PRC State-Sponsored Trash Talk/Media Infiltration in New Zealand

New Zealand Professor Anne-Marie Brady recently translated an anonymous poison pen letter on Chinese media infiltration in New Zealand and gave it to the New Zealand Parliament. This new information fits the pattern seen around the world and discussed in He Qinglian’s recent book published in Taiwan 紅色滲透:中國媒體全球擴張的真相 [Red Infiltration: the Truth About the Global Expansion of Chinese Media] that examines Chinese Communist Party and government infiltration and efforts to control Chinese language media outside of China.   

See also Professor Brady’s work on Chinese Communist Party united front work and attempts to infiltrate Chinese communities overseas.

Read Professor Brady’s submission to the New Zealand Parliament and her paper “Magic Weapons: China’s Political Influence Activities Under Xi Jinping” to understand better the pattern the letter discussed here fits into.

Supplementary Submission to the New Zealand Parliament Justice Select Committee Inquiry into Foreign Interference Activities, 2019 Professor Anne-Marie Brady My qualifications to speak on this topic: I am a specialist in the politics of the People’s Republic of China (PRC, China) and the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) Party-State system; as well as polar issues, Pacific politics, and New Zealand foreign policy. I have published ten books and close to fifty scholarly papers on these topics. I was educated in Auckland, Shanghai, and Canberra. I am a fluent Mandarin Chinese speaker with dual degrees up to PhD level in Chinese Studies and Political Science and International Relations. I am a Professor in Political Science and International Relations at the University of Canterbury, as well as a Global Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington DC, a non-resident Senior Fellow at the China Policy Institute at the University of Nottingham, and a member of the Council on Security Cooperation in the Asia-Pacific (New Zealand). I have taught graduate and undergraduate courses at East China Normal University, Tsinghua University, Wuhan University, Beijing University, and Renmin University.

My comments in this submission are based on conclusions in my research published over the last thirty years. In researching these papers and books I referred to many thousands of Chinese language CCP materials and the comments I make here are based on those sources, as well as secondary sources on the CCP’s united front work. Justifications for supplementary submission of materials: I am forwarding my paper “Magic Weapons: China’s Political Influence Activities Under Xi Jinping” as a supplementary submission document, as the paper was referred to several times during the oral submission meeting of the Justice Select Committee Inquiry into Foreign Interference on May 9, 2019. One of the members of the Justice Select Committee also asked for concrete examples of how New Zealand is being affected by corrupting, corrosive, and coercive foreign interference activities and the paper provides many examples which answer this question.

From Professor Brady’s Twitter feed:

Not Merely Trash Talk but Evidence of PRC Infiltration of NZ Domestic Chinese–language Media

The interesting thing here is not so much the Chinese language trash talk literature here explicated but that it is state-sponsored trash talk.  Students of Chinese language will find the notes interesting in themselves!

I have copied extensive excerpts from the file since I suspect many people will be put off by the trash talk and may not persist to the notes. This is not mere trash talk about a New Zealand politician but state (or should I saw Party) sponsored trash talk in NZ domestic Chinese language media and direct PRC interference in New Zealand domestic affairs.

Read the entire file at

Cover Letter to Anonymous Expose Translated the New Zealand Parliament by Prof. Brady

Prof. Brady’s introduction to the English translation of the letter

Translator’s Note: As requested by the Justice Select Committee1 I have translated the Chinese section of an anonymous letter I received on February 13, 2018, which I provided as a supplementary submission to the Committee. The letter is relevant to the Justice Select Committee’s Inquiry on Foreign Interference Activities in New Zealand as it provides concrete examples of how the Chinese government directs New Zealand’s Chinese language media. The model of control for the diaspora media is similar to that in the Chinese Mainland, it does not matter who owns the media outlet, they must work within CCP censorship guidelines or be forced out of business. 2 The only exceptions are Falungong papers and a few other hardy dissident media platforms. The diaspora commercial media–like the PRC media— operates “between the Party line and the bottom line”. 3 

The anonymous letter alleges that the Chinese government is behind an “evil and obscene attack” on Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in the New Zealand Chinese media (as well as against the Right Hon Winston Peters). This translation translates an example from the New Zealand Chinese media of that slander against the New Zealand Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Peters. This translated section is from a post on the HouGarden website in January 20184 and screenshots of user posts in response to the original story. HouGarden is a Chinese language, New Zealand-based news and property website.5 The letter outlines how the Chinese government is allegedly directing and controlling the New Zealand media Chinese-language platforms via a combination of incentives and punishments. The letter provides photographic evidence to back up these claims. 

Translated by Professor Anne-Marie Brady, University of Canterbury, New Zealand6   

Warning: the translation, as well as the Chinese original, contains vulgar language that may offend some readers.

From Professor Brady’s notes to her translation of the letter: 

2. As discussed in Anne-Marie Brady, “Magic Weapons: China’s Political Influence Activities Under Xi Jinping,” conference paper presented at the conference on “The Corrosion of democracy under China’s global influence,” September, 16-17 2017, 3 Zhao Yuezhi, Between the Party Line and the Bottom Line: Media, Market, and Democracy in China, Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 1998. 

4 The original post is here:, but the comments section has now been removed. 6 I am a specialist in the politics of the People’s Republic of China (PRC, China) and the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) Party-State system; as well as polar issues, Pacific politics, and New Zealand foreign policy. I have published ten books and close to fifty scholarly papers on these topics. I was educated in Auckland, Shanghai, and Canberra. I am a fluent Mandarin Chinese speaker with dual degrees up to PhD level in Chinese Studies and Political Science and International Relations. I am a Professor in Political Science and International Relations at the University of Canterbury, as well as a Global Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington DC, a nonresident Senior Fellow at the China Policy Institute at the University of Nottingham, and a member of the Council on Security Cooperation in the Asia-Pacific (New Zealand). I have taught graduate and undergraduate courses at East China Normal University, Tsinghua University, Wuhan University, Beijing University and Renmin University.

  My comments in this translation and in my submission to the Inquiry on Foreign Interference in New Zealand are based on conclusions in my research published over the last thirty years. In researching these papers and books I referred to many thousands of Chinese language CCP materials and the comments I make here are based on those sources, as well as secondary sources on the CCP’s united front work. 

7 老皮, Lǎo Pí which can be translated as “Old P”, “Old Skin”, “Old Pi”, “Old Leather”, “Old Fur”, “Old Naughty”, “Old Rascal” and potentially also interpreted to mean “Old Fart”, “Old Bum”, plus many other dialect interpretations listed below, is the colloquial nickname commonly used in the New Zealand Chinese language media to refer to the Right Hon Winston Peters, Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister in the Coalition government (2017-). The phrase could be interpreted as insulting and pejorative. It is certainly not the correct transliteration of Mr Peters’ name in Chinese and it is unusual to see media outlets using a potentially derogatory nickname in reference to a person’s actual name. The following remarks are based on consultations with colleagues and native speakers of Chinese of different age groups and linguistic backgrounds. Thanks to the many who assisted with this translation; more than can be listed. 

The official translation of Mr Peters name is: 温斯顿·彼得斯, is phonetic, using standard non-offensive characters for transliteration of the common English names “Winston” and “Peters” [the characters used mean: Warm. This. Pause –That. Obtain. Those]. It is the norm in Chinese translations to use non-offensive characters to transliterate foreigners’ names. Chinese dictionaries list standard transliterations of common foreign names. Xinhua News Service sets the norms on how foreign political leaders’ names should be transliterated and there is an official translation available. Yet in the New Zealand Chinese language media, the Right Hon Winston Peters’ name appears frequently as 老皮, or else as “皮特斯” a transliteration using the character 皮 (as discussed above, the surname Pi, skin, leather, fur, naughty, raffish, rascal, along with other meanings) as the choice of first character for his name. 

In 2017, the CCP formalised its efforts to implement censorship controls over the Chinese diaspora media, see “The 2nd Overseas Chinese New Media Summit Forum,” Sina, August 30, 2017, This policy has been the unwritten rule for at least 20 years. As the anonymous letter I submitted to the Justice Select Committee illustrates, regardless of who owns a foreign Chinese language media outlet or China focused media outlet, it must now conform to CCP censorship guidelines or it will be forced to close by means of intimidation such as removal of advertising or vexatious court cases. Thus, given that New Zealand’s Chinese language media are under pressure to closely follow the “Xinhua line” in their reporting of China-related issues, it is unusual and significant that they are using the 老皮 phrase to denote Mr Peters. 

A NZ-based website has discussed the significance of the New Zealand Chinese language media using 老皮 to transliterate Mr Peters’ name. This analysis concludes that the term is pejorative and it is meant to insult, see

According to University of Pennsylvania Sinologist Professor Victor Mair, in Dongbei topolect the term 老皮子 indicates people who are raffish or disrespectable. In Shaanxi 陝西 topolect “老皮” has a complex and essentially disapproving meaning: it could mean “老油條” (sic, “slippery customers”, “devious geezers”), people who are considered “很二” (reckless), and those who behave like scoundrels. The term “老皮” may also have an ironic meaning. For example in Shaanxi topolect, Tom cat in Tom and Jerry is referred to as “老皮”. (Victor Mair, email communication, 16 May 2019). The term also appears in a variant form in Wuhan topolect as 老耶皮 nao3ye1pi, a derogatory term for an older person. See Dictionary of Wuhan Dialect, Jiangsu Publishing House, 1995, and an example of the term in use here (Jichang Lulu, email communication, May 21, 2019). 

A google search of “老皮 Winston Peters” in the news media appeared 98 times. For example the NZME publication the Chinese Herald, sister paper to the NZ Herald, often uses the term. See for example: 

 8 宝宝 Bǎobǎo,is a pet name that could be translated as “bubbie”, “baby”, “bubs”, darling”, “precious”. Here it appears to be used ironically. 

9 干爹, gandie, traditionally meant foster father, adopted father, or godfather. But in modern usage it has come to mean “Sugar Daddy”. It is used to describe the relationship between an older man and a much younger woman. An example of use by netizens is a China-based Wikihow page on: “How to fish for a sugar daddy” 如何钓到多金“干爹” %91%E2%80%9C%E5%B9%B2%E7%88%B9%E2%80%9D See also PRC state-media usage: China National Radio via People’s Daily Online listing the heroines of Sugar-Daddy Culture. 细数“干爹文化”的女主 角们(组图) And some New Zealand-relevant sources 

新西兰一周收入 8000 纽币,“找干爹”网站毁三观! 

10 This sentence parodies a famous Tang dynasty couplet by Wang Bo 王 勃, “落霞与孤鹜齐飞,秋水共长天一色” from the poem “Preface on King Teng’s Pavilion” (滕王阁序). Victor Mair has translated the key phrase as “Evening clouds descend and fly along together with a single lonely wild duck/Autumn’s waters coalesce in a single shade with the outstretched heavens.“ (Victor Mair, ed., Columbia Anthology of Traditional Chinese Literature, New York: Columbia University Press, 1994, p. 550.) Email communication, Professor Olga Lomová, Charles University, May 21, 2019. 

11 钦定 qinding, a term used when the imperial court issues a decree. 

12 一对狗男女, yidui gou nannű. This is an extremely vulgar term in Chinese, as it is in English. An explanation of the meaning here:  13 In other words: a warning, not a reward. 

14 啊登 Ah Deng is a mildly disrespectful name for Prime Minister Ardern, see also 阿爾登, which commonly appears in Taiwanese reports on NZ. Ah Deng simply repeats the sound of Ms Ardern’s name in Chinese characters without any particular meaning. However, the official translation of Jacinda Ardern’s name in Chinese used by the PRC government and in the PRC media is: 杰辛达·阿德恩. In this translation of Ardern, the characters for her surname can be translated as “Ms Moral Empathy”. 

15 Commonly an abbreviation of the phrase 扯鸡巴蛋, a vulgar term which is equivalent to “what a wank”. 

16 老来得子 Refers to a popular love story in Chinese of intrigues concerning the children of a young woman and her much older husband. 5%AD%90 

17 On the current Confidence and Supply Agreement of the Green Party to the Coalition government see 26S%20Agreement%20FINAL.PDF

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Lawyer Dan Harris on How US business in China Can Protect Itself

Two May 2019 articles by Dan Harris of the Harris Bricken law firm  how on how US and I expect Canadian business in China can protect themselves somewhat against the recent Chinese government extraordinarily aggressive enforcement of both laws and regulations. One must keep socialist legalities in mind.  

“What concerns me most about this latest announcement though is that some companies operating 100% legally in China are going to get pushed out simply because of who they are and for that there likely is little to no cure.”

Perhaps we are in the middle of a business climate race to the bottom! Petty bourgeois legalities place some restraints on the US and Canada.  There are conceivably less in the People’s Republic.

I copied the first few paragraphs and each article with URL  links to the articles on

Corporate legal person reincarnation is one of Harris’ suggestions.

 “If your WFOE or your Rep Office or your Joint Venture share is American or Canadian owned, consider forming a new company (“Newco”) in a country with good relations with China and selling the WFOE Joint Venture share or Rep Office package to that Newco.”

Want to Keep Your Business in China? Do These Things NOW

By Dan Harris on May 31, 2019

China today announced that it will be ridding China of unreliable people and companies. See China is establishing an ‘unreliable entities’ list that will include companies and people. Specifically, China’s Ministry of Commerce announced it will kick out of China “foreign enterprises, organizations and individuals that do not comply with market rules, violate the spirit of contract, block or cut supplies to Chinese firms with non-commercial purposes, and seriously damage the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese enterprises.”

What exactly does this mean for your company if it is doing business in China? What can you do to reduce the risk of being deemed unreliable and being booted out of the country?

If past performance is any indicator of future performance — and I firmly believe it is — we know well what foreign companies must do to avoid China problems going forward and we set out those things below. Before anyone panic (too much), let me just say that for the past decade or so, China has consistently gotten tougher on foreign businesses in China that are not operating legally there and though this announcement is a really big deal, it is more a change in scope than it is in kind.

Read the rest online at


The US-China Cold War Starts Now: What You Must do to Prepare

By Dan Harris on May 8, 2019

Since the very beginning of US-China trade negotiations we have been unequivocally negative on the likelihood of a deal and we have taken huge amounts of heat for that, via hate e-mail, online, and even from our own clients, some of whom have accused us of being too cynical or too negative about China. Our response to all of this has been consistent. We just kept saying that NOW was (and it still is!) the time for foreign companies (especially those that sell their products to the United States) to work hard on reducing their China footprint.

We first publicly sounded this warning call back in October, 2018, in China, the United States and the New Normal, though we had been warning our own clients months about this for months. This “New Normal” post was an attempt to get in the face of those who had been sending our lawyers hate mail because we had in a September 2018 post predicted manufacturing orders from China were declining and would continue to decline:

I got a badly written and vituperative email yesterday in response to my post, On the Impact of China Tariffs: Is This a Dead Cat Bounce? In my post I predicted a large decline in manufacturing orders from China, starting in the next few months. The email accused me of “hating China” and wanting “to impede its peaceful” rise and of being “jealous of its progress.” All this because we have been writing of late how so many of our law firm’s own clients and so many others are leaving China, or looking to leave China. We have been getting quite a lot of these sorts of emails lately.

Read the rest online at

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He Qinglian: Concerns as Taiwan Faces “Red Infiltration”

He Qinglian has a good commentary in the May 28th Dajiyuan (Epoch Times in Chinese) discussing her just-concluded three week speaking tour in Taiwan. A bit of an ad for her recent excellent  book (I’ve been reading it — (full disclosure) she sent me a copy) .  Red Infiltration: Global Expansion of Chinese Media Just Published in Taiwan earlier on this blog at He Qinglian’s New Book Red Infiltration: Global Expansion of Chinese Media Just Published in Taiwan

 I recommend Red Infiltration (not translated yet helas) to anyone who is sinoliterate. The book is well-organized and not a difficult read. 

The conclusion to her article really really grabbed me.  

“Taiwan’s difficulty in safeguarding its democracy is not less difficult than was building democracy in Taiwan. Nothing is smaller than the democratic system that was built that year. If we look at the world’s four largest Chinese communities, we see Hong Kong with its freedoms and the rule of law but no democracy. Under the erosion of “one country, two systems”, freedom and the rule of law in Hong Kong are now in jeopardy. Singapore has democracy (elections) and the rule of law but no freedom. Mainland China has neither democracy nor rule of law nor freedom. Among all the world’s largest Chinese communities, only Taiwan has it all.

Taiwan contradicts the argument that “Democracy is not suitable for Chinese people.” This is what I most worry about when I look at Taiwan. I believe that some Chinese people agree with me and along with me hope that the people of Taiwan will cherish their hard-won democratic rights and use their votes to elect leaders who can protect Taiwan’s political security and protect Taiwan’s democratic system. #”

That passage reminded me of a lunch I had a few years ago when I worked in China. I was dining with a Chinese Communist Party member and his friends.  During our conversation, I mentioned that China can learn a lot from Taiwan democracy, and really should be looking to Taiwan rather than the United States since it is much easier to learn from a society that has the same Chinese culture and the same language — in order learn about how a democratic society operates.  The Party comrade paused, looked around the table, then up at the ceiling as if looking for bugs and then said to me in a low voice “We all know that but we can’t say so!”

He Qinglian: Concerns as Taiwan Faces “Red Infiltration”

On May 25, while I was flying back to the United States from Taipei, the Taiwan Foreign Ministry issued a high-profile statement disclosing that Taiwan’s National Security Council Secretary-General Li Dawei visited White House National Security Advisor John Bolton during his US trip and that the name of the Taiwan’s representative office in the United States had changed from the Coordination Council for North American Affairs (CCNA) to the Taiwan Council for U.S. Affairs (TCUSA). This has important political significance for Taiwan given the pressure it is under from Beijing. Taiwan made this statement not only China sees Taiwan as a Chinese province which has not yet been united with China and has never given up its determination to force unification by military force but even more important, because of Beijing’s “Red Infiltration” of every sector of Taiwan society has put very much on its guard. Under these circumstances, maintaining a closer relationship with the United States has become a safe option for Taiwan.

Red Infiltration has become “the Elephant in the Room” in Taiwan

My new book, 《红色渗透:中国媒体全球扩张的真相》[Red Infiltration: The Truth About the Global Expansion of Chinese Media], was published in Taiwan in March 2019. At the publisher’s invitation, my husband and I went to Taiwan in May. This was my first trip to Taiwan since 2000. I have been there three times in all. My first two trips were short and busy. This time, I decided to stay for longer – 24 days – so that I could share the speaker’s platform with Yu Jie. Invitations poured in and so the itinerary kept changing so we had only five or six days for traveling around Taiwan. We were able to meet a cross section of the most representative people in Taiwan. I gave over ten lectures at National Taiwan University, Zhongzheng University, Sun Yat-Sen University, National Taiwan University of Political Science and many other institutions. I took part many symposiums, gave over ten interviews, and had a good opportunity to meet people in Taiwan. I only had two meetings with readers of my book but the publisher was quite happy about them.

During discussions of my my book I found that although “Red Infiltration” analyzes the Chinese Communist Party’s global propaganda efforts and only Chapter Five “The Chinese Government’s Red Infiltration of the Chinese Government of the Taiwan Media” addresses Taiwan and my work was based on documents and materials published in Taiwan over the past twenty year, I was amazed at the strong reaction and deep resonance the book found in Taiwan. Whether it was in discussions after my talk or during panel discussions, have caused me to be deeply shocked and resonate. Whether it is the dialogue after the speech or the discussion, people from all walks of life in Taiwan basically agree with my analysis of the Chinese Communist Party’s red infiltration of Taiwan:

  1. Politically, a group of pro-communist people within the Kuomintang Party acts as the Communist Party’s agents in Taiwan. These people are found in all walks of life in Taiwan. People in Taiwan know their names. During Ma Ying-jeou’s presidency, Taiwan and the Chinese Communist Party became very close. During this time, the signing of the cross-straits integration service agreement with the mainland showed that some people serving China’s political agenda had done their work.
  2. Economically, most Taiwanese businessmen who invested in the mainland have maintained good relations with the Chinese Communist Party to protect their own interests. A small number of Taiwanese businessmen dare not show their true attitudes even if they do not like the Chinese Communist Party. This makes it easy for mainland China to achieve its goal of “using business people to constrain government officials” and let Taiwanese businessmen exercise their influence on Taiwan’s political circles.
  3. Culture: infiltration of Taiwan’s media industry and universities. Red Infiltration includes a detailed analysis and description of the infiltration of the Taiwan media industry. In academia and publishing, permission to visit the mainland is used to exert control over academia and the publishing industry. If you are friendly to the mainland, academics can visit the mainland every year and be received by relevant units and help finding needed research materials. The publishing industry can maintain cultural exchanges with the mainland and export books to the mainland. The mainland is a big market so this is is a powerful incentive.
  4. The Chinese Communist Party is infiltrating Taiwan from top to bottom, from the palace temple culture down to the grassroots level. Most observers focus on political and economic affairs, so this is not very well known. I looked into it and found that an expose was written about this in 2017. In 2016, more than 100 small district heads [lizhang] from Taipei City went to Shanghai. The six-day and five-night trip cost them only NT$15,000 [USD 500]. In Shanghai, the Shanghai Taiwan Affairs Office hosted them. They were photographed under the banner “The Unification of China is Our Responsibility”. In 2017, some netizens broke the news that the Chinese People’s Liberation Army was sharing a draft proposal for a Chinese Taipei Village Chiefs Federation and called on the Taiwanese small district [li] and village chiefs join it. Taiwan’s China Broadcasting Network examined this document, which addresses environmental protection culture and care for the elderly. Many people in Taiwan are suspicious of this and wonder if this is an effort by the mainland’s Taiwan Affairs Office to extend united front work to the grassroots level in Taiwan. The initiator of the preparatory meeting is Qin Ronghui, the president of the Taipei City Small District Chiefs’ Friendship Association. Taiwan’s village head and city small district chiefs are elected officials and so the Taiwan government cannot interfere. Taiwan people do worry however . However, Taiwanese are generally worried that during the 2018 and 2020 elections these local small district and village chiefs will canvass for candidates backed by the Chinese.

This is all very obvious so how did they ever become the neglected “elephant in the room”? The reason is very simple. The fight between the two major political parties in Taiwan has been going on for a long time. If someone brings them up, people will think that it is because they belong to the Green Camp [Democratic Progressive Party DPP]. Both Taiwanese scholars and think tanks have brought these issues up too but they are immediately labeled and the other camp generally refuses to believe them. Moderates also see this is just an argument between the political parties. I rarely go to Taiwan, and I have no connection with the two parties in Taiwan. However, I have published four books in Taiwan, which have had some influence. For people on Taiwan, an objective observation by an outsider is seen a being about the reality of Taiwan and is more readily accepted.

Taiwan’s Biggest Worry

Although the relationship between Taiwan and China is a relationship between Taiwan and the mainland, it is actually a triangular relationship between Taiwan and the United States. Talking with people from all walks of life in Taiwan, everyone said that the Taiwan Democratic Progressive Party is close ideologically to the Democratic Party and accepts who most of its positions but the Republican Party in the US is more willing to help protect Taiwan’s security. People also realized that the Sino-US trade war has heated up and the relationship between the United States and China has deteriorated. This is a good time for Taiwan business people to return home. Taiwan has lost its status as one of the “Four Little Dragons”; its economy has been weak for for two decades. Taiwanese generally attribute this to Taiwan’s investment in the mainland and the hollowing out of Taiwan’s economy.

Now an opportunity has arrived but it is hard to see whether Taiwan will seize it. The 2020 election is just around the corner. Everything will be on hold until the new president takes office. At present, the two possible candidates for the DPP are Tsai Ing-wen and Lai Ching-te. The two possible candidates for the Kuomintang are Han Kuo-yu, Guo Taiming, and Ko Wen-je . The opinion polls of these people are constantly rising and falling. I have also asked a lot of Taiwanese people. American polls, which have traditionally been regarded as model polls, were not accurate in 2016. Has polling in Taiwan also been affected by party disputes? The answer is that some parties are competing for influence, but they have not seen the big mistakes of the US 2016 election. They generally draw conclusions based on a number of polls.

Having talked with dozens of people from all walks of life in Taiwan, although they all know that the results the 2020 elections in the United States and in Taiwan will affect Taiwan’s fate, no one can say what the results of the 2020 elections will be. Still, we can make some comments.

First, Taiwan voters know that their votes are important. If people want to be elected, they will need to [do grassroots politicking/canvassing] — “grab votes”. If you are not from Taiwan, it is hard to understand what “grab votes” means. Regarding Guo Taiming, many people in Taiwan have noted his strong, even overbearing character. Someone who demands a great deal of respect may well not be able to stand “grabbing votes”. An employee of Guo Taiming’s company was typical. He said he would never vote for Guo Taiming. He is a successful entrepreneur but that does not mean that he would make a good president.

Second, voters see the issues of Taiwan’s local elections and presidential elections differently. In 2018, Taiwan’s largest political party was indeed “Punish the DPP.” Both blue and green voters were dissatisfied in the third year of Tsai Ing-wen’s administration. Among them, the most ridiculous was the “eighteen beats” reform for that affected the interests of military personnel, public servants and teachers. The “weekly mandatory day off and one leave day” policy made both labor and employers unhappy. On other issues as well, such as green energy policy and legalization of gay marriage, the DPP lost the support of much of its base (lower and middle class people) in Green Camp. The Taiwanese I spoke with thought that this was unfavorable to Cai and was beneficial to Lai Qingde. However, the a local intellectual was the most optimistic. Voters views on unification or independence will be the most important factor in the presidential election.

Everyone believes that what happens in the coming months will depend on many things – the candidates, events in China or the United States. For instance, the Sun Flower Movement in 2013 came without warning.

Everyone admits that Beijing will definitely interfere in the 2020 Taiwan general election, but cannot predict just how it will intervene (without causing resentment in Taiwan) Taiwanese people generally have an impression: General Secretary Xi Jinping of the Chinese Communist Party is very strong, but he speaks off the cuff and often changes his mind. He mentioned Taiwan in his January speech (warning that unification with Taiwan is unstoppable and proposing a “one country, two systems” Taiwan plan, adding that he will not promise not to use force). Domestically Xi first pushed for the reform of state-owned enterprises than backed off. In the Sino-US trade war, Xi suddenly flipped over the negotiating table after over a year of arduous talks etc. Understanding the temperament of this elusive leader of the temperament who abolished “term limits.” No matter who is elected as the president, Taiwan will have to get along with him for more than one term. has to get along with him for more than one term. “That will be very tough.”

When asked if the Chinese Communist Party will, because relations with the United States are tense, choose to focus on a different contradiction and attack Taiwan? My answer is no. The reason is: Tibet, Xinjiang and other frontiers are not peaceful. Sino-US relations are tense and China’s own military reforms are far from complete. There are also many contradictions within the ruling group. Infiltration is the more likely threat to Taiwan. For the Chinese Communist Party, “spending money to buy Taiwan is better than fighting Taiwan”. This is an effective tactic. The people of Taiwan have become “frogs in warm water.” The pain of Hong Kong is not the pain of Taiwan. As regards to Taiwan, the Chinese Communist Party has long indoctrinated 1.4 billion Chinese that “Taiwan is an inalienable part of China.” has long been the settled view of most Chinese.

Taiwan’s difficulty in safeguarding its democracy is not less difficult than was building democracy in Taiwan. Nothing is smaller than the democratic system that was built that year. If we look at the world’s four largest Chinese communities, we see Hong Kong with its freedoms and the rule of law but no democracy. Under the erosion of “one country, two systems”, freedom and the rule of law in Hong Kong are now in jeopardy. Singapore has democracy (elections) and the rule of law but no freedom. Mainland China has neither democracy nor rule of law nor freedom. Among all the world’s largest Chinese communities, only Taiwan has it all.

Taiwan contradicts the argument that “Democracy is not suitable for Chinese people.” This is what I most worry about when I look at Taiwan. I believe that some Chinese people agree with me and along with me hope that the people of Taiwan will cherish their hard-won democratic rights and use their votes to elect leaders who can protect Taiwan’s political security and protect Taiwan’s democratic system. #

Chinese original text at


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The “Oh How did we go wrong?” Question

However Did Our China Crystal Balls Fail Us?

I have been noticing some people asking the question “How did we get China wrong?”

My thinking is that engagement by western people and western government with Chinese people has been very influential.  As much from the ideas that there are alternative ways of running an economy, organizing a society and figuring out how to constitute a state. I remember reading Qian Ning’s Liuxue Meiguo  留学美国 online at    [Studying in America]  back in 1996  (later translated into English by T.K. Chu and published by the University of Washington Press ]   Qian concluded that the demonstration that there are alternative ways of doing things  was the most powerful takeaway from the Chinese students encounter with US university education.

Governments and political parties have their own calculus of power which are much less open to foreign influence.  Insomuch as a political party or government is influenced by changes in the thinking of its people there could be some influence pass through.   True democratic opening would threaten the life of the Communist Party and its one-party rule of the people’s democratic dictatorship since 1949. The village elections that got so much attention during fifteen years ago were not a threat since the village is not a level of government in the PRC. They did have one election for a township government (the lowest unit of government) in Sichuan in 2005 thereabouts but the election result was immediately cancelled.

Things Just Keep on Changing

The degrees and kinds of engagement with China at a particular time depends upon perceptions of China and opportunities for cooperation at the state, business and individual levels. These change all the time. From the Soviet threat of the 70s, to the opening of the 80s as China, in the second founding of the PRC, underwent a vast re-organization all the while keeping intact the principle of party leadership and the people’s democratic dictatorship (My major takeaway from Zhao Ziyang’s memoir is that he really believed in legality and following the party constitution. Deng had a different idea. Party leader Hu Yaobang was revered by Tibetans for the tolerance and changes he wrought in his fairly brief period].   

So China changed, perceptions changed and assessments of the potential for cooperation on the government, business/organizations and individual levels kept on changing.

Now we have the Xi Jinping time in which the Chinese Communist Party is even more in a defensive crouch than before.  There has always been that element, but things of gotten steadily  trending tighter with mild swings up and down around sensitive dates  since Hu Jintao came in. The last years of Jiang Zemin might be remembered as much more open than the China of today.  The color revolution time in Central Asia sees to have given the Party a scare. Even the fake wave of country  wide demos of the so-called Jasmine Revolution.  The massive response to very little showed just how worried the party is. 

Hu Jintao and Xi Jinping are different as party leaders. I do see Hu – Xi continuity however in the narrow sense of a long-term tightening on differing or dissenting voices.  One of my Chinese friends after Hu’s first year said, give him time, he said “Everybody tightens up in their first year.”  But it kept getting tighter with the usual fluctuations. Hu Jintao did a lot for rural people. I was impressed at the improvements in rural areas of Sichuan I visited during my five years in Chengdu.   Peasants got health insurance albeit on at the level of an unemployed urban resident for the first time under Hu Jintao.  Hu doesn’t usually get credit in the West for the good things he did — a common problem for the Party since their credibility is generally fairly low at least outside of China. 

Engagement with Individuals and Organizations Influential; Party Sees Political Peril in Opening Up

So I would say that engagement on the personal and private organization level has been very influential.  How the government and Party responds is quite another matter.  A Chinese internal matter. In the end, only the Chinese change China.  The result of increasing influence of ‘western ideas”  (setting to one side the western ideas of Marx, Engels and Lenin of course) seems to have been an even greater defensive crouch.

The Star Trek Timeline, Contingency, Teleology!

 So I think the problem is the question, or rather the idea behind “How Did We  Go Wrong?”  Guess the ESP didn’t work out.  It is a bit of a whiggish question, an ersatz foreign-Chinese brand of whiggishness to be sure  “China has been inexorably marching towards Xi Jinping for decades and we should have known that.” There are lots of contingencies, we just don’t know because we are on our particular timeline as they would say in Star Trek! 

Domestic Politics and Foreign Policy: It’s Not Only China

Where does the question come from?  As people who follow China, we often see issues the party and government addresses at home and in foreign policy as having domestic roots.  The Cultural Revolution for example, dominated Chinese foreign policy. He Qinglian points out in her recent book on Chinese language ideological and media infiltration work abroad (no English translation yet) 红色参透:中国媒体全球扩张的真相 [Red Infiltration: The Truth About the Global Expansion of China’s Media] Chinese diplomats worldwide became well known for passing out copies of Chairman Mao’s thoughts and encouraging revolutionaries in Africa, Asia and Latin American to be inspired by Mao’s thought.

My supposition is that much of this “How Did We Go Wrong” is a sort of “Who Lost China?” question.   In the U.S. it is a club for the current administration to beat up its predecessors.  One of my State Department friends used to joke about a new officer arriving at the Embassy.  The saying, probably which probably goes back to the ancient Babylonian Foreign Ministry, goes that all predecessors are incompetent; all successors are usurpers

Now I would have to caveat a bit and say that it always has been useful to keep the people’s democratic dictatorship in mind. China never did stop being totalitarian — though I think it is fair to say the PRC was refounded in the late 1970s since there were important breaks with the past, an important foundation element that remained was one Party rule and the people’s democratic dictatorship. 

China Totalitarian But Has Been Called Merely Authoritarian (Just to be Polite?!)

My thoughts on that continuity I put on another blog posting.

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Job Description: Chinese Communist Party United Front Work Department

The role of the United Front Work Department of the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee in foreign affairs work was adjusted in 2018 to give it the leadership and coordination role of Communist Party and PRC state work in contacting individual Overseas Chinese [Chinese citizens] and their relatives and their organizations. A 2018 Chinese Communist Party document defines the scope of United Front Work Department’s tasks outside China.

Begin translation

United Front Work Department Role From Part 15 of Adjustment in PRC Central Committee “Plan for Deepening Reform of Party and State Organizations” (March 2018)

The Central United Front Work Department comprehensively manages overseas Chinese affairs. In order to strengthen the Party’s centralized and unified leadership over overseas united front work and to better unify and coordinate work with Overseas Chinese and Returned Overseas Chinese now residing in China as well as their relatives and so that mass organizations can more effectively carry out their role, the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of the State Council has been folded into the United Front Work Department of the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee. The United Front Work Department continues to do business overseas under the name of the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of the State Council. After this adjustment, the main duties of the Central United Front Work Department in overseas Chinese affairs are to

  • Take the overall lead in overseas united front work;
  • Manage administrative matters in Overseas Chinese affairs;
  • Formulate policies and plans for overseas Chinese affairs;
  • Investigate and study the situation of Overseas Chinese both inside and outside of China and the state of work on Overseas Chinese affairs;
  • Take charge of overall planning and coordination of the work of the related departments and social organizations relating to Overseas Chinese;
  • Maintain contact with Hong Kong, Macao and related overseas organizations and representative persons;
  • Guide and promote propaganda work relating to the Overseas Chinese;
  • Promote cultural exchanges and Chinese language education etc.

The responsibilities of maintaining friendly contact etc. with overseas Chinese and overseas Chinese associations formerly assigned to the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of the State Council are assigned to the Chinese Federation of Returned Overseas Chinese. The Federation will serve as a transmission belt for the Chinese Communist Party and the Chinese government in contact with the vast number of returned overseas Chinese, their relatives and overseas Chinese residing abroad.

The separate office of the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of the State Council is abolished.

End translation

(十五)中央统战部统一管理侨务工作。为加强党对海外统战工作的集中统一领导,更加广泛地团结联系海外侨胞和归侨侨眷,更好发挥群众团体作用,将国务院侨务办公室并入中央统战部。中央统战部对外保留国务院侨务办公室牌子。 调整后,中央统战部在侨务方面的主要职责是,统一领导海外统战工作,管理侨务行政事务,负责拟订侨务工作政策和规划,调查研究国内外侨情和侨务工作情况,统筹协调有关部门和社会团体涉侨工作,联系香港、澳门和海外有关社团及代表人士,指导推动涉侨宣传、文化交流和华文教育工作等。 国务院侨务办公室海外华人华侨社团联谊等职责划归中国侨联行使,发挥中国侨联作为党和政府联系广大归侨侨眷和海外侨胞的桥梁纽带作用。 不再保留单设的国务院侨务办公室。

When I did this translation of section 15 relating to the United Front Work Department and their role in contacting and working with Overseas Chinese (defined as Chinese citizens living abroad), Chinese foreign residents who have returned to China and the families, I got into a tangle and wondered just broadly is ‘family of Chinese citizens abroad” not necessarily themselves Chinese citizens construed?  

I found an unfamiliar term 侨眷 qiaojuan. Qiaojuan refers to the relatives of Overseas Chinese. That term is defined in the PRC Law to Protect the Rights of Returned Overseas Chinese and their Relatives   《中华人民共和国归侨侨眷权益保护法》[copied below] as the parents, spouses, children and their spouses, brothers and sisters, grandparents and grandchildren as well as other relatives in a long-term adoptive relationship with Overseas Chinese or Returned Overseas Chinese. 

Challenge and Response

New Zealand: China Scholar Anne-Marie Brady on United Front Work Outside China and in New Zealand

Anne-Marie Brady, a long-time scholar of Chinese Communist Party United Front Work recently made a presentation to the New Zealand Parliament Justice Select Committee Inquiry into Foreign Interference

1. Efforts to control the Chinese diaspora

The CCP adopts a carrot and stick approach to those it targets within the Chinese diaspora community: financial opportunities and honours for those who cooperate; harassment, denial of passport or visa rights, and detention for family members living in China for those who do not. In the Xi era the most heavily policed sector of the Chinese diaspora are the Uighurs living abroad; along with Tibetans and activists from the Han Chinese community. New Zealand currently has a population of around 200,000 citizens and permanent residents who identify as Han Chinese, as well as smaller numbers of other ethnic groups within China, such as Tibetans and Uighurs.

Some of the key agencies: the CCP United Front Work Department and within it the State Council Overseas Chinese Office, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of State Security, PLA military intelligence, Chinese People’s Consultative Conference, the Zhigong Party, the China Association for Promoting Democracy, the Federation of Industry and Commerce, and the so-called “democratic” parties within the CCP-led political system whose main function is united front work.

Read Professor Brady’s entire presentation at which include a discussion of the history and nature of United Front work, Chinese Communist Party interference in New Zealand’s internal affairs and how New Zealand might improve its resilience to such efforts.

Australia: Former China Correspondent and Australian government advisor John Garnaut on United Front Work in Australia

John Garnaut’s August 2018 article “Australia’s China reset” published August 2018 in The Monthly lays it all out.  Here are three paragraphs.  Read the entire article online at

Reports have shown that the CCP is systematically silencing critics in Australia and co-opting Chinese-language media here to present favourable views. The party is “astroturfing” grassroots political movements to give the impression of Chinese community support for Beijing’s policies and leaders, while drowning out opponents. CCP-linked organisations are crowding out independent opportunities for ethnic Chinese political representation. They are channelling business and other professional opportunities to retired politicians and other influential Australians.

In 2015 the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) reportedly warned the major political parties that two of Australia’s most generous donors had “strong connections to the Chinese Communist Party” and that their “donations might come with strings attached”. In December 2017, an unsourced report in The Australian said ASIO had identified candidates at state and local government elections whom it believed had close ties to Chinese intelligence services “in what security officials assess as a deliberate strategy by Beijing to wield influence through Australian politics”. Most notoriously, a Labor Party senator, Sam Dastyari, was forced to retire after Fairfax Media revealed that he had recited Beijing’s South China Sea talking points while standing alongside a Chinese citizen donor – and then counselled the donor to place his phone aside to avoid surveillance of their conversation.

CCP interference reportedly grew so blatant that party officials used their arbitrary power over Australian prisoners in China and their capacity to influence elections in Australia as sources of diplomatic leverage. According to The Australian, China’s security chief, Meng Jianzhu, warned the Labor leadership about the electoral consequences of failing to endorse a bilateral extradition treaty: “Mr Meng said it would be a shame if Chinese government representatives had to tell the Chinese community in Australia that Labor did not support the relationship between Australia and China.”

Canada:  Concerns About Chinese Interference in Canadian Domestic Affairs and Rethinking China Policy

The National Post in January 2018: “How China uses shadowy United Front as ‘magic weapon’ to try to extend its influence in Canada — Its activities include influencing the Chinese diaspora to back China, co-opting foreign political and economic elites and promoting Beijing’s agenda worldwide”

Former Canadian Ambassador to China David Mulroney April 30, 2019 opinion piece “With lives at stake, Canada’s misguided vision of China demands a careful reboot published recently in The Globe and Mail argued that Canada needs to reconsider its China policy.

PRC Law to Protect the Rights of Returned Overseas Chinese and Their Families

    (1990年9月7日第七届全国人民代表大会常务委员会第十五次会议通过 自1991年1月1日起施行 根据2000年10月31日第九届全国人民代表大会常务委员会第十八次会议《关于修改〈中华人民共和国归侨侨眷权益保护法〉的决定》修正)

    第一条 为了保护归侨、侨眷的合法的权利和利益,根据宪法,制定本法。
    第二条 归侨是指回国定居的华侨。华侨是指定居在国外的中国公民。
    第三条 归侨、侨眷享有宪法和法律规定的公民的权利,并履行宪法和法律规定的公民的义务,任何组织或者个人不得歧视。国家根据实际情况和归侨、侨眷的特点,给予适当照顾,具体办法由国务院或者国务院有关主管部门规定。
    第四条 县级以上各级人民政府及其负责侨务工作的机构,组织协调有关部门做好保护归侨、侨眷的合法权益的工作。
    第五条 国家对回国定居的华侨给予安置。
    第六条 全国人民代表大会和归侨人数较多地区的地方人民代表大会应当有适当名额的归侨代表。
    第七条 归侨、侨眷有权依法申请成立社会团体,进行适合归侨、侨眷需要的合法的社会活动。 归侨、侨眷依法成立的社会团体的财产受法律保护,任何组织或者个人不得侵犯。
    第八条 中华全国归国华侨联合会和地方归国华侨联合会代表归侨、侨眷的利益,依法维护归侨、侨眷的合法权益。
    第九条 国家对安置归侨的农场、林场等企业给予扶持,任何组织或者个人不得侵占其合法使用的土地,不得侵犯其合法权益。在安置归侨的农场、林场等企业所在的地方,可以根据需要合理设置学校和医疗保健机构,国家在人员、设备、经费等方面给予扶助。
    第十条 国家依法维护归侨、侨眷职工的社会保障权益。用人单位及归侨、侨眷职工应当依法参加当地的社会保险,缴纳社会保险费用。
    第十一条 国家鼓励和引导归侨、侨眷依法投资兴办产业,特别是兴办高新技术企业,各级人民政府应当给予支持,其合法权益受法律保护。
    第十二条 归侨、侨眷在国内兴办公益事业,各级人民政府应当给予支持,其合法权益受法律保护。
    第十三条 国家依法保护归侨、侨眷在国内私有房屋的所有权。
    第十四条 各级人民政府应当对归侨、侨眷就业给予照顾,提供必要的指导和服务。归侨学生、归侨子女和华侨在国内的子女升学,按照国家有关规定给予照顾。
    第十五条 国家保护归侨、侨眷的侨汇收入。
    第十六条 归侨、侨眷有权接受境外亲友的遗赠或者赠与。
    第十七条 归侨、侨眷与境外亲友的往来和通讯受法律保护。
    第十八条 归侨、侨眷申请出境,有关主管部门应当在规定期限内办理手续。归侨、侨眷确因境外直系亲属病危、死亡或者限期处理境外财产等特殊情况急需出境的,有关主管部门应当根据申请人提供的有效证明优先办理手续。
    第十九条 国家保障归侨、侨眷出境探亲的权利。
    第二十条 归侨、侨眷可以按照国家有关规定申请出境定居,经批准出境定居的,任何组织或者个人不得损害其合法权益。 离休、退休、退职的归侨、侨眷职工出境定居的,其离休金、退休金、退职金、养老金照发。
    第二十一条 归侨、侨眷申请自费出境学习、讲学的,或者因经商出境的,其所在单位和有关部门应当提供便利。
    第二十二条 国家对归侨、侨眷在境外的正当权益,根据中华人民共和国缔结或者参加的国际条约或者国际惯例,给予保护。
    第二十三条 归侨、侨眷合法权益受到侵害时,被侵害人有权要求有关主管部门依法处理,或者向人民法院提起诉讼。归国华侨联合会应当给予支持和帮助。
    第二十四条 国家机关工作人员玩忽职守或者滥用职权,致使归侨、侨眷合法权益受到损害的,其所在单位或者上级主管机关应当责令改正或者给予行政处分;构成犯罪的,依法追究刑事责任。
    第二十五条 任何组织或者个人侵害归侨、侨眷的合法权益,造成归侨、侨眷财产损失或者其他损害的,依法承担民事责任;构成犯罪的,依法追究刑事责任。
    第二十六条 违反本法第九条第一款规定,非法占用安置归侨的农场、林场合法使用的土地,有关主管部门应当责令退还;造成损失的,依法承担赔偿责任。
    第二十七条 违反本法第十三条规定,非法侵占归侨、侨眷在国内私有房屋的,有关主管部门应当责令退还;造成损失的,依法承担赔偿责任。
    第二十八条 违反本法第二十条第二款规定,停发、扣发、侵占或者挪用出境定居的归侨、侨眷的离休金、退休金、退职金、养老金的,有关单位或者有关主管部门应当责令补发,并依法给予赔偿;对直接负责的主管人员和其他直接责任人员,依法给予行政处分;构成犯罪的,依法追究刑事责任。
    第二十九条 国务院根据本法制定实
    施办法。省、自治区、直辖市的人民代表大会常 务委员会可以根据本法和国务院的实施办法,制定实施办法。
    第三十条 本法自1991年1月1日起施行。

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Father Murdered in Cultural Revolution, Liu He Now PRC Vice Premier

During my ten years in China, many people told me stories of barely imaginable cruelties that took place during the political campaigns of the 1950s and 1960s.

I knew Environmentalist Tang Xiyang. Tang told me how his wife, a middle school teacher, had been murdered by her own students because she refused to divorce him.

I knew Chongqing writer and former “rightist” confined to Mao’s gulags for two decades Kong Lingping. Kong was a mechanical engineering student at Chongqing University. His error was having parents with the wrong family background. Not even landlords, his parents had been school teachers during the pre 1949 Nationalist Period. His mother rejected his father’s urging that the family flee to Taiwan. No, she said, we have many friends who are communists. Everything will be fine.

I knew Chengdu writer Yin Shuping, who had been a very young war correspondent during the War to Oppose America and Support [North] Korea. Later in the 1950s, as a convinced communist and successful poet, Yin went on the Chinese delegation headed by Hu Yaobang to the Moscow Youth Congress. He got into trouble for defending fellow Chengdu poet Liu Shahe who had been accused of being a rightist. Yin Shuping was himself labelled a rightist and sent to the gulags for over twenty years.

The story of Vice Premier Liu He’s father reminds me of my September 2005 visit to Mianyang, Sichuan. While there, I walked in a city park with a physician from the adjacent hospital. As we walked through the park on a comfortable evening with many young families with children wandering about, the doc told me as we approached a monument topped with a red star, that here, during the Cultural Revolution, he had seen several people kill themselves there, feeling that there was no way to endure the intense persecutions of the so-called “struggle sessions” they were subjected to.

I read the inscriptions on the monument. Translated into English, there are

Long Live the Magnificent, Glorious and Correct Communist Party of China!

Long Live the Dictatorship of the Proletariat!

I wonder sometimes how knowledge of this history, to the extent that people are able to become aware of it, affects the thinking of Chinese people today. After all China, for all the changes that have come since the refounding of the PRC at the beginning of reform, has much the same totalitarian operating system as before: absolute one party rule and the dictatorship of the proletariat led by the Party.

I remember striking up a conversation with a group of students I ran into on the Zhejiang University campus in 1998 after finishing a meeting in nearby downtown Hangzhou. The students told me that the Cultural Revolution could never come again. I mischievously remarked, “That is just what people were saying in the early 1960s — something like the Great Leap Forward will never happen again. The system is fundamentally the same. You have no institutional guarantees.”

Today I came across this May 2018 Chinese language article from the Epoch Times. Translated below followed by original Chinese text from the Epoch Times website.

Liu He’s Family Detail Revealed: His Father Was Persecuted to Death During the Cultural Revolution

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[The Epoch Times May 26, 2018] (Epoch Times reporter Wen Pu report) The family history of PRC Vice Premier Liu He was revealed just before his the Chinese delegation returned to the United States for trade negotiations. Liu He’s grandfather, Liu Yulou, worked in the financial industry. His father was a senior Chinese Communist Party official who was persecuted to death during the Cultural Revolution.

According to a May 25 Australian News Network [Aozhou xinwenwang ] report, Liu He’s grandfather Liu Yulou’s birth name was Run Chun and went by the name of Yulou, and lived in Lianghe Village in Changli County, Hebei Province. Liu Yulou was born on the 24th day of the fourth lunar month of the fourteenth year [1898] of the reign of the Qing Emperor Guangxu into a Lianghe Village peasant family. Liu Yulou’s father, Liu Guanru, an excellent farmer, supported his family by farming.

Liu Yulou studied for a few years in a private school and wanted to get an education, his father did not take education seriously. When Liu Yulou was 13, he married him off early and wanted to tie him down to the land and the family farm. Liu Yulou got very upset about this. Finally, his mother-in-law sold her own land so that he could go to the Yongpingfu Middle School and then to the Daqing Bank’s banking school to study banking.

After graduating from the banking school, Liu Yulou entered the financial industry. He worked in Daqing Bank, Bank of China, Border Industry Bank, Agricultural and Industrial Bank, and Donglai Bank. He was a bank accountant in Dalian, Qingdao, Tianjin and Beijing, and later became a manager.

Later, Liu Yulou had to resign because he had offended his superiors. With the help of an introduction from his classmate Li Shuhua, vice president of the National Peking Research Institute he got a job at there. First, he taught an accounting class, and later served as an acting department manager and secretary to the acting general manager.

Liu Yulou had four children, the eldest daughter named Liu Zhilian, the second daughter named Liu Zhilan, and son Liu Zhiyan, and the third daughter Liu Zhiyu.

Liu Zhiyan, the only son of Liu Yulou and the father of Liu He, was was born on February 7, 1918.

At age 18, Liu Zhiyan joined the Chinese Communist Party and served as leader of the 5th District Team of the Vanguards of the National Liberation of China. He was then sent to work among the former subordinates of [note: warlord] Sun Dianying as the secretary of the CPC branch and as secretary of the local working committee.

In 1940, he began serving in the Chinese Communist base area successively as the head of the Propaganda Section of the Taiyue District Committee of the Communist Party of China, joint appointment as the first district party secretary and the political commissar of the First Military subdistrict of the Taiyue District; joint appointment as the Minister of Propaganda Department of Yuebei District Committee and the Secretary of the Shiliu County Committee; and joint appointment the Secretary of the Eleventh Jinsui Base Area District Party Committee and the Political Commissar of the Eleventh Jinsui Base Area Military Sub District.

In May 1949, Liu Zhiyan was transferred back to Beijing. He worked first in the Central Policy Research Office, then a Counselor in the Advisors’ Office of the Government Council. Then he was appointed Deputy Director of the Third Bureau of the Ministry of Personnel, and then Deputy Director of the First Bureau. In the autumn of 1952, he was transferred to the Central Organization Department, where he served as deputy director of the cadre management department and then served in various posts such as director of the second cadre management department. It is said that Liu Zhiyan was a relatively famous “pen” of the Central Organization Department documents. He drafted many documents, reports, and editorials

In July 1958, the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee Organization Department send Liu Zhiyan to Yunnan Province where he served as secretary of the Kunming Municipal Party Committee and member of the Standing Committee of the Yunnan Provincial Party Committee. After the establishment of the Southwest Bureau in 1961, he successively served in posts such as as head of the Organization Department of the Southwest Bureau, Secretary-General, Secretary of the Secretariat.

At the beginning of the Cultural Revolution, Liu Zhiyan was first appointed as the leader of the Southwestern Cultural Revolution Committee, but was later considered to be affiliated with the faction of Liu Shaoqi and An Ziwen, and was purged. Liu Zhiyan thus became the object of brutal struggle sessions.

A Red Guard rebel faction booklet published at the time stated “The Southwest Bureau headed Li Jingquan and Liu Zhiyan, … must be thoroughly purged for the heinous crimes that they have committed during the Cultural Revolution!” The booklet also contains Liu Zhiyan’s “confession”.

On December 12, 1967, Liu Zhiyan, unable to endure unspeakable insults, killed himself by jumping from where he was being held on the ninth floor the Jinjiang Hotel in Chengdu. He was age 49. His son Liu He was was 15 years old when his father killed himself.

According to another overseas website “Democratic China website” [] editor Cai Chu disclosed on October 24, 2018 that he had seen with his own eyes the horrible sight of Liu Zhiyan being persecuted to death.

In April 1968, Cai Chu went to the Chengdu Funeral Parlour to deal with the funeral of his friend. When he went into the freezer room to retrieve his friend’s body, he saw that the body at the lower left had a sign attached to it: “Liu Zhiyan, Secretary of the Southwest Bureau Secretariat, December 12, 1967”

He pulled the corpse out to look at it. “I saw the corpse was fairly long and dressed neatly. but the whole head was wrapped in gauze, wearing a cap and still had bloodstains.”

Cai Chu saw from the card, that the deceased has been dead for nearly half a year, but no relatives have come to mourn home. This made a deep impression on him.

Cai Chu asked the workers at the funeral home about him and was told that the accused Liu Zhiyan was detained at the Jinjiang Hotel in Chengdu, was subject to a struggle session there and killed himself by jumping off the 9th floor of the hotel.

However, there are also reports quoting Liu Zhiyan’s wife that Liu Zhiyan was beaten to death by the Chinese Communist Party rebel faction and that they faked a suicide by dumping his body from the ninth floor.

Liu He is the only son of Liu Zhiyan and his first wife. He was born on January 25, 1952. Liu Zhiyan had another son and daughter by his second wife.

Liu He studied in Beijing 101 Middle School, where others of the Red second generation also gathered. Xi Jinping was a classmate. In 1969, Liu He went down to the countryside to Jilin Province to join a production team. The next year he joined the Chinese Communist’s so-called “Ace Army” the 38th Army. Three years later, Liu He retired from the PLA and went to the Beijing Radio Factory where he was a worker and later became a cadre.

After the end of the Cultural Revolution, the college entrance examinations resumed. Liu He became part of the first batch of post Cultural Revolution college students. He studied in the Department of Industrial Economics at Renmin University. In 1988, Liu He worked at the State Planning Commission. He studied in the United States from 1992 to 1995 and obtained a degree in Public Administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School.

Why was Liu He, the son of the “capitalist roader” Liu Zhiyan, not attacked at the same time as his father? In 1969, he could still be considered politically qualified enough to be accepted as a soldier. Some analyze it this way: after Liu Zhiyan divorced his first wife, Liu He lived with the first wife. Liu He’s political status should have been determined by that of the first wife and of his stepfather and so his father’s status would not necessarily affect his political suitability for joining the People’s Liberation Army.

Editor in charge: Sun Wei

刘鹤家世细节曝光 父亲文革时被迫害惨死

图为资料图。 (Getty Images)人气: 28987【字号】 更新: 2018-05-26 5:28 AM    标签刘鹤父亲文革刘植岩

























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

Party Worries Reflected in Beatings of Marxist Students

Just saw this posted today. A recounting of Party/Peking University staff/police abuse of students in the Peking University Marxist Society that was closed down late last year. A November 2018 Hong Kong Free Press report “Too Marxist for China? Radical students rattle Communist leaders” discussed the Chinese student Marxists.

Hong Kong Baptist Department of Journalism Professor Yiu Ming To 杜耀明 quote criticizing people who ignore Marx’s concerns for social justice and merely focus on his theory of surplus value, saying that is a great insult to Karl Marx.

The tone changed from a description to a diagnosis of the problem:

“The organized machinery of state doesn’t care at all whether it speak truth or lies. It doesn’t care at all about the harm that it does to our classmates. Even more, it doesn’t care whether its behavior violates the law or not. The logic of social stability coming before all else, what counts is whether a policy is executed forcefully or not. What counts most on this one hundredth anniversary of the May Fourth Movement is whether or not there still exist some disharmonious voices.”

Then a quote from Lu Xun’s preface to that famed Chinese twentieth century essayist’s (pre-1949 social critic much beloved by the Party — lucky for him he didn’t live to see the PRC or his pen would have got him into trouble fast with Chairman Mao!) preface to his book Weeds 野草 usually translated (more polite than me I guess) as Wild Grass.

I love my weeds, but I hate weeds all over the ground is made out to be a decoration. The fire runs underground, rushing forward; once the lava erupts, it will burn all the weeds and all the trees so that there will be no decay.”

[ Parenthetically, talk of weeds brings to mind the famous words of that old philosopher, Chairman Mao Zedong! Mao in his “On the Correct Handling of Contradictions Among the People” had quite a bit to say about weeds, some of whom were stinking intellectuals:

Literally the two slogans — let a hundred flowers blossom and let a hundred schools of thought contend — have no class character; the proletariat can turn them to account, and so can the bourgeoisie or others. Different classes, strata and social groups each have their own views on what are fragrant flowers and what are poisonous weeds. Then, from the point of view of the masses, what should be the criteria today for distinguishing fragrant flowers from poisonous weeds? In their political activities, how should our people judge whether a person’s words and deeds are right or wrong?”  ]

The article ends with a question and an answer. What kind of young people does today’s China need? The answer:

When they see decay, they must arise. What does it matter if along the way some dust flies around? Crisis is all around. Malicious flying bullets and the spewing of dark currents will not stop them because in their hearts are always new things.

The Chinese Communist Party has been bracing for a difficult year.

1984 Peking University Style—How Much Do You Know About It?

The morning of April 29, 2019.

Beijing’s Yizhuang Industrial Zone, Beijing.

Five young people disappeared there.

At 8:17 They sent their last message. Within half an hour, everyone’s phone was turned off.

They were five students who had belonged to the Peking University Marxist Association. They were taking advantage of the May First Labor Day holiday to spent the holiday working in a factory. At 8 AM the night shift had just ended.

What had happened to them up to that point?

Five plainclothesmen had been following Qiu Zhanxuan

They had sent a message the night before and said that the plainclothes policemen followed them from Peking University to Yizhuang, followed them into the factory, followed them up the manager’s office, and informed the factory supervisors in the factory that the students should be “watched closely”.

Plainclothesman, being followed, disappeared. Just the way it has happened before.

At the same time, contact as lost with one of their schoolmates, Shen Yuxuan of the Peking University Medical Department.

Screenshot from Shen Yuxuan’s WeChat account
“They pulled me out of the toilet”
“Tearing up stuff”
Restriction of personal freedom
Pulled out of the toilet?
Who pulled you out?

The night before, as usual, she and another classmate studied in the fourth classroom of Biochemistry Building.

At about 10:30, a few familiar faces appeared at the door of the classroom. They shutter of their camera clicked a few times as they took pictures of Shen. Then six or seven “teachers” from the Beijing University Medical School Security Office, security guards and two policemen pushed open the door and entered the room.

They told the other students to leave and went straight up to where Shen was sitting and said, “Are you going to get up? Will you walk or do we have to take you away?” They had no reason for telling the students to leave, so two students refused to leave.

Suddenly, a classmate was grabbed by the neck, pulled out of their seat, and with two arms twisted behind his back pushed as police forced him into a police car. He was punched and kicked. “Do you want some help?” he was asked as a policeman poured mineral water on him.

Then came the policeman’s usual technique: grab by the neck, cover the mouth, arms tied behind their back, and escort them to the security office. Using both carrot and stick methods, they beat, insulted, ridiculed this student until two o’clock the following morning.

Meanwhile, Shen Yuxuan sent this message to his to his WeChat group at 11:30:

Shen Yuxuan WeChat screenshot
“Being interviewed by police, they have to accompany me to the toilet”
“I threw up.”

I really couldn’t and didn’t want to imagine that scene. That evening I could only wait and worry.

At 2:20 in the morning, Shen Yuxuan classmates regained her freedom. It was said that this sudden assault was connected to the matter of the five students working in Yizhuang.

“If you dare to go out the school gate, you will be picked up right away!” This is the warning Shen Yuxuan got. And her mother, who had been called by the police from her hometown in Shaanxi Province, was told to watch her all night in her dormitory.

Even after all that had happened, everybody sighed and that thought that will be the end of it.

I never expected the same thing to happen again the next morning. Shen Yuxuan’s phone went from no answer to being turned off. No more was heard from her.

I was still anxious.

At three o’clock that afternoon, the students finally called her mother’s phone. She said, “I am with Shen Yuxuan somewhere in Beijing. I can’t tell you where” she said cryptically.

Shen’s mother said, “Yuxuan is fine.” The next thing we heard was Yuxuan yelling, “No, I am not fine. I am under house arrest!”

The classmates listening were shocked. Before they could say anything, the connection was cut off.

We tried to call again, but the telephone was turned off. We have had no news of her since then.

This was Peking University on April 29.

Make no mistake about it. This is not the plot of some 1920s novel. This is only one of the undercurrents that continues to surge through the Peking University campus, only to finally erupt at sensitive times like these.

The colors of Peking University today are black and white. Black and white are starker than color. There is more magical realism here today than in any movie.

While their classmates live a normal student life of going to class, studying and taking examinations, some other students are living a completely different life. In their life, some of their parents are nearly collapsed from mental exhaustion; other students face frequent interviews and even sexual harassment; some police remove all your clothes to search you; and threaten them with expulsion or handcuffs to make them confess.

Since since the demonstration of December 28 protesting the re-organization of the Peking University Marxist Society, their voices have not been head on the Peking University campus. Sometimes one might hear news about them online such as “Zhang Zhenzhen was forced to leave school” but there has been no real news. As far as I know, the “news blackout” on them did not mean that these students are no longer interested in the rights of people who work at their school. No, what is going on is not they have decided to end using the “weapon of criticism” but a fact that is hard for anyone to accept. They have been subject to pressure and restrictions on their personal freedom that go far beyond what anyone could have imagined.

On January 23, classmate A, after over 40 hours of exhausting police station detention and fatigue trial, was sent home and his cell phone, computer and ID card confiscated. HIs home internet connection was cut. His parents’ phone was monitored and he had to report whenever he left the house. This classmate was completely cutoff from the outside world. All this was done to lay the groundwork for the the next stage of high pressure and intense “ideological and political education”.

The police told her “If you don’t admit to your errors, you will be forced to leave school.” We can say that is was because “It can be because you are an unwed mother or because you are an unsociable, dark-hearted individual who hates society. Your choice!” Not until the second week of school was classmate A released from house arrest and allowed to return to school. Classmate A had already missed the two weeks for choosing compulsory courses. Another classmate B missed a make-up test. Perhaps it is just as a certain deputy party secretary in the sociology department says, “Cooperating with the work of the school is your first task, not academic work.”

After returning to school, the secretary of the Youth League Committee kindly student A: “Don’t get in touch with your old Marxist Society classmates. Don’t eat with them. They may try to drug you. Once you take it, you’ll be brainwashed.” This same secretary on the evening of April 3, persistently kept interrogating student A about the lives of the other female members of the former Marxist Society. He said that the reason that he had not gone to her dormitory to get her at the time of the December 28th demonstration was that he “was afraid that some of them are just too pretty and he wouldn’t be able to control himself.”

Those kinds of insults and slander are small stuff. There was more. There is also a classmate C. When the police and school counselor went together to her home, and told her parents that if she did not admit to her mistakes, she would be expelled and detained, her mother was so frightened that she broke down and knelt before student C and banged her head against the wall. Classmate C, heartbroken, could only tell her mother over and over that she had not done anything wrong.

In late February, once the new semester had begun, I thought that it was all over. But the classmates found, once school started again that what had come before was just an appetizer.

Two or three days after class started, a police officer appeared who claimed to have been entrusted by the school’s party committee to have a talk with classmate D. He was blunt. “If you are part of the ruling class you have to be able to deceive the masses”; “The capital needed to maintain social stability without deceiving the masses is too high.” Those words were shocking enough. However, the things that the police and school worker did over the next few days are too numerous to record:

Some students were held at the Yanyuan police station for up to eight hours. Several police took turns beating them in turn until their noses were bleeding.

Some students were asked to read in a loud voice the regulations on subversion and incitement to subversion in the criminal law. The police said, “This is your crime!”

After a few hours of constant interrogation, some students, with two people behind them pressing the pen into their hand, were asked to write a letters giving up their right to an education and assuming all legal responsibility and told that they could go if they signed.

Some students were stripped naked and made to lean over in order to check that “there is no recording device inside”;

The police threatened some students with “Whether you can go to school is a matter for the school to decide. We get to decide whether you can go to school.” Also, “Do not think that you can get the kind of job that your parents have.”

Some students were dragged out of class by three people from the political management building to Sciences Building No. 5 during the class. Sometimes the dragging process itself dragged on for a full hour;


Do you want to go to class? Do you want to go back to your dormitory to rest? Do you want to stay in school? Do you want to be released? We can do that. But first of all, you have to give up your human dignity, cooperate with our work, admit to your mistakes, and not take an interest in “things that are none of your business” then you can “get back on the right track”. If you wont, then I’m sorry, we can humiliate you, we can restrict your personal freedom, violate your privacy, insult your ideals and abuse you physically. Naturally, to use the words of the police, that is just fine. Once you leave the school gate, “we are sure that you don’t want to feel that you are in a detention center.”

Perhaps you think that this is a dead end. The police and school workers think that they have achieved a master stroke in ideological warfare. After all, in a physical assault is not the best tactic; psychological warfare should be your first resort. [Note: from classic novel The Romance of the Three Kingdoms “Use your forces to attack their minds as your first resort; a physical assault is inferior. Psychological warfare should be primary, using military force should be secondary. 用兵攻心为上,攻城为下;心战为上,兵战为下 inspired by Sun Zi, Art of War (Therefore the best method is trickery, the second best is making a deal, the third best is fighting their soldiers in the field and the worst of all is an assault on a fortress. 故上兵伐谋,其次伐交,其次伐兵,其下攻城) ]

Three classmates from the School of Physical Sciences often got letters from the party secretary of their school’s party committee. Sometimes the letters were written to all three, sometimes the letters were written to them individually and sometimes to the entire school (you may have gotten it too). The letters cover topics such as historical, theoretical issues and sometimes issues in everyday life. The shorter letters were just four or five hundred characters, the longer ones could be two or three thousand characters long. All the letters came back to a single central point “the state is good and society is fine”. Now might the party secretary sending these letters to all the students in the school be an abuse of his authority as secretary of the party committee?

At an undergraduate party branch democratic life meeting, classmate E as attacked from all sides for belonging to “a two-faced faction”. All party members on his “democracy evaluation” form marked “fail”. All sixteen of them. Classmate E was speechless at this highly organized attack. Thinking about it, he could only draw one conclusion — he had spent too much time talking with the school’s workers. Doing that was not consistent with his status as a candidate for Communist Party membership. That afternoon at 1 PM two police officers appeared and prevented him from going back to his dormitory. They had had a talk with him all night. Classmate E tried twice to escape. The first time he was pined against the wall. The second time they grabbed him by the neck and forced him down on the floor. At 2 PM, some students came to see classmate E. They had heard his shouts coming from the the side of the main entrance to the department building. The undergraduate party branch secretary guarded the door and called the police in an attempt to force the students to drive the students away. They only left a little after 3 PM at the urgent request of classmate E. The Party strictly implemented this locale for handling party organizational matters. It became too a stage for the arbitrary actions of some leaders who carried out this kind of criticism and self-criticism!

There are many similar examples, but what is more suffocating is the daily tracking, monitoring, photographing, and harassment. Some students are warned that they are not allowed to use their mobile phones during class, telling them they should be studying hard (why don’t they say that when they have meetings with people for being late to class?) Several classmates after studying on their own for a few days in the self-study area next to the fifth floor elevator of building three, were shocked to discover that the monitoring camera that had been pointing at the elevator had been turned 180 degrees to point directly at them. Some other classmates found that the camera at the intersection in front of the express delivery service would gradually swivel to watch them as they walked by. If they walked back and forth, the camera followed them (advanced facial recognition is used here). Even if you get up early for running practice to get ready for the May Fourth Marathon and then to to the farm to have breakfast, there are plainclothesmen taking pictures to send to your parents as evidence that “those people are still having their gatherings”.

Two months later, the dark undercurrents finally, defying all common sense and expectation, erupted from the ground.

On April 29th, the nodes from which those dark undercurrents emerged were significant.

Two days later, would come for all workers throughout China will be their very own holiday, even though for most of them will have no alternative to spending it working overtime.

Five days later would come for young people across China, and in particular the teachers and students of Peking University, their very own holiday. The various news outlets, however, would devote it to speeches at big meetings and “Political-Ideological Face to Face” interviews.

What do these holidays mean?

Labor Day celebrate the glory of labor. On this date in history, the world’s workers united to fight for their own labor rights;

Youth Day celebrates the awakening of youth. The New Youth sought Democracy and Science. Hand-in-hand with the masses, they braved the hardships of reform;

Amidst these fine festivals, there is no place for young people who sought part-time work. They used to carry aloft the banner of “Marxism” at their school.

This black humor, full of irony as it is, tells us something.

The organized machinery of state doesn’t care at all whether it speak truth or lies. It doesn’t care at all about the harm that it does to our classmates. Even more, it doesn’t care whether its behavior violates the law or not. The logic of social stability coming before all else, what counts is whether a policy is executed forcefully or not. What counts most on this one hundredth anniversary of the May Fourth Movement is whether or not there still exist some disharmonious voices.

A former Peking University classmate who has already made Peking University’s internal blacklist (there certainly is a blacklist. Over thirty names are on it) is merely one of the victims of this logic. He is not the only victim.

Don’t you see, the atmosphere on this campus has already become much worse than it was even one year ago. These days, the loudest voice in the cafeteria is the rumble of the broadcast of the “Ideology and Politics Face-to-Face” interviews.

No need to ask anymore what is the kind of time we live in. The answer I want to give is what kind of youth this era needs:

“I love my weeds, but I hate weeds all over the ground is made out to be a decoration. The fire runs underground, rushing forward; once the lava erupts, it will burn all the weeds and all the trees so that there will be no decay.”

When they see decay, they must arise. What does it matter if along the way some dust flies around? Crisis is all around. Malicious flying bullets and the spewing of dark currents will not stop them because in their hearts are always new things.


May 01, 2019

















































一次本科生党支部民主生活会,E同学遭到围攻,被骂“两面派“,他的“民主测评“表上所有党员都投了不合格 ,那可是16个人啊……这高度组织化的针对让E同学无言以对,想来想去,结论只能是一个--跟学校的工友们聊得太多了,不符合自己的预备党员身份。当晚一点多开完会两名警察进来阻止E同学回宿舍,要连夜约谈。E同学两次试图逃出去,一次被按在墙上,一次被卡脖子按倒在地。两点多有同学过来看E同学,隔着系楼大门都听到里面的呼喊声,而本科生党支部书记守在门口,报警试图把那个同学赶走。一直到三点多在E同学的强烈要求下,才得以离开。党进行严肃的组织生活的场所,也成了某些领导为所欲为的舞台,进行的就是这样的批评与自我批评!

















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