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

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:

September 2019 interview with Wang Shuping on BBC Radio Four’s The Women’s Hour

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

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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Trans-provincial Bribery? High Officials Help Out Their Old Hometowns 官员偏爱籍贯地的机制研究

Mysterious action at a distance — how is it that the hometowns of high officials have extraordinarily good economic performance when that official is far away and supposedly not in a position to help out?

I came across this article summary in the August 2019 issue of Walter Kerr’s    free monthly/ sometimes irregular Chinese Academic Journal Digest . Sign up for you own free subscription.

When Provincial Officials are in Office, Hometowns Benefit 

Title: Officials prefer their places of origin (官员偏爱籍贯地的机制研究)
Journal: Economic Research Journal (经济研究)

Authors: Xu Xianxiang, Zhongshan University (徐现祥); Li Shujuan, Zhongshan University (李书娟)
Publication: July 2019

  • Authors Xu and Li evaluated the economic performance of the hometown counties of 203 provincial party secretaries and governors (the most senior officials in a Chinese province) from 1993-2013.
  • During the periods when those senior officials were in office, their places of origin experienced increases in manufacturing capital by 1.5 percent, number of firms entering home county markets increased by 9 percent, immigration increased by 4 percent, and overall economic growth rates were 2 percent greater than other neighboring counties, Xu and Li report.
  • That these officials appeared to drive investment back to their hometown counties is an unexpected phenomenon, the authors note, since the economic performance of an official’s place of origin has no bearing on his/her performance evaluation or career progression. In China, in most cases, senior officials at the provincial-level do not serve or preside over regions that include their hometown, in part, to discourage local preference.

Note: the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) publishes the Economics Research Journal.

Chengdu Case Study Supports Chinese Economists’ Article

While I was doing political and economic work at the US Consulate General in Chengdu 2007 – 2012, the Chengdu district of  Longquanyi  龙泉驿区  built a big industrial zone.  Liu Qibao , a native of Susong County, Anhui Province was the Sichuan Province Communist Party Committee Secretary at the time.  My now-deceased friend  Yin Shuping   殷叔平, a well-plugged in writer — darling of the Party as a young true believer Communist poet in the 50s, soon disillusioned and sentenced to the gulags for 20+ years in the Great Leap Forward when he defended his fellow Chengdu poet Liu Shahe told me a story that gives some background to the economists’ story.

Yin Shuping told me that the Longquanyi district of Chengdu where he lived set up a poverty alleviation project in the Anhui Province hometown of the provincial party secretary.  One might imagine that there was not a transparent process for awarding this contract but maybe I am too cynical.

Sichuan Province Party Secretary Liu Qibao would have been one of the top leaders included in the study since his time leading Sichuan is in the time period.  So that would be an example of a provincial leader (indirectly and not at his initiative one imagines) promoting economic growth in his hometown. 

Yin Shuping also told me that the Longquanyi authorities also got the son of then PM Wen Jiabao involved in a highly profitable investment in the Longquanyi development zone. 

Readers of this blog at the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (one never knows) must already know all about this case.  

My Chengdu anecdote could even be a tidbit for the further research the authors propose in their conclusion:

“The findings in this paper are relatively robust, verifying that resource transfer is the mechanism behind the phenomenon of native preference. Of course, our work in this article merely identifies that this capital transfer effect actually exists. More work is needed on at least two other aspects of this phenomenon. The first is to describe systematically this transfer effect for officials. For example, what channels are used to transferring this capital? What kinds of companies are transferring capital?

The other is to identify the factors that influence the size of the resource transfer effect. These issues deserve further study.”

Officials prefer their places of origin (官员偏爱籍贯地的机制研究)
Journal: Economic Research Journal (经济研究) July 2019

In the English language summary to their paper copied below,  the economists note

This paper deepens the empirical analysis of leaders’influence on economic growth. Lu ( 2017) has pointed out that “the correlation between the assessment incentives and economic growth seen in the panel data at the provincial or municipal level does not mean that the whole economic growth benefits from the existing system. In other words,it is entirely possible that the cake of whole economic growth has not increased,but only the highly motivated leaders have allocated more economic growth”. This paper models this idea and provides primary evidence.

  I wonder if further research on this topic would be dangerous or might it might even get sponsored by the Communist Party’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection?   Or even if Discipline Inspection supported it, might local officials find ways to punish the economists?   When I reported on HIV/AIDS from US Embassy Beijing in the late 1990s there was massive provincial level (especially in Henan) resistance to central government initiatives that embarrassed local officials.  China is much more decentralized than it first appears. A Chinese saying goes “For every measure from above, a counter-measure is devised below” 上有政策,下有对策

Dropping money on the relatives is a common method of bribing officials who want to maintain the appearance of uprightness.  I remember a  long conversation with a Chengdu businessman about that. 

The Secretary Xi Jinping chill affects economists too as we see from the Unirule economics research institute being chained-up and then shutdown. Considering it all, this is probably as straightforward as can be and still get published. Getting into those questions they mention for future study in their conclusions would probably have been a step too far.


English summary appended to article by the Chinese economists

A Study of the Mechanism of Leaders’Regional Favoritism,Based on the Resource Reallocation Perspective

XU Xianxianga and LI Shujuanb

( a: Lingnan College,Sun Yat-sen University; b: Jinan University)

Summary: There is a substantial literature documenting the novel phenomenon of leaders’regional favoritism. This phenomenon is clearly different from the fact that leaders are committed to the economic development of their jurisdiction,and cannot be simply attributed to leaders’ability. It cannot be attributed to political tournaments either,because a leader’s place of origin may be outside his or her jurisdiction,and economic performance outside the leader’s jurisdiction clearly does not contribute to his or her promotion. This paper therefore examines the mechanisms behind this novel phenomenon.

Theoretically,this paper argues that leaders favor their places of origin through resource reallocation,and provides a model for this phenomenon. In this model,the economy involves two regions labeled region I and region J. Each area is divided into n sub-areas,each with the same initial capital and economic activity. There is a unified and competitive capital market,and capital can flow in the economy without cost. Labor cannot flow between sub-regions,and each region inelastically has one unit of labor. Leaders are both concerned with their native area’s development and the development of their jurisdiction,and have the ability to provide certain public services for their native area. Other things being equal,the native area has a larger number of public services,resulting in a higher marginal output of capital. In a unified and competitive capital market,capital in other regions will flow to the native area until the marginal output in the two areas reequalizes.

This kind of resource reallocation will eventually be transformed into a difference in economic performance between the two areas,which leads to the phenomenon of regional favoritism observed in the literature.

In this paper,this mechanism is tested using a sample of provincial leaders. In 1998—2013,there were 203 provincial party committee secretaries and governors in the country. Places of origins were distributed throughout 74 counties outside jurisdictions and 32 counties inside jurisdictions. This paper adopts a sample of native areas outside the jurisdiction of provincial leaders as the treatment group,based on the following four points. First,the provincial leader’s place of origin is exogenous. At the same time,provincial leaders are also exogenous to their places of origin. Second,provincial leaders have the power to influence the economic development of their places of origin. Third,the development of areas outside the jurisdiction has nothing to do with political incentives. Because the leader’s place of origin is not in his or her jurisdiction,its economic development does not directly affect personal career development,which eliminates the political incentive for its improved performance. Fourth,the development of leaders’places of origin can be separated from their capabilities. The capacity of provincial leaders will not change significantly with a change in their position,but their impact on their place of origin may change as their position changes.

Empirically,based on the aggregate firm data from 1998—2013,we find that manufacturing capital flows to places of origin from other regions in the same province. In the leader’s place of origin,manufacturing capital increases by 1. 5%,number of firms goes up by 9%,immigration rate increases by 4%,and emigration decreases by 13%,but the capital scale of firms remains unchanged. We also find that the economic growth of the place of origin is 2% greater. These findings are robust,and they reveal that resource reallocation is a likely mechanism of the phenomenon of regional favoritism.

This paper complements to the political tournament and ability hypothesis. The resource reallocation hypothesis does not emphasize the direct influence of leaders,but emphasizes that leaders’preference for their place of origin will bring about resource reallocation in market competition,thus affecting the place’s economic performance.

This paper deepens the empirical analysis of leaders’influence on economic growth. Lu ( 2017) has pointed out that “the correlation between the assessment incentives and economic growth seen in the panel data at the provincial or municipal level does not mean that the whole economic growth benefits from the existing system. In other words,it is entirely possible that the cake of whole economic growth has not increased,but only the highly motivated leaders have allocated more economic growth”. This paper models this idea and provides primary evidence.

Keywords: Provincial Leader; Resource Reallocation; Regional Favoritism

JEL Classification: O11,P16,P26,R11 ( 责任编辑: 陈小亮) ( 校对: 晓鸥)


徐现祥、李书娟: 官员偏爱籍贯地的机制研究

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Henan 1995: Wang Shuping Warns of Coming Blood Plasma Collection Station Spread HIV Epidemic Among Blood Sellers

Henan physician Dr. Wang Shuping, the author of the December 1995 report translated below, reviewed this translation and offered several explanatory notes which are included in brackets below. Wang Shuping is now a research worker at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Health officials in Henan reacted very badly to the warning of a coming HIV epidemic spread through careless practices at the rapidly expanding and very profitable blood plasma collection center where poor peasants sold blood.

Details are in Dr. Wang Shuping’s 2012 article How I Discovered the HIV Epidemic and What Happened to Me Afterwards . An excerpt:

The leaders from the provincial Department of Health asked me, “How come you could discover AIDS while others didn’t?” I understood very well that they wanted me to keep it secret, because exposing the epidemic would botch their job evaluation as officials. Dismayed, I said, “I hope you don’t upbraid me for now. You should go visiting the 17 stations of plasma collection that are collecting blood as we speak. In these 17 stations, there are at least 500 people who are being infected by hepatitis C and HIV every day.” According to newspaper reports at the time, Henan province alone had almost 400 stations of plasma collection, and most of the blood used in hospitals came from these stations. It was impossible to know how many hospital patients had been infected with hepatitis C and HIV. A police officer got hepatitis C from transfusion he received after being wounded in a chase. He and his family were deeply upset about it.

Following that, a retired leader of the Health Bureau came to my clinical testing center telling me, “You will be in trouble if you don’t close down the center.” The next day he came with a long baton and smashed the sign of the center with it. Then, he went into the rooms to smash the equipment. I tried to block him, and he hit me with his baton. Presently a lot of people crowded around us to watch. Some pulled him back. That way I got out of danger. I called the police station immediately, and when the officers came to get him, he cried and made a scene. He screamed, “Certain leaders sent me to beat her. Now that the police came, none of them is forthcoming!”

Report on Investigation of Hepatitis Virus and HIV Infection Among Blood Donors in Our Region

English translation of Dr. Wang Shuping’s December 1995 report 我区献血员中HCV及HIV感染的调查汇报

The twentieth century’s HIV/AIDS pandemic has already begun to spread in the Zhoukou region (Note: administrative region of China’s Henan Province then included Zhoukou city,nine counties). It already affects the majority of the counties and cities in Zhoukou region. The HIV/AIDS pandemic will have a serious impact on our region’s economic development and poses a severe threat to the health of the people of Zhoukou region. This investigation report describes that status of the epidemic in Zhoukou region), the causes of its spread, and urgent measures that need to be taken.

I. Rates of Hepatitis and HIV infection in Our Region

During 1994 and 1995 we sampled for Hepatitis B infection groups of plasma-only [paid] blood donors in the Zhoukou region who underwent a process that involves centrifuging whole blood, separating out the plasma, and then transfusing the remaining blood fraction back into the blood donor. The rate of Hepatitis C infection we found ranged from 18% to 84%. We also did a screening at our plasma-only blood plasma collection station for Hepatitis C antibodies after blood plasma collection as well as before blood plasma collection and found that the rates of infection after collection were 40.1% (201/501) compared with 18.3% (82/448) before blood plasma collection.

Currently, the rate of Hepatitis C infection after giving blood is 41.2% whereas the rate of Hepatitis C virus infection among normal people the rate is 0.85%. Recently we discovered that the rate of HIV infection among blood givers was 15.1% (62/409). [Wang Shuping note: We did not find any HIV positive infection in the normal population.]

Why were infections so high among [paid] blood donors and people who receive blood transfusions? The causes of this situation are analyzed below.

II. Causes of Infection

Causes of Infection in Blood Collection Stations

  1. Blood collection stations are operated to make a profit so the stations want blood donors to give as much blood and as frequently as possible and they often ignore the regulations. This also makes the blood donors physical condition decline as a result. [Wang Shuping Note: The regulations allowed blood to be given no more than two times per month. ]
  2. The blood collection stations did not screen for HIV prior to April 1995. Some underground blood collection stations are still not screening for HIV.
  3. Some blood collection stations knowingly take blood from blood donors who have tested previously positive for hepatitis and still less do they do they fail to give blood givers a physical examination and blood test.
  4. The blood collection stations take a great deal of blood plasma from the blood givers. The remaining fraction of the blood, because the blood collection station is operating in violation of regulations, they mix up the blood and people get contaminated blood by having leftover blood from another person transfused into them.
  5. People come to blood plasma collection stations in our region from provinces and cities in other regions of Henan Province. Some of these people are carriers of HIV infection and so by giving blood in our region bring HIV into our region.
  6. A large proportion of the people who work at the blood collection stations have not had medical training so they don’t have even the most basic understanding of how disease is transmitted. This results in some workers in the blood collection stations themselves getting infected by the Hepatitis C virus.
  7. The blood collection stations are operated to make large profits, so the workers at the blood collection stations have been overloaded for a long time. They work too fast and to save time and work often ignore the regulations for operating a blood collection station.
  8. The blood donors wanted to sell more blood in order to make more money so they are economically motivated to give blood at several blood collection stations. Some even give blood at two blood collection stations in one day. Many of them eat and sleep at the blood collection station so that they can give blood once a day. It is not unusual for them to give blood after taking an oral dose of a traditional Chinese medicine often used to treat hepatitis [Wang Shuping note: to reduce the level of the alanine aminotransferase (ALT) which checks for liver damage].
  9. Some biological products companies are aware of, but do not observe PRC state regulations and so try to buy blood plasma that tested positive for hepatitis. They do not always do any complete testing at of all of the blood plasma before they use it to produce gamma globulin, serum albumins and other blood products. It is not yet known whether those blood products can be contaminated by the AIDS HIV virus.
  10. Some leaders of blood collection stations have not the faintest idea about medicine. Their goal is making a profit. For the sake of reducing their capital costs they are content to completely ignore the health of blood givers and blood collection station workers.

Cause of Infection in Hospitals and Rural Clinics

  1. In our region there are still some hospitals that do not test blood donors donor blood for HIV and Hepatitis C virus, and then transfuse that blood into their patients resulting in cases of infection with HIV and hepatitis virus.
  2. Some hospitals still do not sterilize needles, injection equipment, as well as dental equipment after each time they are used on a different patient.
  3. Some rural township level hospitals only sterilize their injection equipment once a day. They do not sterilize the syringes after they are used on each person. The most serious cases are rural township level hospitals and clinics that only change the needle, but not the syringe, for example when vaccinating children.
  4. Village health rooms do not follow safety protocols for sterilization and often only use the same injector possess only one or two glass syringes which are cleaned and boiled in water at the end of day, and only change the needle but not the syringe for each patient.

We began a study of 76 people who had just registered at the blood collection station. We found that after seven months 68.3% had become infected with the Hepatitis C virus. We conclude that since the transmission mode of the Hepatitis C virus and HIV are similar, if this situation should continue, then HIV will spread rapidly throughout our region.

In order to protect the blood donors of our region and to limit the spread of HIV and the Hepatitis virus in our region, we make the following recommendations:

III. Recommendations

  1. Since at present there is no effective management of blood collection stations, all blood plasma-only collection stations, including underground blood plasma collection stations, should be closed immediately. Local laws and regulations are needed to manage these stations.
  2. People have been giving blood to blood plasma-only blood collection stations should not be allowed to give whole blood for therapeutic use. Procedures for handling blood used therapeutically should include testing twice before using the blood.
  3. The organization charged with responsibility for blood oversight should be given some authority. It should regularly inspect and at times make surprise inspections to sample the quality of blood at the blood collection centers and at hospitals in order to reduce the spread of HIV and the Hepatitis C virus.
  4. At all blood collection centers that collect whole blood should immediately provide training to their entire staff. This training should stress medical morality education. Training should focus on specific job-related tasks and be followed by an examination. Only those who pass the examination should be employed.
  5. For director of a blood collection station a person should be chosen who has high professional morality, has received a standard medical education, intelligent and conscientious, behave properly, does not hatch plots, and is not overly focused on their personal advantage.
  6. The chemical reagents used to conduct testing at blood collection centers and at hospitals should be centrally managed to ensure that inferior reagents do not come onto the local market and affect the quality of sample test results.
  7. The regional blood quality oversight committee should regularly sent send people to inspect all blood collection stations and hospitals. Stations and hospitals that have permits but do not operate according to the terms of their permit, which operate in violation of regulations, which are aware of hazards to public health but choose to ignore them, or which avoid testing by collecting the blood that they use should be severely punished.
  8. HIV tests should be given to everyone who has ever been a plasma-blood only blood donor and to people who have had a blood transfusion since 1992, who has had many different sex contacts, or has been an intravenous drug user so that people who are currently HIV-positive can be educated about HIV/AIDS as soon as possible, so that their families can be protected, and that greater harm to society in the future can be prevented and so reduce the speed of the spread of HIV/AIDS.
  9. Education about HIV/AIDS should be increased. More specifically, there should be weekly articles or programs in the newspapers and on television.
  10. All hospitals and clinics should use only single-use needles. Transfusion equipment used at blood collection stations should undergo high temperature sterilization before being disposed of. This equipment should absolutely not be resold.

Confronted by the current epidemic of HIV infection, the most important thing is that everyone has a strong sense of urgency. If those in the medical community do not properly understand the threat that HIV poses to our region, they certainly face severe criticism in the future.

As a medical worker and as someone who has worked at an anti-epidemic station and a blood collection station, I have a relatively good and detailed understanding of the problems of blood collection stations. If we take immediate and effective action, the problems described above can be brought under control.

The analysis of the causes and the recommendations given above may have some bias. However, we have seen how the HIV infection rate in our region has been increasing at a horrifying pace. Our conscience tells us that we must urge our leaders to take prompt action in order to save the people of our region.

Zhoukou Region Clinical Testing Center

December 16, 1995

Photos of the Chinese text of this report can be found among photos on or within several photos of this Flickr link.

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1993 Zhoukou, Henan: The Eruption and Sudden Surge of Paid Blood Donations

The HIV/AIDS epidemic that arose in Henan Province, China and other from dangerous blood banking practices and spread HIV/AIDS to at least many tens of thousands of people began with for profit blood sales by tens of thousand of poor peasants.

Below I have translated from a May 1993 press clipping apparently from the China Youth Daily [Zhongguo Qingnianbao] or the China Youth Guidance News [Zhongguo Qingnian Daobao] describes the social conditions out of which the epidemic grew.

More information about the 1990s HIV/AIDS epidemic is available from a wide range of sources including:

How I Discovered the HIV Epidemic and What Happened to Me Afterwards by Dr. Wang Shuping

My “AIDS Prevention” Journey By Dr. Gao Yaojie

Revealing the “Blood Wound” of the Spread of HIV AIDS in Henan Province by He Aifang [psuedonym, homonym for Henan Prevent AIDS]

as well as the Wikipedia and contemporary reporting and translations from the old US Embassy Beijing website available on the Internet Archive.

Along with some other US Foreign Service colleagues, I told my story of our work overseas in the pages of the Foreign Service Journal in the 2018 series “Diplomacy Works”. The story of my encounters with Chinese public health heros who spoke out at the risk of considerable official harassment of themselves, their families and coworkers appears in that series on the Foreign Service Journal website as “Slowing the Spread of HIV“.

My daughter Frances Cowhig has written a play with the help of extensive interviews with one of China’s public health hero, Dr. Wang Shuping, about the HIV epidemic and life at the Zhoukou regional bloodbank where Dr. Wang worked. There, Dr. Wang discovered and and spoke out about the epidemic of Hepatitis she found breaking out among blood donors. Predicting the outbreak of HIV, she called for the closing of local blood banks until the dangerous practices could be halted and staff educated in safe blood banking. She was ignored, beaten up and fired from the Zhoukou Regional Blood Collection Station.

The play, entitled “The King of Hell’s Palace” will have its world premiere at the Hampstead Theatre London in September 2019.

Youth Saturday Section Close-up on Society May 29, 1993

The Eruption and Sudden Surge of [Paid] Blood Donations

by Liu Yanzhang and Yang Yaping

At the Zhoukou Regional Health Department Anti-Epidemic Station, the big letters “Red Cross Blood Station” with the characters “blood station” conspicuous in red shock a crowd of wild imaginings into one’ mind. There, everyday except for Sundays and holidays, densely packed lines of old bicycles snakes along the narrow streets from 3AM until 10 PM. Waiting in two or three lines of bicycles, noisy crowds, a confusion of voices, the hundreds of peasants who come every day to give blood fill pack seal this tiny neighborhood fully watertight.

On January 11, we did interviews near where people parked their bicycles. A young fellow surnamed Zhang said “Usually five to six hundred people come here every day to give blood. In the cold weather like now about four hundred come. Most of the people who park their bicycles here are peasants who live within five to ten kilometers away.” He added, “Blood sellers come to the blood station between 4 and 5 AM to buy a registration number. People who live further away get up at 3 AM to ride in a big bus. Some even come the day before. The opening of the blood bank has made the various service providers nearby more prosperous.”

When the blood station opened, people go to wondering,

“Why are so many people coming and making so much noise all day?”

“Why are so many peasants selling blood?”

“The blood station is making a fortune!”

At the same time the other blood collection stations that opened one after another in such places as Fan District of Xihua County, Xiangcheng City, Huiyang County, Luxi County, and Shenqiu County were soon jam-packed with blood sellers. At present, the entire Zhoukou region, except for Xihua County and Fugou County which have not yet opened blood collection stations, every county and city has either opened or applied to open a blood collection station! An astonishing tidal wave of blood-giving has swept the entire region.

With many questions on our minds, we set out to interview the Zhoukou Regional Red Cross Blood Collection Station and the peasants who had come to sell blood there.

The Central Blood Collection Station

According to regulations, each county may have no more than one blood collection station. Each region or city may have only one central blood collection station. The Zhoukou Regional Red Cross Blood Collection Station, subordinate to the regional Health Bureau Anti-Epidemic Station, formally opened in December 1991. This blood collection station, responsible for all the blood used in medically in the region, also a blood plasma supplier to the Shanghai Institute of Products Co., Ltd. 【上海生物制品研究所】. The blood collection station takes each time from a healthy person 800 cubic centimeters of whole blood. The whole blood is then centrifuged to obtain 400 cc of blood plasma. The remaining red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets are then transfused back into the seller. The blood donor gets paid a 54 RMB nutritional fee each time.

According to statistics, from the blood collection station’s opening down to the present, over ten thousand people have filled out blood donor registration cards. The vast majority of them are peasants from rural townships of nearby counties including some from rural townships of Shangcai County in the Zhumadian Region of Henan Province. In order to better organize blood donations, the blood donors have been divided up into blood troops from individual districts, townships, or villages. Every blood troop has a captain. Captains are responsible for recruiting new members to their blood troops and for arranging for all members of the blood troop to buy a registration number.

Every blood donor, before giving blood, must pay a registration fee for the physical examination they undergo before giving blood. Once they have passed their physical, they got to a collection room where they await blood collection and change clothes. For each member of the blood troop who gets onto a blood collection table, the blood troop captain (also known as a “bloodhead”) is paid one renminbi. Therefore the “bloodhead” is the “aristocrat” among the blood donors and earns a large income. The Zhoukou central blood collection station has 22 blood troops. Big troops such a the Tangzhuang Township, Shangshui County blood troop, may have more than two thousand members. Small blood troops might have between several dozen to several hundred members. The blood collection station arranges blood collections on different days by blood type and by county or district. The schedule of collections is distributed to the public about a week ahead of time.

In the course of my interviews I found that peasants coming give blood were satisfied with the service they encountered at the blood collection station. The equipment at the blood collection station is very advanced. The people who work there are very conscientious because the blood fraction that remains after the plasma is removed by centrifuging must be transfused back into that very same person who gave the blood. Therefore they must take great care in their work. A small error could cost someone their life. We asked the blood collection workers if they worried about this. They said no, we follow procedures very closely.

What the Blood Donors Said About Their Lives

The vast majority of the people who give blood at the blood collection station are peasants. Alongside them are also a very small number of urban workers and unemployed city people from the suburbs who have no land. Among nearly ten thousand blood donors, we found only one upaid ‘donor’. That was a young cadre from a Zhoukou region company within state foreign trade system. He wouldn’t give us his name. He regularly gave blood but was unwilling for this to be publicly known. We didn’t think it was right to inquire further so we left it at that.

Before undertaking these interviews, we had heard talk of people who had made a fortune selling blood and had used it to build a nice foreign-style house for themselves or to gamble. That may be so but we didn’t come across these kinds of people in our interviews. Most of the blood donors were there because of their straitened circumstances. Excessive financial burdens on peasants including many miscellaneous fees and family planning fines cut into their incomes. The peasants said, “Anyone with an alternative wouldn’t grab for this “lifeline”.

The peasant blood donors told us that in some areas peasants had to pay a fee of around 20 RMB for every cow, lamb or pig that they raised. They had to pay all kinds of miscellaneous fees. If they had a small three or four wheeled tractor they had to pay a fee for that too. If they dug a well they had to pay a fee. If smoke came out their chimney, they had to pay a fee for that too. They had to pay a fee of between 0.5 and 1 RMB for square meter of the land their house was built on. They had to pay 5 – 10 RMB for cutting tree, landscaping using cement and wooden pegs would cost 10 RMB. Some rural township ordered the peasants to grow tobacco leaves, those who had been planting wheat had to turn in their plows but even so they were assessed the fee for plowed land.

In some places, peasants were ordered to set some land aside in the fall to plant tobacco leaf; beforehand they were assessed a 20 RMB security deposit to ensure that they did so. Planting tobacco and cotton together in the same field makes no sense at all but peasants who refused to do so were fined. People who did plant them together only got a IOU at harvest time or were fined if they didn’t sell enough cotton. Some grassroots government cadres issued orders blindly, sometimes even countermanding their own orders very shortly thereafter. The peasants didn’t know what to do or couldn’t carry out the orders on time. The end result is that a lot of agricultural land lay fallow. The peasants all hated that situation.

One peasant blood donor said, “You can’t make any money planting crops for foodstuffs. If you harvest 400 pounds of wheat from each mu of land, you just about get your capital investment back. But then you have to sell part of your crop to the government at a below-market set price 【交公粮】, various deductions are made, and make payments to the rural township or village by a certain deadline. If you don’t pay then fines are added on. Sometimes they’ll come to beat you up or even pull down your house and steal things.”

Then there are family planning fines. “There are two games they play in the villages. One of them is the family planning fine. The other is the home site fee.” Very important and very difficult family planning 【计划生育 ‘planned fertility’】due to traditional thinking and village realities, family planning work is in fact very difficult.

During our interviews, we met a couple over 50 years of age who had been fined for having too many children. The two of them came together to sell blood because they were so very poor that they couldn’t even afford to buy salt. They were in a very pitiful state.

A bloodhead from Shangshui County said, ‘Their blood troop has three to four hundred people. Most peasants sell blood to pay fines, deductions, solve financial difficulties that came up. If an urgent problem crops up, sometime an entire family will come to sell blood. Therefore the blood troops include men and women, the young and the old, mothers and children.”

Joys and Worries of Blood-Giving

PRC national regulation state that for the sake of helping the dying and helping the injured, to carry out revolutionary humanitarianism, and to rescue people who are burned, injured, undergoing operations or are seriously ill, and to help the young, the old and the sick in households throughout the country, all Chinese citizens between the ages of eighteen and fifty-five have the responsibility to donate blood and blood plasma. Giving blood and plasma is a glorious and sacred business and a reflection of the ideological and cultural advancement of mankind. The economically advanced nations of the world have already developed a system of voluntary blood donations.

In China, however, because of its specific national conditions, and its level of economic development, and because the awareness and understanding of the people are different, the PRC has established a system of paid blood donations. Giving blood and plasma is good for your body. It is not harmful. The idea that giving blood is something shameful is foolish.

The person in charge of the blood collection station said, “We are in a large backwards plateau region. We have rich blood resources. In 1992, the central blood collection station had 50,000 blood collection person-visits during the pea calendar year. This brought direct economic benefits of 2.7 million RMB to the entire region. Given the poorly development state of the commercial economy in our region, and given that peasant health does not suffer from their blood donations, this is a viable method for escaping poverty. Moreover, since so very many peasants give blood, this is certainly good for improving medical care and public health in the entire region. There is no doubt about it. Improving the level of medical care for the people of the entire region is a good thing. “

What motivates peasants blood selling, however, is economic necessity. This means that Chinese peasants bear too heavy a burden. Much remains to be done in China’s rural areas. We must develop the collective economy so that peasants can become prosperous. That is the only way that Chinese peasants will be able to escape poverty. There is already no time to lose in improving the quality of government and Communist Party work at the grassroots.

Moreover, why is it that only very few city people and cadres give blood? Is it because our low living standards or because our inadequate understanding and our level of education is not high? Could it really be that we only have the right to use blood but we do not have the responsibility to give blood?

During our interviews we also came to understand that in some particular instances, blood was given in serious violation of regulations. Some people gave blood ten times monthly or even more frequently. Such frequent donations must affect that person’s health and the quality of their blood.

Particularly as the number of blood collection stations increases, will blood collection stations struggling to obtain more blood resources, lower their standards? If blood collection stations put more emphasis on profits, will their be unimaginable consequences? Strengthening the management of blood resources and of blood collection stations is already on the agenda. That will be a long road and things are developing very swiftly. How will the rapidly swelling blood-selling wave develop in the days to come? Progress although halting and uncertain is slowly become more steady.

Original Chinese text of the 1993 article is in the photo below and on my Flickr account.

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Court Cases of the “June 4th Protesters Against Government Violence”

Chinese court records give insight into the actions of ordinary Beijing people who went out into the streets in June 1989 to prevent a massacre of students in Tiananmen Square by martial law troops then charging into Beijing. This Chinese-language book, with an introduction by Song Yongyi has the English language title Court Files of Civil Disobedience Against Government Violence on June 4th, 1989 Chinese title: 六四抗暴者法庭档案

Like Liao Yiwu’s book of interviews, Bullets and Opium: Real-Life Stories of China After the Tiananmen Square Massacre, Court Files highlights the role of the majority of the June 4th arrested.  Not university students like the people in the Square but Beijing people of all ages and occupations.  Some of the student leaders escaped abroad and became well-known. Some of their defenders went to jail for years and are little-known or ignored. This book, which tells the other story of Tiananmen through contemporary court documents, helps redress the balance.

In May 2019, the Voice of America Chinese language service reported on this book. 六四30年:被忽略的“六四抗暴者”

 Court Files was edited by the Support Network for the Persecuted in China (Australia)  and published 2019 by Mirror Books HK. The book is on the publisher’s website at (the website has other intriguing offerings including a book of oral histories done with Shanxi Province peasants)  ISBN 978-1-63032-799-6 contact address for the publisher in the USA is P.O. Box 815, Deer Park, NY 11729. 

The book begins with an introduction by Song Yongyi, a democracy activist and scholar of the Cultural Revolution.  My translation of the introduction follows.

The original Chinese language text of the introduction is on the website of the Independent Chinese PEN Center 宋永毅:《“六四”抗暴者法庭档案》导读: 一个不应当被遗忘和冷落的六四民主运动的重要群体

Song Yongyi: A Guide to the “Court Cases of the “June 4th Protesters Against Government Violence”: This Important Group in the June 4th Democratic Movement Must Not be Forgotten or Ignored

The narrow, selective beam of history’s spotlight, focusing as it does on the doings of elites during important historical events, leaves other social groups, either intentionally or unconsciously, in the shadows. We often see this in writing about contemporary Chinese history in which the media and researchers forget or coldly ignore some social groups. For example, when we think about the victims of the many political movements the Chinese Communists have conducted throughout their history, it is the Cultural Revolution that immediately comes to the minds of most people. The names of famous victims including among the Chinese Communist Party leadership itself names like Liu Shaoqi, He Long, Tao Zhu, Peng Dehuai, and Deng Yu and from among literary circles and intellectuals names Xinfang, Lao She, Fu Lei, Rong Guotuan, Yan Fengying, Shang Guanyun immediately come to mind. During the Cultural Revolution, however, the people who suffered the most were in fact not the elite but people of humbler status and political outcasts.

Based on what we know thus far about the several great massacres that took place during the Cultural Revolution such as the August 1966 massacre in Daxing County, Beijing Municipality; the summer 1967 massacre in Dao County, Hunan Province and eleven other nearby counties; and the 1968 ten-month long massacres that when so far as cannibalism in the Guangxi Autonomous Region. Over half the victims in these massacres were people in the so-called Black Five Categories [Translator’s Note: people who had family backgrounds of: landlord (地主, dìzhǔ), rich farmer (peasants) (富农, fùnóng), counter-revolutionaries (反革命, fǎngèmíng), bad-influencers [“bad elements”] (坏分子, huàifènzǐ) and rightists (右派, yòupài) End note.] and particularly the sons and daughters of former landlords and rich peasants among in the Chinese countryside.

Who remembers the names of these people today? When we discuss the numbers of people who died unnatural deaths in the course of these political movements, we might assume that more people died during the Cultural Revolution than at any other time. In fact, however, if we examine statistics gathered by researchers both within and outside China, we find that the Cultural Revolution claimed two to three million victims. During the three years of the Great Leap Forward and the Great Famine of 1959 – 1961, lower end estimates come to twenty to thirty million deaths. Those twenty to thirty million people killed fall in a different category however – they were merely poor peasants. They had no education and no social status. To this day, unlike the people who suffered during the Cultural Revolution and their children, they are unable to make loud protests against these injustices though their writings or by speaking out in public. From that perspective, we researchers have incurred and debt and owe sympathy to people in those forgotten and neglected social groups.

The same goes for June 4th. When we think about the famous names from the democratic movement, of course we will never forget the names of student leaders such as Wang Dan, Chai Ling, and Wu’erkaixi. Even their voices and smiles have remained vivid in our minds. However, how many people will remember Dong Shengkun, Gao Hongwei, Wang Lianhui, Sun Yancai, Lian Zhenguo, Gong Chuanchang, Li Dexi, Sun Yanru, Zhang Guojun? What a string of unfamiliar names! These were ordinary people long referred to by the Chinese Communist Party authorities as “June 4th Thugs”. They were workers, peasants, city residents, office staff, teachers, and even lower-ranking managers among government or party workers. They were both young and old with many middle-aged and elderly people among them. Like the students, they felt passionately that China needs to become more democratic. They differed from the students in that they did not stand in the middle stage of history but instead acted to support and protect the student movement. When martial law was declared in Beijing and the shooting and the final suppression began, they often rushed forwards to block tanks and other military vehicles. They even blocked bullets on the outskirts of Beijing in order to protect the students in Tiananmen Square.

In the end, the biggest difference between their experience and that of the students was that they paid the highest price and were treated most brutally by the Chinese Communist Party. Many were sentenced to death or life imprisonment, harsher penalties that what most of the June 4th leaders who were arrested faced. People in this social group are mostly unsung heroes. Even during the thirty years that have passed since June 4th, they have been little-mentioned in overseas media. To say that they are a forgotten and It is no exaggeration to say that they are a forgotten and excluded social group would be no exaggeration. To address this gap in the study of contemporary Chinese history, the court files of the 108 “June 4 Thugs” have been collected in this book help fill that gap. the gaps in the study of contemporary Chinese history. I hope that this will give some measure of delayed justice and apology to this neglected group of people.


That the Chinese Communist Party choose to suppress one social group more than another within the same democratic movement is certainly connected to the Party’s own political taboos and political considerations. One obvious fact is that these ordinary people are part of the great silent majority in Chinese society. If they were to be mobilized to participate a universal anti-communist democratic movement, then the Chinese Communist Party’s doomsday would have finally arrived because the Party’s social basis would be falling apart. If we were to consider the situation in the light of the Chinese Communist Party’s own experience of power and revolutionary theory, we could see that in the eyes of the Party, the student movement has only a “pioneer role” and that it is the workers and peasants who are the “main force of the revolution”. The Chinese Communist Party must prevent the spread of resistance into its own “main force.” Once it appears, the Party is naturally determined to suppress it.

Reading through the nearly 100 court files gathered in this book, it becomes apparent why the Chinese Communist Party is so jealous and so detests this social group within the Chinese democratic movement.

First of all, the unwavering faith that this social group demonstrated during the June Fourth Democracy Movement and their willingness to stand up for their ideals as they expanded the scope of their anti-violence activities regardless of the cost may be to themselves. When the June 4 crackdown started, with the sound of gunfire in Beijing’s Muxidi and rumbling tank columns smashed their way to Tiananmen Square, many student movement leaders and democracy movement elites went had to go into exile and find another way to resist government violence.

The people in this social group had a different idea. They did not admit defeat. Instead, they expanded the movement, spreading it nationwide in order to inspire more people to resist. They organized many strikes, market boycotts and student boycotts in localities all over China. They did things such as posting anti-government slogans, distributing anti-government leaflets, and organizing large protest demonstrations. We can read about many such cases in this book.

The first case, the sentencing of Chen Gang, Chen Ding and Peng Shi of Xiangtan City, Hunan Province, is typical. The Chen brothers had participated in the democratic movement in Changsha. After June 4th Beijing crackdown, their father was fearful and so got them them back to their hometown of Xiangtan. Unexpectedly, from June 7 to 9, 1989, they organized thousands of workers to make a protest march. They blocked the gates of the Xiangtan Motor Factory and called for workers to strike and protest the crackdown. On June 9, 1989, demonstrators (including Chen Gang’s brother Chen Ding) were injured by the police of the Xiangtan Power Plant Public Security Bureau. Chen Gang with over twenty others hurried to the Public Security Bureau to accuse police of mistreating demonstrators. They didn’t find the man responsible at the Public Security Department, and so went directly to the home of public security officer Fang Fuqiu’s family to look for him and to protest.

Another example, also from Hunan Province but from a different locality, Yueyang City, involved Hu Min, Guo Yunqiao, Mao Yuejun, Fan Lixin, Pan Qiubao, Wan Yuewang, Wang Zhaobo and Fan Fan. Before Hu Min and others were arrested, they were workers in Yueyang City. On the evening of June 7, 1989, Hu Min and many people heard speeches by college students who had just come from Beijing indicting Li Peng’s government for shooting people down in cold blood. People got so angry that they could not contain themselves. Therefore, the workers and other citizens of Yueyang City, along with thousands of students, sat on the Beijing-Guangzhou Railway and put spare rails across the track, thereby blocking the Beijing-Guangzhou railway line. Subsequently, Hu Min and tens of thousands of people in Yueyang City spontaneously marched and smashed the gates and the nameplates of the city government. Hu Min and several of his new friends announced the founding of the “Yueyang City Workers and Students Alliance” and served as its president. That was why the Public Security Bureau arrested Hu Min and the seven people involved in the same case on June 10, 1989. Later, they were severely punished.

Guiyang is a remote Chinese city. However, Chen Youcai, Du Heping, Wang Shunlin and Zhang Xinpei, accused of “counter-revolutionary propaganda” in one of the cases included in this book were clearly outstanding.

According to the indictments filed by the Procuratorate of Guiyang City, Guizhou Province:

During May 17 – 19, 1989, the defendants Chen Youcai, Du Heping, and Li Weigang (charged in a different case) wrote a meeting notice “Citizens, today’s patriotic gathering to support the students will be held in Chunlei Square.” The notice was posted at the South Gate, Riverside Park and other locations. The notice resulted in a gathering of several hundred students and others in Chunlei Square from where they marched holding slogans calling for such things as “workers’ strikes, student strikes, teacher strikes, and business people’s strikes” and marched in the city to the provincial government offices. The defendant Chen Youcai made an inflammatory speech in front of the provincial government. The defendant Du Heping distributed leaflets during the demonstration. The leaflet contained incitements to action including “Do you still have any concerns that justify silence?” “It is better to light the torch of human rights.” They spread false rumors that our Party and the government put off student requests for dialogue have delayed the avoidance of Huo’s students’ dialogue requirements and that as time went on the government’s offense became ever more serious. They vigorously promoted propaganda that would incite social chaos.

During June 5 – 7, 1989, the defendants Chen Youcai, Du Heping, Zhang Xinpei, Wang Shunlin and others held several meetings and established an illegal organization the “(Guizhou) Patriotic Democratic Union”. The defendant Wang Shunlin drafted the “Report to the Compatriots of the Province”, Chen Youcai drafted the “Strike Declaration”, and the defendants Chen Youcai, Du Heping, and Zhang Xinpei circulated, revised and organized the printing of the “Report to the Compatriots of the Province”. The “Report to the Compatriots of the Province” spread rumors that incited unrest. The Report had passages such as “the government mobilized a large number of troops from other places, deploying tanks, armored vehicles, machine guns, armed helicopters and other weapons, brutally murdering outstanding students who are the future of the Chinese nation. This bloody suppression resulted in massive bloodshed, killing thousands of students and citizens. This is the likes of which has never occurred before in Chinese or even in all human history. Now the 28th Army has opened fire on the 27th Army that had brutally slaughtered the people. People of Guizhou Province unite! Arise! We who are not willing to be slaves shall build a new Great Wall. Fight against the real authors of chaos!” This is a unique thing in ancient and modern China and abroad. Now the 38th Army has opened fire on the 27th army that brutally slaughtered the people, and the people of the province unite! Get up! People who don’t want to be slaves complete our new Great Wall. Fight for the real turmoil!” They strove to incite disorder.

Also deserving mention are the outstanding women who had leading roles in the struggle against violence. Take Sun Baoqiang of Shanghai for example. Sun was originally a typist at the Shanghai refinery of a petrochemical group. On the afternoon of June 5, 1989 and the morning of June 6, 1989, Sun publicly condemned, at various places in Shanghai, the Chinese Communist Party’s violent suppression of peaceful demonstrations in Beijing and led the masses in setting up roadblocks to protest against the June 4th crackdown. She was sentenced to three years in prison for disturbing traffic. She was the only Shanghai woman imprisoned for June 4th.

Another woman included in this book was Shaoyang Teacher’s College education teacher Mo Lihua (pen name Jasmine). According to the “Criminal Verdict of the Intermediate People’s Court of Shaoyang City, Hunan Province”:

From the evening of June 3 to the morning of the 4th, after the counter-revolutionary riots in Beijing had subsided, the defendant Mo Lihua spent the evening of June 4 and the morning of the 5th in Shaoyang Teacher’s College with a small group of people who in a small group of thugs to give speeches in the Shaoyang City People’s Square. The speeches viciously attacked and slandered the Party and government for putting down the counter-revolutionary chaos in Beijing, calling it “the slaughter and suppression of the people by a fascist government”. They arrogantly demanded that, for the sake of those counter-revolutionaries, ‘a taller, more magnificent democracy goddess’ should be built. They paid respects to the spirits of the ‘noble martyrs’ who had been intent on overthrowing the central government.

She was finally sentenced to three years in prison followed by one year of deprivation of political rights.

That this social group remains devoted to democratic ideals and to opposing government violence after all their sufferings from imprisonment and mistreatment shows the depth of their commitment. Throughout human history, the depredations of tyrants have in turn bred an ever more determined and ever more mature opposition. If you have some familiarity with contemporary Chinese and overseas democratic movements, you notice that thirty years later, the names of these stubborn opponents of government violence still come up regularly.

Take, for example, the former worker Li Wangyang of Shaoyang City, Hunan Province. After the massacre in Beijing, Li Wangyang publicly put a big character poster on the traffic signboard of People’s Square in Shaoyang City on June 4th that “in order to oppose the bloody suppression of the reactionary authorities, we call on all workers to immediately strike and seize control of the main downtown traffic arteries.” That same day, some others paraded through the city with banners expressing “mourning for the deaths of the patriotic heroes”, shouting slogans such as “opposing bloody suppression,” “stop fascism,” and “mourn the dead martyrs.” On June 6th, Li Wangyang organized and held a “mourning ceremony” with thousands of students from Shaoyang Teachers College and other colleges. Li personally wrote a “eulogy”. On June 7, Li Wangyang went to the Shaoyang paper mill, sugar factory, gold pen factory, the meat factory and other work units to conduct anti-violence political propaganda and to mobilize workers to strike. For this, Li was sentenced to 13 years in prison and deprived of political rights for four years.

As soon as he was released from prison in 2000, Li insisted on participating in underground resistance to the Chinese Communist Party. As a result, Li Wangyang was again in 2001 convicted for inciting subversion of state power. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison and deprived of political rights for four years. Upon his release from prison on May 5, 2011, Li was completely deaf and had to be carried home. He did however, join the China Democracy Party right away. On May 22, 2012, during an interview that Li Wangyang had with a Hong Kong Cable News reporter, he strongly affirmed that China would achieve a multi-party democratic system. The interview was broadcast on June 2, 2012. On June 4, 2012, Li Wangyang was awarded the “Free Spirit Award” by the National Association of Chinese Students and Scholars. At 4 o’clock on the morning of June 6, 2012, his relatives discovered that Li Wangyang had been killed in a hospital in Shaoyang City, Hunan Province. There was a strong reaction to the death of Li Wangyang both at home in China and abroad. There is no doubt that he gave his life to the cause of democracy in China.

The two women who stood up to government violence mentioned above, Sun Baoqiang and Jasmine, although they later went into exile overseas, have both remained active in the China democracy movement. In the twenty years since she left prison, Sun Baoqiang has been under constant surveillance by the Shanghai police which made her life difficult. Nonetheless, she continued to protest. Many times she spoke to the Voice of America and to Radio Free Asia to expose the illegal actions of the Chinese Communists to the entire world. She was determined to keep on writing to record the darkness, violence and the forced distortion of human nature under the Chinese Communist regime. In 2011, she published in Hong Kong the “Red Chamber Prisoner: A True Story from Yuandong Prison No. 1” which she “dedicated to all the victims and their families in the June 4th Movement”. Later, there she published other documentary literary works “Old Man Gao: Shanghai Edition“, “The Ugly Shanghaiese Series” along with many political commentaries. Sun Baoqiang arrived in Australia in early 2011. That same year, she was given political asylum by the Australian government and settled in Sydney.

Jasmine, went into exile in Hong Kong after her release from prison. She found a job as an editor. Since then, she has worked for a Swedish educational institution and as a freelance writer. Published works include “The Journey towards Human Rights”, “Tibet is on the Other Side of the Mountain – Observations of a Chinese Exile“, and “A Swedish Forest Walk“. She is now a famous overseas commentator. She has a large number of articles in overseas newspapers and magazines. She won the “Millions of Culture News Award” in New York and the “Human Rights News Award” in Hong Kong.

Secondly, these activities to oppose government violence have tended to be organized on larger and larger scales. This is one reason why the Chinese Communist Party is so deeply afraid of this social group. The anti-violence activities of workers and other citizens in Hunan and Guiyang, discussed above, all established fairly sizable resisting organizations. The joint court cases of Hu Min, Guo Yunqiao, Mao Yuejun, Fan Lixin, Pan Qiubao, Wan Yuewang, Wang Zhaobo and Fan Fan in Yueyang City, addresses their founding of the “Yueyang City Worker-Student Alliance”. The case of Chen Youcai, Du Heping, Wang Shunlin and Zhang Xinpei of Guiyang City, addressed the “counterrevolutionary propaganda and incitement” of the citizens including by the “(Guizhou) Patriotic Democratic Union”.

In court files collected in this book, these so-called “illegal organizations” are the basis for the aggravated punishment of these opponents to government violence. Similarly, Liu Yubin, Li Fenglin, Che Hongnian, Wang Changan, Wei Qiang, Ma Xiaojun and others were implicated in a “counterrevolutionary case” in Shandong. Their principal offense:

On the night of June 7, 1989, at the new school at Shandong University, in Room 237 of Building No. 10 they founded the counter-revolutionary organization ‘Jinan All-China Autonomous Federation’. The organization attempted, without a shred of legitimacy, ‘to organize a revolutionary armed forces to resist the anti-people’s military repression’, and set up eight committees including the ‘Revolutionary Military Committee’, ‘Urban Work Committee’, and the ‘Internal Affairs Committee’ to prepare to ‘prepare needed weapons’, ‘quickly investigate the situation in the military’, ‘eliminate the secret police’, ‘strikes’, ‘bring state organs under control’ and to sabotage railways and other transportation infrastructure etc. ” (from the “Shandong Jinan City People’s Procuratorate indictment”).

Even in the criminal verdict of the Chinese Communist regime against Li Wangyang, Li, after June 4th was said to have committed the special crime of, in the name of the ‘Workers’ Joint Autonomous Committee’, copying and posting big character posters about the June Fourth massacre such as “the truth about the tragedy of June 3”, “bulletins”, “news”, and “messages received”. Why was the Chinese Communist Party so deeply fearful about opponent to government violence establishing their own organizations? Naturally they fear that as this kind of mass organization advances, a political party that opposes the Communist Party could be the result, smashing the Communist Party’s one party dictatorship and implemented a multiparty system in China. Indeed, in this book we can also see that the idea of founding and opposition party and a multiparty system had already began to emerge among this group of people who were fighting government violence.

For example, take the case of Xu Wanping and Dai Yong’s so-called “crime of counter-revolutionary propaganda” and “crime of organizing a counter-revolutionary” in Chongqing, Sichuan Province. We see in that case that Xu Wanping was extremely upset about the June 4 crackdown and wrote these lines:

What stunning butchery!
Bloodied children
The mountains and rivers are sad
Hatred pours from my heart

and other poems. Later, he laid the groundwork for the “China Action Party” for the purpose of overthrowing the dictatorship led by the Communist Party. He wrote the “China Action Party Declaration”, “China’s Current Situation”, “China’s Tomorrow”, “Cannons Can Overthrow the Communist Party”, “About Propaganda Work”, “About Underground Work”, “About Organizational Work” and other articles. The plan for the establishment of the organization and the military establishment, including the “China Action Party Party Standards”, “Discipline”, “Oath”, the design of the “Party Flag” of the “China Action Party”, “Official Chapter”, “Army Flag”, ” and its military emblem. In his article, Xu clearly stated that “the goal of the Chinese Action Party is to overthrow the Communist Party’s autocracy and dictatorship, and to wipe out the Communist Party.”

Finally, the grounds for the Chinese Communist Party’s extreme hatred towards this group can also be seen through the lens of the self-defense actions undertaken by the group. The time in question is the entire period beginning from the declaration of martial law through the course of the massacres. As for the locale, the principal area concerned is the Beijing region. Although the materials collected in this book are far from covering the activities of all these opponents to government violence, the legal cases can serve as the first account in legal documentary format of the deeds of Beijing citizens in opposing government violence in the days of June Fourth. The simple table below was prepared to reflect that.


Ever since the Twentieth Century, non-violent resistance as a form of social protest has become a powerful tool in social revolutionary and political reform movements. There are many expressions and examples of non-violence. Examples include civil resistance, non-violent resistance, and non-violent revolution. Examples include

  • The ten-year-long non-violent protest campaign led by Mahatma Gandhi against British rule;
  • The civil rights movement led by Martin Luther King and James Farmer adopted Gandhi’s non-violent approach in their campaign to fight for civil rights for African Americans.
  • In another non-violent movement of the 1960s, Cesar Chavez led protests of California’s farm workers.
  • The “velvet revolutions” that occurred in Czechoslovakia and other Eastern European socialist countries in 1989 overthrew their communist government and was another non-violent revolution.
  • The June Fourth China Democracy Movement also took place in 1989 was an even larger and more influential non-violent resistance revolution but if failed tragically.

Although we believe that the June Fourth democracy movement was a non-violent revolution, we need to respond to questions that arise from the table above. How should we view the armed self-defense actions of Beijing citizens as they opposed government violence? Although the words “non-violence” are often linked to “peace” or even considered synonymous with peace. However, proponents and activists of non-violence don’t believe that non-violence should be the same as the non-resistance of the lackey or absolute pacifism. Non-violence means not using violence and also means not doing harm or doing the least harm possible. Non-resistance means doing nothing at all.

Non-violence is sometimes passive but sometimes it is not. If a house with a baby crying in it is on fire, the most harmless and appropriate behavior is to take the initiative to extinguish the fire instead of standing passively to let the fire keep on burning. A peaceful rioter is likely to promote non-violence on some occasions but be violent on others. For example, a non-violent resistance participant may well support the police shooting at a murderer.

The same was true in the Beijing region after martial law was declared up to the beginning of the massacre. The rulers had already started their bloody crackdowns. People resisting government violence saw with their own eyes an eight-year-old child shot to death.

In this instance, in order to prevent insofar as possible military vehicles, tanks and armored vehicles from going to Tiananmen Square to slaughter more students. This was actually a reasonable measure aimed at keeping harm to a minimum. People are not made of wood. How can they be without feelings? When citizens with a conscious witness with their own eyes see children (like Zhang Maosheng) and the elderly (like Gao Hongwei) being shot in clouds of sinister bullets pouring out of armored vehicles, they took some actions that some characterized as “excessive” to handles those military vehicles. At the human level, this is completely understandable.

Throughout the entire Tiananmen incident, the biggest thugs were undoubtedly the Chinese government and its leaders Deng Xiaoping and Li Peng, who gave the order to massacre unarmed students and other citizens. They often use the trick of stigmatizing the opponents of government violence as “arsonists”, “hooligans”, and “armed rebels”. Indeed, even some of these people did not commit any of these violent acts but merely strongly and resolutely condemned the June 4th massacre, severe punishments were meted out to them too by the Chinese Communist Party’s courts which sentenced them to prison for “counter-revolutionary propaganda and incitement.”

Mr. Sun Liyong, one of the editors of this book, was one such a “June 4th Thug.” Sun Liyong, born in 1961, was a full-time security guard of the Beijing Beichen Group Security Department. During the Tiananmen Democracy Movement in 1989, he actively participated in demonstrations, fundraising, and security work on behalf of the university students. After the June 4th massacre, he co-founded and published the underground publications “Democracy China” and “Tolling of the Bell” with Shang Ziwen, Li Aimin and Jin Cheng, condemning the June 4 massacre, demanding that the perpetrators of the government authorities be investigated and punished, and that the innocent arrested people be released. Sun was arrested in 1991 and sentenced to seven years in prison and three years of deprivation of political rights for counter-revolutionary propaganda incitement.

The rigorous repression of all opposition actions by authoritarian governments may lead to doubts about the effectiveness of non-violent resistance. For example, George Orwell, author of the famous novel 1984, believed that Gandhi’s non-violent resistance strategy only worked in a “free state in which freedom of the press and of assembly are guaranteed”. In other words, it is unlikely that resistance in a totalitarian country like like China could successfully be limited to non-violent struggle. Gandhi himself said that he can teach a violent person to learn non-violence, but he can’t teach a coward.

However, whether it is non-violent resistance or violent resistance to the autocratic government, the key word is actually the word “resistance.” The way of resistance can be determined by the specific circumstances of the resistance movement. If you give up the “resistance” at its core, whether you talk about non-violence resistance or violent resistance, you will lose its most basic meaning.

The dictatorship of the Chinese Communist Party is certainly armed to the teeth with its atomic bombs and its tanks. The unarmed opponents of government violence who challenged it e resistance of the unarmed violent group were like insects trying to stop a car with their arms. Their chances of success were slim.

All this reminds me of the example from history of Qian Xuantong persuading Lu Xun to become a writer. At the beginning of 1917, Qian Xuantong, a professor at the National Department of Beijing Normal University, began contribute to New Youth magazine and actively supported the literary revolution. Soon, he became one of the editors of New Youth and tried every means to find suitable and excellent writers for the magazine.

One time Qian Xuantong rushed to the living quarters of his friend Zhou Shuren, who had studied in Japan, to write an enlightening article for the magazine. At that time, Zhou Shuren was very sad that he had not made any patriotic contribution to helping his country and saving the people. Qian Xuantong suggested: “I think, you could write some articles.” Zhou Shuren replied, “If the walls of an iron house are unbroken by windows the many people who sleep inside will soon all be suffocated. However, since I am die in my sleep, I feel no sorrow. Now you have awakened and you have aroused a few of the more clear-headed ones. Now that unfortunate minority will know the suffering that comes with their inescapable fate. Do you really think that you have done them any good?”

Qian Xuantong argued, “If a few people do get up, one cannot say that all hope has been lost in that iron house.” Zhou Shuren was moved. He broke his silence and wrote the vernacular novel “The Diary of a Madman” that criticized some ancient Chinese customs as a kind of cannibalism. That short story, published in the April 1918 issue of New Youth, was signed “Lu Xun”. From that day onwards, Lu Xun kept on writing. He wrote a long succession of novels, essays and other literary works. Charging forth into the vanguard of the battle against the Old World, Lu Xun became the bravest screaming madman in that old iron house built from the ancient rites of China.

“If a few people do get up, one cannot say that all hope has been lost in that iron house.” The fighters against government violence of June Fourth today are no longer isolated from the democratic movement in Mainland China and overseas. Therefore we must keep up the fight. We can never say that “there is no hope left in the iron house”.

Thus ends my introduction. Let’s draw encouragement from this book.

Written March 2019 at California State University at Los Angeles.

First published in “China in Perspective” . If reprinting, please list this as the source.

Published on the “China in Perspective” website on Friday, May 10, 2019

Posted in Famous Chinese Political Court Cases 中国政治名案, History 历史, Law 法律 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

2011: Opponents of June 4 Tyranny Still in Prison

Chinese exile writer Liao Yiwu in his recent book Bullets and Opium (Simon & Schuster 2019) writes about the heavy price that the “June Fourth rioters” paid in many years of imprisonment as a result of their participation in the Chinese democracy movement and particularly their attempts to stop the murder of student in and around the center of Beijing on and about June 4, 1989. All these people are out of prison now, these thumbnail sketches from 2011 are still valuable as an historical document reminding us of the sacrifices these people made. Liao Yiwu discusses what happened to these brave opponents of tyranny in his book.

2011: Opponents of June 4 Tyranny Still in Prison

by Chinese Victims of Political and Religious Persecution Support Group

Spokesperson: Sun Liyong

It has been 22 years since June 4. According to our research there are still eight so-called thugs implicated in the event who are still in jail in Beijing.

1. Zhu Gengsheng, male, about 45 years old, after June 4 sentenced to death for the crime of counter revolutionary arson with a two year reprieve, and deprivation of political rights for life. Before his arrest, Zhu Gengsheng lived at first in a Beijing city government dormitory and then moved to the Gongzhufen area of the Haidian District. Zhu Gengsheng was sentenced to death in the first instance. The sentence was upheld on appeal but the Supreme Court in its review of the lower court sentence changed the sentence to death with a two year reprieve. After June 4, China Central Broadcasting showed a documentary of the riot on the night of June 3. The documentary has a scene of a burning tank in Tiananmen Square with a young man standing on top of it waving a banner yelling “We won!”

That young man was Zhu Gengsheng. Zhu Gengsheng’s father had been a secretary for the Nationalist government. Father was persecuted to death during the Cultural Revolution. His mother raised him and his two elder sisters alone. Zhu Gengsheng’s elder sister worked in the pharmacy at the Beijing Tongren Hospital. In 2006, his elder sister took their wheelchair-bound 80 year old mother to visit him in prison. His mother told him, “I may not be able to come anymore” and hoped that he would return home soon. Later, his two sisters took turns visiting him. Zhu Gengsheng had not married. Currently Zhu Gengsheng is serving his sentence in Beijing Prison Number Two. He still has more than three years to go on his sentence.

2. Li Yujun, male, about 45 years old, was sentenced to death with a two year reprieve for “arson” after “June 4” and deprived of political rights for life. He was sentenced for burning an army truck on June 4th in Hongmiao, in the Chaoyang District of Beijing. Li Yujun’s parents worked at Beijing Textile Factory #3. His mother died of illness before 1989, his father remarried. After Li was sentenced his father never came to see him. Li Yujun has three brothers. The eldest brother was among those who, having graduated from high school in 1966 – 1968, missed their chance for higher education, and had been sent to a production team in Harbin and settled down there. He has basically never come to visit him. His second brother worked in a factory run by a middle school in Balizhuang. Sometimes his second brother came to visit him behind his wife’s back and would give him some spending money. His third brother worked in an automobile repair shop in Huayuancun and basically didn’t pay attention to him. Most of Li Yujun’s income came from washing clothes, doing dishes for other prisoners in exchange for some soap, toothpaste and towels. The prison authorities also gave him a 5 RMB monthly subsidy. Li Yujun was not married. Li Yujun is now serving his sentence in Beijing Prison #2. He still has over three years to go on his sentence.

3. Chang Jingqiang, male, 42, after “June 4” sentenced to life imprisonment and deprived of political rights for life for the “crime of counter-revolutionary wounding” for hitting People’s Armed Police at the door of the Beijing People’s Hospital. Chang Jingqiang is an only child. His father was a furnace worker at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences who because he had long worried about his son got a cerebral embolism in 2000. Since then he had trouble moving around and was under the care of his wife. In 2005 Chang’s mother died and his father also died shortly thereafter. Before Chang Jingqiang’s arrest, he lived with his parents on Zhuanta Lane in the Xicheng District of Beijing. Later, when his father’s work unit allocated housing, they moved to Zhongguancun. When their apartment in Zhongguancun was torn down in 1998, Chang’s parents moved to Doudianzhen in the Fangshan District. Before his father died, he transferred the apartment and several hundred thousand RMB leftover from their relocation to his cousin to hold for Chang Jingqiang. However, after the death of his father, the cousin never got in touch with him. Nobody knows what happened to the apartment and the money. Currently Chang Jinqiang is serving his sentence in the Fifth Brigade at Beijing Prison #2.

4. Yang Pu, male, about 45 years old, condemned to death after “June 4” for “arson” with a two year reprieve and deprived of political rights for life. On November 26, 1990, he was transferred from Prison #1 to Prison #2. In 1993, while serving in Prison #2 a prison medical examination found that he had “bone tuberculosis” in both legs. He needed a cane to walk. Later he was sent to the Binhe Hospital. In 1994, he left Prison #2 for the sick prisoner group at Chadian Prison. Later he was sent to Yanqing Prison to serve his sentence. Because he has been ill and unable to work, he has not be able to earn a reduction in his sentence. Yang Pu is currently serving his sentence at the Yanqing Prison.

5. Jiang Yaqun, male, about 70, condemned to death after ‘June 4’ for ‘arson’ with a two year reprieve and deprived of political rights for life. In late 1993, Jiang was transferred from the Prison #1 to Prison #2 to serve his sentence. Jiang is unmarried and has no family. Jiang Yaqun, with three years remaining on his sentence, is now in the Yanqing Prison.

6. Miao Deshun, male, about 45, condemned to death after ‘June 4’ for ‘arson’ with a two year reprieve and deprived of political rights for life. Prior to his arrest, he lived in the Wukesong district and is unmarried. In April 1990, a physical examination at Prison #1 found that he had viral hepatitis (three other rioters living in the same cell also had viral hepatitis: Gao Hongwei, Yu Wen, and Yang Guanghui). In late 1993, Miao was transferred from Prison #1 to Prison #2. Miao had always refused to confess so he was picked out as the top anti-reformer. In 1992, Miao’s sentence of death with reprieve was commuted to life imprisonment.

Ordinarily life imprisonment can be reduced to a specific term of imprisonment after two or three years but he had to wait five years because he refused to confess. In 1997 his life sentence was commuted to 20 years imprisonment. Miao Deshun has a stubborn nature. In order not to cause problems for his family, in1997 he refused to see his parents when they came to visit him in prison and so they didn’t come to see him after that.

His resistance to reform and his refusal to take part in reform through labor result in frequent punishment by the electric prod. The most prods used on him at once was when four team leaders simultaneously used their prods on him. But nobody ever heard him asking the team leader for mercy. Three prisoners Miao Deshun, Shi Xuezhi and Liu Quan (Liu, over 50 years old, was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment for hooliganism after “June 4”.) Released in 2006, Liu Quan has to this day a hole in his head where martial law troops beat him with their rifle butts) were considered the most stubborn of all the prisoners. Miao Deshun, now at the Yanqing Prison, has more than six years to go on his sentence.

7. Shi Xuezhi, male, about 70, condemned to life imprisonment after “June 4” for ‘arson’ and deprived of political rights for life. In December 1990, Shi was transferred from Prison #1 to Prison #2. In April 1993, his sentence of life imprisonment was commuted to 16 years and six months. It is worth pointing out that during the summer of 1991, the Seventh Brigade where Shi Xuezhi was imprisoned got work from the Beijing Latex Factory which was exporting latex gloves to the United States. Shi Xuezhi wrote many notes in Chinese and English and put them in the gloves. On the notes was written: “Freedom and democracy will free China; request that kind-hearted people pass on this message to the China democracy movement overseas to ask them to save us ….etc.”

After he was found out, he was put in solitary confinement, both his hands and feet were cuffed with another set of handcuff linking the two cuffs together. Shi, then more than fifty years old, was stomped on by four police and then given electric prod shocks by five other police. Each session would last over half an hour, focusing mainly in the genitals, armpits, neck and face. The shock scorched his pubic hair. Shi Xuezhi never begged the police for mercy. When the pain was at its worst, he would only instinctively utter a few “Ah, ah”. During these three months in solitary confinement, Shi Xuezhi would often be taken back to his brigade to give him electric shocks. The prison authorities used this to intimidate the other prisoners. In 1998, Shi was transferred from Prison #2 to Yanqing Prison because of his age.

8. Song Kai, male, early 50s, condemned to life imprisonment after June 4 for “counter-revolutionary wounding” and deprived of political rights for life. On June 4, at the gate of People’s Hospital, Zhang Baosheng (at the time 15 years old, sentenced to ten years imprisonment), Chang Jingqiang, Song Kai and other Beijing residents captured a military ambulance, pulled a soldier (Wang Yuwen, who was awarded the “Defender of the People’s Republic” medal that year) from the ambulance where he was beaten by the crowd. Song Kai put a bucket over Wang Yuwen’s head for fear that the soldier would be hurt too severely. After Song Kai was arrested, he was brutally beaten by a few dozen martial law soldiers at the Fengsheng police station. The beating damaged the small of his back, leaving him handicapped for life forcing him to bend forward when he walks. In 1992, his family spent some money to have him treated while on medical parole but the treatment did not succeed. In late 1993, Song Kai was transferred from Prison #1 to Prison #2. In 1998, he was transferred to the Yanqing Prison.

Chinese text at













中国政治及宗教受难者后援会 孙立勇

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PRC Scholar: Mass Protests Unorganized, Not Stability Threat, Totalitarian System Can Handle Them

This article on mass protests [群体性事件】aka mass incidents in China appeared on Aisixiang, an academic website that carries some intriguing articles at times, and has gotten suppressed now and then over the years.  This article reproduced on Aisixiang originally appeared in the March 2018 issue of   Journal of Harbin Institute of Technology (Social Science Edition) 2018, Issue 03. article also appears on an official website of the PRC State Council Development Research Center (DRC). 

The author, Yu Yanhong 余艳红,   is a lecturer in the International Relations Department of the  University of International Business and Economics  对外经济贸易大学  in Beijing. 

I have used Google Translate for the Chinese – English translation and have appended a copy of the Chinese text since. Sometimes good articles suddenly disappear I have noticed over the years. 

The main points using article excerpts:

1. Mass incidents have not affected China’s political stability,

“It can be seen that in the past 10 years, the mass incidents of Chinese society have risen from a relatively small number (scale) to a state of long-term high operation.If mass events as an independent variable will affect the political stability of Chinese society, then this independent variable has undergone such a significant change in the past 10 years, and political stability as a dependent variable should be reflected. However, according to relevant data released by the authoritative institutions of the international community on China’s social and political stability, we can hardly find the relevance of this.

We first use the Foreign Policy magazine Peace Foundation’s The Failed States Index and the World Bank’s Worldwide Governance Indicators’ Political Stability and the two indices. (indicator) data. Because the two sets of data are annual indicators, and the indicator system covers the political stability of a country. In The Failed States Index, the greater the number of countries in the world, the lower the political risk of the country. In the “Political Stability” ranking of the Worldwide Governance Indicators, the higher the Percentile Rank of a country, the safer it is.

Although from 2007 to 2016, the number of mass incidents in Chinese society has soared and has remained at a high level, it can be found from Table 1 whether it is from the failure country index or from the global governance indicators released by the World Bank. From the perspective of “political stability”, the political stability and social order of Chinese society in the past 10 years have generally been steady and rising. The Failed Country Index shows that China’s global ranking has risen from 62 in 2007 to 86 in 2016. Similarly, global governance indicators also show that the overall percentile of Chinese society in these 10 years is relatively stable, with only a large fluctuation in 2011. In fact, if we continue to examine the rankings of other Chinese institutions in the 10 years of political stability in China from 2007 to 2016, this trend is still very obvious, see Table 2.

The above rankings are published by the University of Maryland’s Center for International Development and Conflict Management (CIDCM) every two years (previously three years) to predict the risk of conflict in a country in the next two years. The higher the ranking, the higher the risk. It can be seen from Table 2 that the year in which the number of mass incidents in China has increased is precisely the year in which China ranks in the future. In other words, in Asia, the risk of social unrest and political instability in China is getting lower and lower. 

2.  Mass incidents are not a challenge to China’s political order 

“these events may have the purpose of collectively challenging the grassroots authority But the events are isolated from each other and do not have a common purpose, let alone to unite. In addition, the participants of the event may have a collective identity and class identity in the subconscious, but this identity has not yet risen to the level of “self-sufficiency”. More importantly, all such incidents do not have “political struggle”. Their targets are often specific economic interests. They do not try to challenge the basic national order, but just want to use different levels of government platforms for their own. Defend the interests. Yu Jianrong pointed out: “The act of defending rights, this is the main type of social incidents in China. Such events account for more than 80% of the current mass incidents in the country.” And “the rights act is mainly a dispute of interests, not The struggle for power is more economic than political.

3. China is a totalitarian state so is well able to prevent any challenge from emerging.[My understanding of passage below is a workable definition of totalitarianism — The state organizes everything and does not allow other entities to organize anything.]

“China’s current national penetration, organizational capabilities, and state control over society have actually created an unbreakable firewall for the political risks of mass events, enabling the state to effectively manage the risks of such events.

First, in terms of China’s national penetration capability, the state not only maintains a more sensitive vigilance for non-institutionalized and non-permitted organizations, even for those legally registered non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the state will pass mandatory Maintain a “contact” capability in the form of a government organization [22]. In addition, the top-down party structure of the ruling party also makes any organization outside the system not have the basic ability to challenge the existing order. More importantly, for leaders in mass incidents, the ruling party can also conduct procedural regulation through such methods as “party organization discipline” or through administrative absorption, thereby weakening the organizers of these events. Cohesion. If any group behavior is to form political risk, internal organization and institutionalization is a necessary condition, because the degree of organization and degree of institutionalization are often the indispensable dimensions for measuring the maturity of political behavior [23].

Secondly, China’s current state organization and control capabilities make it impossible for any non-permitted “inter-organizational political alliance” to emerge [24]. According to the existing sayings in the academic world, it is basically impossible for political and organizational alliances in China’s current mass incidents, because the state has strong organizational capabilities and control capabilities in addition to the above-mentioned strong penetration capabilities. In fact, China is not only a powerful state power system, but also a country’s infrastructural power [25], especially the government’s ability to absorb financial resources, social control and elites. This directly increases any The cost of action for an organization alliance that wants to challenge this order [26]. In the most extreme sense, this means that even those group events with a certain degree of political symbolism are a group of low-organized, low-institutionalized groups trying to confront a strong organizational, infiltration, and mobilizing ability. The overall state of financial absorptive capacity. In this case, the political risk of mass incidents is basically diluted to the point of no risk.

Begin Google Translate machine translation. Original Chinese text follows.

Yu Yanhong: Group Incidents and Political Stability: A New Explanation Based on Risk Model

Select size: TaiZhongsmall article is read 344 times Updated: 2019-03-28 00:09:42

Entering the topic: political stability of mass incidents● Yu Yanhong

Abstract: Many scholars who study Chinese mass events in the academic circles believe that the current mass incidents in China may threaten the political stability of Chinese society if they are not properly handled. However, by analyzing relevant statistics on mass incidents in the past decade, it has been found that large-scale mass incidents in Chinese society have not had a major impact on China’s basic political order.From the perspective of the risk model, the four factors dilute the impact of mass incidents on political stability and political order. From the perspective of political risk sources, most of the mass incidents themselves are not politically conflictable; from the point of view of risk control, the current Chinese state system makes it difficult for participants of mass events to form political alliances; in addition, the public is in the government. The dualistic tendency of identity structure and the current governance structure of China also constitute two buffer zones for preventing political risks. It is these structural and institutional arrangements that have limited the impact of Chinese mass events on political stability.

Keywords: mass incident political stability political risk government identity governance structure mass incidents political stability political risk governmental identification governance structure

With regard to the current mass incidents in China, many existing studies have warned the government almost in a prophetic tone. If improperly handled, mass incidents are likely to lead to different levels of political instability and even political instability in Chinese society. This kind of research and judgment in the academic circles actually strengthens the political anxiety of various levels of government on mass incidents. In reality, it has repeatedly adopted a high-pressure situation for such incidents. However, although the mass incidents in Chinese society have grown tremendously since the mid-to-late 1990s [1][2], even now, “the overall pattern has not undergone a fundamental change” [3]12, but whether it is from According to relevant statistics, it is still from the perspective of social reality that these mass incidents have not yet had a fundamental impact on China’s political stability.Why is there a huge contrast between this general forecast and actual results? Why did the number of mass incidents not have a big impact on China’s political stability? Will the mass incident affect the political order of contemporary China to a certain extent in the future? Based on these considerations, this paper attempts to propose an interpretation framework based on the existing research results in academia.

I. Concept definition

The concept of mass incidents has always been one of the important topics explored by scholars in this field (Xiao Tang Dart, 2012; Feng Shizheng, 2015), not only because there are many other concepts similar to this concept [4], but also because of differences Scholars do not have the same connotation when using this concept. Zhang Aijun believes that the essence of mass incidents is “defending rights”, so “group events” should be defined as “group rights rights events” [5]. Xiao Tang Dart pointed out: “Group incidents refer to group conflicts between the people and the people, especially the people’s resistance interaction with the government and officials.” [6] The collective incidents referred to in this article mainly adopt the official explanation. It refers to the incidents caused by internal contradictions among the people, the masses believe that their rights and interests have been infringed, through the illegal accumulation, containment, etc., to express their wishes and requests to the relevant organs or units, and their tandem and aggregation in the process of formation and formation. Wait for activities.” 1 This means that, in terms of nature, mass incidents are “internal contradictions among the people”, not “anti-government or “coup, riot and revolution” for the purpose of subverting political power, and it is not a terrorist activity against humanity. According to this, the current ultra-nationalist events in China do not belong to what we call group events. From a characteristic point of view, mass incidents are “illegal but not anti-institutional, gathering but not organized”, which makes such incidents have certain sporadic, destructive, turbulent, and difficult to control [7]115.

Second, theoretical model and data analysis

(1) Theoretical model

There are three theoretical models used by Chinese academics to explain and predict group events that threaten political stability: political participation models, collective mental models, and conflict escalation models. These models generally believe that China’s mass incidents, if not properly handled, will, to varying degrees, cause China’s current social disorder, political instability, and even political instability.

The political consequences of using a political participation model to study mass incidents are currently the most commonly used methods in academia. Huntington believes that “modernity breeds stability, while the modernization process breeds turmoil” and gives a classic formula of political participation/political institutionalization = political unrest [8]. Yu Jianrong (2010), Liu Wei (2016), Liu Yong (2010) and others all use this model to explain the political risks of mass incidents. They believe that “the problem of social and political stability in the process of modernization described by Huntington” is now China “provides a perspective on the social conflicts and stability that emerged in China’s reform and opening up process” [9]. Mass incidents “dissolve the stability mechanism of society from a deep level” [10]. Such incidents “directly affect the construction of a harmonious society, impacting the stable development of the political order” and ultimately “seriously affect the political stability of society” [11].

The collective mental model is based on the theory of collective action in sociology.According to the analysis of this model, collective unconsciousness is a major feature of group events. Under this collective unconsciousness, “people’s way of thinking is extremely simple” [12]. They “appear impulsive, changeable, irritable… the individuals in them become barbaric, brutal and fanatical” [13]. Ye Hong believes that “mass incidents seriously threaten social harmony and stability”, while “consensus mentality” is one of the main causes of frequent mass incidents [14].Liu Lin uses “unorganized” to define a major basic feature of China’s mass incidents. It is precisely because of “unorganized” that China’s mass incidents are difficult to control and eventually become “the most prominent social stability.” The problem becomes a signal of social risk in China” [15]. Chen Tan and Huang said that as an irrational behavior of collective behavior, mass incidents are “disorders of herd behavior” caused by multiple variables [16].

The conflict escalation model is exactly the opposite of the collective mental model. This model believes that mass incidents threaten political stability because the participants of such events are highly rational. Therefore, such explanatory models are game theory and collective action in society. The use of the field. When Han Zhiming analyzes why participants in mass events are willing to “make things big”, they typically use the logic of conflict escalation models. This kind of logic may intensify the “opposing sentiment between classes” and may even lead to violent interference by the government in the name of “maintaining stability” [17]. Huang Jie and others directly deduced the violent logic of Chinese mass incidents from the perspective of conflict escalation models: “differences in risk perception – coping strategies and behaviors – conflicts and escalations” [18].

(2) Data analysis

If group events do affect the political stability of Chinese society as analyzed by the various models mentioned above, then we can draw two hypotheses: First, in terms of quantity, the total number of group events and social and political stability Degree is inversely proportional. This means that, at least in terms of long-term trends, the years of high incidence of mass incidents, the political stability of Chinese society will have obvious changes. Second, from the scale, the scale of individual mass incidents and social and political stability Degree is inversely proportional. This means that if the size of individual mass incidents rises significantly in some years, then the political stability of Chinese society will change significantly from that year onwards.

Below we select the relevant data from 2007 to 2016, which is closest to our time point, as a basis to examine the changes in China’s social and political stability in the past 10 years. In terms of quantity, the absolute number of social events in China has increased from 80,000 in 2007 to 139,000 in 2011. By 2014, this number reached 172,000. Although there is a lack of statistics on data after 2014, However, according to the “China Social Mass Incident Analysis Report” published by Professor Zhang Mingjun, the overall situation of the group event has not changed fundamentally since 2014. The number of mass incidents in 2015 is even slightly higher than that in 2014. “In 2016, the number of mass incidents in China has basically maintained the previous level.” In addition, the “China Rule of Law Development Report NO.12 (2014)” issued by the Institute of Law of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences shows that the number of group events of more than 100 people has increased from 23 in 2007 to 163 in 2010, and even reached 209 in 2012. Start. In the first half of 2016 alone, there were 12 people with a scale of more than 1,000. 2

It can be seen that in the past 10 years, the mass incidents of Chinese society have risen from a relatively small number (scale) to a state of long-term high operation.If mass events as an independent variable will affect the political stability of Chinese society, then this independent variable has undergone such a significant change in the past 10 years, and political stability as a dependent variable should be reflected. However, according to relevant data released by the authoritative institutions of the international community on China’s social and political stability, we can hardly find the relevance of this.

We first use the Foreign Policy magazine Peace Foundation’s The Failed States Index and the World Bank’s Worldwide Governance Indicators’ Political Stability and the two indices. (indicator) data. Because the two sets of data are annual indicators, and the indicator system covers the political stability of a country. In The Failed States Index, the greater the number of countries in the world, the lower the political risk of the country. In the “Political Stability” ranking of the Worldwide Governance Indicators, the higher the Percentile Rank of a country, the safer it is.

Although from 2007 to 2016, the number of mass incidents in Chinese society has soared and has remained at a high level, it can be found from Table 1 whether it is from the failure country index or from the global governance indicators released by the World Bank. From the perspective of “political stability”, the political stability and social order of Chinese society in the past 10 years have generally been steady and rising. The Failed Country Index shows that China’s global ranking has risen from 62 in 2007 to 86 in 2016. Similarly, global governance indicators also show that the overall percentile of Chinese society in these 10 years is relatively stable, with only a large fluctuation in 2011. In fact, if we continue to examine the rankings of other Chinese institutions in the 10 years of political stability in China from 2007 to 2016, this trend is still very obvious, see Table 2.

The above rankings are published by the University of Maryland’s Center for International Development and Conflict Management (CIDCM) every two years (previously three years) to predict the risk of conflict in a country in the next two years. The higher the ranking, the higher the risk. It can be seen from Table 2 that the year in which the number of mass incidents in China has increased is precisely the year in which China ranks in the future. In other words, in Asia, the risk of social unrest and political instability in China is getting lower and lower.

Through the simple analysis of the above three sets of data, we can find that in the early 21st century, China’s mass incidents did increase in absolute terms and in terms of the scale of individual events. However, the combined forces of these events are very limited. There are no serious political consequences of academic predictions, and they have not had a systemic impact on the stability of Chinese politics.

Third, an explanation based on the risk model

From the internal logic point of view, the emergence of a political risk requires not only the risk initiators have the desire to challenge the basic political order and political rules, but also the risk management party’s inability to effectively resolve such challenges. In addition, if there is a buffer zone between the risk initiator and the risk controller, the risk source has been diluted and resolved before the effective impact on social and political order, then this political risk also does not exist.

(1) Risk initiators

Tarrow, a scholar who studies social movements, believes that in order to become a political struggle, a social movement must have four conditions: a collective challenge, participants have a common purpose, a sense of collective identity, and a continuous struggle politics [ 19]. Looking back at the current mass incidents in China, these events may have the purpose of collectively challenging the grassroots authority 

But the events are isolated from each other and do not have a common purpose, let alone to unite. In addition, the participants of the event may have a collective identity and class identity in the subconscious, but this identity has not yet risen to the level of “self-sufficiency”. More importantly, all such incidents do not have “political struggle”. Their targets are often specific economic interests. They do not try to challenge the basic national order, but just want to use different levels of government platforms for their own. Defend the interests. Yu Jianrong pointed out: “The act of defending rights, this is the main type of social incidents in China. Such events account for more than 80% of the current mass incidents in the country.” And “the rights act is mainly a dispute of interests, not The struggle for power is more economic than political [7] 1167. Shan Guangding also believes that most of the mass incidents in China are caused by factors such as “interest damage”. Because of this, the ruling party and the government need new thinking on attitudes towards mass incidents and avoid excessive politicized interpretation [20]. Zhang Mingjun clearly stated in the “2016 China Social Mass Incident Analysis Report” released in 2017: “The interest appealing events still constitute the main body of mass incidents.”[3]3

The source of interest in mass events provides the greatest possibility for resolving the political risks of such events. It means that from the perspective of political identity, the participants of most events have no objections or challenges to the existing state, political system and ruling party. Even from the perspective of resistance politics, they do not agree with individual political roles (officials) and a certain level of government (mainly grassroots governments). Therefore, for such incidents, the government will calm down as long as the government gives the interests of the parties in a timely manner. From the perspective of the government, the transfer of economic interests does not involve fundamental political issues. The current process of political reform in China is itself a process of redistributing interests. In other words, such incidents actually provide an opportunity for political system reform, transformation of government functions, and construction of a service-oriented government [21].

(2) Risk management party

China’s current national penetration, organizational capabilities, and state control over society have actually created an unbreakable firewall for the political risks of mass events, enabling the state to effectively manage the risks of such events.

First, in terms of China’s national penetration capability, the state not only maintains a more sensitive vigilance for non-institutionalized and non-permitted organizations, even for those legally registered non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the state will pass mandatory Maintain a “contact” capability in the form of a government organization [22]. In addition, the top-down party structure of the ruling party also makes any organization outside the system not have the basic ability to challenge the existing order. More importantly, for leaders in mass incidents, the ruling party can also conduct procedural regulation through such methods as “party organization discipline” or through administrative absorption, thereby weakening the organizers of these events. Cohesion. If any group behavior is to form political risk, internal organization and institutionalization is a necessary condition, because the degree of organization and degree of institutionalization are often the indispensable dimensions for measuring the maturity of political behavior [23].

Secondly, China’s current state organization and control capabilities make it impossible for any non-permitted “inter-organizational political alliance” to emerge [24]. According to the existing sayings in the academic world, it is basically impossible for political and organizational alliances in China’s current mass incidents, because the state has strong organizational capabilities and control capabilities in addition to the above-mentioned strong penetration capabilities. In fact, China is not only a powerful state power system, but also a country’s infrastructural power [25], especially the government’s ability to absorb financial resources, social control and elites. This directly increases any The cost of action for an organization alliance that wants to challenge this order [26]. In the most extreme sense, this means that even those group events with a certain degree of political symbolism are a group of low-organized, low-institutionalized groups trying to confront a strong organizational, infiltration, and mobilizing ability. The overall state of financial absorptive capacity. In this case, the political risk of mass incidents is basically diluted to the point of no risk.

(3) Risk buffer zone

The reason why China’s mass incidents do not threaten the political stability of Chinese society is related to the current government’s “central weakness” government identity structure and the “party and government division of labor” structure in the national governance system.

1. Citizen’s government identity structure

It is generally believed that Chinese citizens differ in their support for the government [27]. This difference is mainly reflected in the people’s recognition structure of the central and local governments. Many surveys have shown that Chinese citizens, including participants in mass events, generally have a dualistic tendency toward government identity. According to the Fourth Wave of World Values ​​Survey, up to 97% of Chinese respondents expressed strong trust or trust in the central government [28]. Some studies have also shown that farmers’ evaluation of the degree of trust of party committees and governments at all levels decreases with the decline of the government level [29] [30]. Li Yanxia also believes that “the contemporary Chinese public has a greater degree of trust in the central government and local governments, that is, the differential trust pattern of the central public in the public” [31].

The citizen government recognizes that the structural dualism tends to be the result of many factors. The first is the structure of power structure. “The reason why the people trust the central government more may be because the local government seeks political trust with a relatively narrow scope, lack of desire and motivation, and lack of means and measures.”[32]53 Compared with many unitary countries, China’s The central and local government system is quite special. The central government can regulate local public opinion through the means of propaganda and departmental leadership, and organize and personnel departments to perform personnel appointments and dismissals for provincial political elites. Management will eventually form a government power structure of “central strength and weakness”, and the public government’s identity structure is the actual projection of this government power structure. Followed by media placement arrangements. The “News Network” broadcast by CCTV every day is the best footnote for this kind of media implantation. Scholars such as Hibbing believe that people’s recognition of different levels of government is affected by two factors, namely, the government’s visibility and the government’s closeness [32]. From the perspective of the government’s exposure, China’s central government level is often exposed as a positive image, and the local government level is often exposed as a negative image. In this way, the public’s recognition of the central government will naturally be higher than the local level. Finally, the difference between the central and local policy objectives. For local governments, stability and order have become the first performance of governance, and for the central government, some institutional arrangements have actually encouraged the local people to “collectively act” consciously [33], so the public The difference in identity will be further magnified.

Judging from the political risks of mass incidents, the dual tendency of the public in political identity, including the participants of mass events, has invisibly reduced the political risk of such events. This identity structure succeeded in creating a just imagination. It makes the participants of mass events often stay at the level of local government. The local government becomes the direct responsibility of the fermentation and intensification of various problems, while the central government can “put themselves into observers and judge The role of the corrector and the corrector, thus avoiding the possibility of “bottom-up system reflection and overall negation of the interests of the injured group” [34]. Some scholars even believe that the occurrence of many mass incidents, the policy imagination space previously given to the participants by the central government is itself a major incentive [35]; at the same time, this political identity structure will also be used strategically by the central government, thus From the positive, it strengthens its own ruling foundation and legitimacy. In particular, those mass incidents that have caused sensation in the whole society, the central government often appeases through public opinion guidance, leadership instructions, and punishment of local political elites. For those who are lost from the local government because of the incident, they are likely to be rescued through the central government.

2. The governance structure of “Party and government division of labor”

If the government’s identity structure of “central strength and weakness” makes the impact of mass events on political stability dilute vertically, then the governance structure of “party and government division of labor” dilutes the political risk of such events in the horizontal direction. .

The basic state governance model of modern China is different from that of the developed countries in the West. It follows a pre-existing political party, and then the political construction of the state, the establishment of the government, and the creation of a basic system through the political parties. Therefore, the ruling position of the Communist Party constitutes The foundation of the entire country.Therefore, on the issue of government (the ruling party), it is impossible for Chinese citizens to express their dissatisfaction with the government by changing the ruling party as the western developed countries do. However, at the same time, citizens must find other institutionalized channels to express political demands. .Here, the governance model of the party and government division of labor plays a role similar to the electoral system of Western developed countries. Because through the division of labor between the party and the government, the ruling party can respond to citizens’ dissatisfaction with the government by changing the government’s government, which is mainly composed of members of the ruling party, without changing its ruling status.

Realistically, there are two main ways in which the ruling party in contemporary China changes government officials: First, it is a regular, that is, every five years, the election of the main leaders of all levels of government. Second, it is irregular, that is, it can be carried out at any time. This model is often used to deal with mass incidents that have a greater impact. By changing the officials who have made major mistakes in dealing with mass incidents, the ruling party not only responded to the public’s needs in a timely manner, but also strengthened the ruling party’s ability to govern at another level, because the officials handled at this time were often government Members, not members of the ruling party, are punished.Even in certain special events (such as the Guizhou Pan’an incident), the ruling party punishes individual members (the secretary of the Pan’an County Party Committee) (dismissed), and will not cause the legitimacy of the ruling party as a collective symbol to be lost. Because the ruling party can easily raise the handling of such incidents through the media propaganda to the height of the ruling party’s self-adjustment ability. Therefore, in this governance structure of “party and government division of labor”, participants in mass incidents generally do not raise their dissatisfaction with the government to the ruling party, so the political risk of such incidents is once again diluted.

Fourth, from maintaining stability to governance: sustainable political stability

The research in this paper shows that the large-scale mass incidents in Chinese society in the past 10 years have not had a major impact on the basic political stability of Chinese society. This is mainly due to the fact that the original intention of most mass incidents does not have political purpose, and the current national system and governance model of China has also played a strong role in maintaining stability. But this does not mean that we can be optimistic about the political risks of mass incidents in the future.

With the deepening of social transformation, various structural contradictions have become more and more prominent, coupled with the systemic slowness, and ultimately social conflicts have moved from between the early people and the people, between the people and the enterprises. Political conflicts [36]. Recent related research also shows that the current mass incidents in China have a tendency to move from economic interests to political demands. “Growth rights protection is beyond the traditional framework of economic interests, and more involves complex balance of rights” [3]15.These behaviors mean that participants in some group events do not think about issues from the perspective of economic interests, but instead point the problem to the state and government as a whole in a systematic way of reflection, which involves reflection on their own political identity and identity. Questioning the authority and legitimacy of the government and dissatisfaction with the way and means of government governance. In other words, the emergence of such behavior means that one of the parties in the risk model that explains political stability may be changing, which may lead to the stability of our model’s stability in the future, so the political risk of mass events is The future is still unpredictable.

The concept guides action, and governments at all levels need to change the cognitive concept of group events, thus laying a cognitive foundation for reforming the current stability system. It should be recognized that such incidents are normal phenomena in a transitional society. In essence, the vast majority of mass incidents are still “internal contradictions among the people”, and it is also the “new normal” of Chinese society for a long period of time in the future. Therefore, it is not necessary to characterize all such incidents as “a major event affecting political and social stability.” More importantly, the political consequences of such incidents are not completely negative. It not only “can release social tension, maintain social structural flexibility, and have a social safety valve role”, but also “promote citizens’ rights awareness”. Improving the “government behavior of local governments” has certain positive significance [37].

From the perspective of structuralism, the issue of political stability is the result of both the “form of social structure” and the result of “form of political structure”. The former is attributed to the imbalance of social structure, while the latter is due to political opportunities (dialogue, participation). The lack of identity, approval, etc. [38]. Therefore, on the one hand, it solves a series of structural imbalances in social development from the perspective of social and administrative governance, enhances the government’s administrative responsiveness, transparency and openness; on the other hand, from the perspective of political governance, actively expands the institutionalization of citizens’ political participation. Channels, all citizens, including participants in mass events, gradually become one of the main bodies of governance, and they are involved in the political process by means of political absorption. The political pressure to release such incidents also helps reform the current The stability of the system makes the governance of mass events move towards sustainable political stability.


1 “Working Opinions on Actively Preventing and Properly Handling Mass Incidents”, China Office issued [2004] No. 33.

2 The above data are compiled according to the following materials, Zhang Mingjun and other “Analysis Report of Mass Events in the First Half of 2012”, “Analysis Report of Typical Group Events in Chinese Society” (2011, 2013, 2014), “Analysis Report on Chinese Social Mass Events” (2015, 2016), see: “China Social Public Safety Research Report” (1st, 2nd, 5th, 6th, 8th, 10th); Chen Yu, “The Development and Change of Rural Political Stability in China in the Past 20 Years”, In the “People’s Forum”, No. 11 of 2014; Institute of Law, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, “China’s Rule of Law Development Report No. 12 (2014)”, Social Science Literature Publishing House, 2014, pp. 272-273.

Entering the topic: political stability of mass incidents

This article is responsible for: Chen Dongdong 
Sending Station: Love Thought (, Column: Tianyi Academic >Political Science > Chinese Politics 
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Source: Journal of Harbin Institute of Technology (Social Science Edition) 2018, Issue 03 

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   关 键 词:群体性事件 政治稳定 政治风险 政府认同 治理结构 mass incidents political stability political risk governmental identification governance structure














   我们首先使用《外交政策》杂志和平基金会的失败国家指数(The Failed States Index)和世界银行“全球治理指标”(Worldwide Governance Indicators)中的“政治稳定度”(Political Stability)以及这两个指数(指标)的数据。因为这两组数据都是年度指标,且指标体系覆盖了一个国家的政治稳定情况。在失败国家指数(The Failed States Index)中,某一国家如果在世界上的排名数字越大,则代表该国家的政治风险越低。在“全球治理指标”(Worldwide Governance Indicators)的“政治稳定度”排名中,一个国家的百分位排行(Percentile Rank)越高代表这一指标越安全。










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文章来源:《哈尔滨工业大学学报(社会科学版)》 2018年03期

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   其次是当下中国的国家组织与管控能力使得任何非许可的“跨组织性的政治联盟”基本不可能得以产生[24]。按照学术界的已有说法,当下中国的群体性事件基本不可能进行政治与组织上的联盟,因为国家除了上述极强的渗透能力之外,还具有极强的组织能力与管控能力。实际上,当下中国不仅是一个国家权力强大的政体,同时也是国家基础性能力(infrastructural power)[25],特别是财政汲取能力、社会管制能力与精英吸纳能力强大的政体,这直接增加了任何想要挑战这种秩序的组织联盟的行动成本[26]。在最极端的意义上,这意味着即使那些具有一定程度的政治象征意义的群体性事件,也是一群低组织化、低制度化的群体试图对抗一个具有强大的组织能力、渗透能力、动员能力与财政吸取能力的总体性国家。在此种情况下,群体性事件的政治风险基本被稀释到毫无风险的地步。



















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发信站:爱思想(,栏目:天益学术 > 政治学 > 中国政治


文章来源:《哈尔滨工业大学学报(社会科学版)》 2018年03期

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