being monitored by the 'census police' within the household. Consisting of 3 to 11 members of the CCP, public security committees oversee the monitoring of individuals categorized under special census, including former members of the Nationalist Government, GMD affiliates, journalists, lawyers, physicians, and individuals identified as wealthy landowners. These individuals are subject to multiple visits throughout the day.
"A regulation from 1952 mentions the existence of a complete network of police stations and substations in the Northern Chinese Administrative Region.118 Most of the small, Japanese-style ‘police boxes’ at the neighborhood level were expanded into precinct police stations which also performed some of the civil administrative duties of the former demarchs and phylarchs.119" The shortage of trained cadres compels the administration to employ former GMD officers (about 50% to 60%), the rest are former PLA soldiers. A division of 10. 000 military police are dispatched to each province. During the early 1950s, the Chinese Communists addressed the inadequacies of the police system by establishing auxiliary security systems of three distinct types. These included civilian neighborhood groups modeled after Japanese practices in cities where the Japanese occupation had left suitable infrastructure, paramilitary militias following the Jiangxi Soviet style under the control of the PLA in rural areas, and permanent vigilante groups designed to replace various ad hoc campaign organizations in other regions. The militias, together with the military police, were the main enforcers of public security during the several campaigns between 1949-1952.
Kuiken (1992) concludes "Although the Communist police apparat was in name a separate organization, it was in practice subordinated to the PLA. Furthermore, the majority of the armed police forces consisted of former regular PLA troops. The outcome was a very violent garrison-style police regime without a detailed legal fundament. It only subsided after the armistice in Korea in 1953." The CCP bureaucracy maintained significant political influence over the Ministry of Public Security, ensuring that China did not evolve into a police state. Unlike in a typical police state scenario where the political police form a distinct, dominant entity surpassing the regular police, military, and party organization, China lacked a comparable structure. The Party consistently retained political authority over the Ministry of Public Security, with its minister never attaining top-ranking status within the regime's hierarchy. In 1949, during the establishment of the Ministry of Public Security, it was initially tasked with a broad and general mandate to suppress both internal and external threats. However, within a year, a more specific classification system was developed. In urban areas, the primary targets included members of reactionary parties and groups such as the GMD and its youth league, religious adherents, particularly those affiliated with certain Christian apostolic organizations like the Legion of Mary, and individuals associated with enemy and Japanese puppet party, government, police, and gendarmerie. In rural regions, the focus was predominantly on combating bandits, tyrants, and leaders of reactionary secret societies such as the White Lotus, Green Gang, and Yiguandao. Additionally, catch-all categories like counterrevolutionaries and spies were employed to identify perceived enemies of the regime in both urban and rural settings. It's worth noting that there was no centralized database in China; instead, lists were maintained locally, primarily in cities with population card catalogs. The identification of individuals falling into these categories required data collection efforts by the police, the party, and the media.
In the 1950s, China lacked technical surveillance methods like covert photography or audio recording due to limited police staffing and capabilities. Instead, they relied heavily on a network of informants, recruited through patriotism, monetary incentives, or coercion, to gather intelligence on counterrevolutionary activities. Public security bureaus funded informant management and rewards to obtain leads on illegal actions. Secret collaborators, carefully selected and trained, were tasked with investigating suspicious individuals, securing sensitive locations, and gathering intelligence on enemy activities. They operated covertly to monitor social classes, reactionary groups, and production facilities. Second-grade informants, known as "eyes and ears," conducted covert surveillance and were recruited from the general population, including former prisoners and individuals susceptible to blackmail. The exact size of these informant networks remains unknown in existing literature.

See for further information on army Chapter 3
1954 Protecting the Home and Protecting the Country

Wei (1955). Page 29 [↩] [Cite]
Wakeman (1992). Page 33. "...Valid household registration is necessary for any urban resident who wishes to obtain a regular job, school admission at any level, housing, or rationed food and clothing.131" Page 33 [↩] [Cite]
Kuiken (1992). Page 33 [↩] [Cite]
Wakeman (1992). Page 27 On May 25-26, 1949 the communist police were brought by train to Shanghai. "Repeating the Eight Regulations, they ordered all personnel to stay at their posts, and to carry out the orders of the People’s Government while their individual cases awaited ‘disposal’ (chuli 处理).108 That term had a slightly ominous ring to it, and many officers were considerably relieved when Zhong Xidong, the Political Commissar of the PLA’s 27th Army, addressed a meeting of police section and bureau chiefs, saying: In the past you served the reactionary regime and did some bad things. This time you were able actually to respond to the PLA’s appeal in the Eight Regulations and not stubbornly resist or destroy things. You also did a good job of preserving local order (difang zhixu 地方秩序) and welcomed liberation. This is your political awakening. You handled this affair well. You did it correctly.109" [Cite]
" For example, the CCP found only 671 cadres to staff the Beijing police upon the takeover of the city in January 1949.13 Although another 631 cadres were added between February and April 1949,14 the available manpower was highly insufficient to operate the Beijing police, which had a personnel allocation (bianzhi 编制) of 13,890 as of December 1946.1515 These shortages necessitated the retention of 5,000 former KMT police (jiu jing 旧警) as of December 1949.16" Dimitrov (2023). Page 122 [↩] [Cite]
Kuiken (1992). Page 35 [↩] [Cite]
Kuiken (1992). Page 39 [↩] [Cite]
Nathan (1997). Page 45 [↩] [Cite]
Dimitrov (2023). Page 127 [↩] [Cite]
Dimitrov (2023). Pages 128-129 [↩] [Cite]

Chapter 1 of Common Program