Zhang Hongbao in Blast Furnace

---- A documentary on how the outstanding spiritual leader transformed to a political leader

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Guan Kaicheng: Zhonggong "99.8" National Campaign: An Exposure
Guan Kaicheng

On October 29, 2000, almost all major news media of the world, including the United Press, AFP, the Reuters, and CNN, reported that Huang Wanping, director of Zhonggong Jiangsu Branch, and three other key Zhonggong members, had been sentenced by a Chinese court to 2-4 years in prison respectively, under the charge of "inciting to overthrow the government." How could Zhonggong, a spiritual community devoted to promoting good health and cultivating high ethics, bear any relationship with such a charge? To find out the truth surrounding the case, I took advantage of some clues provided by Hong Kong Information Center on Chinese Human Rights and Democratic Movement and conducted an investigation. My investigation led to the discovery of a secret that had been concealed from the public for more than 500 days.To know what really happened, let me bring the reader back to 1999, a very sensitive year for the Chinese Communist government. In domestic politics, the year happened to be the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Chinese government, the 10th anniversary of the "June 4" Democratic Movement, and the 20th anniversary of the demolishing of Xidan Democracy Wall.

The international arena saw China's desperate bid for a successful entry into WTO and PNTR.

The Chinese government had to put up a facade of prosperity. Therefore, long before the arrival of these important anniversaries, the highest Chinese authorities were in a state of extreme nervousness and high vigilance.

Under these circumstances, the top Communist leaders were shocked and outraged by a peaceful demonstration, participated by thousands of Falungong members, at Zhongnanhai (the headquarters of the Communist Party) on April 25.

A nation-wide crackdown on Falungong launched by Jiang Zemin on July 20. It spread rapidly throughout the country, involved Zhonggong on the second day, and soon affected the entire Qigong circle.

The government-sponsored media began an overwhelming campaign of coercion, and everyone was forced to make public his stand on the issue before he was cleared of political suspicion. The campaign coincided with a crucial stage in the procedure of national evaluations of Qigong methodologies of various Qigong sections. The survival of each section thus hinged upon a public clarification of its attitude towards Falungong.

Any suppression is bound to encounter resistance. During the period of red terror in China at the end of the last century, the Zhonggong leadership headed by Zhang Hongbao challenged the current leadership by launching a nation-wide movement call "Action 99.8," "Action 99.8" called upon people everywhere to send "the two letters of criticism" to the leading government facilities and police departments at
various levels.

Even police officers working within CCP dictatorial facilities listened to the call and wrote two letters. The first letter was entitled "Do not Exercise Dictatorship against the People;" and the second bore the title, "A Letter from a Young Police Officer."

Outspoken and acrimonious, the two letters decry China's abominable political climate under the Communists' one-party dictatorship. A dictatorship that "does not allow people to lead a single day of peaceful life and subjects the country to perpetual disturbance."

The letters suggest that Jiang Zemin's policy of "stability is of paramount importance," whose true meaning is, "the stability of Jiang's reign is of paramount importance."

After going over in retrospect the numerous political movements launched under the one-party dictatorship of CCP, movements that have brought about countless disasters to the Chinese people, the letters reject any connection between the one-party dictatorship of CCP and democratic politics. CCP has never accepted the existence of another voice or the validity of a different thought. With zero tolerance for different political views, CCP has always managed to eradicate any dissident movement in "its embryonic stage." The two letters condemn Jiang Zemin for his wanton violation of the Constitution and respect for law, and relentless demolition of the traditional Chinese culture. The all-out crackdown on Qigong organizations such as Falungong and Zhonggong, by Jiang Zemin, as the letters point out, Jiang has launched the second "Cultural Revolution." He has moved against the historical trend, and revealed himself as an intransigent reactionary.

The two letters are openly pejorative of the ignominious performance of Jia Chunwang, the Public Security Minister, in his desperate aspiration for the position of Secretary of the National Committee of Politics and Law.

Jia played the role of "a contemporary Lai Junjie (a treacherous official in ancient China), and ingratiated himself with Jiang by collaborating in the suppression of Qigong organizations.

The two letters make sincere appeals to the police and public security officers, who were involuntarily ordered to create the real terror on the people, not to. The letter called upon them not to participate in a crackdown on the people, not to abet the tyrant in his evil deeds!

The two letters demand a response from China's highest authorities why were they following Jiang's blueprint of ruin? Where are they leading the country?

Almost simultaneously, by fax, mail, or manual delivery, "the two letters" were distributed to approximately 100,000 local police offices, 2,300 county police bureaus, more than 300 municipal public security bureaus, 31 provincial departments of public security, and nearly 10,000 procuratorates, courts, judiciary bureaus, major government facilities at provincial, municipal and county levels, as well as departments of armed police throughout mainland China!

Next morning, almost at the same time, the first thing people came into contact with in every police station when they arrived to work was the two letters. The departments of public security at the provincial and municipal levels were to receive the letters by mail later.

This campaign, unprecedented in its scale, scope and speed in the 50 year history of CCP regime, Zhonggong mobilized all of the five ranks of its networks involving more than 100,000 units throughout the country, and shook every juncture in the power structure of CCP dictatorship. The rapid dissemination of the two letters threw Jiang Zemin into a fury.

Very soon, the public security system, as well as the various government facilities in charge of industry and commerce, internal revenue, science and technology, education, interior affairs, sports, and public health, received an order issued by the highest level of the government: an immediate shutdown would be enforced on all Zhonggong facilities.

The armed police and public security officers take over all large and medium Zhonggong operations and enterprises, and commence an all-out hunt for key Zhonggong members begin at once.

According to reliable sources, since mid-August of 1999, when the public security bureau of Xining municipality arrested Rui Guojie, director of Zhonggong Qinghai Provincial Branch, Xiang Renbo, director Zhonggong Xining Branch, as well as his assistant Chai Jingchun, and sentenced them to one year of labor camp under the charge of "inciting to overthrow the government," it has been known that more than 20 important Zhonggong members were arrested and sentenced to forced labor and imprisonment.

According to relevant documents, the consensus and courage displayed in this risk-all battle waged against the CCP did not derive from a sudden impulse. The action demonstrated a concerted strength built up over a long period of preparation.

As early as in late May of 1998, Zhonggong obtained the information that Zhonggong had been labeled by the government, at a meeting held by the Department of Public Security in Chengdu on May 27, 1998, as "a reactionary political group" and was selected to be the target of a crackdown scheduled for an appropriate time in 1999.

Cherishing no illusion about CCP regime, the policy makers of Zhonggong immediately began comprehensive preparations for the inevitable advent of a low tide.

Taking advantage of the Enterprise Day once a week, within a year, Zhonggong carried out a general mobilization of its rank and file by arranging more than 70 readings of some 90 articles. Through its special communication networks, Zhonggong conducted more than 20 million person/times of ideological initiation or brainstorming.

Confronted by an imminent crackdown from Jiang regime, Zhonggong members maintained an effective communication system through the publication of two internal journals, News Briefings and Exchange, which kept a daily record of persecution cases and offered a routine analysis of the situation.

When the storm clouds of the crackdown were gathering, Zhonggong headquarters called on the members to "Protect the Banner, Safeguard the Cause, and Struggle for Survival." As a result, the whole organization reached a general consensus and kept a high morale. At the launch of the national campaign of "99.8," all Zhonggong members were able to rise to the occasion, take immediate actions, and succeeded in creating the momentum of an avalanche.

As directed by Zhang Hongbao, every effort was made to minimize the loss. After the "99.8" national campaign, Zhonggong members followed a centralized plan to carry out a strategic shift. Except for a few key members, who were arrested in some particularly dangerous districts, the majority of Zhonggong cadres were able to disperse among the masses that are Zhonggong devotees.

However, faced with the brutal retaliations meted out by the CCP dictatorial facilities, several Zhonggong leaders at the provincial level voluntarily exposed themselves to the government and took over the liability in order to ensure the safety of their subordinates.

There are countless examples involving senior members helping apprentices, and teaching staff assisting other members. When the disaster fell upon them, Zhonggong members demonstrated the Zhonggong ethics of human bond, a spirit of mutual commitment, altruism, and compassion that served as a bright spot set against a gruesome background of suppression.

Jiang regime managed to cover up the unprecedented "99.8" national campaign organized by Zhonggong. Up till now, no media have been allowed to carry any news about this incident. It is impossible, however, for a piece of paper to wrap up the fire. As more and more people come to know the facts about the persecutions Zhonggong members have endured and the resistance they have organized, Zhonggong will gradually unveil itself as a vital new force in the struggle for China's political reform.

Two months before the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Chinese Communist regime, the unified national campaign against tyranny and dictatorship launched by Zhonggong did not adopt the form of street demonstrations, but the political impact this campaign produced upon, and the damage it caused to, the structure of Jiang's one-party dictatorship should not be underestimated.

The direct exposure of "the two letters" to the armed police and major government facilities all over the country shocked every neuron of the regime and threw the Communist authorities in panic.

According to an anonymous high government official, Jiang Zemin almost passed out at the news of Zhonggong "99.8" national campaign.

If the peaceful petition staged by Falungong members at Zhongnanhai has been compared to a deafening clap of thunder that shocked Jiang Zemin into a fury, then the "99.8" national campaign launched by Zhonggong can be compared to a muffled thunder that shook the internal organs or even the nerve ends of CCP dictatorship.

Jiang Zemin designated Falungong as an evil cult because of its peaceful demonstrations. The "99.8" national campaign, on the other hand, was launched as an overt decry of Jiang's totalitarian dictatorship.

While Falungong was engaged in quiet protests, Zhonggong "99.8" national campaign explicitly conveyed the urgent messages from the people to the government at various levels. While Falungong activities represented the intransigence of a non-traditional religion that suffers from persecution, Zhonggong "99.8" national campaign was a resistance movement of an explicitly political nature. A brilliant display of courage under CCP's suppression, a forceful stride in China's tortuous journey towards democracy.

The people have to muffle their rage at Jiang Zemin's tyranny and evil deeds in Mainland China's abominable political environment. Under the high political pressure, even the petitions at Tiananmen Square had to be made quietly. Zhonggong members with their dauntless determination, broke the silence, stood up to confront the tyrant, courageously expressed their political views and admonished the armed police officers that participated in the crackdown. Zhonggong members in this way have carried forward the anti-tyranny tradition of 1911 Revolution and promoted the anti-totalitarian spirit of "May 4" and "June 4."

Zhonggong's struggle was carried out not only to seek the survival of the organization and its peers, but also to express the Chinese people's demands for basic human rights. The key Zhonggong members incarcerated as political prisoners have persisted in their beliefs and refused to yield to pressure or to compromise their principles. Their commitment to the cause and their spirit of total devotion command our respect and admiration.

Furthermore, Zhonggong "99.8" national campaign also reflected the political aspirations of a rising propertied class, marked the initial participation of organized economic entities in China's political reform, and signaled a new stage in China's democracy process. A stage that involves the participation of a new propertied class and more people from different social stratifications.

Mr. Zhang Hongbao was the supreme architect and general director of Zhonggong's "99.8" national campaign. This is probably one of the most important reasons why Jiang Zemin has been so unscrupulous in his persecution of Mr. Zhang.

The far-reaching significance of Zhonggong's "99.8" national campaign on China's political scene will be increasingly evident. The dauntless spirit of Zhonggong's "99.8" national campaign will live on.

We salute those Zhonggong members, men and women of courage and idealism, who were arrested and incarcerated for their participation in Zhonggong's "99.8" national campaign.

Finally, we take this opportunity to pay our highest respect to Mr. Zhang Hongbao, who remains in incarceration in Guam, the United States.

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