1974 - THE CAMPAIGN: PROVINCES ADJUST TO REFLECT PEKING’S LATEST SHIFT
The State Department notes central media signaling for local militants to put the breaks on the mass campaign to criticize Confucius as it began to develop into a renewed attack against the bureaucratic bourgeois. This delicate oscillation between Right and Left continued until a final escalation in the Criticize Deng campaign of 1976. As in the CR itself a focus on popularizing the study of Mao Thought is the Right’s favored means for diverting the masses from attacking the “bourgeois within the party”.
summary. recent pronouncements emanating from the center down-playing the divisive aspects of the anti-lin/confucius campaign are being echoed in the provinces. end summary.
1. prc provincial media thus far are following the center’s new guidelines on how to manage the anti-lin/confucius campaign. the february 20 people’s daily editorial seemed designed to shift the campaign away from attacking individual targets and toward concentrating on ideological study and production (reftels), and this shift must be popular with the leadership in most provinces. a brodcast from yunnan, for instance, seems almost eager to dismiss the campaign’s “previous stage” and to focus cadre attention on “building a force of theoreticians among the workers.” in sinkiang laborers are working in daylight and studying at night (february 21 broadcast), leaving them little time to struggle. unity is also a strong theme, and people in kisngsi are being warned not to divide into “this or that faction” (february 20 broadcast).
2. in addition to stressing study, work and unity, the provincial broadcasts replay the february 20 editorial’s emphasis on denouncing “propriety.” like the editorial, they merely equate “propriety” with ill-defined attempts to restore the “old order.” by contrast, leftists in shanghai had earlier specifically used an attack on “propriety” to strike at cadre ranking and privileges (hong kong 1879)–a potentially explosive issue in any campaign that sets the masses against certain cadre. 3. there are small signs, however, that the sharp turn away from the february 2 editorial’s call for mass struggle may have left some cadre off balance. canton’s southern daily quotes from both february editorials, and attempts to join them by suggesting that the earlier’s call for giving ” free rain to the masses” meant to “arm/ them with marxism-leninism-mao tsentung thought. the shift seems to be going down hard with activists; shensi reports “some comrades” there object that the movement is becoming a “calm and dull affair” (february 24 broadcast).
4. a possible example of the campaign’s new dullness is the small-character poster put up by canton m.d. chang chun-tien, and published in the canton daily (february 21 broadcast). in great detail, chang’s poster praises the medical contributions made by experts like himself in the cultural revolution, confesses to backsliding during the 1971-73 period, then closes with praise for workers and experts who join in the pursuit of “further development of scientific research and integration of chinese and western medical treatment.”
5. the spirit of togetherness chang invokes is a far cry from many pre-february 20 big character posters, which took aim at local leading cadre. these attacks were particularly serious in manchuria (liaoning, kirin, heilungkiang), a region where party vice chairman li teh-sheng is now based. in liaoning, media published a factory workers’ big character poster denouncing management for being interested only in “production projects and production figures” “for making only empty promises” about linking criticism of lin to confucius, and for being “content with having their names frequently mentioned by the newspapers and radio.” such laxness caused production to drop below standards set in 1967-71, and led to the falsification of production figures (liaoning radio, february 17). in neighboring kirin, a factory poster attack was mounted against “leading members” who “remained in their offices” while asking for “reports and tabulations,” and against the plant party committee which did “nothing” about the factory’s problems (february 19 broadcast).
6. the kirin factory workers took their inspiration from shanghai’s dock workers (see hong kong 1282). significantly, the most recent reports from both kirin and shanghai stress the need for workers’ study (february 20 kirin broadcast) and the “comradely relationship” between factory management and labor (february 20 shanghai broadcast). it remains to be seen however how strongly shanghai and manchuria will take to the new guidelines.