The Common Program of the People's Republic of China 1949-1954


Some aspects of this article, like freedom of thought, freedom of speech, and publication will be dealt with in Chapter 5. In this article, the focus lies on religion, elimination of sects, the restrictions on the right of assembly, and the right to move freely throughout the country. Hukou regulations confine this freedom.

Freedom of association and assembly....

Already in January 1949, the CCP makes it clear that there will be restrictions on the right of assembly. The communist government of Northeast China announces all secret sects and other popular organizations have to dissolve. In 1949, the total number of members of secret societies is about 13 million, much more than the 5 million CCP members. "Por otra parte, Lin Rongze estimó que el numero de seguidores ascendió a más de 18 millones, mientras que Lu Zhongwei en 30 millones. Si bien estas cifras deben tomarse con cautela, ofrecen una idea de la magnitud del fenómeno. Además, las cifras podrian estar infladas por los funcionarios locales en un intento de satisfacer o superar las metas de las campañas." Two important generals of the PLA,
Zhu De
Zhu De (1886-1976)
He Long
He Long (1896-1969)
were members of a secret sect. These sects often have a military structure and in many occasions collaborated with the Japanese occupiers. When on January 15, 1949, the economic important port Tianjin is taken over, the CCP instantly starts to eliminate the secret organizations which are basically active in the economic sector. Most members are illiterate laborers. The CCP considers the sects as remains of the feudal society and as a powerful opponent, which have to be eradicated.
On September 29, 1949, a decree is made public in which all social organizations are called to register. The CCP wants to forbid the 'wrong' organizations and to reform the “good” ones in reliable partners of the new regime.
Article 3 of the decree defines the organizations that are obliged to register:
1) The masses’ organizations;
2) Social welfare groups;
3) Literary and art working bodies;
4) Academic and learned associations;
5) Religious groups;
6) Other organizations that accord with the laws of the government.
Article 4 states: "The founding of any reactionary organization, which impairs the interests of the state and the people, is prohibited; for those that have already registered but are found reactionary, their registration should be terminated and dismissed."
Liu (2017) distinguishes between 6 organizations which are recognized.
"1. Mass organizations engaged in general social activities, such as the Trade Union, the Peasants’ Association, the Federation of Industry and Commerce, the Democratic Women’s Federation, the Democratic Youth Federation, the Students’ Federation, etc.
2. Public service organizations, such as the China Welfare Institute and the Red Cross Society of China.
3. Literary and art organizations engaged in literature, art, drama, and music, such as the Federation of Literary and Art Circles, the Drama Workers’ Association, the Art Workers’ Association, the Music Workers’ Association, etc.
4. Academic research organizations, such as the Natural Science Workers’ Association, the Social Science Workers’ Association, the Medical Association, etc.
5. Religious organizations, such as Christian and Buddhist organizations
6. Other social organizations that are recognized by law."
In Shanghai, 40.000 organizations are registered. 36.000 are labor organizations and 89 are religious groups. Some organizations are not obliged to register according to article 2 of the regulation. These are the democratic parties or the people’s groups that have participated in the CPPCC; organizations that have been formulated by other regulations of the Central Government; organizations within administrative agencies, educational institutions, political entities, and military troops, which have obtained permission for their establishment from leading cadres.

During the war with Japan and during the Civil War, all opponents (the Japanese, GMD and CCP) tried to infiltrate the sects. In 1936, Mao published an "Appeal from the Central Soviet Government” to the “Brothers of the Elders’ Society", in which he praised its anti-Qing tradition and called on them to join the anti-Japanese front. "But the CCP’s embrace of secret societies was purely opportunistic; the ultimate goal was to coopt their leaders and make them useless by creating grassroots revolutionary associations which could better meet the needs of the people. CCP cadres did not hesitate to establish secret society shrines which were but fronts for Party cells" On 4 January 1949, the Peoples’ Government of North China banned secret societies
The CCP uses several methods to eliminate the secret sects. One is based on delivering "…various kinds of social and economic services, from job placement, to labour insurance, to extensive government loan and credit facilities, it increasingly undermined the basis for the plethora of social organizations ... in the cities."
The use of violence is also an efficient method to eliminate the sects. Gao (2004) notices various difficulties. The crucial task was to educate the villagers to make a clear break with popular secret societies in the villages that had numerous connections with bandits. The secret societies are not immediately banned, but peasants are warned that GMD spies have penetrated these organizations or that they had close relations with Japanese occupiers and bandits were often local people who had relatives or friends in the villages.
"In addition, many former independent organizations were simply absorbed by the state, the party, or mass organizations that effectively functioned as arms of the party. Others were merged into state-controlled institutions, such as universities."
Liu Bocheng
Liu Bocheng (1892-1986) PLA commander in the Southwest
poses the opinion that the existence of secret societies in Chengdu half a year after the takeover, is still a big problem: "...secret societies have been rampant in the Southwest provinces and have been carrying on illegal activities inimical to society, and as the remnant bandits have since liberation taken cover under these organizations to engage in sabotage activities."
According to Skinner (1951), there are in March 1950 still 200.000 rebels active in the province of Sichuan. Smith (2015) observes: "According to the Public Security Bureau (PSB), between April 1949 and the end of 1952, the ten biggest sects in Henan organized fifty two “counter revolutionary uprisings,” an average of one a month, and their counterparts in Hubei organized the same number."
The PLA firstly arrested the leaders of the secret sects (especially those who had collaborated with the Japanese and Nationalists or who had betrayed Communists to the secret police) and later on their followers. "In the single province of Shanxi, for example, some 734 villages carried out a suppression campaign against the Yiguan Dao (the biggest ‘secret’ society) in December 1950. Over 82,300 members withdrew from the sect, 1,692 minor leaders registered and 133 "professional leaders" were put under detention." In Beijing between 1950 and 1951, 90,000 members renounced
Yiguan Dao
1950 Yiguang Dao leaders arrested in Beijing
. The suspicion against the sects rises during the Korean War. Many people doubt as to the patriotism of the members. Still the secret societies keep existing. The big landlords and businessmen have the feeling they have nothing to lose.
"By 1952 these revived sects were already reported to have instigated armed uprisings. In Shaoxing county, Zhejiang, leaders of the Jiugong Dao launched three attacks which damaged district government offices and resulted in the death of more than 40 cadres. Brandishing swords and imperial banners, the rebels attempted unsuccessfully to seize the county seat and stage a monarchical restoration."
The sects also play an important role as opponents against the Land reform law and in 1953, a few societies become involved in resistance to the new program of grain procurement. (see Article 27) Recruiting of members is still easy to achieve because the control on migration is limited. The hukou system is at this moment not strictly implemented. See below.
"For example, members of an Yiguan Dao branch spread their message across Hebei, Shanxi and Inner Mongolia by working as mule carters or travelling herbalists. In this way, by 1954 the group had managed to attract hundreds of believers."
The Land reform law makes the attraction for the poor farmers less relevant. They have not much to gain by joining a sect. "Frequently led by dispossessed landlords and rich peasants, many of the sects developed …But now, of course, the plea was for a land reform that would restore the property of the divested rural elite, rather than service the interests of the poor peasantry. As reactionary organizations, the overtly political sects were limited in their recruitment potential." At some places, sect members succeed in infiltrating local governments.

Most Chinese people are organized through their factory, school, administration, or army. In 1952 street committees are founded for those who are not organized through their job. These committees have to strengthen the ties between the central, local governments and the neighborhoods.
They are responsible for the daily affairs, like providing marriage certificates, supervision on family planning, the distribution of food vouchers, and propaganda. In 1952, beside these neighborhood committees, also security defense groups are founded. The purpose of these committees in "…organs, factories, enterprises, schools, and streets shall generally be taken as units in cities, while in rural villages the administrative village shall be the unit…." (article 3) and "In order to rouse the masses and to assist the people’s government in preventing treason, espionage, theft, and arson, in liquidating counterrevolutionary activity, and in defending state and public security, it is specially prescribed that security defense committees be universally established throughout the country, in every city after development of the movement for the suppression of counterrevolution and in every rural village after completion of the land reform." In the discussion of Article 17 of the Common Program will the mediation committee be addressed.

See Timeline Hukou Introduction 1948-1954
In the first years of the People's Republic of China, the regime is confronted with a great number of refugees as a result of the civil war. In the period between July 1949 and March 1950, the Shanghai administration sends back 350.000 men to their province of birth.
"Just after the army arrived in Beijing, CCP surveyors tallied 8,000 beggars and petty thieves in the capital city. Within the first three months of Communist control, cadres claimed that by offering free train tickets and travel stipends, they mobilized roughly 3,000 nonnative Beijingers (and other willing migrants) to return or relocate to the countryside." The population increase in the cities is not only caused by the refugees but also by the influx of laborers for the industry and construction work. These newcomers arrive from the rural areas attracted by the higher earnings. The government measure of June 27, 1952, to provide free medical care for everyone working at the government and noncommercial organizations is an extra stimulus to migrate to the city. See Article 48.
To control the migration, the CCP introduces already in April 1948 a household register system (Hukou) in the newly liberated areas in the northeast of China. Brown (2012) however, argues "In the first four years of Communist rule in Tianjin, household registration had little to do with limiting rural-to-urban migration. In October 1949, Public Security vice director Wan Xiaotang, ..., ordered his force to link household registration with the struggle against enemy operatives.3 Hukou police busied themselves with door-to-door checks, paying special attention to people suspected of being counterrevolutionaries.4 Rather than excluding people from rural backgrounds, Communist leaders’ plan for Tianjin during the early 1950s stressed social order."
The Tianjin administration tried to persuade refugees to go back to their home town or to migrate to other parts of China. They provided transportation costs, food and accommodation in the receiving villages. Several people took advantage of this deportation program and entered the city to receive free tickets and stipends. The underlying idea of this policy was to separate the ‘consumers’ from the ‘producers’ and to get rid of the former and to stimulate the latter.
"The origins of the hukou system lie embedded in the baojia system of population registration and mutual surveillance perfected over millennia. But its antecedents also lie in 20th-century techniques of social control that were perfected in areas under Kuomintang and Japanese rule, and in the Communist-led revolutionary base areas. Equally important is the direct influence of the Soviet passbook system and the role of Soviet advisers in creating a social order that could be mobilized in the service of socialist developmental priorities."
At the end of 1949, the Hukou system is introduced in cities like Beijing, Tianjin, and Shanghai. The system is also introduced " provide a general statistical overview of the composition of subjects … based on education, profession, residence, and class for administrative and developmental purposes. …the new information to be collected included people's life stories, classes, economic conditions, social relations, and educational backgrounds. Researching the historical, social and, material conditions of a household, this approach made the investigation both “socialist” and more extensive than the simple and despised “counting” methods attributed to the previous regime."
The handbook for CCP cadres (1949) describes the double function that involves the system. "On the one hand, [we] need to find out [hidden] enemies quickly, assist struggles against the enemy, and maintain the revolutionary order through the hukou management that controls the information on the population. On the other hand, [we] can provide data to the agencies of the state for their making policies and plans through hukou management that controls the population."
On July 16, 1951, the Ministry of public security introduces the Hukou system throughout the country, to contain the ‘blind’ influx of persons from rural regions to the urban areas.
‘Blind’ influx means not controlled. Between 1949 and 1955 in Guangzhou, the total number of citizens has grown with 534,000 people, of whom 70 percent are ‘blind’ farmer migrants. "Between 1949 and 1957, it is reckoned the city (Shanghai) offloaded more than a million people, but 1,820,000 migrants came to the city in the same period, so that immigration accounted for about 34% of the city’s growth."
"7.47% of all interprovincial migrants moved to Beijing during 1950-1954. During the same period, Shanghai received about 8.24% of China's interprovincial migrants. Together the three municipalities received almost 20% of China's interprovincial migrants in that period."

Fig. 5.1: Urban population growth 1949-1954 (in millions)
Sources: Chan (1988). Page 58 & Wemheuer (2019). Page 384
The Hukou system includes a number of mechanisms to manage the migration flow smoothly. The main provision involves obtaining permission from the local security office of the place where one wants to leave. Everybody has to register himself within 3 days at the local security office where one wants to live. Hotels and other guesthouses have to report about their guests at the local security office daily.
"The present regulations,' it began, 'were formulated with a view to maintaining social peace and order, safeguarding the people's security and protecting their freedom of residence and of movement.' This document may in fact be said to have formally initiated the process that, in the course of a decade, effectively denied the Chinese people freedom of residence and movement, placing decisions in this realm in the hands of the state."
The system complicates the upward mobility for residents of rural areas strongly. What was implicit but not stated in the hukou transfer pamphlets was that transfers of hukou changed residents’ rights and entitlements as citizens. Since 1952, the hukou registrar has recorded China’s population according to their residential (rural or urban) and occupational (agricultural or nonagricultural) status, creating four categories of citizenship:
a. urban nonagricultural (urban workers);
b. urban agricultural (suburban peasants);
c. rural non-agricultural (workers in state or collective enterprises in rural areas);
d. rural agricultural (rural peasants).
A special group are all cadres of the Party-state, no matter they came from the countryside or cities, or were sent to work in rural or urban areas, were considered to hold "urban status". Deng (2012) remarks "To reside in a city before the Communist take-over did not necessarily entitle a person to "urban status" after 1949. In other words, the urban population before the CCP‘s take-over did not equal "urban status population" latter."
Before 1949, it was possible to stay through temporary jobs in the city and to climb the social ladder and eventually permanently residing in the city and the opportunity to get an education for your children. A stringent and clear distinction between town and rural area occurs to the detriment of farmers. There are also some setbacks for citizens
"Before 1949, urban professionals and administrators had multiple ties to the countryside. Rural rents funded urban careers, and profits from the city could be invested in rural land. Men living in the city returned to the countryside to marry, and children were sent to stay with rural grandparents. Country residence also provided an escape where politically or financially ruined members of the urban middle class could recuperate, regroup, or simply survive."
After 1949, people are sent to the countryside as a punishment. The control is in the beginning certainly not waterproof and the editorial of the People’s Daily (RMRB) complains. "Rural surplus labour in a considerable number of areas has recently been found moving blindly towards the cities. 'Not only did these (rural) cadres not dissuade the peasants from blindly moving into the cities, but they adopted an irresponsible attitude of "out of sight, out of mind”."
This illegal influx of migrants has also a positive side for the administration. "Once in town, farmers labored as outsiders, generally without most of the basic welfare rights enjoyed by average urban-citizens workers.51 …. For the simple fact that it is a way to provide cheap labor not have to deal with the concerns and expenses of providing welfare to the average peasant; a type of moneysaving technique."
Not only the farmers create a migrant problem, on June 29, 1950, the PLA starts a demobilization campaign. At the end of that year, about 17% of the soldiers are demobilized. The campaign is stopped during the Korean War, but after 1953 the demobilization campaign starts all over. Most of these veterans cannot find a job in the countryside (from where most of them were recruited) and migrate to the towns.
"Rural officials were only too glad to be rid of them, so they “casually” issued them unauthorized “letters of introduction” to whatever urban destination they desired. If such letters could not be procured, veterans forged them (..)making sure to falsify their native place, party member status, or location of family members."
In a new attempt to constrain the influx of farmers and veterans, the government takes some more measures. One of these is the requirement of an employment contract, but this requirement does not halt the influx and on March 12, 1954, the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of labor announce a new decree: "If in the future additional workers are needed for urban construction, the district and township government will be officially directed to recruit rural labour in a planned and organized manner."That is, rural recruits would presumably return to the countryside at the conclusion of their employment."
As the government wants to gain increased control over the economy, they also have a greater need to make more stringent rules "…the ability to allocate human resources not only at the enterprise and sectorial levels but also across geographic locations. Therefore, the Hukou system was considered to be a necessary component of the centrally planned economy." See on job opportunities Article 6 of the Common Program.
After the implementation of the state monopoly on purchasing and marketing of grain on October 10, 1953, (see Article 37) villagers had even more reasons to migrate to the city. Not only were there more job opportunities, more protection against natural disasters, but also the rationing of grain was much higher than in the countryside.
The government stimulates the migration to border areas. Especially the migration to the Northeast and Northwest is a planned operation. See also Article 6
On August 2, 1952, the Ministry of Public Security drafts stricter rules for emigration, even for overseas Chinese who want to go back to their homeland. In addition, persons who want to go to Hong Kong or Macau have to ask permission. The control on foreigners who want to leave the country is also getting stricter. See Article 59 and Timeline restrictions on migration 1949-1954

The constitution of November7, 1931 lies the foundation of religious practice of the CCP. Article 13 guarantees "True religious freedom to the workers, peasants, and the toiling population. Adhering to the principle of the complete separation of church and state, the [Chinese] Soviet state neither favors nor grants any financial assistance to any religion whatsoever. All Soviet citizens shall enjoy the right to engage in anti-religious propaganda. No religious institution of the imperialists shall be allowed to exist unless it shall comply with Soviet law."
The CCP has never made a precise definition of religion, the party considers religion as a negative social power clearly related to feudal and/or foreign imperialism. She differentiate "…into HuiMen (會門) and DaoMen (道門), HuiMen mainly included secret societies, and DaoMen contained secret religions, folk religions, popular religions etc.."
The CCP categorizes the “HuiMen” as secret organizations and they are treated the same way as counterrevolutionary groups. See Article 7 . "By 1949, well over 300 redemptive sects existed in China with a total of 820,000 ritual specialists and more than 13 million disciples, roughly 2.4% of the population.57"
In a talk with a Tibetan delegation Mao Zedong explains his attitude towards religion: "The Communist Party has adopted the policy of protecting religion. Whether you believe in religion or not, and whether you believe in this religion or that religion, you all will be respected. The party respects religious belief. This policy, as presently adopted, will continue in the future."
A 1950 People’s Daily editorial explains: "So long as a part of mankind is technologically backward and hence continues to be dependent on natural forces and so long as part of mankind has been unable to win its release from capitalist and feudal slavery, it will be impossible to bring about the universal elimination of religious phenomenon from human society. Therefore with regard to the problem of religious belief as such, any idea about taking coercive action is useless and positively harmful. This is the reason why we advocate protecting freedom of religious belief, just as we advocate protecting freedom to reject religious belief."
In January 1951, the government institutes a special bureau for religious affairs which works on national and local level. Before 1954, two national conferences on religious work are held. The staff of the bureau of religious affairs receive a job description. “Lead the Catholic Church and Protestant churches in participating in the 'Three-Self Patriotic Movement;' and lead the Buddhist, Daoist, and Islamic leaders in conducting regular study classes on 'patriotism'." Basically, the position of the administration towards the 5 big religions is the same. These 5 big religions are Roman Catholicism, Protestantism, Islam, Buddhism and Taoism.
Confucianism is not considered as a religion but as a ‘way of life’. "Confucianism, disorganised since the collapse of the imperial examination system and mandarinate, was completely banned as the very essence of 'feudalism'; the thousands of redemptive societies, (6) which aimed to reformulate and revive traditional religion, were ruthlessly persecuted as 'reactionary sects and secret societies'; the millions of communal cults, deeply rooted in traditional rural society, were stigmatised as 'feudal superstition'; (7)"
Sun (2005) assumes "It seems plausible that Confucianism was left out of the official classification because there was no Confucian population perceived to be posing political threats. Moreover there was no self-identified Confucian population to speak of in the first place."
"According to statistics from the Beijing Bureau of Religious Affairs, there were 0.5 million Han-Buddhists (excluding those who practised at home), 0.93 million Hinayana Buddhists, 4.43 million Tibetan Buddhists, 8 million Muslims, 2.7 million Catholics,17 and 0.7 million Protestants in China in 1950.18 The total number was 17.26 million excluding Taoists…Although there is no precise number recorded for Taoists, it is believed that the number of Buddhist and Taoist believers was far greater than in any other religions due to the fact that these religions have no particular formality of baptism. Former Chinese premier Zhou En-Lai (周恩來) even estimated that there were 100 million religious believers in China in the early 1950s."
The CCP claimed, like the dynastic rulers, political and ideological hegemony. All religions have to support the new regime unconditionally. All religious groups which not accept this authority are illegal. Therefore, the power base of the different religions must be broken. Partly because the Marxist ideology and religion are incompatible, and partly because the party considers the Christian faiths as 'lackeys of foreign cultural imperialism', Buddhism and Taoism as representatives of feudalism and Islam as a security problem. In addition to these institutional approaches to religion, the state limits the believers personally in exercising their faith. The government leaves control to the local cadres who are responsible for "religious work". They can determine if a person is an enemy of the ‘people’ and deprive or constrain his right of freedom of religion. Wang (2015) gives an example: "The handling of communal religious activities therefore often depended on the needs of local officials. When the issue of suppressing superstition was low on their list of priorities, they could choose to make a concession, as they did during the rainmaking riots of the summer of 1953."
In this, the politics of the PRC differs from the SU, because
"The religion of the overwhelming majority of Han Chinese was neither Buddhist, Daoist nor Confucian, but drew selectively on all three traditions and combined these with elements of local ritual and belief. Popular religion was par excellence local, rooted in networks of cults, festivals and ancestor worship based on the household, territorial communities, guilds and other associations. Diffuse in character, it lacked many of the features associated with the modern conception of religion, such as institutionalised structures, trained personnel and a coherent belief system. Partly for this reason, the struggle against religion in the PRC –in the absence of centralised institutions that characterised Russian Orthodoxy - was never as important a priority for the Chinese Communists as it was for their Russian comrades..."

Most Muslims live in the border areas and they belong to national minorities. Frequently, Beijing accuses them of ‘local national chauvinism’ (地方民族主义) which conflicts with the ‘national unity’ (民族团结)
The government prohibits the construction of mosques and sometimes forces the local population to raise pigs. In Gansu and Henan, the Muslim inhabitants frequently revolt. For example, on April 2 and 4, 1952, there are uprisings in Guyuan (固原), Ningxia (宁夏), and Zhangjiachuan (张家川). The most famous rebel is
Osman Batur,
Osman Batur (Ospan Batyr 1899-1951)executed in Urumqi on April 29, 1951
who dreams of an independent Islamic republic Turkistan. To achieve his goal, he works at different times together with Russian Communists, the Americans, and the GMD government. In February 1951, the PLA captures him and he is sentenced as a counterrevolutionary person and hanged in Urumqi. The new regime is relatively mild to the Islam as compared to the other religions. For example, the general decree of the GAC exempts people of the Islamic faith from paying the slaughter tax when their cattle and sheep are slaughtered for home consumption, and relaxes the inspection standard. The PRC also wants to keep good relations with Islamic countries throughout the world. Most of these countries are underdeveloped countries and the CCP considers them as victims of imperialism. In 1953, loyal Islamic leaders establish the Chinese Islamic Association to improve the relation between Beijing and the Muslim community.
One of these leaders is
Wen Xingsan
Wen Xingsan (闻省三). (1906-) Invited to the founding ceremony of October 1, 1949
. He states a good Muslim, has 4 missions "The Qu’ran teaches us the importance of Tawḥīd’. From the ‘viewpoint of the people’, Chinese Muslim should also ‘love the motherland, be determined, constantly raise our political awareness, learn the policies and laws of our nation, obey the law, and strengthen the devotion to the nation and the people to increase the power of national-construction."
The Chinese Islamic Association is also an instrument in the foreign policy towards Islamic states.
Ma Jian
Ma Jian (马坚). (1906-1978) member of the first CPPCC. Translates 'On the People's Democratic Dictatorhip' in Arabic
publishes an article in the Renmin Ribao, in which he states that the imperialists, particularly the US imperialist, are the ‘arch nemesis of Islam’. A second example is "The 1952 Hajj mission (which) was organised by the newly formed Chinese Islamic Association Preparation Committee (中国伊斯兰教协会筹备委员会, CIAPC, later became the Islamic Association of China, 中国伊斯兰教协会, IAC in 1953)....The delegation was dispatched only a month after the initiation meeting of the CIAPC. Led by Imam Da Pusheng and Imam Imin Mesum (伊明·马合苏木), an ethnic Uyghur and veteran of Uyghur independent movement, the group consisted of 16 members. All delegates were highly influential Imams (阿訇, Akhoond), Islamic scholars and Muslim community leaders from Hui and Uygur ethnic groups." A third example is the Peace Conference of the Asian and Pacific Regions, which is held from October 2 to 12, 1952 in Beijing. "Speeches from Iranian and Iraqi delegates pointed out that ‘the glorious and brave struggles for peace and independence by the Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, and Malaysian people’ was not only a ‘power that inspires us’ but also ‘our role model’. ‘Strategic arteries’ such as ‘Suez Canal’ and ‘Çanakkale Boğazı’(Dardanelles) were ‘more important than Korea’ to the imperialists." See Meeting.
Da Pusheng
Da Pusheng 达浦生 (1874-1965) Vice director CIA
played an important role in Chinese diplomacy towards the Muslim world. In 1952 he represented the Muslims of China at the Vienna World Peace Congress (January 1952).
In 1949, some Muslim leaders decide to leave the country. Among them were such important figures as imam
Ma Songting
Ma Songting (马松亭) (1895-1992) Vice director CIA
who, after a brief stay in Taiwan, settled in Hong Kong. In 1952, Zhou Enlai persuaded him to come back. The vast majority of Hui Muslims remained on the mainland, they believed that the CCP will keep its promises regarding the cultural autonomy for the Hui.

Buddhism has a long history in China The monks live in temple complexes and they provide for their livelihood by begging and leasing of land. The CCP considers Buddhism as an exploiting feudal religion. The temples are considered as places where capitalist and GMD sympathizers conspire. The land reform of 1950 destroys the foundation for the economic structure of Buddhism and created an apparent vacuum in religious leadership and a shortage of physical space and revenue for religious practice. However, the CCP issued a directive on 16 June 1951, which "...warned that temples should not be occupied without the agreement of resident clergy; that no damage should be done to temples; and that historic relics should be preserved. If temples were confiscated, they should be ordinary temples without abbots (zhuchi)—these were the vast majority in fact—or be given up voluntarily by monks, or be in places where temples were numerous."
Ju Zan,
Ju Zan (1908-1984) also known as Pan Chutong
an influential Buddhist, attempts to unify Buddhism and Communism and to adapt to the new situation. He participates at the CPPCC and starts a magazine
“Modern Buddhist Studies” (Xiandai foxue現代佛學).
Published from 1950 to 1964
Three other (pre 1949) major Buddhist magazines stopped publishing in 1953, 1955, and 1958. Even before September 1949, Ju Zan is very active and he writes with several other progressive Buddhists a proposal to Mao Zedong to reform Buddhism. Mao Zedong never answers. In April 1950, he sets up a factory to make burlap. Its ultimate goal "…was to re-educate monks and nuns so that they would transform themselves ideologically, embrace socialism willingly, promote patriotic activities among local Buddhists enthusiastically, and fight feudalism and capitalism resolutely."
In 1953, the Chinese Buddhist Association is founded to unite all Buddhists in China. Mao Zedong writes in 1952 "Though no believer in Buddhism, I am not against forming an association of Buddhists to get them united and enable them to distinguish clearly between the people and the enemy."
The situation in Tibet is more complex. Slobodnik (2007) notices: "In order to understand the status of religion in Tibet it is necessary to note that Tibetan Buddhism is considered to be the most important element in the identity of Tibetans by both Tibetan (...) and foreign authors(...). Any attempts to alter the traditional model of the status of religion, religious institutions and dignitaries in restrictions and limits imposed by the Chinese authorities on the religious practice on the individual and collective level are perceived by both the clergy and the laity as unacceptable infringements, which touch the core of “Tibetanness.”"
The agreement of the Central People's Government and the local government of Tibet on Measures for the Peaceful liberation of Tibet, which is signed on May 23, 1951 stipulates in article 7 "The policy of freedom of religious belief laid down in the Common Programme of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference will be protected. The Central Authorities will not effect any change in the income of the monasteries." (See The agreement )
The special status of Tibet is illustrated in the treatment of Mongolian and Tibetan monks. "In the first half of the 1950s, the number of monks in Mongolian Buddhist monasteries was reduced by 80 percent from 80,000 to 17,000 and they had to participate in physical labour.(...) As an example of the more tolerant religious policy implemented in Tibetan areas, one can mention the selectionprocess and the subsequent enthronement ceremony in February 1952 of the current 6th Jamyang Zhepa Lozang Jigme Thubten Chökyi Nyima (...), the highest reincarnation of the Labrang monastery, which proceeded in the traditional way with the Chinese authorities not intervening in this process."

After the 2nd world war, Catholic and Protestant missions were confronted with the task of reestablishing themselves after the large-scale evacuation and imprisonment of the clergy and the damage of their properties by the Japanese invaders. During the civil war period (1945-1949), both religions suffered percussion. The advancing PLA troops killed foreign priests, looted or destroyed over 500 hundred mission stations, and 200 churches. Some 400 churches are confiscated and about 2000 mission schools are closed. From February 1948 onwards, the CCP changed its policy and repeated the statement of religious freedom and the protection of foreign missionaries, as long as they did not support the GMD. Under this constant pressure, several missionaries fled. "For the Christian church as a whole, leaving China would mean the abandonment of a century's efforts to bring Christianity to one quarter of the world's population; for many individual missionaries it would mean admitting the failure of a lifetime's work and dedication."
The division between the two religions is accentuated by nationality and language of the missionaries. The catholic clergy are mainly from France, Italy and Spain. The protestants are English speaking from GB, US and the Commonwealth. The catholic presence is all over the country, particularly in rural areas. Their basic aim is converting families or even entire villages. The education efforts were primarily focused on primary and secondary teaching. They ran a limited number of large hospitals but ran instead small dispensaries connected with the mission stations. They have also foundling homes and orphanages. Their financial funding relied mostly on local revenues (rural land and urban real estate). The protestant missions are concentrated in the urban areas. They gradually become less interested in conversion and more in social reform, education, and health. They ran large hospitals, secondary schools, and universities. Their financial funding is based on voluntary contribution from abroad.

Like the Buddhist Ju Zan, the protestant leader
Wu Yaozong
September 1949 Wu Yaozong (1893-1979) also known as Y.T. Wu speeches at the CPPCC
is also inclined to cooperate with the CCP. He is also a delegate to the CPPCC. Both of them are appointed by the communist and not by their own religious community "…not only began to speak within the councils of the government (…) on behalf of the church, but soon addressed themselves to the Church on behalf of the government. Whether willingly or unwittingly, they have served as an effective Communist fifth column within the Church itself." His collaboration raises within the Protestant community more discord than within the Buddhist. Especially his attempt to unify the different protestant movements in one church raises much resistance. Several important clerics and theologians refuse to cooperate and flee to Hong Kong, leaving behind them a divided religious community.
In July 1950 the ‘Christian Manifest’ is publicized. It states loyalty to the People's Republic of China and the foundation of the ‘Three Self Patriotic Movement’. This movement aims to change the institutional base of the Christian churches. The three principles are self-governance, self-support (i.e., financial independence from foreigners), and self-propagation (i.e., indigenous missionary work).
Zhou Enlai denies the accusations of coercion "Of course, if I had drafted the manifesto and brought it out for them to sign, they would have agreed to it. But what use would there have been in that, for everyone would have said that so-and-so had drafted the statement for them? It is better for them to speak about reform on their own. As long as they are close to our national policy and correct in their general orientation, there is no need to interfere."
Hooper (1982) ascertains that the focus on social reform in the beginning of the 20th century backfired them. "...they found themselves temporarily linked with the forces of social reform intent on the modernization and transformation of Chinese society. Somewhat ironically, this Westernization and modernization movement included the development of Chinese nationalism and culminated in the mid-twenties in a violent reaction against the West"

Roman Catholicism
The main objection the CCP has against the Roman Catholic Church is the influence of the Vatican. This loyalty conflict already occurs from the first contacts between the Roman Catholic missionaries and the Chinese emperors.
The Chinese Roman Catholics are seen as
Anti-Catholic newspaper cartoon from the Jiefang ribao [Liberation Daily], October 13, 1951
of a foreign capitalist country. Some of them are imprisoned and charged as imperialist. After 1949, the foreign missionaries are on regular base publicly not only outside but also inside the protestant and the Roman Catholic Churches denounced. The government initiates these gatherings, later on the own community organizes these condemnation. In 1948, there were 5500 missionaries in China. Two-thirds had been
Archbishop Riberi (1897-1967) is already expelled May 24, 1951
in 1952. Every priest has to undergo a “patriotic educational program.”
Mariani (2011) claims the Catholic church in Shanghai was able to withstand the regime for a long time because "The church proved adaptable. At first it operated in the open, but as state pressure mounted it became ever more clandestine, even to the point of mirroring strategies once used by the previously underground CCP. It was not long before the former guerrilla fighters of the CCP recognized that the tactics and techniques they had perfected—barring violence—were now being used against themselves: cell groups with strict discipline and group cohesion, compartmentalized knowledge, a hierarchical organization, mass mobilization, multifaceted public pressure campaigns, intelligence gathering, and a specially trained vanguard of militants." It is only in 1957 the Chinese Catholics constitute a Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association. This association, like the Buddhist, Islamic, and Protestant associations, fits in the pursuit of the CCP to take control over all mass organizations. They are a part of the United Front work.

Taoism received the image of superstition and magic and as a protagonist of secret organizations. This is primarily because there is no single institutional framework for the rituals. Daoist ritual masters transmit their liturgical texts and practices to their sons and disciples in discrete, local lines of transmission. Hung (2000) remarks: "But to lump together peasants' religious beliefs as mere "superstitions," as government officials and reformers did, is a gross simplification of the peasants' enormously complicated mental and spiritual universe. The government attack against religious prints was essentially an assault against the peasants' traditions, as well as against their psychological bent and artistic imagination."
The daily life practice in rural areas is based on Taoist traditions, but the rituals in the kinship relations are based on Confucianism. Not until 1957, Taoism is considered a religion. PLA General Zhu De was the great promoter for this decision.

Martinez (2016). Page 81 [↩] [Cite]
Translation "Moreover, Lin Rongze estimated that the number of followers reached more than 18 million, while Lu Zhongwei comes up to 30 million. While these figures should be treated with caution, they give an idea of the magnitude of the phenomenon. Moreover, the figures could be inflated by local officials in an attempt to meet or exceed the goals of the campaigns" [↩]
Situ Meitang, a gang leader, was elected as a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, a member of the Central People's Government and a member of the Central Overseas Chinese Affairs Committee. [↩]
"For a variety of charitable organizations, associations, clubs and other welfare organizations, the Government’s policy was to allow its existence, at the same time to carry out rectification and transformation. In 1951, according to “the Central Committee’s Guidelines for the Registration of Social Organizations in Shanghai (draft)”, the association was designated as a feudal group, but at the same time it stipulated that “organized activities, property and undertakings should be transformed on the basis of the original to make a new democratic society welfare undertakings”....Although the government had not banned the old welfare organizations, these organizations gradually lost their social basis in the new social situation. Changes in the situation discredited members, and the money to donate and the economic sources of these organizations fell sharply. In addition, such organizations were generally considered to have a strong feudal color, the person in charge of the organization was not in line with the new social order of class composition. So the political legitimacy of it was challenged. In this case, these organizations either recognized the situation and took the initiative to end their organization, or were forced to cease activities due to the exhaustion of the economic support." Gao (2018). Pages 34-35 [↩] [Cite]
Liu (2017). Pages 48-49 [↩] [Cite]
Brooks (2011). [↩] [Cite]
Palmer (2008). Pages 124-125 [↩] [Cite]
Lieberthal (1973). Page 266 [↩] [Cite]
Gao (2004). Pages 108-109 [↩] [Cite]
Simon (2013). Page 154 [↩] [Cite]
Cited in Skinner (1951). Page 68 [↩] [Cite]
Smith (2015b). Page 344 [↩] [Cite]
Perry (1985). Page 417. [Cite]
Smith (2015b) concludes "the societies had been cross- class organizations with members ranging from the political and economic elites down to the most marginal and impoverished strata. The destruction of the old ruling classes, however, meant that the societies lost the merchants, gentry, and officials who had once been their wealthy patrons." Smith (2015b). Page 354. [Cite]
In 1949 Yiguan Dao has almost 180 thousand members In Beijing, 140 thousand in Tianjin and in Shaanxi 187 thousand. "An estimated 1,100 officers in the Beijing Bureau of Public Security were members, and local party cadres and members of the Communist Youth League were also found to have joined. In one Beijing district, 23 percent of all the police officers were members of the sect." Walder (2015). Page 67 [↩] [Cite]
Martinez (2016). Page 86 [↩] [Cite]
Perry (1985). Page 418 [↩] [Cite]
Perry (1985). Page 419 [↩] [Cite]
Perry (1985). Page 425 [↩] [Cite]
Smith (2012). Page 59. [Cite]
"The millions of refugees still loitering in the cities also demanded immediate attention. Within two weeks of Tianjin’s surrender in mid-January 1949, the CCP sent 20,000 people back to their villages throughout north China and in Manchuria.5 In Beijing, the next major urban center to fall on January 31, the authorities also began a rapid repatriation campaign, offering free passage to those willing to leave. About 5,000 people remained in the former Nationalist refugee shelters, the most obvious candidates for immediate removal in the effort dubbed “reducing the parasitic population” (jianshao jisheng renkou). But when cadres identified an additional 160,000 people and prepared for large-scale dispersal, protests forced them to abandon those plans.6 Instead, the new government concentrated its efforts on demobilized GMD soldiers lurking about the city. Public notices announced that former enemy combatants and their dependents who registered and turned in their weapons by the February 25 deadline would be rewarded for their cooperation; those who failed to do so would be treated as “illegal” belligerents.7 ...For the new PRC regime, confronting unknown numbers of possibly armed and hostile enemy soldiers was a key issue on the security agenda." Chen (2012). Page 214 [↩] [Cite]
Brown (2012). Page 30 [↩] [Cite]
Cheng (1994). Page 645. [Cite]
"To a great extent, the CCP directly copied and inherited much of the ROC hukou laws and policies on hukou registration and verification procedures. The early version of the CCP's hukou regulations (before the mid-1950s) also similarly provided for the citizen's right of free internal migration. Before the establishment of the PRC, the CCP established its own hukou-like mass mobilization and organization system as early as the 1930s, in its guerrilla bases in Jiangxi Province and later in northern Shangxi Province. 52" Wang (2005). Page 43 [↩] [Cite]
Graminius (2017). Pages 2-3. [Cite]
"…for security, employment, and rationing reasons. They issued “resident’s cards”. These were not given to each person but to each head-of-household. The document had to be shown when any member of the household applied for a regular job or made purchases at a state grain shop. In later years, when ration tickets were required to buy certain goods, the card was used to verify the identity of the buyer. The head of each household could obtain tickets only at a special office.2" White (1978). Page 149 [↩] [Cite]
Wang (2005). Page 44 [↩] [Cite]
Smith (2008). Page 222 [↩] [Cite]
Liang (1996). lnternal Migration in China, 1950-1988. Page 377. [Cite]
Fig. 5.2: Mobility in Tianjin 1951-1954
Source: Brown (2012). Page 37
Brown (2012) remarks "Tianjin authorities did manage to reverse the flow in 1955, but overall they found themselves fighting a losing battle." [↩] [Cite]
Cheng (1997). Pages 28-29 [↩] [Cite]
Chuang (2014). Page 656 [↩] [Cite]
Deng (2012). Page 121 [↩] [Cite]
Davis (2000). Page 268 [↩] [Cite]
Gluckstein (1957). Page 123. See for example RMRB editorial 20-04-1953 "Farmers who blindly flowed into the cities should go back to the countryside" [↩] [Cite]
Seeger (2012). Page 23 [↩] [Cite]
Diamant (2006). Page 27 [↩] [Cite]
Cheng (1994). Page 654 [↩] [Cite]
Wang (2007). Page 20 [↩] [Cite]
Cited in Slobodnik (2007). Page 118 [↩] [Cite]
Lee (2004). Page 4 [↩] [Cite]
Smith (2015). Page 90-91 [↩] [Cite]
Cited in Luo (ed), (1991). Page 143. This statement contradicts the constitution of Chinese Soviet of 1939. This Constitution in its 13th article guarantees “true religious freedom to the workers, peasants, and the toiling population. Adhering to the principle of the complete separation of church and state, the [Chinese] Soviet state neither favors nor grants any financial assistance to any religion whatsoever. All Soviet citizens shall enjoy the right to engage in anti-religious propaganda. No religious institution of the imperialists shall be allowed to exist unless it shall comply with Soviet law” [↩] [Cite]
Cited in Ashiwa (2009). Page 10 [↩] [Cite]
Leung (2005). Page 13 [↩] [Cite]
Palmer (2009). Page 18 [↩] [Cite]
Sun (2005). Page 235 [↩] [Cite]
Lee (2004). Page 6 [↩] [Cite]
Wang(2015). Page 264. [Cite] "Villagers openly criticized the Communist Party for “destroying the statues of gods” (daofo), ascribing the drought to the conversion of temples and the demolition of sacred statues of divinities.28 Rainmaking ceremonies quickly turned into an attack on cadres and the village and town government. To deal with the surge of rainmaking ceremonies, in addition to sending cadres to help irrigate land and pump water, the county government ordered first to “educate” (jiaoyu) villagers and, if persuasion turned out to be futile, then to let people do the ritual." Page 264 [↩]
Smith (2015c). Page 75. He describes a typical village temple "A village temple might house bodhisattvas,a statue of Guandi, the god of war, one of Guanyin, goddess of mercy, and gods of flood-control or earth gods.The village cult, however, centred on a god—sometimes a historic personage who had been deified—who was the special protector of the locality." Smith (2015c). Page 192. [Cite]
Laliberte (2015) notices "Li Weihan 李维汉, former director of the Party Central Party School in the 1930s, and which have re-emerged as the basis of the CCP thinking on religious affairs.65 The ‘five characteristics’ of religion are specific to China and this justifies, in the eyes of its cadres, why the CCP religious work cannot be a mechanistic transplant of the USSR policy. For the proponents of this approach, religion is: long-term (changqi 长期), collective (qunzong 群众), ethnic (minzu 民族), international (guoji 国际) and complex (fuza 复 杂). 66 Because religion is a long-term phenomenon, the party must work to ensure its compatibility with socialism. The collective nature of religion suggests that this is not only a matter of individual belief, but also a social reality that requires political and legal management. The ethnic dimension of religion calls for the party to respect the religious beliefs of ethnic minority if it wants to succeed in its policy of maintaining national unity. Because religions are international, the party must be vigilant to ensure that they uphold the principles of independence, autonomy, and self-governance. Finally, because religion has a complex nature, the party’s UFWD must improve its understanding of religious diversity." Laliberté (2015). Page 10 [↩] [Cite]
Leung (2005). Page 901. [Cite]
"Having undermined the power of many Sunni and Shiite clerics through land reform, .., many Muslims in Xinjiang turned towards Sufism. Different from Sunni and Shia Islam, Sufism deemphasizes the importance of Mosques and land and instead focuses on the importance of Muslim fellowship.94 As such, under Sufism Muslims can meet practically anywhere to discuss their faith and listen to religious teachings. Therefore, by practicing Sufism the Uyghurs were able to maintain their Islamic faith despite attempts by the Chinese state to undermine it." Betz (2008). Page 34. [↩] [Cite]
19-12-1950 Provisional regulations on Slaughter Tax of the People’s Republic of China. Measures for the exemption of slaughter tax and relaxation of inspection standards for slaughtering their own cattle and sheep on three major Islamic festivals in Shanghai (approved by the Shanghai Municipal People’s Government on February 16, 1951 [↩]
Yin (2019). Page 15 [↩] [Cite]
Yin (2019). Yin states "...this trip marked one of the very first diplomatic ice-breaking attempt of the PRC to establish formal relations with the Arab nations." Page 2 [↩] [Cite]
Yin (2019). Page 17 [↩] [Cite]
The branch of Buddhism most popular in China is Mahayana. The branch of Buddhism dominant in Tibet is called Lamaism, and is popular among the Lhoba, Moinba, Mongols, Tibetans, Tu and Yugurs. The ethnic minorities of Blang, Dai and De’ang practice Hinayana Buddhism/Theravada. [↩]
Smith (2015c). Page 197. [Cite]
"During the 1950s Buddhism was used for the state’s foreign diplomacy toward Buddhist countries (for example, Japan, Sri Lanka) and large public temples were maintained through state subsidies as showcases of religion under socialism to impress foreign visitors. But the innumerable secondary temples in locales ceased operating while many were taken over and used by local governments." Wank (2009). Page 148 Note 12 [↩] [Cite]
See Xue (2014). [↩] [Cite]
Xue (2009b). Page 243 [↩] [Cite]
"The basic tasks of the Buddhist Association of China are to support the implementation of religious policy, heighten Buddhists’ awareness of socialism and patriotism, represent the legal rights and interests of Buddhists, and organize “normal” religious activities. In practice the Buddhist Association of China functions to avoid direct confrontation between Buddhists and the state, and is the key channel for coordinating the coexistence of state and religion" Ashiwa (2009). Page 59 [↩] [Cite]
Slobodnik (2007). Pages 116-117 [↩] [Cite]
Slobodník (2011). Page 67 [↩] [Cite]
Hooper (1982). Pages 68-69. [Cite]
"... missionaries who stayed in Red China did so for a variety of reasons: commitment to their task, indifference to political change, curiosity, loyalty to their Chinese colleagues, desire to render service as long as possible, hope that somehow the Communists would modify their attitude toward religion and Western "imperialism" when they came to responsibility and power." Lacy (1955). Page 301 [Cite] [↩]
Outerbridge (1952). Page 177 [↩]
Cited in Seibel (2011). Page 20 [↩] [Cite]
Hooper (1982). The elimination. Page 30 [↩] [Cite]
"Pope Benedict XV (1914-1922) and Pope Pius XI (1922-1939),in 1919 and 1926, respectively, called for foreign missionaries to cede their posts to Chinese priests. Their efforts yielded few results; the foreign missionaries seemed reluctant to relinquish their positions of leadership. The normalization of Sino-Vatican relations in 1939 did not improve the situation. Only in 1946 did the Chinese Catholic Church officially become a national church; even by then, foreigners still dominated its ecclesiastic leadership." Zhang (2015). Page 40 "On August 19, 1950, the Central Committee of the CCP issued a document that identified Chinese Catholic and Protestant Churches as potential loci of imperialist spying operations." Page 42. In 1949 the Vatican had prohibited all Chinese Catholics from cooperating in any way with the new Communist regime, which put church members in a very difficult position. [↩] [Cite]
For example, Bishop O'Gara was seen as an agent of the west, a subversive whose prior relationships with the United States military, the Nationalist government, and Vatican made him a political threat. See Carbonneau (1997). [↩] [Cite]
Mariani (2011). Page 6. By 1955, the Roman Catholic Church in Shanghai had been effectively dismantled. [↩] [Cite]
Hung (2000). [↩] [Cite]
"A weakness of Taoism, relative to Buddhism, which has adherents among Tibetans, Mongols, and other minorities, is that the former has almost no followers among non-Chinese." Laliberté (2016). Page 139 [↩] [Cite]

Chapter 1 of Common Program