The February 2016 issue of the Chinese journal Communist Party Historical Research and Education 《党史研究与教学》 tells the story, based on research in local government archives, of a scary rumor from the early days of the PRC. Widespread rumors of hairy monsters jumping out of bodies of water to grab people upset many people already upset by a series of political campaigns including the 1950 – 51 political campaign the killed about one million landlords, landlord family members, and other people assimilated into the landlord category that the local Party work teams wanted to get rid of. See, for example, Excerpt from Ye Fu’s “Requiem for a Landlord” — A Son Parades His Landlord Father Through the Streets.
Perhaps the apparition variously called the water spirt hairy people or hairy waater monster could be considered especially sensitive since the word 毛 in hairy people 毛人 was the family name of Chairman Mao Zedong, 毛泽东.
Early 1950s Chaos as Party Purges Landlords, Other Class Enemies, Transforms Economy, Fights the Korean War and Consolidates Power: Anti-Landlord Campaign
Important to note is that some of these landlords did not have vast holdings and some people were lumped into the landlord category for political convenience. So many people killed, beaten or imprisoned during these campaigns in the early years of the PRC got considerable local sympathy and were far from being all the demon landlords of Party-inspired legend. That seems to be part of the reason why the “water spirit hairy man” rumors became anti-communist.
The crackdown on the landlords is still a sensitive topic in China. A 2016 book Soft Burial was banned one year after it had been published and even serialized in the official literary journal People’s Literature [Renmin Wenxue]. See the June 2016 Global Voices article by Oiwen Lam “China bans ‘Soft Burial’, a novel about deadly consequences of land reform — ‘Soft Burial’, published in 2016, is a tribute to historical realism and won Luyao Literature Award”.
A few years ago I read the stories of some of those people in Liao Yiwu’s book 最后的地主 (The Last Landlord) which is available online in Chinese in PDF format. Liao Yiwu, a Chinese writer now living in exile in Berlin, is best known in the United States for his book The Corpse Walker: Real Life Stories: China From the Bottom Up
The Last Landlord, which has never been translated into English, was based on Liao’s interviews with elderly people in rural villages that started to make in late 2005. Liao told me about one one stay he had in a rural Yunnan mountain village. After several weeks, he had won the confidence of some of the oldest people in the village. They then opened up to him with stories about the terrible times in the early 1950s when many landlords and others were killed by work teams dispatched by the new communist regime. Liao told me that their relatives were shocked to hear these stories. Their elders had never dared tell those stories because they thought that the stories were to dangerous to tell. Some of the ‘landlords’ mentioned in the book weren’t actually landlords but were lumped into that category for other reasons including Christian belief. Some of those stories were later told in Liao’s book God is Red that appeared in English translation in the U.S. several years ago.
Now Back to the Hairy Monsters
The rumor about the hairy monster started around July 1949, but only became widespread several years later.
According to the article, “The rumors of the hairy monster who jumped out of lakes and monsters to grab people in 1953 – 54 took on an ideological tinge. The monster was now said to have come from the Soviet Union to China to harvest body parts from Chinese people. These body parts were said to be essential components for Soviet atomic bombs. These rumors took on an ideological color generally during times of social change when state power forcibly intruded into rural society. The rumors, which were often about weak or defenseless members of society such as women and children expressed the resistance and desire of the masses to exclude state power which was disrupting and transforming the rural social order. The people felt great terror as they were beset by this external force that they had no power to resist. This sentiment strongly united the people in joint opposition to disruptions and attacks by state power intruding from the outside. As these rumor coalesced into an ideology, it divided society into two groups. According to the rumor, Communist Party members, members of the Communist Youth League, and government cadres were active local participants in the plot. Thus they were seen as not being subject to the rumored attacks while ordinary people were being attacked. The rumors provoked conflicts. Party members, Communist Youth League members and government officials were demonized and sometimes physically attacked.
So the rumors became more and more anti-communist. Quite a story. Perhaps good reading for Halloween too.
Professor Li Ruojian of Zhongshan University in Guangzhou, China, in his book called “Between Reality and Fiction – A Study of Rumors in Mainland China in the 1950s” 《虛實之間──20世紀50年代中國大陸謠言研究》 , argues that the water spirit hairy man was a political tool in the struggle between the Communists and the Nationalists who had just been pushed off the China Mainland.
The rumors of water ghosts have become a political tool for cross-strait attack and defense?
Why did rumors of water monsters suddenly spread? It could be because the Nationalist government had just retreated to Taiwan and the situation in mainland China was still unstable. It is estimated that the guerrillas left behind by the Nationalist government numbered millions of people, so rumors were deliberately spread against the new regime that could cause chaos.
There was also the time when the Korean War broke out on June 25, 1950, and the Chinese people, who had been suffering from war for year, were generally afraid that “World War III” was about to begin. In addition, Taiwan, with the help of Western companies established by the CIA, set up an anti-communist army to save the country, and conducted raids from time to time.
Because of the political nature of the rumors, it was said that the monsters were released by the newly established Chinese Communist regime, so the enemies were clearly distinguished and the “three no-dig” policy was strictly enforced, that is, no digging for martyrs, no digging for party members and no digging for cadres. Therefore, people who believed in this absurd rumor, whenever they caught someone they thought was “cutting eggs”, some simply killed them, causing some innocent people to die.The Hairy Water Spirit that Dug Out Genitals — A Tool For Cross Straits Political Struggle
Tales of scary rumors that spread in China ten years later during the early 1960 appeared in a 2006 American Historical Review article.
“Talking Toads and Chinless Ghosts: The Politics of “Superstitious” Rumors in the People’s Republic of China, 1961–1965” by S.A. Smith, The American Historical Review, Volume 111, Issue 2, 1 April 2006, Pages 405–427,https://doi.org/10.1086/ahr.111.2.405
Huang Wenzhi: How the Anhui “Water Spirit Hairy Man” Rumor Become an Ideology and Local Government Response
by Huang Wenzhi published in “Communist Party Historical Research and Education” 2/2016 some portions deleted when published.
(Summary) In 1953-54, a rumor aobut a “water spirit hairy man” became widespread in the watersheds of the Huai and Yangtze River watersheds in Anhui Province resulted in many conflicts between party cadres and the masses. Yet the rumor of the “water spirit hairy man” did not originate in Anhui Province itself. The rumor entered Anhui from Jiangsu Province to the east of the province and moved westwards spreading very rapidly in the densely populated areas in the watershed. The rumor spread very widely in Anhui Province, reaching over 30 counties. As the rumor was passed along, it gradually became an ideology. Two kinds of people — “people guilty of criminal offenses” along with “lawless elements” along with “counter revolutionary elements” created and promoted the transformation of this rumor into an ideology. The local governments of Anhui Province, thanks an early warning from Jiangsu Province, began a top to bottom response before the rumor had spread widely. Nonetheless, as local governments took measures to handle the rumor there were many conflicts between cadres and the people and some violence. In several cities and counties where there was a sharp conflict between cadres and the people, the response was brute force. The response involved both “struggling to educate” and “severely repressing”. Through organizational, work by cadres and ideological work, a political solution that included both strict supervision and reprimands was achieved. It should be said that this process of “local supervision and reprimands” in the area of public order was effective yet involved serious political dilemmas. [End summary]
The rumors widespread in 1953-54 in Jiangsu, Anhui and Shandong provinces about a “water spirit hairy man” led to many mass incidents. This was one of the biggest rumor cases of the twentieth century. In Anhui Province it mostly known as the rumor of the “water spirit hairy man”. Elsewhere the monster was called “water spirit man”, the “hairy man water spirit”, “the hairy little ghost”, and the “hairy water spirit”. There were many different names for the same rumor. The rumor arose during a time of great social change. Fundamentally it arose from fear the masses in society had of strange forces from the outside and of ghosts running rampant. There was also however within it political messages and hidden meanings. These kind of characteristics of the rumor reflect the direct conflict between the traditional beliefs of the masses in society and the ideology promoted by the Chinese Communist Party during the initial stages of the national construction of the PRC. This kind of opposition grew steadily stronger in response to the previous political campaigns that were carried out during the first few years of the PRC.
See also the article 1953-1954 : Rumors of “Water Ghost Hairy People” in Anhui 1953-1954：“水鬼毛人”谣言在安徽 by the same author published in Hong Kong at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
“Water Ghost Hairy Man” before and after liberation
In July 1949 , in the areas of Xinchuantang, Weisi Road, Dama Road, Erma Road, and Xiao Bengbu in Bengbu City, the Kuomintang army straggler Lu Yunxing and other three people dressed up as “water ghost hairy people” to terrorize the masses in the middle of the night. Because of the intimidation, the crowd started shouting, running around and screaming. Everywhere there were as few as 100 people, as many as 400 to 500 people, and the disturbance caused panic. After the intervention of the local government, the situation was subsided. As for the content and reasons of Lu Yunxing and others making the “water ghost hairy people” rumors, the records are not detailed, but other historical materials have good supplements. This rumor before liberation was made by Lu Yunxing. It was rumored that “Huaishui rises, water monsters come up, drag people and children, and gouge people’s eyes”, the purpose is to “intimidate the masses and take advantage of the opportunity to steal.” This rumor has an endogenous character.
However, from 1953 to 1954 at the beginning of liberation, rumors of “water ghost hairy people” appeared again, but they were introduced from the neighboring province of Jiangsu and spread in the Huaihe and Yangtze River basins of Anhui. About July and August of 1953 , “the boat people and the people who came and went from Jiangba, Jiangsu Province, were introduced into Xuyi (at that time it belonged to Anhui, and was later divided into Jiangsu). In September , it spread to Binghui (today’s Changxian County) and Jiashan (today’s Mingguang). City), Chuxian, Lai’an and other counties. After October , Sihong (at that time belonged to Anhui, later divided into Jiangsu), Wuhe, Dingyuan, Fengyang, Quanjiao, Feidong, Feixi, Hexian, Hanshan, Chaoxian, Wuwei, Lujiang, Fengtai, Mengcheng, Yingshang, Guoyang and other five counties in the Fuyang area, some counties in the Liu’an area, and even the two cities of Hefei and Huainan have ‘water ghost hairy people’ rumors circulating.” . This is the record in the Anhui Provincial Public Security Records, but it is not comprehensive in terms of distribution areas. At that time, Su County in Suzhou Special Area, Huoqiu and Jinzhai Counties in Lu’an Special Area, Tongcheng, Zongyang and Yuexi Counties in Anqing Special Area, Huaiyuan County in Bengbu Special Area, Wuhu County in Wuhu Special Area, and Changfeng County in Hefei Special Area (1965 It was formed by the borders of Shouxian, Dingyuan, Feidong , and Feixi counties in the 2000s. There are rumors of “water ghosts and hairy people” circulating.
On July 2 , 1956 , after the rumor of “water ghost hairy people” in Anhui was quelled, Anhui Provincial Party Committee Secretary Zeng Xisheng mentioned “water ghost hairy people” in his “Work Report at the First Party Congress of the Communist Party of China in Anhui Province”. “The spread of the rumors, “the spread of thirty-two counties within a few months.” This statement is in line with historical facts.
It can be seen that the rumor of “water ghost hairy people” in Anhui this time was introduced from the neighboring province of Jiangsu, from east to west, and mostly broke out and spread in areas with dense water networks. Although it is not endogenous locally, its spread is very wide. There is no doubt that the process of the rumors of “water ghost hairy people” is a collective fear memory that is activated and reconstructed from a special social background. In terms of this special social background, Li Ruojian believes that there are four factors worth paying attention to: the first is the major flood in the past two years, the second is the construction of the Huaihe River Control Project, the third is agricultural cooperation and the unified purchase and sales of grains, and the fourth is the beginning of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. all political movements. These four special social backgrounds have accumulated and increased the fear and dissatisfaction of the people, and these fears and dissatisfaction will in turn increase the speed and breadth of rumors.“1953-1954 : Rumors of “Water Ghost Hairy People” in Anhui by Huang Wenzhi via Google Translate machine translation.
DeepL machine translation here is followed by the Chinese full text.
Huang Wenzhi: Rumored Anhui “Water Spirit Hairy Man” Became Widespread Concern and Local Government Response
上专题：Anhui Province 水鬼毛人 Ideologizing local government Local governor responsible for politics
● Huang Wenzhi
This article was published in Party History Research and Teaching, No. 2, 2016, and was abridged at the time of publication.
[Abstract] In the last century, between 1953 and 1954, large-scale rumors of “water spirits and hairy men” occurred in the Huaihe and Yangtze River water network areas of Anhui Province, causing many mass incidents. However, the rumor of “water spirits and hairy people” in Anhui Province was not endogenous, but came from the neighboring province of Jiangsu, and broke out and spread from east to west, mostly in areas with dense water networks. The rumor spreads widely in Anhui, reaching more than 30 counties. The rumor gradually became ideological in the process of spreading. Two kinds of people, “criminal elements”, “outlaws” and “counter-revolutionaries”, were the creators and instigators of the rumors that led to their becoming a firmly held ideology. Having been warned by the neighboring province of Jiangsu earlier, the local government in Anhui Province responded to the rumors from the top down long before they broke out on a large scale, but the process of dealing with them still caused many conflicts and chaotic results. In some cities and counties, the response was even more forceful after the outbreak of sharp conflicts among the people. The most important feature is to adopt a two-pronged approach of “fighting for education” and “severe suppression” to achieve a supervisory political solution through organization, cadres and ideological treatment. It should be said that this model of “local politics of supervision and responsibility” in the field of social security can bring effective results, but also implies a political dilemma.
During the last century, between 1953 and 1954, a large-scale rumor of “water spirit hairy Man” broke out in Su, Anhui and Lu regions of China, causing many mass incidents, which was one of the biggest rumors in China in the 20th century. The rumor was mostly called “water spirit hairy man” in Anhui, but it was also called “hairy man Water Ghost”, “hairy man and child” and “hairy man water monster” in some places. “, the names varied, but the content was quite consistent. It occurred during a period of great social change, and was essentially a social group’s fear of the outside world’s strange forces and disorderly spirits, but with too many political implications and hidden agendas. This kind of rumor reflects the direct confrontation between the traditional belief system of the people and the political ideology strongly promoted by the Chinese Communist Party at the beginning of the founding of the country, and this confrontation has been reinforced by the political movements of the early years following the founding of the PRC.
Two scholars, Li Ruojian and Ma Junya, have made pioneering studies. [On the one hand, both of them affirm that the rumor of “water spirits and hairy people” is a product of social change and social psychological interaction; on the other hand, they also have cautious reservations about the local government’s response to the symptoms but not the root cause. However, the two scholars’ research only lightly mentions the local government’s response in this way, and do not carefully sort out and dig deeper.
In contrast to them, this paper is different. This paper analyzes the introduction, distribution, ideologization, and top-down response of the local government to the rumor of the “water spirit hairy man” in Anhui from the perspective of political and social history, starting from the newly discovered archival materials, public security history materials, and local county records and cultural and historical materials. In this study, we examine the effectiveness of the “local politics of supervision and responsibility” in the field of social security at the beginning of the founding of the country and the political dilemma it implies. To a certain extent, this study on the background of the “water spirit hairy Man” rumor, the local government’s response strategy and the logic of political practice in Anhui is still a good attempt to continue the exploration.
- Introduction and distribution of the rumor of “water spirits and hairy people”
In July 1949, in the area of Bengbu City, such as Xinshuntang, Weisi Road, Damalu, Ermalu, and Xiaobengbu, three people dressed up as “water spirits and hairy men”, such as Lu Yunxing, a casual soldier of the Kuomintang army, and terrorized people late at night. to terrorize the masses late at night. The masses, intimidated by the yelling, running and screaming, less than a hundred people in each place, more than four or five hundred people, causing panic. Later, the local government intervened and the situation calmed down.  As for the content and reasons for the rumor that Lu Yunxing and others created “water spirits and hairy people”, the record is not detailed, but other historical materials have good additions. Before liberation, this rumor was created by Lu Yunxing, who rumored that “Huai Shui was rising and there were water monsters coming up, dragging people’s children and gouging their eyes” in order to “intimidate the masses and take advantage of the theft”.  This rumor was endogenous in nature.
However, at the beginning of the liberation, from 1953 to 1954, the rumor of “water spirits and hairy people” started again, but it was imported from the neighboring province of Jiangsu, and spread in the Huaihe and Yangtze river basin areas of Anhui. Around July and August 1953, “the rumor was spread from Jiangba, Jiangsu province, to Xuyi (then part of Anhui province, but later transferred to Jiangsu province) by boat people and other people, and in September, it spread to Binghui (today’s Chang County – cited), Jiashan (today’s Mingguang city – cited) and Chu County (now the city of Chu). -After October, Sihong (then part of Anhui, later transferred to Jiangsu – cited), Wuhe, Dingyuan, Fengyang, Quanjiao, Feidong, Feixi, Hexian, Hanyan, Chao, Wuwei, Lujiang and five counties in the Fuyang prefecture, including Fengtai, Mengcheng, Yingshang and Fengyang. Some counties in Liuan prefecture, and even Hefei and Huainan cities have rumors of ‘water ghost ‘ circulating.  This is a record in the Public Security Journal of Anhui Province, but it is not comprehensive as far as the distribution area is concerned. At that time, Suxian County of Suzhou Prefecture, Huoqiu and Jinzhai County of Liuan Prefecture, Tongcheng, Firyang and Yuexi County of Anqing Prefecture, Huaiyuan County of Bengbu Prefecture, Wuhu County of Wuhu Prefecture, and Changfeng County of Hefei Prefecture (which was formed in 1965 by the combination of Shouxian, Dingyuan, Feidong and Feixi counties–quote), etc. Rumors of “water spirits and hairy people” have been circulated. 
On July 2, 1956, after the rumors of “water spirits and hairy people” in Anhui were quelled, Zeng Xisheng, secretary of the Anhui Provincial Party Committee, mentioned the scope of the rumors of “water spirits and hairy people” in his “Report on the Work of the First Party Congress of Anhui Province”. “Within a few months, it spread to thirty-two counties.”[6  This statement is consistent with historical facts.
It can be seen that the rumor of “water spirits and hairy people” in Anhui province came from the neighboring province of Jiangsu, and it broke out and spread from east to west, mostly in areas with dense water networks. Although it is not local, the scope of its impact is very wide. There is no doubt that the process of spreading the rumor of “water spirits and hairy people” is a collective fear memory that is activated and reconstructed from a special social context. In terms of this special social background, Li Ruojian believes that four factors deserve attention: first, the great floods in the middle of two years, second, the construction of the Huaihuai project, third, the agricultural cooperatives and the unified purchase and sale of grain, and fourth, the political movements at the beginning of the founding of the country.  These four particular social backgrounds accumulated and increased the fear and discontent of the people, which in turn increased the speed and breadth of rumors.
Belief in the “water spirit hairy man” rumor got stronger
On the eve of the liberation, the rumor of “water spirits and hairy people” in Anhui was spread by word of mouth and without confirmation from government departments, but not enough attention was paid at that time. In this rumor, the “water spirit hairy man” was generally portrayed as a monster that originated from the water, covered with hair, and came to shore in water, dragging children and gouging their eyes. The content of the rumors is largely consistent with those that circulated before the founding of the PRC. In Quanjiao County, “water spirits and hairy people” were “green-faced and fang-fanged, specializing in cutting male genitalia and female breasts.  In Hefei City, “hairy people” are “hairy hands and feet, hands and feet are fire, knives and guns, see people gouge eyes, cut eggs, cut nipples”. 
In Firyang County, ” are little kids, who come out at night and day” and “specialize in cutting women’s nipples and men’s eggs”.  In Jinzhai County, the “hairy man Water Ghost” “body can be large and small, when large body length of several feet, feet more than a foot long, wearing a white coat, draped with a long white hair, white hair slits hidden in the green face fangs. Two large eyes like electric lights can shoot red and green light, two fingernails as long as a sharp edge like to grab food creatures. When it meets a woman, it grabs the breasts, and when it meets a man, it pinches the testicles away, and people don’t want to live. When it wants to enter the house, it becomes very small and can enter through the window cracks.”  And so on. From these local chronicles and cultural and historical data, it can be seen that before and after the founding of the country, the rumor of “water spirits and hairy people” in Anhui spread and spread in a certain area, with a strong color of terror and mystery.
However, if we carefully compare the two “water spirits and hairy people” rumors before and after the liberation, the content of the rumors has changed, and the process of circulation is strongly ideological, i.e. the ideology and behavior practices embodied in the rumors themselves are gradually ideologized. This was reflected in two aspects: first, the rumors pointed directly at the Party, government and cadres, and second, they undermined Sino-Soviet friendly relations. Opposition to the Communist regime and opposition to the Soviet Union were the core political tendencies embedded in these rumors. As a result, these two points were constantly reinforced during the spread of the rumors and led to a number of explosive mass incidents.
According to the Anhui Public Security Journal, the “water spirit hairy man” rumor “spread all over northern Anhui. It was said that ‘the United States, Britain, France and other five countries attacked the Soviet Union, and the Soviet Union wanted to make atomic bombs to deal with the attack of the five countries, and wanted China to provide women’s nipples and boys’ genitals as raw materials for atomic bombs’ and so on. The rumors are getting more and more intense, and some of them are adding more and more details to make them ‘realistic’, such as saying that a woman’s nipples have been cut off in a certain village, and that a village in a certain area has been killed by the ‘water spirit hairy man’. And so on and so forth.” 
In Chuzhou City, in mid-August 1953, the “water ghost ” from northern Jiangsu Province into the region, October to November, most places in the region spread the “” rumors, “rumors of damage to Sino-Soviet friendship and party relations “.  In Binghui County, in September 1953, the rumor of “water ghost ” was introduced from Xuyi County and soon spread throughout the county. According to the rumor, ” turn into cadres during the day and at night, walk fast, cut men’s genitals and women’s breasts, cut pregnant women’s stomachs, and dig out people’s eyes to make atomic bombs.  In Feidong County, in October 1953, the rumor of “water spirit hairy man” came from Dingyuan, saying that “water spirit hairy man is very powerful, cutting women’s breasts and boys’ genitals to make secret test devices for the Soviet Union, and government cadres are working for them as inside informers”. 
In Hanyama County, in late December 1953, “rumors of a ‘hairy man water monster’ occurred in the county, rumors that the ‘hairy man water monster’ was sent by the Soviet Union to cut women’s breasts and children’s testicles; these monsters only hurting the masses, and never Party cadres ”  In the Anqing area, at the end of 1953, the rumor of “water ghost ” was “most serious in Daguan, Tongcheng County and Tudao, Yuexi”, and it was rumored that “the government released the ” and “wanted human eyes, hearts, and minds. The rumor was that “the government had released the hairy men” and “wanted human eyes, hearts, tits, and balls” and “sent the Soviet Union to build the atomic bomb”.  In Huoqiu County, in February 1954, rumors of “hairy man water spirits” “mainly attacked Party and state leaders, created war terror, and caused social unrest.  In Wuwei County, the “water spirit hairy man” rumor mainly said that the government “wanted to dig up 250 tons of women’s nipples, fetuses, men’s genitals, and eyeballs to be used as materials for making atomic bombs, so the government trained a large number of ‘hairy men”. The government has trained a large number of ‘hairy men’ to come to the countryside to collect them,” and the rumor is that the “water spirit hairy men” were “sent down by the government, and there are ‘Three No Gouge‘ rule – Do not gouge revolutionary martyrs, Do not gouge Party members and Do not gouge government cadres”  And so on.
In this way, from 1953 to 1954, the rumor of “water spirits and hairy men” became ideological, mainly because “water spirits and hairy men” were released by the Soviet Union and the Chinese government to cut off the body parts of Chinese people to provide raw materials for the Soviet Union to make atomic bombs. In some counties and rural areas, such ideological rumors often occurred during a period of social change when state power was intruding strongly, and used vulnerable groups such as women and children as symbols of the weak and defenseless people, reflecting the people’s rejection of state power’s disruption and reintegration of the rural social order, and their extreme fear due to their inability to cope with it. This sentiment brought the people closer together to defend themselves against the intrusion and invasion of foreign state power. In this way, the ideological rumors deliberately constructed the community as two divisive and separate groups, in which party members, league members, and cadres were the insiders of the conspiracy and were excluded from being attacked, while the public was constructed as the target of the attack. In this way, party members, league members, and cadres are demonized in the rumor-inspired mass events and become the targets of real attacks.
3. The ideologized makers and instigators of rumors
From 1953 to 1954, the rumors of the “water spirit hairy man” in Anhui Province spread to the ideologized makers and instigators, who were generally called “criminal elements”, “outlaws” and “counter-revolutionaries”. “and “counter-revolutionaries”. According to the political party journal of Anhui Province, wherever the “water spirit hairy man” rumor went, “counterrevolutionaries and various criminal elements used the rumor to organize riots, loot food, and beat cadres, pointing their fingers directly at the Party and the government.”[20  Li Ruojian referred to these two categories of people as “ordinary transgressors” and “those who were affected by the changes.  There is a reasonable element, but the “ordinary transgressors” are, to some extent, also the “shocked in the change”.
In 1953, the rumor of “water spirit hairy man” broke out in Jinzhai County, that is, a soldier who had returned to his hometown after a poor performance in the army. In 1953, the rumor of “water spirit hairy man” broke out in Jinzhai County, which was created by Zhu Shuji’s “venting his personal anger”, “taking advantage of the opportunity to get rich” and “playing with women”.  In 1953, Yuexi County implemented the unified purchase and sale of grain, and “some unruly elements spread various rumors to undermine this essential task, including the rumor of the ‘hairy man water monster’, which once spread throughout the county and deceived tens of thousands of people.  And so on. These “criminal elements” and “outlaws” created and instigated the rumors of “water spirits and hairy people”, mostly for personal gain or to achieve selfish purposes.
Secondly, the “counter-revolutionary elements” mainly refer to bandits, bullies, secret agents, reactionary party cadres, and reactionary sects, etc. In July 1953, the “water spirit hairy Man” rumor in Lai’an County was started by the “Xuyi” people. “The rumor spread from Xuyi County to the half-tower area of the county, and soon spread to all parts of the county. Because of the concealed reactionary sect leaders, secret agents and counter-revolutionary elements taking advantage of the opportunity to create rumors and sabotage, rumors spread all over the county” and “order was in chaos”. 
In April 1953, Quanjiao County carried out the work of banning the reactionary sects such as the Consistent Way, the Precedent Way, the Tong Shan She, and the Chinese Rational Church, and by the end of the year, “the reactionary sects created rumors such as ‘water spirit hairy man’, which seriously disturbed the social order.”[25  In the winter of 1953, in Changfeng County, “the reactionary sects created rumors of ‘water spirits and hairy people’ in the countryside, which spread into the territory from east to west, causing panic among the masses and social disorder.  At the end of 1953, in Jiashan County, “the rumors of ‘water spirits and hairy people’ created by the reactionary sects seriously disturbed the social order.  In 1954, when there was a big flood, Fengtai County “the head of the three Buddhist sects, called ‘water spirits and hairy people’, created very frightening rumors and a horrible atmosphere, causing men to be afraid to go to the fields, women to go out, and students to go to school, which once caused panic and social chaos. “.  In January 1954, Wuhe County, “the reactionary Daoist Society created rumors such as ‘water spirits and hairy people ‘ ””, causing many rural people to panic and not dare to turn off the lights at night.  In February 1954, rumors of “water spirits and hairy people” emerged in Huoqiu County, which were later identified as being created by “counter-revolutionary elements”, including These “counter-revolutionary elements” included “former bandits”, “bullies”, “leaders of the Huodao Gate”, “Kuomintang military and political personnel”, “landlords”, and “landlords”. “landlords,” “soldier hooligans.”  And so on. These “counterrevolutionaries” created and incited the rumors of “water spirits and hairy men”, mostly for the purpose of disturbing social security and subverting the new regime.
It should be said that the general public is certainly in the majority among those who intentionally or unintentionally spread rumors about the “water spirit hairy men,” but it is the “criminal elements,” “outlaws,” and “counterrevolutionaries” who drive them toward ideologization. However, the two categories of “criminal elements,” “outlaws,” and “counter-revolutionaries” deserve attention. These two categories of people, as those who are impacted by social changes, whether they are seeking their own selfishness or pursuing political interests, make full use of the people’s intellectual deficiencies, traditional stretches of rumors and legends, and the omissions of local government control to create and incite rumors toward ideologization, and inevitably become the culprits of rumor incidents after the rumors have subsided.
These people are basically the social elite in the old power structure. Why did they create and incite rumors that became ideological? This is mainly due to the fact that during the political movements at the beginning of the country, such as the land reform movement, the anti-bandit and anti-bullying movement, the anti-repression and purge movement, the campaign to outlaw the reactionary Daoist Party, the campaign to outlaw the reactionary Party groups, the agricultural cooperative movement and the movement to unify the purchase and sale of grain, the old power pattern was broken, and they sank to the bottom of society and became the victims of social changes. Therefore, they created and instigated rumors of “hairy man water spirits” to become ideological, pointing directly at the Party, the government, cadres and the Soviet Union, and the new regime and cadre elites often viewed such elements from the perspective of a priori “class struggle” and directly regarded them as “class dissidents”, that is, abstract “class enemies”. In the process of rumor fermentation, these “class enemies” were generally categorized as “criminal elements,” “outlaws,” and “counterrevolutionaries” according to the seriousness of the situation and their personal attitudes. “counter-revolutionaries”. In the official publication of local history and literature, these two types of people are characterized as the culprits of rumor making and incitement, and are generally punished severely in different degrees in rumor incidents.
Fourth, Conflict with Cadres and its Chaotic Fruit
According to Li Ruojian, the rumor of “water spirits and hairy people” “when it first began to spread, was probably because it was not expected to spread so widely and have such a deep impact on the people that the local government did not pay much attention to it.  This statement may be more consistent with the situation in Jiangsu, but not in Anhui. In view of the situation in the neighboring province of Jiangsu, the Anhui Provincial Party Committee and the Public Security Department issued the “Rumor of the water spirit hairy Man” on March 12, 1953, before the outbreak of the “water spirit hairy Man” rumor in Anhui. It should be said that the local government was quick to respond. Subsequently, Anhui government and public security system at all levels carried out the work of “quelling rumors”. Because the local government reacted quickly, the party cadres and the rumors themselves reached the local society almost simultaneously. Thus, in the process of “dispelling rumors”, party cadres were sent to localities to “dispel rumors” and encountered with rumor spreaders, instigators and people, and were intentionally or unintentionally misunderstood as “water spirits” and “hairy men” who were intentionally trained and released by the government. “In this way, it is inevitable that there will be sharp conflicts between the people and the government, and many conflicts between the people and the government will occur.
According to Anhui Public Security Journal, during the process of “pacification”, some anti-bad elements took the opportunity to incite the villagers to prevent the cadres from entering the village, and even tied up, detained, beat up and created riots. One day, when several cadres entered Xuyi County Bridge Town to work, some people said that “the ‘water spirit hairy man’ has arrived”. The farmers who came to the market fled and formed a “bombing set”. Binghui County Public Security Bureau, a deputy director to inspect the work of the township of high bridge, some villagers armed with knives and spears threatened the deputy director’s chest, not allowed to enter the village. The health department went to investigate women’s pregnancy in order to promote the new method of delivery, and some farmers suspected that it was to provide clues for the “water spirit hairy Man” to take out the fetus, and made things difficult. A deputy director of Feidong County Post and Telecommunications Bureau went to work in the countryside and was accused by some villagers of being a “hairy person” and was tied up. …… Zhu of Linhe Township, Quan Tang District, Wuwei County, incited more than 7,000 people to go to the township government to capture the “”, breaking the doors and windows of the township government and injuring four people. 
From the available information, during the process of “Ping Rumor”, many cities and counties in Anhui at that time had clashes between groups of people, the most serious in Wuwei County.
According to the history of public security in Anhui Province, in early January 1954, rumors of “water spirits and hairy people” were spread in some townships of Yanqiao, Shijian, Huangluo and Tugou in Wuwei County. At the end of the month, the development to the county 14 districts 91 townships. On February 3, two cadres from Wuwei County went to the countryside to investigate the rumor, passing through Zhabei Township, Yanqiao District, and some people, instigated by the anti-bad elements, blocked the way of the public security cadres, falsely accused the public security cadres of being “water spirits and hairy people”, seized two short guns, and set up a private court, tortured the public security cadres, forcing them to admit that they were “water spirits and hairy people”. The public security cadres admitted that they were “water spirits and hairy people” and falsely accused the public security chief of “harboring water spirits and hairy people”.
Five grassroots cadres had their furniture and farm equipment burned. On February 4, the captain of Sanshui Township militia led some of the militia to Tuanshan Village to investigate the rumors, but was beaten to the ground by bad elements and pushed into the water to drown. The county party committee deputy secretary, the county party committee propaganda department deputy minister and other four people went to Zhabei township to level rumors, were also besieged interrogation, and took away two shotguns, accompanied by the secretary of the district party committee was also injured. On February 5, the county party committee organization department deputy minister and other five people went to the township of Hengshan to level rumors, and were also taken away and beaten. February 6, Tie Gang township clerk and militia captain and other nine people, went to Wangchong village to check the work, and was said to be “water ghost “, was attacked and beaten, resulting in injuries to 2 people, took away one long and one short gun each. So far, a total of 1 person was killed, 20 people were wounded, 27 people were tied up, and 4 long guns and 8 short guns were taken away. The development of the matter became more and more serious and formed a riot.  etc.
On July 2, 1956, Zeng Xisheng, the secretary of Anhui Provincial Party Committee, also emphasized in his “Report on the Work of the First Party Congress of Anhui Province” that in the “water spirit hairy man” incident, “117 people and cadres were killed and injured by counter-revolutionaries, which seriously affected social security. ” 
It should be said that the “water spirit hairy man” rumor itself implies a paradox, that is, to provoke the conflict between the cadres and the masses of the new regime. When the party and cadres who participated in the “rumor-quelling” work from top to bottom encountered with the rumor spreaders, instigators and the people, it was inevitable that the conflict between the cadres and the masses would occur due to intentional or unintentional misunderstanding and chaotic results.
V. Local Government Response
At the very beginning of the Chinese Communist Party, the problem of rumors in society was ideologically characterized as “rumors are completely illegal, and those who create rumors and confuse the public are the enemies of the people.  Therefore, in order to “deal with counter-revolutionary rumors, we must implement the three-word policy of speaking, refuting, and pursuing, i.e., strengthening propaganda, refuting rumors positively, and pursuing the sources of rumors, etc.” and making it clear that “pursuing rumors is primarily the responsibility of public security departments at all levels.  And once the public security departments tracked down those who “carried out counter-revolutionary propaganda and agitation, created and spread rumors for counter-revolutionary purposes”, they would be “sentenced to more than three years of imprisonment; those with serious circumstances shall be sentenced to death or life imprisonment. ” 
In the case of the “water spirit hairy man” rumor, the Anhui Provincial Party Committee and the Public Security Department were more timely in responding to the spread and proliferation of rumors.
On March 12, 1953, the Anhui Provincial Public Security Department issued the “Information and Opinions on Quelling the Rumors of “Water spirits and Hairy People””, requesting the public security organs of each region to: The public security organs in each area were asked to:
1) prevent the spread of rumors;
2) hold mass meetings by dealing with solved cases and sending representatives from nearby villages so that people would no longer listen to rumors;
3) calmly and actively debunk rumors and educate and convince the masses;
4) quell the “water spirit hairy Man” incident by sending strong cadres to organize a few reliable village cadres and activists in addition to vigorously publicizing and exposing the incident.
The village cadres and activists should investigate and study possible ghosts in advance, and deploy concealed posts at night to monitor their actions. In the area where the rumors are most fierce, the rumors should be positively exposed, unite the masses, stabilize order and isolate the bad guys. The initial stabilization of the situation, that is, should be actively looking for bad guys. 
In December 1953, the Anhui Provincial Public Security Department inspected the rumor of “water spirits and hairy people” in Huangshan. The results of the inspection showed that there were 7 districts and 83 townships in the county, and since mid-December, the rumors had spread only in individual districts and townships. 27 had spread to 7 districts and 50 townships. Under the unified leadership of the county party committee and the county government, the Public Security Bureau of Hensan County sent cadres to the key districts and townships to carry out propaganda and dispel the rumors, exposing that the so-called “water spirit hairy man” was purely a rumor intentionally created by the anti-bad elements, aiming to damage the Sino-Soviet friendship and the relationship between the Party and the masses. The rumor-mongers or active spreaders of the rumors that were found to be substantiated were dealt with in different cases, some of them were detained or arrested after being exposed and criticized, some were put under control, and some were made to speak out and admit their mistakes in public. Through various measures, the situation has improved considerably. 
On January 8, 1954, the Anhui Provincial Party Committee forwarded the Instruction of Wuhu District Party Committee on the Rumors of “hairy men” in He, Huan and Chao counties, requesting all places to pay close attention to and check the rumors in their respective areas, and take effective measures in time to quell and prevent such reactionary rumors from spreading. Go to where the rumor has arisen. In addition to the current work to grasp the typical case, debunk the rumor, educate cadres, strengthen the supervision of the controlled elements, the public security departments should be carefully arranged to investigate the work, the head of the rumor, pretending to be “water ghost “. If there is evidence of counter-revolutionary elements, landlords, the head of the sect, hooligans, etc., should be immediately arrested and punished according to the law.
Those who recently fled should also be arrested (or secretly arrested), promptly interrogated, and dealt with separately. Those who disguise themselves as “water spirits” for personal purposes, such as stealing or committing adultery, should also be punished appropriately for disturbing public order even if they are not politically active. In dealing with the above cases, should hold mass meetings (as far as possible to absorb the participation of representatives of nearby districts and villages), so that they confess, publicly expose, and publicly announce their sentences. If the death penalty is approved approved, the execution should be widely publicized. Only in this way can give reactionaries a heavy blow, the masses can rest assured that the rumors can be quelled. In areas where the “water spirit hairy Man” rumor did not occur, strict precautions should be taken to prevent the spread of similar reactionary rumors. 
On January 14, 1954, the Anhui Provincial Party Committee issued a notice on quelling the rumors of “water spirits and hairy people”, requesting that local, municipal and county committees must quickly try to quell the rumors. For those who believe in ghosts and monsters, should be educated to be more vigilant. The public security departments were asked to step up reconnaissance to catch counter-revolutionary elements who created rumors and bad elements who used rumors to do harm. At the same time, the provincial public security department, according to the notice of the provincial party committee, requested the public security organs at all levels to launch a general anti-rumor struggle in areas where rumors had been quelled or where rumors had been serious in the past, with a focus and goal in mind, to map out and line up sabotage and disruption elements, to use concrete examples to expose the rumor-mongering and sabotage activities of bad elements, to raise the awareness of the masses, and to report the bad elements causing rumors and disruption. Anyone fabricating rumors for the head, actively spread rumors or take the opportunity to hit the ghost to intimidate the masses, expand rumors, create a false situation and cause panic among the masses, should be resolutely fought. At the same time, the Provincial Public Security Department sent six working groups to Chu County, Suxian, Fuyang, Wuhu and other key counties to check the rumor tracing and rumor quelling situation. The public security organs at all levels, according to the instructions of the provincial party committee and the provincial public security department, sent a large number of cadres to penetrate into the areas where rumors were spread and carry out the work of quelling rumors. 
In April 1954, Anhui Provincial Public Security Department issued a notice on the continuation of the “water spirit hairy Man” rumor, which clearly stated that since the “water spirit hairy Man” rumor was still circulating in some areas, the public security organs at all levels were required to resolutely follow the instructions of the Provincial Party Committee on January 14 to quell the rumor after it had already been spread. Fourteen instructions, in the rumors have been quelled or rumors in the past serious areas, should be combined with the general line of propaganda and education, focused and targeted to launch a fight against rumors. They should organize forces to reach out to the masses, through district and township cadres, security activists, etc., to identify and line up the saboteurs and troublemakers who appeared in the course of the rumors, and use concrete facts to expose the evils of their use of the “water spirit hairy man” rumors to sabotage.
This will help the masses understand the truth of the rumors; mobilize the masses to talk about the harm they suffered by listening to the rumors. In order to raise the consciousness of the masses and to prosecute the bad elements who created the rumors. For those who are the leaders of rumors or actively spread rumors, as well as those who take the opportunity to play God, intimidate the masses, and cause panic among the masses, we should resolutely crack down on them, and if they belong to the five categories of counter-revolutionaries or landlords, hooligans, or traitors, they should be arrested and punished; if they are ordinary people, they should confess their mistakes in public through self-examination, and if they are serious and bad, they should be convicted according to the law. In the process of quelling rumors, it is necessary to map and line up the remaining counterrevolutionary elements, hostile class elements, and dangerous elements of social security, pay attention to finding clues to counter revolutionary organizations, set up reconnaissance, and give timely crackdowns after obtaining evidence. 
From the interpretation of the above historical materials, it seems that the local government in Anhui was more timely in responding to the rumors of “water spirit hairy man” from top to bottom this time. On July 2, 1956, Zeng Xisheng, secretary of the Anhui Provincial Party Committee, said in his “Report on the Work of the First Party Congress of Anhui Province” that in the “water spirit hairy Man” incident, the government began to “crack down on the water spirits. In the incident of “water spirits”, Zeng Xisheng, the secretary of Anhui Provincial Party Committee, said in his report on the work of the first CPC congress in Anhui Province, that at the beginning, he “did not adopt the policy of suppression”, but later “changed the practice and adopted the measures of detection and resolute suppression, so that the masses actively rose to participate in the struggle. The rumors of ‘hairy man water spirits’ were quickly quelled.” 
It should be said that under the strict instructions, supervision and inspection of the Anhui Provincial Party Committee and the Public Security Department, local party and government organizations and cadres in cities, counties, districts and townships then acted efficiently and worked hard to “quell the rumors” in the areas where the rumors were concentrated. By the autumn of 1954, under the instructions of the Provincial Party Committee and the Department of Public Security, the government departments of the province “arrested 1,128 counter-revolutionaries and various criminal elements who made use of the rumor of ‘water spirit hairy man’ to incite trouble, and sentenced more than 20 people to death, so that the rumors were gradually quelled. ” 
VI. The Case of Feixi County
In terms of the history of administrative divisions, Feixi County was under the Chaohu Special Zone of the Northern Anhui Administration at the beginning of the founding of the country, and later changed to the Liuan Special Zone of the Northern Anhui Administration.  According to the interview of Mr. Yin Shusheng, in December 1953, the rumor of “water spirits and hairy people” was spread to Feixi County of the Liuan Prefecture, and spread rapidly, and everyone was panic-stricken and social order was in chaos.  According to statistics at the time, “three people were killed, four were wounded, two people committed suicide due to excessive panic, and more than 100 people were injured in the panic. 
It should be said that the “water spirit hairy Man” rumor caused a lot of confusion in Feixi County, but compared to other parts of Anhui, the “water spirit hairy Man” rumor in Feixi County spread later, and by this time the Anhui Provincial Party Committee and the Public Security Department had basically formed a more systematic response and strategy.
On January 5, 1954, the Propaganda Department of the Anhui Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China sent the “Propaganda Instruction on Quelling the Rumors of “water spirits and “” to the Feixi County Committee. At the beginning of the instruction, it was emphasized that the rumor of “water spirit hairy nan” was obviously a conspiracy of the hidden remnants of counter-revolutionary elements to sabotage the propaganda and implementation of the Party’s general line during the transitional period and the current task of food plan requisition, to disrupt the winter production of farmers and to disturb social security. To this end, the provincial party committee put forward the following instructions from three aspects:
(1) in terms of propaganda content, should focus on the following points: stressed that the “water spirit hairy Ren” rumor is a reactionary rumor spread by the participating counterrevolutionaries, is a vicious plot of counterrevolutionary elements to carry out sabotage activities, they The purpose of the rumors is to disturb social security, destroy the production of the peasants, and at the same time attempt to provoke the friendship and cooperation between the people of China and the Soviet Union, destroy the contact between the Party and the people’s government and the masses, and destroy the unity between the cadres and the masses.
2, to explain that under the correct leadership of Chairman Mao and the Communist Party of China, the Chinese people have achieved great victories in the anti-U.S. aid campaign and in the various construction projects, and are gradually making a triumphant transition to socialism. The counter-revolutionaries did not care about the peaceful and happy life of the Chinese people, but they were exhausted and could only resort to the most despicable and shameless means to create rumors and deceive the people.
3. to show that the Soviet Union had provided great, comprehensive and long-term selfless assistance to China’s revolutionary victory and economic construction, and that the Soviet people were the best friends of the Chinese people; to show that the Party and the People’s Government had always served the people at large, and that the revolutionary cadres were the people’s workers. and that revolutionary working cadres are the people’s handymen and have been, are and will be fighting for the happy life of all working people. All rumors that provoke the relationship between China and the Soviet Union and the relationship between the people and the Party and the government are the plots of counter-revolutionaries, who are the enemies of the people, and the people should never fall for their tricks. Anyone who listened to the rumors not only made the family restless, but also wasted a lot of money, delayed production, and fell for the counter-revolutionaries’ tricks. This lesson should be accepted by everyone.
This shows that after the banditry, anti-hegemony, land reform and counter-revolutionary suppression campaigns, the counter-revolutionary forces have basically been eliminated, but there are still a small number of counter-revolutionary elements that have slipped through the net, and if some people mistakenly believe the rumors and become alarmed, they will give those small groups of counter-revolutionary elements an opportunity to take advantage of their sabotage activities. Therefore, the people should never listen to rumors, let alone believe in them, and spread them, but should be vigilant so that counter-revolutionaries can take advantage of them, and immediately refute them and pursue their roots when they find them, so as to ensure the smooth progress of winter production and mutual cooperation campaigns.
In areas where rumors occur, it is necessary to first of all urgently educate grass-roots cadres, party members, league members, propagandists and activists, raise their political vigilance, keep a clear head and ensure that they are not fooled by rumors, which is the key to quelling rumors; and then organize them to do their utmost to educate the masses to expose reactionary rumors. In this propaganda campaign, in addition to holding various meetings and conferences for oral propaganda, and should use the counter-revolutionary elements who created rumors or pretended to be “water ghost ” to present themselves; organize people who have suffered great losses from rumors to make complaints; also organize the masses to visit each other to see the truth and debunk rumors; and can use detailed accounting (list local method of calculating detailed accounts (citing real-life examples of fire, theft, injury and waste and delay in production due to misbelief in rumors), combined with the immediate interests of farmers, is proven to be an effective way to extinguish rumors. In areas where it is estimated that rumors may spread, prevention should be resolutely implemented, and rumors should be quickly and actively exposed to the cadres and the masses in order to occupy ideological positions and form a strong line of defense to resolutely stop the attack of rumors and ensure that they do not spread. Taking the initiative in leadership is extremely important in this struggle.
(3) While carrying out the above propaganda work, grass-roots cadres and the masses should be educated to strengthen the control and surveillance of counter-revolutionary elements and unlawful landlord class elements, and warn them openly against any indiscriminate talk or movement. For those speculators, thieves, dilettantes, etc., who try to take advantage of the opportunity for personal gain and fabricate and expand rumors, they must also be educated and dealt with as necessary with the approval of their superiors, depending on the seriousness of their situation. However, in carrying out propaganda activities, a strict distinction must be made between the vicious rumors of counterrevolutionaries and the backward-minded speech of the masses; the masses must not be treated roughly, but neither should reactionary rumors be simply regarded as the superstitious activities of the masses, thus relaxing vigilance and weakening the struggle to crush the conspiracies of counterrevolutionaries. 
Through the above historical materials, it can be seen that the content of this propaganda instruction sent to the propaganda department of the Anhui Provincial Party Committee in Feixi County was extremely meticulous and thorough. In January 1954, the Feixi County Committee instructed all districts to quell the rumors of ‘water spirits and hairy people’ as the main task of law and order. The County Public Security Bureau was divided into six groups to quell rumors in areas with serious rumors. Each area used examples to make the masses recognize the bad guys’ schemes. Some of the leaders who created rumors, spread rumors and incited the masses to trouble were arrested and brought to justice.”  The Chinese government’s “Fei Xi County” was the first country in the world to have a “rumor mill”.
It should be said that in the work of “quelling rumors” in Feixi County, many leaders who created and spread rumors and incited the masses to trouble were indeed arrested and brought to justice, but there were also some lucky ones who were given mercy outside the law, such as Wang Xiaoming of Sanhe District. According to the archives: Sanhe District, “the second elementary school teacher Wang Xiaoming always backward thinking, political awareness, the secret service rumors, the king not only did not actively debunk the rumors to the masses, but believe in the truth, the more serious the king actually encouraged the masses with knives and sticks to prevent our cadres to work in the countryside, and threatened to say, ‘ This wrong behavior of Wang has seriously lost the proper position of a people’s teacher”, therefore, Feixi County Government “in order to strictly discipline and educate cadres, after The study decided to give Wang Xiaoming administrative dismissal.” Subsequently, the Sanhe District Government, in accordance with the instructions of the County Party Committee, “demoted” the teacher Wang Xiaoming to a teaching position at Wuxin Primary School, and transferred “Sun Xiaozhen, a teacher at Wuxin Primary School, to work at Sanhe Second Primary School. “.  Nearly a year after Wang Xiaoming was transferred to Wuxin Primary School, the Sanhe District Government found that Wang Xiaoming had “recognized his mistake and performed positively and responsibly at work since receiving the disciplinary action” and “agreed to revoke his disciplinary action” and “reported to the county government for processing.” 
In summary, in the process of “quelling rumors”, the Feixi County Committee and the Public Security Bureau, according to the propaganda instructions of the Propaganda Department of the Anhui Provincial Committee of the CPC, adopted a two-pronged approach of “fighting for education” and “severe suppression”. By the end of January 1954, “the rumors had subsided and order had returned to normal” in Feixi County. [On January 17, 1955, the Propaganda Department of the Anhui Provincial Party Committee and the Party Department of the Provincial Public Security Department also issued the “Opinions on Refuting Rumors and Cracking Down on Bad Elements” to the Feixi County Party Committee, in which it was stated that in early January 1955, in Feixi County “Nineteen more townships in seven districts were haunted by ‘water spirits and hairy people’ rumors.”  Even in the “Report on the Inspection of the Current Rural Security Situation” of March 15, 1957, the CPC Feixi County Committee also revealed that Feixi County had quelled “rumors that bad elements had been found in four townships, including Longtan, saying that ‘eye gouging and egg cutting are coming again (referring to hairy man water spirits). ” the rumor. 
Rumors of “water spirits and hairy people” in Feixi County were not quelled all at once, but recurred in cycles. The local government’s response, moreover, followed a top-down locking path to deal with it. During this period, the Anhui Provincial Party Committee, the Public Security Bureau, the Lu’an Local Party Committee, and the Feixi County Party Committee also issued several documents instructing the local authorities to “quell” the rumors in response to the recurring “water spirits and hairy people” rumors in Feixi County.  The local government also issued a number of documents instructing local “rumor-quelling” efforts.
For example, on December 16, 1954, the Communist Party of China Lu’an District Committee sent to Feixi County “additional instructions to quell the rumors of the “, the additional instructions clearly pointed out:
1, the current work in rural areas of all the provinces, special, county, district cadres, etc., must pay great attention to, can not be easily overwhelmed, in the beginning of the rumors of the area, should be combined with the work of the unified purchase and sale of grain, quickly organized party organizations, league members, cadres to go to the masses.
2, close to the rumor areas, and not yet rumor areas, and may be affected by the rumor areas, should immediately convene a meeting of party members and activists, education cadres, get through the ideological awareness, ready to ideological positions, in order to take the initiative at any time to expose rumors.
3 The government should strengthen political and ideological education in the propaganda of the unified purchase and sale of grain, raise the political alertness of the masses, and prevent the enemy from creating rumors and sabotage.
4. To strengthen the supervision and control of counter-revolutionary elements in the five areas, and strictly prevent sabotage.
5. The government should also expose the rumors and educate the public with real people.  The document reflects the contents of the document.
From the contents reflected in these documents, it seems that after the recurrence of rumors, local governments always deal with them from the top down, in the same mode but with more intensive means, which has become a kind of locking dependency path. However, as Li Ruojian notes, “Every time the rumors end the same way, subsiding under a strong government crackdown. This kind of suppression can have a huge deterrent effect, and people’s fear of suppression may outweigh their fear of the ‘hairy man water monster,’ so the rumors will quickly disappear in the short term. However, the folk understanding and memory of the ‘hairy man water monster’ does not disappear, which means that a hotbed of rumor generation is retained, and when the time comes, the rumor may be resurrected.” 
VII. The Politics of Local Governorship
In fact, in the city of Nanjing under the Kuomintang in the spring and summer of 1928, there was also an outbreak of rumors of a demon woman taking souls, saying that the closing of the tomb of Dr. Sun Yat-sen needed the living souls of children, and that the front line of the Northern Expedition War needed war help from the spirits of the underworld. This caused a huge storm of rumors in Nanjing, which led to panic among the citizens, social disorder and chaos. At that time, the Nanjing Special Municipal Government, the Education Bureau, the Public Security Bureau, the Capital Garrison Command, and other functional departments actively reacted in a controlled manner according to the law, holding meetings, distributing leaflets, holding seminars, etc. to propagate and explain to the public, and denouncing the so-called “rascals, Sun Chuanfang’s henchmen, and communists” for making trouble from them in order to to eliminate the panic of the public. In addition, the Capital Garrison Command, the Public Security Bureau, and the city government also issued a notice prohibiting “mass gatherings of people to fight”, and the Public Security Bureau also imposed necessary punishments on violators, with the aim of quelling rumors and stabilizing social order.  The Public Security Bureau also issued a prohibition on “mobbing” in order to quell rumors and stabilize social order.
In contrast to the handling of this rumor in the Nationalist-ruled areas before the liberation, the local government in the new China had its own set of political practices in response to and handling of the “water spirit hairy man” rumor.
It should be said that, including the case of Feixi County described above, the local government’s response to and handling of this sudden rumor intensified the formation of a “politics of local supervision and responsibility” in the field of social security. This mode of political operation was the key link in the implementation of “political omnipotence” at the beginning of the founding of the country, and its core is expressed in the following three aspects.
First, the organization and cadres: the top-down supervisory operation.
Before the rumor of “water spirits and hairy people” came into Anhui, the Anhui Provincial Party Committee and the Public Security Department issued a multi-party response in the form of centralized leadership and unified command. Subsequently, the leaders of each city and county, the people’s armed forces, the public prosecution and law departments and district and township cadres went to organize investigation teams according to these response opinions, and went to the rumor concentrated areas, and tried to carry out the work of “quelling the rumors”.
In He County, in October 1953, “the rumor of ” and ‘water spirits’ circulated in the Xiangquan District, the township of Chiao Miao, in less than 40 days, spread to all districts and villages in the county”. “In order to quell the rumors and stabilize the social order, the county party secretary Tang Jiuqui, the head of the People’s Armed Forces Wei Xinchun, and the deputy director of the Public Security Bureau Wu Zhigui led 32 people to set up an investigation team to go around and dispel the rumors.” 
In Huoqiu County, on January 20, 1954, “Liu Li, Sanyuan, Hongji and other districts and townships appeared ‘ water ghost’ rumors, the county public, prosecution and law departments timely cooperation with district and township cadres, propaganda and education, while the arrest of rumor-mongering anti-bad elements of the land rich 82 people “.  And so on. It should be said that in the work of “quelling rumors”, from the provincial department to the city and county, and then to the district and township, the top-down supervision and inspection, one by one, reached a kind of pressure mechanism of rigid transmission, and the unity of the political center and the efficiency of political implementation were fully reflected.
Second, the ideological treatment: education for (ordinary people and grassroots cadres) and severe suppression (class enemies) combined.
In the process of spreading the rumor of “water spirit hairy Man” in Anhui, the rumor mutated and took on a strong ideological tone. Because of this, the governmental departments, in dealing with this widespread rumor, also simply and directly dealt with it ideologically from an a priori “class struggle” perspective. In the process, a two-pronged approach was adopted, with leniency and severity, and different treatment, in order to achieve the goal of a comprehensive ban on rumors.
Specifically, when the investigation team organized by the local government enters the rumor concentration area, it first holds a meeting with party members and cadres to strengthen ideological education, dispel rumor superstition and clarify the truth; second, mobilize the masses to report and trace the source of rumors. The general public and grassroots cadres who spread the rumors were “educated”, while the ideological creators and instigators of the rumors were often characterized as abstracted “class enemies” and were “severely suppression” approach. In this way, under the leadership of the investigation team, the dictatorial organs, grassroots cadres and the people were organically integrated and combined, and the work of “pacifying rumors” progressed very smoothly.
In Binghui County, in the process of “dispelling rumors”, “the county party committee held an emergency meeting, issued a syllabus to dispel rumors, and deployed cadres to work with the county public security bureau to go around to the masses to promote and educate, while taking severe measures to crack down on bad elements who took advantage of the opportunity to fabricate and spread rumors, executing two people and arresting and imprisoning seven. Two people were executed and seven were arrested and imprisoned. After 50 days of efforts, the rumors gradually subsided. 
In the Anqing area, in the process of “quelling the rumors”, “the public security bureaus in each county first educated the cadres in the areas where the rumors were spread, found out the facts of the panic, explained the truth to the masses, and arrested 108 people for creating and spreading rumors and taking the opportunity to sabotage them according to the law. After three months. The rumors of ‘water spirit hairy Ren’ were quelled.” 
In Wuhe County, in the process of “quelling rumors,” “the public security department deployed more than 100 cadres to the countryside to dispel the rumors,” and “banned the reactionary Daoist association and arrested 35 Daoist leaders of all sizes.” In the process of quelling the rumors, “the public security department deployed more than 100 cadres to the countryside to dispel the rumors,” and “banned the reactionary Daoist organization and arrested 35 Daoist leaders of all sizes.  In Huoqiu County, in the process of “quelling the rumors,” “the county public security bureau mobilized the masses to expose the falsehood of the rumors. A total of 156 people were arrested; 22 of them were former bandits, 1 was a bully, 1 was the head of the Huidao Sect, 3 were Kuomintang military and political personnel, 6 were landlords, and 3 were soldiers and hooligans; 3 were sentenced to death and 47 to imprisonment. 106 people were released through education.” 
In Feidong County, the process of “pacification”, “the county party committee and the county government decided, with the Public Security Bureau and the Armed Forces Department as the main focus, to mobilize the security personnel at all levels to reach out to the masses to carry out propaganda and education, and arrested 43 saboteurs, of whom Han Mou of Zhongshan Wang Township, a large public anger, was sentenced to death “, after several months, “the rumors subsided.” 
In Wuwei County, in the process of “quelling rumors”, “the Wuwei County Committee, Wuwei County Public Security Bureau, Wuhu Special Public Security Office, and the Provincial Public Security Department received the report, respectively sent personnel, led the public security armed to the place of trouble, on the one hand to carry out propaganda, expose rumors, and win the masses; on the other hand, in the face of inciting the masses, creating At the same time, “and cooperate with the people’s court, select the typical, after approval, …… in Yanqiao District, Zhabei Township, nearly 10,000 people participated in the public trial conference, to create rumors, creating riots, the leader of the elements Shi The company’s main business is to provide a wide range of services to the public. Immediately afterwards, a county-wide political offensive was launched, with seven meetings of 10,000 people being held and 331 arrests of the leaders, and the situation gradually subsided. 
And so on. In this “rumor-quelling” work, the “education and struggle” for the general public and grassroots cadres initially deconstructed superstitious rumors, but the “class enemy” reshaped the general group fear. The broad nature of political mobilization and the instrumental nature of ideological manipulation were fully realized.
Third, the political dilemma: the paradox of the politics of local supervision and responsibility.
Before the rumors of “water spirits and hairy people” broke out in Anhui, local governments had already begun to respond from the top down. In some cities and counties after the outbreak of sharp conflicts between the cadres, this response is more powerful as. The most important feature is that the two-pronged approach of “fighting for education” and “severe suppression” has been adopted to achieve a supervisory political solution through organizational, cadre and ideological treatment. There is no doubt that through this kind of operation, it can achieve the purpose of political power domination, reshaping society, and maintaining rigid social stability.
However, in the case of the “water spirit hairy Man” rumor, if the local government does not implement a supervisory political solution, it will not be able to efficiently deconstruct the “water spirit hairy Man” rumor, which is certainly not conducive to the consolidation and stability of the new regime, and will inevitably bring about the political dilemma of orthodox legitimacy. But if a strong implementation of the supervisory political solution can efficiently deconstruct a superstitious rumor, it will bring another political dilemma.
As Ma Junya says, when the local government quelled the rumor of “water spirits and hairy people,” “while deconstructing the superstition, the strange power of the virtual world was transplanted into the dissidents of the real world out of political necessity,” and “for a large number of The control, arrest, public trial, and public execution of a large number of dissidents-potential social mobilizers-apparently reconstructed universal fear,” but “this violent way of a priori eliminating class enemies clearly did not deconstruct the ‘hairy man water monster’ from its social roots, but only reconstructed group fear.” 
This means that when the a priori and stigmatized “class dissidents” are suppressed, the universal group fear is reconstructed and spread, i.e., there is no longer an opposition force to effectively check and control the politics of accountability, which in the long run will certainly undermine the fundamental consolidation and stability of the new regime, and even cause greater disasters and crises. The efficiency of political mobilization and the lack of political participation are fully reflected, which is the most paradoxical political dilemma of the implementation of “local supervisory politics”.
About the Author]:
Huang Wenzhi: (1980-) Male, Ph.D. in history, teacher at the School of Social and Political Science, Anhui University, researcher at the Research Center for Rural Social Development, Anhui University, and researcher at the Center for Taiwan Studies, Anhui University, with special interests in revolution and transformation in modern China, twentieth-century Chinese political history, and social and political movements.
 See Li Ruojian, “Refraction of Social Change: A Preliminary Exploration of the “hairy man Water Monster” Rumors in the 1950s,” Sociological Studies, Vol. 5, No. 5, 2005, pp. 182-200; Li Ruojian, “The Construction of Rumors: A Reanalysis of the “hairy man Water Monster” Rumors,” Open Times, Vol. 3, 2010, pp. 105-125; Ma Junya, “Fear Reconstruction and Authoritarian Reinvention: A Study of the Historical Background of the “hairy man Water Monster” in Huabei,” Journal of Nanjing University, Vol. 6, 2013, pp. 101-109.
 Bengbu City Local History Compilation Committee, Beijing: Fangzhi Press, 1995, p. 897
 Compiled by the Anhui Provincial Local Zhi Zhi Committee: Anhui Provincial Zhi – Public Security Zhi, Hefei: Anhui People’s Publishing House, 1993, pp. 216-217
 Compiled by the Anhui Provincial Local History Compilation Committee: Anhui Provincial Zhi – Public Security Zhi, Hefei: Anhui People’s Publishing House, 1993, p. 217.
 Compiled by the Anhui Provincial Local History Compilation Committee: Anhui Provincial Zhi – Public Security Zhi, Hefei: Anhui People’s Publishing House, 1993, pp. 217-218. Anhui Provincial Local Zhizhi Compilation Committee, Beijing: Fangzhi Publishing House, 19983, p. 467; Huoqiu County Local Zhizhi Compilation Committee, Huoqiu County, China Radio and Television Press, 1992, p. 558; Jinzhai County Local Literature and History Materials Compilation Committee, Anhui Province, China, Jinzhai County, Shanghai People’s Publishing House, 1992, p. 23. Anqing Local History Compilation Committee, Anqing City, China, Hefei: Huangshan Shushe, 1995, p. 334; Firyang County Local History Compilation Committee, Firyang County, Hefei: Huangshan Shushe, 1998, p. 403; Yuexi County Local History Compilation Committee, Yuexi County, Hefei: Huangshan Shushe, 1996, p. 310; Wuhu County Local History Compilation Committee of Wuhu County: Wuhu County Zhi, Social Science Literature Publishing House, 1993, p. 30; Compilation Committee of Local Zhi of Changfeng County, Anhui Province: Changfeng County Zhi, Beijing: China Literature and History Publishing House, 1991, p. 17.
 Zeng Xisheng: Selected Writings of Zeng Xisheng, Beijing: People’s Publishing House, 2008, p. 194.
 Li Ruojian, “The Construction of Rumors: A Reanalysis of the “hairy man Water Monster” Rumor,” Open Times, No. 3, 2010, pp. 115-116.
 Anhui Province Quanjiao County Local History Compilation Committee, Hefei: Huangshan Book Society, 1988, p. 449.
 Shen Youxin, editor-in-chief: Chronicle of Public Security Events in Hefei, Hefei: Huangshan Shushe, 1998, p. 40.
 Firyang County Local History Compilation Committee, Firyang County History, Hefei: Huangshan Shushe, 1998, p. 403.
 Xu Xiuqian: “The Mystery of the hairy man Water Ghost”, Jinzhai Cultural and Historical Materials (III), 1986, p. 188.
 Anhui Provincial Local History Compilation Committee, Anhui Provincial Zhi – Public Security Zhi, Hefei: Anhui People’s Publishing House, 1993, pp. 216-217.
 Chuzhou City (county-level) Local History Compilation Committee, edited by: Chuzhou City Zhi, Beijing: Fangzhi Publishing House, 1998, p. 42.
 Compilation Committee of Local Zhi of Tianchang County, edited by Tianchang County Zhi, Social Science Literature Publishing House, 1992, pp. 146-147.
 Compilation Committee of Local Chronicles of Feidong County, Hefei: Anhui People’s Publishing House, 1990, p. 445.
 Compilation Committee of Local Zhi of Huangshan County, Hefei: Huangshan Shusha, 1995, p. 18.
 Compilation Committee of Local Zhi of Anqing City: Anqing Regional Zhi, Hefei: Huangshan Shushe, 1995, p. 334
 Huoqiu County Local History Compilation Committee, edited by Huoqiu County Zhi, China Radio and Television Press, 1992, p. 558
 Zhang Yongsong and Wu Zhixiao, “The “hairy man Water Monster” in Wuwei County in the Early Period of Liberation”, Jianghuai Wenshui, 1999, No. 4, p. 165.
 Anhui Provincial Local History Compilation Committee: Anhui Provincial History – Political Party History, Beijing: Fangzhi Publishing House, 19983, p. 467.
 Li Ruojian, “Reflection of Social Change: A Preliminary Exploration of the “hairy man Water Monster” Rumor in the 1950s,” Sociological Studies, 2005, No. 5, p. 193.
 Xu Xiuqian: “The Mystery of the ” Water Ghost””, Jinzhai Cultural and Historical Materials (III), 1986, pp. 191-192.
 Yuexi County Local History Compilation Committee, Hefei: Huangshan Book Society, 1996, p. 310.
 Compilation Committee of Local Zhi of Lai’an County, Anhui Province, edited by: Lai’an County Zhi, Beijing: China Urban Economic and Social Press, 1990, pp. 299-300.
 Compiled by the Local History Compilation Committee of Quanjiao County, Anhui Province: Quanjiao County Zhi, Hefei: Huangshan Book Society, 1988, p. 449.
 Compiled by the Local History Compilation Committee of Changfeng County, Anhui Province: Changfeng County Zhi, Beijing: China Literature and History Press, 1991, p. 17.
 Compilation Committee of Local Zhi of Mingguang City, edited by Mingguang City Zhi, Hefei: Huangshan Book Society, 2014, p. 22.
 Fengtai County Local History Compilation Committee, edited by Fengtai County Zhi, Hefei: Huangshan Shushe, 1998, p. 145.
 Compilation Committee of Wuhe County Zhizhi, Wuhe County Zhizhi, 1992, Hangzhou: Zhejiang People’s Publishing House, p. 12.
 Huoqi County Local History Compilation Committee, Huoqi County, China Radio and Television Press, 1992, p. 558.
 Li Ruojian, “Reflection of Social Change: A Preliminary Study of the “hairy man Water Monster” Rumor in the 1950s,” Sociological Studies, No. 5, 2005, p. 197.
 Anhui Provincial Local History Compilation Committee: Anhui Provincial History – Public Security, Hefei: Anhui People’s Publishing House, 1993, pp. 217-218.
 Editorial Office of Public Security History, Anhui Provincial Public Security Department, Anhui Province: Chronicle of Public Security Events in Anhui Province (above), Internal Confidential Information, December 1996, p. 52.
 Zeng Xisheng: Selected Writings of Zeng Xisheng, Beijing: People’s Publishing House, 2008, p. 194.
 “Crushing Counter-Revolutionary Rumors,” People’s Daily, Oct. 17, 1950.
 “Report of the Central Public Security Department on the National Public Security Conference to the Central Committee,” October 1950, in Party History, Party Construction and Politics, National Defense University of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, edited by Teaching Reference Materials on the History of the Chinese Communist Party, vol. 19, PLA Publishing House, 1986, p. 207.
 Regulations of the People’s Republic of China on Punishing Counterrevolution, February 20, 1951, in The Teaching and Research Department of Party History, Party Construction and Politics, National Defense University of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, edited by Reference Materials for Teaching the History of the Chinese Communist Party, Vol. 19, PLA Publishing House, 1986, p. 247.
 Editorial Office of Public Security History, Anhui Provincial Public Security Department, Anhui Province: Chronicle of Public Security Events in Anhui Province (above), Internal Confidential Information, December 1996, p. 43.
 Editorial Office of Public Security History, Anhui Provincial Public Security Department, Anhui Province: Chronicle of Public Security Events in Anhui Province (above), Internal Confidential Information, December 1996, p. 49.
 Instruction of the Wuhu District Committee on the Rumors of “hairy men” in He, Han and Chao Counties, Anhui Provincial Archives Collection, File No. 3-1-107-10, pp. 1-2.
 Anhui Provincial Local Records Compilation Committee, Anhui Provincial Records – Public Security Records, Hefei: Anhui People’s Publishing House, 1993, p. 218.
 Editorial Office of Public Security History, Anhui Provincial Public Security Department, Anhui Province: Chronicle of Public Security Events in Anhui Province (above), Internal Confidential Information, December 1996, p. 53.
 Zeng Xisheng: Selected Writings of Zeng Xisheng, Beijing: People’s Publishing House, 2008, p. 194.
 Anhui Provincial Local History Compilation Committee, edited by Anhui Provincial History – Political Party History, Beijing: Fangzhi Publishing House, 19983, p. 467.
 Feixi County, established in December 1948 by taking the western and southern townships of Hefei County, was named after its location west of the Interwestern River. in October 1949, the democratic government of Feixi County was renamed Feixi County People’s Government. In 1950, Feixi County was subordinated to the Chaohu Special Zone of the Northern Anhui Administration. In April 1950, Sanhe was abolished as a city and established as a district, and was incorporated into Feixi County. In February 1952, Feixi County was reassigned to the Liuan Special Zone of the Northern Anhui Administration. In September 1958, Feixi County was transferred to Hefei City, and in April 1961, Feixi County was transferred to Liuan District, and in July 1983, Feixi County was returned to the jurisdiction of Hefei City.
 Author’s interview with Mr. Yin Shusheng, former executive deputy director of Anhui Provincial Public Security Department, interview location: study of Mr. Yin Shusheng’s home, time: July 6, 2015.
 Compiled by the Local Records Compilation Committee of Feixi County, Feixi County Records, Hefei: Huangshan Book Society, 1994, p. 448.
 Propaganda Instructions on Quelling Rumors of “water spirits and hairy men”, Feixi County Archives, file no.
X004-1954-002-0002, pp. 1-4.
 Compiled by the Local History Compilation Committee of Feixi County, Feixi County, Hefei: Huangshan Shushe, 1994, p. 448.
 “Sanhe District People’s Government’s Decision on the Punishment of Teacher Wang Xiaoming for the Mistake of Losing his Position and Spreading Rumors,” Feixi County Archives Collection, File no.
x038-1954-002-0002, pp. 1-2.
 “Report for Approval of the Transfer of Teacher Wang Xiaoming,” Feixi County Archives Collection, File No. X038-1954-001-003, p. 39.
 “Report for Approval to Revoke the Dismissal of Wang Xiaoming, a Teacher Transferred to Wuxin Elementary School in Our District,” File No. X038-1954-001-003, p. 122.
 Compiled by the Local History Compilation Committee of Feixi County, Hefei: Huangshan Book Society, 1994, p. 448.
 Opinions on Refuting Rumors and Fighting Bad Elements, Feixi County Archives Collection, File No. X004-1955-002-0005, pp. 1-2.
 Report on the Inspection of the Current Rural Security Situation, Feixi Archives Collection, File No. X001-1957-001-0115, p. 44.
 Notice of the Public Security Bureau of the Feixi County People’s Government, Feixi County Archives Collection, File No. X038-1954-002-0002, p. 1; Supplementary Instructions for Quelling hairy man Rumors, Feixi County Archives Collection, File No. X001-1954-002-0065, pp. 1-2; Opinions on Refuting Rumors and Fighting Bad Elements, Feixi County Archives Collection, File No. X004-1955-002-0005, pp. 1-2.
 “Supplementary Instructions for Quelling hairy man Rumors,” Feixi County Archives Collection, File No. X001-1954-002-0065, pp. 1-2.
 Li Ruojian, “The Construction of Rumors: A Reanalysis of the “hairy man Water Monster” Rumor,” Open Times, No. 3, 2010, p. 120.
 Liu Xiyuan, “The 1928 Nanjing Demented Storm”, Guangxi Social Science, No. 6, 2004, pp. 164-165.
 According to the American scholar Zou honestly, the concept of “totalism” is different from the political science concept of “totalitarianism” used by Chinese and Western theorists in the 1930s. It highlights the relationship between the state and society and refers to “the guiding idea that the power of political institutions can invade and control every stratum and every sphere of society at any time and without limit. Omnipotent politics refers to a political society based on this guiding ideology” (Zou Zou, Twentieth Century Chinese Politics: From the Perspective of Macro-History and Micro-Action, Oxford University Press, 1994, p. 3). Xiao Gongqin summarizes the characteristics of the political form of “totalitarianism” as follows: “The regime penetrates into the lowest cells of society in all directions, there is no space for autonomous social activities and civil society, power is highly centralized, and an ideological belief with egalitarian utopian goals serves as the basis for the integration of a one-party system. the basis of integration of society, the realization of political goals set by the state elite through a high degree of social mobilization and mass political participation based on ideological orientation, etc.” (Xiao Gongqin, “Political Posture and Prospects of Various Social Classes in China,” Strategy and Management, 1998, No. 5, p. 43).
 Hefei: Huangshan Shushe, 1995, p. 467.
 Compiled by Huoqiu County Local History Compilation Committee: Huoqiu County Zhi, China Radio and Television Press, 1992, p. 27.
 Compilation Committee of Local Zhi of Tianchang County, edited by Tianchang County Zhi, Social Science Literature Publishing House, 1992, p. 147.
 Compilation Committee of Local Zhi of Anqing City, edited by Anqing Regional Zhi, Hefei: Huangshan Book Society, 1995, p. 334.
 Wuhe County Zhizhi Compilation Committee, edited by Wuhe County Zhizhi, 1992, Hangzhou: Zhejiang People’s Publishing House, pp. 12, 419.
 Compiled by Huoqi County Local History Compilation Committee: Huoqi County Zhi, China Radio and Television Press, 1992, p. 558.
 Compilation Committee of Local Chronicles of Feidong County, edited by Feidong County Chronicles, Hefei: Anhui People’s Publishing House, 1990, p. 445.
 Editorial Office of Public Security History, Anhui Public Security Department, Anhui Province: Chronicle of Public Security Events in Anhui Province (above), Internal Confidential Information, December 1996, p. 52.
 Ma Junya, “Fear Reconstruction and Authoritarian Reinvention: A Study of the Historical Background of the “hairy man Water Monster” in Huaibei”, Journal of Nanjing University, Vol. 6, 2013, p. 109.
在全国解放前，安徽即有“水鬼毛人”谣言流传。1949年7月，在蚌埠市域的新船塘、纬四路、大马路、二马路、小蚌埠一带，国民党军队散兵游勇陆云兴等3人装扮成“水鬼毛人”，深夜恐吓群众。群众因受恐吓，惊起吆喝，乱跑乱叫，每处少则百十人，多则四五百人，闹得人心惶惶。后经地方政府介入，事态方得平息。 至于陆云兴等人制造“水鬼毛人”谣言的内容与原因，记载并不详细，但其它史料却有很好的补充。解放前的这起谣言系陆云兴制造，谣传“淮水涨，有水怪上来，拖人小孩，挖人眼睛”，目的是为“恐吓群众，乘机盗窃”。 这次谣言带有内生性特征。
不过，解放初的1953至1954年，“水鬼毛人”谣言又起，却是从邻省江苏传入的，在安徽的淮河与长江流域地区流传。大概1953年7、8月间，“由船民及来往群众自江苏蒋坝传入盱眙（当时属于安徽，后划江苏）境内。9月，蔓延至炳辉（今天长县——引者注）、嘉山（今明光市——引者注）、滁县、来安等县。10月以后，泗洪（当时属于安徽，后划江苏——引者注）、五河、定远、凤阳、全椒、肥东、肥西、和县、含山、巢县、无为、庐江及阜阳专区的凤台、蒙城、颍上、涡阳等五县，六安专区的一些县区，乃至合肥、淮南两市均有‘水鬼毛人’谣言流传”。 这是安徽省公安志里的记载，但就分布地区而言，其所载并不全面。当时，宿州专区的宿县，六安专区的霍邱、金寨县，安庆专区的桐城、枞阳、岳西县，蚌埠专区的怀远县，芜湖专区的芜湖县，合肥专区的长丰县 (1965年由寿县、定远、肥东、肥西四县边缘结合部划并而成——引者注)等地区，“水鬼毛人”谣言都有流传。
解放前夕，安徽“水鬼毛人”谣言就以口耳相传的方式，并在政府部门未证实情况下流传，只是当时注意不够。在这起谣言中，“水鬼毛人”一般被描绘成一种源于水中的怪物，这种怪物，浑身是毛，水涨上岸，拖小孩，挖眼睛。1953至1954年的“水鬼毛人”谣言，内容与建国前的大体一致。在全椒县，“水鬼毛人”是“青面獠牙、专割男性生殖器和女性乳房”。 在合肥市，“毛人”是“毛手毛脚，手、脚一伸就是火，刀枪不入，见人挖眼、割蛋、割奶头”。 在枞阳县，“毛人小鬼、昼伏夜出”，“专割女人奶头、男人卵子”。 在金寨县，“毛人水鬼”的“身体能大能小，大时身长数丈，脚有一尺多长，身穿白大褂，披散着很长的白头发，白发缝中隐现着青面獠牙。两只大如电灯的眼睛能射红绿亮光，两只手指甲长如利刃喜抓食生物。遇到女人就把乳房抓去，遇到男子就把睾丸捏走，人就别想活了。它要想进入屋时，就变的很小，能从窗缝中钻进去”。 等等。从这些地方志与文史资料来看，建国前后，安徽“水鬼毛人”谣言在一定地域的流布与传播，恐怖与神秘色彩浓厚。
在滁州市，1953年8月中旬，“水鬼毛人”从苏北传入本区，10至11月，全区大部分地方流传“毛人”谣言，“谣言破坏中苏友好和党群关系”。 在炳辉县，1953年9月，“水鬼毛人”谣言从“盱眙县传入，并很快风行全县。谣言称：毛人白天变成干部，晚上变成毛人，走路飞快，割男人的生殖器、女人的乳房，剖孕妇的肚子，还挖人的眼睛去做原子弹”。 在肥东县，1953年10月，从定远传来“水鬼毛人”谣言，传言“水鬼毛人神通广大，割妇女乳房和男孩生殖器给苏联造秘密试器，政府干部为其做内线”。 在含山县，1953年12月下旬，“县内发生‘毛人水怪’谣言，传‘毛人水怪’是苏联派来的，割女人乳、小孩睾丸，只伤群众，不伤干部”。 在安庆地区，1953年底，“水鬼毛人”谣言“以桐城县大关、岳西头陀最为严重”，谣传“政府放出毛人”，“要人眼、人心、奶头、卵蛋”，“送苏联造原子弹”。 在霍邱县，1954年2月，“水鬼毛人”谣言“主要攻击党和国家领导人，制造战争恐怖，造成社会动乱”。 在无为县，“水鬼毛人”谣言主要是说政府“要挖妇女的奶头、胎儿和男人的生殖器、眼球共250吨，作为制造原子弹的材料，所以政府训练了大批‘毛人’下乡来搜集”，并且谣传“水鬼毛人”是“政府派下来的，规定有‘三不挖’——军烈属不挖，党团员不挖，干部不挖”。 等等。
1953至1954年安徽“水鬼毛人”谣言的传播走向意识形态化的制造者与煽动者，一般被称为“刑事犯罪分子”、“不法分子”和“反革命分子”。据安徽省政党志记载：“水鬼毛人”谣言所到之处，“反革命分子和各种刑事犯罪分子利用谣言，组织骚乱、抢粮、殴打干部等，锋芒直指党和政府”。 李若建把这两类人称为“普通越轨者”与“变革中的受冲击者”。 有其合理的成分，但“普通越轨者”，某种程度而言，也是“变革中的受冲击者”。
其一、 关于“刑事犯罪分子”、“不法分子”。1953年，金寨县爆发“水鬼毛人”谣言，即因在军队表现不佳而复原回乡军人祝树基“发泄私愤”、“乘机发财”及“玩弄女人”而制造。 1953年，岳西县实行粮食统购统销，“一些不法分子为破坏这一中心工作，散步各种谣言，其中‘毛人水怪’谣言，一度在全县传播，受骗群众达数万人”。 等等。这些“刑事犯罪分子”、“不法分子”制造、煽动“水鬼毛人”谣言，多为获得私利或者达到私欲目的。
其二、关于“反革命分子”，主要是指土匪、恶霸、特务、反动党团骨干、反动会道门等五个方面的“反革命分子”。1953年7月，来安县“水鬼毛人”谣言由“盱眙县传入县半塔一带，并很快传到本县各地。由于暗藏的反动会道门头子、特务、反革命分子乘机造谣破坏，县内谣言四起”，“秩序混乱”。 1953年4月，全椒县开展了取缔一贯道、先天道、同善社、中华理教会等反动会道门工作，年底，“反动会道门制造‘水鬼毛人’等谣言，严重扰乱了社会秩序”。 1953年冬，长丰县“反动会道门在农村制造‘水鬼毛人’谣言，由东向西传入境内，群众惊慌失措，社会秩序混乱”。 1953年底，嘉山县“反动会道门制造的‘水鬼毛人’谣言，严重干扰社会秩序”。 1954年大水时，凤台县“三佛门道首，称‘水鬼毛人’，制造十分吓人的谣言，气氛恐怖，造成男不敢下田、女不敢出门、学生不敢上学的局面，一度弄得人心惶惶，社会混乱”。 1954年1月，五河县“反动道会门制造‘水鬼毛人’等谣言”，“致使不少乡村群众恐慌不安，彻夜不敢熄灯”。 1954年2月，霍邱县出现“水鬼毛人”谣言，后查明谣言系“反革命分子”制造，这些“反革命分子”，包括“原土匪”、“恶霸”、“会道门头子”、“国民党军政人员”、“地主”、“兵痞流氓”。 等等。这些“反革命分子”制造、煽动“水鬼毛人”谣言，多为扰乱社会治安及颠覆新政权之目的。
中共建政之初，即对社会中的谣言问题即进行了意识形态化定性，认为“谣言是完全非法的，造谣惑众的人便是人民的敌人”。 因此，要“对付反革命谣言，必须实行讲、驳、追三个字的政策，即加强宣传，对谣言正面加以驳斥，以及追究谣言的来源等”，并明确“追谣主要是各级公安部门的责任”。 而公安部门一旦追查到“以反革命为目的”，“进行反革命宣传鼓动、制造和散布谣言者”，将“处三年以上徒刑；其情节重大者处死刑或者无期徒刑”。
从行政区划沿革来看，肥西县建国初隶属皖北行署巢湖专区，后改属皖北行署六安专区。 据尹曙生老先生的访谈记载：1953年12月，“水鬼毛人”谣言传入六安专区的肥西县，并迅速扩散，谣言传到之处，人人惊慌失措，社会秩序一片混乱。 据当时统计，“全县各地在混乱中放枪打死3人，打伤4人，因过度恐慌而自杀2人，慌乱中挤撞致伤100多人”。
应该说，肥西县在“平谣”工作中，确实有不少造谣、传谣和煽动群众闹事的为首分子被捕法办，但也有法外开恩的幸运分子，比如三河区的王孝明。据档案资料记载：三河区“第二小学教师王孝明一贯思想落后，政治认识不清，此次特务造谣，该王不但不积极向群众揭穿谣言，反而信以为真，更为严重的该王竟鼓动群众拿刀持棒阻止我干部下乡工作，并扬言说，‘毛人’跟在政府干部后面，‘毛人’是干部带来的，王的这一错误行为，严重丧失了一个人民教师的应有立场”，因此，肥西县政府“为了严明纪律教育干部，经研究决定给王孝明行政上撤职处分”。 随后，三河区政府根据县委指示进行了“降职处分”，即“将教师王孝明调五新小学任教员”，而把五新小学教师“孙孝珍调到三河第二小学工作”。 王孝明在被调入五新小学工作将近一年后，三河区政府查王孝明教师“自接受处分后已经认识错误，并在工作上表现积极负责”，”同意撤销其处分”，并“报请县府处理”。
综上所言，在“平谣”过程中，肥西县委及公安局根据中共安徽省委宣传部的宣传指示，采取的是“争取教育”、“严厉镇压”双管齐下的方式开展“平谣”工作，这种剿抚并用的方式所达到的效果明显。1954年元月底，肥西县“谣言平息，秩序恢复正常”。 但是，这种效果也并非地方志中记载的那样立竿见影，总有反复出现的可能，即便已是小范围地偶发。1955年1月17日，中共安徽省委宣传部及省公安厅党组部门还向肥西县委下发《关于驳斥谣言和打击坏分子的意见》，在该意见里，指出肥西县1955年元月初，“又有七个区的十九个乡闹‘水鬼毛人’谣言”。 甚至1957年3月15日中共肥西县委《关于当前农村治安情况的检查报告》中，还透露肥西县已平息“龙潭等4个乡曾发现坏分子造谣说：‘挖眼割蛋又要来了（指毛人水鬼）’”的谣言。
安徽“水鬼毛人”谣言传入之前，安徽省委及公安厅即以集中领导、统一指挥的形式，出台多方配合的应对意见。随后各市县的领导、人武部门、公检法部门及区乡干部即根据这些应对意见去组织调查组，分赴谣言集中区，努力开展“平谣”工作。在和县，1953年10月，“香泉区绰庙乡流传着‘毛人’、‘水鬼’的谣言，不到40天，传遍全县所有区、乡农村”，“为平息谣言，安定社会秩序，县委书记唐九奎、人武部长韦新春、公安局副局长吴志桂等人率领32人，成立调查组，分赴各地进行辟谣工作”。 在霍邱县，1954年1月20日，“刘李、三元、洪集等区乡出现‘毛人水鬼’谣言，县公、检、法部门及时配合区乡干部，进行宣传教育，同时逮捕造谣惑众的地富反坏分子82人”。 等等。应该说，在“平谣”工作中，从省厅到市县，再到区乡，自上而下逐层的督责、检查，逐达到一种压力机制的刚性传导，政治中心的一元性、政治执行的高效性得到充分体现。
具体来看，即当地方政府所组织的调查组进入谣言集中区之后，首先召开党员干部会议，加强思想教育，破除谣言迷信及澄清事实真相；其次，发动群众，检举揭发及追查谣源。对谣言传播的普通民众及基层干部，采取“争取教育”的方式，而谣言意识形态化的制造者与煽动者，往往被定性为抽象化的“阶级敌人”，对其则采取“严厉镇压”的方式。这样，在调查组的领导之下，专政机关与基层干部及人民群众有机磨合与结合，“平谣”工作进展甚为顺利。在炳辉县，“平谣”过程中，“县委召开紧急会议，发出辟谣提纲，抽调机关干部协同县公安局全力以赴到各地向群众宣传教育，同时采取严厉措施，狠狠打击乘机捏造与扩散谣言的坏分子，处决2人，逮捕关押7人。经过50天的努力，谣言逐渐平息下去”。 在安庆地区，“平谣”过程中，“各县公安局首先对传谣地区干部进行教育，查清慌乱的实情，向群众剖明真相，并依法逮捕了造谣、传谣及乘机破坏的为首分子108人。历经三个月。平息了‘水鬼毛人’谣言”。 在五河县，“平谣”过程中，“公安部门抽调干部100多人下乡辟谣”，“取缔反动道会门组织，逮捕大小道首35人” 教育群众，使“受骗群众万余名退道”，历经近两月，“谣言平息”。 在霍邱县，“平谣”过程中，“县公安局发动群众，揭穿谣言假象。追查谣言制造者”，“共逮捕造谣生事者156人；其中原土匪22人，恶霸1人，会道门头子1人，国民党军政人员3人，地主6人，兵痞流氓3人；判处死刑3人，徒刑47人。教育释放106人”。 在肥东县，“平谣”过程中，“县委、县政府决定，以公安局、武装部为主，发动各级治保人员，深入群众进行宣传教育，并逮捕了43名破坏分子，其中山王乡韩某民愤较大，判处死刑”，历经几个月，“谣言平息”。 在无为县，“平谣”过程中，“无为县委、无为县公安局、芜湖专署公安处、省公安厅接报后，分别派出人员，率领公安武装到达出事地点，一面开展宣传，揭露谣言，争取群众；一面对煽动群众、制造行凶的反坏分子，迅速逮捕”，同时，“又配合人民法院，选择典型，经批准后，……在严桥区闸北乡召开有19个乡近万人参加的公审大会，对造谣生事、制造骚乱事件的为首分子施新春等7人判处死刑，执行枪决。随即在全县范围内开展政治攻势，先后召开万人大会7次，逮捕为首分子331人，事态逐步平息”。 等等。在这次逐层督责、检查“平谣”工作中，对普通民众及基层干部的“教育争取”，初步解构了一个迷信谣言，但对“阶级敌人”进行具体化操作，并“严厉镇压”，则再塑了新政权的权威，也重塑了普遍性群体恐惧。政治动员的广泛性与意识形态操作的工具性得到充分体现。
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