Article 7 of the Common Program
Text
Article 7 of the Common Program

The People's Republic of China shall suppress all counter-revolutionary activities, severely punish all Kuomintang counter-revolutionary war criminals and other leading incorrigible counter-revolutionary elements who collaborate with imperialism, commit treason against the fatherland and oppose the cause of people's democracy.
Feudal landlords, bureaucratic capitalists and reactionary elements in general, after they have been disarmed and have had their special powers abolished, shall, in addition, be deprived of their political rights in accordance with law for a necessary period.
But, at the same time, they shall be given some means of livelihood and shall be compelled to reform themselves through labour so as to become new men. If they continue their counter-revolutionary activities they will be severely punished.



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.
“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, “Social Class Transformation” Davis Deborah S. (2000). Social class transformation in urban China: Training, hiring, and promoting urban professionals and managers after 1949. Modern China, 26, 3. Page 254
Even the background of parents and/or grandparents are taken in consideration, because this experience can still influence a person. “…what Mao appeared to be espousing was class as a state of mind”.
Weatherley Robert (2006). Politics in China Since 1949 Legitimizing authoritarian rule. Routledge. Page 24. See also Graminius Carin (2017) Building a New China. Hukou Investigation Practices in Beijing and Tianjin, 1949–1950. The PRC History Review, 2, (1). 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."
The present social position determines the class status. The class status is theoretically subject to change but in practice it is almost unchangeable. “Individuals were often officially differentiated by their own class labels (jieji chengfen), or the class-origin labels of their parents (jiating chengfen, or family class origin, (jiating chushen), and children from “bad” class origins should officially have been treated differently from their parents. Nevertheless, children of unfavorable family class origins faced discriminatory treatment, which impacted their life opportunities and paths,…”
Zhang Weiguo (2013). Class Categories and Marriage Patterns in Rural China in the Mao Era. Modern China, 39, (4). Page 440. "...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 Jing & Luke Nancy (2014). Fairy Brides from Heaven: Mate Selection in Rural China, 1949-2000. Journal of Comparative Family Studies,45,4. Page 499

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."
Naftali Orna (2007). Reforming the child: Childhood, citizenship, and subjectivity in contemporary China. ProQuest. Page 115

Classification...

People are classified into 3 origins:
I) Good-class origins:
(a) Politically red inheritances (the families headed by pre-liberation 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: (4) Pre-liberation industrial workers and their families (5) Former poor and lower-middle peasant families
(II) Middle-class origins:
(a) Non-intelligentsia middle class: (1) Families of pre-liberation peddlers and store clerks, etc. (2) Former middle-peasant families
(b) Intelligentsia middle class: families of pre-liberation clerks, teachers, professionals, etc.
(III)Bad-class origins:
(a) Families of former capitalists
(b) Pre-liberation rich-peasant families
(c) Families of “bad elements” (a label denoting criminal offenders)
(d) Pre-liberation landlord families
(e) Families of counter-revolutionaries (those who served in the Nationalist government or army).
Sun Yuanjia (2007). Circulation and reproduction the elite recruitment in China 1949 ~ 1996. MA thesis The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Page 26

In villages, people were divided into four strata as “landlords, rich peasants, middle peasants and poor peasants”. In cities, “the process of class labeling was never completely systematic, but in a series of political campaigns, families gradually began to be identified with a label as capitalist, merchant, peddler, worker, or poor peasant”.23 Class labels were inherited by a person’s family without any change in about 30 years till 1978."
Wu Xiaolin (2013). How the newly-built state transformed the old society? ——The mechanical political integration policy and its impacts in mainland China, 1949-1958. Journal of Cambridge Studies, 8, (1). Page 79

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.

Start of campaign Suppression of Counter-Revolutionary Activities....

On March 18, 1950 two directives are published ‘‘Directive on elimination of bandits and establishment of revolutionary new order’’ and ‘‘Directive on suppression of counterrevolutionary activities.’’
"All former GMD members have to register themselves included those who worked for security organizations (特務) or held high positions in vanquished Guomindang military, as well as in district branches of the party, or the Youth Corps and enjoined such people to register with local authorities. Although time consuming, classifying these individuals was a relatively straightforward matter of bureaucracy and record keeping, in that clear rules existed as did confirming paper trails of evidence. But “counterrevolutionaries” in 1950-53 also included large numbers of people whose status was much less clear and amenable to bureaucratic rules. Determining who belonged in the other counterrevolutionary categories of bullies (惡霸), hardened bandits (拐匪), the leaders of counterrevolutionary sects (反動會悶頭) and traitors (漢奸) was a much more subjective process, particularly so in the absence of standards by which 'counterrevolutionary crime' ought to be separated from straight up 'serious crime'.”
Strauss Julia C.(2002). Paternalist Terror: The Campaign to Suppress Counterrevolutionaries and Regime Consolidation in the People's Republic of China, 1950-1953. Comparative Studies in Society and History,. 44, ( 1). Page 91
“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.“
Yang Kuisong(2008). Reconsidering the Campaign to Suppress Counterrevolutionaries. The China Quarterly, 193. Page 104

The ministry of public Security executes with increasing stringency the hukou system See Article 5 in order to register members of secret organisations. Particularly in south China, where these sects remain unaltered popular. Yuan 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.”
Yuan I. (1995). State dominance and peasant resistance in post-1949 south China. Issues and studies, 31, ( 9). Page 33
In his speech at the 3rd plenum of the CCP on June 6, 1950 Mao Zedong give 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."
Document: 06-06-1950 Mao Zedong, “Fight for a fundamental turn for the better in the nation's financial and economic situation”

Punishment....

The punishments varies from death penalty, imprisonment, suspended sentence and to be put under the supervision of the masses. The repression intensifies during the year 1950.
"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."
Biddulph Sarah (2007). Legal reform and administrative detention powers in China. Cambridge University Press. Page 84

Starting in July 1950 the opponents of the new government get high hopes because they expect an American invasion caused by the beginning of the Korean War. The regime considers this potential threat as an omen to harden their attack on the counterrevolutionary forces.
"Whatever the realities of sabotage, spies, and counterrevolutionary activities and however genuine the fear of counterrevolutionaries might have been in 1950-1951, there is no question that the ensuing campaign was deliberately used for domestic political purposes to rally popular support behind the regime, extend the coercive instruments of the revolutionary state, and vertically integrate the bureaucracy. In addition to the presumed counterrevolutionaries themselves and their sympathizers, the campaign had three other, less immediately obvious domestic “audiences": (1) wavering urbanites and "middle elements” whose commitment to New China was uncertain; (2) hard core activists and lower level “regular cadres” (yiban ganhu) baffled by the lenience and inclusiveness extended by the new' government in its first year in power: and (3) leading local cadres and Party committees in a large number of urban areas who had faithfully implemented these earlier policies of lenience to restabilize China's cities in New China’s first year of existence."
Strauss Julia C.(2002). Page 84

Instructions....

On October 10, 1950 (the double ten instructions) new measurement are announced to repress any counterrevolutionary activity. These instructions are the follow up of directives made on July 23, 1950. These were no longer considered severe and adequate enough. This campaign converges with the campaign to Resist America and Aid Korea. The double ten instructions provide guidelines whom 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.
Li Lifeng 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 Lifeng (2013). Mass movements and rural governance in communist China: 1945–1976. Journal of Modern Chinese History,7,2. Page 175
"Overall, those classified as counterrevolutionaries were either former government power holders (tewu who could be seen as potential political competitors) or current local social power holders (religious leaders, secret societies, and local notables who could be seen as an ongoing source of social organization and competition to the Party-state).”
Strauss Julia C.(2002). Page 90.

It is obvious there are no objective criteria. 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."
Cited in Yang Kuisong(2008). Page 107

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.
2 month 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.
Document: 30-03-1951 Mao Zedong Comment on Suppressing and Liquidating Counterrevolutionaries
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."
Peng Zhen (1951) “Report on the Suppression of Counter-Revolutionary Activities and the "Regulations Governing the Punishment of Counter-Revolutionaries," SCMP no. 72, February 23-24, 1951
The regulations of February 1951 are more severe. 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.”
Wei Henri (1955). Courts and police in communist China to 1952. Series I, No. 1, 1952, of "Studies in Chinese Communism". Page 32-33
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."
Strauss Julia C.(2002). Page 86
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."
02-04-1951 Mao Zedong Comment on Suppressing and Liquidating Counterrevolutionaries
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.”
Cited in Dikötter Frank (2013). The Tragedy of Liberation: A History of the Communist Revolution 1945–1957. Bloomsbury. Page 109
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 16, 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."
Document 15-05-1951 Mao Zedong Instructions on resolutions of the Third National Conference on Public Security
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.
Document: 17-01-1951 Mao Zedong Strike surely, accurately and relentlessly in suppressing counter-revolutionaries
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."
Document: 27-06-1952 Temporary regulations for the surveillance of counterrevolutionary elements
There are persons who benefit from denouncement of others. "The right to register for labor insurance was not automatic. Those accused of being counterrevolutionaries were, naturally enough, among the excluded. Conversely, those at the forefront of suppressing counterrevolutionaries were most likely to be in the first cohort of the regime’s emerging labor elite eligible for the new labor insurance. Once the link between a concrete benefit (social insurance), political activism, and the accusation of others was made, a much larger number of other workers, eventually classified by outside authorities as “backward in political thinking but not counterrevolutionary,” were by group consensus also among those excluded and/or put on severely reduced salaries. It was in the interests of the politically “safe” majority to exclude as many of the politically vulnerable as possible from participating in the newly emerging entitlement regime—there would be that much more for the virtuous and deserving. This resulted in an inevitable drift towards “leftist sentiment—so that [the massesl wanted even backward elements to be arrested and suppressed."
Strauss Julia C.(2002). Page 94

Conclusion....

From 1950 till the end of 1952 about 2.5 million people are arrested and one third of them are executed. The influence of the campaign is gigantic "... for each individual brought in for questioning, there were probably several times more (family, friends, and associates) who felt that they had reason to worry. Such numbers are hard to quantify, but the total of those who were either imprisoned, subjected to state pressure, intimidated, or reasonably concerned about their status must have been many times more than the 800,000-2,000,000 executed during the course of the campaign."
Strauss Julia C.(2002). Page 89
The campaign is conducted in full public on purpose, in order to involve as many people as possible and to warn against counterrevolutionary activities by fear and terror.
See (2007) Reactions to Suppression of Counterrevolution in Tianjin (1951),Contemporary Chinese Thought,38,3. Pages 25-53
During the campaign cadres were sent to factories to supervise, to make propaganda and to guide internal accusation meetings. After the campaign ended in 1953 those internal security organizations remained and became compulsory in all work units.

Literature Notes Documents...

1.“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, “Social Class Transformation” Davis Deborah S. (2000). Social class transformation in urban China: Training, hiring, and promoting urban professionals and managers after 1949. Modern China, 26, 3. Page 254 Back
2. Weatherley Robert (2006). Politics in China Since 1949 Legitimizing authoritarian rule. Routledge. Page 24. See also Graminius Carin (2017) Building a New China. Hukou Investigation Practices in Beijing and Tianjin, 1949–1950. The PRC History Review, 2, (1). 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." Back
3. Zhang Weiguo (2013). Class Categories and Marriage Patterns in Rural China in the Mao Era. Modern China, 39, (4). Page 440. "...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 Jing & Luke Nancy (2014). Fairy Brides from Heaven: Mate Selection in Rural China, 1949-2000. Journal of Comparative Family Studies,45,4. Page 499 Back
4. Naftali Orna (2007). Reforming the child: Childhood, citizenship, and subjectivity in contemporary China. ProQuest. Page 115 Back
5. Sun Yuanjia (2007). Circulation and reproduction the elite recruitment in China 1949 ~ 1996. MA thesis The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Page 26 Back
6. Wu Xiaolin (2013). How the newly-built state transformed the old society? ——The mechanical political integration policy and its impacts in mainland China, 1949-1958. Journal of Cambridge Studies, 8, (1). Page 79 Back
7. Strauss Julia C.(2002). Paternalist Terror: The Campaign to Suppress Counterrevolutionaries and Regime Consolidation in the People's Republic of China, 1950-1953. Comparative Studies in Society and History,. 44, ( 1). Page 91 Back
8. Yang Kuisong(2008). Reconsidering the Campaign to Suppress Counterrevolutionaries. The China Quarterly, 193. Page 104 Back
9. Yuan I. (1995). State dominance and peasant resistance in post-1949 south China. Issues and studies, 31, ( 9). Page 33 Back
11. Biddulph Sarah (2007). Legal reform and administrative detention powers in China. Cambridge University Press. Page 84 Back
12. Strauss Julia C.(2002). Page 84 Back
13. Li Lifeng 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 Lifeng (2013). Mass movements and rural governance in communist China: 1945–1976. Journal of Modern Chinese History,7,2. Page 175 Back
14. Strauss Julia C.(2002). Page 90. Back
15.Cited in Yang Kuisong(2008). Page 107 Back
17. Peng Zhen (1951) “Report on the Suppression of Counter-Revolutionary Activities and the "Regulations Governing the Punishment of Counter-Revolutionaries," SCMP no. 72, February 23-24, 1951 Back
18. Wei Henri (1955). Courts and police in communist China to 1952. Series I, No. 1, 1952, of "Studies in Chinese Communism". Page 32-33 Back
19. Strauss Julia C.(2002). Page 86 Back
21. Cited in Dikötter Frank (2013). The Tragedy of Liberation: A History of the Communist Revolution 1945–1957. Bloomsbury. Page 109 Back
25. Strauss Julia C.(2002). Page 94 Back
26. Strauss Julia C.(2002). Page 89 Back
27.See (2007) Reactions to Suppression of Counterrevolution in Tianjin (1951), Contemporary Chinese Thought,38,3. Pages 25-53 Back

Documents....

07-02-1951 CPGC Regulations on Punishing Counter-Revolutionaries
19-04-1951 Interim regulations on punishment for impairment of state currency
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