My Thoughts after Reading the "Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party" - Sending Words to Hong Kong and Guangzhou (1): Devious Sweet Talk

Zhang Yiheng

PureInsight | April 16, 2006

[] "Sweeten their food; give them nice clothes, a peaceful abode and a relaxed life" (from Daode Jing by Lao Zi).

During the times of peace, the responsibility of the government is to
ensure that the citizens live and work in peace and contentment. Having
a peaceful life is the most basic condition of a human life. It is not
a special human right or privilege. But since the Chinese Communist
Party (CCP) usurped power in mainland China, the Chinese populace has
never had a day of a truly peaceful and happy life.

During the latter years of the 1950s, the decade of the fifties, the
CCP unveiled the "Great Leap Forward" Movement. The local officials
were forced to lie and report incredible improvements in agricultural
production. The government claimed that "our national production of
rice has created a world record." They professed that "the average
production of 1 mu of rice paddy field is 18,000 kg during the early
season followed by 24,000 kg during the middle season." (Translator's
note: 1 mu = 0.0667 hectares). An elderly person told me he actually
read a report in Guangxi Province that falsely claimed that the
production was 65,000 kg of rice per mu of rice paddy field. In
reality, one mu of paddy field can only produce about 250 kg of rice
per year.

"The Great Leap Forward was a nationwide collective exercise in lying.
The people of the entire nation, under the direction of the CCP's evil
specter, did many ridiculous things. Both liars and those being lied to
were betrayed. In this campaign of lies and ridiculous actions, the CCP
implanted its violent, evil energy into the spiritual world of the
Chinese people. At the time, many people sang songs promoting the Great
Leap Forward, 'I am the Jade Emperor, I am the Dragon King. I order the
three mountains and five gorges to step aside, here I come.' Policies
such as 'achieving a grain production of 75,000 kg per hectare,'
'doubling steel production,' and 'surpassing Britain in 10 years and
the US in 15 years' were attempted year after year. These policies
resulted in a grave, nationwide famine that cost millions of lives."
(From Part 3 of the "Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party")
According to the Guinness Book of Records,
the most severe famine in the world took place from 1959 to 1961 in
mainland China during which time about forty million people died from

"Surpassing Britain and the United States" is not a wish that the CCP
will be able to fulfill in the days it has left. People in mainland
China who are around my age never had the opportunity to be properly
educated. While in elementary school they were not properly taught the
Chinese language as well as the stories about the ancient sages and the
principles of morality and virtue. In high school, they were not taught
histories and geographies of China and the West. In the 1960s, the
Chinese children were not allowed to see a world map, and they probably
did not even know the locations of Britain or the United States.

From the 1950s and 1960s, till the early years of the 1970s, the
ordinary people of Hong Kong were by no means wealthy. But, compared
with the people in the mainland, they were relatively much better off.
Hence, when they returned to visit their hometowns they brought many
gifts home, ranging from gifts of cash to peanut oil, toothpaste, bales
of cloth, biscuits, clothing, shoes and socks. Even people who lived in
big cities on the mainland welcomed those gifts. During that period,
the wages in mainland China were low. My father was a teacher in
Guangzhou and his monthly pay was about sixty Yuan (translator's note,
US$1 = 8.2 Yuan). The auntie next door was a factory worker and was
paid eighty Yuan per month in addition to better welfare benefits than
what the teachers got. Although the wages were low, there was nothing
to buy even if people had money. It led to a situation that can be
described as "no goods to buy with the cash." Of course, today the
situation is opposite, now there are goods, but people have no money to
buy things with.

Guangzhou is the capital of Guangdong province. Before the Communists
took over governing the country, the villages and towns in the delta
area of Zhujiang (the Pearl River) were considered the center for rice
and fishes, and produce was plentiful. There was no worrying about food
and clothing.

Three months after it took over power in mainland China, the CCP commenced land reform across the whole nation.

"For the owners of the newly acquired land, the good days of 'land to
the tiller' were short-lived. Within two years, the CCP imposed a
number of practices on the farmers such as mutual-aid groups, primary
cooperatives, advanced cooperatives, and people's communes. Using the
slogan of criticizing 'women with bound feet,' i.e., those who are slow
paced, the CCP drove and pushed, year after year, urging peasants to
'dash' into socialism. With grain, cotton, and cooking oil placed under
a unified procurement system nationwide, the major agricultural
products were excluded from market exchange." (From Part 3 of the  "Nine
Commentaries on the Communist Party")

After agricultural products fell under the state monopoly for purchase
and marketing, anyone who wanted to eat chicken in Guangzhou had to
ride a bicycle to the "Sanyuanli" black market to purchase it. But one
had to be careful not to be seen by persons active in the work unit or
the Communist cadres. If that happened, one would be subjected to a
series of criticisms by them for being in the category of bourgeoisies
subscribing to the ideology of seeking enjoyment!

I grew up in Hong Kong. When I was young, I spent the long school
vacations in Guangzhou with my grandparents. The first time I visited
the mainland was during the summer vacation of 1964. I accompanied my
grandmother to the market daily. There was rationing enforced by the
government and the queues to purchase food were extremely long. To
purchase any rations, one had to produce the creased and tattered
"rations record book" with the relevant official stamps attached, to
buy rice and edible oil. A family's ration for fish was one per month.
A single fish was cut into many pieces for sale. One had to queue for
long periods no matter what one wanted to buy. There were many
altercations in the queues. If it was not because of someone cutting in
the queue, it was because when it was someone's turn to buy, the food
sought had been sold out. There was no need to queue when purchasing
vegetables.  Even then, one had to be there early, or everything
would be sold out!

At that time, my second elder sister who was residing in Guangzhou told
me that her neighbor's children were all busy the whole day raising
chicken, hoping to alleviate their food problem. She would rather spend
a bit more time in reading books. The books she mentioned were the few
that were not confiscated when the young Communists ransacked our home
looking for things that were too decadent. We had a hot water bottle
that had an exceedingly crude "mountain and stream" traditional Chinese
painting on it. Even that was confiscated during the "Eradicating the
Four Antecedents" movement as it was considered to be one of the "four

There was a strange phenomenon. Though life was difficult and materials
were lacking, there was no shortage of cigarettes! The most popular
brand of cigarette at that time was "the Big Front Door." There was a
saying, "With 'the Big Front Door,' one can open the back door,"
meaning people could bribe others with cigarettes. When I read the
seventh of the "Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party" there was
a sentence that read "'persecuting Falun Gong' solves the problems of
movements of belief and health and so on." It initially made no sense
initially. There is nothing wrong with practicing exercises. Why would
the Chinese regime treat those practitioners as enemies and attack
them? But considering the amount of encouragement the Chinese regime
has given to the Chinese people to smoke cigarettes, it would not be
difficult to comprehend that sentence! I think the promotion of smoking
cigarettes by the CCP is absolutely vile and evil. In many documentary
films, Mao Zedong was depicted as always having a cigarette in his
hand, likewise Deng Xiaoping. Under the administration of the CCP,
there were numerous prohibitions, but cigarettes have never been
prohibited at any time, any place. At present, China has the highest
number of people smoking. and has the highest density of smokers in the

During the great famine, a low paid university lecturer was addicted to
cigarettes. Having to send money back to his village home to support
his parents, wife and children, he had no money left at the end of the
month. But he still craved cigarettes. What could he do? He went round
the campus collecting the dried fallen leaves. He then crushed them to
fine bits and used the paper he had written his lecture notes on to
roll up the crushed leaves and smoked them as he prepared his lectures.

In the 1980s, life appeared to have improved and there was no fear of
not having food. But many people's lives became even worse. My father's
sister and her husband had a harder time making ends meet because they
lost the welfare benefits that they had enjoyed previously. Their
children had to pay higher costs for college. The older generation had
already experienced twenty to thirty years of the hard life. Coupled
with the pressure from the government, they became ill and they looked
much older than people of the same age in Hong Kong.

My maternal cousin brother and sister were born in the sixties. It was
in the period of the "two children" policy. A third child would turn
the family into a "black-listed household." There would not be any
rations included for the third child in the family "rations record
book." The family would be facing great difficulty thereafter.

"In addition, the CCP established a residential registration system,
barring peasants from going to the cities to find work or dwell. Those
who were registered as rural residents were not allowed to buy grain at
state-run stores and their children were prohibited from receiving
education in cities. Peasants' children could only be peasants, turning
360 million rural residents of the early 1950s into second-class
citizens." (From Part 3 of the "Nine Commentaries on the Communist

Relatives from the villages were treated as second class citizens by
people in the cities and were called "country bumpkins". Even though
they brought some fresh produce with them, the city relatives were not
too willing to entertain them. They were afraid that the country
relatives were there to gain some "advantage" from them. Even though
the city dwellers were poor as well, they had guaranteed "welfare
benefits" and need not live the difficult life of the country bumpkins
in the villages. The city dwellers were driven by the "city-village
discrepancy" to behave in such a manner. Though I was very young then,
I felt much sympathy for my village relatives.

Even today the nine hundred million peasants in mainland China are
still in the same dire straits. "Owning their own land" is no longer
something that the Chinese peasants believe in, even though the CCP had
promised them that when it fought to gain power in mainland China, nor
do they dare to dream about it any more. In recent years, even the
survival of the peasants has become a big issue. It is apparent that
the peasants are worse off than the "serfs" during the Czarist regime
in Russia a hundred years ago. During the fall of 2005, in a broadcast
by the Chinese Central TV Station, a few female commentators discussed
the peasants in China: why do all the peasants try to come to the
cities? If the peasants all stop planting crops, what is there for us
to eat? The people overseas are fond of villages, and many people go to
the rural areas to become farmers. I could not bear to listen to any
more of it. The farmers overseas are treated as professionals. They are
paid for their work. In China, the peasants are only a
"classification". In the early days of the CCP's lies, everyone was
required to learn from the "workers and peasants," but they later lost
their welfare benefits, and became second class citizens without any
means of survival. Some of the "prosperous farmers" or the "nan feng
chuang" (Chinese term used for "well to do") peasant households that
the people of Hong Kong know are actually the exceptions to the rule!

The following is an extract from Part  9 of the "Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party":

"The CCP Cheats the Peasants Once and Again

"The CCP relied on peasants to gain power. The rural residents in the
CCP-controlled areas in the early stage of its buildup devoted all they
had to the CCP. But since the CCP obtained control of the country,
peasants have experienced severe discrimination.

"After the CCP established the government, it set up a very unfair
system, the residential registration system. The system forcibly
classifies people into rural and non-rural populations, creating an
unreasonable separation and opposition within the country. Peasants
have no medical insurance, no unemployment welfare, no retirement
pensions, and cannot take loans from banks. Peasants are the most
impoverished class in China, but also the class carrying the heaviest
tax burden. Peasants need to pay a mandatory provident fund, public
welfare fund, administrative management fund, extra education fee,
birth control fee, militia organization and training fee, country road
construction fee and military service compensation fee. Besides all
these fees, they also have to sell part of the grains they produce at a
flat rate to the state as a mandatory requirement, and pay agriculture
tax, land tax, special local produce tax, and butchery tax in addition
to numerous other levies. In contrast, the non-rural population does
not pay these fees and taxes.

"In the beginning of 2004, China's Premier Wen Jiabao issued the 'No. 1
Document,' stating that rural China was facing the most difficult time
since the beginning of the economic reform in 1978. Income for most
peasants had stagnated or even declined. They had become poorer, and
the income gap between urban and rural residents continued to widen.

"In a tree farm in eastern Sichuan province, upper level authorities
distributed 500,000 yuan (approximately US$ 60,500) for a reforestation
project. The leaders of the tree farm first put 200,000 yuan in their
own pockets, and then allocated the remaining 300,000 yuan to tree
planting. But as the money was taken away when passing through each
level of the government, very little was left in the end for local
peasants who did the actual tree planting. The government did not need
to worry that the peasants would refuse to work on the project because
of inadequate funding. The peasants were so impoverished that they
would work for very little money. This is one of the reasons that
products made in China are so cheap."

Some people reckon that the lives of the peasants have improved
recently, especially in Guangdong province. Many people from Hong Kong
heard that the local governments there have returned the lands to the
peasants, or have paid a "high price" when purchasing land from the
people. There is no worry for the livelihood of those people. The
relatives in Hong Kong even envy them! The fact covering the whole
nation is as follows:

"... in the first five years after moving from a collective system to a
household contract system.... 900 million peasants became better off,
with their income increasing slightly and their social status improving
somewhat. However, such a meager benefit was soon lost due to a price
structure that favored industrial commodities over agricultural goods;
peasants plunged into poverty once again.... Xinhua News Agency, the
CCP's mouthpiece, show that since 1997, the revenue of the major grain
production areas and the income of most rural households have been at a
standstill, or even declined in some cases.... ratio of urban to rural
incomes has increased from 1.8 to 1 in the mid 1980s to 3.1 to 1
today." (From Part 3 of the "Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party")

Earlier in the article, I mentioned that I had visited Mainland China
frequently when I was young. There is a reason behind my frequent

"The CCP deceived the populace and the patriotic intellectuals who
wanted to serve the country with the promise of the 'communist
utopia.'" (from Part 2 of the  "Nine Commentaries on the Communist

"...the founders of the CCP…introduced from the Soviet Union was in
reality an evil specter, and the remedy they sought for strengthening
the nation was actually a deadly poison." (From Part 2 of the "Nine
Commentaries on the Communist Party")

My father returned to China because he tried to contribute to the "Building a New China" effort.

His own father died at the hands of the CCP. He was an honest small
business owner. The scoundrels and hoodlums in his hometown took the
weighing implement that he used in his small business and dug out the
counterweight and filled it with hay. Then they falsely accused him of
using it to cheat his clients with the substituted counterweight. All
of his property and farm land was confiscated. He was humiliated and
beaten in public gatherings and soon died from an illness. Back when
the CCP first took power in China in 1949, people were allowed to
travel freely between mainland China and Hong Kong. My mother's family
had lived in Hong Kong for many generations. My father met her in Hong
Kong. After they got married, he could continue to live in Hong Kong.
But he chose to "return to his homeland" to teach. Even though his
father and other older relatives had died in the hands of the CCP and
his family had been completely broken up by the CCP, he was still taken
in by the sweet talk and lies of the CCP. He may have thought that the
ones who had destroyed his parent's generation and those so-called
"building a new China" people were not the same lot. He might have
wanted to contribute to his native land. In his mind, after all, Hong
Kong had been administered by a foreign power, and he could do more in
his homeland.

He thus spent the best part of his life in the mainland. During the
day, he followed and aped every step of the "red sun". Fortunately he
was not singled out by his students for persecution during various
political movements. Neither was he like the neighbor next door who
made one remark that was "not suitable to be heard" and was
"transferred to a lower level" in a rural area for decades and could
only return to visit his wife and daughter once a year. My father had a
relatively comfortable life. Every night, my grandmother could not wait
to wash all the dishes before going to sleep as she had to get up very
early the next morning to complete her household chores and go to the
market. My father would drink wine and talk about everything with our
relatives and friends. As I was very young then, I could hardly
understand what was said. They did not sound like anything too
extraordinary. The starry sky could be observed from the terrace and
that was part of the sky that I could at least see. In the 1960s and
1970s, the Chinese people still held those who were highly educated in
high regard, at least in private. When he wanted to drink wine, he
could always find drinking buddies. When he needed to rewire the
electrical system so the lamp could be moved to the terrace, there was
surely someone who would oblige...

That was how I spent my winter and summer holidays as well as the
Chinese and Western festival days in Guangzhou when I was very young,
as well as in my youth.

(To be continued)

Translated from:

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