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

Article 7 of the Common Program

See Timeline
Article 7 of the Common Program clearly states the actions the new regime will make against its staunch opponents. Determining the class status is a useful instrument to decide who is an enemy or a potential enemy. The CCP has set a system to define the class background and the class status of any person. The economic background of a family before 1949 determines the class background. Even the background of parents and/or grandparents is taken in consideration, because this experience can still influence a person. "…what Mao appeared to be espousing was class as a state of mind."
The present social position determines the class status. The class status is theoretically subject to change, but in practice it is almost unchangeable. Class origin labels are hereditary only in the patriline, and the sons of the bad-class sons but not the children of bad-class daughters bore the stigma in turn. Individuals were frequently categorized officially based on their own class designations, the class backgrounds of their parents, or their family's class origins. According to official policies, children from disadvantaged family backgrounds should have been treated differently from their parents. However, offspring of less privileged family backgrounds encountered discriminatory practices, affecting their opportunities and life trajectories.
The class status of every person is documented in a dossier. "These official dossiers (instituted by the socialist government in 1949) usually covered an individual's complete political history. They included data on a person’s family members; their age, class background, rewards and allegiances. In addition, each dossier contained an individual’s self-reports, evaluations by peers and supervisors or teachers, and any official warnings and punishments. The dossier was retained throughout a person’s life and was consulted by superiors whenever a review was required for job application and assignment, college admission, punishment, promotion, or reward of a variety of benefits."

In 1933 a set of documents was issued with regard to determination of class status. The main criterion is based on whether the man and his family are engaged in manual labour and not on the amount of money that is earned. The 1933 documents are in the 1950’s only meant as reference. The determination of class status was delegated to the masses and local cadres. This resulted in confusion and chaos. "Even many of the cadres did not fully understand the 1933 documents. The popular perception includes many simplified criterias. For example, in a party instruction it chastise the mistakes in assigning class statues based solely on whether the person involved used to be youmianzi 有面子(influential)180...As for the “poor peasant” class, the main criteria was whether this certain people suffered much. "
The people are classified into 3 origins:
I) Good-class origins:
(a) Politically red inheritances (the families headed by preliberation Party members, plus the orphans of men who died in the revolutionary wars): (1) Revolutionary cadres (2) Revolutionary army men (3) Revolutionary martyrs
(b) Working class: (Enterprise worker, Transport worker, Handicraft worker, Sailor and Pedicab worker) (4) Preliberation industrial workers and their families (5) Former poor and lower-middle peasant families. (slightly less than 1 percent of the population)
(II) Middle-class origins:
(a) Non-intelligentsia middle class: (1) Families of preliberation peddlers and store clerks, etc. (2) Former middle-peasant families
(b) Intelligentsia middle class: families of pre-liberation clerks, teachers, professionals, etc.
(c) The petty bourgeoisie: small shop owner, small factory owner, peddler (three categories – capitalists, white collar employees, and independent professionals made up 1.4 percent of the country’s population.)
(III)Bad-class origins:
(a) Families of former capitalists
(b) Preliberation rich peasant families
(c) Families of “bad elements” (a label denoting criminal offenders)
(d) Pre-liberation landlord families (Two categories – landlords and rich peasants made up 4.3 percent of the population)
(e) Families of counter-revolutionaries (those who served in the Nationalist government or army).
Fig. 7.1: Features of the Early PRC Discourse of the Petty Bourgeoisie.
Source: U (2015).
The figure 7.1 summarizes the features of the discourse: Although thematically separate, the narratives are intertwined as aspects of each influence the others. According to the regime, socialist progress necessitates the involvement of the petty bourgeoisie while also addressing their objectionable political conduct rooted in particular yet correctable traits and tendencies. The petty bourgeoisie is portrayed as both vital for nation-building and as an impediment to revolutionary transformation, representing a morally inferior segment of the population.
U (2015) delineates the position of petty bourgeoisie in the eyes of the CCP. "The regime considered the petty bourgeoisie an intermediate population between exploiting and exploited classes, with its members living mainly on their own physical and/or mental labor rather than off those of others. With physical labor identified as the locus of exploitation, white-collar workers were depicted as the backbone of the petty bourgeoisie. ...(they) were locatable everywhere—cities, towns, and villages."

Fig. 7.2: People's Daily Editorials on Class and Occupational groups
Source: Oksenberg (1982).
A Red Number indicates the subject was a major theme in the editorial.
A Black number indicates a minor theme in the editorial.
Figure 7.2 shows the emphasis of the CCP on the position of workers and peasants and the relation between workers and peasants, for example: RMRB 07-02-1952: "Repulse Bourgeois Attack, Consolidate Leadership Right of Working Class", RMRB 27-02-1953: "False Peasant Models Must Not Be Tolerated" and RMRB 25-11-1953: "Consolidate the Workers' and Peasants' Alliance to Ensure the Realization of the General Line"
Fig.7.3 The class system in rural China for and after Land reform
Source: Unger (2010). Page 123
In villages, people were divided into four strata as “landlords, rich peasants, middle peasants, and poor peasants”. (See figure 7.3) In cities, the process of classifying individuals was never entirely systematic, but through a succession of political campaigns, families gradually came to be associated with labels such as capitalist, merchant, peddler, worker, or poor peasant. These class labels were inherited by individuals from their families without alteration for approximately 30 years until 1978. This was in contrast to the promise the CCP had made that landlords and rich farmers would have their class status changed after 3 years. Mao Zedong states "Since it is the same old person who has been here all along, his old ways of thinking will have not died." Even poor peasants could lose their status, if they committed serious felonies or political errors.
All counterrevolutionary persons are deprived of their civil rights and punished. At the same time, they get the opportunity to reform themselves and to provide for their livelihood. If they persevere in their counterrevolutionary thoughts and actions, they will be severely punished.
Besides this classification, other divisions exist, for example, in agriculture versus non-agriculture (hukou See Article 5), Han versus ethnic minority (ethnicity Chapter 6), male versus female (gender Article 6). "It is often argued that class was the most important category in Maoist China, but in terms of the distribution of basic goods and services such as food, clothing, housing or health care, class was actually less important than the urban/rural divide. The urban supply system ensured that a “ capitalist” in Beijing would eat better than a “poor peasant” in central China, despite the latter’ s far more favorable class status."

On March 18, 1950, the directive is published Directive on suppression of counterrevolutionary activities and on July 23, 1950  The instructions to suppress counter-revolutionary activities. All former members of the GMD, including those who served in security organizations (特務) or held prominent positions within the defeated GMD military, district party branches, or the Youth Corps, were required to register with local authorities. While time-consuming, the classification of these individuals primarily involved bureaucratic procedures and record-keeping, as clear guidelines existed along with confirming documentation trails. However, during the period of 1950-1953, the category of "counterrevolutionaries" also encompassed numerous individuals whose status was less definitive and didn't neatly fit into bureaucratic frameworks. Determining who fell under other counterrevolutionary classifications such as bullies (惡霸), hardened bandits (拐匪), leaders of counterrevolutionary sects (反動會悶頭), and traitors (漢奸) was a far more subjective process, especially in the absence of distinct criteria for distinguishing "counterrevolutionary crime" from outright "serious crime." The bandit forces are mainly the remnants of the GMD troops that stayed behind after the runaway of Jiang Jieshi to Taiwan. Traditional bandits and local militias raised by landlords to protect their belongings also form a threat for the new regime. Ownby (2002) remarks: "As the task of the Party shifted from popular mobilization to consolidation of power and regime-building, the bandits who had had “revolutionary potential” now became “counterrevolutionaries.”"
CCP cadres faced significant danger in Chengdu shortly after the city and its surroundings were captured in December 1949. In numerous market towns where Communist troops were not stationed, local residents engaged in nighttime sniping against political workers. In February 1950, a rural worker reported that over fifty of his colleagues had been killed in the Chengdu vicinity during the previous month alone. Across many rural areas, especially those bordering the Plain, dissatisfied individuals organized resistance groups. These groups were led by daring, courageous, or desperate figures among secret society leaders, affluent landlords and their followers, and former GMD petty army officers. At the height of the rural unrest in March, it was claimed that nearly 200,000 guerrilla bandits were disrupting the PLA and transportation routes throughout the province.
Until October 1950, the CCP and gangs (HuiMen (會門) and DaoMen (道門)) had a long-term cooperation experience. The CCP benefited from the neutrality or uprising of the gang forces when entering Shanghai, Chengdu, and other places. Already in 1922, the CCP used gangs to launch strikes in several cities and at the works of the Beijing-Hangzhou railway. The peasant uprising in Hunan under the guidance of Mao Zedong made also full use of the power of local gangs. During the war against Japan, the PLA and several gangs supported each other. As long as the new regime was unstable, it needed the support of the local gangs. In his speech on 6 June 1950, Mao Zedong states "In short, we must not strike out in all directions. It is undesirable to hit out in all directions and cause nation-wide tension. We must definitely not make too many enemies; we must make concessions and relax the tension a little in some quarters and concentrate our attack in one direction. We must do our work well so that all workers, peasants and small handicraftsmen will support us and the overwhelming majority of the national bourgeoisie and intellectuals will not oppose us."
However, the situation changed with the outbreak of the Korean War. The CCP saw this as a good opportunity to suppress all counterrevolutionaries, including gang members. The movement was divided into 3 stages. The first stage is concentrated in the old liberate areas in conjunction with land reform, and this stage ended in October 1951. The second stage is nationwide; its focus lies on elimination of counter-revolutionaries within the regime. In the newly liberated areas, the elimination of Daoist leaders has the priority. In October 1952 the main task was to completely ban the reactionary sects and eliminate the social soil where counter-revolutionary forces breed. "Through exhortation from above and reporting from below, former members of these organizations were forced to identify themselves to authorities and promised lenience if they complied. The CCP was thereby able to determine ‘‘hostile elements’’ in cities and begin the process of categorization."
The ministry of public Security executes with increasing stringency the hukou system (See Article 5 ) to register members of secret organizations. Particularly in south China, where these sects remain unaltered popular. Yuan (1995) remarks: "The continuing existence of secret societies in South China under communist rule suggests the spiritual and religious needs of the southern peasants were not met by the Communist Party's dogmas. In this sense, continuity represents a defensive gesture through which the southern peasants were in defiance of the state's imposed authority."
In his speech at the 3rd plenum of the CCP on June 6, 1950, Mao Zedong gives further instructions on how to deal with the counter-revolutionaries. "Bandits, secret agents, local tyrants and other counter-revolutionaries, all of whom are menaces to the people, must be resolutely rooted out. On this question it is necessary to follow a policy of combining suppression with leniency without stressing one to the neglect of the other, that is, a policy of certain punishment for the main culprits, no punishment for those accomplices who act under duress and rewards for those who render positive services. The whole Party and nation must heighten their vigilance against the conspiratorial activities of counter-revolutionaries."
Before the suppression campaign, the CCP faced tangible threats to its authority from underground factions. Allegedly, arson carried out by GMD agents or sympathizers was common in urban areas, while remote regions experienced widespread rebellion. Following mass arrests during the suppression campaign, incidents of arson and assassinations targeting CCP cadres significantly diminished. The campaign effectively quelled lingering resistance that persisted after the Nationalist defeat in 1949. However, it remains unclear whether the purported "GMD agents" were directly acting on orders from the Nationalists in Taiwan or were simply locals dissatisfied with communist governance. Based on recent research into the Nationalists during the early Cold War period, it is improbable that the GMD had the capacity to coordinate substantial guerrilla campaigns in the distant Northeast in the immediate aftermath of its retreat from Mainland China. In China's Southwest, anti-communist insurgents did receive some support from remaining Nationalist units that had fled to Burma and Thailand in 1949. Westernized, Anglophone people were often regarded as counter-revolutionaries, and they were demeaned, executed, or committed suicide. Howlett (2016) gives an example. In April 1951, a sub manager of the British textile firm Patons & Baldwins was executed along with his family in front of a crowd of 15.000 spectators.

The punishments vary from death penalty, imprisonment, suspended sentence and to be put under the supervision of the masses. The repression intensifies during the year 1950. See also Article 17.
"The Minister of Public Security, Luo Ruiqing, criticised the techniques of ‘summonsing for education’, ‘short-term detention’, and ‘detention in trade schools’ as ineffective and called for severe punishment to be imposed, including the death sentence for serious and repeat offenders. As the policy of leniency fell into disfavour, surveillance of the politically suspect by community leaders and groups, schools and work units was stepped up."
From July 1950 onward, opponents of the new government grew optimistic due to the anticipation of an American invasion triggered by the onset of the Korean War. The Korean War bolstered the confidence of former landlords and affluent peasants, who openly intimidated peasants by warning them to "maintain their old equipment and increase their efforts, as they would soon need to relinquish them due to the anticipated downfall of the Communist government." Consequently, peasants reestablished connections with "feudal" village associations, religious groups, fraternal and brotherly unions. These organizations had operated semi-underground since liberation and had a partially criminal nature. The regime considers this potential threat as an omen to harden their attack on the counterrevolutionary forces.
Regardless of the actual occurrences of sabotage, espionage, and counterrevolutionary activities, and notwithstanding the genuine fear of counterrevolutionaries during 1950-1951, it is evident that the ensuing campaign was deliberately utilized for domestic political objectives. These objectives included rallying popular support behind the regime, expanding the coercive apparatus of the revolutionary state, and consolidating bureaucratic control. Apart from the presumed counterrevolutionaries and their sympathizers, the campaign targeted three other, less immediately apparent domestic "audiences": (1) urban residents and "middle elements" whose allegiance to New China was uncertain; (2) committed activists and lower-ranking "regular cadres" perplexed by the leniency and inclusiveness demonstrated by the new government in its initial year of power; and (3) senior local cadres and Party committees in numerous urban areas who had dutifully implemented the earlier policies of leniency aimed at stabilizing China's cities during the first year of New China's existence.
In June 1951, the GAC issued the Regulations on the Confiscation of Personal Properties of Counter-revolutionaries. This decree regulated the confiscation of properties of convicted counter-revolutionaries. Family members who cooperated with the CCP were allowed to maintain necessary properties. Families with low income might be allowed to keep all personal properties.

Article 7 states the counterrevolutionaries get the opportunity to reform themselves through labour so as to become new men. In the course of time, 2 systems of hard labour develop. There are forced labour camps where the prisoners are supposed to reform through labour (Laogai) and these camps are meant for “serious” political prisoners and for “normal” delinquents. See Table . Kaple (2006) describes that already at the end of 1949, SU experts provided advice on how best to implement reform-through-labour in the PRC as the Soviet Union had done earlier in the Gulag prison camps.
The other forced labour camps (Laojiao) are meant for criminals who are convicted for minor crimes, or for those persons who were not criminals while were politically aberrant and would bring about problems of unemployment if leaving them alone.
The Laogai is an element of the People’ s Dictatorship. It uses existing prisons, which are changed into labour camps or newly built. In 1954, 217 mines and construction workshops (water supply or railway construction) and 640 agricultural companies are working as Laogai camps. Luo Ruiqing states "Large-scale production projects using convict labourers should be avoided at national defence points, in major cities, in important industrial zones, and in heavily populated regions; instead, we should steadily move convict labourers, step by step and group by group, to the Northwest, Northeast, and the Sichuan-Xikang border region of the Southwest where the land is vast and population sparse."
Besides these labour camps, there are also thought-reform institutions, in which prostitutes, beggars, vagrants, and petty thieves are re-educated. According to their captors in 1949, these individuals fiercely opposed the state and occasionally managed to impede its actions, yet their resistance wasn't classified as counterrevolutionary. The pervasive oppression from feudal, imperialist, and capitalist forces had inflicted significant harm on the Chinese nation, necessitating a profound and revolutionary overhaul for its salvation. Implicit in this narrative was the assurance that revolution and reform would ultimately lead to redemption, with reeducators anticipating that any resistance would gradually dissipate as the process of thought reform advanced.
The primary objectives of political work in labour reform camps were to uphold the party's exclusive and supreme leadership in ideological education and politics, ensuring that every party policy was faithfully implemented throughout the reform process. The political work units in the laogai camps operated under the supervision of the party committee secretary, in collaboration with the political work leaders in the public security agencies, akin to the structure observed in work units in urban areas. "In the beginning the criminal justice system reported many cases of successful reeducation. The last emperor, Pu Yi, was one of the showcase examples widely touted in Chinese state propaganda. Apart from his wellknown case, there were also numerous Guomindang generals and functionaries, as well as Japanese war criminals, who came forward and described their reeducation in writing or in interviews. Not only were many in China won over by these published reports, but so were many observers in the West, who praised the idea of turning prisons into schools for reform. Quite a few said they expected crime and punishment to disappear in China altogether." On the other hand, the reputation of the reform through labour had a bad reputation. Therefore in 1954 the name of the institutes changed their names in “local stated owned” production units. Production took precedence over reform or punishment as the primary objective of prison labour, driven by the mandate for prisons to achieve self-sufficiency. Consequently, prisoners were viewed primarily as an exploitable labour force rather than as individuals in need of punishment or reeducation. Given that reform efforts were inherently reliant on production, it was inevitable that the goals of reform would often be overshadowed by economic demands. Despite strong appeals from the central government, the directive "reform first and production second" remained merely a slogan in labour camps. Additionally, Chinese imprisonment practices were characterized by isolating socially undesirable elements from the general population, leading to the establishment of prisons in remote districts.

On October 10, 1950, (the double ten instructions) new measurements are announced to repress any counterrevolutionary activity. The  Directive on the Suppression of Counterrevolutionary Activities was intended 'to correct' the mistakes made by local governments of what several senior CCP members had characterized as the government’s 'excessive lenience'. These instructions are the follow-up of directives made on July 23, 1950. These were no longer considered severe and adequate. This campaign converges with the campaign to Resist America and Aid Korea. The double ten instructions provide guidelines who belong to the counterrevolutionaries and how to punish them. The instructions are vague. The local cadres have difficulties to distinct between ‘leaders’, who are to be treated harshly, and ‘followers’’, who are to be treated with leniency. Easy targets are the old GMD secret servicemen, bandits, local tyrants, and leaders of secret societies and sects. "The timing of this decision was carefully thought out. Mao clearly explained to Luo Ruiqing, then the minister of public security, "Before, it was not the ideal time to launch a major crackdown against counterrevolutionaries because at that time we had not yet settled our financial problems and our relationship with some capitalists was still too tense. Now the situation is quite different. Our financial problem is under control and the war in Korea has just broken out. This is an opportunity not to be missed. It may be the only opportunity for us to suppress counterrevolutionaries. It is valuable for us. You must take this opportunity not only to eliminate the counterrevolutionaries, but above all to mobilize the masses"
There are evidently no clear-cut objective standards. In essence, individuals labeled as counterrevolutionaries were either previous holders of governmental authority, perceived as potential political rivals, or current influential figures within local social spheres such as religious leaders, secret societies, and community elites, regarded as continual sources of social structure and potential challenge to the authority of the Party-state. Much depends on the subjective opinion of the cadres, who regularly receive contradicting decrees. One month the party top condemns the local leaders to be too lenient, the other month the party top reproaches the local leaders for not been able to distinguish between ‘normal’ crimes and counterrevolutionary crimes. Sometimes Mao Zedong instructs cadres in detail: "In a big city like Shanghai, probably it will take one to two thousand executions during this year to solve the problem. In the spring, three to five hundred executions will be needed to suppress the enemy’s arrogance and enhance the people’s morale. In Nanjing, the East China Bureau should direct the party’s municipality committee … and strive to execute one to two hundred of the most important reactionaries in the spring."

Fig. 7.4 Counterrevolutionaries arrested
Source: Wen (2015). Page 99
Numbers of Shanghai are of two different periods:
Arrested: from Jan to Apr 1951.
Death sentenced: from Feb to Dec 1951
Those accusation meetings and executions take place at a public place, following a more or less strict script. The accusers are fully coached to gain the sympathy of the audience and condemnation of the accused. Wen (2015) gives an example: "More than six million people, 58.66 % of the rural population of South Jiangsu, participated in mass accusation meetings, 151,412 people standing on the accusation stage and telling their own experience of being abused by counterrevolutionaries "
2 months later, Mao Zedong states: "In some localities in Shandong there is a tendency toward insufficient fervour, and in some localities there is a tendency toward doing things carelessly. These are two kinds of tendencies that generally exist in all the provinces and municipalities in the country, and attention ought to be given to correcting them in all cases. In particular, the tendency toward doing things carelessly is the most dangerous one. [This is so] because where there is insufficient fervour, it can always be brought up to a sufficient level through education and persuasion, and whether the counterrevolutionaries are executed a few days sooner or a few days later, it does not make much difference. But if things are done carelessly, and people are arrested and executed by mistake there will be very bad repercussions. Please exercise strict control in your work of suppressing counterrevolutionaries; it is imperative for you to be cautious in doing things and to correct any tendency toward doing things carelessly. We absolutely must suppress all counterrevolutionaries, but we also must absolutely not make arrests or carry out executions by mistake."
Fig. 7.5 Suppression of Counterrevolutionaries in Guangxi, 1950–1953
Source: Dimitrov (2023). Page 139
Figure 7.5 shows that the rate of executions was very high (2.35 per thousand, thus significantly exceeding the national quota of 0.5– 1.5 per thousand). Rates of arrest were also very high (1.44 percent of the population, compared with a national average of 0.46 percent [2.62 million] of the population of 574 million).
February 1951, Peng Zhen reports to the government that the persecution of the counterrevolutionary elements is magnanimous and "…thus aroused the dissatisfaction of various classes of people with the People's Government." The regulations of February 1951 are more severe. Of the 17 counterrevolutionary crimes defined, 13 were subject to death penalty, including high treason, incitement to defection, armed rebellion, espionage, spreading of counterrevolutionary ideas, illegal border crossing, organization or use of superstitious sects and secret societies for counterrevolutionary purposes, and other more common crimes, such as arson and looting. Death or life imprisonment is stipulated for over 95 per cent of the expected and specified crimes and the instructions have even "… retroactive force. This means that even those people who committed any of the stipulated crimes before the Communists came to power, or even before the Communist Party was founded in 1921, are liable to be punished."
Luo Ruiqing observes, during an inspection tour in south China, "… that provincial and local party committees were still overly cautious, hesitant about forging 'links with the masses,' and insufficiently thorough in their projected implementation of the campaign. Guangdong didn’t have “enough fire power, enough suppression, enough setting to the job at hand, or enough spirit."
April 2, 1951, Mao Zedong once again instructs who are to persecuted. "We cannot include petty thieves, drug addicts, common landlords, ordinary Kuomintang members and members of the [ Sanmin Zhuyi Youth] League, and common officers in the Kuomintang army. Death sentences must be for those who have committed serious crimes only."
At the end of April, he sets quotas "For example, Peking has a population of two million. Ten thousand people have been or will be arrested. Seven hundred have been killed, and another 700 should still be killed, altogether around 1,400, and that is enough." Figure 7.6 shows the statistics of Mianyang District in Sichuan, it displays the executions carried out and the planned executions.

Fig. 7.6 Mianyang District Counter-revolutionary Death Penalties Plan (March 17, 1951)
Source: Zuo 2020). Page 63
*Should be executed before April 15
** Actual percentage of the total population
*** Percentage of the total population to be executed
In four counties, the number of people to be executed before April 15 exceeded the number of the previous two and a half months, and the number of executions in each county accounted for the total number of executions. The names of executed "counter-revolutionaries" were published daily in the newspapers. No fewer than 135,000 were executed in the first half of 1951. Those not executed were broken down in harsh labour camps.
On May 15, 1951, Mao Zedong states: "The large number of prisoners who are to be sentenced to prison terms constitutes a considerable labor force. In order to reform them, to solve the difficulties of prisons, and in order not to let the counterrevolutionaries serving prison terms be fed without working for it, we must immediately take steps to organize the work of reforming people through labor." In the same instructions is written: "In order to guard against ‘leftist’ deviations that are developing within the movement of repression, we have decided that, starting on June 1st, nationwide, . . . the power of arrest will be restored to the exclusive authority of the Party committee and at the level of the prefecture. And the power to kill will be restored to the exclusive authority of the provincial government. The provincial government must send representatives to places faraway from the capital of a province. No place is exempt from this decision."

Mao Zedong is not afraid of comments as long as the verdicts are justifiable. "To strike surely means to pay attention to tactics. To strike accurately means to avoid wrong executions. To strike relentlessly means resolutely to kill all such reactionary elements as deserve the death penalty (of course, those who don't will not be executed). So long as we avoid wrong executions, we don't have to worry even if the bourgeoisie raises an outcry."
On June 27, 1952, the Government adopts the Temporary regulations for the surveillance of counterrevolutionary elements". Article 4 of this regulation states "Persons placed under surveillance are subject to deprivation of the following political rights: a. The right to vote and to be elected, b. The right to accept an administrative post in a state institution, c. The right to enter the people's armed forces and the people's organizations, d. Freedom of speech, publication, assembly, unions, correspondence, choice of dwelling place, moving to other places, street processions and demonstrations, e. The right to enjoy the people's honors." Article 6 states the term of surveillance up to 3 years, but this can be prolonged. This surveillance applies only to the given person not to members of his family and friends (article 9) The following article states: "...everyone has the right to check on persons placed under surveillance and to report their illegal actions."

Some individuals gain advantages from reporting others. The entitlement to enroll in labour insurance wasn't automatic. Those accused of counterrevolutionary activities were typically among the ineligible. Conversely, those actively involved in suppressing counterrevolutionaries were often among the first to qualify for the new labour insurance, establishing a connection between obtaining social insurance, political involvement, and accusing others. As a result, a larger number of workers, eventually labeled as "politically backward but not counterrevolutionary" by external authorities, were also excluded or faced significant pay reductions based on group consensus. It was in the interest of the politically secure majority to exclude as many politically vulnerable individuals as possible from the emerging entitlement system, ensuring more benefits for the virtuous and deserving. This led to a natural inclination towards leftist ideology, with the masses advocating for the arrest and suppression of even those considered politically backward.
With the effective containment of counterrevolutionary activities and advancements in information-gathering capabilities, a more nuanced strategy for state security policing emerged gradually. Starting in 1953, the focus shifted towards identifying individual instances of counterrevolutionary behavior rather than resorting to large-scale violent suppression campaigns targeting groups labeled as counterrevolutionaries.

The CCP introduced the death penalty "In 1934, the Regulations of the Chinese Soviet Republic on Punishing Counterrevolutionaries was enacted to carry out purges within the party itself and legitimize a considerable number of executions. Out of 28 counterrevolutionary crimes stipulated in these regulations, 27 were subject to the death penalty." Zhang (2016) Pages 63-64 [↩] [Cite]
“Thus, at the outset, official class labels in urban China were not closely tied to an individual's actual occupational position but were instead grounded in CCP interpretations of pre-1949 history and contemporary politics. For example, the head accountant of a large textile mill and his children could officially have the class status of worker if his father had been a manual laborer before 1949. By contrast, the chief economist in this same mill and his children could officially be members of the "petty bourgeoisie" if his father had been a shopkeeper. And an engineer who was branded a "rightist" passed on the rightest class status to his children.” Davis (2000). Page 254 [↩] [Cite]
Weatherley (2006). Page 24.[Cite]
See also Graminius (2017). Page 4 "The boxes on the hukou forms (profession, life history, education, and so forth) served the purpose of determining exactly which of the nine classes applied to a given individual, and, by extension, of separating suspicious persons from “good” persons. 61 Categorization efforts were complicated by the existence of people who might have belonged to the “right” class but whose opinions, actions or life histories gave them enemy potential, in the eyes of the communists. The investigation of someone’s life history and social relations thereby helped to clarify his or her status." [↩] [Cite]
Zhang (2013). Page 440.[Cite]
"...individuals continued to inherit class designations from their fathers, and women from their husbands upon marriage. Thus, women's dependence on men for economic resources and social status diminished only marginally from the pre-revolution era." Song (2014). Page 499 [↩] [Cite]
Naftali (2007). Page 115 [↩] [Cite]
Guo (2015). Page 109. He remarks the 1933 documents were as guideline not detailed enough to cover the complicated reality all across the country.[Cite]
Xin (1990) notices "...being identified as a member of the proletarian class brought more than just the status of a first class citizen (the term 'proletariat' in Chinese means a class without any property). The way to identify a person's status was to see if he or she was poor, and liked being poor. The logic of this equated being poor with being of the proletarian class, and being or desiring to be rich with a capitalistic tendency. Therefore, someone earning an above average income (with the exception of old revolutionary cadres) was officially viewed as the target of the socialist revolution offensive. For a long period of time, the official mentality was that the poorer you were, the better person you were." Page 150 [↩] [Cite]
Treiman (2019). "People who joined the Party or the Red Army before their victory were considered “revolutionary,” even if they had come from the educated professional class or prosperous “exploiter” households. The Communist Party of China attracted many patriotic students during the anti-Japanese war, a period when high school and university education was largely limited to individuals from prosperous households....The reverse relationship also held: no matter how humble one’s origins, to have joined the Nationalist Party or army would have erased one’s “proletarian” origins and would make one a class enemy." Pages 1127-1128[↩] [Cite]
Percentages are from Guo (2016). Page 30 [↩] [Cite]
Sun (2007). Page 26. [↩] [Cite]
U (2015). Page 579 [↩] [Cite]
U (2015). Page 580 [↩] [Cite]
Wu (2013). Page 79.[Cite]
"In the cities, class division was carried out through the “urban democratic reform”, “democratic government”, and some other work. From 1949 to 1953, the “urban democratic reform” was carried out in the factories, institutions, schools, shops, streets of the cities. all the urban people were investigated “thoroughly” of their class origin, focusing on carefully investigating the old staff (their family background, their occupation before 1949, and their experience), including the investigation of historical experience, social relations, and life.6" Gao (2018). Page 23.[Cite]
" “religious professional” (zongjiao zhiyezhe), “practitioner of superstition” (mixin zhiyezhe), “craftsman” (xiao shougongyezhe), “peddler or vendor” (xiao shangfan), independent professional” (ziyou zhiyezhe), and “businessman” or “merchant” (shangye zibenjia or shangren). It did not include small landowner (xiao tudi), overseas Chinese (huaqiao), or usurer (zhaili)." Zhang (2004). Page 11. [Cite] 04-08-1950 The decision of the GAC on the classification of rural classes [↩]
Cited in Hu (2012). The thought remolding campaign of the Chinese communist party-state. Page 19 [↩]
Wemheuer (2019). Page 28 [↩] [Cite]
Strauss (2002). Page 91 [Cite]
"A capability to collect fine- grained information that would have allowed precise individual- level targeting of selective repression was absent in China in the early 1950s, when violence was most brutal" Dimitrov (2023). Page 137 [↩] [Cite]
Ownby (2002). Page 240. He continues "During the period leading up to the revolution, bandits were linked to peasants and soldiers (as well as to prostitutes and robbers); the revolution accomplished, bandits took their places with landlords (the archetypal evil element under the new regime), criminals, and hoodlums." [↩][Cite]
Skinner (1951). Page 65 [↩][Cite]
Liu Shaoqi observes at the National conference on propaganda work on May 7, 1951: "What has allowed us to organize the repression against counterrevolutionaries on a large scale? It is the war in Korea! This war has been very beneficial to us and has allowed us to successfully conduct a lot of business (for example, the extension of agrarian reform, the conclusion of the Sino-Soviet Pact, the launching of campaigns to increase production and to repress counterrevolutionaries). The response to this war has been so strong that agrarian reform and the repression of counterrevolutionaries make little noise. This has made it easier for us. Without the commotion surrounding this war, these actions would have been severely criticized. Here and there landowners have been put to death: these actions could have aroused opposition everywhere, which could have prevented us from successfully carrying out our operations." Cited in Zhang (2016). Page 66 [↩] [Cite]
Yang (2008). Page 104 [↩] [Cite]
Yuan (1995). Page 33 [↩] [Cite]
Sautin (2020). Page 190. See also Article 56 [↩]
See for example CIA reports about GMD activities in South China: CIA-RDP80–00809A000600300078-2: ‘KMT Guerrillas Harass Southern Areas; Communists Arrest KMT agents in Peiping, Fu-Chou’ (11 April 1950).
CIA-RDP80–00809A000600290205-2: ‘KMT Special Agents, Guerrillas Active in Central Areas’ (12 November 1950).
CIA-RDP80–00809A000600300662-3: ‘KMT Guerrilla Attacks Increase in Kwangtung; CCF Warns Against KMT Agents’ (2 May 1950).
CIA-RPD80–00809A000600320264-3: ‘CCF Reports KMT Guerrilla Units Killed or Captured in Recent Campaigns’ and ‘Kwangsi Bandits Wiped Out’ (Canton Nan Fang Jih-pao) (17 April 1950).
CIA-RDP80–00809A000600340704-2: ‘KMT Agents Continue Sabotage’ (17 July 1950).
CIA-RDP80–00809A000600350504-3: ‘KMT Guerrilla Activities Continue in Various Localities’ (18 October 1950).
Howlett (2016). Page 17 [↩] [Cite]
Biddulph (2007). Page 84 [↩] [Cite]
Sautin (2020). Page 192 [↩] [Cite]
Strauss (2002). Page 84. [Cite]
Perry delineates such an attempt of a revolt. "In August 1950, in the midst of a serious drought in the Hunan- Jiangxi border Region, the Pingxiang Public Security Bureau caught wind of an uprising planned by a group calling itself the Central China Anti-Communist Revolutionary National Salvation Army. According to informants, members of this self-declared “revolutionary” group were spreading frightening rumors that “World War Three has begun; the U.S. has already used an atom bomb to defeat North Korea and has occupied Manchuria,” that “the U.S., France and Japan are invading China and soon the Nationalists will return,” and — more accurately — that “soon there will be a land reform in which all those who served in the former government and military as well as petty gangsters will be arrested.” Leaders of the incipient insurgency, several of whom were local Red Gang chieftains, had prepared for the uprising by swearing a Triad-style secret oath of brotherhood, which was sealed with a canonical ritual of wine and rooster blood....Although the revolt of the Central China Anti-Communist Revolutionary National Salvation Army was foiled before it even began, the incident unnerved the local authorities " Perry (2012). Pages 157-158. Yang () [↩] [Cite]
"The Soviet advisers were invited to participate in two pilot projects involving the use of reform-through-labor methods: one using agricultural labor at Qinghe Laogai Farm in Beijing; and the other using industrial labor at the Tianjin Municipal Prison (jianyu). The Soviet experts made many recommendations, based on Soviet experience and practices, on all aspects of the management of convict labor in the laogai camps and provided specific advice about how to make the reform-through-labor methods work more smoothly in the Chinese prisons and camps." Kaple (2016). Pages 9-10. [Cite]
At the 3rd national conference on public security works May 10, 1951 the basics of the laogai system are determined. This results in two regulations: Labour reform policies August 26, 1954 and Temporary disciplinary methods for the release of criminals completing their terms and for the implementation of forced job placement. August 29, 1954 [↩]
See for details “laogai handbook”, The Laogai Research Foundation Washington. (2008) [Cite] and Dikötter (2003). [Cite]
"By the end of 1951, more than 2 million individuals were imprisoned, 670,000 of which were in the new labor camps, where they were required to contribute through labor to their own upkeep." Walder (2015). Page 66. [Cite]
26-08-1954 Regulations of the People's Republic of China on Labour Reform
"Probably the most controversial paragraph in the 1954 Statute on Laogai was Article 62. This article provided the basis for the so-called forced job placement system, or jiuye.103 It stated that those prisoners who wished to remain in the camp area, whose services were needed, who had no residential registration and no job to return to, or who could be settled in sparsely populated areas, should continue to be employed by their local laogai unit.104 Consequently, the majority of prisoners who had completed their sentences were kept in the camps as “free convicts” for the rest of their lives." Deckwitz (2012). Page 24. [Cite]
In 1953, the Second National Conference on Laogai expanded the reach of its prison system by instituting the policy of “keeping many and freeing few” and ordered every laogai unit to retain at least 70 percent of prisoners after the completion of their sentences, [↩]
Wang (2017) cites Luo Ruiqing at the First National Conference for Labour Reform Work, June 28, 1952. Page 231 [↩] [Cite]
Kiely (2014) describes "Soon after the late January 1949 CCP seizure of Beijing, the homeless, beggars, petty thieves, demobilized military men, and deserters began to be detained, with some one thousand organized into a mobile labor unit and dispatched in late May under the supervision of 103 “honorable” PLA soldiers, to “reform” themselves and work on Yellow River dyke reconstruction in Hexi County, Shandong." Page 268 [↩] [Cite]
Smith (2013). Page 939 [↩] [Cite]
Smith describes "... during the first few weeks of the internment campaign, reeducators first focused on winning the hearts of their detainees: “We demonstrated caring and unity, and sincerely treated [the internees] with respect,” and after a short while, the internees’ “spirits were high” and there was a “harmonious atmosphere” in the institution. The internees’ 'fear turned into calm and their suffering turned into happiness.'" Smith (2012). Page 208 [Cite] But she continues "...the numerous reports of internees who were bound, hung, humiliated, and even beaten to death by guards belie the claim that the relationship between reeducatees and their reeducators was one of mutual warmth." Page 210 [↩]
Lin (2016). Page 38 [↩] [Cite]
Lin (2016). Page 42 [↩] [Cite]
Mühlhahn (2009). Page 176 [Cite]
Kiely (2014) states "...from 1949 to July 1952,...more than 240,000 “vagrants” and more than 8,000 prostitutes had been sent to “carry out reform-through-labor” and “thought reform” in various labor camps and reformatories. In addition, 110,000 physically disabled along with the elderly and children (mainly orphans) on their own had been “resettled for training.” This meant they were placed in institutionally organized rural communities for production and training that closely resembled the penal labor camps." Page 271 [↩] [Cite]
Lin (2016). Page 54 [↩] [Cite]
Ning (2015) states "Supreme authority resided in Party regulations and directives. Formally speaking, this first political campaign aimed at consolidating the new regime, started on 18 March 1950: at that time, the Central Committee of the Party presided by Liu Shaoqi at the moment issued a ‘Directive concerning the Repression of the Activities of Counter-revolutionaries’. But this movement was not effectively launched until 10 October 1950 when Mao personally issued again the same Directive after several months of hesitation, out of a shrewd political calculation." Page 121
 18-03-1950 Instructions on Suppressing Counter-Revolutionary Activities
the Double Ten Holiday, traditionally a day of nationalist celebration to mark the establishment of the first republic in 1912. [↩] [Cite]
Li describes the "...the Suppression of Counterrevolutionaries campaign adhered almost completely to the following pattern for mass movements: entry of a work team into the village; checking of class conditions in the village; mobilization of the masses through individual interviews and collective meetings; search for and cultivation of activists; identification of the targets of attack and undertaking speak-bitterness against them; partial or full-scale redistribution of resources; reorganization of the village Party branch and reformation of village governance; and departure of the work team from the village. Determining the ratio of landlords and rich peasants in a village, which was done during Land Reform, was continued in the Suppression of Counterrevolutionaries movement. “Quotas” were assigned for tyrants, bandits, spies, reactionary political groups, and reactionary secret agents." Li (2013). Page 175 [↩] [Cite]
Cited in Zhang (2015). No Page numbers.[Cite]
Lu (2016) notices "According to Mao, ‘without seeing some of these local tyrants executed at the beginning [of the campaign], the masses will not dare to stand up.’119 Determining exactly who would be identified as counter-revolutionaries and who would be executed are far from straightforward. After Mao required new targets to be included in the campaign, the concept of counter-revolutionaries have been further expanded in practice." Page 131 [Cite] [↩]
Strauss (2002). Page 90. [↩] [Cite]
Cited in Yang (2008). Page 107 [↩] [Cite]
Ning (2015). "We see that this model comprised three stages: a struggle session organized with thousands of urban residents; a collective exhibition of the condemned prisoners in the streets; and, finally, the execution on grounds outside the city. Moreover, this model illustrated an essential characteristic: the expeditious procedure did not make it possible to distinguish an ordinary penal trial from a military trial. From this date on, executions of condemned criminals under Mao continued to be carried out in this grosso modo manner until the 1980s." Page 125 [↩] [Cite]
Wen (2015). Page 99. [Cite]
See Reactions to Executions in Beijing (1951) [↩] [Cite]
Dimitrov (2023). Page 138 [↩] [Cite]
Wei (1955). Page32-33 [↩] [Cite]
Strauss (2002). Page 86
the RMRB writes: "Of course, in the work of suppressing counter-revolutionaries, it is necessary to fully mobilize the masses and make it known to every household, and not rely solely on a small number of police and judicial personnel;"
 20-04-1951 RMRB Strengthening the Work of Suppressing Counter-Revolutionaries in the Cities [↩] [Cite]
Cited in Dikötter (2013). Page 109 [↩] [Cite]
Strauss (2002). Page 94 [↩] [Cite]
Dimitrov (2023). Page 139 [↩] [Cite]

18-03-1950 Directive on suppression of counterrevolutionary activities
23-07-1950 GAC and the Supreme People’s Court issue instructions to suppress counter-revolutionary activities
 10-10-1950 Directive on the Suppression of Counterrevolutionary Activities
07-02-1951 CPGC Regulations on Punishing Counter-Revolutionaries
19-04-1951 Interim regulations on punishment for impairment of state currency
27-06-1952 Temporary regulations for the surveillance of counterrevolutionary elements"
Chapter 1 of Common Program