Created: 7/19/1968

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The Spread of Lawlessness in Communist China

Special Report




SPECIAL REPORTS arc supplementshe Current Weeklies issued by the Office of Current Intelligence. The Special Reports are published separately to permit more com pre he mi ve treatmentubject. They jrc prepjred by ihe O'Tkc of Current Intelligence, the OfTice of Economicthe Office of Strategic Research, and the Directorate of Science and Technology. Special Reports are coordinated as appropriate among the Directorate* of CIA but. except for the normal substantive exchange with other agencies at the working level, have not been coordinated outside CIA unless specifically indicated.


The SPECIAL REPORTinformationthe nationalnited States, within theOf. of the US Code, as amendpl^tttransnussion or revelation of its contents to or rc-^espTby an unauthorized person is prohibited by law.


TKE SPECIALBE RELEASED TO FOREIGNT^TS and must be handled within the franiewor^erTspecinc dissemination conirol provisions ot" DGHT't/7.


During the past two years the Culturalhas wrought havoc with the "instrunents ofparty, the police, andmachinery. The party and police systems hove fallen into disrepute throughout the country and in some areas have bean largely dismantled. The military establishment, ordered to fill the gap, has proved unequal to the job because the armed forces are too small, lack experience in the kind of public security work formerly done byof party and police cadre, and have not boon given unequivocal backing by Peking. esult, lawlessness and civil disorder haveevel unmatched at any tine Achievements in suppressing petty crime, black tnarke tee ring, and other "bourgeois institutions" have been largely wiped out. Inajor result of the attempt to "steel" the population withzeal hasew growth of the social evils of the pre-Coaraunist era. Local authorities areariaty of stop-gap measures in anto cope with the problem but have made little headway. Until the leaders in Pekingoncerted course of action, particularly with regard to the unruly Red Guards who are at the root of the trouble, there is little prospect for improvement in the situation. Even then it willonsiderable period of time to build new and effective machinery of control.

of Party and Police Controls

Since Hao issued the call in6 to bring downin authority following the capitalist line," tha party and its intricate network of control organizations have been virtually eliminatediable governing force. The majority of partywho ran the provinces were

removed from power by7 under the pressure of Red Guard attacks and no longer exercise any authority. The organizational network of party committees which formerly transmitted andpolicy decisions to the lowest level apparently now is inoperative.

The propaganda system has also lost much of its potency as

an instrument for persuasion and control, largely becausestatements are no longer backed uptrong andparty apparatus. Moreover, during the past yearalf, provincial radiobroadcasts and newspaper reporting have become increasingly suspect and in many

appear to represent only the factional line being taken by one group of leaders in aprovince.

The law enforcement system known throughout China as tho Kung-chien-fa, an abbreviation for Public Security bureaus, pro-curatorates, and people's courts, has been officially denounced by the Peking leadership as anof the former party InMao criticized the lawunits for their close past association with discredited party officials. Insieh Fu-chih, the minister of public security, complained that the majority of the public security personnel had supported conservative and less Rod Guard factions. Hethat "probably all' Kung-chien-fa units did what they could to protect local party officials and suppress militant Fad Guards. Finally, Hsieh stated that in line withMao'S directives, the Xung-chien-fa should be "thoroughly smashed." The actual status of public security bureaus varies from area to area. All have been weakened, however, and some have been shut down. The typicalapparently is now controlled

and partly staffed by People's Liberation Army soldiers.

The Military Takes Over

To fill the void created by the deterioration of the party and police apparatus, the Peking leadership called upon the only viable instrument of power left intact, the People's Liberation

Znilitary officers were ordered to take ove the adminstration of the province and consequently the enforcement of law. So-called "MilitaryCommittees" were created to replace defunct party committees and were often headed up byrather than political military leaders. Soldiers were sent in to replace party function aries in industry and agriculture other soldiers assumed some of th authority of the Public Security officials and became responsible for policing China's cities and towns.

The army's record over the past year has not been The military has been hard put to prevent an even higher level of lawlessness and has made almost no progress in movingthe reestablishment of civil order.

Army forces havo not brought an end to factional fightingmilitant Peking leaders have refused to give thalear mandate to take action against lawbreakers. Unruly Red Guards responsible for thein the streets as well as in the factories and schools

continue to enjoy the protection of key leaders in Peking,Mao himself. Throughout the Cultural Revolution those leaders have been intent on forcing tho military to remain neutral indisputes. This policy lias at the root of the nuaerous accounts of clashes in which army troops have stood on tha sidelines and taken no punitive action against either faction.

The military establishment has been prevented fromeffectively the newly assigned political roles by its sheer lock of size. AshoParty hadillion The arsy's strength does not exceed three million, ever, according to the most generous recent estimates. Moreover, the military system is not organized to handle the numerous civilian responsibilities which have fallen to it by default during tlie past year, and military personnel are mostly without experience in this area.

Even where Revolutionary Committees have been endorsed by Peking as replacements forControl Committees andCommittee Preparatory Groups, the leading members--usually the same army officials previously in charge of thenot been clearlyto stop lawlessness and disorder. In fact, significant factional fighting has continued in many provinces following the establishment of Revolutionary Committees. This suggests that the basic hostility betweenwaa merely papered over.

not resolved. Moreover, theof fighting and ofdisagreements within the Revolutionary Committees supports

the conclusion that conflicts -tween political leaders themselves have not been resolved.

Spread of Lawlessness and Civil Disorder

esult of the breakdown of the "instruments ofand the failure of thaLiberation Army to fill the void, lawlessness and disorder have spread throughout the Popular willingness to break the law has intensified in the past three months. Thisin social order has been directly related to the sevarity of factional fightingiven area. In major trouble Spots, black marketeering, gambling, juvenile delinquency, petty crime, and prostitution have flourished during the past year.

One of the ironies of the Cultural Revolution is that in attempting further to "steel" and Infect China's population with revolutionary zeal, it has actually reopened the pandora's box of social evils that prevailed in China before the Communist take-over. Before6 the party had achieved great success in controlling widespread crime. Since the advent of the Cultural Revolution and tho subsequent discrediting of the party and police control notworks, these social ills have once again

Precise information on the extent and character of lawlessness

is not available for Chinaholo. The roost extensive and specific reporting cones from travelers who have visited the three coastal provinces inChina: Fukien, Kwangtung, and Kwangsi. All three current types of governmental organization are to be found in this area. isilitary Control Committee,evolutionaryPreparatory Group isaKwangsi,ull-fledged provincialCommittee has beenin Kwangtung since last February. It therefore seems reasonable to assume that public security problems and the methods used in attempting to cope with then in this area ara fairlyof conditions When reporting has been available from other parts of China, it has tended to indicate that the situation in the rest of tha country does not differ significantly from the pattern observed in the southeast.

Black Marketeering

Black marketeering was an immediate outgrowth of theof police authority. to residents of in Chekiang, Fukien, and Kwangtung provinces, the deterioration of social order brought about by the Cultural Revolution facilitated the expansion of black market.

A man in Swatow, Kwangtung, who hadeddlereported that before theRevolution hia operations had been tightly curtailed by

Public Security and MarketCommittee officials. 7 onward, however, the peddler indicated that he had been able to carry on his transactions openly and was not bothered by localwho appeared to be more concerned with Cultural Revolution matters. In addition, army troops patrolling the Swatow area did not interfere; the source had the impression that they wereunfamiliar with local black markot deals.

In many areas of China, black marketeering has mushroomed because of the need for basic commodities no longer available through normal channels . and fighting haveegular production in factorior and farms throughout tha country.

Hen chow, Chekiang


result of such struggleswere unable totherehortage ofties. separated areascertain foodstuffs,and medicines, cookingsoap, cigaretteswere virtuallyon the state-operatorimarkot prices for suchno doubt vary fromSwatow

aasbaal black market prices for most items wereercent higher.

Pcappearancc oi Petty thievery

foreignin China would often write in detail about the extensivemade by the Chinese people to return items left behind by


forgetful travelers. Thewould report how they could leave valuables unconcealed in any hotel and return to find them undisturbed. In contrast, foreign travelers now often tell of being robbed in daylight along city streets by insolent Red Guard3 or opportunists taxing advantage of existing license to flout the law. in many cities most peoplerefuse to go out at night, fearing they may be robbed and beaten.

Petty thievery hasarticularly widespread problem in Canton and apparently in other major cities. During the past two years travelers to Canton have often reported being robbed of money, watches, and otheroman who passed through Shanghai in early May said that many pickpockets were at work among the crowd at the Shanghai railway station.

avorite Pastise

The Culturalresulted in numerousshutdowns and Consequently,peasants in many areasv China now have much moretraveler

P]W ports indicate that many Chinese, when not caught up in somecampaign, have returned to galling, the main prepastime. Students, farmers, and workers alike are occupying their free hours in gomes of' chance. In earlyraveler who visited Hsingning, JCwangtung, observed that farmers spent more time gambling than working. efugee from Swatow reported in

February that gambling had become more open in the city and that ner. could be seen playing cards and dice for money outside theheadquarters. Army sentries in the area made no attempt to stop the games.

In some areas, those gamos appear to be well organized. to one traveler, gambling establishments have been set up by cadres and production brigade leaders in the Choking city of Ning-po. The stakes used arayuan or rice ration tickets. Many farmers havo lost their life savings and have been forced "to migrate to Shanghai to become beggars and criminals." Commune leaders in the Ning-po areaare aware of thebut dare not interfere. They refer the matter to amy authorities but each timepersonnel ore sent tothey find the gambling establishments closed.

Similar establishmants hove apparently been formed in the troubled province of Fuklen.

Chuan-chou essM

_ private gambling

clubs had sprung up in the area and were operating from early evening until far into the night. Students, with no classes toand consequently no studying to do, have also turned to 9am-



students wore degenerating fast; "they are doing nothing but eat, sleep and play poker."

Juvenile Delinquency

Juvenile delinquency has also becomeerious problem in

China's major citiesesult of the Cultural Revolution. Aside from the youth in Red Guardwho are officiallyin their lawlessness, other groups of young people arc taxing advantage of tho current disorder for their own ends. Many youths sent to rural areas following the completion of their schooling have migrated back to the major cities during the past year. entral7 ordered "intellectual youths" to remain in the villagos and assist in the fall harvest. In many cases,the young people have not heeded this directive, areto return to their former farm positions, and aretheir cases to city officials.

In Canton the Youths from the Countryside organization claims its members will fight to the death rather than be sent back to the farm. Recent broadcasts by Shanghai authorities have urged similar youths in Shanghai toto their assignments in such places as Sinkiang but these pleas have met with little response from the youths, who continue to evade arrest. Although some of the young peoplo appear to be living off their relatives, many more are apparently surviving by petty thievery, black marketand other illegal practices.


Prostitution has been on the increase sincein China's port cities. Reports from Shanghai, Swatow and Canton suggest that local are once again turning their back on this activity, which before the Cultural Revolution wasby law. The Communists had taken pains to suppress itthey felt itlot on the Chinese image tolerated by the "bourgeois"raveler in Swatow in late March observed that prostitution was flourishing there. Kethat the preliminaries were being conducted openly in tha main public park in the city. Canton

relatives had been leading alife traveling between Canton and Swatow ana keeping company with many prostitutes in those two cities.

Population Dislocation

One of the most seriousof the Cultural Revolution has been the massive dislocation of the urban population. Some major cities in almost ovcry have had street battles and conflagrations serious enough toefugee problem.

In the springoured out of Honan Province as local People's Liberation Army authorities clashed with Paking Red Guard emissaries in Qiengchow. Inimilar exodus took place when Nanking residents fled their city to avoid becoming embroiled in the violent struggle. In July the triple city of Wuhan in central China was the site of massive violence and large numbers of residents fled to safety.

During early fall. Canton was the center of uncontrolled Red Guard violence; many local inhabitants left for thecountryside where thev often found conditions not much better. Numerous areas ofunder Rod Guard

siege between7 and tbe end ofnd residents escaped to theprovinces. Since April the Kwangsi Province cities ofchou, Nan-ning, and Liu-chou have been embroiled in bitter fighting.

The problems created by thousands of dislocated persons are numerous. Many people have been forced to engage in civil lawlessness to survive in the new areas. For example, since earlyajor new element in the Canton violence has been theof thousands of refugees from Kwangsi]umber of them haveinvolved in looting, and blade oarfceteering. In Kao-yao,arge number of those refugees stole firearms from the armyuneull-scale battle developed in whichefugees were killed.

Attempts to Curb Lawlessness

From time to time, theauthorities controlling the Revolutionary Committees and the Military Control Committees havo tried to deal with tho increasing lawlessness and civil disorder. Most of their efforts have met with little success because they have been prohibited from taking firm action against the chief troublemakers, the unruly Red Guards. In late March, provincial authorities tiagan to make several largely futila attempts to stomp out lawlessness and restore order. These attempts have includedshow trials, withholding wages, launching new moss campaigns,informal civilian provost teams, and encouragingcitizens to form their own vigilante groups-

Public Triols

In8 militarycontrolling the police system were conducting public trials of local criminals in an effort to deter unruly Red Guards and other lawbreakers in their areas. The victims of these trials have been identified as "counterrevolutionary criminals, robbers, murderers, speculators, juvenile delinquents, and enemies of the Cultural Revolution.- broadcasts and Red Guard reporting havo identified at leastrovinces where such trials have taken place.

Shanghai has been the siteumber of highly publicized public trials since January. rial of 'embezzlers, thieves, and robbers" oncounterrevolutionary profiteer" was executed on the spot; nine others were given sentencesfrom sevan years to life. Onpril seven more "renegades and active counterrevolutionaries" Were convicted and summarily put to death. In mid-May,oman traveling in Shanghai observed the public trial ofriminals. Ten were sontenced as "spies" and were executed. The others were sentenced to terms ofand "reform through labor."

Similar reporting has boon received on trials held in other areas. enewal ofin Peking in lata January, the military authorities running the police unitsublic trial ofen charged with murder, complicity in murder, and distributingionary leaflets.

Examples have alao been madeumber of lawbreakers inon. ay, five criminals were paraded through the streets wearing placards charging them with murder, rape, robbery, snatching arras, and striking ublic trial, the prisoners were shot.

The public trials appear to have been partially successful in restraining lawlessness andprovincial authorities in restoring law and order. Kod Guards, however, continue to be shielded by Peking radicaland it seems unlikely that local authorities have dared to act against many of the real troublemakers. Consequently, the hard-core Red Guards who are the major source of serious disorder have been unscathed.

Some minor lawbreakers may temporarily have haltedesult of the trials, but most reportsthat the minor offenders have soon returned to theiractivities because thehas failed to follow through. In some areas black marketeers, thieves, and other minorarrested by militaryhave merely been reprimanded, paraded around the city and then set free. This inconsistency in meting out punishment no doubt encourages many lawbreakers to continue their illegal activities.

Withheld Wages


ukien, Kwangtung, and Shansi reveal that militarycontrolling these provinces are in some cases withholding wages to students and workers. This action is probably inesult of restrictions infunds brought anout by the economic disruption of theRevolution. It addition, it appears that authorities are alao withholding wages asever to halt fighting in schools and factories and to force embattled factions to unite.

In some areas, localmay have withheld wagesinstructions to thefrom Peking. entral committee directive8 ordered that wage alloca-tiona to students should'continue to be governed by existing Where authorities were supporting economic programs which did not conform to central committee instructions, thestated that these programs should be canceled. There is no indication that localheeded this directive.


high-level uthorities were not issuing wages because the two factions in his school refused to agree to an alliance. imilarfrom Foochow in May indicated that since April money certifi-catas issued in certain factories and schools were not negotiable without the official seals of both factions printed on the certificate

The reaction of workers and students throughout the country who are being refused their wages is probably similar to that of a



of Canton workers in mid-June. Onune, workers in the electric torch factory in the Kan an district of Canton reacted vehemently when the managementwages would not ba paid for another month. After boing refused an audience with tha factory manager, the workers damaged or destroyed most of the machinery on the premises. Army troops finally had to halt the melee and arrest the participants.

There has been no evidence to indicate that withholding wages has forced an end to factional fighting in any areas. Rather, it seems only to have increased the antagonism between localand the authorities and servedource for increased. Lack of funds has in fact forced some normally law-abiding pecpleife of crime.

One of the most desperate of these acts has been the selling cf children, as recently reported from Kukicn. Onay flHaiiMaaal ir. Fucfiingconditions were so dire that peasants were being forced to sell their young children for money to buy food.uelling resident HassiS IbbbibSH was "facing imminentand that he had nobut to sell his youngest son at the going rate.

Twelve-Force Typhoon Campaign

During April and May,authoritiesumber of provinces launched anotheragainst lawlessness called the "Twelve-Force Typhoon." This campaign was first reported in

Kwangtung in mid-April; since then reporting has indicated that it is also being conducted in Kwangsi, Hupeh, Kiangsu, Shanghai andumber of other provinces. The beat reporting on the Twelve-Force Typhoon has come from Kwangtung travelers telling of the areas they visited.

Local People's Liberation Array officials have been primarily responsible for carrying out this campaign. The former Publicbureau officials' role is not clear. Although many have been officially denounced and presumably removed from their posts, Borne Public Securitymay be guiding the' and students' proveorps recently created by armyto implement the Twelve-Force Typhoon campaign.

The main targets have been local criminals such as black marketeers, beggars, gamblers, prostitutes, and other "class enemies." The more unruly Rod Guards have not bean included as "lawless elements." Thus the primary source of disorder has continued to remain outside the authority of the military law enforcement officers.

Some reporting from Canton, however, has suggested that local officials may have used the Twelve' Force Typhoon campaign to suppress certain political factions. eeting attended by Canton Trade Pair visitors in early May,Revolutionary Committeeannounced that the campaign would be aimed at six categories of people. These included not

only black marketeers and other ordinary criminals, but also "rightists" and persons whoMao or the CantonCommittee.

The reaction of radicalRed Guard groups to thesuggested that localmay have threatened toradical factions in the preceding categories. In late May several members of the radical "Augustighting Corps" wereas part of tho campaign but were apparently quickly At the same time, members of the Red Flag faction charged that only their enemies, theEast Wind Party, had been assigned leading roles in carrying out the campaign.

Canton residents reported in May that tho "Typhoon" had been partially successful inblack marketeering andin the city. Since early June, however, the campaign has been virtually suspended as aof renewed violent fighting between the two major Red Guard factions in tho province.

In areas where factional fighting has been largelyPeking's endorsement of one or another faction--local officials appear to have been more successful in cleaning up minor criminal elements. One such case is Kwangtung's port city of Swatow. In January andblack marketeering, gambling, prostitution, and other illegal activities apparently were In late March, armyin Swatow launched the

Twelve-Force Typhoon campaign, and traveler reports since then indicate that it has beensuccessful. By latelack marketeers, hooligans, and looters had been arrested, and robbery andhad been reduced.

Punishment for those arrested during the campaign has generally been mild. In moat cases, the arrested persons have boonthrough the city streets, publicly criticized andand then released. More serious offenders have beenenced to terms of "reform through labor." Residents of Swatowthe local criminals were being sentabor reform camp in Mei-hsien, Kwangtung. Similar sentences of "reform through labor' havj been pronounced against local criminals in Hainan island andumber of other cities in Xwang-


Provost Team;;

Since early April, new ad hoc institutions called worker and student "provost teams" have been organized by armyto assist them in theirto restore order andlawlessness . umber of provinces, these corps have been used to assist in carrying out the Twelve-Force Typhoon

Provincial broadcasts from Shanghai, Kwangtung, Kiangsl, Hupon, Anhwei, Honon, Kiangsu, and Inner Mongolia have reported that provost corps were emerging in these areas to perform routine

police work similar to that formerly done by the Publicpersonnel. The creation of this new apparatus furtherthe degree to which the Public Security system itself has been discredited.

Tha broadcasts state that these new security units have been formed of workers andby municipal and provincial Revolutionary Committee loaders. Zt is likely that because of their experience and training, aome former Public Security personnel haveart in organizing and directing the activities of these new units. Accordingroadcast from Cantonay, the provost corps is divided into battalions, companies, platoons, andsamo way Public Security units had been organized.

Since cizing of voat corps reflecting their in to become fighting. Flag youth in posters

The provost teams, mostly poorly organized groups ofworkers, have not made an impressive record in restoring order anywhere. Reports of their operations suggest that at most they have only been authorized to perform low-level police In Kwangtung during May the corps were responsible for such tasks as confiscating stolen bicycles, directing traffic, and guarding the Canton Trade Fair.

June, official publi-the activities of pro-has declined, possibly official.awareness of -jpctence and tendency embroiled in factional

In mid-May radicaln Canton announced that they were


drawing from their provost corps because itartisanof unacceptable "powar-holders in Kwangtung." Residents of Canton reported numerous inci- -dents during late May in which provost teams had been attacked by radical Red Guard factions while performing such duties as pulling down posters and breaking up clashes. The authority ofteams has no doubt beenby their involvement in Red Guard factional conflict.


The People's Liberation Army as sometimes,ast resort, urged residents of key trouble areas to organize their own Thus during the height of violence in Wuhan during the summeritizens formed vigilante squads to cordon off areas of the city from factional strife. Similar groups have sprung up during the peak periods of factional fighting in Canton, such as the fall7 and mostin May and of Canton reported in late May that the local street cooenit-tees were organizing vigilante squads to patrol at night androbbers or burglars fromcertain areas. As of mid-June, street committeos for mutual protection reportedly had organized young people to patrol the streets at night to giveof impending trouble.

Effectiveness and Prospects

Despite public trials, the Twelve-Force Typhoon campaign and civilian provost team, the army

attempts to bring an end to civil disorder and lawlessness in China's cities have been generally ineffective. Each new wave of violent factional fighting haseturn of civil disorder For this reason it seams likely that social order cannot bein China until theat thoand local levelsis As long as Red Guards continue to receive protection from Peking leaders, militarygoverning China will be unable to make significanttoward restoring order.

Evan if Peking does cut off its support to the Rod Guards and authorizes military officials controlling China to bring an end to the upheaval engendered by the Cultural Revolution, it will be difficult to restore order quickly. Defiance of authority

has been officially encouraged and commended in the past two years, and the breakdown innorms of conduct and living patterns is likely to have lasting effects. Moreover, the more obvious forms of violence and criminality can be broughtalt by strong-arm methods, more subtle forms of law lessness and evasion of directive will probably continue. ew apparatus of command and control to replace the now"instruments ofwill probablyonsiderable period of time. At present, however, Peking leaders have given no sign that they are prepared to take any action. Thus, the prospects for the future pointontinuation and possibly anof lawlessness and civil disorder.WO"


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