Article 14 of the Common Program
Text
Article 14 of the Common Program

In all places newly liberated by the People's Liberation Army, military control shall be exercised and the Kuomintang reactionary organs of state power shall be abolished. The Central People's Government or military and political organs at the front shall appoint personnel to organise Military Control Committees and local People's Governments.
These shall lead the people in establishing revolutionary order and suppressing counter-revolutionary activities and, when conditions permit, shall convene All-Circles Representative Conferences. Pending the convocation of the local people's congresses elected by universal franchise, the local All Circles Representative Conferences shall gradually assume the functions and powers of the local people's congresses.
The duration of military control shall be determined by the Central People's Government according to the military and political conditions prevailing in the different localities.
In all places where military operations have completely ended, agrarian reform has been thoroughly carried out and people of all circles have been fully organized, elections based on universal franchise shall be held immediately for the purpose of convening local People's Congresses.

In the urban areas the PLA immediately takes over the administration of the towns. In important cities like Beijing, Tianjin and Shanghai a military control commission is formed well in advance before the actual takeover, to ease the transition of power. In Shanghai and Nanjing the commanders of the Third and Fourth army are head of the military control commission as well mayor of the town. The military control commission is responsible for the local purge of the administration and the takeover of important economic enterprises. In some big cities and especially in Shanghai communist underground cadres have infiltrated all kinds of administrative authorities in advance. For example the police force.
“…the Shanghai police had been infiltrated by Communist Party cadres. They formed a tiny handful of underground agents among the more than fourteen thousand members of the police force, but they played a critical role in preparing to hand the city's police stations over to the jieguan zhuanguan (special personnel to take control) of the People's liberation Army.”
Wakeman Frederic E. (1995). Policing Shanghai, 1927-1937. University of California Press. Page 84

Military administration...

The most important assignments of this military administration are to maintain order; to restore the daily routine and to make a transition as fast as possible to a civil administration.
The PLA soldiers are expressly instructed to refrain from looting factories, shops, warehouses and other possessions but they have to "Confiscate bureaucrat-capital. All factories, shops, banks and warehouses, all vessels, wharves and railways, all postal, telegraph, electric light, telephone and water supply services, and all farms, livestock farms and other enterprises operated by the reactionary Kuomintang government and the big bureaucrats shall be taken over by the People's Government."
Document:25-04-1949 Proclamation of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army
Moreover they have to cooperate with the local civil administration and police "…arrests of individuals by the soldiery were limited to direct offenses against the occupying authority; otherwise, arrests remained within the jurisdiction of the local police, and troops were warned not to disregard the orders of the municipal police "without a good reason."
Steiner H. Arthur (1950b) Chinese communist urban policy. The American Political Science Review, 44, (1). Page 55

Civil administration...

As soon as the situation in a town is more or less to normal the responsibilities of the civil authorities increase. In reality "Military representatives were sent to virtually every enterprise and government agency, playing leadership roles in those units. Later, when the political situation became stable, most of the military representatives were formally appointed as Party secretaries or directors in their respective units. Until the C(ulteral) R(evolution ) broke out, leading cadres in many units were still the former military representatives.”
Wang Shaoguang (1996). The structural sources of the Cultural Revolution. Yale University. Page 4
Liu Shaoqi states military control and people’s democracy are not contradicting “These two phases of work have always complemented and strengthened each other. This has been made possible by the fact that our military control is the military control of the people, and that the PLA is the armed force of the people. To our enemies and the reactionaries, military control as exercised by the PLA is merciless and open military dictatorship, but to the people it presages the people's democracy. Far from restraining the people or causing them inconvenience, this sort of military control only protects the people, helps to free the people from the oppression and bondage of old influences, gives the people all kinds of facilities and encourages them to be their own masters by taking their own destiny in their hands and taking care of their own affairs together with the affairs of the nation.”
Document: 28-02-1951 Liu Shaoqi Speech at the third people's representatives conference of Beijing

Regional Bureaus...

See also Map 1
On December 2, 1949 the central government decides to form
6 regional military and administrative regions
Map 1949 -1951 Regional military and administrative regions
See Table 15
Table 15 Regional bureaus
. This is an administrative level between the central government in Beijing and the provinces, mainly created to customize the administration slightly to the regional differences and as a transitional measure to move from military rule to civilian rule. In the organic law of these new regional administrations the division of Labor is stated “Ministries and departments under the Government Administrative Council may deal directly with offices under the Military Administrative Committee only on business management and technical points; where the whole region is affected, copies of the documents must be sent to the Military Administrative Committee.50”
Cited in Solinger Dorothy J.(1977). Regional government and political integration in southwest China, 1949-1954: A case study. University of California Press. Page 33
The period of the military administration is limited and in accordance with article 14 of the Common Program. "The governments of the big administrative regions are the organs at higher levels over all the provinces and cities within the regions, and meanwhile the commissaries of the central government. Secondly, the administrative power at provincial level was reduced by making provinces secondary administrative regions. Up to 1953, there had been 53 administrative regions at provincial level. The structure of the big administrative regions was similar to that of the central government. A regional committee of the people’s government was established under which there were three guidance sub-committees and a commission at the same level, namely, the committee of politics and law, the committee of finance and economy, the committee culture and education and the people’s supervisory commission. Apart from those, there were also the subdivisions of the People’s Supreme Court and the Supreme People’s Procuratorates.”
Kin Lok Wai (2009). The relationship between central and local governments under the unitary state system of China. In Jorge Oliveira & Paulo Cardinal (Eds.), One country, two systems, three legal orders - perspectives of evolution. Berlin. Page 530. Fairbank (2006) states: "...,the fecund Yangzi delta is divided among the provinces of Zhejiang, Jiangsu, and Anhui so that the preeminent economic strength of the region will not be under a single provincial government that might take over the state." Fairbank John King & Goldman Merle (2006) China: A New History, Second Enlarged Edition. Belknap Press. Page 11. Table 18 Provinces
All heads of these 6 regional bureaus have a military background and are also member of the Central People’s Government Council. There is a concentration of power of about 20 men.

  • Top leaders
  • They enjoy authority on central, egional, civil and military administration matters. The 6 regions don’t possess any autonomy and have merely a mediating function between the centre and the province. "However, the fact that military control was paramount in the initial conception of these governments meant that generally speaking each area was made the territory of one of the PLA's five Field Armies. Thus many of the rulers at this level were revolutionary generals used to independent command.”
    Solinger Dorothy J.(1977). Regional government. Page 33

    Abolishment of the Regional Bureaus...

    On November 15, 1952 the 6 bureaus lose their military function and only their administrative power remains. So from being “…both local power organs and central agents, they were now merely central agents.”
    Solinger Dorothy J.(1977). Regional government. Page 35
    This reduction of power is part of the 5 year plan. "To meet the new situation and tasks of planned large-scale national economic and cultural construction, shortly to be started in 1953, the CPG should further unify and centralize its leadership over the different phases of work, and the organs of the CPG should be further strengthened. At the same time, the organizations of provincial and municipal people's governments should also be • strengthened in order to increase the responsibility of leadership at the provincial and municipal levels. Consequently, the structure and tasks of people's governments (or MAC's) in administrative regions should also be changed accordingly."
    Document:15-11-1952 Decision on the Change in Structure and Tasks of People's Governments (or Military and Administrative Commissions) in Administrative Regions
    Also in 1953 most of the important political and/or military leaders are transferred to Beijing. On March 10, 1953 the re-distribution of power goes even furthers and the Politburo decides: “From now on, all major and important directives, policies, plans, and events in the government work must be reported to the Center for instruction beforehand; only with the Center’s discussion or decision or approval can they be implemented.”
    Cited in Zheng Shiping (1997). Party vs.state in post-1949 China: The institutional dilemma. Cambridge University Press. Page 85
    In fact this repeats the decision of February 2, 1941 which “... stipulated that all circular telegrams, declarations and inner-Party directives bearing on the country as a whole must have the prior approval of the Central Committee.”
    Document:12-08-1953 Mao Zedong Combat bourgeois ideas in the party
    The role of the CCP increases and Mao Zedong is much more playing the leading role. “From now on, all documents and telegrams sent out in the name of the Central Committee can be dispatched only after I have gone over them, otherwise they are invalid. Please take note."
    Document:19-05-1953 Mao Zedong Criticism of Documents Issued in the Name of the Center by Liu Shaoqi and Yang Shangkun

    Conclusion...

    Overt military control is less, as the opponents of the regime are disabled. Under the surface the military keep control in factories, institutions and governance


    Literature Notes Documents...

    1. Wakeman Frederic E. (1995). Policing Shanghai, 1927-1937. University of California Press. Page 84 Back
    3. Steiner H. Arthur (1950b) Chinese communist urban policy. The American Political Science Review, 44, (1). Page 55 Back
    4. Wang Shaoguang (1996). The structural sources of the Cultural Revolution. Yale University. Page 4 Back
    7.Cited in Solinger Dorothy J.(1977). Regional government and political integration in southwest China, 1949-1954: A case study. University of California Press. Page 33 Back
    8. Kin Lok Wai (2009). The relationship between central and local governments under the unitary state system of China. In Jorge Oliveira & Paulo Cardinal (Eds.), One country, two systems, three legal orders - perspectives of evolution. Berlin. Page 530. Fairbank (2006) states: "...,the fecund Yangzi delta is divided among the provinces of Zhejiang, Jiangsu, and Anhui so that the preeminent economic strength of the region will not be under a single provincial government that might take over the state." Fairbank John King & Goldman Merle (2006) China: A New History, Second Enlarged Edition. Belknap Press. Page 11. Table 18 Provinces Back
    9. Solinger Dorothy J.(1977). Regional government. Page 33 Back
    10. Solinger Dorothy J.(1977). Regional government. Page 35 Back
    12.Cited in Zheng Shiping (1997). Party vs.state in post-1949 China: The institutional dilemma. Cambridge University Press. Page 85 Back
    Continue to Article 15