In all places newly liberated by the People's Liberation Army, military control shall be exercised and the Kuomintang reactionary organs of
state power shall be abolished. The Central People's Government or military and political organs at the front shall appoint personnel to organise
Military Control Committees and local People's Governments.
These shall lead the people in establishing revolutionary order and suppressing counter-revolutionary activities and, when conditions permit, shall convene All-Circles Representative Conferences.
Pending the convocation of the local people's congresses elected by universal franchise, the local All Circles Representative Conferences shall gradually assume the functions and powers of the local people's congresses.
The duration of military control shall be determined by the Central People's Government according to the military and political conditions prevailing in the different localities.
In all places where military operations have completely ended, agrarian reform has been thoroughly carried out and people of all circles have been fully organized, elections based on universal franchise shall be held immediately for the purpose of convening local People's Congresses.
In the urban areas, the PLA immediately takes over the administration of the towns.
"...,provincial or city Military Control Committees had substantial authorities in choosing any appropriate measures from an arsenal
of administrative and criminal punishments. Take the operational mechanism in the capital the PRC – Beijing for example. According to the Organic Law of the Military Control Committee of the People’s Liberation Army in Beiping,24 the Military Control Committee of Beiping was empowered to exercise a range of exceptional emergency measures. The committee was empowered to arrest and execute counter-revolutionaries, to take over public or private facilities, to collect weapons or other military equipment from KMT party members and
other counter-revolutionaries, to protect the lives and private properties of Chinese citizens and foreigners, to seize or take control of all resources that might facilitate the establishment of economic order in cities and counties, and to organize the masses to help to establish political institutions of the CPC.25"
In important cities like Beijing, Tianjin, and Shanghai, a military control commission is formed well in advance before the actual takeover, to ease the transition of power. In Shanghai and Nanjing, the commanders of the Third and Fourth Army are head of the military control commission as well as mayor of the town. The military control commission is responsible for the local purge of the GMD administration and the takeover of important economic enterprises. In some big cities and especially in Shanghai, communist underground cadres have infiltrated all kinds of administrative authorities in advance. For example, the police force.
“…the Shanghai police had been infiltrated by Communist Party cadres. They formed a tiny handful of underground
agents among the more than fourteen thousand members of the police force, but they played a critical role
in preparing to hand the city's police stations over to the jieguan zhuanguan (special personnel to take
control) of the People's liberation Army.”
The most important assignments of this military administration are to maintain order; to restore the daily routine and to make a transition as fast as possible to a civil administration.
The PLA soldiers are expressly instructed to refrain from looting factories, shops, warehouses and other possessions but they have to
"Confiscate bureaucrat-capital. All factories, shops, banks and warehouses, all vessels, wharves and railways,
all postal, telegraph, electric light, telephone and water supply services, and all farms, livestock farms and
other enterprises operated by the reactionary Kuomintang government and the big bureaucrats shall be taken over
by the People's Government."
Moreover they have to cooperate with the local civil administration and police "…arrests of individuals by the
soldiery were limited to direct offenses against the occupying authority; otherwise, arrests remained within
the jurisdiction of the local police, and troops were warned not to disregard the orders of the municipal
police "without a good reason."
The PLA has established garrisons in several big cities and strategic positions.
"...The garrison commands not only guarded the cities but also served as the primary representatives of the PLA units in the cities. Local party committees and governments relied on garrison commands to
communicate and interact with PLA local units. The garrison commands were also responsible for maintaining social order, protecting the region’s security, guarding key public facilities, responding to emergencies (including riots, insurgencies, and other mass incidents), and conducting disaster-relief and rescue operations."
Fig. 14.1 Structure military command
1950 The military regions
Source: Guo (2012). Pages 198 and 200
Guo (2012) points out: "This layout transformed the PLA from being solely a field army to a new systematic defense army in which military regions were set up in accordance with the strategic needs of the country. The four levels were established in correspondence with party authorities at different levels. " From October 1950 to December 1954 there were numerous efforts to regularize the structure of military regions and several were abolished and others created.
The period of the military administration is limited and in accordance with article 14 of the Common Program.
"The governments of the big administrative regions are the organs at higher levels over all the provinces and cities within the regions, and meanwhile the commissaries of the central government. Secondly, the administrative power at provincial level was reduced by making provinces secondary administrative regions.
Up to 1953, there had been 53 administrative regions at provincial level. The structure of the big
administrative regions was similar to that of the central government. A regional committee of the
people’s government was established under which there were three guidance sub-committees and a commission
at the same level, namely, the committee of politics and law, the committee of finance and economy, the
committee culture and education and the people’s supervisory commission. Apart from those, there were
also the subdivisions of the People’s Supreme Court and the Supreme People’s Procuratorates.” Military control in small cities would last for a periodof two weeks to a period of two to three months.In larger cities with more
than 100,000 population, the Government decided on the continuance or termination of the military control.
Article 31 of the organic law of the CPG states
"…In administrative regions where military action has been concluded, agrarian reform thoroughly carried out, and people of all circles fully organized, popular elections shall be held, and regional people's congresses called for the formal election of regional people's government councils. After the establishing of regional people's government councils, the Military Administrative Committees shall be wound up
Map 1949 -1951 Regional and Provincial Administrations
As soon as the situation in a town is more or less normal, the responsibilities of the civil authorities increases. In reality
"Military representatives were sent to virtually every enterprise and government agency, playing leadership roles
in those units. Later, when the political situation became stable, most of the military representatives were
formally appointed as Party secretaries or directors in their respective units. Until the C(ulteral) R(evolution
) broke out, leading cadres in many units were still the former military representatives.”
Liu Shaoqi states military control and people’s democracy are not contradicting
“These two phases of work have always complemented and strengthened each other. This has been made possible
by the fact that our military control is the military control of the people, and that the PLA is the armed
force of the people. To our enemies and the reactionaries, military control as exercised by the PLA is
merciless and open military dictatorship, but to the people it presages the people's democracy. Far from
restraining the people or causing them inconvenience, this sort of military control only protects the
people, helps to free the people from the oppression and bondage of old influences, gives the people all
kinds of facilities and encourages them to be their own masters by taking their own destiny in their hands
and taking care of their own affairs together with the affairs of the nation.”
1950 Map of the military and administrative regions
Source: Han (1994). Page 57
On December 2, 1949, the central government decided to form 6 regional military and administrative regions.
See Table 15 and Article 16 . This is an administrative level between the central government in Beijing and the provinces, mainly created to customize the administration slightly to regional differences and as a transitional measure to move from military rule to civilian rule. In the Organic Law of these new regional administrations, the division of labor is stated
“Ministries and departments under the Government Administrative Council
may deal directly with offices under the Military Administrative Committee only on business management and
technical points; where the whole region is affected, copies of the documents must be sent to the Military
The North China region, established in 1948, acted de facto as the central government until October 1949. Many of its staff members contributed to the organization of the Central People’s Government. The North China People’s Government had a coalition character, following the united front policy (See Part 1 ) of the CCP. All regional bureaus were staffed with CCP members and minzhu dangpai.
One can argue that the formation of regional bureaus was a deliberate political design to ensure no region had sufficient economic potential to challenge the central government. The regions have no integrated economy, no equal physiographic features and cultures. However, one can also argue that the development and the integration of the Northeast economy was taken as an example for the national economic development. The formation of the regions mainly came about through the course of the civil war. Keith (1977) observes "...that the CCP leadership did attempt to include as much of "old liberated region" in the territories of the four MACs (NE, NW, EC and CC) as was geographically possible, in order to provide the vast "newly liberated regions" with points of reference."
The CCP constitution of 1945 already took into account the formation of regional bureaus.
"To facilitate the direction of the work of the provincial and regional Party organizations, the Central Committee may, according to the needs of circumstances, establish central bureaux and sub-central bureaux, each of which shall have jurisdiction over several provinces or border regions. The said bureaux shall be appointed by the Central Committee and shall be held responsible to it. Any of the said bureaux may be abolished or merged with any other(s) when its continued existence becomes unnecessary."10"
Fig. 14.2 Top 20 Important leaders of the PRC 1949-1954
All heads of these 6 regional bureaus have a military background and are also members of the Central People’s Government Council.
There is a concentration of power of about 20 men.(See fig. 14.2)
They enjoy authority on central, regional, civil, and military administration matters.
The 6 regions do not possess any autonomy and have merely a mediating function between the center and the province.
"However, the fact that military control was paramount in the initial conception of these governments meant that
generally speaking each area was made the territory of one of the PLA's five Field Armies. Thus many of the
rulers at this level were revolutionary generals used to independent command.”
During the period of economic restoration, the regional bureaus have many responsibilities, but they do not include military, diplomatic and public security work. These are the concern of the CPG.
Yet, "Despite repeated emphases in 1949 on the importance of a flexible administrative approach involving the tapping of local creativity and initiative, and the devolution of responsibility within a dual structure of administration, the economic and fiscal crisis of early 1950 was met with a high degree of centralization."
On March 29, 1951, the CPG reconsidered this decision and
"… properly transfer certain power and responsibility to local governments under unified leadership, thereby to realize local expediency, would, rather than causing any harm, further consolidate the central leadership through the manifestation of local initiative. … Obviously, this decision is fully in line with the principle of "not only conducive to national reunification, but also conducive to local conditions" as stipulated in Article 16 of the Common Program and the principle of "dividing the fiscal scope between the central and local governments" stipulated in Article 40. The spirit of "adjusting measures to local conditions" is an important feature of this decision."
On November 15, 1952, the 6 bureaus lost their military function and only their administrative power remains. So from being “…both local power organs and central agents, they were now merely central agents.” This reduction of power is part of the 5 year plan.
"To meet the new situation and tasks of planned large-scale national economic and cultural construction, shortly
to be started in 1953, the CPG should further unify and centralize its leadership over the different phases of
work, and the organs of the CPG should be further strengthened. At the same time, the organizations of
provincial and municipal people's governments should also be • strengthened in order to increase the
responsibility of leadership at the provincial and municipal levels. Consequently, the structure and tasks
of people's governments (or MAC's) in administrative regions should also be changed accordingly."
Furthermore, in 1953, most of the important political and/or military leaders are transferred to Beijing. On March 10, 1953, the redistribution of power goes even further and the Politburo decides:
“From now on, all major and important directives,
policies, plans, and events in the government work must be reported to the Center for instruction beforehand;
only with the Center’s discussion or decision or approval can they be implemented.”
In fact this repeats the decision of February 2, 1941 which
“... stipulated that all circular telegrams, declarations and inner-Party directives bearing on the country as a whole must have the prior approval of the Central Committee.”
The role of the CCP increases and Mao Zedong is much more playing the leading role.
“From now on, all documents and telegrams sent out in the name of the Central Committee can be dispatched only after I have gone over them, otherwise they are invalid. Please take note."
On June 19, 1954 the CPG decides to abolish the regional bureaus. "They have been responsible for implementing central policies, implementing people’s democratic governance, conducting various social reform campaigns, restoring the national economy, and Economic construction, cultural construction, and other aspects of work all play a very important role, and they have successfully completed their tasks." The decision continues "Now, the country has entered a period of planned economic construction. The construction of the state-planned economy requires further strengthening of the centralized and unified leadership of the central government. In order for the central government to directly lead the provinces and cities to better understand the following situations, reduce organizational levels, increase work efficiency, and overcome bureaucracy; in order to save cadres, strengthen the needs of the central government and supply factories and mining enterprises, and appropriately strengthen the leadership of the provinces and cities. It is absolutely necessary and timely to abolish administrative agencies at the regional level."
In his "On the ten major relationships" Mao Zedong comments on the abolishment
"Take our own experience; the system of the greater administrative area instituted in the early days of our People’s Republic was a necessity at that time, and yet it had shortcomings which were later exploited to a certain extent by the anti-Party alliance of Kao Kang and Jao Shu-shih It was subsequently decided to abolish the greater administrative areas and put the various provinces directly under the central
authorities; that was a correct decision. But neither was the outcome so satisfactory when matters went to the length of depriving the localities of their necessary independence."
Kin (2009). Page 530.[Cite] Fairbank (2006) states: "...,the fecund Yangzi delta is divided among the provinces of Zhejiang, Jiangsu, and Anhui so that the preeminent economic strength of the region will not be under a single provincial government that might take over the state." Fairbank (2006). Page 11.[Cite] Table 18 Provinces[↩]
At the beginning of 1953, there were, among the 345 members of the leading organs in the six "Great Administrative Regions", 104 military men, a share of 30.1 percent. If one only counts the CCP members in these organs, the share of the PLA was 36.4 percent.94Chang (1995). Page 85 [↩][Cite]