Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Destruction of Tibetan Buddhism ---- Chinese sources



Document 1
Approval and Forwarding of
the Report on Religious Work
 and Suggestions for the Future

by United Front Work Department, CCP Qinghai Provincial Committee


Tsadam Work Committee, Xining Municipal Party Committee,
Party Committees of all Prefectures and Counties,
cc United Front Work Department of CCP Central Committee:

The Report on Religious Work and Suggestions for the Future by the United Front Work Department is approved by the Provincial Party Committee and hereby forwarded to you.

In current religious work, religious believers must be fully mobilized, the Speaking Bitterness campaign must be conducted extensively, the reactionary crimes and ugly features of religious circles must be completely exposed in public, counter-revolutionaries must be firmly suppressed, and temples’ feudal privileges and exploitative system must be abolished. On top of this,  the masses’ political awareness must be further raised, making them understand that the essence of religion is to serve the exploiting class, so as to reform the systems that violate laws and regulations issued by the state, that go against socialism, against national unity, against the prosperity and development of their own nationality. At the same time, propaganda about freedom of religious belief can be conducted in an all-round way.  In this way, a self-liberation movement by the labouring people of minority nationalities to free themselves from the political oppression, economic exploitation and spiritual control of the temples can be formed. This will achieve the effect of destroying the feudal rule of temples, creating a social atmosphere of naturally changing customs and traditions, while winning and uniting the majority of the masses, completely rendering us the initiative, thus facilitating the struggle with temples. On the contrary, if we ignore the key issues in religious work, side-tracking ourselves with small and unimportant issues instead of doing arduous and meticulous work with the masses, it is like putting the cart before the horse, and the movement will surely be “half-cooked” , damaging our efforts in religious work. It is our hope that party committees at all levels should take note of this.

To United Front Work Department of Central Committee, please give instructions on any defects in the above views.
Qinghai Provincial Committee
September 27, 1958.


Original Report  Attached 

 Report on Religious Work and Suggestions for the Future 

I.  Starting from this year, socialist revolution in pastoral areas in our province has reached a new stage of comprehensive development. Class struggle in agricultural regions has reached the highest level; in a certain period of time and to a certain extent, the struggle between the socialist road and the capitalist road has manifested itself as a friend-and-foe struggle. In this sharp and intense struggle, temples are used by counter-revolutionaries as major means to carry out anti-revolutionary activities. In conspiracy with imperialists and reactionaries in (central) Tibet, counter-revolutionaries in the ruling (literally ‘herd-leader’) class, focussing on religion and using temples as strongholds and the reactionary upper strata as backbone, have instigated counter-revolutionary armed rebellion by deceiving and threatening the masses. While cracking down on the rebellion, we mobilized the masses to ‘speak bitterness’ (recount the misery of the old society). In the struggle against the exploiting class and its remnants, a struggle against the reactionary religious upper strata in collusion with the exploiting class must also be carried out. A large scale struggle is conducted in religious circles, based on mobilizing the masses, to purge reactionaries and evildoers and counter-attack the rightists. In the struggle, the black curtain of the religious upper strata and temples is largely opened up to expose the essence of religion as a tool to serve the exploiting class, thus greatly raising the class consciousness of the working class and their enthusiasm for socialism, while greatly weakening the spiritual hold of religion on the masses. The reactionary nature of religion and a large number of crimes (in religious circles) have been exposed, as follows:

(1) Betraying the motherland and conspiring to split the big family of nationalities. In collusion with imperialism and the reactionary clique in Tibet, Lamaism carried out counter-revolutionary armed rebellion with the intention to split the motherland and to create an “Independent Kingdom of Great Tibet”. The counter-revolutionary Arotsang[1] confessed that the United States and Great Britain were behind the “Independent Kingdom of Great Tibet”, the strongholds of activities were Calcutta and Kalimpong in India. Dalai would be the king and the governor of the Tibet province of the Independent Kingdom, Xiaritsang[2] would be governor of Qinghai province, and Gungtangtsang[3] would be the governor of Gansu province. Appointments had already been made to all positions (in this proposed government), down to governor of each prefecture and county.  Reactionary Imams refused to recognize The People’s Republic of China as their motherland, saying something like “the Hui fight for religion instead of country”, and “All Hui are one family”. They tore up our national flag, and hung Turkish national flags in mosques. Reactionary upper strata in both Lamaism and Islam are hostile to the Party and the People’s Government, and they both claim that “Communist Party is our enemy”.

(2) Conspiring with the Guo Min Dang clique and counter-revolutionaries and dreaming of the return of the Jiang (Kai-shek) and Ma (Bu-fang) bandit gangs. Some temples secretly set up radio transmitters and maintain direct contact with Taiwan bandits. Arotsang kept frequent correspondence with the Guo Min Dang spy  Zhang Jia.[4] They treated photographs of Chiang Kai-shek and Ma Bu-fang as treasures, wrapping them up with silk, but poked holes in the eyes of Chairman Mao’s photograph, hung iron chains on it, even used it as a shooting target. Han Yinu, the rebel leader of Xunhua, hid inside Wendu Temple for as long as 6 years. Ma Wenkui hid a counter-revolutionary in the cellar of his home for 18 months. Mai Chenzhang always spread rumours, saying: “Weather is not good, times are going to change, niu pu (meaning Ma Bu-fang) will be back soon.” They just cling to the memory of Chiang Kai-shek and Ma Bu-fang.

(3) Spreading rumors and causing trouble. They dreamt of “Non cooperation, overthrow the Communist Party”. Using Sutra chanting as a disguise,  Arotsang dissolved seven pastoral cooperatives in a single religious ceremony. They spread rumours, saying (that under Communism): “There won’t be the freedom to ride a horse, eat meat or drink milk.“ Many temples stock up large amounts of grain, letting them rot, while screaming that they don’t have enough food.

(4) Temples are butcheries and the religious upper strata are killers. Temples have butcher’s knives stained with the blood of the working people and a variety of torture instruments used to punish the masses. They fill the clay Buddha statues with human blood, using women’s thigh bones as cursing wands and children’s skulls as rattles. Human flesh and heads were discovered in Xin temple of Hainan, and human heads and hands were found in Xiangride temple in Haixi as well. Numerous people were beaten to deformity, blinded, lashed, fined and locked up by temples.

(5) Heavy and ruthless extortion and exploitation of the masses. After Liberation, exploiting the masses through compulsory contributions and donations, Arotsang collected 100 million yuan. In 1955 alone he extorted 600,000 yuan, and created a private storehouse in Saizong temple. In 1956 Xiaritsang raised 400,000 in one alms collecting tour in the areas around Tongren (Reb gong rdzong). Some religious figures, when seeing people wearing good clothes or riding good horses, would use divination to cheat them, saying: “If you don’t give to the temple, disaster will befall to you.” In this way, they snatched it for themselves. Using Sutra chanting as means of treating diseases, some of them extort money and property, and sabotage production. Compared with Lamaism, Islam goes even further. According to investigations in Xining, Minghe and Xunhua, religious exploitation normally takes up to 20-40% of people’s total income.

(6) Disgusting behavior inside temples and among religious figures. Upper strata regularly rape women. Some Huo Fo-s and Imams mistakenly wore women’s fur jackets and pants. Huo Fo-s raping Akas (monks), Imams raping Mullahs, old Akas raping young Akas, homosexual behavior goes on in every temple. Obscene photographs and  pictures of women, embroidered shoes, clothes, hair dress, earrings and make-up were discovered in the residences of many famous Huo Fo-s. An Aka over 30 years old in Datong (gSer khog rdzong)  locked five 11 to 12 year-old girls in his room and raped them for several days. Even more detestable, a counter-revolutionary Imam in Hualong (Ba yan rdzong)  treated people’s diseases with the water he used to wash his sexual organ after raping women, which he called “du wa water”.

Exposing such crimes greatly weakened the masses’ superstitious belief in religion, raised people’s class consciousness and distinguished between enemies and the people. For example, in Gangcha County (rKang tsha rdzong), while struggling (Thab ’dzing) against Ketsai the counter-revolutionary Huo Fo, the masses immediately threw themselves on him, tearing up his robe, and demanded that the government execute this criminal right away. In Dulan County (Tu’u lan rdzong) , after the “black curtain” of Xiangride temple (where the 9th Panchen Lama stayed in exile) was raised, the masses smashed the clay Buddha statues into pieces and used the dust as fertilizer. They took the Ga’u (amulet boxes) from their necks, throwing them on the ground, and saying: “Never will I believe this deceiving religion again.” In many places, after exposing the ugly faces of the temples, people shouted “We do not want Huo Fo, we want the leadership of the Communist Party.” The Hui people themselves wrote slogans such as “Do away with superstition, study science” on the gates of mosques. Actions like knocking down Buddha statues and burning scriptures happened everywhere. In many places, religious personnel are no longer as popular as before. They have become objects of people’s loathing.

After crushing rebellions in pastoral areas, through mobilizing the masses to speak bitterness, cracking down on counter-revolutionaries and evildoers and exposing the deceitful nature of religion, people’s political awareness has been greatly raised and the spiritual shackles of religion imposed on people have been greatly loosened. At the present time, a large number of temples have disbanded, and a large number of religious personnel have joined productive work. According to statistics, in pastoral areas, 223 temples, 51.98% of the total, have disbanded; 17,685 religious personnel, 36.56% of the total, have returned to lay life. Among these, 97% of temples in Huangnan have disbanded, and 55.1% of religious personnel have returned to lay life. Adding those arrested and detained for political education, they make up to around  95% of total religious personnel. In Hainan 91.8% temples have disbanded, and 87.9% religious personnel have returned to lay life. In Haibei and Haixi, more than 80% temples have disbanded, and more than 70% religious personnel have returned to lay life. This new situation shows that religion is now on the edge of complete collapse.


II. The reason for the rapid development of religious work with such great achievements in pastoral areas is due to correct implementation of Party policies as well as full and complete mobilization of the masses. Experience demonstrated that putting great effort in mass mobilization is the key method to bring down the reactionary religious upper strata and expose the darkness of religion.  Only after the masses are completely mobilized, the counter-revolutionaries totally denounced and isolated from the people, can we strike hard at them and at the right point. While mobilizing the masses, arousing the poor religious personnel should never be neglected.  We must reinforce our work with them, cultivating activists among them to form a core group. In this way, a high-powered people’s revolutionary campaign with masses inside and outside the temples can be created.  To widely display various evidence of the criminal activities of religious upper strata and temples is a significant and realistic method to educate the masses. For example, in Hainan Prefecture,  displaying documents , photos of cruelty against the masses and cadres and of the torture devices kept in temples by the reactionary religious upper strata were a great eye-opener for the people. Poor herdsmen and victims were all gnashing their teeth in anger and hatred. Besides, using those figures in the religious upper strata who are willing to admit their guilt and to confess to the masses their tricks of cheating people through religion will further increase people’s understanding and uncover the true face of religion.  In this way, the masses can be educated from all sides, resulting in a massive anti-feudalist current, and the victory of the struggle against religion can be guaranteed.

In order to uproot religion completely in its political, economical and ideological aspects, attention should be paid to the following points:

1. Continue to mobilize the masses widely and extensively and continue the struggle of Speaking Bitterness. In areas where Speaking Bitterness has already been carried out, achievements should be consolidated through strengthening political and ideological education, solving all sorts of remaining issues and eliminating the “half-cooked” phenomenon.  In areas where Speaking Bitterness has not started or is under way, great effort should be put into mobilizing the masses, exposing the reactionary religious leaders resolutely once and for all, showing them to be ugly and stinking, stripping them of all political capital, so as to help the masses understand the reactionary essence of religion as serving the exploiting classes, and thus raise the people’s class consciousness.  In the process of mobilizing the masses, let all the counter-revolutionary elements and evildoers be caught and religious temples disbanded so as to liberate productive forces completely and establish absolute political superiority of the working people.

2. A wide-ranging and extensive movement should be carried out to spread propaganda  and education on communism and science.  We should lead people to hold debates between materialism and idealism using easy-to-understand methods through their own experience in the class struggle and struggle for productivity, as a way to expose the various tricks religion used to cheat the masses, (helping people) to understand that the essence of religion is to serve the exploiting class, and to increase people’s communist consciousness as well as knowledge in culture and science. This is the way to enable the masses to correctly understand various natural and social phenomena, so as to free themselves from the religious bind in terms of ideology and establish a scientific and communist world view. Continuously advancing the development of productivity will eradicate the foundation that religion relies on for its existence.

3. Carrying out and propagating the freedom of religious belief policy in an all-around way,  (stressing) that the state protects people who believe in religion as well as people who do not believe, making sure that every family, every person knows this policy. Wherever there are elements that force the masses to accept religion or force people to conduct religious activities, the masses should immediately be alerted. After struggles, (concerned persons) should be properly dealt with according to the seriousness of their cases. However,  in order to win over and unite the masses, we should not interfere with people’s voluntary religious activities.

 4. Religious system should be differentiated from masses’ customs and folkways.  While motivating people to speak bitterness, smash feudalism and reform the religious system, customs connected with religion but presenting little or no obstacle to productivity and socialist construction should be preserved or altered depending on people’s wishes, so as to prevent misunderstanding among the masses that may cause people’s enthusiasm for struggle to languish. 

5. After a large number of temples are destroyed and large number of religious personnel returned to lay life, (party committees) of all regions must quickly carry out reform of the religious system in the purposely preserved temples. Tools used to rule people for hundreds and thousands of years, mountains on top of people’s heads must be completely eradicated in order to rapidly liberate minority peoples from the binding of religion, so that they will be free from religious oppression forever and the roots of poverty and backwardness removed. The remaining temples must be held by the progressive elements, and completely under the control of the party leadership.


III. In agricultural areas, masses have been mobilized to conduct Speaking Bitterness meetings, religious privileges have been greatly weakened, and (a movement to) disband temples and return monks to lay life and join productive work has come into being.  However, as a broad mass movement has not been formed, the struggle is not deep and complete enough.  From now on, combining other critical tasks,  a mass movement should be launched to expand and deepen speaking bitterness, to struggle against the religious upper strata until they become ugly and stinking in the eyes of the people,[5] to completely clear out all the counter-revolutionaries and evil-doers, and resolutely change the religious system that impedes productivity, socialist construction and national development, so as to destroy religion’s rule on the masses from political, economic and ideological front. Without mobilizing the masses extensively, the problem cannot be eliminated from the root.

As for the reform of Islamic system, each county has paid great attention and has made certain achievements. However, due to the fact that policies were not propagated thoroughly and deeply and the masses were not completely mobilized,  instead of grasping the fundamental questions,  attention had been focused on dealing with minor issues, such as merging mosques, turning mosques into kindergartens and midwifery stations, making people raise pigs, making women take off the hijab, even enticing people to eat pork, etc. (Things like these) have caused some unnecessary misgivings and  temporary ideological confusion among the masses. Counter-revolutionaries took the opportunity to spread rumours saying “Communists will kill the Hui and eradicate religion”, “The Gong Guan Grand Mosque has become a food company”, “Communists want Hui to eat pork”, some of them incited the people by saying “In every dynasty we Hui had the guts to rebel. We will rebel as long as we want to.  We will kill as long as we want to.” Floating of such rumors has deceived people who do not know the truth. Some of them have been deceived, and do not have their minds on productive labour, gravely affecting social order.

Based on the above situation, in order to reduce obstacles to our work and to eradicate loopholes in our work that may be used by counter-revolutionaries to create rumours, it is correct for the Provincial Committee not to publicly raise the slogan of reforming the religious system, but to raise such slogans as purging counter-revolutionaries, abolishing the feudal system of oppression and exploitation, and abolishing feudal privileges.  To reach the goal of reforming the religious system, the following aspects should be worked out: (1) We must closely integrate all the core tasks, gather up all forces,  all party members pitch in, all persons mobilized, striving to bring the reform into depth and thoroughness, reaching the goal of destroying religion’s rule over the people in political, economic and ideological aspects. (2) Mobilize the masses extensively to uncover ugly facts within Islam, making people understand the inside story and reactionary essence of Islam. In the process of getting people to conduct Speaking Bitterness, it should start from telling the bitterness of extortion, oppression and exploitation by reactionary Imams, leading step by step toward telling the bitterness of oppression and exploitation by the religious system so as to match the Speaking Bitterness movement with the masses’ thoughts and knowledge, going from the easy to the difficult and complicated, from near to far from concrete to abstract, gradually raising to a higher level.  (3) As for the work procedure, it should first start from within the party, then outside (the party), straighten the thoughts of the cadres first. After that (we should) gain experience within the masses through experiment in specific places, and apply it to other areas. Do not try to reach the goal in one move and rush the work through. (4) Separate reform of the religious system from habits and customs of the masses. Anything in the religious system that violates state law and regulations, obstructs productive labour and cultural and scientific development must be resolutely reformed; whether to preserve or change anything that belongs to lifestyle and customs should be in accord with people’s wishes. We should welcome those who have already made reforms or those who are asking for reform, do not throw cold water on them. Do not impose reform on those who are not willing to do so.  It is important that we should not discriminate against them so as to avoid causing unnecessary anxiety and misgivings.

If there is nothing inappropriate, it is requested that the above be approved and transmitted to all the localities for implementation.

Department of United Front Work,
CPC Qinghai Provincial Committee
September 17, 1958


Document 2
Speech by Comrade Wang Feng to the
Forum on the Question of Lamaism
(October 7, 1958)[6]

Comrades,
   The Forum on the Question of Lamaism organized by the United Front Work Department of CPC Central Committee is going to finish soon. This forum is a meeting of cadres from several minority regions where Lamaism is practised. It is a meeting for party members. The main purpose of the meeting is for comrades from various regions to report on the work with Lamaism, to exchange experiences, and to discuss problems encountered during this period.  Comrades coming from various regions brought forward many valuable opinions in general meetings as well as group meetings. These opinions will greatly help the work of reforming Lamaism in the future.
   Now I would like to bring up some personal ideas on the questions discussed in the meetings as reference for comrades coming from various regions. Work on Lamaism must continue to take instructions from party committees in all regions, and act according to the opinions of party committees. During the meeting, the Central Secretariat (of the Communist Party of China) asked me to report the questions brought forward in the meeting. Comrades in the Secretariat had issued important directives and instructions on principles and content of the reform of the Lamaist system.

I. Status of Lamaism
In our country, followers of Lamaism include Mongolians, Tibetans, Qiang, Tu and Yugu, with a population of about four million. Total number of temples, large and small, is over 5000. The number of professional practitioners is 450,000. Among those, Tibet has over three thousand temples and 250,000 Lamas. Inner Mongolia and Xinjiang have 20,000 Lamas. Gansu, Qinghai, Sichuan and Yunnan together have over 2,300 temples and 170,000 Lamas. In Gansu, Qinghai, Sichuan and Yunnan, Lamas form more than 13% of the Tibetan population. In specific regions, for instance, counties such as Ganzi and Litang in Sichuan, the percentage of Lamas in the local Tibetan population is as high as 30, and up to 50% of the male population.

   The past few years since Liberation did see a decline of Lamaism in some areas, however, in other areas it is expanding. For instance, in Inner Mongolia the number of Lamas has decreased 78 percent (from 80,000 down to 17,000). As for religious influence on the people, the privileges of temples have been abolished in the majority of areas except the prefecture of Alxa League. The majority of the Lamas obey the law and participate in productive labour.  The religious burden on the people has greatly reduced. The number of Lamas in Xinjiang has reduced by half. The religious burden on the people is less than it was before Liberation. In some agricultural areas in Gansu, Sichuan, Qinghai and Yunnan, the temples’ privileges and exploitation have been weakened, but in most areas they remain untouched.  Not only that, the majority of the temples have directly or indirectly joined the rebellion.  In a few areas, temples and Lamas have even increased. For example, the pastoral areas of Qinghai have 120 more temples and 12,000 more Lamas than before Liberation.

   In Tibet, privileges of temples and their exploitation of the people remain untouched.

   Lamaism, especially Lamaism in Tibetan regions, ruthlessly exploits and oppresses labouring people. It is a big mountain on top of the masses, and a serious obstacle on the road of socialist construction as well as nationality development.

  On the economic front, temples hold large amounts of land, cattle, forest, pasture and commercial capital. For example, in Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, 18% of land and 72% of private commercial capital in the whole prefecture belongs to Lamaist temples. In Diqing Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, 34% of land owned by Tibetans belongs to Lamaist temples. Through land lease, cattle lease, corvee, usury, illegal commercial activities and other religious methods, temples ruthlessly exploit the masses. In general, land lease is above 50%, and in some areas even as high as 70% and above. Interest through money lending is also very high. Annual interest normally is more than one third of the principal, and only payment of interest, not principal, is allowed. The burden of religion on the masses is very heavy, taking up to 80% of annual income. Ruthless exploitation by temples in those areas seriously hampers the growth of production and improvement of the people’s life.

   On the political front, temples enjoy all kinds of privileges. The religious upper class is in tight league with local lords and chiefs, acting in collusion to impose barbarous rule and oppression on the masses. Big temples set up their own prisons and courts, and stock all types of torture instruments, punishing people at will.  With the practice of such cruel punishments as imprisonment, whipping, skinning, cutting tendons, cutting off tongues, noses and ears, blinding, branding and so on, temples are demonic killing nests. Many victims can be found in the ‘speak bitterness’ struggle meetings. The past few years since Liberation, the religious upper class has been retaliating against various policies and measures issued by the government. From democratic reform to collectivization, building irrigation projects, the campaign against the four pests, training nationality cadres and establishing schools, there is nothing they don’t oppose.  Since 1956, the majority of the temples in Sichuan, Qinghai, Gansu and Yunnan have colluded with imperialists, the Jiang Kai-shek bandit gang and reactionary Tibetan upper class, using temples as strongholds and the religious upper class as (commanding) core, to incite many armed rebellions.  Normally, over 50% of Lamas participated in the rebellion. They publicly raised the white flag (of counter-revolution), killing cadres and masses, shouting reactionary slogans such as “eliminate the communist party”, “do not take the socialist road”, “establish an independent Tibet” , so on and so forth, completely exposing themselves to be a gang of anti-party, anti-socialism, anti-people counter-revolutionary elements hidden under the cloak of religion, aiming to undermine national unity and betray the motherland.

   The religious upper class leads an extremely corrupt way of life. Rape is common among Huo Fo-s (Tib: sPrul sku, incarnate Lamas) , some of them have raped more than 1000 women, and even taken many nude photos of the women they raped. In the temples, there is homosexual behavior, with high ranking Lamas raping young Lamas, and Lamas having sex with each other has almost become a legally accepted system. Huo Fo-s and Lamas put on a prim and solemn manner, but in fact all of them are a bunch of hypocrites, capable of committing all kinds of crimes and ugly deeds. Religion-related waste in temples is astonishingly high. For example, in the past few years when grain has been in high demand, some temples burned up thousands of Jin of grain and large amounts of butter as ‘smoke offering’ (Tib: bSang mchod, Ch. wei sang, burning of dried cypress leaves with barley flour and butter). Some temples stock up enough noodles, grain and cloth to last for several years.

    In order to exploit and oppress people and to live a rotten life, the religious upper class makes the best use of religion to dupe people, forcing the labouring masses under theocracy, promoting ignorance and backwardness among the people.

   In short, just as the Tibetan masses themselves say, Lamaism represents “much misery, deep injustice, huge hatred”.

   All the above shows that Lamaism has seriously hampered social productive forces in Tibetan areas, it is the main reason why the Tibetan population cannot grow and the main obstacle to the advancement of the Tibetan nation.  Without a complete reform of the Lamaist system, it is impossible to liberate social productive forces of the Tibetan people as well as other minority peoples who believe in Lamaism, to truly consolidate our work in those areas and to conduct socialist construction in economy and culture. Therefore no development and prosperity will be possible for these nationalities. In order to change this situation, the Lamaist system must be completely reformed.

   In the past, due to the fact that religion remained untouched, our democratic reform in Tibetan agricultural areas was quite incomplete.  Tibetan masses in Sichuan complained that “they only freed themselves halfway”. Therefore, now when we completely reform the Lamaist system, it is essentially another democratic revolution. It is the urgent request of the masses. The masses have clearly stated that “as long as the Communist Party leads us, we have the courage to carry the struggle to the end”. In recent months in Qinghai and Gansu, together with suppressing the rebellion, and through ‘speaking bitterness’, resolute struggle against rebellious elements, feudal privilege and exploitation in temples has been conducted.  Not only did the masses have the courage to struggle against the rebellious elements, they truly have the courage to struggle against the religious system and counter-revolutionary Huo Fo-s. They even knocked down Buddha statues and dismantled Mani houses (a structure in which a large prayer wheel is housed). This gigantic campaign is still running high right now. It is a movement of the masses to fight against oppression and exploitation. The heavier the oppression is, the stronger the oppositional force.

   In the struggle, it is clear that class contradictions also exist within Lamaism itself, as a handful of the religious upper class oppress large numbers of poor Lamas. When the masses’ campaign gets going, Lamas from poor backgrounds become the inner force, launching struggles against the religious upper class. In the past, some people thought religion is untouchable, like a tiger’s backside, but this is merely a problem of thinking. (They) fail to see the contradiction within religion created by hierarchy. As a result of ‘speaking bitterness’ in Qinghai pastoral areas, by September 10th, over 52% of Lamas returned to secular life, and over 50% of temples disbanded. The struggle is still going on. It is the same in Gannan.

In the early stage of the democratic reform in Tibetan areas, there was a period of time when we purposely made many concessions to Lamaist temples, so as to reduce resistance and systematically carry out the reform according to plan. It was necessary to make those concessions. However, the counter-revolutionary Lamaist upper class thought that it was a sign of our weakness. They continued to conduct all kinds of sabotage, up to open rebellion, and thus completely revealed their counter-revolutionary nature and ugly faces, causing people to stand up and wage an active struggle against them, reducing them to isolation. This put us in a correct and advantageous position in our struggle against Lamaism. In areas where the majority of the population is Tibetan (temporarily excluding Tibet), the time is ripe to completely abolish the privileges and exploitation by Lamaist temples, to eliminate counter-revolutionary elements, to resolutely oppose bad people and bad deeds within Lamaism, and to reform the Lamaist system. We must strongly support and lead the masses to carry out this struggle, and there is no doubt that we shall win victory.

II. Guidelines, content and methods of reforming the Lamaist system
   Based on the situation discussed above, thus set the guidelines for our current work in religion: protect freedom of religious belief, fully mobilise the masses, completely crack down on counter-revolutionaries in religion, abolish feudal privileges and exploitation, and firmly struggle against evildoers and evil deeds; meanwhile continue to unite, educate and reform all patriotic and law-abiding religious persons.

   Why do we put forward the protection of religious freedom as a guideline? This cannot be thrown out. It is prescribed in the constitution of our country. Having this guideline prevents counter-revolutionaries from accusing us of annihilating religion, thus we will hold the initiative. By continuing to unite, educate and reform patriotic and law-abiding religious persons, it will facilitate the work of isolating and cracking down on religious persons who are counter-revolutionaries and evildoers, and abolish religious privileges and exploitation.

   Our work with all the nationalities (Tibet is temporarily excluded) in the whole country is based on these guidelines.

   It is not necessary to make must-follow rules about what is to be reformed in the Lamaist system. No need to make too many regulations either. Each region can take action suitable to local circumstances. However, the religious system should be differentiated from religious faith, so as to reflect the policy of freedom in religious belief.

   In accord with opinions put forward by comrades from various regions, I think the following five aspects of the religious system need to be reformed:

(1). Abolish all the privileges, for example, private courts, prisons and punishment, intervention in civil affairs, unauthorized appointment of tribal chiefs, illegal possession of firearms, organizing armed forces and meddling in cultural and educational activities.

(2). Abolish the ownership of productive means and the exploitative system, such as usury and corvee. Ban illegal commerce (all commercial activities by temples are illegal. When commercial activity is stopped, their economic foundation is destroyed.)

(3). Forbid temples from extorting property from the masses. Religious activities cannot stand in the way of productive work, nor can they go against policies and regulations issued by the state.

(4). Temples cannot force people to become monks. Monks have the freedom to return to secular life.

(5). Abolish feudal rule inside temples (for instance the stewardship, hierarchy among Lamas, punishment, and subordinate system (where a major monastery has a number of smaller temples subordinate to it) and so on. Religious personnel must take part in productive labour and fulfill citizenship duties.

   Do not mention the reform of those activities that belong to the masses’ religious beliefs, mainly the following three aspects:

(1). Masses’ voluntary sutra chanting and prostration

(2). Masses’ voluntary alms giving

(3). Legitimate sutra chanting by religious personnel

The method of reform is to boldly arouse the masses. Under slogans such as cracking down on counter-revolutionary elements, against evildoers and evil deeds, against religious privilege and exploitation (no need to use the slogan of reforming the religious system), mobilise the masses outside temples and the poor Lamas inside temples at the same time, attacking from both inside and outside, forming a gigantic mass campaign to reform the religious system. As for the counter-revolutionaries and the upper class, just arrest the ones that should be arrested on the strength of popular indignation, and detain those who should be detained for closed-door training.[7] The “lid must be lifted” (i.e., the situation must be tackled) without hesitation.

In regions where Lamaism has been largely weakened (for example, most areas of Inner Mongolia), consultation method can still be used to step through the economic reform of temples and remould the ideology of Lamas. Meanwhile, attention should be paid to fully agitate and educate the masses, to conduct socialist and communist education as well as education in science and culture, so as to further diminish religion’s influence among the masses.

   In Sichuan, the Central Committee once adopted the policy not to touch the temples for the time being. The main purpose of that policy was to stabilize the situation in Tibet, plus it facilitates the work of dividing and splitting the feudal class and isolating tu si, chiefs and landlords. The policy was necessary at that time. However, conditions are different now. Nationalities in the  whole country are joining in the Great Leap Forward, Tibetans in Sichuan also want to leap forward, but the Lamaist system has become the most prominent obstacle stopping the people of Tibetan areas from marching forward.  No forward march is possible without clearing away this obstacle. In the past we did make many concessions, yet they broke their promises anyway, going in for rebellion and sabotage. To struggle against them now, we are in a completely rightful and advantageous position.  However, we need to be fully prepared, conduct more investigation and come up with a full indictment of their counter-revolutionary activities. When we strike, the blow should be hard and complete. As for the influence on Tibet, now it is clear to us that even if we don’t touch temples, they will rebel anyway. In fact, the rebellion in Gansu and Qinghai was incited by them. The more they rebel, the better it is. When rebellion starts, we can turn bad things into good things. You don’t do it, they will do it anyway, but if you do it completely they may not able to do it anymore. When we handle (i.e., deal with/ do away with) the temples completely in Gansu and Qinghai, it is advantageous to solving the Tibetan problem. Of course, we still have to pay some attention to the impact on Tibet. However, by separating system from faith, and properly handling methods and concrete issues, we can take care of the impact on Tibet. Our way of handling this is more secure (i.e., causing less or no turmoil), and will be more favourable to influencing the Tibetan people, to winning over the Tibetan upper class and to fight the Tibetan upper class in a rightful and advantageous way.

   In Tibet (i.e., TAR), in accord with the “six-year-no-reform” principle passed by the Central Committee, reform of the Lamaist system has been temporarily put on hold. However, if Tibetan counter-revolutionaries dare to launch a full scale rebellion, it is possible that both social reform and reform of the Lamaist system in Tibet will begin ahead of schedule, thus fully liberating the Tibetan people.


III. (no subtitle)
   Reforming the Lamaist system is a very sharp, very complicated class struggle. To achieve victory in this struggle, a lot of work needs to be done. Based on the conditions and opinions reported by comrades, I think the following points require special attention:
(1) Firmly uphold the mass line, fully arouse the masses, and implement our work based on the consciousness and free will of the masses. Our experiences demonstrate: “To return a large number of Lamas to secular life and dismantle temples, the key is to mobilise the masses.” Only after mobilising the masses outside the temple and poor Lamas inside, an assault from within and without, can the bigger result be achieved. Recent struggle against the Islamic counter-revolutionary upper class in Ningxia and Gansu also proved this. In short, in places where the masses are fully mobilised and relied on, the struggle is done better; on the contrary, in places where the masses are not fully mobilised and relied on, the struggle cannot be carried out smoothly. We should trust the masses of minority nationalities. The masses of minority nationalities are trustworthy. For example, the Hui and Dongxiang counter-revolutionary rebels of Guanghe and Dongxiang Autonomous County in Gansu are more afraid of the militia of their own nationalities than of the People’s Liberation Army.

   Attention should be paid to mobilising backward people. This is particularly significant to reform of the Lamaist system. Backward people gaining consciousness is a sign that the masses have been fully aroused.  This is true of both Islam and Lamaism. We mobilised all the people around (the struggle against) Ma Zhenwu,[8] and this made our struggle against him more powerful.

   Special attention should be paid to organize the (section of the) masses who suffered most deeply from religious persecution in the struggle against the reactionary upper class. In this way the struggle will be deeper and more exhaustive, and it is more helpful in mobilising and educating the masses and raising their class consciousness as well.

   Completely exposing the rotten private lives of the reactionary upper class has very strong political significance, because by exposing their hypocrisy,  it is easier to arouse people’s anger and hatred. For example, in Qinghai, the display of Tu Guan Huo Fo’s female nude pictures in public aroused great anger from the masses.[9] When Ma Zhenwu’s dirt was exposed, even his former faithful followers said “how can we continue to call a man like this master?”

   (2). Rightist conservative ideas, religious sentiment and protective feeling (toward religion) among cadres must be overcome. Only so can we completely knock down the reactionary upper class and implement the work of religious system reform; again, only so can we effectively mobilise and firmly rely on the masses, it is necessary to clarify the significance of religious system reform and implement atheist education among cadres. Inside the party, a line between religion and communism must be firmly drawn. For those who keep religious belief, but do not violate party rules and are willing to accept party education even though they still retain some religious belief, the party will keep on educating them, wait for them for a while, help them to raise their consciousness and will not subject them to organizational sanctions. On the other hand, if a party member still refuses to change his religious standpoint after repeated education and holds on to the sentiment of defending religion, a person like this no longer meets the requirement of a communist party member. 20% of minority party members in Qinghai uphold the sentiment of defending religion.  One county CPC secretary even released a person belonging to the counter-revolutionary religious upper class without approval, and told him: “Lucky that you met me, otherwise you wouldn’t be released.” This kind of person cannot be kept in the party.

   We need to make the cadres understand that not cutting themselves off from the masses does not mean to fall behind the masses. Now that the masses have raised their consciousness and marched forward, if we stand on the same spot, we will fall behind the masses and separate ourselves from them. Take Han and Hui intermarriage as an example: in the past it was correct to restrict Han cadres from being in love with Hui women, but if we continue to emphasize such a restriction, we lag behind the situation and sink into the mud pit of narrow nationalism. Of course we should not advocate intermarriage between Hui and Han. Just keep one eye open, the other eye closed. The right attitude is to recognize development, to distinguish the direction of wind, to know the overall situation, standing in the frontline of the movement instead of lagging behind the masses; in other words, be pushers, not draggers.

   On the other hand, after the masses have been aroused, leaders should watch and prevent the trend of cadres wanting to overthrow everything.  Going to excess should be prevented.

(3). Enhance vigilance and be combat ready. To touch a tiger’s backside, one has to take precautions against being bitten.  Since religious system reform is a sharp class struggle, we must prepare ourselves for a rebellion launched by the reactionary upper class, and never take that lightly. However, don’t be afraid of rebellion. Should it happen, just firmly crack down, turning the bad into good. Some comrades follow the old rules and regulations. When rebellion is on the way they still try peaceful means first before resorting to force, putting themselves at a disadvantage as a result. The key to prevent rebellion still lies in fully mobilising the masses. This is the most essential step. In the struggle against Ma Zhenwu, when attention was paid to mobilising the masses and working well with them, there was no rebellion, but some problems occurred when the masses were not fully mobilised. To facilitate the process of mobilising the masses, to prevent and crack down on rebellion quickly, an effective measure is to arrest a number of evildoers promptly, confiscate firearms from evildoers and temples and distribute them to the reliable masses. Experience from various places has proved that this should be done and must be done.

(4). United Front work with the upper circle must be carried on. Our principle is: continue to unite and reform all patriotic and law-abiding religious personnel, and firmly crack down on evildoers and evil deeds in religion. Therefore we must do more United Front work and do it better, win the majority of the religious upper class over to the masses’ side to support the people’s wish to reform the religious system, and isolate reactionaries and evildoers. In areas where the masses have been mobilised, doing better United Front work with the upper circle has more significance. In the process of reforming religion, their study, work and life must be given overall consideration.  Proper care should be given to religious personnel living a difficult life due to disability. Thinking from the angle of nationality work, this will not harm national sentiment, it will help national unity, and at the same time make a good impression on foreign countries.

(5). Continue to publicise the freedom of religious belief policy.  Freedom of religion is written in the constitution. We are reforming the religious system, not eliminating religion. It has to be made clear that as Marxists, we will never take interfering measures to deal with ideological problems. However, we are firmly against counter-revolutionaries, privilege and exploitation, evildoers and evil deeds in religious circles. Only so can we counter rumours and sabotage created by counter-revolutionaries and win over the majority of the masses.

(6). (Religious system reform) must be united with current productive labour and with the socialist-communist education movement. The purpose of reforming religion is to free people’s minds and emancipate productive forces. Besides that, reforming the religious system and confronting evildoers in religious circles also serves as real life atheist propaganda and education. In essence, it is part of socialist- communist education. Because of this, the movement should be united with the socialist-communist education movement, there is no need to take several steps and implement them separately.

(7). To consolidate achievements already made, meticulous work must be done continuously and persistently. We should understand that religious ideas cannot be cleared out of people’s minds with one movement or one struggle.  Lamas who returned to secular life during the high tide of the movement cannot have done so 100% voluntarily. At the same time, imperialists and counter-revolutionaries using religion for sabotage will certainly be more concealed and devious. Therefore, after the religious system is reformed, the struggle with religion will still be a sharp and long-term one. Counter-revolutionaries and evildoers in religion must be cleared away persistently; supervision, education and remoulding of Lamas in temples and those who have returned to lay life must be strengthened. A better job should be done in political and ideological education of the masses, concrete problems emerging in the movement should be handled promptly and properly.

  To better implement the religious system reform guidelines, some concrete issues should be seriously studied and carefully handled.

1. Take note that a certain number of temples should be deliberately preserved.  Once the masses are aroused, it is only natural that they want to “shave the head bald”, want to knock down all the temples. But we should understand that not all Lamas will drop their faith after one campaign. Some Lamas who returned to lay life and went back home under the circumstances of mass struggle, will still maintain a certain level of religious faith. Work with this type of people should be stepped up in order to stabilize their adaptation to secular life. Some Lamas will be unwilling to return to lay life, but have no temple available to house them, and it is not to our advantage to scatter them among the masses. It is better to assemble them together in one or several temples, making education and supervision easier. Besides that, in order to show consideration for the masses’ religious faith, and to prevent internal and external counter-revolutionaries from spreading rumours and fomenting discord, it is necessary to preserve a certain number of temples. It is not appropriate to preserve too many, but too few is also disadvantageous.  The proper number of temples to be preserved in each area needs to be considered by the local party committee. Do not establish happiness homes (homes for the elderly) for old and helpless Lamas, just let them live in the temple, and figure out proper ways to help them.

2. Lamas who ask to return to lay life should be supported and encouraged. Old, disabled and homeless Lamas should be collectively allowed to live in the temple and organized to do some suitable work. Proper relief can be given to ease their difficulty. We can even consider just supporting them (without making them work for their living). Some law-abiding Lamas who are unwilling to return to lay life can live together with them. This will be very helpful in winning over the masses, and removing people’s concerns (fears over the elimination of religion), it will also help us to supervise and educate them.

3. During the struggle, the reactionary upper class elements who defect and commit meritorious deeds should be differentiated from the die-hard counter-revolutionaries. The former can be given lenient treatment as appropriate and provided an opportunity to mend their ways. Proper places can be found for those who defect and make contributions. Che Ben Gyal[10]  in Qinghai can serve as a living example to educate others. Just like Ma Zhenwu, proper arrangements can be made for him. If the local level has difficulty to find him a place, he can be placed at higher levels. To do this helps to unite the majority, and to isolate and divide enemies.

4. Customs and folkways that do not hinder production and construction too much should not be changed right away.  Let the masses act on their own will. When necessary, some work can be done to speed up the process and to inspire them into consciousness. To extend the scope too much goes against the reform of the religious system.

   In the end, let me repeat again, this speech is personal opinion, only as a reference to comrades from different areas. After the meeting, we will ask the Central Committee for instructions based on what we discussed about the reform of the Lamaist system. Before receiving instructions from the Central Committee, work on Lamaism should continue in accord with the party committee’s opinion for each region.



Document 3
Qinghai Provincial CPC Committee
Comments and Instructions on “Report on Religious System Reform Work” submitted by CPC Committee of Hualong County[11]

Hualong County Committee:
   The report on religious system reform has been read. The Provincial Committee agrees with your comments for future work. You have gained certain achievements in the work of religious system reform. However, the work of mobilising the masses is not complete, as a large proportion of the county still belongs to Category II and III Areas. You should closely integrate other core work to fully mobilise the masses, bring the ‘speaking bitterness’ struggle to a more extensive level, expose the ugly and foul nature of counter-revolutionary religious upper strata by publicly criticizing and denouncing them, and resolutely abolish the oppressive and exploiting systems and feudal privileges of religious institutions in their entirety, so the working people will be completely liberated. At the same time, atheist education should be conducted among the masses in order to raise their political consciousness. While working hard with the masses, educational work should be done first with cadres, especially minority cadres. Using the methods of free airing of views, great debates and big-character posters to conduct proletarian nationality viewpoint and atheist education with them, help them clear religious superstition out of their mind, and build a correct viewpoint in terms of the nationality question.

   As for the handling of temple buildings, in general they should not be demolished. Based on people’s wishes, they can be adapted to other uses. If the masses do not want to alter and reuse them, do not force them.
   On the question of arresting people, please discuss and make your own decision. When necessary, you can discuss with the Provincial Committee’s United Front Work Department and Public Security Bureau.
Qinghai Provincial Committee of CPC
December 3, 1958


Report on the Religious System Reform Work
 in Hualong County

I. Just as other localities in the whole province and the entire country, our county is currently in a new period of great change when “one year equals twenty years”.  Particularly after the anti-rightist movement and rectification movement among the populace of the entire country, socialist revolution has achieved great success on the political and ideological front. Peoples’ spiritual state has undergone profound changes. Immediately following that, the Party issued the General Line of Building Socialism with Greater, Faster, Better and More Economic Results. Under the glorious light of the General Line, an allround movement of Great Leap Forward occurred in industry, agriculture, commerce, culture, education and public health as well as transportation and communication. At the same time, the whole county has achieved communalization, productivity has achieved bigger development, and production relations have undergone substantial changes. In such circumstances, the working people have displayed greater enthusiasm for work, and their resolution to follow the socialist road is stronger. However, whenever the historical wheels of revolution are rolling rapidly forward, those who would “rather die with a granite head than accept changes” will always try every way to put up a struggle from their deathbed, and desperately oppose the Communist Party and socialism. Because of this, the struggle between capitalism and socialism appears to be very sharp. In this sharp and fierce class struggle, religious institutions serve as a major reactionary instrument for counter-revolutionaries. They centred around religion, using temples as their stronghold and reactionary nationality and religious upper strata as their backbone to organize counter-revolutionary armed rebellion by cheating and coercing the masses. In the movement to crush the rebellion and to reform the religious system, we mobilised the masses to carry out the struggle against the reactionary middle and upper power-holding religious elements who are in collusion with the exploiting class. In April this year, we conducted a wide-range movement in religious circles to purge reactionaries and evil-doers. An anti-rightist struggle was carried out as well. During the struggle, the dark inside stories of religious upper strata and temples were largely uncovered, laying bare the reactionary essence of religion serving the exploiting class. The far-reaching and extensive Speaking Bitterness movement has greatly raised the class consciousness of people of all nationalities and their enthusiasm for socialism. Reactionary essence of religion has been exposed and a large number of crimes committed by religious institutions has been reported:

1. Organizing counter-revolutionary groups and launching armed rebellion under the disguise of religion. In the whole county, 16 relatively big counter-revolutionary cases have been cracked. Among them, 8 cases were organized using religion as nucleus, temples as strongholds and counter-revolutionary religious upper strata as backbone. For instance,  the cases like the “Association for Opposing Communism and Promoting Religion”, “Nationalist Communist Party”, “Long Qian Armed Rebellion”, etc. were organized respectively by counter-revolutionary religious chiefs Bai Yuzheng, Zhi yi  Siha, Han Liu Shi Jiu, Ye Deyuan and Maxi Lazhi[12] through conspiracy.  At the same time, they raised such counter-revolutionary slogans as “Rely on the Hui, unite the Han and Tibetans. Long live Islam. A long, long life to Islam”. They created an organizational structure with levels such as regiment, company, platoon and squad. They gathered people to burn incense and prayed to Allah for help, took vows through scripture-chanting and plotted rebellion. Their common goal was to “drive out the Communist Party”, “murder leading cadres”, “resist socialist transformation” and “protect religion with one’s life”.

2. Spreading rumors to incite the masses and undermine Party policies.  Of all the policies we carried out, there is not a single one to which they didn’t’ object. We conducted land reform, they said “Land reform is hai la mu (Haram, or sin). It cannot be done.” We promoted communization,  they called it “pork mixed with mutton.” We combatted drought; they said “to combat drought is to combat Allah.”  We wanted to implement a marriage law, they said “it goes against scripture”. They even went so far as to clamour for  “amending the marriage law”.  When we were establishing communes, they said these were “investment of women and children”. We wanted to eliminate the four pests, they said that was “murderous and slaughter”. We carried out religious reform, they spread rumours that it was “killing the Hui and eliminating religion”,  “banning chanting, banning the veil”, and “we will have to raise pigs and eat pork”. We mobilised people to invest their money; they took the opportunity to stir up trouble, saying “those who take other people’s property have no Imam”. In a word, they objected to everything we do, and even arrogantly declared that “policy must be in accord with scriptures”.

(3) Hiding, protecting and collaborating with counter-revolutionaries. All those belonging to the religious upper class maintain close relations with landlords, rich farmers, counter-revolutionaries, evil-doers and rightists. They share the same mind, and sit in the same boat. Ma Nanxiang, an Imam and Sheikh, consistently hid bandits and spies. Ma Qishisan, an Imam, took despotic landlord Hanga Chuma into hiding.  Bian Ma Tan Mosque even kept Bai Yuzheng, head of the “Association for Opposing Communism and Promoting Religion”, for a few years without reporting him to the authorities. Tupten, a Tibetan spy, travels frequently to and from Xia Qiong monastery[13], conducting his business. Deyang[14] consistently protected and hid him.

After rebellion broke out in Xunhua county[15] and in nomadic areas, Deyang, Lobsang, Nian Zhihua and Ma Nanxiang rushed to Haixi, Haibei, Jianca and thereabouts, networking actively, attempting to participate in the rebellion and collude with each other.
4. Storing fire arms and illegally selling weapons. This is very common in Lamaist temples. According to firearms confiscated, every single one of the 27 temples possessed weapons. Kha Ang Temple has only 24 monks, but 15 of them sold fire arms, taking up to 62.5%. Reactionary temple chiefs consistently stock up large amounts of firearms, and resist confiscation.  Over 6,700 bullets and 11 rifles were discovered inside the grain store, under the beams and walls in the Gabang residence of Xia Qiong temple alone. In the household of Gendong in Tsetsa temple, one machine gun, one rifle, one six-barreled revolver and 347 bullets were found. Those weapons are capital for them to organize armed rebellion.

5. Undermining national unity, creating dissension between religious sects. Nine years after the Liberation, dissension, hostility and a competitive scramble for power and profit between Islamic sects happened one after another, culminating with the struggle between the New Sect and the Old Sect of Islam. In 1956, the New Sect and the Old Sect in Heicheng Xiang[16] staged a near fatal fight over the invitation of an Imam, involving guns and clubs. Counter-revolutionaries often used scripture-teaching as an excuse to undermine national unity and make people distrust each other.  During a scripture teaching, Ma Nanxiang said: “This party or that party of yours, only our Hui is the biggest party.” He cursed the Han as “stupid Han”, and Tibetans as “barbarians”. In September, when the county held a public meeting and executed rebel chiefs Ye Erli, Ye Wanlin and Ye Deyuan,[17] he spread rumours saying “this is killing Hui and eliminating religion”, “the Han are killing the Hui”. Incited by such rumours, for a period of time there was serious distrust between nationalities in areas where rebellion occurred. Obviously, counter-revolutionaries are plotting to divert class struggle into national struggle.

6. Countless cases of distortion and exploitation by usury. Using religious superstition to cheat working people, and to extort money and property is the main method for temples to maintain their parasitic way of life. According to initial investigations conducted in 8 communes of Zhaba Xiang,[18] heavy religious burdens took over 30% of the Hui commune members’ income earned from agricultural and sideline production. In 1957,  Xia Qiong monastery extorted up to 74,554 Yuan, and up to 14,730 Jin of grain through soliciting alms and sutra chanting. In addition, it carried on commercial activities in Tibet, speculating and profiteering. This did not include the small amount of income from tea and butter. Deyang goes to nomadic areas once a year, swindling 500 sheep, over 40 horses, about 1000 Jin of butter and over 1000 silver dollars. The Imams’ vicious means of exploitation even surpass those of Lamaism. La Gan (Islamic religious title ?) Han Qishisan used the method of “small sheng[19] out, large sheng in”, lending one sheng of salt and getting five sheng of vegetable seeds back in autumn.  Such cruel religious exploitation greatly undermined the improvement of material life for minority people. In communes with mixed nationalities, the Han commune members accumulate more wealth than the Hui for the same amount of work.

7. Stockpiling grain and letting it mildew and rot, sabotaging (food) policy. They yelled and screamed outside the temple that they had no food, making trouble for no reason, but inside the temple they stocked up large amounts of grain. Over 30,000 Jin of grain and flour were stocked up in the Weishi and Deyang households alone, some of it already rotten and mildewed.

8. Cursing the Communist Party, holding on to delusionary hopes about the Jiang (Kai-shek) and Ma (Bufang) bandit gangs. A large amount of instruments used for casting spells were kept in Lamaist temples. In Chitsa temple[20] alone five sets (of such instruments) were found. They bitterly opposed reform of the religious system, casting curses such as “those who harm our religious interest are the enemies of our religion”, “gouging out brain marrow, sucking out hot blood from the heart, let human heads pile up like a mountain and blood flow like a river”. Majority of the temples kept photographs of Jiang Kai-shek, Ma Bufang, Ma Jiyuan and Sun Zhonglian, treating them as treasures, but making all kinds of insults to Chairman Mao’s photograph, such as crossing out the eyes. Besides that, every temple kept counterfeit currency,[21] letters of appointment, contracts and debt agreements, dreaming that “another sun would rise”, and attempting to restore the old order. They clung to the memory of the Jiang (kai-shek) and the Ma (Bufang) bandit gangs. Ma Baike even planned to leave for Turkey, to act as Ma Bufang’s running dog and betray the motherland.

9. Temples are slaughter grounds for killing people, and the power holders are killers. Inside the temple, the relationship between the power holders and the poor monks is a complete copy of relations between slave owners and slaves. Power holders have the privilege to beat and punish monks and the masses at will, and own clubs, shackles and handcuffs used to beat and punish the masses.  From October 1957 to June 1958 alone, the steward Guanju, and Jiantso (the landlord) of upper Chitsa temple beat and punished 87 people. Among them 43 were heavily wounded, some even crippled. Human heads and legs were discovered in Gando temple, walls were stained with dots of blood. Human skulls were used as cursing tools and eating bowls, but nobody felt strange about this. It truly is “hell on earth”. Nangtso Choegyal of Sanshe (current deputy head of county) kept shackles and handcuffs in his home. He instigated the murderer Chen Mingde to murder the family of Wang Zaxi, killing all 3 people in the family for property, treating life as dirt.

10. Rape is common and homosexuality is popular in temples. “Imams in day time, whore seekers at night time”. Ma Nanxiang alone has raped seven Mullahs. Chentsa Huo Fo of Tehenlong temple forcibly took his own sister as wife, forbade her to marry anyone else, and has two children with her. Large amounts of women’s clothes, shoes and socks, all kinds of jewelry and bronze Buddha statues, naked and in sexual intercourse, were discovered in the households of many Huo Fo-s. In Lamaist temples, homosexual behaviour has become systematic, Huo Fo-s have sex with stewards, and stewards have sex with Akhas[22] who in turn have sex with Wandes[23]. It is truly stinky and disgusting. What is even more loathsome is that in the Egg Rolling Sect (a sect in Islam) religion is used to narcotize the masses, raping women during evening services. They call the dirty water they use to wash their private parts “Du Wa”, saying that it could cure disease and let the masses drink it.

 When all these criminal facts were laid bare among the masses, they greatly raised people’s class consciousness, and helped them to see clearly the reactionary and criminal essence of religion and its power holders.  After the Speaking Bitterness struggle and purging of counter-revolutionaries, evil-doers and rightists in the religious circle, a large number of monks demanded liberation, returned home and took up secular life. The masses deliberately brought their sons home, no longer letting them stay as monks and Mullahs. Instead they wanted their sons to go to school, participate in productive labour, and follow a bright path. After being publicly criticized and struggled by the masses, the religious middle and upper strata found themselves isolated. Temples have disbanded one by one. By the end of September, all the 205 mosques,  27 Lamaist temples, 86 Mani Khang and 8 Qubbats in the whole county had closed down.  Of the 4,090 so-called religious personnel (440 Imams, 888 Mullahs and 2,762 Lamas), aside from the 286 who were still studying in the province and the county,  the 300 arrested as counter-revolutionaries, evil-doers and rightists, and 2 who committed suicide (includes 55 at Ganba level or higher,[24] making 26%, 88 below Ganba level, making 3%, 81 Imams, or 33.8%, 54 Xuedong,[25] or 22%, and 51 Mullahs, or 13%),[26] all the rest have returned to secular life.  Altogether 203 firearms of all types, 22,190 bullets, 1 machine gun, 6 binoculars, 4 hand grenades, 1 antitank grenade, a rifle grenade, 1 set of parachute ropes and 1,280 counter-revolutionary identification papers have been confiscated.  The value of confiscated counter-revolutionary property amounted to 150,000 Yuan. The feudal fortress weighing on the people for thousands of years is falling apart; feudal privilege and the religious reactionary system have been completely smashed.

 II  The main reason for our ability to make the above-mentioned achievements is due to correct implementation of the instructions issued by the Provincial Committee to mobilise the masses and adopting the method of working within the party first before working outside the party, working with cadres first before working with the masses. Experience demonstrated that as long as the masses were fully mobilised, the reactionary inside story of religion will be completely exposed. As long as the power holders in religion are publicly criticized and denounced, their reputation ruined and the feudal privilege and feudal exploitation system smashed, the religious consciousness of the masses would be greatly weakened and a new atmosphere of great ideological liberation would appear. However, since this is a new undertaking, there is no ready experience on which all those involved can draw.  Besides, in some areas the comrades in charge lack sharpness in their understanding of the difficulty and complexity of the work. Instead of working arduously and meticulously to arouse the masses over a certain period of time, they became impetuous and took a simple approach, rushing to clamp down on temples, busy reforming habits and customs such as removing veils and cutting braids,[27] but putting less effort into arousing the masses to wage a struggle against religious rule and exploitation, or into conducting Speaking Bitterness and debate sessions.[28]  Even though these things were difficult to avoid, they did cause unnecessary misgivings among the masses, leading our work on a roundabout course.  Because of this, generally speaking the development of the movement is quite uneven. Roughly it can be divided into three categories. Details are as follows:

Category I Areas:  Areas where the masses were mobilised quite well. Free airing of views and great debates were conducted first inside then outside the party. Arrangements were made in successive stages to clarify the significance of religious reform, and to unify action and ideology.  Then the masses were guided into the struggle with religious upper strata and Speaking Bitterness on religious exploitation and oppression. (We) let the masses themselves state the contents of reform and raise the slogans of abolishing the religious exploiting system and religious privilege.  After that, complete reform was carried out. Areas like this are approximately 30 percent. In all areas where the movement was conducted like this, the masses were extremely enthusiastic. They clearly understood that “religion is the opium of the people”, that it is a tool for the ruling clique to exploit the working people. The reactionary and ugly features of the counter-revolutionaries using the disguise of religion to oppose the Communist Party and socialism were further exposed, directly exciting the class hatred of the broad masses, and thus agitating an allround and extensive socialist revolutionary movement of anti-feudalism and Speaking Bitterness.

For example, in Wo Li Ga village, Chengxi Xiang, 940 big-character posters were put out within five days, that impassionedly exposed reactionary inside stories of counter-revolutionaries in the religious circle and religious middle and upper strata, including raping women, forcibly seizing property, murdering a family, exploitation through usury and extortion, hiding counter-revolutionaries, creating rumours and stockpiling fire arms. Through debate and Speaking Bitterness, the masses prevalently reflected that “Zakat, poll tax, funerals and land rent are four mountains on top of the Hui people”, and “Imams said every fine word and did every foul deed”. They used figurative expressions to refer to the Imams’ exploitation: “The Han eat pork without hair, Imams eat it even with hair”. In Speaking Bitterness and the debate between theism and atheism, the masses used their own experiences to speak from objection to abstraction. For instance, Han Youlu said: “Imams always said that poverty and wealth were given by Allah. Before Liberation I worked as a long-term farmhand, but was poor all my life. After Liberation I was given land. Two years later I sold 2000 Jin of surplus grain to the state. In the third year I sold 4000 Jin. All these were given by the Communist Party.  Could they possibly have been given by Allah?“ “Imams told people that they were not allowed to touch objects bearing images. Banknotes have images. Silver dollars have images. Imams love them more than anyone else.” Lathang, a Tibetan, said: “Huo Fo (incarnate Lamas) are raised by humans. Buddha statues are made of clay. In the past, they cheated people, saying that if one touched (the statues) one would get a headache or become blind. Now they have been struggled against and smashed, but nothing happened. I sleep better at night.” After speaking bitterness and debate, the masses feel proud and elated, and even more enthusiastic in productive labour. Monks returned to secular life one after another. People sent petitions with joint signatures to shut down mosques and temples. The masses pulled down Buddha statues with their own hands. Temples were turned into storehouses, some of them were dismantled, and the tiles and timbers used to build houses.

Category II Areas: (Areas in this category) are approximately 50 percent. , Even though the masses in areas of this category were mobilised, the work was not strong enough, especially with the elderly and adults. Debate and Speaking Bitterness were confined to generalization, with cadres and activists speaking more than the masses. Debates had ups and downs; the elderly had many misgivings, particularly regarding the two different types of contradictions,[29] unable to understand clearly. They hated what the individual Imam or Huo Fo did, but did not understand that religious personnel used religion as a tool to rule and exploit working people. They mistakenly believed that “Religion is correct, Imams are wrong”, were not clear about what to love and what to hate, and Speaking Bitterness was not powerful enough.

Category III Areas: (Areas in this category) are around 30 percent. The masses in areas in this category were hardly aroused except for Party and Youth League members and activists. The leaders’ thinking was not clear. They were only interested in closing temples and banning veils, oversimplifying the arduous and meticulous work with the masses. To this day, some leaders’ thoughts are still ambiguous. Some said: “As far as I am concerned, religious reform has been achieved when temples are taken out, veils lifted and robes shortened.” In the masses’ assembly, some said: “Imams becoming counter-revolutionaries are individual cases…” The masses were still unable to differentiate nationality from religion, nationality from counter-revolution. On the whole the Speak Bitterness movement has not been carried out, remaining at a standstill. Temples were clamped down formally, but the problem in the masses’ ideology was not solved. People (mostly the elderly) went to temples or worshipped at home as usual, asking cadres “Can we chant Bang in service?”; some said “We are doing this for the afterlife, services must be done.” Some of the mosques had been turned into dining halls or storage, but some people were still saying “This is the place of saints, it can’t be used in this way”. Still others felt that “reform or not, it is none of my business”, staying away from the movement.

In general, great achievements have been made in our work to reform the religious system. As far as existing problems are concerned, the main problem is that in some areas the masses have not been fully mobilised, and some local cadres are blindly optimistic, thinking that as long as temples have been clamped down, the work is accomplished. Regarding Imams and monks resuming secular life, the situation is quite different. Some of them quit on their own when the religious reform started. Those people already understood the trend and urgently demanded to return to secular life.  Another group of people voluntarily asked to return to secular life after raising their understanding through study and rectification. Still others returned to secular life carried by the general trend. Even though they have left the temples, they miss the parasitic life and are work shy. This group of people definitely will bring their religious consciousness to the countryside, fussing about gods and devils. In the minds of quite a number of people among the masses (particularly the elderly), poisonous religious consciousness remains strong and deep-rooted.  Therefore, it still requires long and complex work to strengthen ideological education and lay out the ideological foundation of atheism for them, thus freeing them completely from the binds of religious thinking.

III. In order to purge counter-revolutionaries, evil-doers and rightists hidden inside the religious circle wholly, completely and thoroughly, to smash the feudal system of exploitation and oppression, to do away with superstitions and emancipate people’s minds and to win an overall victory in religious reform, the following work must be done well hereafter:

1. Fully mobilise the masses for the Speak Bitterness movement, forming a large-scale campaign of anti-feudalism. All the areas where the masses have not been fully mobilised must make up for this missed lesson. In terms of methodology, the methods of leading from superficial to indepth, from near to far, from people to things should be mastered, making full use of free airing of views, great debates, big-character posters, cartoons, blackboard newspaper, local broadcasting and amateur theatrical troupes to expose the reactionary insides of religion, and lay bare the facts about the counter-revolutionary religious circle for the masses. All kinds of meetings should be held and all kinds of ways should be used to mobilise the masses. Country (local) newspapers and broadcasting stations should explain and propagate policies to the masses with special columns and programs. The Speaking Bitterness struggle, focusing on “purging counter-revolutionaries”, “abolishing the feudal exploitation system” and “abolishing feudal privileges”, should be carried out extensively.

2. Attention should be paid to integrate the Speak Bitterness movement with current production and construction. In the Speak Bitterness movement, special attention should be paid to organizing “face-to-face” struggle.  This is not only the best method to mobilise the masses, it is also the easiest way to excite people’s fighting spirit and class hatred, in order to bring down and smash  the counter-revolutionaries and evil-doers.
Debate should begin with the struggle against the counter-revolutionaries and evil-doers, and be guided on to exposing and Speaking Bitterness on religion, and after that, based on the success of the struggle, a debate between theism and atheism should be carried out.

3. Hold exhibitions of counter-revolutionary evidence. According to the plan, starting from the last third of October, exhibits will be on display in all the 14 xiangs in the county in a planned way.

4. Vigorously propagate national unity and the policy of religious freedom, stating clearly that socialism is the common foundation of national unity, criticize and debunk fallacies like “all the Hui are one family”, “there are no good Hui”, “the Hui are rebellious”, “the Han are killing Hui” as well as the psychology of mutual suspicion between nationalities throughout history. Propagate the policy that one has the freedom to believe in religion, and the freedom not to believe in religion. One also has the freedom to believe in religion today, and disbelieve tomorrow; the freedom to believe in this religion and freedom to believe in that religion. This policy must be known to every family and every person. Those who force the masses to believe in religion and to conduct religious activities should be properly handled.

5. As for the “double teaching” personnel assembling in the province and county for study, we plan to arrest an additional 518 (280 in Islam, 238 in Lamaism) persons based on records we already have. As for the Lamas returned to secular life, we should pay attention to their political progress, strengthen political and ideological education with them and take care of their life.  Poor Lamas in their old age and physically unable to work should be settled as householders enjoying the five guarantees.[30]  Wande (child monks) and young Huo Fo-s who have no homes to return to and are under nobody’s care should be sent to schools or kindergartens and be put under mandated care. Regarding young Lamas, the main thing is to help solve their marriage problem. Lamas with artistic skills should be sent to a nationalities institute to study or helped to find work appropriate to their talents.

All the Lamas and Imams who have returned to secular life must participate in the debate in order to raise their political consciousness.

6. Temples and mosques should be handled in accord with local circumstances, turned into factories, schools, storage and so on, or used for other public purposes. Those that have artistic value and can be used by communes can organize and persuade some commune members to move in. Temples in locations difficult to reach and in rugged spots, the masses should be mobilised to dismantle, to prevent them being damaged by evil-doers or used by counter-revolutionaries as strongholds for their activities.

Please indicate whether the Provincial Committee considers the above views sound or not.

Hualong County Committee 
October 24, 1958.





Document 4
Approval and Forwarding of
the Report on Current Work in Islam and Lamaism
Submitted by the Leading Party Members’ Group of
Central Nationalities Affairs Commission


Shanghai Bureau, Provincial and Autonomous Region Party Committees,
Ministries and Commissions of the CPC Central Committee, Leading Party Members’ Groups in State Organs, People’s Organizations and Central Communist Youth League:


The report on current work in Islam and Lamaism by Leading Party Members’ Group of Nationalities Affairs Commission is hereby transmitted to you. The Central Committee regards this report to be a very good one. Please consider implementation in accord with the concrete conditions of your area (Tibet excluded). Abolition of the ruthless oppression and exploitation imposed on the masses by Islam and Lamaism, as well as abolition of all privileges, and clearing away and suppressing counter-revolutionaries in these religions constitute an anti-Feudal struggle, and a movement that will lead to the complete liberation of the masses of the nationalities concerned. However, the fact that those feudal oppressors and exploiters hide behind the mask of religion, using religion as a weapon, and the masses of the concerned nationalities have deep superstitious belief in religion makes this struggle a particularly complex one. During the process of mobilising and leading people in the struggle, please do make sure to differentiate issues related to religious faith from oppressive religious systems; differentiate monks’ general religious activities from their evil behaviour such as extortion and brutality towards the masses; differentiate counter-revolutionaries who joined the rebellion and have engaged in active sabotage from those who are counter-revolutionary in ideology but have taken no action; and differentiate elements who have committed all kinds of evil and incurred the wrath of the masses from those who incurred no wrath or little wrath among the masses. Areas where rebellion occurred should also be differentiated from areas where rebellion did not occur. In addition to these, during the process of mobilising and leading people in the above-mentioned struggle, attention must be paid to conducting United Front work with the religious upper class as well, in order to isolate the reactionaries among them. To crack down on counter-revolutionaries and other evildoers in religion, the main way is to arouse a mass struggle, and completely destroy their reputation (literally: ‘make them stink’). Also take notice that other than arresting those who must be arrested, do not arrest too many, especially do not carry out execution too easily (literally: ‘do not kill easily’); executions must be approved by the Central Committee.

This is an extremely arduous and complex struggle. Party committees must make diligent efforts to ensure leadership. Policies must be explicitly explained to cadres. Masses must be fully aroused.  Be serious and cautious when encountering problems, there must be absolutely no carelessness and negligence, or hasty action. [31]

The Central Committee

December, 1958



Conditions, Issues and Opinions on the current work
 in Islam and Lamaism


To the Central Committee:

   Among the minority nationalities of our country, ten nationalities, including Hui, Uyghur, Kazakh, Khalkha, Uzbekh, Tartar, Tadjik, Dongxiang, Sala and Baoan, follow Islam; 5 nationalities, including Mongolian, Tibetan, Tu, Qiang and Yugu, follow Lamaism. The combined population of these fifteen nationalities is over 14,000,000, forming more than one third of the total minority population.  With the progressive victory of socialist revolution and construction, the contradiction between religion and socialism has become more and more pronounced. Religious restrictions, particularly oppression through religious privileges and economic exploitation, have become the worst impediment to national development.  To solve this problem, with approval from the Central Committee, the United Front Work Department of the CPC Central Committee organized two forums in May and September this year, on the problems of Islam among the Hui, and of Lamaism respectively. According to materials brought to the meetings by comrades, there are over 30,000 mosques, about 100,000 Imams and Mullahs; over 50,000 Lamaist temples, and about 450,000 Huo fo-s and Lamas in the whole country.  Since Liberation, these two religions have undergone large scale decline in many regions, but in some regions the decline is either insignificant or only slight. In the latter case (such as Hui areas in the northwest and Tibetan areas in Gansu, Qinghai and Sichuan), the feudal privileges of and exploitation by religion remain untouched.  The burden of religion on the Hui people normally takes more than 20%, and on the Tibetan people over 40%, of their total income. Reactionary religious upper strata act against the leadership of the party, resist socialist transformation, and incite rebellion repeatedly.  Of the rebellions that occurred in the Hui and Tibetan areas in Gansu and Qinghai this year, reactionary religious upper strata incited and took part in plotting all of them. It was the same with the rebellions in Tibetan areas of Sichuan in 1956. The masses have expressed strong anger and hatred toward the oppressive religious privileges, economic exploitation and counter-revolutionary activities committed by reactionary upper strata. The masses urgently demand the abolition of feudal privilege and exploitation by religion and reform of the religious system. Masses of the Hui nationality said: “Going to heaven is false, being exploited is true!” Masses of the Tibetan nationality expressed that what Lamaism gave them is “much misery, deep injustice, huge hatred”. Sichuan Tibetans think that in the 1956 democratic reform, they were “only half liberated”. Both the Hui and the Tibetan masses said that “as long as the communist party leads us, we will have the courage to fight the reactionary religious upper strata to the end.” We must fully support such demands from the masses; otherwise we may cut ourselves off from them. However, religion and religious upper strata still have strong influence on people, and it should also be noted that Islam and Lamaism not only have many followers among minority nationalities inside the country, but also command a large number of followers outside the country, mainly in a considerable number of nationalist countries in Asia and Africa. Therefore, when we proceed with our work in religion, attention must be paid to how much the masses have been aroused and the level of their political awareness. A certain level of attention should be given to international impact as well.

  As for the principles of current work in Islam and Lamaism, we consider these should be: continue to protect freedom of religious belief; unite, educate and reform all patriotic and law-abiding religious persons; fully mobilize the masses to root out counter-revolutionaries, fight against rightists and evildoers in religious circles; and completely abolish feudal privileges and exploitation by religion. Other than Tibet, which is temporarily excluded because of the need to act on the ‘six year no reform’ policy, all the minority nationalities that follow Islam and Lamaism should be prepared to follow these principles in due time.

     In the process of implementing these principles, a distinction should be made between religious faith and the oppressive and exploitative religious system, and between reactionaries who have joined the rebellion and religious upper strata that are reactionary in ideology but have committed no counter-revolutionary activities. We must abolish oppressive and exploitative systems and combat counter-revolutionaries in religious disguise, while continuing to uphold the policy of religious freedom and protecting people’s freedom to practise religion.

The Following Aspects of Religious Systems must be Abolished

(1) Abolish all feudal privileges in religion, including private courts, prisons and punishment, interference in civil lawsuits, unauthorized appointment of tribal chiefs and Imams, illegal possession of firearms, interference with freedom of marriage, oppression of and discrimination against women, and interference in cultural and educational work.

(2) Abolish ownership of productive means and systems of exploitation in Lamaist temples and mosques, such as usury and unpaid labour, and ban illegal commerce. However, in handling temple property, a certain amount of land, cattle and other property can be retained by those we decide to preserve, so that the religious personnel allowed to stay there can take part in productive labour and earn their living.

(3) Extortion is forbidden. Religious activities must not hinder productive work, and must not violate policies and laws issued by the state. Voluntary alms giving should not be banned.

(4) Forced monkhood is prohibited. Forcing people to fast, forcing children to learn scriptures and to become Mullahs is prohibited. Monks have the freedom to return to lay life, but do not forcibly prohibit people who have chosen to be monks or Mullahs voluntarily.

(5) Abolish the feudal managerial system, including stewardship, hierarchy, punishment and affiliation system between temples. Generally speaking, all the religious personnel who are able to work should take part in productive labor, and fulfill citizenship duties. After the managerial system is abolished, new managing bodies can be established, but must be under the leadership (of the party).

 Religious system reform undoubtedly will be a complex struggle with the reactionary powers in religious circles, a struggle that must be carried out resolutely but cautiously.  It must be conducted under the leadership of party committees at all levels, carry out the mass line, fully mobilize the masses, work meticulously and thoroughly.  Masses inside and outside temples must be mobilized at the same time to create an attack from both sides. This work should be carried out under the slogans of purging counter-revolutionaries, against rightists and evildoers, abolishing feudal privileges and exploitation; there is no need to raise the slogan of religious system reform in public.

In areas where rebellions occurred and where religion has not been weakened, arresting counter-revolutionaries who have committed criminal offences and evildoers who have incurred public wrath should be done during the process of mobilizing the masses. Obstacles must be firmly cleared away so as to ease peoples’ concern and fear.

In areas where religion has undergone major decline, (cadres) can continue the method of arousing and relying on the masses while consulting with the upper strata, achieving reform in  the temples’ ownership of productive means, and political as well as ideological transformation of religious personnel step by step. Mobilize the masses while steadily reducing religious influence.

In the past few months, great achievements have been accomplished in Tibetan and Hui regions of Gansu and Qinghai by combining the crackdown on rebellion, mobilizing the masses and reforming the religious system. At the present time, in all the areas where the masses have been mobilized, the reactionary religious upper class has been overthrown and temples have disbanded. Not only that, but feudal religious privileges and exploitation have been completely abolished, and it made a strong impact on the masses’ belief in superstition as well. Many people have reduced their superstitious belief in religion. As a result of economic, political and ideological liberation, the Hui and Tibetan people have been taking a very active role in suppressing rebels. Their enthusiasm for production is rising to unprecedented heights, industry, agriculture and animal husbandry are all leaping forward and communization has been accomplished in a short period of time. It is obvious that the Hui and Tibetan masses of Gansu and Qinghai have indeed been mobilized; a people’s campaign to reform religious systems has been created quickly. The following are the reasons why this campaign is developing rapidly: (1) After 8 to 9 years of work, the masses have raised political awareness; meanwhile divisions in the upper strata have occurred (2) Reactionary religious upper strata have completely exposed their ugly features by setting themselves against the people (3) Religious exploitation is much too heavy (4) Anti-rebellion, anti-privilege, anti-exploitation, purging counter-revolutionaries, anti-rightists and evildoers are clear-cut slogans that render us the political initiative.  There is no doubt that this campaign should be carried out to the end until complete victory is achieved. Great achievements were also accomplished in Ningxia Hui Autonomous Prefecture and in Hui regions of Shandong, Henan and Hebei where religious system reform began from a campaign against evildoers and evil deeds. Practical work in Gansu, Qinghai, Ningxia and other provinces and regions has proved that reforming religious system is not only absolutely necessary, but is also possible.

The following aspects should be given proper attention and be well handled in order to implement the aforementioned religious work principles correctly, and carry out the work of religious system reform in a stable manner

(1) Continue to unite and grant positions to all the upper elements that were given proper positions in the past, as long as they did not take part in the rebellion and have not committed any new crimes. Reactionaries who repent sincerely during the campaign or have made contributions should be treated with a certain degree of leniency. Those who have made major contributions can be given proper positions.

(2) It is necessary to preserve a certain number of temples in order to show consideration for the masses’ religious faith,  to prevent internal and external counter-revolutionaries from spreading rumours and fomenting discord, and to assemble and supervise Lamas who have not returned to lay life. As for exactly how many are to be preserved, an investigation of all the temples should be conducted based on their influence and people’s opinion. In principle, the number (of preserved temples) should not be too low. The crucial issue is to mobilize the masses and to raise people’s political awareness. In terms of preserving temples, at the current stage it is better to keep more than to keep less.

(3) About the title and status of Huo Fo: the titles of all reactionaries who joined the rebellion are to be cancelled without exception. No “reincarnation” is allowed. Those who did not join the rebellion and ask to return to lay life can give up their title and status on their own. Those who are unwilling to return to lay life and those whose positions require such status should be allowed to keep it.

(4) Customs and folkways should be treated case by case.  Customs that are good for national development and production should be protected and carried forward, those that have little impact on national development and production can be left alone. The masses’ demands for reform of the customs that are not good for national development and production should be supported. These kind of matters should be handled according to the free will of believers and masses of various nationalities. Serious attention should be paid to prevent coercion and command.

If the above opinion is considered feasible, please approve and transmit to concerned regions for reference and implementation.

Leading Party Members’ Group of Nationalities Affairs Commission
Ulanfu, Wang Feng

November, 1958






[1] The 3rd Arotsang Rinpoche: founder and abbot of Saitzong (Brag dkar sprel rdzong) monastery in Xinghai County (rTsi gor thang rdzong), Hainan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Qinghai. He was elected as a member of Qinghai Provincial Political Consultative Conference in October 1950. He participated in the first conference of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference in 1955. In 1958 he was accused of committing “counter-revolutionary crimes” and arrested. He died in jail on December 12, 1958. He was rehabilitated in June 1981.
[2] The 7th Xiaricang Hutuktu/Shartsang Kalden Trinley Lungtok Gyatso (1916-1978), abbot of Rongwo Gonchen, arrested in 1958 on the charge of orchestrating the uprising that year, he died in jail.  
[3] The 6th Gungtang Tsang Rinpoche Tenpe Wangchuk (1926-2000), arrested in May(?) 1958 and released in April 1979.
[4] Zhang Jia Hutuktu ( lCang skya ho thog thu) fled to Taiwan and died there, dates unknown. 
[5] The text literally reads ‘struggle against the religious upper strata into ugliness and stink’, which means depriving them of all sanctity, so that they will lose the respect of the masses, people will not listen to them and will avoid them in daily life (I have personal experience of this method of struggle – JL).
[6] Source:  Collection of documents on Nationality and Religion Work 1949-1959. Compiled and published by Department of United Front Work, Qinghai Provincial Party Committee, November 1959. (Note on spine: ‘Party Documents, careful preservation required’). 
[7] (Ch. Ji xun, ‘collective training’. Normally it means a type of study or training class for a designated period of time. In the second half of the 1950s, many high Lamas and chiefs in Tibetan areas were called for such “closed-door trainings” and were taken to jail from there or died mysteriously during the “training” - JL). 
[8] Ma Zhenwu 1895-1961, master of the Zhehelinye sect of Sufism in Chinese Islam, persecuted in the 1958 Anti-Rightist movement, rehabilitated in 1984.
[9] 7th Tuken Hutuktu Kesang Damcho Nyima 1895-1959, arrested in 1958, died in jail on Jan. 2nd 1959.
[10] Chief of Ahgur, tribe in today’s Xinghai County, Hainan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture.
[11] Hualong Hui Autonomous County (Ba yan rdzong) is in Haidong Prefecture, Qinghai Province. The county seat is about 75 km from the Prefecture administration at Pingan (Tsong kha mkhar).  Residents of the county belong to 12 ethnic minorities, the largest ethnic groups being Hui, Salar, Tibetan and Han. Of the 19 townshipsfive are Tibetan.
[12] Judging by the names, these people seem to be from Salar and Hui nationalities.
[13] Bya khyung dgon, the largest monastery in Hualong county.
[14] One of the four main Lamas of Xia Qiong Monastery.
[15] Ya dzi rdzong.
[16] He trin shang.
[17] All three belong to the Hui nationality.
[18] Tsa ba shang.
[19] A traditional Chinese measurement, 1 Sheng equals about 2 kilograms.
[20] Dhi tsha dgon
[21] Currency used in the period of National Government, prior to the Communist takeover.
[22] Amdo Tibetan: A ka, meaning monk.
[23] Amdo Tibetan: Ban de, meaning child monk.
[24] Tibetan: rGan ba, meaning monks working in the monastery administration, with certain responsibilities. Literally it means "elders".
[25] A person elected by believers to manage the mosque’s finances and donations.
[26] Numbers do not seem to match in the original text.
[27] Amdo Tibetan women usually wear many long braids. In 1958 cadres in Qinghai province forbade Tibetan women to keep their hair long, forcing them either to cut their hair short or wear two plaits like Han women.
[28] The original text does not clarify what the debate was, but debates between theism and atheism were conducted as part of the ‘religious system reform’ movement.
[29] Namely contradictions among the people, and contradictions between the people and the enemy.
[30]Childless and infirm old persons who are guaranteed food, clothing, medical care, housing and burial expenses.
[31] A short excerpt from this report to the central committee was published in Ganzi Zhouzhi (Ganzi zhou zhi bian zuan wei yuan hui/ dKar mdzes khur gyi lo rgyus deb ther, Chengdu: Sichuan ren min chu ban she 1998 Vol. 3, p. 2334-2335).




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