Li Bifeng 李必丰: In a Country Like This, We Can Only Hibernate

Li Bifeng,  a Chinese poet imprisoned for his article about a 1989 worker protest.  He got another twelve year prison sentence in 2012 apparently for helping another Chinese writer, Liao Yiwu flee into exile.  Li was arrested three months after Liao Yiwu left China for Germany.  His current prison sentence, now reduced to ten years, means that by the time he leaves prison he will have been a prisoner for twenty-two years.

Liao Yiwu in his foreword to Li Bifeng’s first novel, to be published in Germany during 2017, quotes a passage in which Li Bifeng describes a dream he had: “You are a bird, you have life, but there are other living things in this world as well. For example, the coal that we prisoners suffer so much to dig out of the ground. That too is life. Every time we dig up a piece of coal, we realize deep inside, that what we hold in our hands is not just a lump of coal, much more important is that it is a life. A life that has been buried underground in the darkness for very many years. A long time ago somebody asked me what it is that coal can burn. The reason is simple. That is only because after something has been imprisoned deep underground for a long time, that life can b by sending forth a tongue of burning fire prove its very existence to the world.”

In a Country Like This, We Can Only Hibernate

Li Bifeng

Winter came too soon
Our trees have started to wither
We no longer gave them fertilizer
And so our black hair by years of snow
Freezes slowly turning grey and white
Our skin cracking like the parched earth
Winter has come
We all love to sleep during the winter
Our hearts are tired
Our blood is tired
We sleep beneath the snows
In a country like this
We can only hibernate








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2011: Comment from Woeser’s Invisible Tibet Blog on the Party’s United Front Work Department and Tibet



 Woeser’s Invisible Tibet Blog entry of November 24, 2011

 Tibetan Affairs Revealed 2011 (some notes on Tibet work of the Chinese Communist Party’s United Front Work Department)

 The Tibetan writer Woeser, in her blog entry of November 24, relayed as a blog entry some information that had been left  as an anonymous comment on her blog.  The comments,  by Wiki Independence (维基让赞让赞是藏语,意为独立)discussed  some aspects of Chinese Communist Party United Front Work Department activities on Tibetan affairs both abroad and within China.  Perhaps this is a kind of Chinese Wikileak?

 Tibetan Affairs Revealed 2011

The Chinese Communist Party has repressed with armed force resistance in the Tibetan areas of China, demonized the spiritual leader of the Tibetan, repressed elite Tibetan intellectuals and greatly increased its propaganda and united front work abroad with these changes:
1. The shadow of the 50-centers [Tr. Note: derisive term for propaganda hirelings of the Party propaganda department, which allegedly pays 50 cents for each party friendly posting attacking party critics. End note] has appeared in Chinese language media in North American and Europe.  They have bought some internet services established by Chinese people in order to make propaganda for China’s Tibet policy and to criticize the Dalai Lama.

2.   The Central Committee’s United Front Work Department regularly sends Tibet experts to the United States, Canada, Australia, and many European countries. Most of these experts are scholars from the China Tibetan Studies Center and leading cadres from the TAR Propaganda Department.  The China Tibetan Studies Center is directly subordinate to the United Front Work Department.

3.  Sending song and dance groups abroad for the Tibetan New Year. The PRC Embassy in Kathmandu has held Tibetan New Year celebrations for several years, last year they added a new program, giving over 100 Tibetan compatriots red envelopes with USD 100 in each envelope. Since 2006, Tibetan performers have been sent to Switzerland every year, exciting protests against them by Tibetans in Switzerland, so they confine their activities to a small area.

4.  Every year groups of Tibetans are organized to travel around China to see the sights, eat and drink.

5.  The Office of Overseas Chinese Affairs (under the State Council) since 2010 has taken part in Tibetan compatriot work, and has send groups to Nepal, Switzerland and other countries to corrupt the Tibetan compatriots.
6.  The All-China Federation of Returned Overseas Chinese invites not only overseas Chinese from various countries but also Tibetans to come back to China to take part in conferences, to be propagandized about China’s Tibet policy and hear criticism of the Dalai Lama and “Tibetan independence”.

7.  It has become harder for Tibetan compatriots living abroad to come back to China to visit relatives. The paperwork for coming back to China is complicated, after filling it out it is necessary to wait for it to be approved in China.  The application goes to the TAR United Front Work Department and is approved only after the local police station determines that the relatives do not have any political background. Then the United Front Work Department issues a TAR permit that makes it possible to travel to the TAR.  This takes at least 3 – 4 weeks and many Tibetan compatriots living abroad have been refused permission to travel to the TAR to see their relatives. There are four units authorized to issue TAR entry permits: the United Front Work Department, the Travel Bureau, the Commerce Bureau and the Foreign Affairs Bureau (that is the TAR Foreign Affairs Bureau).

8.  Thirteen Tibetan compatriots living abroad participated in the TAR’s “Celebration of the Sixtieth Anniversary of the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet”.  Five were from Switzerland, two from Nepal, one from Australia, one from Sweden, two from the UK, one from Italy, one Tibetan just returned to China.  I won’t mention the names here.

9.  The All-China Federation of Returned Overseas Chinese is in name a civic organization but it is really an arm of the United Front Work Department. Since 2007 it has been charged with doing the Party’s propaganda work on Tibet. It has already been determined that there are eight secret members among Tibetan compatriots in foreign countries: two in Switzerland, one in Nepal, one in Taiwan, one in the United States, one in Germany, one in the UK, one in Italy.   I won’t mention their names here.

10. The State Council Overseas Chinese Affairs Office has a new initiative, setting up a foundation for Tibetan compatriots so as to persuade them to come back to China to study Chinese. This year there are two Tibetan compatriots who returned from abroad to study Chinese — one is in Chengdu, one is in Kunming.

11.  The United Front Work Department has sent people as PRC diplomats to those countries where there are larger numbers of Tibetan compatriots. They have special funds at their disposal and are not under the guidance of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  Most of these officials are Tibetans.  The United Front Work Department, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Central Committee’s Propaganda Department do not cooperate in their Tibetan work. Currently, the United Front Work Department has two people in New Delhi, one in Djakarta, two in Kathmandu, one in New York, one in Zurich, and one in Ottawa. I won’t name them here.

12.  Since March 14, 2008, all the telephones in the Tibetan areas have been monitored. The security departments have installed advanced equipment that detects certain key words in the Tibetan words. If these words appear in a conversation, the equipment automatically sends an alert to the security departments that can then refer to the recording. Dissidents and suspected people are subject to 24 hour telephone monitoring. Some of the key words are Dalai Lama, freedom, independence, organize, India, Dharamsala, explosion, gun, fire, gunpowder etc.

13.  In the Tibetan areas, issuing ordinary passports to Tibetans has stopped. There is a strict policy on the issuance of passports to Tibetans travelling abroad on official business.  Since March 14, the issuance of long term residence permits to Tibetans living abroad has essentially halted. It has been determined that two were issued — one to Tagelin of Nepal, who is a relative of TAR Deputy Chairman Jiari and the other to a Genduo “Rinpoche” who is a close friend to the “Living Buddha” Papola.

14. The Deputy chief of the TAR United Front Work Department is an ethnic Tibetan named Suolang Renzeng. In August 2010, he invited to dinner several Tibetans who had come to the TAR to visit relatives. Every time he gives people his spiel: contrasting the present happy time with the misery of the old days, opening and reform, the excellent situation in Tibet today, the wolves of the “Dalai clique”.  The Tibetan compatriots talked about what the Dalai Lama does and says overseas and remarked that that is very different from what you just said.  You really should go abroad and have a talk with the Dalai Lama yourself. Direct contact can clear up many misunderstandings. Before the dinner was over, the deputy chief, very angry, pounded the table and walked away.

 One year later, in August 2011, Deputy chief Suo invited to dinner three of the Tibetan compatriots who were participating in the sixtieth anniversary celebration. What he said was almost completely the same as what was printed in the Tibet Daily.  After reciting the propaganda spiel by heart, he asked the Tibetan compatriots to speak. Once again, they disagreed. They said that they (1) disagreed with the criticism of the Dalai Lama; (2) they came to participate in the celebration as individuals and do not represent anyone and cannot represent him; and (3) only allowing me to return to Lhasa but not to return to my native place is a violation of the policy that you just stated. This time Deputy Chief Suo didn’t pound the table so as not to harm the atmosphere of the 60th anniversary celebrations. He just made a half-smile and raised a glass in toast.

15. Due to the recent successive self-immolations of monks and a nun, to use the words of the government, many Tibetan areas are on a first level combat alert.  Workers at different bureau take turns on 24-hour duty and guards and public security presence on important roads has been increased. There are plainclothes police throughout Lhasa and more plainclothes police than tourists on the Barkor. If someone dies, it is hard to find monks to perform a service since the monks are under tight control.

16.  According to reliable information in the TAR Travel Bureau, when several years ago the Chinese Travel Service in Switzerland set up its first office, Beijing asked that a reliable Tibetan cadre be stationed there. After due consideration, it was decided that Cairang Dongjiu, a member of the party organization department of the Lhasa City Travel Bureau Party Committee would be sent.  He was known for his advanced ideological position, was a party member, did his job well, and spoke Tibetan, Chinese, English and German. It was decided that after four years that another person would take his place and cadres were chosen in reserve. However, after three years, Cairang Dongjiu vanished. This made a big impression at the time. Several months later it was found that he had taken his younger sister, who had come from Beijing to “visit relatives” along with him to France and “traitorously ran away” to France where he got political asylum. After this, the travel office didn’t dare to send any more Tibetan cadres abroad. The foreign assignments of the two cadres were cancelled. Now one of them works in Lhasa and the other in Beijing.

17.  TAR leading officials and their sons and daughters take bribes and interfere in the proper operation of government affairs. About 20% – 40% of the “assist Tibet” funds are stolen. Corrupt officials and businesspeople even stole all the funds for a small agricultural project of the Agricultural Science Committee. The next year, when the accountants looked at the accounts, it was just a formality of making a bribe and sending along some documents.  Later nobody looked into the matter.

 In Chengdu, there are many companies that are involved in writing up documents for various TAR development projects and make a fortune doing it. The fee for writing documents for a project depends upon the size of the project. The fee for a 2 million RMB project is about 40,000 RMB.  There is no need to go to the TAR — just give the company some figures and place names. Just a few days later you will have a planning document full of graphs. Writing a project document is the first investment that an unscrupulous merchant makes.  Then he takes the project document and goes to bribe some officials or their sons and daughters.  The standard price is 20% of the value of the project.  If there is competition, it will be higher.  Sometimes it will be necessary to go through some intermediaries.  That bumps the price up, too.

18.  The security services often send people to Kathmandu on business. They know Kathmandu well, it is said that their gathering place is a certain bookstore in Bodaha.

19.  The secrets revealed above are very solemn secrets, please everyone take them seriously. Before I end this series, let me tell you a not so solemn secret. A secret of the sky burial site.  As everyone knows, when a corpse is being cut up, in the old days the vultures would circle overhead and descend only when they hear the order of the sky burial attendant. Now things are different.  Every vulture has a name and they are called down one-by–one. It is enough to make you laugh so hard that your teeth fall out. The names are Tibetan names like Redi, Basan, Pengcuo, Dorje, Tanzen, etc. But the vulture with the sharpest cry is called Caidan Drolma [Note: Famous singer and now vice chair of the TAR People’s Consultative Congress. ]  You don’t believe me?  Go to the Lhasa Sky Burial site and see for yourself, this is absolutely true.













8、参加西藏自治区“和平解决60周年大庆”的国外藏胞有13位。他们来自瑞士5名、尼泊尔2名、澳大利亚 1名、瑞典1名、英国2名、意大利1名、境内回国藏胞1名,不在此点名。

9、中华侨联(即中华全国归国华侨联合会)名义上是民间组织,确是不折不扣的统战部门的延伸手,自2007年也在做西藏的党宣工作。在海外发展秘密藏胞会员,已确认的有8名藏胞,他们来自:瑞士2名、尼泊尔1名、台湾1名、美国1名、德国1名、英国1名、意大利 1名。不在此点名。










19、以上解密内容都很严肃,让大家费神了。最后在本期系列结束之前,再告诉大家一个轻松的秘密——天葬台的秘密:大家都知道,尸体在被肢解时,秃鹰已在天空盘旋,以往秃鹰听到天葬师的口哨后一拥而下,可现在不同往日,每个秃鹰都有名字,一个个听到名字被叫后飞下来,真让我都快笑掉了牙,还都是藏族的名字,热地、巴桑、平措、多吉、丹增、等等……那个声音最尖的叫才旦桌玛。不信吗? 去拉萨天葬台看看吧,千真万确。

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Chun Wong’s HK Film “Mad World” 《一念无明》

July 14, 2017 at the Museum of American History we saw the Hong Kong film “Mad World” 一念无明 by the Hong Kong first time director 28 year old Chun Wong. The film portrays a stockbroker with bipolar mental depression disorder and his father and the reaction of the people around him to his mental illness after he is released from a mental hospital.

Chun Wong was at the showing to answer questions after the showing. He said that he got a grant to do the film from the HK government although they did not have creative control. He shot the film with two top HK actors in just 16 days on a low budget. He commented that censorship is getting worse in Hong Kong, although not as much as in film as in other areas. He said that constraints on filmmakers are largely due to their increasing dependence on mainland China investors to finance film productions. The film is in the Cantonese language with both Chinese and English subtitles.

1492943753-2648284925Chun Wong answered a question about the meaning of the Chinese title of the film — 一念无明 in a question after the film. Wong said that the title is more meaningful than the English one “Mad World” — although the madness of the world is one aspect of the world reflected in the film. The title has several meanings, including the literal meaning of “ideas not being clear’ but also that people often have great difficulty grasping the viewpoints of other people.

Certainly this film and its meditation on mental illness and society deserves a wider audience. US audiences usually don’t like subtitled films though.

About six other HK films will be shown at the American History Museum through August 6th. Free courtesy of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in DC so you can’t beat the price!   A Smithsonian website has the schedule of Hong Kong films being shown through August 6 at

2017 Hong Kong Film Festival

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Chinese Political Scientist on the PRC Military Command and Political Commissar System

 英文翻译摘要:《中华人民共和国政治制度》第11章 国家军事制

Summary translation of Chapter 11 The State Military System in Pu Zhiqiang’s The Political System of the People’s Republic of China

Chapter 11 The State Military System

Pages 369 – 392 of the Political System of the People’s Republic of China

[Zhonghua Renmin Gongheguo Zhengzhi Zhidu] Chief Editor Pu Xingzu, Shanghai, 2005, Shanghai People’s Publishing House. ISBN 7-208-05566-1]

Summary translation. Sections 3-2, 3-3, and 3-4 are translated in full.

Chapter 11 is divided into four sections:

Section 1 Overview

1-1. Formation and Development of the Peoples’ Military System

1-2. Formation of the People’s Armed Forces [Renmin Wuzhuang Liliang]

(The PRC People’s Armed Forces consist of PLA active duty, PLA reserves, the Peoples’ Armed Police, and civil guard organizations [minbing].)

      1. The tripartite system
      2. The PLA
      3. The Peoples’ Armed Police
      4. The civil guard organizations
    1. The Chinese path of to creating a strong military [jingbing zhi lu]

(Summary: Since the third session of the Eleventh Congress of the CPC (1978) China has had a policy of opening and reform that makes different demands on the armed forces. In 1985, under the leadership of the Central Committee of the Communist Party and the Central Military Commission of the Central Committee, the PLA changed from being constantly prepared to “hit early, strike hard and to fight a nuclear war” to developing the military in an era of peace. The PLA reoriented itself to modernization, improving its fighting ability, and to become a more elite force. Jiang Zemin in 1990 called on the military to “Meet political standards, be militarily competent, have a good working style, adhere strictly to discipline, and adequate logistic support” (zhengzhi hege, junshi guoying, jilu youli, baozhang youli). Deng Xiaoping stressed that the PLA needed to focus more on quality than on quantity. The decision of the Chinese government in 1985 to reduce the size of the military by one million was completed by 1987. Staffing in military leadership organizations was cut by about 50%. During the Ninth Five Year Plan (1996 – 2000) the PLA was reduced by another 500,000. The PLA is also to have reduced by another 200,000 by 2005. The PLA is developing into a more elite force focusing on increasing mechanization and informatization so as to be able to fight and win a modern war. )

Section 2 The Military Leadership System

2-1 The Central Military Leadership System Jointly Established by the Party and the State

Summary: The Communist Party of China created and leads the People’s Liberation Army. After the PRC established in 1949, the PLA also became a state military. The state military system inherited and upholds the principle of the Communist Party’s absolute leadership over the people’s armed forces. The Party and the State jointly established the Central Military Commission that carries out the task of supreme military leadership over the armed forces. The 1954 PRC Constitution provides that the State President directs [tongshuai] the armed forces and made the State President the chair of the Defense Commission (the Defense Commission is an advisor body, it does not lead the armed forces). On September 28, 1954, the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party re-established the Central Military Commission as the leader of the PLA and the people’s armed forces. From that time onwards, the system of joint system of Party and state military leadership was established. The Central Committee of the Communist Party leads in all military affairs. The State President directs the state military forces and the development of the military forces managed by the State Council.

In December 1982, the fifth National People’s Congress revised the State Constitution to provide that the State Central Military Commission leads all the armed forces of the state. The chair of the State CMC is chosen and removed by the full NPC while the other members are chosen by the NPC Standing Committee. However, the CMC of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party remained the Party organization that directly leads the military and all the other armed forces. In actual practice, the Party CMC, after consultation with the democratic parties, proposes the names of the State CMC members of the NPC so that these people after going through the legal processes can be elected by the NPC to the State Central Military Commission. That is to say, that the CMC of the Central Committee and the CMC of the State are one group and one organization. However, looking at it organizationally, these two CMCs are subordinate to two different systems – the Party system and the State system. Therefore the armed forces are under the absolute leadership of the Communist Party and are also the armed forces of the state. This is a uniquely Chinese system that ensures the joint leadership of the Communist Party and the state over the armed forces.

Fundamental Principles of the Military Leadership System

The Chinese Communist Party exercises absolute leadership over the military. That is the clear characteristic and fundamental principle of the Chinese military leadership system. ….

Benefiting from over seventy years of experience in developing the armed forces, the Chinese Communist Party a leadership system and work system for the armed forces. In order to ensure the absolute leadership of the Communist Party over the armed forces, a basic system to uphold the leadership of the Communist Party is necessary. These include concentrating the leadership and command authority over the military in the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party and in the Central Military Commission. Every level of Party committee in the military forces implement the principles of democratic centralism, the division and higher levels establish political commissars and political organizations, and ensure that the branch organizations are in line [jianchi zhibu zai lianshang]. These systems melded the Party organization with the military organization in order to achieve the Party’s leadership and administrative leadership. This is the key and guarantee to the absolute leadership of the Party over the military.

    1. Leadership Organizations in the Military and their Functions

The Central Military Commissions of the Party and the State are the supreme leading organizations of the national armed forces. The Central Military Commission carries out its responsibilities according to the authority given to it by the Constitution and National Defense Law. According to overall strategic plans, tactical tasks, the degree of modernization of the military, and the administrative divisions of the state, the PLA general staff departments [zongbu jiguan] the leadership organizations of the various military services, and the military region leadership organization.

The PLA general departments are composed of the General Staff Department, the General Political Department, the General Logistics Department and the General Armaments Department [GAD, sometimes translated as General Equipment Department]. … The CMC exercises leadership over the military regions, the Navy and the Air Force and the Second Artillery through the four general departments. Within a military region, the three service branches are coordinated in the battle operations [zuozhan xingdong] under the unified command of the military district. The Second Artillery is however under the direct leadership of the CMC. The army units in a military region are under the leadership of that military region. The navy and air force troops in a military region are under the joint leadership of the military region and their service branch.

2-3-2 Leadership Organizations of the Military Services

On November 11, 1949 the Air Force leadership structure was established and the Navy leadership the following April. In 1950 the leadership structures of the artillery, armored troops, air defense troops, public security forces, and worker – soldier militias were also established. Later were established the leadership organizations of other forces such as the chemical warfare defense forces [fang huaxue bing], the railroad forces [tielu bing], the communications forces, and the second artillery [di er paobing].

The leadership of each type of military force is under the leadership and management of the corresponding part of the Central Military Commission (CMC) of the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee. Forces under each military branch or force such as subordinate forces, academies and schools, scientific research and engineering institutions, logistical support organizations etc. are also under the leadership of the CMC. This arrangement has been especially useful as China has over the past several decades moved increasingly towards military organizations composed of forces from more than one military branch. In September 1982, in order to meet the needs of military modernization and to improve coordination in the command of forces including multiple service branches and to strengthen unified command of the military, the CMC ordered that the leadership organization of the various military branches be abolished. The PLA now has Air Force, Navy and Second Artillery leadership organs.

In 1986, the People’s Armed Forces Department, except in some border regions, was put under the joint leadership of the PLA and the local authorities. Although the local Party organizations paid close attention to the People’s Armed Forces Department, as a result of some practical problems, the CMC decided that after April 1, 1996 the People’s Armed Forces Department [Renmin Wuzhuang Bu] will be under once again be under the PLA.

Section 3 The Political Work System [in the PRC Military]

3-1 The lifeline of the People’s Military

The political work system of the People’s Liberation Army implements the absolute leadership of the Communist Party over the military. It is a fundamental guarantee of the strengthening and maintenance of military’s ability to fight and is the lifeline of the people’s military. Already in 1929, the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee gave this instruction to the Fourth Route Red Army: the lifeblood of the Red Army is political work. ….

From the very beginning Communist Party members such as Mao Zedong established political work in the military in response to the needs of China’s national revolutionary struggle and to the needs of developing the military. Party organizations were established in each level of military organization, Party representatives were named, the old system of military authority was ended and a new relationship established between officers and soldiers. ….

3-2 The Party Committee System

All PLA units at the division level and above periodically call together a Party committee composed of committee members elected by the various lower level [military] Party committees of subordinate levels of the unit. The Party standing committee and the Party committee are the Party’s leading organs at each level of military organization. The Party standing committee, which operates when the Party committee is not in session, exercises unified leadership over the work of the unit. At the regimental level and in organizations at the regimental level, party grassroots committees are established. At lower level units party branch committees are established and at the squad and platoon level, there are also party subcommittees [dang xiaozu].

The party committee system is the result of the long experience of the Chinese Communist Party in exercising leadership over the military during the long revolutionary struggle. In May 2004, the CMC issued the “Chinese Communist Party Military Committee Work Regulations (Draft)”. These are the first regulations that focus on establishing a framework for party committee work in the military since the founding of New China. These regulations are the foundation of all the work done by communist party committees at various levels in the military. These regulations thoroughly implement the important ideology of the “Three Represents” and the spirit of the Sixteenth CPC Party Congress. The regulations, based on the Communist Party Charter and the “Political Work Regulations”, make full use of the traditional and lessons learned in Party work throughout the military over the years. The regulations clearly define the guiding ideology, principles, work responsibilities, procedures, system etc of Party political work in the military.

Under the “Party Committee Work Regulations” currently in effect, Party committee members at each level of Party organization in the military must uphold the principle of democratic centralism and diligently carry out the tasks of the command division of labor responsibility system set by the collective leadership of the Party Committee.

Specifically, this means:

  1. The Party committee exercises unified command over the unit. All important decisions must be discussed and decided by the Party Committee. In an emergency, the military commander can take provisional measures but afterwards must promptly report to the Party committee and accept their investigation.
  2. Uphold collective leadership. All important issues must be democratically discussed and then decided upon collectively by the Party Committee. The Secretary and the Committee members have equal privileges. One individual acting along may not make the decision or alter the decision of the Committee.
  3. Once the Party Committee has made a decision, it will be implemented according to the command division of labor responsibility system. If the decision has to do with military matters, the military commander will be responsible for implementation. If the matter has to do with political work, committee members will be responsible for organizing and carrying out the decision. The military commander must follow the leadership of the Party Committee, carry out the decisions of the Party Committee, and vigorously carry out responsibilities. The Party Committee and the military commander should work together closely and support one another. The Party Committee must put the military commander under collective leadership and, at the same time, respect the authority of the commander, and encourage the commander to exercise those responsibilities vigorously and to take the initiative.

Putting into practice the command division of labor responsibility system requires the implementation of the Party meeting system, the Party work report system, and the Party committee member democratic life meeting system. The Party Committee has two parts: the full committee and the standing committee. The standing committee decides on the daily matters of the military unit. The full Party Committee meets once or twice annually and has special meetings when needed. The standing committee makes periodic reports to the full committee at its own level and at the next higher level. The work report is ordinary drafted by the party committee secretary and vice party committee secretary. The party democratic life meeting generally is held during the meeting of the standing committee although sometimes during the meeting of the full committee. The Party democratic life meeting must be held at least twice annually. The meeting is usually held when work is being summarized at the mid year and at the end of the year, although it can be held at other times as needed.

    1. Political Commissar System

PLA units of division level or above or other units equivalent to the division (tuan) level or above, and as necessary PLA units at the regimental (ying) level or above or other units equivalent to the regimental level or above, shall designate a political commissar. At the regimental level or equivalent will be designated a political educator (zhengzhi jiaodaoyuan), at the regiment there will be designated a political guidance officer [zhengzhi zhidaoyuan]. These are the component parts of an important system for carrying out political work in the military – the political commissar system. The political commissar system is an important system that ensures through administrative work the absolute leadership of the Party over the military.

A political commissar must have been a Party member for five years or more. In military administrative work at that level, the political commissar and the military commanding officer at that level are both commanders of the unit. Under the leadership of the Party committee at the level, the two are jointly responsible for every aspect of the work of their unit. The political commissar is directly subordinate to the command of the unit at the next higher level. In political work, the political commissar is subordinate to the political commissar and to political organizations at the next higher level. In military affairs, the political commissar is subordinate to the military commander and to military organizations at the next higher level. The political commissar handles daily work on behalf of the Party committee. The political commissar concentrates on organizing and leading political work, ideological work and party development work in the military unit as well as all political aspects of aspects of military work including coordinating the work of various military organizations at the same level which organize the direct warfare, leading the work of ensuring the proper execution of warfare tasks, and training. The political commissar ensures that the unit carries out the tasks assigned to it by higher authority and countersigns each order with the military commander at the same level. When the political commissar and the military commander cannot come to agreement on an issue, they should pass the issue to the Party committee to discuss and decide or ask that the next higher command level decide. In an emergency, the military commander will decide military matters while the political commissar will decide political matters. However both are still responsible to the Party committee and to higher authority. In this case, they must made a report after the fact and accept the enquiry into the matter.

The regimental political teacher and the company (lian) political guidance officers are jointly with the military regimental and company commanders the commanders of their units. They are under the joint command of the commander and the political organization at the next higher level as well as the regimental or company Party branch at the level of their unit. They are jointly responsible for every aspect of the work of the regiment or company. They concentrate on organizing and leading political work. They carry out, according to their level, the daily work of either the regimental level Party committee or to the company level Party branch. Political guidance officers [zhengzhi jiaodaoyuan] must have been members of the Communist Party for at least three years. A political instruction officer [zhengzhi zhidaoyuan] must be a full member of the Communist Party.

3-4 Political Organization System [Zhengzhi Jiguan Zhidu]

The People’s Liberation Army establishes a political section at the division level and in all units equivalent to the division level and establishes a political department at the corps level and all units equivalent to the corps level as well as a political department for the entire PLA. The political organization system is a system established by the Communist Party to carry out the political and organizations work of the Party within the military.

The political organization is the Party’s organization for carrying out work within the military. It is the leading organization for carrying out the Party’s work in the military and for leading political work. Within the political organization ordinarily establishes departments on organization, cadre, propaganda, guard, culture, relations with the public (qunzhong), liaison, and secretariat. The state also established in the general political department, the political departments of each military region, in the navy, air force, provincial military and other units military courts and military prosecutorial units [jianchayuan].

The general political department is the highest political organization in the military and carries out its work under the direct leadership of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party and the Military Commission of the Central Committee (aka Central Military Commission CMC). The general political department and all the political organizations below it carry out there work under the leadership of the political organization above it and the party committee and political committee at the same military level. The most important tasks of the political organizations at all levels is, according to decision, orders and instructions from higher levels and the decisions of the Party committee at the same level, according to the fundamental tasks and topics of political work in the military in the new period, depending upon the specific situation of the unit, to establish a political work plan, make arrangements for carrying out various kinds of work, lead the troops in studying Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory, carry out education on the basic line of the Party, foster the development of socialist spiritual culture, develop the Party, cadres and troops. These tasks include making surveys and research in order to summarize and build upon experience, and to see to it that the Party line, overall direction and policies as well as the State constitution and laws are carried out in the military. As a result of long experience, a system and norms have already been established which define the nature, position, organization etc of the political organization in the military. The “The Chinese People’s Liberation Army Political Work Regulations” have clear stipulations on these points. The establishment of the political organization of the PLA ensures that the Chinese Communist Party has a reliable organization for its work in the military.

Section 4 Military Service System

    1. The “Two Combines” [Draftees and Volunteers] Military Service System
    2. The Officer and Soldier Active Duty System
    3. The Cadre System and the Officer Military Rank System
    4. Civilian Guards and Reserve System
    5. Military Education System and National Defense Mobilization System


浦兴祖的书《中华人民共和国政治制度》我喜欢。因为很难拔脱美国资产阶级的政治思想,这本很有系统地介绍中国政治制度包括它的核心– 中国独特的一个党独大的人民民主的专政–给我的启发相当大。因为我80年代初在台湾住了三年,我注意到中共的军事制度很像国民党  — 不是国家军而是执政党的军队,有政治委员制度 — 国民党,共产党都是从苏联的红军与20年代初共产党国际派到中国的军事顾问学的。下面我写这本书的第11章 国家军事制度英文翻译摘要。 高大伟







浦兴祖 1945年12月生,祖籍浙江嘉善。复旦大学国际关系与公共事务学院教授、上海市政治学会常务理事、上海市公共行政教学研究会副理事长、上海市人大常委会决策咨询专家、中央社会主义学院政党制度研究中心学术顾问,系中国恢复政治学学科后,在此领域潜心教研的第一批学者之一,是当代中国政治制度研究领域的拓荒者之一。主要著述有:国内第一部《当代中国政治制度》(主编,上海人民出版社,1990年);香港三联书店版《中华人民共和国政治制度》(主著,1995年);上海人民出版社版《中华人民共和国政治制度》(主编,1999年);复旦大学出版社版《当代中国政治制度》(主编,1999年)。此外,还主编或参撰《当代中国行政》《西方政治学说史》等著作或教材10余部,发表论文近百篇。主要成果被许多重点高校指定为教材或“考研”…


· 《中华人民共和国政治制度》



第1章 人民代表大会制度

第2章 全国人民代理大会

第3章 地方各级人民代表大会

第4章 选举制度

第5章 国家元首制度

第6章 国家行政制度

第7章 国务院

第8章 地方各级人民政府

第9章 国家公务制度

第10章 司法制度

第11章 国家军事制度

第12章 国家结构制度

第13章 民族区域自治制度

第14章 特别行政区制度

第15章 人民直接参与制度

第16章 中国共产党领导的多党合作制度

第17章 中国共产党组织体系与主要制度

第18章 中国各民主党派组织体系与主要制度

第19章 政治协商制度




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Chairman Mao’s Poetry Classnotes Auctioned Off

Art Daily recently carried a story Rare handwritten notes by Chairman Mao of the utmost rarity on the international market

LONDON.- A remarkable collection of handwritten notes by Chairman Mao, of the utmost rarity on the international market, will be offered for sale for the first time at Sotheby’s on 11 July 2017. Dating from 1975, they reveal Mao’s continuing interest in and engagement with Classical Chinese Literature, a constant love throughout his life, even as his heath declined in his final years. 

The unique manuscript notes are the fruits of meetings between Mao and Di Lu, a classical Chinese scholar from Mao’s native Hunan, in the final year of his life. “

With failing sight and increasing difficulty in articulating words, he had begun to find himself cut off from the cultural traditions that held such deep meaning to him. Thus, The Party Central Committee was tasked with finding someone who could read classical works to Mao, and Di Lu was brought to see Mao. 

The article included a photo of one of the pages of notes Mao made in class.

I took a stab at reading Mao’s handwriting in the picture that accompanied the Art Daily photograph.


The first four characters are at the start of a poem.  Maybe the three dots after it are etc. etc.

风急天高  The winds blow furiously and Heaven is high…

Sound like something Mao would like! Mao’s poems tended to dramatic story stuff like Snoopy’s “It was a dark and stormy night….   Mao was eccentrically idealistic for a materialist communist.  This makes me think back to my Chinese textbooks, published in Beijing in 1970, that had several of Mao’s most famous essays, including “In Memory of Norman Bethune” and several of Mao’s poems including “Nothing is Possible if You Dare to Scale the Heights“.   We learned about Lei Feng and other revolutionary heros.  Much of the vocabulary was what I would have needed to become a Red Guard.  Nothing like learning how to saw “Long Live the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution”, “Down with the Kuomindang Reactionary Clique!” and “Long Live Chairman Mao” in your second and third year readers. The vocabulary  introduced in elementary Chinese language textbooks, even from China, is much different these days!

The second and third lines are harder to read.  Perhaps they are 城安兴径     The city is peaceful and on the path of prosperity

The bottom line is hard too…

Something like  为国  灰  If so perhaps I give my all for my country   [literally for the country]   [ashes or gray]

Doing some searches online, I was surprised to find a number of people with the personal name 国灰  so I assume it has a suitably patriotic meaning!

The quotation in the first line comes from Du Fu’s poem Climbing High.  I found the translation and transliteration of the poem on the website Chinese Poems  at

Climbing High

by Du Fu


dēng gāofēng jí tiān gāo yuán xiào āi
zhǔ qīng shā bái niǎo fēi huí
wú biān luò mù xiāo xiāo xià
bú jìn cháng jiāng gǔn gǔn lái
wàn lǐ bēi qiū cháng zuò kè
bǎi nián duō bìng dú dēng tái
jiān nán kǔ hèn fán shuāng bìn
liáo dǎo xīn tíng zhuó jiǔ bēi

Wind swift heaven high ape cry grief
Islet clear sand white bird fly circle
No edge fall tree rustle rustle down
No end great river surge surge arrive
10,000 li sorrow autumn always be a guest
100 years many sickness alone climb platform
Difficult suffering regret numerous white temples
Frustrated now stop turbid drink cup
Swift wind, heaven high, an ape’s cry of grief,
At the islet of clear white sand, birds circle round.
Endlessly, trees shed leaves, rustling, rustling down,
Without cease, the great river surges, surges on.
Ten thousand miles in sorrowful autumn, always someone’s guest,
A hundred years full of sickness, I climb the terrace alone.
Suffering troubles, I bitterly regret my whitening temples,
Frustratingly I’ve had to abandon my cup of cloudy wine.


Notes: This poem dates from around 766; it was written for the Double Ninth festival, on which people traditionally climbed to a height and drank wine together (Watson pp. 145-6). The great river is the Yangtse river.

This poem is volume (juàn) 227, no. 76 in the Complete Tang Poems (quán táng shī). It is translated as poem 33 in Hawkes, pp. 203-5, poem CCCXXV in Hung , p. 249 and poem 120 in Watson, p. 146, and on p. 94 of Hinton.

Hawkes, D. (1967) A Little Primer of Tu Fu. Oxford, Oxford University Press.
Hinton, D. (1990) The Selected Poems of Tu Fu. London, Anvil Press Poetry.
Hung, W. (1952) Tu Fu: China’s Greatest Poet. Cambridge, Mass., Harvard University Press.
Watson, B. (2002) The Selected Poems of Du Fu. New York, Columbia University Press.


Chinese language discussions of the poem are at the links below.





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2009: Sichuan Earthquake Zone NGOs: Wavering Between Leaving and Entering



Translation of the article “Earthquake Zone NGOs: Wavering Between Leaving and Entering” in the Chinese periodical Nanfengchuang 南风窗issue of May 6, 2009 震区NGO, 摇摆在进退之间  

Officials have been gradually increasing their checks and screening of NGO volunteers. “We cannot exclude the possibility that some people with their own agenda will pretend to be volunteers while doing things that affect social stability.” For some NGOs, limits to their own capacity make it impossible to sustain work in the disaster zone over the long term.

Earthquake Zone NGOs: Wavering Between Leaving and Entering

When the Wenchuan earthquake occurred, Zheng Keke and several colleagues, filled with emotion, rushed to the disaster zone to help. They decided to stay and help. Over the past year people like them have been encountering continual frustration.

They wanted to provide some material support to schools in the disaster area to help in the reconstruction of education. There has to be a special procedure for doing anything – if they wanted to provide educational equipment and professionally trained volunteers to a school, they needed to get permission from the agency in charge and the school itself. Most of the time, getting permission has been difficult, a few times volunteers were actually kicked out.

Zheng Keke, vice director of the Hongde Cultural Development Center of Beijing says that “Over the past year, whatever the government can allow us to do, we do. If not, we leave. That is the situation.”

During the first days after the earthquake, the government allowed over 200 civil organizations, including some international organizations, to go to the disaster area to help in the relief work. In addition, a great number of individual volunteers came as well. This outpouring was a consolation for the people in the earthquake zone.

The earthquake brought some difficult to perceive social problems to the earthquake zone. If people were not careful, things could erupt into an incident. Preserving social stability became job one for the local government and the difficult-to-control people and organizations who came from the outside came to be seen as a potential cause of instability. The government gradually increased its management of volunteer groups and of individual volunteers.

The disaster area needs to be stable.” said Gao Guizi coordinator of the Sichuan 512 Relief Service Center told me. “After the earthquake, society in the disaster area is weaker, and so officials need to give more attention to this issue. “

For the many organizations and volunteers who flocked to the disaster area, the time of troubles is far from being over. At any moment they may be faced with the choice: Leave or Stay.

We Don’t Need Them

Before we would think to getting in touch with provincial officials, to do something, to put pressure on local officials.” Zheng Keke says. “Now we just do what we can, and if we can’t we just withdraw.”

Whether an NGO comes in or withdraws depends upon the attitude of local officials. Zheng Keke understands this very well. When they were doing relief work in Guangyuan, he ran into a township director who was concerned about problems in Chinese education. The two met by accident, and the township head quickly invited them to come help rebuild education in that locality.

After a few discussions, he met the vice township director in charge of education and the principal of the local school and came to a clear agreement with them on volunteers to be sent to the school to help. However, the day after leadership of the township changed and the first township director was transferred, the vice director in charge of education called Zheng Keke and told him that cooperation would be suspended because “the new township head has different views on education.”

The same disappointment was repeated in Dujiangyan. Zheng Keke planned to offer assistance to an elementary school that had been completely destroyed in the earthquake and to send in some volunteers. The school welcomed the volunteers. Before the school had reported to the local authorities, two volunteers went to the school in early June.

The principal was very supportive. He told us not to say that we are volunteers, just say that were teacher’s aides. Stay in the tent when you don’t have anything to do and don’t circulate do that people won’t notice fresh faces.

But it didn’t work out. One of the teachers reported them to the township government and the principal had to call Zheng Keke to tell him that the volunteers had to be withdrawn.

Getting things done through official channels is difficult. In order to get started working in the disaster area, they made contact with a principal leader on the Sichuan Communist Party Committee. That leader made a telephone call to the secretary of the city party committee. The secretary of the city party committee then made a phone call to the local education committee to make an appointment. Zheng Keke and two colleagues took a train from Chengdu to see them. Not only would the education committee members not shake hands, they wouldn’t stand up to greet them either. This time, though they had the support of the secretary, they still couldn’t come to an agreement.

They just come up with one pretext or another to get rid of you. If they want to change, they will think hard to come up with a way. If they don’t want to change, and I give them an overhead projector for a classroom, but they don’t use it. “

Zheng Keke decided to rely on luck. The disaster area is so large, if he runs into a wall in one district he can just switch to working in another. There is always somewhere to go. He has been doing that for nearly a year.

However, because of increasing controls on NGOs, the future remains uncertain. Luo Shihong, who has been doing social assistance work in Zundao Township 遵道镇, Mianzhu City, says that as social problems may continue to grow in the disaster area, officials may well decide that they should let more social organizations come to help.

The Mianzhu City Communist Youth League Committee and Young Volunteers Association in April 2009 issued a notice calling for strengthening management of volunteer groups and individual volunteers. The notice stated that with the one year anniversary of the earthquake approaching, very many volunteers would be flooding into the area, and “We cannot exclude the possibility that some people with their own agenda will pretend to be volunteers while doing things that affect social stability.”

The notice stated that they had done some checking and screening and this would continue. They asked that all individual volunteers service organizations register again, providing information on the times that service is provided, service recipients, and how service is provided. Moreover, all local official departments are required to maintain a detail list of all the names of the volunteers of the various voluntary organizations.

Confronted with this situation, many voluntary organizations felt they had to leave. The number of NGOs working in the disaster area has been declining. Taking Zundao Township as an example, Luo Shihong explained, that the number of NGOs working there peaked between one and two hundred. That period lasted for two to three months. Now there are about a dozen.

Luo Shihong’s organization has not registered. When they started to work in Zundao Township, they had a close and happy relationship with the local government. They worked out of the same offices. In order to make best use of these resources in post-quake reconstruction, the Zundao Township government set up the “Zundao Township Social Resources Coordination Committee” led by the Zundao Township Communist Party Secretary. Lou Shihong took part in the office work supporting the committee. The township gave them a office designation and an official stamp.

Change came too quickly. The had originally planned to register with the Mianzhu City Communist Youth League Committee. It had been agreed to beforehand. But when that notice from the Mianzhu City Youth League came out, those expectations burst like a bubble. The city committee no longer allowed them to work in their own office and pushed them out to the quake shelter area. They were also to be taken out of that semi-governmental coordinating group.

We prepared to withdraw.” said Wang Yueyun, one of the early coordination office director and a member of Luo Shihong’s group. “Unlike the early days, the disaster area no long welcomes volunteers. We have come to understood this since last August, and it is in the logic of things.”

In a report on their withdrawal from the coordinating group, he wrote, “Under the leadership of the Party Committee and government, Zundao Township gradually came back to life, going back to the earlier life it had during the previous period of harmonious development. As volunteers, what we are able to do will become less and less. Under these circumstances, we are bringing to an end nearly a year of volunteer work in Zundao Township.”

This is becoming a commonplace.

In a large quake refugee settlement area in Luoshui Township in Shifang City, the management committee has already received an official directive that they are to ask personnel of Save the Children (UK) 英国儿童救助会which had been providing help with washing infants aged three and under in the small community, to leave.

The management committee said that their standard is whether an organization is helping the public. They believe that “Save the Children” does not meet that standard. They present themselves as volunteers but don’t do anything and they are taking up a refugee shelter space that is very badly needed.

Now management committees have been set up in nearly all the small settlement communities. Some earthquake relief “advanced elements” from within the system have been appointed members of these committees. Their job is to manage everything that goes on in these communities. One of these matters is to ask about the comings and goings of organizations from outside China mainland and their members.

The director of the Luoshui Township management committee keeps a close watch on those people.

We are afraid that some accident or problem will arise. You can see for yourself, we are doing fine. People from the outside coming in to ask about this and that is not necessary.” She added, “Who knows that their real intention is.”

Reassure People

At the same settlement point, there are other organizations much appreciated by officials. One is the NGO Disaster Preparedness Center NGO备灾中心). The director of the management committee said that “They are still doing some work, the people see it and appreciate it.”

The organization said that official introduced the organization to local officials. They also got his help when they started their work in the resettlement area. She told them in order to work there, they had to establish good relations with the government.

The NGO Disaster Preparedness Center director Zhang Guoyuan said their work has been going smoothly. They don’t have nearly no problems with funding or policies.

The two NGOs Give2Asia 赠予亚洲and Trafigura托克国际 allocated funding for the disaster area and the NGO Disaster Preparedness Center became the implementer of their programs. Of the RMB 3 million in funding, 2 million were devoted to Luoshui. The local government gave the free use of land for their office. Another 1 million was allocated to support grassroots NGOs work. Nine NGOs won their support during the bidding process and have already started working out of the offices of the NGO Disaster Preparation Center.

Zhang Guoyuan and some other members are Sichuan local officials who understand the workings of government very well and so were able to set up communication and negotiations with local officials. They believe this is the most important reason they are able to maintain good relations with the local government.

You understand that exchanges and communication with government officials have to be carried out in a certain environment. We have had a lot of contact with officials before and worked closely with them. Some of the things they actually say and what the real meaning of what they say are sometimes different.” He said, “Sometimes there are implicit rules. If you understand then very good, if you don’t you will have a lot of problems. You need to penetrate their special language.”

Zhang Guoyuan set up two offices, one in Hanwang and the other in Luoshui. To prepare to set up work there, he sent two people to live in each place to live, eat and play with the local people. This helped build understanding and trust, knowledge of the needs of the local community. Once this was done, establishing an office was easy.

Now they are as close to local officials and other residents as neighbors. The management committee gave their office an official plaque. They said that two things were particularly important:

  • All their workers are Sichuanese. This helps makes it easier to communicate and building friendly cooperation.
  • They do what the local people, especially officials, want to be done.

For example, they set up an employment creation fund dedicated to training people for jobs. As everyone knows, employment is a big problem for local government. If through training the employment relevant skills of local people are improved, pressure on the local government will be much reduced. This also becomes their own political achievement.

Nonetheless, despite that, officials aren’t entirely satisfied with them. A management committee director told me, the township leadership sometimes will ask “what is that organization doing?” in a mysterious sort of way.

We must make sure that they know we exist and what we are doing.” Zhang Huikan, a manager for the NGO Disaster Center office in Hanwang said looking at the bulletin board filled with contact information for many officials. “We regularly send a progress report on our work to officials.”

Most of the time when officials reject an NGO it is because they don’t know what they are doing. Some researchers believed that officials gave permission for many organizations to go to the disaster area immediately after the earthquake was because they were overwhelmed by the disaster and didn’t have time to pay attention to the question. They looked at it positively and needed the extra help these organizations were bringing. This went on until the officials had time to pay attention to this extra help.

In many places, people who come from the outside are not managed by local officials. They don’t know what you will do so if they can get you to leave they feel relieved.” says Gao Guizi. “In the disaster area, this happened all over.”

The Sichuan 512 NGO Services Center to which Gao Guizi belong was founded after the earthquake to provide information and resources to the many NGO requesting to work in the earthquake disaster area. It is said that the 512 Center has assisted over 100 NGOs.

Some of official attitude against NGO as to do with the unethical behavior of some NGOs or volunteers. In Dujiangyan, officials caught five “volunteers”. They had collected a lot of relief materials in their tent. They were doing nothing in the disaster zone, just sleeping in their tents by day and going out at night. This incident made the authorities suspicious, so they checked on these people and found that they had lock picking tools.

Those five really messed things up…” Zheng Keke said. “Now we avoid the word volunteer. We only say we are teacher assistants.

The Mianzhu City Communist Youth League notice also mentioned this problem, saying that there are a small number of people who pretend to be volunteers but do things completely against the spirit of volunteerism. Volunteers and organizations that violate the law or regulations will have their service credentials cancelled by the Youth League, asked to leave or be handed over to police.

This is only a fuse that could lead to trouble. What officials really worry about is that volunteers from the outside will stir up the emotions of local people and influence them. If there are no outsiders around, they only need to control the site of the problem, cut off all means of communication, and they can control any problem, and it will not be made bigger. The presence of outside organizations is a challenge to this method of control.

In a place where there have been a particularly large number of deaths, especially if a school collapsed, the parents look to the volunteers as the only people upon whom they can rely. In these situations, some young volunteers may become one of those making accusations. They might encourage parents to stand up for their rights. In Dujiangyan, 200 parents who had lost children made an emotional plan to present a petition. They were all stopped by armed force. It isn’t clear whether volunteers were with them. Zhang Keke said that the skills of volunteers working in the disaster area need to be improved.

You need to know what the real situation is and what needs to be done and what shouldn’t be done”, he said. “You don’t represent yourself, you are a group. You need to put emotion aside, and handle things in a skillful way.”

Sustainable Difficulties

NGO capacity determines who long they can serve in the earthquake disaster zone. In the early days after the disaster, before there was official intervention, weak capacity prevented grassroots NGOs within China mainland from being equal to the task.

Luo Shihong has experience with this. He said, “We always thought that if we had money, we could handle anything, if we had supplies we could help people. But we gradually realized that kind of thinking is wrong.”

During the crisis relief period, supplies from within China and abroad poured into the earthquake disaster area. Sometimes tens of thousands of hundreds of thousands of tons of supplies reached a single township. Distributing those supplies became a big test of the NGOs. This involves supply chain management, warehouse management, and community surveys. Only people who possess these special skills can ensure that assistance is fairly and effectively distributed. In Zundao Township, Luo Shihong and others needed to serve 20,000 people. They were 100 volunteer organizations. It was poorly coordinated.

The specialized knowledge and efficiency of some organizations from outside China mainland awed them. One example were the NGOs from Spain and the United Kingdom. The Spanish group, in charge of supplying water, only sent three people. After doing some technical calculations on how much water each person would need to drink each day and how much water would be needed for washing, they determined how many liters of water would be needed. They set up their equipment and within two days were supplying clean water to 15,000 people. The British were equally efficient. They were in charge of toilets. After they knew the number of people in the resettlement area, they calculated how many toilets they would need to install and how large an area each toilet could serve, then installed the necessary hardware.

The period of urgent relief passed quickly and the earthquake disaster area entered the rebuilding phase. For many NGOs, this was a period of transition when they needed to go into the community to work. This required them to possess skills needed to keep working over the long term. Wanting to help wasn’t enough.

In October 2008, Luo Shihong group began giving training on how to do daily work effectively to the members of the group. They believed this training could no longer be put off. Many organizations like them are still feeling their way forward.

If they cannot in a short time quickly increase their overall capacity, they will have to leave. This overall capacity includes sustaining funds for operations, finding workers with special skills, and orderly management of the internal workings of the organization.

Taking funding as an example, many organizations are able to raise money and nobody is giving them money. One common way of saving money is for each volunteer to be responsible for their own expenses rather than the organization. In Shifang, Zhang Pei, the Party Secretary of the Chongqing Volunteers to Help the Elderly and Handicapped, told me this is a common method of NGOs working in the disaster area, so the organization does not have this burden.

The early volunteers, were passionate about helping, so they could tighten their belts and guive of themselves for a few weeks. But they couldn’t last for long. Cui Fan, director of the Sichuan office of Oxfam says, “Surviving is always a consideration. Just like a family in its daily life, when its finances run low, everything becomes difficult.”

Oxfam is the only international organization that received written official permission to operate in the earthquake disaster area. It set up an office in Chengdu after the earthquake. They expect over the next three to five years to spend HK$ 130 million on earthquake reconstruction, repairing small local infrastructure and living conditions. Funding is not a problem. Even so, they do face limits on who they can deliver services to and capacity limitations. There are many places with unmet needs. No organization can do it all. They and other NGOs can only succeed by working together with government, with its large capacity and its coverage of all of this vast area.

We also are not certain”, said Cui Fan, “just how long we will be able to continue.”

Currently, there are still some NGOs and individual volunteers who seek to work in the earthquake disaster area. The Sichuan 512 NGO Services Center cautions them that they need to think carefully and prepare well and not act rashly. Tian Jun, one of the center’s coordinators, these people want to help others but they must be prepared to sustain their assistance over the long term. “When doing good puts you under a lot of pressure, you can suffer a lot and so will the people you are helping.”

Wang Yueyun, who is about to leave, feels there is nothing that can be done about it. For a year they have “worked hard, done all they could and grown”. Many of their efforts didn’t get started or have come to an end. He said that they will gradually be forgotten by the local people because they were not able to make as a big a difference to the local community as they had hoped and they were not able to build trust between themselves and the community.

However, they are convinced that the services provided by the government (especially services, the software aspect of things) cannot cover the needs of all the people and the entire area, there will be, as the NGOs that filled in these gaps depart one after another, there will be unmet needs that will have consequences in the disaster area for some time to come.

Recently, the suicide of a deputy director of the Beichuan County Communist Party Committee Propaganda Department attracted much attention. The local government has already issued a document calling for an enquiry into the psychological state of local officials and to take better care of government and party cadres.

In the Shifang City settlement camp, a refugee said, we need these people (NGOs).

It was an evening, the music was relatively fast, and many refugees were happily dancing under some red lights. They were using a big tent set up by an NGO to provide them with an entertainment center.

The refugee said, “The NGOs are more efficient than the government.”

Thus far, nobody has done an overall, objective assessment of NGO work in the disaster area. But the need, the trust in NGOs and the reliance upon them does certainly exist.

Some country people were at the door of their home, they say in the field opposite someone passing by. They saw it was someone from outside, they can guess that it is a volunteer. They know that someone cares about them and that they haven’t left. Gao Guizi continued, “The volunteer doesn’t have to do anything, they don’t even have to wave, they just need to pass by, and by doing so they might even save a life.”

Chinese text from 


发布: 2009-5-12 12:18 | 作者: 章剑锋南风窗| 来源: 南风窗网站| 查看: 128次







Posted in History 历史, Military 军事, Politics 政治, Society 社会 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2009: Defense Plea of Sichuan Dissident Tan Zuoren 谭作人涉嫌煽动颠覆国家政权案 — 夏霖、浦志强两位律师的一审辩护词

After the August 2009 trial of Tan Zuoren there circulated on the Internet in China, and being constantly deleted on Chinese websites, the defense plea in his case.  Tan’s one day trial was held on August 12 in Chengdu.

The defense pleas, carried for a time on some Chinese blogs, disappeared as the censors got to work. Internet searches in late 2009  Tan Zuoren in characters  谭作人  brought up links to blank pages on some blogs that used to have the defense plea.  Sometimes the plea can be found by clicking on the cache (kuai zhao 快 照) on a Chinese search engine. The Chinese text I have copied below the translation.


Defense Plea in the Tan Zuoren Case

Xiao Xuehui blog

August 17, 2009

[At the request of Ms. Wang Qinghua, [note: the wife of Tan Zuoren] the first instance plea of lawyers Xia Lin and Pu Zhiqiang has been released.  The two lawyers faced many obstacles and put up with humiliation in order to carry out their important work with rare perseverance to complete their plea, stopping and starting because they were interrupted many times.  The first instance plea should have been published as an exact copy of the original document.  This is not possible, however, because of web filtering and so in order to defeat the control of the web, we made technical changes in some of the keywords.  This is a very precious legal document. Everyone concerned with the case of Tan Zuoren should read it.

 — Xiao Xuehui made this explanation and requests that this document be reposted on other websites.]

The case of Tan Zuoren Accused of  Incitement to Overthrow State Power

Defense Plea

To the Panel of Judges of the Tan Zuoren case:

The Beijing Huayi Law Office, which was commissioned according to law by the defendant Tan Zuoren, designated the lawyers Xia Lin and Pu Zhiqiang to make the first instance plea. After receiving this commission, we reviewed the case files, interviewed the defendant, and conducted many interviews and conducted many investigations.  We believe that after being reviewed by the court, the accusations brought by the prosecution against Tan Zuoren cannot be proven.   Based on the indictment and evidentiary materials exchanged with the prosecution before the trial, we make the following defense:

I.   With regard to the nature of the article “1989: The Last Beauty I Witnessed — the Tiananmen Diary of an Eyewitness” written by the defendant Tan Zuoren:

The prosecution states that “The accused Tan Zuoren is dissatisfied with the way the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party handled the”June X Incident” and the conclusions it drew about that incident.   For many years,  he has been carrying out in many ways “June X” commemorative activities.  On May 27, 2007, Tan Zuoren concocted an article entitled “1989: The Last Beauty I Witnessed — the Tiananmen Diary of an Eyewitness” and distributed it through the internet to the website outside of mainland China’s borders “The Torch of Liberty” as well as to other websites.  The main points of this article provide a distorted account of the “June X Incident” and to libel the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee’s handling of it.¡±

The definition of “libel” in the dictionary is “making something out of nothing, saying bad things about a person, damaging a person’s reputation, slandering someone” (See Modern Chinese Language Dictionary, Second Edition, P. 315, published January 1983.)  The prosecution’s charge that the defendant Tan Zuoren “made a distorted account and committed libel” is a matter to evaluate according to the facts and as to whether the contents of Tan Zuoren’s article are true.

The court investigation has already determined that “1989;  The Last Beauty I Witnessed — the Tiananmen Diary of an Eyewitness” was written on May 27, 2007 and is his personal response to statements about the “June X Incident” by Ma Li,  Chairman of the Hong Kong Popular Alliance.  The purpose of the article was to make the facts clear (see interrogation record).

However, after Ma Li made that statement, the Vice Chairman of the Hong Kong Popular Alliance, Liu Jianghua said that Ma Li’s statement did not represent the views of the Popular Alliance and wanted to apologize on his behalf.  Tan Zuoren wrote this article based upon his  memories as an eyewitness of the period leading up to and following the “June X Incident”.   The prosecution in its accusation states that Tan Zuoren “made a distorted and libelous account” but has not presented evidence to support that accusation.  Nor  has it in court “made an accurate account”, so how can Tan Zuoren be accused to writing falsehoods?

ccording to the indictment,  Tan Zuoren has “for many years in many ways conducted activities  commemorating “June X” but has presented no evidence to support this charge.  Moreover, according to Tan Zuoren’s own account during interrogation in court, before the 2007 statement of Ma Li, he had not conducted any commemoration of “June X”.  So what is the basis of “for many years” and what is the basis of “in many ways”?

The defense believes that this prosecution charge against the defendant Tan Zuoren is vague, untrue and not supported by the evidence.

The charge cannot be proved according to law and so should clearly be rejected.

II.   With regard to the prosecution’s accusation that Tan Zuoren communicated with the “enemy element outside China’s borders” Wang Dan and suggested that voluntary blood donation drives be conducted.

According to the prosecution¡¯s accusation, “Shortly after the article was published, the enemy element outside China’s borders Wang Dan contacted him by e-mail and on several occasions sent him propaganda materials about the “June X” incident.

On June X, 2008, the accused Tan Zuoren together with others in Chengdu’s Tianfu Square conducted a voluntary blood donation drive to commemorate “June X” by donating blood.  Shortly thereafter, he was interviewed by the telephone by the media outside mainland China’s borders “Voice of Hope”.  Since November 2008, Wang Dan on several occasions sent him materials on activities to commemorate the so-called twentieth anniversary of the “June X” incident.  On February 10, 2009, the accused Tan Zuoren sent Wang Dan an email “Suggestions on the Twentieth Anniversary of June X” suggesting that during this year’s “June X” period conducting so-called “June X Worldwide Chinese Voluntary Blood Drives” in order to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of “June X”.

With respect to this charge, the defense believes:

1.   Criminal methods of incitement to overthrow state power involves the open encouragement of a group of two or more people.  The facts presented in this accusation involve a private email between Wang Dan and Tan Zuoren.  This is not in accord with the open nature of this crime and that the incitement be directed at a group of two or more people.

2.  The designation of Wang Dan as an “enemy element outside of China’s borders” has not been officially announced by the state and the defendant is not aware of this.  Moreover, a search of PRC criminal law did not turn up a crime of “communicating with enemy elements outside of China’s borders”.  The prosecution has already determined that Wang Dan is “an enemy element outside of China’s borders” and according to the accusation statement, Wang Dan took the initiative to send to a mailing list materials on “June X”.  Considering the political attitudes and behavior of the two people involved in the communication, it could be claimed that Wang Dan was inciting Tan Zuoren but surely it would be nonsense to suppose that the accused Tan Zuoren sought to incite Wang Dan.  This is clearly absurd nonsense. This accusation by the prosecution is obviously mistaken.

III.  With respect to the prosecution charge that Tan Zuoren made statements about the May 12th Earthquake

The court investigation states that after the May 12 earthquake, the accused Tan Zuoren was interviewed several times by media from both inside and outside China’s borders and on many occasions acted as a guide to assistant them in their interviews and investigations.  These media included Xinhua, Liaowang Oriental Weekly, First Financial Daily,  Humanity and the Biosphere, etc. as well as Hong Kong broadcasters under the Hong Kong government.  No matter whether he was interviewed by media from inside or outside China’s borders, he said the same thing.

However, the prosecution accusation stresses only that “Tan Zuoren on several occasions was interviewed by media from outside China’s borders, and make statements that severely damaged the image of our Party and government” clearly takes things out of context to make these activities look suspicious.

The defense response to these accusations:

1.  The prosecution’s accusations are abstract and empty. The prosecution presented 22 articles that total several tens of thousands of words as evidence.   Looking over these articles, one finds some discussion of the work of the Party and government in earthquake relief.  Tan Zuoren praises them where praise is due but not excessively. He does not pass over their shortcomings in silence but discusses them. Just which chapters and which words have anything to do with subversion?  I really don’t know.

These 22 articles were collected by the prosecution from the private computer of Tan Zuoren were edited by Tan Zuoren himself on his computer in the “My Documents” folder.  None of them are transcripts of media interviews. This being such an “important case” so how could it have been handled so sloppily?  How can these documents be taken as manuscripts that are used as evidence in a criminal case?

2.  The court investigation determined that Tan Zuoren is the deputy secretary-general of the Green Rivers environmental NGO and has long been concerned about the construction of hydroelectric power plants in southwest China.  His statement about the earthquake involved an analysis of the causes of the earthquake how it could have been prevented was from the perspective of an expert.  This analysis is based upon a considerable amount of scientific evidence.  The defense has already provided these materials to the court.  Moreover, two experts on the subject, Fan Xiao, an engineer from the Sichuan Province Mining Bureau Geological Survey Team and Prof. Ai Nanshan of the Sichuan University Construction and Environmental College are willing to testify as defense witnesses in court.  They are now waiting outside the court because unfortunately the court arbitrarily refused to hear them.  We regret this decision.

3.  According to the court record of interrogation, Tan Zuoren after the May 12 earthquake made 23 trips to determine the number of students who were killed in the earthquake as well as the number of school and dormitory buildings that had collapsed.  He spent over 50 days on these survey trips and collected much first-hand material. He made an objective description of the situation based on these trips.

His surveys showed that for many of the schools in the earthquake zone, poorly construction quality led to their collapse. The problem of “bean curd construction” that Tan Zuoren describes certainly exists.  Tan Zuoren urges now that the cause of the collapse of the schools and dormitories be thoroughly investigated, that the people responsible face criminal prosecution, and that a natural disaster should not be an excuse to hide a man-made calamity.  What is wrong with saying this?  And how can anyone be accused of committing a crime by saying this?

Provoked by the deaths of so many students, Tan Zuoren may have said some words in anger and criticized the Ministry of Education.  But the defense wants to remind the prosecution: to criticize is not to incite to overthrow the state.  The Ministry of Education has never represented state power. Therefore nothing could be as ridiculous as this accusation against Tan Zuoren for incitement to overthrow state power.

IV.  The prosecution’s accusation on the legal nature of Tan Zuoren’s behavior.

The prosecution believes that “the indicted Tan Zuoren, in order to achieve his goal of subverting state power and overthrowing the socialist system fabricated things out of whole cloth, distorted news, and spread speech that is injurious to state power and the socialist system in order to hurt the image of state power and the socialist system in the eyes of the people.  This constitutes a crime under article 105 of the Criminal Code of the People’s Republic of China.  The crime is clear, the evidence is certain and abundant.  Tan Zuoren should be prosecuted and convicted of the crime of inciting subversion of state power.”

The defense again reminds the panel of judges that the accused Tan Zuoren, who has made an accurate description of many matters, is accused of “fabricating things out of whole cloth and distorting news”.  However, the prosecution has not yet presented any evidence to contradict what Tan Zuoren has written nor any evidence supporting the accusation.  If the prosecution is unable to present relevant evidence, then some of the matters it has presented as fact are not credible.

The defense presents three opinions on the legal validity of the accusations brought by the prosecution:

1. Tan Zuoren’s speech related to this case is a matter of a citizen exercising his right to make suggestions and criticisms. That speech does not constitute incitement to overthrow the state and does not fit the criteria for that crime.

This crime is found in the first chapter of the criminal code, “Crimes Against State Security”.  Examining that section of the law, it is clear that the definition of this crime is limited to threatening state security.

How can speech threaten state security?  We can find an explanation in “The Johannesburg Principles on National Security, Freedom of Expression and Access to Information” which are widely accepted by international society. Principle Five holds that ¡°Subject to Principles 15 and 16, expression may be punished as a threat to national security only if a government can demonstrate that: (a) the expression is intended to incite imminent violence; (b) it is likely to incite such violence; and (c) there is a direct and immediate connection between the expression and the likelihood or occurrence of such violence.

In China’s legal system no legal or administrative explanation accompanies the legislation on this crime.  Therefore, widely accepted international principles can provide an important reference point for the judging  this case.  The speech of Tan Zuoren relating to this case had no language inciting to overthrow of the state or to violence.  On the contrary, Tan Zuoren’s political views favor gradual and peaceful social progress.  The objective effect of his views does not harm but actually supports state security and so of course do not fall with the legal definition of this crime.

Article 41 of the PRC Constitution stipulates: “Citizens of the People’s Republic of China have the right to criticize and make suggestions to any state organ or functionary.” The defense believes that Tan Zuoren’s speech involved in this case was the normal exercise by a citizen of their right to criticize and make suggestions, and should therefore be protected by the PRC Constitution. How can it be construed as “incitement to overthrow the state”?

2.  Tan Zuoren did not have any subjective intention to incite to overthrown the State.

This crime in its subjective aspect relates to intention, the person committing the act must have the motive of inciting two or more persons to act to overthrow state power and to overthrow the socialist system.

The defense believes that in order to determine the subjective motive of a personal act, one needs to do a historical study of it objective manifestations over a long period.  The court investigation shows that the indicted freely confesses without reservation that he is passionate about the well-being of society and that he has for a long time been making outstanding contributions to political science and administration.

The principal facts are these:

  •  During 1996 – 1997, he served as the chief planner of the Chengdu City government’s Fenghuang Mountain development project and later led the planning work for the Sichuan International Rehabilitation Center and the Chengdu Rest Home and Assistance Center for the Elderly, the Chengdu City Temporary Residence project, and was asked by the Pi County government to design the Jinguancheng Recreation Area, the Shudu Rear Garden and other projects.
  • In 1998, he was asked by the Sichuan Province Academy of Social Sciences to plan the “Great Turn of the Century Human Talent Project”.
  • In 1999 he participated in the Yangtze River Environmental Memorial Construction Project.
  • In 2000 he planned the Sichuan Exhibition Center transformation project;
  • In 2001 he was chosen by the Chengdu Daily as an outstanding citizen of Chengdu;
  • In 2002 he planned and implemented the “Century of Great Changes – Chengdu’s Big Transformation” a major photo exhibition; at the Sichuan Provincial People’s Congress consultative conference his proposal to enact a law to protect the Great Panda was adopted.  He also  participated in the planning for the construction of the “Deng Xiaoping Old Home Tourism District”;
  • In 2004 he was invited by the Chengdu Jinniu District to devise a plan for the Jinsha Ruins Park.  His proposal for the “Tianfu Gourmet Park” was adopted and became a key project for Chengdu.  On behalf of the Sichuan Cultural Bureau he designed and organized a “Culture and the Creative Industries Forum”; revised and made new suggestions for the “Chengdu City Cultural Tourism Industry Plan”, participated in several important meetings organized by the Chengdu City Propaganda Department, participated in the survey and review of the “South to North Water Diversion Project”.
  • In 2006, he was asked to design the “Chengdu City Eastern Suburbs Creative Industries Park” concept;
  • In 2007 he led the “Chengdu Citizen Ethnic Culture Tourism Development Plan”.  His Botiao River Research Project and the research on the “Small Scale Western Waters Diversion” won the approval of Premier Wen Jiabao.
  • In 2008, he designed the Cultural Tourism Street project for the Xichang City government.  He wrote and distributed an academic report on the issues of the Pengzhou City petrochemical plant project entitled “A Citizen’s Suggestion on the Pengzhou City Petrochemical Project” and sent it to the departments concerned.
  • In 2009 he participated in the “May 12 Student Deaths Survey”.

The facts above demonstrate that Tan Zuoren has contributed for the past twenty years to the construction of Chengdu and of Sichuan Province, to scientific planning and to economic planning, all of which have greatly improved the image of the government.  In his capacity as Chinese citizen or as an outstanding expert, Tan Zuoren has also of course criticized some improper administrative actions of the government.  How could these well-intentioned and honest criticisms can be maliciously understood as incitement to overthrow state power?

3.  The behavior and speech of Tan Zuoren do not constitute this crime.

As everyone knows, the character of the PRC government is a “people’s democratic dictatorship”, that is to say the great majority of the people through democratic means hold state power.  Overthrowing state power, then, having the intention to use anti-democratic methods to destroy the system of people’s democracy.  By looking through all of Tan Zuoren’s writings, one can see that he is a person who passionately loves the people,  supports democracy, and is opposed to autocracy.  Mr. Tan Zuoren is a pioneer of people’s democracy and its guardian, not one who would overturn it and destroy it.   To convict him of incitement to overturn state power contradicts the basic character of PRC state political regime.

V.  Summation

The matters described above are sufficient to prove that none of the accusations of the prosecution about the speech and actions of Tan Zuoren constitute the crime described in Article 151 in the PRC Criminal Code of “incitement to overthrow state power”.  The accusation that Mr. Tan Zuoren committed this crime fails for lack of evidence.

Sichuan since ancient times has been a place where cultured people gather.  Many heroes have arisen throughout the history of Chengdu.  We are confident that Sichuan has sufficient political wisdom to handle the Tan Zuoren case.  Let us quote here a couplet from the Wuhou Temple of Chengdu for the people involved in this case:

“Those able to win people’s hearts are able to eliminate their doubts and their worries; from ancient times people knowledgeable in military affairs have avoided fighting whenever possible; those who are not able to judge situations will make mistakes no matter whether they are strict or lenient. Those who govern Sichuan in the future should deeply reflect upon this.”

The defense earnestly requests that the panel of judges reflect deeply and according to Article 162 of the Law of Criminal Procedure of the PRC, and that they find and proclaim the defendant TanZuoren not guilty.

Defense attorneys:  Xia Lin and Pu Zhiqiang

Beijing Municipality Huayi Law Firm

August 12, 2009



作者:肖雪慧 来源:作者博客 2009-08-17









一、关于控方指控的谭作人撰写《1989:见证最后的美丽—— 一个目击者的广场日记》文章及定性问题



法庭调查业已查明,《1989:见证最后的美丽—— 一个目击者的广场日记》作于2007年5月27日,系谭作人为回应香港民建联主席马力有关“六x”问题的言论有感而作,其目的是为了澄清事实(见讯问笔录四)。而马力言论发表后,民建联副主席刘江华表示,马力言论并不代表民建联立场,并愿意代为致歉。































































夏霖 浦志强


Posted in Famous Chinese Political Court Cases 中国政治名案, Law 法律, Society 社会 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment