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Did Mao have a Secret Police?


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#1 R2D2

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Posted 18 March 2007 - 01:13 PM

hello all;

I'm new to this forum and haven't yet checked out all the available topics on history (which I'll certainly do);
I have a couple of questions which I hope to answer for myself the next months

I've just oriented myself a bit more in detail on China's "modern history";
a question that popped into my head the last couple of weeks is:
did China have anything like the KGB during the more repressing years of the last century?

related question is: does China have a specific and/or official "Internal Security" organisation at this moment?

#2 Yun

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Posted 18 March 2007 - 01:47 PM

You may like to read up on Dai Li and his Communist counterpart, Kang Sheng.

For Dai Li: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dai_Li

The late US historian Frederic Wakeman wrote his last book about Dai Li - "Spymaster: Dai Li and the Chinese Secret Service" (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003). An e-book can be purchased at http://www.ebooks.co....asp?IID=223567

From 1931 to 1938, the role of KMT secret police was played by the Blue Shirts, who were then replaced by Dai Li's Military Statistics Bureau: http://en.wikipedia...._Shirts_Society

For Kang Sheng: http://en.wikipedia....wiki/Kang_Sheng
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#3 neilhrd

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 09:05 AM

The answer to that question depends which period you are talking about. The KMT government of Chiang Kai shek did have a secret police whose modus operandi owed a lot to the example of European facist regimes.

Mao did not have an equivalent of the KGB post 1949. The PRC never had a highly centralised, state run, bureaucratic security apparatus like the KGB. That is not to say that there was freedom; far from it. But ideological control was exercised in a quite different way which reveals a great deal about Mao's vision of Communism and about the fundamentals of Chinese culture.

Mao relied on mass campaigns, orchestrated through the media which played on the herd instinct in Chinese culture and the almost maniac need to jump on the latest bandwagon and conform which stems from a combination of the innate competitiveness of the Chinese people; their desire for selfish personal advantage; and an education system which for thousands of years has stressed rote momorization far above the development of individual critical reasoning skills. This is fundamental to understanding the nature of the Cultural Revolution. It wasn't something imposed on the people by an alien outside organisation. Rather it involved the active complicity of millions at all levels of society which is why Chinese society has yet to face up to what happened.

Mao was able to induce millions of Chinese to denounce each other and purge their comrades and neighbours rather than creating a state security apparatus to do it. Once denounced there were show trials, re-education camps etc etc but Mao always avoided creating an alternative power base within the state such as Beria achieved with the KGB.

Mao never saw Communism as a centralised system. He disliked and distrusted bureaucracy and had no interest in pomp and ceremony. He was never instinctively a Leninist/Stalinist. His vision of Communism was based on a collectivised countryside. Mao had enormous faith in the power of mass campaigns and propaganda to change people's behaviour. He thought that given correct guidance the people would police each other.

Edited by neilhrd, 20 March 2007 - 09:12 AM.


#4 mrstroung

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Posted 07 December 2008 - 09:28 AM

I'm just wondering, did Mao have a Secret Police? :b_evil:

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#5 mrstroung

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Posted 07 December 2008 - 10:22 AM

any ideas?.

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#6 Peng

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Posted 07 December 2008 - 01:51 PM

From "Politics in China" class, taught by a Korean professor, Mao never had a secret police nor did the police state like Stalin did.

#7 mrstroung

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Posted 07 December 2008 - 02:08 PM

okay :] thanks a bunch peng!

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#8 ahxiang

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Posted 07 December 2008 - 08:15 PM

okay :] thanks a bunch peng!



Brother, you want to ask yourself again how could Mao have no secret police?

Mao and China mapped everything Russians did. From 1920 to 1950, there were probably 50,000 Chinese sent to Soviet Union. The most famous was Shi Zhe who worked for OGPU and NKVD and married a Russian woman.

In soviet enclaves, Red Army had "zhengzhi baowei ju", meaning political defense bureau. This was the Russian equivalent of OGPU. It was responsible for the death of 100,000-200,000 reactionaries accused of being Anti-Bolshevik League members, Third Party members, KMT Reorg Faction members, revocationists, Trotskyites, social democrats, ... It used the most horrendous way to have executed Red Army generals like Xu Jishen et al. It also killed Red Army general Li Mingrui. Whenever government troops had a mutiny, the middle-level officers were mostly killed through some scheme of political studies. The Ningdu Mutiny leaders, like Ji Zhentong and Huang Zhongyue, were killed by the Chinese OGPU prior to the long march.

Edited by ahxiang, 14 December 2008 - 08:23 PM.


#9 Manguo

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Posted 11 December 2008 - 02:43 PM

No doubt these practices continued for many, many years after the Long March. Consider, for example, the Yan'an Rectification Campaign.

During the Cultural Revolution, there was also the Central Case Examination Group, headed by Kang Sheng, who had been nicknamed "China's Beria." They passed down information to the Red Guards as to the names and addresses of those who were to be attacked, and later took them into custody after several rounds of "struggle". There were certainly enough arrests to fill numerous "political prisons" such as Qincheng in Beijing.

#10 bhchao

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Posted 11 December 2008 - 05:12 PM

Kang Sheng led Mao's secret police. Wang Dongxing led Mao's bodyguard or security apparatus.

#11 ShingenT

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Posted 13 December 2008 - 10:19 PM

not really secret police, but didn't Mao used students as spies on their own parents during the culture revolution?
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#12 MattW

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Posted 14 December 2008 - 10:47 AM

not really secret police, but didn't Mao used students as spies on their own parents during the culture revolution?


Student denunciations of their parents was a feature of the CR, but this was so widespread and blatant i wouldn't call it secret :)

#13 ahxiang

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Posted 14 December 2008 - 08:22 PM

No doubt these practices continued for many, many years after the Long March. Consider, for example, the Yan'an Rectification Campaign.

During the Cultural Revolution, there was also the Central Case Examination Group, headed by Kang Sheng, who had been nicknamed "China's Beria." They passed down information to the Red Guards as to the names and addresses of those who were to be attacked, and later took them into custody after several rounds of "struggle". There were certainly enough arrests to fill numerous "political prisons" such as Qincheng in Beijing.



You are correct in pointing out China's Beria.

Chinese OGPU, which was "[soviet republic] political defense bureau" [国家政治保卫局] in 1930s, was transformed into so-called "investigation department under social department of the CCP Central" upon arrival in Yenan. In Ruijin, the OGPU was run under soviet chairman Mao Tse-tung, which helped him to fend off any possible attempt on his life during waves of internal purges. Deng Fa, the guy who escorted Snow to Yenan, ran the show. After arrival in Yenan, CCP Central set up a new Social Department in addition to the Organization Department. Social Department, not the Soviet Government, took over the secret arm of communist apparatus. After 1949, "investigation department under social department of the CCP Central" was abbreviated into "zong tiao bu", i.e., central investigation department. At one time during cultural revolution, the function was taken over by section 2 of the general staff headquarters of the PLA, i.e., military intelligence. In 1983, it was merged into State Security Ministry.

Today's State Security Ministry (MSS) composed of four parts, party's investigation department, public security ministry's political defense bureau, central united front ministry, work committee of the national defense committee's science subcommittee.

Edited by ahxiang, 14 December 2008 - 08:45 PM.


#14 General_Zhaoyun

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Posted 14 December 2008 - 11:20 PM

Sofar, I have not yet found any evidence that Mao has secret police, unlike Stalin, Hitler etc. Secret police was a system used by dictatorial/fascist regime to spy, assassinate, arrest or purge any political opponents through means of 'terror'. In modern chinese history, Chiang Kai Shek was the 1st nationalist leader in ROC to establish secret police to spy, purge and assassinate the chinese communists or any political opponents, bearing in mind that Chiang had alot of connection with secret societies (triad). In Taiwan, Chiang Kai Shek continued to use secret police (often deployed in schools/universities) to spy on any political opponents or anti-KMT/Chiang's speech, leading to a period that's known as "White Terror" during Chiang's rule of Taiwan.

Mao's secet weapons to purge political opponents were not through the secret police, but were carried out through 'propaganda' (often including the fabrication of lies) to mobilize the peasants/mobs/mass/people to attack his political opponents. This was seen in Great Proletariat cultural revolution, whereby many intellectuals or Mao's political opponents were tagged with 'reactionary opponents' and beaten to death by the red guards, using the 'class struggle' as 'blatant excuse'.
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#15 ahxiang

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Posted 14 December 2008 - 11:30 PM

Sofar, I have not yet found any evidence that Mao has secret police, unlike Stalin, Hitler etc. Secret police was a system used by dictatorial/fascist regime to spy, assassinate, arrest or purge any political opponents through means of 'terror'. In modern chinese history, Chiang Kai Shek was the 1st nationalist leader in ROC to establish secret police to spy, purge and assassinate the chinese communists or any political opponents, bearing in mind that Chiang had alot of connection with secret societies (triad). In Taiwan, Chiang Kai Shek continued to use secret police (often deployed in schools/universities) to spy on any political opponents or anti-KMT/Chiang's speech, leading to a period that's known as "White Terror" during Chiang's rule of Taiwan.

Mao's secet weapons to purge political opponents were not through the secret police, but were carried out through 'propaganda' (often including the fabrication of lies) to mobilize the peasants/mobs/mass/people to attack his political opponents. This was seen in Great Proletariat cultural revolution, whereby many intellectuals or Mao's political opponents were tagged with 'reactionary opponents' and beaten to death by the red guards, using the 'class struggle' as 'blatant excuse'.



The exact naming of "political defense bureau" [国家政治保卫局] was a copy of the Russian Cheka.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cheka

Similar to Russian Cheka, which had a "defense force", Chinese soviet republic had an armed wing that carried out the same task as Chekha.
"From its founding, the Cheka was an important military and security arm of the Bolshevik communist government. In 1921 the Troops for the Internal Defense of the Republic (a branch of the Cheka) numbered 200,000."

The "political defense bureau" [国家政治保卫局] , set up in December 1931, was a gestapo style organization which answered direct to soviet government. It was inserted into military, administrative and party levels. It had bone and blood, not merely propaganda.

Some good articles could be found at

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国家政治保卫局:中央苏区的特种部队-作者:剑音
- [ Translate this page ]
20世纪30年代,距离瑞金县城约6公里的叶坪村,是中华苏维埃共和国临时中央政府的诞生地. 中央苏区面积达5万平方公里,辖有25个县,人口达250万.
scholar.ilib.cn/A-fjdsyk200203013.html - Similar pages
by FD YUEKAN - 2002
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中苏国家政治保卫局的比较研究兼论苏区肃反扩大化的体制因素
- [ Translate this page ]
苏区的国家政治保卫局模仿了苏联国家政治保卫局的机构设置,其组织原则和职权划分也基本一致,实行局长单一集权制和单线垂直领导原则,缺乏监督和制约,成为三十年代苏区肃 ...
scholar.ilib.cn/A-gnsfxyxb200205006.html - Similar pages
by 谢一彪 - 2002 - Related articles - All 2 versions
More results from scholar.ilib.cn

Edited by ahxiang, 14 December 2008 - 11:33 PM.





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