2005: West China’s Pig to Human Streptococcus Epidemic: Fact & Fiction


Delays in communicating emergency information to the public has been a persistent problem in China.  It was addressed by national legislation to encourage openness and some progress has been made especially on human-human epidemics. The lesson had to be relearned with SARS since veterinary epidemics and animal-human secrecy continued to some degree even after some progress had been made in communicating epidemics among humans.

Chinese journalists at the time pointed to a cover-up by officials who were simultaneously trying to address the problem locally while trying to prevent news of the problem from spreading.  This may  be because that they don’t want their county to become known as a pariah and the problems that can bring them in trade with neighboring areas as a panic spreads. 

China made important reforms in the communication of emergency information to the public since the 1990s rural Henan Province HIV epidemic cover-ups and the 2003 SARS crises. There remain problems however public health professionals and international organizations have noticed sharp improvements in the speed and communication of information about epidemic outbreaks since that time.

I drafted this report when I was TDY at US Consulate Chengdu in 2005. A colleague at Embassy Beijing Ag section suggested WHO Geneva [or perhaps another UN agency there interested in veterinary matters, don’t remember] would be interested, so I got permission to release my report at the time back in September 2005 and then shared it with Geneva. 

Sources: The report is based on a visit to Danshan, a small town in the affected area, talking with people there, reading official notices posted at the Danshan market at the time, mainland Chinese and Hong Kong press, and a report on a national conference on the epidemic published on the website of the Guangdong Provincial CDC. Photos from my September 2005 to the township of Danshan in the affected area follow the report.

Danshan township lies about 80 kilometers southeast of Chengdu in Sichuan Province.. Map via Google Maps.

2005 Preface

Here is a short study of the June – August 2005 Sichuan Province pig –
human Pig Steptococcus Suis epidemic.

A Word document with photos from a visit to Danshan that gives some
context is attached. Also attached are some important primary sources —
a collection of official and media reports I collected into a 40 page
Chinese language Word document and a 70 page Powerpoint presentation by
Guangdong Province epidemiologists based on an urgent early August 2005
PRC national experts meeting on the Sichuan human – pig epidemic.

The basic picture that emerges is a slow response on the local level and
a fast response on the provincial and national levels. It took some time
for local physicians to realize that there was an epidemic underway.
Gathering together and analyzing all the different data from complex
perhaps puzzling cases and eliminating many possible hypotheses to
determine that the patient has an epidemic illness takes time so I am
not certain how much of the early part of the delay was avoidable.

The second part of the local delay seems to have been caused by reluctance
of local officials to tell provincial officials that they had a problem.
For example, the Yanjiang district authorities waited one week after
beginning an aggressive campaign of sanitary disposal of pigs and
checking on pig health in the countryside before informing the Sichuan
Province Food and Livestock Bureau. Poverty and regulations that put the
burden for disposing of pigs that died of illness on peasants seem to be
part of the problem. Peasants in the area where the S. Suis epidemic
broke out earn an average annual cash income of 2500 RMB (US 375 per
year). Losing a pig is a great economic blow to these peasants. The
temptation to sell the carcass of a pig that died of illness is great.

Raising pigs and ducks are the mainstays of the local economy in this
part of Sichuan. Just the kind of place that epidemiologists warn could
be the starting point of a new epidemic. Many millions of peasants live
in close proximity to their several pigs and other livestock, increasing
the chances for transmission of old illnesses or new emerging illnesses
between humans and livestock. Most of the pigs sold in Sichuan seem to
be raised by peasants in small scale farms with perhaps three to ten
pigs, although there are a few large scale operations where several
hundred pigs are raised on a farm.

Some statements that have appeared in the PRC media quoting local
officials to the effect that the peasants need to understand science
better and learn raise the pigs in healthier conditions are not wrong
but still have a “let them eat cake” flavor to them. Closer attention to
the economic and other interests of the peasants will help reduce the
chances of new diseases emerging and intervening more effectively at an
early stage to prevent new diseases from spreading. The regulation
mentioned above that makes peasants pay for the sanitary burial of pigs
that die of illness — this is a big disincentive to reporting of animal

Severe problems of local government finance, poor
communication between veterinarians and public health, and the
uncooperative relationship between local officials and peasants (to put
it mildly) in many regions are systemic problems that complicate
response to epidemics at the local and regional levels. These serious
local problems hinder epidemic response (and the severity of these
problems varies very greatly from place to place, but are generally
worse in poorer areas) despite all the determination of the PRC central
and provincial governments to improve its response to epidemics.

David Cowhig


The June – August 2005 pig-human Pig Streptococcus Suis epidemic in an impoverished district of Sichuan province where poor peasants, pigs, chickens and other livestock live in close proximity can help understand response to epidemics in China. There were significant delays in this story. The normal delay caused by the time needed for physicians and local health authorities to make the correct diagnosis, put together case information from various sources and to conclude that an epidemic is underway. There were extraordinary delays as well which may have been caused by local officials wanting to solve the problem themselves and not to tell higher levels about it. A lack of communication between livestock and veterinary experts and public health experts seems to have compounded the delay. The response from the provincial and national health authorities was rapid so the avoidable delays seem to have been at the regional and local levels. One factor hindering reporting may have been the regulation that makes peasants responsible for sanitary burial of their own pigs. Some Chinese language media and official sources for this report are provided in URLs below.

Ground Zero: Rural Sichuan Province

Danshan is a poor township located 20 miles east of Ziyang City, a major regional center 80 miles south of Chengdu. Local residents earn their livings by selling pigs and ducks and by receiving migrant worker remittances. Higher prices for pig feed and declining pork prices since late 2004 have made life harder for Danshan peasants, said one local informant. The one paved road through town is only dimly lit at night. Improvements since 1997 of the main road linking Danshan to Ziyang and the highway from Ziyang to the provincial capital of Chengdu has cut Danshan–Chengdu travel time from five hours to two hours. Many people in their 30s and 40s work away from home, sending money from faraway places like Guangdong and Xinjiang. Bus traffic to the capital is frequent. For example, three buses bound for Chengdu passed one Sunday morning in a single hour. The close proximity of millions of peasants in this region to domestic pigs and ducks, and the much closer links between city and countryside due to better roads and massive worker migration have important implications for the spread of emerging diseases. Sichuan has traditionally been an incubator for new varieties of influenza, so the local government’s sluggish response to the recent pig epidemic and the subsequent cover-up offer important lessons for the future.

Danshan Township is part of the rural Yanjiang section of Ziyang City. Yanjiang has a population of one million people and sends one million pigs to slaughter each year, nearly all of which are raised by peasant families with 3–10 pigs each. The annual cash income of peasants in the Danshan area is about 3000 RMB (USD 375) per year. Rising feed prices, quarantines and falling pork prices due to concerns about unsafe pork have hurt the incomes of local peasants this year. A Danshan resident commented to US Consulate General officer that the centralization of pig slaughtering under government supervision had been effective in containing the outbreak of disease. However, the same individual stated that in general he was skeptical of official information, since officials are interested in preserving appearances rather than in actually addressing problems. Several residents volunteered their view that the local government was very corrupt.

Chronology: First Case to Public Warning

  • On June 24, the first case arrived at Ziyang First People’s Hospital . On July 11, the Ziyang City CDC Yanjiang District Office received a message from Ziyang Third People’s Hospital – “Patient admitted with suspected case of viral hemorrhagic fever. Please investigate.” The District office investigated that same day and sends a blood sample to Sichuan Province CDC for testing the next day.
  • On July 12, the Yanjiang District CDC received another message from Ziyang Third People’s Hospital. “This hospital has a second patient with a suspected case of viral hemorrhagic fever. Patient is in critical condition. Please investigate immediately.” While the District CDC investigation was underway the patient died. The District CDC learned that the Third People’s Hospital had received four patients with similar symptoms over the previous two weeks. Two had died while one had left the hospital voluntarily, and the fourth had just arrived in the epidemiology ward. All had eaten a dead pig or dead lamb, had a high fever. Initial symptoms were similar to a cold, followed by feeling unwell, coughing, fatigue, shock, low blood pressure and an increase in the white blood cell count….” The Yanjiang District CDC decided that that the human illness was linked to pigs. That same day, July 12, Danshan and Lezhi Township began aggressive checks for sick and dead pigs illness in the surrounding countryside. Dead pigs were ordered to be buried. However, the Ziyang leadership waited another week before notifying the Sichuan Livestock and Food Bureau. According to official reports put out by Yanjiang district and other affected areas, 469 dead pigs and 1 mountain goat had been buried by July 25.
  • On July 14, Sichuan Province CDC test results: negative for IgG, IgM hemorrhagic fever antibodies.
  • On July 15 12-noon Sichuan Province CDC receives reports from Ziyang CDC of “an unknown infectious disease that has thus far infected five people of who four have died. … Most serious symptoms are poison shock and meningitis. That same day the Sichuan CDC eliminated viral hemorrhagic fever as a possible cause of the illness.
  • On July 15, the Sichuan Province CDC sent a fax report to the Ministry of Public Health Disease Control Office.
  • On July 16 at 00:45 Ziyang City Yanjiang District CDC made the first report on the disease of unknown origin on the “Outbreak Network” [Tufa Wang] of the Ministry of Health.
  • On July 18, the Sichuan Provincial Livestock and Food Bureau takes “immediate action upon being informed by Ziyang City” of an epidemic among pigs. Also on July 18, the PRC Ministry of Health sent seven epidemiologists, lab experts and clinicians to assist. On July 23, an epidemiological study of 55 patients shows that all were affected by S. suis from dead pigs and that they were infected by slaughtering or other direct contact with pigs that had become sick and died.

July 25 Order On Centralized Pig Slaughtering

A July 25, 2005 notice from the Yanjiang regional people’s government of the Ziyang City administrative region ordered strict enforcement of regulations on the illegal slaughter, consumption, transportation of sick or dead livestock and poultry. Compulsory sterilization was ordered for all designated slaughtering points for livestock and poultry as well as for all markets and all transportation vehicles. Management of slaughtering points was to be strengthened and no livestock or poultry that did not pass veterinary inspection was to be admitted for slaughtering. Any meat that entered the marketplaces without a stamp of veterinary inspection was to be disposed of in a safe manner and the violator fined. The regional public security, health, livestock, trade and commerce bureaus were ordered to cooperate closely. People who violated the above rules were to be strictly punished. A local informant told US Consulate General Officer that centralized pig slaughtering was being done. Congenoff sighting of a pig leg on a motorcycle leaving a peasant home made him doubt that farmers completely stopped slaughtering their own pigs.

August 14 Danshan Order On Pig Slaughtering

On August 14, the Danshan Township government listed four slaughtering points for pigs and stressed that these were the only places where pigs could be slaughtered. Violators were to be strictly punished. The health departments were ordered to strengthen their supervision of these four slaughtering points. Organizations and individuals involved in slaughtering pigs as well as buyers of pigs needed to

  1. Obtain a valid “place of origin epidemic inspection certificate” [chandi jianyi zhengming];
  2. Understand the epidemic status;
  3. Check the ear marking on the pig, and
  4. Get the full name and address of the individual who raised any slaughtered livestock.

Any pig that was sick or dead or did not have an earmark would not be admitted to the slaughtering point. Pigs without ear markings needed a veterinary inspection, quarantine observation for 24 hours or seven days, and a new veterinary inspection. A fee was charged for the additional inspection. Pig meat products that passed inspection were to be stamped with a mark of approval. Any pig meat product not passing inspection or without a stamp was subject to confiscation by the industry and trade administrative departments and would be disposed of safely in accordance with the law. Any costs incurred in disposing of a pig that did not pass inspection were to be paid by the owner of the pig.

The Danshan township order also strictly forbad the slaughtering, processing and sale of meat from pigs that died of an illness. All pigs that died of an illness were ordered disposed of in a safe manner [wuhai chuli]. Any expenses involved were to be borne by the person involved. The order stressed that the economic development office, the livestock station, the trade and industry office, the health bureau and the police stations would work together under the guidance of the government to strengthen enforcement of these regulations. Anyone who interfered with or disrupted the work of the designated pig slaughtering points was to be dealt with severely by public security according to regulations on fines for disrupting public order and the Criminal Law of the PRC.

Yanjiang Notice & Official Press On Disease Outbreak

A Yanjiang District government public notice covering the period July 24 – August 23 provided the time of onset and death as well as the symptoms of eighteen pigs that died in Yanjiang District of Ziyang City. The notice also described compensation given to the owners, most of whom reportedly raised only 3–8 pigs. According to the notice, the pigs died the same day their illness was first noticed. Symptoms noted included high temperature, swelling, difficult in breathing, and refusal to eat. Compensation paid to the pig owners ranged from 30 RMB for a small pig up to 300 RMB for a very large pig. By comparison, live pigs were sold for 7 RMB per kilogram and meat from healthy slaughtered pigs sold for about 14 RMB per kilogram in Sichuan Province in mid 2005. Pork prices were not greatly affected by news of the epidemic in Ziyang although slaughterhouse close downs and quarantines imposed on some areas hurt local peasants.

Danshan and the townships abutting it on the east were at the center of the pig illness (S. suis) that spread to people and killed 38 people in Sichuan. The illness spread from sick pigs to people who butchered, handled or ate them. At the height of the outbreak in late July in Danshan township, a Danshan Township Party propaganda official stated that 30 sick or dead pigs a day were buried. This report for just one township, albeit at the center of the epidemic, contrasts sharply with the 18 pigs noted on the Yanjiang District government list for the entire district.

Hong Kong Press On Sale Of Sick And Dead Pigs

According to the Hong Kong press, the sale of sick and dead pigs has been common in the epidemic area for many years. On August 23, the Phoenix TV (Hong Kong) weekly magazine in a cover story on the epidemic quoted a butcher in Ziyang City as saying that the sale of sick and dead pigs was an “open secret”. The butcher estimated that with 5 million pigs slaughtered in the Ziyang region each year, there were at least 50,000 sick or dead pigs each year from Ziyang alone found their way into the meat supply. The meat was popular with peasants and some hard pressed fast food restaurants with thin profit margins because it was cheap. Sick pigs typically sold for 100 RMB and dead pigs for 50 RMB, said the butcher. Several media reports mentioned that pigs were sometimes seized and buried one day by the health authorities, and then dug up and sold the next day.

Stricter enforcement, at least for the time being, of the longstanding regulation against selling sick and dead pigs reflects the magnitude of the problem. During the weeks following widespread knowledge of the epidemic in mid-July, public security officers in Ziyang and other affected areas, according to incomplete statistics, seized 2,000 metric tons of pork from pigs that died of illness and another several metric tons of pork from pigs that was not inspected. These seizures in the atmosphere of a campaign against eating sick or dead pigs, confirm the overall volume of meat sold and how enforcement of regulations was usually very lax.

Hk Magazine Reveals Dead Pigs Not Reported

Peasants reportedly resisted notifying authorities of sick or dead pigs because one pig represented up to several months of cash income. The PRC law requiring the owner of a dead pig to sterilize and bury the diseased animal in two meters of earth further discouraged reporting. One peasant told the Phoenix TV weekly print magazine that he did not report a dead pig after learning that he would have to pay burial costs. Another peasant complained that the Chinese media criticized the peasants severely for eating and selling dead pigs, but “they never think about it from our point of view.” Ziyang City government compensated owners who reported dead pigs and disposed of the dead animals properly. However, Ziyang City officials were reluctant to publicize this decision widely because authorities could not afford the cost of the program over the long term and feared that a lack of central government compensation would cause the region to become a dumping ground for dead pigs.

The newspaper “Dongfang Zaobao” asked on July 26 and July 27 why was there a one month delay between the arrival on June 24 of the first case transmitted to humans at Ziyang’s First People’s Hospital and the revelation in a July 25 official announcement that sickness was caused by butchering or eating sick or dead pigs. The newspaper noted that on July 12, in Danshan Township, Yanjiang District and adjacent Lezhi County, Jianyang City, local officials had begun checking for pigs that had died of illness. The paper noted great secrecy around the hospitals where infected people were admitted. Why, the paper asked, did the local government wait two weeks before announcing that the illness was linked to consumption of sick and dead pigs?

Prc Journalist Criticized Slow Response And Coverup

Journalist Yang Jian, in his long article “Survey on the Strange Illness in Ziyang, Sichuan” [available online entitled Sichuan Ziyang Guaibing Diaocha], agreed with Chongqing media criticism of Sichuan provincial authorities. Yang asserted that the sluggish, poorly coordinated response of local governments to the pig illness and its spread to humans resembled China’s early response to SARS. He concluded that the slow response of local government to the outbreak was a major factor in the spread of the epidemic. The pig epidemic was underway well before the first human case entered the Ziyang hospital on June 24. Why didn’t the veterinary and livestock departments warn of the danger to humans who came in close contact or ate the animals? Some local people asked if the local anti-epidemic stations were only there to collect fees. Yang noted that the epidemic subsided rapidly in late July after strong emergency measures were taken. The delay was costly, he concluded.

Propaganda Department Control Of Sichuan Media

Chinese journalists trying to investigate the outbreak were blocked or even expelled from the area by the Ziyang City Propaganda Department. Yang learned that during the outbreak, Zheng Xiaoxing, Deputy Director of the Sichuan Province Party Committee Propaganda Department and its News Department, worked personally with Ziyang City Party Secretary Zhong Mian to maintain tight supervision of news and strict control over journalists. The Sichuan Communist Party Propaganda Department notified all Sichuan media that only Xinhua and Sichuan Daily were cleared to write stories about the Ziyang epidemic. Yang attended a July 25 Ziyang meeting between propaganda officials and media led to a partial relaxation of that order.

Sichuan provincial media were given permission to do interviews, but other media remained forbidden to report. The central government’s Xinhua new agency reporter was allowed to do interviews only if accompanied by the Ziyang City propaganda department chief. On July 27, Ziyang City officials, angry at critical Shanghai and Chongqing media reports, declared many journalists persona non grata in the region. The journalists were threatened with an official escort out of the region if they did not leave voluntarily. Reporters visiting the First People’s Hospital of Ziyang, where peasants lay sick with S. suis, were told to report to the Ziyang City Propaganda Department to get permission for an interview. Yang wrote that, under those conditions in Ziyang, Chinese journalists had to work like secret agents.

Yang Jian reported that 18 days elapsed between the arrival of the first patient at the First People’s Hospital in Ziyang City on June 24 and the notification to the Ziyang City Center for Disease Control on July 11. On July 15, Sichuan Provincial Health Department experts went to Ziyang. Experts from the PRC Ministry of Public Health and the Ministry of Agriculture followed on July 18 and July 19. On July 20, the Ministry of Health gave the illness the temporary name “Ziyang Toxic Shock Syndrome”. On July 25, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Agriculture decided that the illness was due to contagion to humans from pigs of S. suis. Right up until the official announcement on July 25, local officials in Ziyang and other affected areas continued to contradict media reports that there was a mysterious illness in Sichuan connected to an epidemic among pigs. The officials maintained that there was no epidemic and pork from their area was completely safe to eat.

PRC National Conference On Sichuan Pig-To-Human Epidemic

A 70-page Guangdong Province Center for Disease Control Central Laboratory informal Powerpoint presentation on the Sichuan pig–human epidemic based on an early August PRC national conference on the epidemic was found online. The title of the presentation, found at http://www.cdcp.org.cn/zsjz/zhu/zhu3.ppt is translated as “Epidemiology of Human Infection of Pig Streptococcus Suis and Its Prevention and Control”. According to the report, S. suis is commonly found in 50% of all pigs and in all slaughtered pigs, but causes illness in only 5% of cases, especially when pigs are in crowded conditions with poor ventilation or mixed with pigs from other areas. A 1998 outbreak killed 14 of 25 infected people. Thirteen of the 16 who developed toxic shock syndrome died, while only one of the 9 who got meningitis died.

Similar 1998 Outbreak In Jiangsu Killed Fourteen

According to an August 10 China Newsweekly [Zhongguo Xinwen Zhoukan] report, the 1998 outbreak occurred July 2–August 8, 1998 in Jiangsu Province and killed 14 of 25 people diagnosed. A joint study of this outbreak by the Nanjing Military District Military Medicine Research Institute and the Jiangsu Province Epidemic Prevention station in a report published in November 2001 issue of the Third Military Medical University Journal concluded that this outbreak was also caused by S. suis. This report created a sensation during the Sichuan outbreak since none of the epidemiologists or veterinarians in Sichuan had heard of it. One Chinese researcher who was closely involved with the 1998 Jiangsu outbreak commented to China Newsweekly “China’s disease control departments only concern themselves with human illnesses and are under the Ministry of Health. Monitoring of veterinary diseases falls under the Ministry of Agriculture. This is very little communication between the two systems. The problem we face now is that more and more illnesses afflict both people and animals.”

S. Suis Kills Quickly

According to the Guangdong Province CDC Powerpoint presentation, as of July 31, of the 181 human cases reported, 57% (103) were from Ziyang City, 23% (42) from Neijiangzhan, and 11% (20 cases) from Chengdu City. Of the 181 cases, 179 involved contact with a dead pig and two with a dead sheep. Exposures included butchering, washing, transporting and eating dead pigs. No evidence of human-to-human transmission. Period from exposure to illness onset varied from two hours to 14.5 days, with the median of 2.4 days. Seventy-one case of S. suis were diagnosed by the end of July. Twenty of these patients developed toxic shock of which 17 (85%) died. Forty-five of these patients developed meningitis of whom 1 (2%) died. For patients who later died, the period from exposure to onset of symptoms ranged from six hours to 8.7 days with a median of 1.5 days. The illness developed quickly. Of the 34 patients who had died as of July 31, the shortest time between onset of symptoms and death was 8 hours, the longest 11 days with a median of 22.5 hours. All the dead were peasants, 85% male, between 36 and 78 years of age with the median age of 53 years.

The Guangdong CDC Central Laboratory Powerpoint presentation noted that preventing the shipment of pigs that died of disease into Guangdong Province was difficult since Guangdong imported 20 million pigs annually from other provinces.

Recommendations included:

— Strengthen collaboration between the health and agricultural departments at each level

— Monitor livestock for S. suis infections

— Establish a joint system for controlling diseases that afflict both humans and livestock

Sichuan Province Livestock Bureau July 27 Report

The Sichuan Province Livestock and Food Bureau on July 26 issued an official notice (original text of this notice and two urgent orders from this Bureau are archived with Chinese sources at bottom of Chengdu OSIS site URL cited above) on the S. suis outbreak. To summarize the notice, unusually high mortality in pigs had occurred since late June in Ziyang City. Once they received a report, the Sichuan Province Livestock and Food Bureau and the Sichuan Province Animal Epidemic Prevention Central Station made an emergency survey and ordered urgent control measures to be taken. The animal epidemic is chiefly in the Yanjiang District of Ziyang City, Jianyang City, Lezhi County and Zizhong County of Neijiang City. As of July 25, 73 villages and 43 townships had reported 469 dead pigs. The pigs were from 300 different peasants who raised them in relatively poor conditions. There were no sick pigs reported from large or medium sized pig farms. Pig to pig transmission was very low. In the great majority of cases, a sick pig did not transmit the disease to other pigs.

According to the notice, a Ministry of Agriculture PCR test having eliminated other types of bacteria or disease, a preliminary conclusion of pig S. suis was made. When the epidemic occurred, [Note:on July 23] Sichuan Governor Zhang Zhongwei personally called a meeting of high level provincial leaders and leaders from the areas affected. The province immediately allocated RMB 3 million for anti pig epidemic work. Livestock and Food Bureau urgent notice No. 70 [Note: no date specified. End note] called for a report from all affected areas of the number of dead livestock and daily reports beginning July 25. One million copies of epidemic prevention information were printed and the public was urged not to not to privately slaughter, buy, sell, transport or eat dead livestock. Affected areas were quarantined. The quarantine lasts until 21 days after the last sick pig died. Twenty-four temporary quarantine stations were established in Ziyang City and 26 in Neijiang City.

A press release from the Sichuan Provincial Livestock and Food Bureau dated August 4 states that the Livestock and Food Bureau immediately sent experts and took urgent epidemic control measures on July 18 upon being informed by the Ziyang City authorities that there was an abnormally high rate of deaths among pigs in the region. Thus Ziyang City region which, according to Chinese media interviews with local officials, started urgent pig epidemic control measures on July 12 but waited nearly a week to inform the provincial livestock and food officials. According to the same press release, local officials had by August 2 already checked on the health of 4 million pigs, 68% of the total in the area. Three thousand veterinary and medical personnel sent throughout the area to supervise the sanitary disposal of dead pigs.

Photos from September 2005 Visit to Danshan, Ziyang, Sichuan Province

Early one market Sunday in Danshan, five miles outside of Danshan dozens of peasants towards the Danshan market.

The Sunday market was crowded with peasants and townspeople.

An August 14 notice, this time from the Danshan township government, posted on the market wall but already curling over into obscurity, listed four slaughtering points for pigs and stressed that these are the only places where pigs may be slaughtered. Violators will be strictly punished. The health departments will strengthen their supervision of these four slaughtering points. Organizations and individuals involved in slaughtering pigs as well as buyers of pigs must obtain a valid “place of origin epidemic inspection certificate” [chandi jianyi zhengming] , understand the epidemic status, check the ear marking on the pig and get the full name and address of the raiser of the livestock. Any pig that is sick or dead or does not have an ear mark will not be admitted to the slaughtering point. Pigs without ear markings will need a veterinary inspection, quarantine observation for 24 hours or seven days and a new veterinary inspection. A fee is charged for the additional inspection. Pig meat products that have passed inspection will be stamped with a mark of approval. Any pig meat product that has not passed inspection or does not have a stamp shall be confiscated by the industry and trade administrative departments according to law and disposed of safely. Any costs incurred in disposing of a pig that did not pass inspection are to be paid by the owner of the pig.

The Danshan township order also strictly forbad the slaughtering, processing and sale of meat from pigs that died of an illness. All pigs that died of an illness must be disposed of in a safe manner [wuhai chuli]. Any expenses involved are to be borne by the person involved. The order stresses that the economic development office, the livestock station, the trade and industry office, the health bureau and the police stations shall work together under the guidance of the government to strengthen enforcement of these regulations. Anyone who interferes with or disrupts the work of the designated pig slaughtering points are to be dealt with severely by public security according to regulations on fines for disrupting public order and the Criminal Law of the PRC.

In Danshan, one sees mostly the old and the young on the street. Many people in their 20s and 30s are off working in the eastern cities. Sichuan exports more workers than any other province. The clothing is less colorful and more worn than in the cities. Some older people wear Mao blue — now quite rare in China’s cities.
The court of Guanyin, the ever-popular Goddess of Mercy, in Danshan’s recently restored Buddhist temple at the edge of town.

As I walked into town, a poorly dressed man in his 20s asked “Do you believe in Jesus?”. When I said yes, the man continued that in villages nearby there are Protestants [Jidutu=Protestant Christians]. A well dressed woman next to us interjected, “No, that’s not true!” I ignored her and she soon peeled off. When we were once again alone, Congenoff asked if the local government would harass the Protestants if they got together for a meeting. The man replied, no, the government wouldn’t bother them.

One man said, “We Chinese are grateful for the help that General Chennault and the Flying Tigers gave China during the war.” He shook my hand as did his friend.
One man said, our officials are very corrupt. You could look hard and still not find an honest one!


Human Infection of Pig Streptococcus: Epidemiology, Prevention and Control by He Jianfeng of the Guangdong Provincial Center for Disease Control Research Institute

Download at https://www.dropbox.com/s/51x0hagbvbljxmn/Chineselangdoc–%20SichuanPigEpidemicGuangdongPcdcPowerpoint.ppt?dl=0

Chinese language sources (forty pages): Chinese language press reports and online information

Download at https://www.dropbox.com/s/i9no3s4bwmrpxuv/Chinese%20language%20official%20and%20media%20sources%20on%202005%20Sichuan%20pig%20-%20human%20SSuisepidemic%20%282%29.pdf?dl=0

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Congressional Research Service Reports on China and US – China Relations

Many Congressional Research Service reports are archived on the website of the Federation of American Scientists https://fas.org/sgp/crs/index.html as well as on some other websites.

For the latest, check the FAS website at the URL above.

For example,  here are reports available that were available on the FAS website as of mid December 2019:


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Some Thoughts on Law in China

 Law and administrative systems are fascinating as a reflection of culture, tradition and popular expectations of justice. These expectations exert pressure on a state that naturally wants to be seem as legitimate.  My reflections are those of a retired U.S. diplomat who worked in China for ten years.

For a deep legal perspective on the law (if one can put it that way), see the article by George Washington University Law School professor Donald Clarke “The Chinese Legal System“.

During my five years (2007 – 2012) working at the U.S. Consulate General in Chengdu, I was fascinated by how the Chinese legal system worked and didn’t work.  Improvements in people’s lives too with rising living standards including the countryside where the agricultural tax was abolished and peasants got some small measure of health insurance for the first time.  As people became better educated and better traveled, particularly the migrant worker who brought their experiences back home, expectations for justice rose.  I imagine that the increased repression we are seeing reflects the pressure and threat the party feels from these rising expectations as China becomes ever more middle class (though it has a long way to go as a developed country with a large undeveloped country within it — part of the trade friction story too).

Bits and Piece of the Law and its Representation in China: Photos

 I annotated many photos I took of notices related to Chinese law that may be interesting and useful to some of you. They are posted on my Flickr account collection on Chinese law at https://flickr.com/photos/74568056@N00/albums/72157607214964223/with/4212299089/   Including such items as 

Some students came to the law out of idealism but were disappointed as they became more familiar with the telephone justice of the various level of Party “political and legal affairs committee”.  One law school grad who had dreamed of becoming a judge left the law first for NGO work and then became a businessman. 

So many petitioners to higher levels (something in the 90s some officials would boast about as a system for redress in the system, yet it was really an indictment of the dysfunctionalities of the legal system).

Law Professor, Later Reverend Wang Yi in Chengdu

Now imprisoned Reverend Wang Yi   王怡   of Chengdu’s Early Rain Covenant Church was a law professor before he left his university to become a clergyman although as  he told me, his university refused to let him resign his post as a law professor. Rev Wang Yi gave me a copy of his book  与神亲嘴 [tentative title translation would be “Embracing the Lord”] book  which discusses God’s law, church canon law and its role in the development of western law,  and how China needs to become a rule of law, democratic country.  Published privately in China, he pulled no punches in denunciation of Communist Party misdeeds. Discussed in 王怡:与神亲嘴:今日中国的基督化和民主化 [“Wang Yi’s “Embracing the Lord” : On the Christianization and Democratization of Today’s China“] on the Independent Chinese PEN website   The book is available on line in PDF  at https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/njstpaul 

I imagine that every country needs some kind of legal system to substitute for mob justice and to prop up the legitimacy of the state. These legal systems are often biased to accommodate the needs of the state (raison d’etat) , some more, others less.  In China the bedrock is the people’s democratic dictatorship.  Chinese officials argue that this is democratic and who needs two parties to have a democracy (three Chinese officials used this line recently visiting a large western US city I have been told) .  Of course dictatorship is the noun and democracy is the adjective there. Properly so, since in China the democracy is for those who agree with the principles of the dictatorship. 

Why Law and how does democracy fit into the people’s democratic dictatorship? Legitimacy and Wanting to be an Advanced Country

Still, systems of rules and laws and reasonable expectations of how things work are essential for a modern complex policy and economy.  On a long train ride to Xi’an, a fellow passenger explained it to me this way:  Democracy is the way advanced countries organize themselves in the 21st century.  So China needs to be a democracy.  So the Party set up the forms of a democracy superficially run according to democratic principles but does reserve to itself the right to game the system to produce the desired result.  For example, he continued, “the Party could decide that it wanted you to be the president of this train. We would have an election, but the qualifications to be a candidate would be so narrowly drawn that you would be the only choice!”

I saw this for myself in Chengdu when I spoke with an independent candidate for the local people’s congress who was repeatedly told to drop her candidacy until a beating by local official that sent her to the hospital forced her to withdraw.  https://gaodawei.wordpress.com/?s=chengdu+people%27s+congress

How it Appears on the Outside and on the Inside

 We focus on outrageous abuses of power and repression of political dissidents we see in China, but I wonder that the nitty-gritty legal processes that affect people’s daily lives function better than we expect, at least where the interest of local Party organizations and their relatives and hangers-on are not involved.  Or are at least a tolerable alternative to the wartime anarchy and Maoist chaos that prevailed during much of China’s 20th century. And better compared to what preceded it during Mao’s time.  The Hong Kong protests are much more protests in favor of the rule of law than in favor of democracy because Hong Kong people became used to the rule of law as a British colony, something they now are gradually losing.  

Hard to know how it appears on the inside inside the PRC mainland since people aren’t allowed to express themselves in a tolerant environment and are often denied the presentation of well-argued alternatives to current practice. Repression does seem to be a response to pressure for change in Party General Secretary Xi’s China. Sort of the old contest between the irresistible force and the immovable object.

The Party did change its approach with the shift towards opening and reform after its near-death experience in the wake of the Cultural Revolution and Mao’s death — to the extent that some Chinese historians argued that the PRC was refounded then. Not a view favored by the Party. Nonetheless, the people’s democratic dictatorship under the absolute leadership of the Chinese Communist Party — bedrock since the PRC’s founding in 1949.

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Opening Up and Supporting USG Open Source Translations on China Etc.

Among the recommendations of the 2019 Annual Report to Congress of the U.S.-CHINA ECONOMIC AND SECURITY REVIEW COMMISSION is a call for the US government to devote more resources to translation and analysis of Chinese-language open source materials. The CIA’s Open Source Center once provided extensive translations from Chinese language open source materials to US government customers and to a less extent to the academic community at large. Budget cuts since about 2010 have considerably reduced its activities and ended sharing some materials with the academic community and others.


[that] Congress direct the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to restore the unclassified Open Source Enterprise website to all of its original functions for U.S. government employees. Access to the Open Source Enterprise should also be expanded by making appropriate materials available to U.S. academic and research institutions

p. 541, 2019 REPORT TO CONGRESS of the U.S.-CHINA ECONOMIC AND SECURITY REVIEW COMMISSION available online at https://www.uscc.gov/sites/default/files/2019-11/2019%20Annual%20Report%20to%20Congress.pdf

The Federation of American Scientists highlighted this recommendation in a December 2, 2019 posting on its “Secrecy News“:

Congress should require the Director of National Intelligence to make open source intelligence more widely available, the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission recommended in its latest annual report.

Open source intelligence refers to information of intelligence value that is openly published and can be freely gathered without resort to clandestine methods. Such material, and the analysis based on it, can usually be produced on an unclassified basis.

But in practice, it is often tightly held. The U.S.-China Commission, which was created by statute in 2000, noted that the U.S. intelligence community had recently curtailed access to open source intelligence reporting even within the government.

Last June, the former OpenSource.gov web portal was “decommissioned.” Its contents were transferred to classified or restricted networks that are mostly inaccessible to those outside the intelligence community.

Rand Study: “Defining Second Generation Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) for the Defense Enterprise” by Heather J. WilliamsIlana Blum

In 2018, RAND published an unclassified study of open source as an intelligence discipline. The report is online at https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR1964.html

My Experience with the Open Source Center

I used and contributed to the Open Source Center website. The OSC invited some academics and intelligence officers (as an FSO assigned to INR, that is what I was for a time) to contribute blogs to the Open Source Center website. I was the China Bookworm blogger while working as a Foreign Service Officer assigned to the US State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research in 2004 – 2007.  Back then, some valuable Chinese books and memoir excerpts were selected and published on the Open Source Center’s website opensource.gov      After about 2009/2010 the OSC seemed to have begun to gradually fade away, changing its name in 2015 to Open Source Enterprise.   The value of open source translations and analysis seems to have been forgotten. This problem wasn’t confined to the CIA and its Open Source Center. The Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) under its director Michael Flynn also cut back on open source work at about the same time.

What governments tell themselves and the discussions in their policy communities are very often more interesting that what they tell the foreigners. 

This is especially true for countries like the PRC which carefully calibrate the story they tell to their own people and to foreigners through censorship and intimidation (what one might call post-publication censorship to ‘encourager les autres”) .  The situation is so extreme in the PRC that there exist several layers at different layers at different levels of confidentiality of reference news 参考消息 and news analysis to report what is going on in China and the world so that the Party won’t be blind-sided by its own censorship.

Much reference news confidential material is written by Xinhua correspondents along with translations from the foreign press. He Qinglian‘s book The Fog of Censorship a free PDF download from Human Rights in China  is a good reference on the PRC media system and censorship in China.   https://www.hrichina.org/sites/default/files/PDFs/Reports/HRIC-Fog-of-Censorship.pdf

What the Chinese Communist Party says and what the Party stops saying to itself and to the Chinese public at large can be very interesting and worth translation, reporting and analysis.

During my ten years working as an FSO assigned to US Embassy Beijing and to the US Consulate General in Chengdu, I often found interesting books that containing material that censors probably wouldn’t have allowed if they had only continued past the first twenty of thirty conventionally boring pages.  For example in the late 1990s, in one 700 page book of essays on Chinese environmental issues by Chinese academics published by a Hubei Publishing House, I found around page 520 a statement by the then president of the Chinese Academy of Sciences that “If we build the Three Gorges Dam, future generations of Chinese will never forgive us.” The first thirty pages of the collection were fairly boring. Then the book became much more interesting!

 Some Chinese provincial presses can be more interested in publishing good (and profitable books) even if it means taking a chance at offending the censors. Though the pressure they feel must be increasing now under Chinese Communist Party Secretary Xi Jinping.   Some say even the confidential internal reference news is now failing in its mission to provide more accurate information to Chinese leaders. 

Analysis of Chinese-Language Press Outside of China Would Help Understand PRC Penetration Efforts

Translations and analysis of the Chinese-language press outside of China can be interesting too. For example, while working in China I often found articles about China in Singapore’s Chinese language Lianhe Zaobao (联合早报) useful. 

These days China is putting great effort into influencing the Chinese-language press outside of China. This maybe an effort to prevent infection from democratic ideas and criticism of the Party blowing back into China and infecting people there. Perhaps it is a kind of ideological self-defense effort. The Communist Party’s United Front Work Department is putting great effort into influencing the Chinese media overseas, greater attention on that would be helpful as well.  See my note on He Qinglian’s recent book https://gaodawei.wordpress.com/2019/05/28/he-qinglian-concerns-as-taiwan-faces-red-infiltration/

Obstacle: Excessive Worry About Spying by Open Source Translators: Compartmentalization is the Answer

Then there is the question of security clearances for translators many of whom would likely be foreign-born.  In general, if a person of uncertain loyalties does a good job translating Chinese-language material, I wouldn’t worry about it. The issue really is appropriate compartmentalization of the translation locales and farming out of some work to translators.  If done properly, a spy (as long as they aren’t doing selection) would not do any significant damage.  Conceivably the Party could put pressure on relatives of the translators, something counter-intel people would need to watch. Even so, the translation human resources we deny ourselves are too great compared to the security we gain.  

The CIA Foreign Broadcast Information Center (later transformed into the Open Source Center) was traumatized by the case of Larry Wu-tai Chin who provided secret information to the PRC during his thirty year long career as a translator there. Not having personal knowledge of how FBIS worked back then, I’ll have to speculate.

I expect that in the Open Source Center, the selection function would be as important as the translation function.  For selection, you would need people  with a high security clearance reading the traffic and going to meetings to understand what requirements are and be aware enough to identify material in the sources that should be flagged as something higher ups need to know.  Those people I imagine would guide the translators (who might not need a very high clearance) who would also be participating in selection to some extent.given the flood of material that would need to be gotten through. 

   I wonder where Larry Wu-tai Chin fit on the selector/translator spectrum. 

Appropriate compartmentalization could have prevented China from getting access to sensitive information. Then again, we shouldn’t focus on Chinese-American US citizens or shy away from giving them high level security clearances. Many of the spies of the 1940s and 50s had ideological motivations. It seems that the motivation for spying for a now-dead religion (such as communism in China) is money. Most spies these days, including Chin, are in it for the money (just as Chin was in his day). Very many spies have no ethnic link with the country they spy for.

The lens of our perception have become distorted. We sometimes ignore the great benefit that recent immigrants to the US and sometimes their children, with their familiarity with foreign languages and understanding of foreign cultures can provide us.

My argument is that we should not demand high level clearances for people doing non sensitive or less sensitive work. High-level security clearances take a long time since they require detailed background investigations. Part of the issue, I suppose is that if a spy is found, there would be headlines “spy found in CIA office”.  Our fear of foreign spies does result in our denying ourselves invaluable human resources.  In that sense, the spies are winning since dimming our understanding by using our own fear is a considerably achievement in itself. 

Just as Terror wins when it distorts our response, so too does excessive fear of spies hurt our translation efforts. Compartmentalization is the answer.

Terror wins when it scares us to death and leads us to make unproductive, panicky responses. Similarly, excessive fear of spies denies us excellent translators who are either of uncertain loyalty or are discouraged from applying due to lengthy and complicated security clearance processes. Compartmentalization of translators working on open source materials away from national security sensitive information would make it possible to hire many translators who have family ties in China or other foreign countries which produce the open source materials of interest. Terrorism and the national post traumatic stress dysfunctionalities it produces throughout society (how terrorism wins) that we badly misallocate resources as the US did post 9/11.

Obstacle: Poor Pay for Translators in the US

Another problem is that translation work pays poorly in the USA.  My impression is that translation pays better in Western Europe.  Perhaps this is a result of so much of the world’s interesting material being published in English that we become lazy and complacent about the considerable material that never gets translated. 

Getting Our Priorities Right: Easier Said Then Done

It costs money. Improving open source collection, analysis and dissemination will be expensive. I suspect that the benefits its will bring will exceed a marginally better antenna on some spy satellite. Investments in the software of translation capacity and analysis here will be just or more worthwhile than some of the hardware investments that we already do perhaps because they are more tangible, or even because they have a strong constituency in the fabled military-industrial complex.

This is a matter of US government priorities and budgeting. This should be a non-partisan issue in the US, but these days who knows.

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Is the PRC Constitution a Dead Letter? Well…

Being from the United States, a country which has relied on its Supreme Court to interpret the U.S. Constitution since the time of Chief Justice John Marshall, I have often wondered how the PRC Constitution, which includes important articles on the rights of citizens, is interpreted.

When I lived in China, a Chinese lawyer friend told me that the authority to interpret the PRC Constitution is reserved to the National People’s Congress.

The Chinese democracy activist Hu Jia told me in 2005 that one time when he was under arbitrary house arrest, he challenged the plainclothes police officer blocking his door, “Where does the PRC Constitution give you the right to detain me?” since the PRC Constitution as amended to 2004 includes:

Article 37. The freedom of person of citizens of the People’s Republic of China is inviolable. No citizen may be arrested except with the approval or by decision of a people’s procuratorate or by decision of a people’s court, and arrests must be made by a public security organ. Unlawful deprivation or restriction of citizens’ freedom of person by detention or other means is prohibited; and unlawful search of the person of citizens is prohibited.

The police officer shouted back “The preamble!” since at that time the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party was not in the main body of the Constitution.

That changed with the amendments of 2018. Even back in 2005, Article One might have worked as a reply unless Hu was being detained on order of the Party rather than the state. Article One then:

Article 1. The People’s Republic of China is a socialist state under the people’s democratic dictatorship led by the working class and based on the alliance of workers and peasants. The socialist system is the basic system of the People’s Republic of China. Sabotage of the socialist system by any organization or individual is prohibited.

Perhaps a democracy activist might be considered to be sabotaging the socialist system of the PRC!

In China’s the people’s democratic dictatorship — one of the bedrock structures that goes back to the founding of the PRC, even continuing past the refounding of the PRC under Deng’s reform and opening policy — dictatorship is a noun and democratic is an adjective modifying it. Dictatorship is exercised democratically but only by those who agree with the Party. China’s own form of democracy. Some Chinese officials argue “You don’t need two parties to have a democracy” and “The Chinese people need a period of tutelage before they will be ready to make decisions for themselves.”

Some Chinese legal scholars in the 1990s hoped that the PRC Constitution could be a tool promoting the democratic evolution of the PRC. They were disappointed.

Tracked changes to the PRC Constitution made in 2018 on the NPC Observer website and the discussion of the 2018 changes in the Wikipedia article on the PRC Constitution gives us something of a sense of where things stand today. The Wiki article notes that

The amendment also adds the phrases “Communist Party of China” and its “leadership” into the main body of the Constitution; prior to the amendment, the CCP and its leadership were only mentioned in the preamble. Constitutional preambles are often not legally binding (as with the United States constitution[19]), and as the legal applicability of the Chinese constitution is debated,[20] the amendment may be seen as providing a constitutional basis for China’s status as a one-party state and formally rendering any competitive multi-party system unconstitutional.[16]

Here is how Article one changed in the PRC Constitution as amended in 2018:

Article 1 The People’s Republic of China is a socialist state under the people’s democratic dictatorship led by the working class and based on the alliance of workers and peasants.   第一条 中华人民共和国是工人阶级领导的、以工农联盟为基础的人民民主专政的社会主义国家。
The socialist system is the basic system of the People’s Republic of China. The leadership of the Communist Party of China is the defining feature of socialism with Chinese characteristics. Disruption of the socialist system by any organization or individual is prohibited. 社会主义制度是中华人民共和国的根本制度。中国共产党领导是中国特色社会主义最本质的特征。禁止任何组织或者个人破坏社会主义制度。

I looked around online and found a discussion on Zhihu on the question of whether the PRC Constitution is applied by Chinese courts as the fundamental law of the country. The short answer is no.

A Chinese man told me in a long conversation on a train ten years ago, democracy is seen around the world as the emblem of an advanced country and so China needs to be democratic. He added, however that the Party will game the system, as many non democratic (or even democratic people’s republics) around the world do, with its own interpretation called “the people’s democratic dictatorship”.  In China, gaming elections involves in practice restrictions on speech and information, intimidation of potential candidates for the local people’s congresses (which through level after level of elections choose the National People’s Congress that means in Beijing every spring).  I saw this is in 2012 in Chengdu and spoke with one of the beaten-up candidates.  See the Radio Free Asia report  “Chinese Elections in Microcosm –Chengdu Elections 2012: The Many Ways Election Fraud Was Committed in the Chengdu Region People’s Congress Elections”  

Is there judicial interpretation of the PRC Constitution?

Two responses:

Summary: While the National People’s Congress and the NPC Standing Committee have the authority to interpret the PRC Constitution, is this just something formal or does it really interpret the PRC Constitution? How can this situation be improved or is it even possible to improve this situation.




The Book and The Sword: a polar bear who listens to the voice of the unicorn from afar

The interpretation of the law can be put into three different categories: legislative interpretation, judicial interpretation and interpretation by scholars. Here we will be mostly concerned with the first two kinds of interpretation.


In China’s present day party-led people’s democratic dictatorship, the state organ that has the authority to interpret the constitution – the National People’s Congress and its standing committee – must keep itself tightly aligned with the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party. This is a task that is very difficult to do in practice. A far easier and much more flexible arrangement that keeping interpretations in line with Chinese Communist Party overall policy and guidelines is to have those overall policies and guidelines drive government policy. Therefore very little interpretation of the PRC Constitution is done.

Therefore, the PRC Constitution is not justiciable and is highly abstract. Therefore there is great effort to handle constitutional issues the same way as departmental laws are interpreted. Therefore there is very little need to interpret the PRC Constitution. This excludes the possibility of a judicial interpretation of the PRC Constitution.

Scholars, however, have found that the National People’s Congress Standing Committee has made over twenty decisions interpreting the PRC Constitution. However the original text of those decisions for the time being [sic]

Room for Improvement:
Many people believe that the PRC Constitution should be applied to legal cases. That would to a certain extent promote the Constitution and make it less vague and would involve interpretation of the Constitution.

When we look at the history of the application of the PRC Constitution, we don’t find any clear instances of constitutional interpretation. It is to be found only in the explanation of a verdict.

Recently there has been discussion of this issue in connection with the [1990] Qi Yuzhen case. You can refer to the question on Zhihu “Why have no cases applying the PRC Constitution since the Qi Yuzhen case? 为什么中国自齐玉苓案后几乎没有再引用过宪法条例?https://www.zhihu.com/question/29337309/answer/44043659

From: Zhong Erhuo later I finally realized that it is not my flower, I merely passed by its flowerpot

This excerpt is from the fifth edition of Constitutional Law edited by Zeng Xianyi and Wang Liming: “It is generally considered that the “Decision on the authority of the state security organs to investigation, pre-trial detention, interrogation and arrest” passed by the National People’s Congress Standing Committee on September 2, 1983 was an interpretation of the PRC Constitution.

In addition, there are

  • The 1979 “Resolution concerning the permission granted to provinces, autonomous regions and their directly subordinate cities to established people’s congress standing committee in 1979 and to transform the revolutionary committees into people’s governments” passed by the National People’s Congress Standing Committee;
  • The September 10, 1980 “Resolution Concerning the Revision of the PRC Constitution and the establishment of a Committee on revising the PRC Constitution” passed by the Fifth National People’s Congress Standing Committee;
  • The June 10, 1981 “Resolution on Strengthening Work on Interpretation of the Laws” passed by the Fifth National People’s Congress Standing Committee.

There are some but not are not many instances of legal interpretations of the PRC Constitution.

Posted on November 8, 2014.

From Zhihu, translated above. The pen names of the erudite contributors are fun.



2 个回答



书剑聆听独角兽远声的北极熊2 人赞同了该回答


从我国宪法运行的历程来看,没有作出明确的、单行的宪法解释,一般依附于具体问题的决议之中。最近又在绕回来思考齐玉苓案的问题,可以参阅最近本人回答的问题为什么中国自齐玉苓案后几乎没有再引用过宪法条例? – 知乎用户的回答编辑于 2016-04-02​赞同 2​​18 条评论​分享​收藏​感谢


钟二火后来我终于知道 , 它并不是我的花 ,我只是恰好途径了它的盛放。1 人赞同了该回答以下内容来自曾宪义,王利明任总主编的《宪法(第五版)》:一般认为,1983年9月2日全国人大常委会通过的《关于国家安全机关行使公安机关的侦查、拘留、预审和执行逮捕的职权的决定》属于宪法解释。…此外1979年全国人大常委会通过的:《关于省、自治区、直辖市可以在一九七九年设立人民代表大会常务委员会和将革命委员会改为人民政府的决议》,1980年9月10日五届全国人大三次会议通过《关于修改宪法和成立宪法修改委员会的决议》,1981年6月10日五届全国人大常委会第十九次会议通过《关于加强法律解释工作的决议》……关于宪法的法定解释不多,但不是没有。发布于 2014-11-08

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Cartoons on HK – Taiwan “Wanwan come home”

A Chinese broadcaster recently said Taiwan should return to the embrace of the mainland, using the word wanwan 湾湾 a reference reminiscent of the shortened names Chinese children give one another.

The protests and crackdowns in Hong Kong, however, are making some people in Taiwan more apprehensive about the treatment they might get from the PRC Party-State.

Some Chinese language editorial cartoons in response have appeared on Twitter. Translated below:

Xiangxiang (HK) is a victim of domestic violence!
TW: Xiangxiang, pull yourself together!
HK: Is it Wanwan (Taiwan)?
HK: Don’t come! Zhongzhong (PRC) hasn’t eaten pork for a long while and is about to go crazy!
[Next to prostrate Hong Kong are tombstones with crosses labeled Tibet and Xinjiang]

Editorial cartoon from Radio Free Asia (USG funded international broadcaster)

“Wanwan (Taiwan) come home”

Taiwan president in boat.

The castle is inscribed “Enjoy the same treatment as China mainland compatriots”

Inside, police labelled Hong Kong, Tibet and Xinjiang are beating people up.  

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Frances Cowhig on Wang Shuping’s September 2019 trip to London: THREE DAYS OF SUN

Frances Cowhig, author of the play “The King of Hell’s Palace” inspired by the life of a Chinese public health hero Salt Lake City’s Sunshine Christensen aka Shuping Wang, and Wang Shuping (王淑平), wrote this tribute to her friend.

Frances Cowhig spoke at the celebration of Sunshine Christensen’s life held September 28, 2019 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Shuping and Frances on the train to visit Roald Dahl’s home in Great Missenden, England


The last three days I spent with Shuping occurred two weeks ago, in London, a day after Shuping received a standing ovation from an audience that had gathered to see a play inspired by her life. It was an audience full of admirers, people who wanted to shake Shuping’s hand, take selfies with her, and tell her, over and over, what a remarkable person she was. To which Shuping always replied: “Thank you.”

 The three days after the world premiere of that play were days spent almost entirely outside. Days of epic, yet leisurely walks of many hours and miles, from early in the morning until late in the afternoon.

There were five of us – Shuping, her husband Gary, me and my parents, and we spent a whole day at Kew Gardens, home to fifty thousand living plants, the world’s most diverse collection, as well as to the world’s largest Victorian glasshouses. We spent a day walking a nine-mile loop around central London, through Regent’s Park and Green Park and St. James Park, past Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament. And we spent a day in the English countryside, traipsing through the fields and forests of Great Missenden, the rural village where author Roald Dahl lived and wrote.

These were glorious, brilliantly blue early autumn days drenched in golden sunlight and cool, crisp fall air. It was as if Shuping “Sunshine” Wang had brought the sunshine with her in her suitcase when she landed at Heathrow—and then packed it up again and took it back to Salt Lake when she jetted away from England on a Monday that turned cloudy and drizzly almost as soon as she left.

I admit, there were times during those three epic days of wandering and walking under the British sky that I felt like a kindergarten teacher trying to get her four wildest, most rambunctuous students to walk in the same direction at the same time. There were even times I wished I had them on four leashes, or at least clipped to tracking devices. At one point, after I retrieved Gary from a train station and brought him to the subway station where Shuping and my mother were waiting, Shuping giggled and said to my mom, “I think Frances is very good at taking care of old people. Very patient.”

 To be fair, among my four fully grown adult charges, Gary was the best behaved. Besides the train station incident, I only lost him one other time, to a Beatles souvenir shop. I had missed a pilgrimage the four had made the day before to Abbey Road, where my mom photographed Shuping, Gary and my dad at the famous pedestrian crosswalk, recreating the iconic Beatles pose.

I kept losing my mother as well, to every single photoworthy statue or building or plant or bird, and my father to every sign marking something of historical significance.

And Shuping! Every dog we passed was a long lost friend, one that needed its ears scratched and belly rubbed.

Every lush green meadow had to be lain in and relished.

Every rose, duck and goose needed to be photographed. I even caught Shuping holding her hand in a training position a foot above the head of a swan—-a SWAN—which, by the way, all belong to the Queen of England. 

What exactly did Shuping want the Queen’s swan to do? I admit, I have still never seen a swan do a trick. But what I did see, over and over again, two weeks ago on those sun-soaked days in early September, and throughout the two decades I have known her, is a woman full of joy, humor and curiosity, who loved to share her joy, her humor and her sense of wonder with everyone around her. It was hard, almost impossible, not to be infected by her cheerfulness.

I have seen a woman who laughed frequently, with her whole body, simultaneously tilting her chest and face open to the sun and sky while thrusting her knees and hips forward as she cackled, chortled and guffawed.

I saw a pratical joker who once snuck up behind my father as he got off an Amtrak bus and wrenched his backpack away from him. As my dad whirled around to confront the thief, he found only a short Chinese woman, hugging his bag and laughing hysterically.

Shuping with Jessie and David Cowhig

I saw the talented cook who made the best hot sauce my mouth has ever tasted, the kind of hot sauce that can only be made in the summer, after you’ve left watermelon to ferment on your porch for a week, hot sauce that made me its slave, compelling me to raid its maker’s fridge repeatedly, slathering it on every meal.

I saw a proud, devoted mother, who brought a large framed photograph of herself, Gary, dog Bagel and her three children with her to England in a suitcase, even though she was only spending six days away from home.

And I saw Shuping and Gary lying in meadows together, sprawled out beside each other under oak trees, walking hand-in-hand through forests and fields, dropping to their knees in near unison as dogs came to greet them.

These are just a few things I have seen, known and loved about my friend Shuping.

Shuping’s favorite song “You Are My Sunshine”

Sunshine Christensen’s oil paintings

Mount Olympus Summer

Unfinished painting : Mount Olympus Winter

Shuping’s unfinished painting sits on its easel as if awaiting the artist’s return
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A Chinese student writes about Shuping









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Dr Gao Yaojie: In Memory of Wang Shuping 高耀洁:纪念王淑平

Dr. Gao Yaojie yesterday sent me her essay in memory of Chinese Wang Shuping (also known as the American Shuping Wang and Sunshine Christensen of Salt Lake City, Utah, USA) and asked me to share it widely. Dr. Gao Yaojie, now age 91 and living in exile in New York City, and Wang Shuping came to the Henan HIV/AIDS prevention fight in different ways. They colleagues and friends. Dr. Gao tells the story of how she came to the HIV/AIDS prevention fight in “My AIDS Prevention Journey

Dr. Gao came to the AIDS prevention fight as a recently-retired professor of gynecology in the Henan capital of Zhengzhou. Wang Shuping, thirty years younger Dr. Gao’s junior, came to the HIV/AIDS fight as a Zhoukou, Henan physician/epidemiologist who had in 1988 learned epidemiology in a three-month course given in Beijing by a Chinese-speaking U.S. Centers for Disease Control physician, Dr. Ray Yip who had come to China to teach the CDC Field Epidemiology course.

Begin translation

In Memory of Wang Shuping

by Gao Yaojie written with great sadness on September 25, 2019

The Chinese “blood plasma economy” spread AIDS like wildfire. Over one million people have been its victims in one way or another. Before the government admitted to the existence of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, among the four million workers in the medical field in all of China, only four came forward to fight the HIV/AIDS epidemic. In order of their engaging in the fight, they are Sun Yongde of Hebei Province, Wang Shuping of Henan Province, myself and Gui Xi’en of Hubei Province.

In Spring 1994, Wang Shuping, the director of Henan’s Zhoukou Region (now Zhoukou City) Hospital Clinical Testing Center led her colleagues in an epidemiological study of hepatitis and the HIV. In May and September 1995, they collected over blood samples from over 900 people in Xizhaoqiao Village in Shangshui County. Tests revealed that the HIV infection rate was over 20%. Among the 300 blood sellers tested, the infection rate was over 50%.

Wang Shuping’s Investigation Showed that 150 People in Xizhaoqiao Village were Infected with HIV. This was Unprecedented

Wang Shuping realized that the epidemic was extremely serious. She wrote a detailed report to the Zhoukou City Health Bureau. The report stated that “HIV infection has already been detected among blood plasma donors and donors of blood cells. The rate of HIV detection has been increasing. This is an urgent issue that must be addressed.”

Wang Shuping’s Report Rocked the Henan Province Health Department

The Henan Health Department sent “experts” to the Zhoukou City Hospital Clinical Testing Center to “investigate” the HIV/AIDS epidemic. They criticized her saying, “Wang Shuping’s lab is substandard”, saying that Wang Shuping issued her report without first obtaining authorization. Wang Shuping would not give in. She sent the blood samples to the National AIDS Testing Center in Beijing. The results of testing those HIV blood samples proved that Wang Shuping’s report was correct.

On January 10, 1996 Chinese Academician Zeng Yi Presented Wang Shuping’s Report to the PRC Ministry of Public Health

In November 1996, Wang Shuping was personally attacked. Among the unjust actions taken against her were firing her from her post and closing down Wang Shuping’s clinical testing center. In early 1997, Wang Shuping was forced to leave Henan Province. She went to the Chinese Academy of Preventive Medicine to study and to work. There she was only provided room and board. She got no salary. At home she had a six year old daughter.

In Fall 2001, Wang Shuping’s former husband came to see me. At that time I too was in great difficulty so all I could do was to ask some people to assist Wang Shuping. Later, through some other people, I got in touch with a U.S. journalist who was able to be of great help. Wang Shuping left her homeland, he family, and relatives. All by herself she went to the United States a country where she didn’t even know the language. Wang Shuping paid a high price. She lost her job, her family, and had to leave her husband and child to go far away. Below is a photo of Wang Shuping and myself at an international conference in Beijing taken on January 8, 2001.

After Wang Shuping left for the United States, she found temporary work and worked hard on her English as well. She is a very bright person and so she adjusted quickly to life in the United States. In 2009, when I made a trip to the United States, I got in touch with Wang Shuping. That year in December Wang Shuping took part in a meeting in Washington at which I was presented an award. Wang Shuping was interviewed then by the journalist Jin Zhong of the magazine Kaifang. His article on Wang Shuping was published in the first issue of 2010 of Kaifang magazine. In China, the journalist Yu Chen (Zhang Jicheng) published an article in Southern Weekender [Nanfang Zhoumo] about Wang Shuping’s contributions to the fight against the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

The Results of Wang Shuping’s Investigations of Several Dozen AIDS Villages in the Zhoukou Region, Henan

In 1995, Wang Shuping discovered the HIV/AIDS epidemic. If Chinese officials had paid attention and taken timely measures, the Henan HIV/AIDS epidemic could never have been so serious! In April 1996, I detected a case of AIDS while doing a physical examination. The patient was a women who had become infected with HIV by selling her blood. I reported the case of the Henan Health Department. I was severely criticized by government official. Officials were determined to cover up the HIV/AIDS epidemic. They put pressure on me and told me that I was not allowed to share this information.

Professor Gui Xi’en went to Wenlou Village and discovered that the AIDS epidemic was serious there. He used some personal relationships to get information about the AIDS situation in the village to the office of then Vice Premier Li Lanqing. The AIDS disaster was revealed in 2003, but that was eight years too late. If strong measures against HIV/AIDS had been taken from the start, just imagine how people would not have lost their lives to AIDS, and how many elderly people and orphans would not have been made to live their live bereft of their loved ones! Corrupt officials bear responsibility for the AIDS epidemic and other matters.

Wang Shuping was not on the AIDS prevention battlefront for long but she achieved a great deal. It is just astonishing what she managed to do.

History will remember people like her who accomplished so much. For example, there was Dr. Sun Yongde of the Hebei Province Epidemic Prevention Station. Dr. Sun was the first one to raise the alarm that hepatitis and HIV were spreading through the blood supply. He sent a report on the HIV/AIDS epidemic to the leaders of the Communist Party Central Committee. Thus Dr. Sun played a key role in preventing HIV/AIDS from spreading through the blood supply in Hebei Province and keeping the armies of blood sellers out of Hebei Province.

The blood plasma economy flourished in Henan Province. Wang Shuping was the first medical worker to stand up and fight the HIV/AIDS epidemic there. She suffered so much from the reprisals that she often came to talk with me. She wanted to write a book about her experiences. She was always so busy making a living, that she was never able to accomplish this task.

Finally, a composed this poem of condolence for her:

On the Death of My Comrade-in-Arms Wang Shuping

Rest in peace Wang Shuping

Strong winds whistle across the landscape

Heavy rains fly though the sky

Shuping! You were so persecuted for fighting HIV/AIDS

Your abrupt departure breaks out hearts!

Your career was heroic,

Your contributions to the fight against AIDS invaluable

Your accomplishments will shine forever!

Shuping, you died in your prime! I am so heartbroken








卫生厅领导派 “专家”前往周口市医院临床检验中心“调查处理”艾滋病疫情,指责“王淑平的实验室不合格”,责令王淑平的调查报告不准发表,王淑平不服,将血样送至北京全国艾滋病检测中心。这些艾滋病毒血样检测结果验证了王淑平的报告情况属实。









吊 艾滋战友王淑平








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Goodbye Wang Shuping 王淑平

The recently deceased 1990s Henan Province blood plasma collection — HIV epidemic whistle-blower Wang Shuping (of Zoukou, Henan), also known as Sunshine Christensen (of Salt Lake City, Utah) 王淑平 is a hero of the Chinese people. 中华民族英雄

A Chinese Joan of Arc Figure Yes but a Mother Teresa Too

A Joan of Arc figure but also a Mother Teresa too. Like the other Henan hero-physician Dr. Gao Yaojie 高耀洁 (also an exile, now living in New York City) Shuping in the middle 1990s would often travel circuits through some of Henan’s AIDS villages. She visited and revisited people suffering from HIV/AIDS, doing what she could for them as they developed a variety of problems as their AIDS progressed. Shuping often used her own savings for. She would tell me about these trips, sometimes showing me photos at our regular, discreet lunches we had at the time around Beijing. She also did an amazing underground longitudinal study of the progression of AIDS in Chinese country people. This reflected Shuping’s love for the most unfortunate and lowest status people in society – the suffering peasants of Henan, a vast Chinese province of about 100 million people.

Now it can be told: Shuping Wang, for several years was assistant to Zeng Yi, the chair of the PRC National Committee on HIV/AIDS, was also the single most important source for US Embassy Beijing reporting on China’s HIV epidemic. (I have kept quiet about until now since the PRC might decided to harass or even arrest Shuping if somehow she came within their reach) Wang Shuping provided rock-solid, highly sensitive internal information about the HIV epidemic and the Chinese leadership’s disappointingly weak response. That in turn seized the attention of the Clinton White House (esp VP Gore) and drove more US engagement with China on HIV/AIDS. In the late 1990s in Beijing, a contractor for the UK Department for International Development (DIFID) told me our Beijing reporting also helped propel UK engagement with China. This likely because the US and the UK share quite a bit of diplomatic reporting back home in our capitals.

Ten years ago another Chinese physician who had investigated HIV/AIDS among poor peasants in a Henan village told Science magazine that a journalist had written an article about his investigation in a Henan paper, I believe the Dajiangbao. He said he was astonished to see the article in English translation on the US Embassy webpage in english translation just two months later. Wang Shuping gave me the article, telling me it was very important. I translated it and put in on the US Embassy Environment, Science and Technology section webpage.

Another example of how Shuping helped point out the most reliable sources of information was the anonymous article “The Blood Wound“. Shuping said that both she and her friend Dr. Gao Yaojie found the article, a history of the HIV blood–borne HIV epidemic in Henan province, to be very trustworthy. So I translated it and circulated it widely.

During my years at US Embassy Beijing I translated and shared widely many articles on the HIV/AIDS epidemic with the idea that although my diplomatic reporting had a limited audience, I could in my own small way help increase pressure for things to move in the right direction. So I found I could help the international media reporting on HIV in CHina without violating State Department media rules this way. Nothing wrong with just sharting a translation from the Chinese media! Some of these articles are can be found on the Internet Archive at “Chinese medical journal articles, press in English“. Shuping helped me a great deal with her explanations and suggestions about what was important. Naturally I developed many other contacts and read widely in Chinese medical journals and the Chinese press. In my five years I always found Wang Shuping’s information completely reliable.

Some of the reports US Embassy Beijing put out on its website at the time can be found on the Internet Archive at https://web.archive.org/web/20010809150226fw_/http://www.usembassy-china.org.cn/english/sandt/sandtbak-hp.html#Health

Here is what Shuping said in a recent interview:

Whistle-blowing involves huge personal sacrifice: what motivated you to take such a step?

Actually, I didn’t think of it in that way at the time. I expected that quick action would be taken to address the problem with a sense of urgency. Being a medical doctor, my primary interest is to my patients and to the public, not to myself. I was given opportunities to alter my reports, and it became more and more clear that there would be consequences for not doing so. I ran into huge troubles, which involved the power and money against the lives of the poor and the powerless. I made the decision to stand up for innocent people who were infected by the severe HCV and HIV viruses. I didn’t concern myself with my own fate. This is the first rule as a doctor.


Wang Shuping’ s whistle-blowing report in translation: https://gaodawei.wordpress.com/2019/08/11/henan-1995-warning-of-coming-blood-donation-spread-hiv-epidemic/

September 2019 interview with Wang Shuping on BBC Radio Four’s The Women’s Hour https://www.hampsteadtheatre.com/news/2019/september/womans-hour-interviews-dr-shuping-wang-and-frances-ya-chu-cowhig/

A Cheerful Woman with an Outrageous Sense of Humor. Maybe that resilience made her heroism possible

Shuping was a most determined, relentlessly optimistic and most loving woman. Our appreciation for her accomplishments should not overshadow Shuping as a person. She chose the English name Sunshine Christensen for a reason. Perhaps her exuberance and love for the outrageous – sometimes half serious, sometimes making a point along the way – made possible the perseverance she had. As a ten-year old, she was the ‘spy daughter’ focus of a Cultural Revolution struggle session, later a persecuted whistle blower and a confidential informant of US Embassy Beijing so that the world would know (not merely for the sake of the world knowing, but so that public embarrassment about the AIDS cover-up would force the party-state to move in the right direction) and finally as a beloved researcher at the University of Utah and hiking enthusiast.

Getting a Little Help from Her Friends — Thank you, CDC for the Field Epidemiology Training Course!

Quite a few health professionals in China know Wang Shuping’s story. Very few in China, the US and elsewhere know that she got her epidemiological training from that three-month U.S. CDC Field Epidemiology training course offered in Beijing in 1988. Shuping couldn’t have stood up with rock-solid evidence that the HIV epidemic was coming without it. Talk about our US federal tax dollars at work! So Shuping Wang’s life was even more entwined with the United States than people realize.

And finally she became a U.S. citizen and a research worker at the University of Utah near her home in Salt Lake City where she lived with her daughter Samantha, husband Gary Christensen and their children David and Julie.

Loved Animals Too Take a Look at Her Cat Training Video

Shuping’s love extended to animals – she told me that she had to change her research assistant job because she had come to sympathize more and more with the lab rats and the mother lab rats defending their children. Her cat training video is on Youtube Siamese cat Billiy performs tricks https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wp9a6tNScOw&app=desktop

The Empty Chair

Shuping took up painting about five years ago. I felt so moved when I saw her painting position and nearly- finished painting in the basement of her home! A winter scene, with subjects including her family, neighbors and of course their pets and the family dog Bagel (white dog 白狗 baigou in Chinese turned into Bagel). Salt Lake City”s Mount Olympus is in the background. The painting was inspired by Grandma Moses’ “Sugaring Off” which you can see affixed above the painting.

Shuping’s Life Reminds me of Ted Kennedy’s Eulogy of his brother Senator Robert Kennedy

Shuping’s passing makes me think back to Senator Ted Kennedy’s wonderful eulogy of his brother back in 1968. It made a big impression back then when I watched it on television from Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in New York.

One could say the same of Shuping.

“Few are willing to brave the disapproval of their fellows, the censure of their colleagues, the wrath of their society. Moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence. Yet it is the one essential, vital quality for those who seek to change a world that yields most painfully to change. And I believe that in this generation those with the courage to enter the moral conflict will find themselves with companions in every corner of the globe.

“For the fortunate among us, there is the temptation to follow the easy and familiar paths of personal ambition and financial success so grandly spread before those who enjoy the privilege of education. But that is not the road history has marked out for us. Like it or not, we live in times of danger and uncertainty. But they are also more open to the creative energy of men than any other time in history.

“All of us will ultimately be judged, and as the years pass we will surely judge ourselves on the effort we have contributed to building a new world society and the extent to which our ideals and goals have shaped that event.

*The future does not belong to those who are content with today, apathetic toward common problems and their fellow man alike, timid and fearful in the face of new ideas and bold projects. Rather it will belong to those who can blend vision, reason and courage in a personal commitment to the ideals and great enterprises of American Society.

* Our future may lie beyond our vision, but it is not completely beyond our control. It is the shaping impulse of America that neither fate nor nature nor the irresistible tides of history, but the work of our own hands, matched to reason and principle, that will determine our destiny. There is pride in that, even arrogance, but there is also experience and truth. In any event, it is the only way we can live.

“That is the way he lived. That is what he leaves us.

“My brother need not be idealized, or enlarged in death beyond what he was in life; to be remembered simply as a good and decent man, who saw wrong and tried to right it, saw suffering and tried to heal it, saw war and tried to stop it.

“Those of us who loved him and who take him to his rest today, pray that what he was to us and what he wished for others will some day come to pass for all the world.


Goodbye. We love you Shuping.

Sunny Christensen — Wang Shuping triumphant in front of the British Parliament during her September 2019 visit to London. We hiked through many of London’s beautiful parks and visited Kew Gardens. Just a week ago. It is hard to believe that she is gone. Life changes so abruptly.
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