Activists in China have sounded a warning, reviving a term from China’s communist past to show how today’s Communist Party is at war with the Chinese people just as Mao’s party was before.
On July 31, the People’s Daily overseas edition published an article titled “China’s Real Challenge Is the Next Five to Ten Years,” written by Yuan Peng, the director of the Institute for American Studies at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations.
Yuan believes that in the next three to five years, the United States “is likely to use non-military methods to stagnate or perturb China’s rise.” “Through the use of rights lawyers, underground religions, dissidents, Internet leaders, and disadvantaged social groups as the core forces, it [the United States] will push a ‘bottom-up’ approach to infiltrate the grassroots to lay a foundation to change China.”
Activists immediately picked up the five groups listed by Yuan and named them “the new five black categories,” taking the name from the Five Black Categories the Communist Party put in place in the 1950s.
The Old Categories
All Chinese people are familiar with the Five Black Categories. People under such categories were widely persecuted, publicly criticized, tortured, and even killed during the first 30 years of Chinese Communist Party (CCP) rule. Their family members became the untouchables in Chinese society for generations.
They were landlords. According to communist theory, landlords belong to the exploiting class and thus are the target of the proletarian revolution. In thousands of years of Chinese history, the landlords were the backbone of rural autonomy and the carriers of Chinese culture.
It is estimated that during the land reform period in 1950, about 1 million to 2 million landlords were killed.
They were rich peasants. Different from landlords, “rich peasants” usually referred to those who did their own farm work, not depending completely on hired workers. These individuals were the most skillful and hardworking people in the villages.
Even though fewer rich peasants than landlords were killed, the rich peasants’ land was also confiscated. Their way of life, having a decent life by working hard, was criticized.
By destroying the old Five Black Categories, the CCP successfully destroyed the structure of China’s traditional society.
They were counterrevolutionaries. Most in this group were former members of Chiang Kai-shek’s Kuomintang, the officers and officials of the former army and government of the Republic of China. Many of them were also killed during the Campaign to Suppress Counterrevolutionaries in the early 1950s.
Many years later, the Chinese people started to realize that people in this group were actually China’s heroes. Many of them fought in the front lines against the Japanese invasion and tried to establish a new China with freedom and democracy. Unfortunately, they failed.
They were bad elements. Whoever couldn’t be put into the above groups but needed to be persecuted would be put into this group. Some of them were religious believers who refused to renounce their beliefs. Many of them were also killed or got long-term jail sentences.
The above four groups were called the Four Categories. The final group was the rightists. This group was added later, during the Anti-Rightist Campaign in 1957. Most people in this group were well-educated in traditional Chinese culture, in the modern Western educational system, or in both.
At the time, the CCP already ruled the nation but needed to extend its control to the fields of ideology and culture. This group needed to be silenced and even eliminated to clear the way for the CCP’s party culture.
The father of one of my childhood friends was tagged a rightist. He was sent to a forced labor camp in a remote area and never made it back.
By destroying the old Five Black Categories, the CCP successfully destroyed the structure of China’s traditional society (landlords and rich peasants), the people who sought freedom and democracy in modern Chinese history (counterrevolutionaries), whoever refused to kowtow to the CCP (bad elements), and people educated with traditional and universal values (rightists).
This destruction helped bring about the success of the communist revolution. From then on, Chinese civilization ended. The People’s Republic of China had cut off its ties with history.
Next … The New Categories