Article 18 of the Common Program
Text
Article 18 of the Common Program

All state organs of the People's Republic of China must enforce a revolutionary working-style, embodying honesty, simplicity and service to the people: They must severely punish corruption, forbid extravagance and oppose the bureaucratic working-style which alienates the masses of the people.


In June 1951
Bo Yibo
January 1952 Bo Yibo (1908-2007) Director inspection sanfan (3 antis campaign)
ascertains that after the successful implementation of the Land reform many party cadres are stopping their political activities and sometimes even become an obstacle for further reforms. "(They) wanted a rest and laid down, holding that the driving away of the Japanese imperialists and Chiang Kai-shek and the carrying out of agrarian reform were to them a revolutionary success. Hence they become politically vulgar, could not visualize what things to do, and felt contented with a "basket of bread, a pot of sour vegetables and sitting on a k'ang ". They don't bother with such great movements as the suppression of counter-revolutionaries and the Resist-U.S. and Aid-Korea campaign."
Bo Yibo, "Strengthen the Party's Political Work in the Countryside," RMRB, 29 June 1951
Gao Gang
Gao Gang (1905-1954) Party, state and military head Northeast China.
is afraid for an environment where members party “…all hire labor and give loans at usurious rates, then the Party will become a rich peasant party. This would mean the complete collapse of the people's regime and the Party organ in the face of attacks launched by the rural bourgeoisie. This, of course, would be intolerable to us.”
Gao Kang, "Overcome the Corrosion of Bourgeois Ideology; Oppose the Rightist Trend in the Party," RMRB, 24 January 1952
A majority of the cadres stops their political activities and focuses only on the welfare of their own family and after the Land Reform they are more interested in a status quo than in changes towards a socialist transition, to reverse this trend in the countryside, the party takes several measures like better training and political campaigns.
Diamant (2014) notices yet a different problem, the rapid succession of political campaigns between 1950-1954: “Miscommunication and misunderstanding about the intentions, goals, and methods of the new state were commonplace. The mismatch between political ambition and the time available to realize dramatic political and social change created the space for improvisation; there was only so much “new” (language, policies, concepts) that people—including officials—could absorb.” and so the cadres chose "...often easier to use established (but sometimes inappropriate) political techniques and language than to risk committing a political mistake."
Diamant Neil J. (2014). Policy Blending, Fuzzy Chronology, and Local Understandings of National Initiatives in Early 1950s China. Pages 85, 89-90

Sanfan...

See Timeline
On November 30, 1951 the CC makes a statement concerning the struggle against corruption, waste and bureaucratic behaviour in the party, the PLA and the government. These are the 3 evils (sanfan).The focus within the campaign lies on graft. "We need to have a good clean-up in the whole Party, which will thoroughly uncover all cases of corruption, whether major, medium or minor, and aim the main blows at the most corrupt, while following the policy of educating and remoulding the medium and minor embezzlers so that they will not relapse. Only thus can we check the grave danger of many Party members being corroded by the bourgeoisie, put an end to a situation already foreseen at the Second Plenary Session of the Seventh Central Committee and carry out the principle of combating corrosion then laid down. Be sure to give all this your attention."
Document: November 1951 - March 1952 Mao Zedong " On the struggle against the "three evils" and the "five evils"
In this announcement Mao Zedong refers to his opening speech at the 2nd plenum of the 7th party congress on March 5, 1949. He warns “With victory, the people will be grateful to us and the bourgeoisie will come forward to flatter us. It has been proved that the enemy cannot conquer us by force of arms. However, the flattery of the bourgeoisie may conquer the weak-willed in our ranks. There may be some Communists, who were not conquered by enemies with guns and were worthy of the name of heroes for standing up to these enemies, but who cannot withstand sugar-coated bullets; they will be defeated by sugar-coated bullets. We must guard against such a situation…. The comrades must be taught to remain modest, prudent and free from arrogance and rashness in their style of work. The comrades must be taught to preserve the style of plain living and hard struggle."
Document:05-03-1949 Mao Zedong "Report to the 2nd plenary session of the 7th CC of the CCP"
The party starts the campaign on a big scale and asks the people to join. "..the broad masses, including the democratic parties and also people in all walks of life, should be mobilized , the present struggle should be given wide publicity, the leading cadres should take personal charge and pitch in, and people should be called on to make a clean breast of their own wrongdoing and to report on the guilt of others. In minor cases the guilty should be criticized and educated; in major ones the guilty should be dismissed from office, punished, or sentenced to prison terms (to be reformed through labour), and the worst among them should be shot. The problem can only be solved in these ways."
Document: November 1951 - March 1952 Mao Zedong " On the struggle against the "three evils" and the "five evils"
In his report of June 6, 1950 Deng Xiaoping explains the problem of bureaucratic behaviour "There are two ways of working diligently: one is to perform the work well and accomplish one's tasks by carrying out the policies and maintaining close ties with the masses; the other is to appear busy while actually just ordering people about, thus going against the policies, becoming separated from the masses, not completing any tasks, and damaging the Party's reputation. We should distinguish between these two ways of working diligently, promoting the correct way and opposing the incorrect way. Some of the Party comrades who are guilty of bureaucratism also work very diligently, hence the new expression, ``busy work bureaucratism'"
Document: 06-06-1950 Deng Xiaoping "Overcome the current unhealthy tendencies in the party organizations of southwest China "

Penilization...

This campaign makes victims in the lower echelons of the party but also at higher levels. The most important victims are
Liu Qingshan and Zhang Zishan
Liu Qingshan and Zhang Zishan executed February 10, 1952
both leading cadres in Tianjin. They are arrested in February 1952 and executed after a quick trial. "The bulk of Liu and Zhang’s crimes involved embezzling and misappropriating state funds and bank loans, most of which were then invested in office production projects. But Liu and Zhang did office production too well, enlisting the help of Tianjin businesspeople who had shady pasts, sending agents on purchasing trips to the northeast and to Hankou, and giving gifts of watches, pens, and cash to keep colleagues happy and quiet."
Brown Jeremy (2008). Crossing the rural-urban divide in twentieth-century China. ProQuest. Page 60
These executions are completely in line with Mao Zedong’s remarks "In minor cases the guilty should be criticized and educated; in major ones the guilty should be dismissed from office, punished, or sentenced to prison terms (to be reformed through labour), and the worst among them should be shot. The problem can only be solved in these ways."
Document: November 1951 - March 1952 Mao Zedong " On the struggle against the "three evils" and the "five evils"

Consequences...

This campaign and the wufan campaign Article 30 have severe economic and personnel consequences. On February 22, 1952 Deng Xiaoping informs Mao Zedong the consequences of the sanfan campaign: 50% reduction in tax income and a rising number of unemployment. In Shanghai, a 1951 audit by the city tax bureau found that out of the 9,100. businesses investigated, 81 percent had committed tax evasion.127
Lü Xiaobo (2000). Cadres and corruption: The organizational involution of the Chinese communist party. Stanford University Press. Page 60-62, Table 2.1, 56 Table 2.2, Page 56-57


On March 2, 1952 the party decides to lower the punishments. "… cadres guilty of corruption involving sums under one million yuan (100 yuan of the new currency) would not be considered corrupt elements and would not be liable to administrative disciplinary action if the circumstances of the crime were not serious and the crimes were admitted. Even in cases involving sums over 100 million yuan (10,000 new yuan) criminal punishment could be avoided with a frank confession and the restitution of the money.
Dikötter Frank (1997). Crime and punishment in post-liberation China: The prisoners of a Beijing gaol in the 1950s. The China Quarterly, 149. Page 154
Document: 21-04-1952 Statute on penalties for corruption in the Chinese People's Republic
Inexperience and incompetence are seen as the main reason for the crimes and therefore "Because so many were targeted under this part of the campaign, the Party Center issued a retroactive policy requiring that those leaders whose projects failed or did not do well should be treated leniently if it was the first or second such failure in their career. The line between criminal acts, inexperience, or incompetence, and so-called bureaucratism was so blurred…"
Sheng Michael M. (2006). Mao Zedong and the three-anti campaign: A revisionist interpretation. Twentieth-century China 32, (1). Page 29

On March 15, 1952 Mao Zedong leaves Liu Shaoqi in charge of the campaign. “By then, the campaign had gone terribly wrong, and Mao had decided to end it quickly. Liu was left to deal with the aftermath while Mao retreated to the “second line”
Sheng Michael M. (2006). Mao Zedong Page 27
Neither the army nor even the Chinese Volunteers Army (CVA) in Korea escaped the campaign.
Mao stated, “According to my estimate, among the one million Volunteers [in Korea] you may catch a few hundred
tigers
Arrest of a 'Tiger'
, and you should strive to reach this target.”
Sheng (2006). Mao Zedong Page 33
But on February 17, 1952 the campaign stops in Korea because it jeopardizes directly the struggle. It appears to be hard to differentiate between political and military leaders in the CVA, this problem arises also in the 6 regional bureaus where many cadres have civil as well a military functions.
On March 5, 1952 Mao Zedong also decides not to expand the campaign to the rural areas. "By this time, millions of people in military and civilian posts had become targets of Mao’s campaign. The political upheaval then paralyzed the entire state system. Mao’s increasingly intense pressure trickled down, causing a nation-wide tiger-hunt. In the process, psychological and physical torture became wide spread, driving many to suicide, self-mutilation, or desertion."
Sheng (2006). Mao Zedong Pages 39-40
At the end of the campaign almost 4 million cadres within the government and the party are screened. About 31% (1.23 million) are found guilty of smaller crimes.
For more details: Lü Xiaobo (2000). “Cadres and Corruption: The Organizational Involution of the Chinese Communist Party” Stanford University Press
On October 5, 1952 the sanfan officially ends. Mao Zedong continues to struggle against bureaucratic behaviour "..combat bureaucratism in our leadership organs at all levels and among our leading cadres. At present among a good number of the basic-level organizations and basic-level cadres, serious commandism and breaches of law and discipline are occurring. 2 The occurrence and breeding of such phenomena cannot be separated from the bureaucratism in our leadership organs and among our leading cadres. Take, for instance, the organs at the level of the Center; a good number of leading cadres in a good number of ministries and departments are still satisfied with merely sitting in the government offices writing decisions and issuing directives, paying attention only to arranging and assigning work but not paying attention to going down to the lower levels to get an understanding of conditions and to inspect the work.
Document: 07-02-1953 Mao Zedong Closing Speech at the Fourth Session of the First National Committee of the CPPCC
In the summer of 1953 the Wuduo campaign is launched against too many meetings, too many tasks, too many organizations, concurrent posts, and official documents and forms. "More intensive efforts were undertaken to train the basic-level cadres and improve their leadership skills and work methods.3 Higher-level work teams were instructed not merely to press for implementation but above all to teach local cadres appropriate skills, and to stop treating them as errand boys. Village cadre training programmes were stepped up. Emphasis was placed on mastery by the village party branch of skills of the division of labour (fen kung\ which would enable the branch secretary to allocate tasks to the growing substructure of cadres and activists, thus broadening the base of political participation and involvement in policy implementation.4"
Lewis John W. (1950) Party Leadership and Revolutionary Power in China, Cambridge University Press. Page 265

In many places the mediation teams, which were introduced after the 2nd judicial work conference. (see Article 17.) are abolished during the Wuduo campaign because they are seen as superfluous or ineffective. Mao Zedong is well aware bureaucracy will be hard to tackle and he calls the party to be open-minded for critic from the public. He wants the people to write letters to the party. See Article 19.

Conclusion...

The campaign caused economic disruption and caused fear and terror for many.
This campaign, like many other campaigns has little lasting effect on the attitude of cadres. An Ziwen (director of the CCP's central organization department) points out: “After a mass campaign is over, many flaws and errors assailed during the campaign may re-emerge. They may even re-emerge to a greater degree. Some people self-congratulate themselves for having discovered some patterns from repeated campaigns. They would get prepared before a new campaign began and pretend to be active and honest. Sometimes they could even shed a few drops of tears while making self-criticisms or confessions. Yet no sooner is the campaign over than they would return to their old selves.102” An Ziwen continues “… particularly pinpointed the problem of post-campaign vengeance by officials who had received criticism or denunciation from subordinates, an action known as “zheng ren”(to fix someone) or “chuan xiaoxie” (literally, to give someone tight shoes to wear: i.e. make things hard for someone). This practice became familiar to many Chinese in the many political campaigns that were to follow.103”.
Cited in Lü Xiaobo (2000). Cadres and corruption. Page 54



Literature Notes Documents...

1. Bo Yibo, "Strengthen the Party's Political Work in the Countryside," RMRB, 29 June 1951 Back
2. Gao Kang, "Overcome the Corrosion of Bourgeois Ideology; Oppose the Rightist Trend in the Party," RMRB, 24 January 1952 Back
3.Diamant Neil J. (2014). Policy Blending, Fuzzy Chronology, and Local Understandings of National Initiatives in Early 1950s China. Pages 85, 89-90 Back
8. Brown Jeremy (2008). Crossing the rural-urban divide in twentieth-century China. ProQuest. Page 60 Back
10. Lü Xiaobo (2000). Cadres and corruption: The organizational involution of the Chinese communist party. Stanford University Press. Page 62, Table 2.1, 56 Table 2.2, 57 Back
11. Dikötter Frank (1997). Crime and punishment in post-liberation China: The prisoners of a Beijing gaol in the 1950s. The China Quarterly, 149. Page 154 Back
13. Sheng Michael M. (2006). Mao Zedong and the three-anti campaign: A revisionist interpretation. Twentieth-century China 32, (1). Page 29 Back
14. Sheng Michael M. (2006). Mao Zedong Page 27 Back
15. Sheng (2006). Mao Zedong Page 33 Back
16. Sheng (2006). Mao Zedong Pages 39-40 Back
17.For more details: Lü Xiaobo (2000). “Cadres and Corruption: The Organizational Involution of the Chinese Communist Party” Stanford University Press Back
19. Lewis John W. (1950) Party Leadership and Revolutionary Power in China, Cambridge University Press. Page 265 Back
20. Cited in Lü Xiaobo (2000). Cadres and corruption. Page 54 Back
Continue to Article 19