Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Yin Shusheng: The Agony of Jinyintan


Location of Jingyingtan (Blue: Lake Qinghai, Red: Jingyingtan, Black: Haiyan)

Entrance of  "Atomic City" (Factory 221)

(Written by Yin Shusheng, Former Executive Deputy Director of Public Security Bureau,
Anhui Province, 
also worked in Public Security Bureau, Qinghai Province)

Translated by Jianglin Li
Edited by Matthew Akester

*All notes and square brackets added by translator*


Located in Haiyan[1] County, Jinyintan[2] tops the list of tourist attractions in Qinghai Province. One reason is that it was here that the story that inspired Wang Luobing’s classic folk song In a Faraway Place took place. Just imagine the spectacular pastoral landscape and graceful herder girls, how can one not want to take a trip here? However, nowadays visitors are more attracted to the place where our country’s first atomic and hydrogen bombs were created and want to see how it looks.

 In the 1950s and 1960s, a factory was built in Jinyintan.  Code named “Factory 221” (known to the outside as Qinghai General Machinery Factory), it covered an area of 1,170 square kilometers, with a total construction area of more than 600,000 square meters composed of 18 factories and 4 staff compounds. It was here that the first atomic and hydrogen bombs were researched and built, effectively breaking the nuclear monopoly of the United States and the Soviet Union, making China the fifth country to master nuclear weapons after the US, the USSR, Great Britain and France. This greatly increased China's overall national strength and influence. In the past, Factory 221 was listed as top secret. As a result, the place name Jinyintan, where the factory was located, vanished from newspapers and magazines since the late 1950s. The movie Jinyintan was only shown for a few months before it was banned. Now that the restrictions on the place have been lifted, people want to see this place shrouded in mystery, not to be seen or even mentioned in the past.

This is a place really worth seeing. So many stories took place here.  Before 1959, China and the Soviet Union enjoyed good relations. The Soviet Union promised to help China to research and develop nuclear weapons by providing technology and samples, training Chinese scientific and technological personnel, and assisting China to research and manufacture the atomic bomb.  The selection of Jinyintan as the site for Factory 221 was also approved by Soviet experts coming to China to lend a hand in the nuclear research effort.  From the early days when the factory was built, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, cooperated with Taiwan's intelligence agencies, continuously conducted aerial reconnaissance with U-2 aircraft, and repeatedly dropped spies in Qinghai to steal information. After the Sino-Soviet break-up, the Soviet experts withdrew, taking technical information with them. However, through spies and various channels, they were very surprised to learn that our research and manufacturing continued to progress. As Sino-Soviet relations further deteriorated and war was imminent, the Soviet Union was said to have contemplated a surgical, pre-emptive strike to destroy our research and manufacturing bases.

  Our country made great efforts to keep the nuclear research and production base secure and confidential. A series of measures was created, to ensure that no breach would happen. A special department was established in the Qinghai Public Security Bureau.   Supported by the Ministry of Public Security, professional staff were brought in to handle security and counter-espionage using advanced science and technology. A separate office was set up in Factory 221 calledMinefield Public Security Bureau,” responsible for security and confidentiality within the factory. This bureau was under the dual leadership of the provincial public security bureau and related offices at higher levels, but no outsiders knew of its existence. All personnel working in Factory 221 had undergone strict training to guard the secret. Communication between different units, departments, groups and personnel regarding each other’s work was forbidden. Different work units even had to take different routes to their worksites and were not allowed to enter other areas of the factory. Only a small number of experts and leaders with special passes were able to walk freely around the factory. Every factory building and unit was guarded by soldiers, no one could get through without a pass.    

 All communications between insiders and outsiders went through a specially arranged confidential mail system. People who contributed their youth and knowledge to the “two bombs and one satellite” might not have known that the letters they sent or received had been carefully examined before going out or reaching the recipients. Those who revealed secrets (mostly unintentional) would be criticized, transferred, dismissed, sent to “education through labor”, or even receive criminal punishment. Family members of Factory 221 personnel had no idea where their relatives worked or what kind of work they did. In addition to all this, there were a large number of armed police and People’s Liberation Army troops, including anti-aircraft units, guarding the outer range around Jinyintan pasture, in case of sudden attack. However, even such strong security measures failed to prevent information leaks.

On October 16, 1964, before our country's first atomic bomb test in Lop Nur, Xinjiang, the CIA discovered through spy satellite that China was about to conduct an atomic test, and was the first agency to release this news, shocking the whole world. However, most of the employees and technicians of the Factory 221 had no idea what kind of work they had been doing. Once it had completed its sacred mission, the central government decided in the 1980s to shut the factory down. On May 15, 1995, Xinhua news agency announced to the world that "China’s first nuclear weapons research and development base has been completely decommissioned". In November 2005, the State Council designated the “China Atomic City” (Factory 221) as a national-level patriotic education base. It has since become an important tourist destination in Qinghai Province.

This author used to work in the Qinghai Provincial Public Security Bureau and is no stranger to Factory 221. After a lapse of more than 40 years, I revisited Qinghai and accompanied my friends on a visit to Atomic City (to be honest, it is totally different from the original factory 221). During the tour, I didn't pay much attention to the tour guides’ explanations, because I knew all about its history. My mind was churning with thoughts of being there more than 40 years ago. After returning to Anhui, I went through my diary and the materials I had kept, and felt that it was necessary to organize them into an article, to let people know that huge damage was hidden behind the beauty and splendor of Jinyintan.

On May 18th, 1963, Li Qian, director of the Administrative Office, Qinghai Provincial Public Security Bureau, called me to his office. He told me that letters of appeal had been forwarded by the ministries of Public Security, Supervision and Civil Affairs to our bureau, complaining about problems related to the suppression of counter-revolutionaries campaign and relocation in Haiyan [County] in 1958. Investigations had been conducted a few years back by concerned departments of [CCP] Central Committee, the Northwest Bureau and the province, and some individual cases had been handled, however, appeal letters and visitors with grievances continued to arrive. The provincial party committee had issued instructions directing the public security bureau to organize and lead a joint investigation group, together with participants from the Department of Civil Affairs, to do another round of investigation. He told me that the group included four people, one from the bureau’s First Department, one from the Second Department, one from the Civil Affairs, plus me. “You will be the one to write the investigation report,” he said to me, “So you need to get prepared. The task for all of you is to look into the matter and write a detailed report regarding the suppression of counter-revolutionaries and relocation in Haiyan in 1958. Don’t give any opinion about right or wrong. The bureau will study the report before submitting it to the provincial party committee.”

Upon accepting the task, I had the feeling that nothing would come out of this investigation. The previous investigation teams had been headed by bureau and department directors and failed to solve any problem, and our group leader was Section Chief Ma from our bureau’s First Department, and the other members were but two office staffers and one clerk, what could we accomplish? Not to mention that at the time there was an understanding that nothing was wrong with the suppression of counter-revolutionaries campaign and the relocation of the local populace in Haiyan County. Those actions had contributed to the security of our country’s nuclear research base.

 On May 19th, the four of us held a meeting to discuss how to accomplish the task. Section Chief Ma was straightforward: “The Haiyan County investigation is not hard to do. All we need to do is write a report, isn’t it? Writing the report of course is Little Yin’s job, since you are a college graduate. We just help you to look for materials and archives and find people for meetings.  You are responsible for taking notes and organizing them into a report, that is all. I think we should be able to finish the investigation in 10 to 15 days.”

Just as Chief Ma had said, our trip took only 15 days, of which five were spent in Qilian[3] and Gangcha[4] counties, where most of the relocated people had been settled. We intended to conduct an on-spot review of the settlements and find out the real situation regarding relocated people’s life. However, all our requests were turned down with the reason that investigation teams from the Central Committee and the province had come down several times and had written reports, all we needed to do was to read them, and that they could not send anyone to accompany us to the settlements.

After the investigation was done, I quickly wrote the report. In our discussion meeting, not a voice was raised regarding the situation of suppressing counter-revolutionaries and relocation in Haiyan County from 1958 to 1959. However, all of them demanded that I delete the last section, which I took the liberty to add in, pointing out that the events took place against the background of the “Great Leap Forward”. They argued that it was out of the scope of our investigation. I had to follow their opinion.

For the purposes of the present article, I cannot proceed without presenting the general background of those events.

In 1958, when the “Great Leap Forward” movement was in full swing, the CCP Qinghai Committee actively responded to it and raised the slogans of “combining the two steps of democratic revolution and socialist revolution in one stride”, “completely accomplishing the task of democratic revolution at the same time as accomplishing socialist revolution”, “finishing socialist reform in animal husbandry” in two to three years.

At that time, the agricultural cooperative movement had basically finished in Qinghai’s farming regions. The pastoral regions were inhabited by ethnic minority peoples, many still under the tribal system, and the cooperative movement was yet to begin. The provincial party committee demanded that cooperatives in animal husbandry be set up immediately, all the herders were to hand over their pastures, yaks, sheep and horses, becoming cooperative members. In this way, the herders’ property was entirely snatched away. They had no right to handle their animals, and had to get meat, milk, butter and tsampa from the cooperative. Individual herder families were scattered over vast areas, it was common for neighbors to be separated by many kilometers. Cooperativising animal husbandry was a crazy thing to do, and it was not only opposed by the herders, but strongly resisted by Party and Youth League members and grassroot cadres as well. It was naturally opposed by the ethnic minority upper strata. For a period of time, it caused great social panic. Instead of reviewing the lines and policies they formulated, the provincial Party committee consistently worked in a reckless and foolhardy way, using authoritarian and high-pressure methods to handle problems. They believed that since ethnic minority herders listened to their leaders, all problems would be easily solved once the upper strata were put under control. Based on this way of thinking, on April 14th, 1958, the provincial committee issued a directive to all prefectural and county party committees, stating that in order to speed up founding of cooperatives in animal husbandry, it was requested to “collect ethnic minority upper echelons together in the name of meetings and study classes, and place them under control,” cutting them off from other herders and the outside world, and depriving them of their freedom of speech and movement.

 In accord with the provincial party committee’s directive, the Xunhua Salar Autonomous County Party Committee summoned the deputy head of the county, the Wendu[5] Lama (who stayed in the monastery all year long chanting scriptures), and Jnana Pal Rinpoche,[6] who had been Panchen Erdeni’s tuitor for a period of time, and other upper strata figures to the county seat in the name of a meeting, effectively placing them under house arrest and cutting them off from contact with the outside world. Meanwhile, the county’s work group was starting the animal husbandry cooperative campaign in Gantsa Township, where Wendu monastery was located, and was strongly resisted by the masses, including Party and Youth League members. Keeping Jnana Pal Rinpoche under house arrest further intensified the conflict and became the fuse that ignited the riot.

 The herders repeatedly appealed to the government that Jnana Pal Rinpoche be allowed to return to the monastery, but their appeal was ignored. This aroused the anger of religious believers. Instigated by a few people, they detained the township head, killed the work team leader, and destroyed the communication cables.  It was the first township to rebel.  The rebel masses, joined by a large number of Salar people resentful of the agricultural cooperatives, marched towards the Xunhua county seat. On April 24, 1958, a crowd of more than four thousand people surrounded the town, demanding the release of Jnana Pal Rinpoche and others, the abolition of animal husbandry cooperatives and disbanding of agricultural cooperatives, and return of cattle and sheep to their owners. The Lanzhou Military Command urgently mobilized troops to suppress the rebellion. It was put down on April 25, resulting in 719 casualties (of whom 435 were killed) and 2,999 captives, most of whom were ordinary ethnic minority people. The counter-insurgency troops suffered 17 casualties. The property loss was 900,000 yuan, and 200 private houses were damaged. Some party members and 69.5% of youth league members from Xunhua County participated in the rebellion, and 156 party members and 26 youth league members took part in attacking the county seat.

Although the Xunhua rebellion was quickly put down, it soon spread to 5 prefectures, 24 counties, 240 tribes, and 307 temples, with a total of nearly 100,000 people participating. Mao Zedong commented in the report by the CCP Qinghai Provincial Committee on the Xunhua Rebellion: "It is a great thing that the Qinghai reactionaries have staged a rebellion. The opportunity to liberate the working people has arrived." In fact, in a rebellion triggered by the cooperativisation of agriculture and animal husbandry, most of the participants were working people. Not only were they not liberated, they were plunged into the abyss.

On April 28, 1958, Gao Feng, secretary of the provincial Party committee, said in the committee secretariat meeting discussing measures for suppressing the rebellion: “The rebellion is good! It has provided an excuse for us to strike the enemy. Local [officials] and the army must know in advance who the bad guys are, and have a good idea about this, so as to knock them out in battle. Specific personnel should be appointed to take care of this matter. The struggle now is more serious than in 1949, and the frontline is very wide. The public security organs must turn Qinghai into a monolith within three years." On June 16, Gao Feng said at the party committee secretariat meeting: "This time we are determined to remove the lid of feudalism, together with the pot itself, and the two revolutions will be completed at once. As for the stumbling blocks, just kill those who can be killed in battle; in pastoral areas, doing battle is the main method to take off the lid of feudalism. Catching their leaders is 50% of the task; as for executions, executing them completes 100% of the task.” On June 28, Gao Feng said at the Party Committee’s standing committee meeting: “There is also a good situation in the pastoral area, that is, we have captured 7,000 counter-revolutionaries (this refers to the number of arrests in pastoral areas under the Public Security Work Arrests Plan deployed by the provincial party committee. During the year 1958, more than 49,000 people were arrested in Qinghai Province. See the author's article "The Great Leap Forward in Public Security Work," published in "Yanhuang Chunqiu" 2010, Issue 1). This good situation is brought to us by the rebellion. In facing this great situation, the biggest obstacle was that the thinking of some of our leaders could not keep up with the situation, and revealed a rightist sentiment. In one county, Guinan, 42 enemies were killed at one time. That deserves a notice of commendation."

What was the story of killing 42 "enemies" for which Gao Feng wanted to circulate a notice of commendation?  On May 13, 1958, in accordance with a notice from the provincial party committee, the Guinan County party committee summoned 42 upper-class ethnic minorities and United Front targets and sent them to the prefecture in the name of studying and attending meetings. At a place called “Guomayin”,[7] the vehicle stopped, all the people on board were asked to get out and were locked in a large room. The police and militiamen arranged there in advance shot into the room from the windows, killing all 42.  Such was the event, a crime of indiscriminately killing innocent people that violated laws and discipline, for which Gao Feng, as the secretary of the provincial party committee, wanted to circulate a notice of commendation.

 On October 26, 1958, at the provincial party committee’s standing committee meeting, Gao Feng had this to say: "Now it is time for a great break and a great reestablishment. It is necessary to completely destroy religion and repudiate it. Looking at the situation now, the more reactionary the religion is, the better [it is for us]. Only when they are counter-revolutionary and involve in sabotaging activities do we have excuses to strike hard [at them] and do it thoroughly. We should not be afraid to overdo it,  the more thoroughly the better, otherwise we will not become the rear.”[8]

On September 14, 1958,  Xue Keming, deputy governor and member of the standing committee of the provincial party committee in charge of political and judicial departments, said at a meeting on political and judicial works: "All religious elements with real power and reactionary headmen must be captured, don’t let a single one remain at large, and don’t release a single one. If they are dying, let them die in prison. It is better that they die in prison than die in society."

Yang Shufang, director of the Public Security Department, said: "Running dogs, jackals and religious powers of the feudal class, and reactionaries who insist on a reactionary stand, must be finished off within three years, leaving none behind."

Such was the general background of the suppressing counter-revolutionary campaign and the barbaric relocation in Haiyan County. On top of this were added the excuse of guarding the safety of the atomic bomb experiment and manufacturing base. Under such circumstances, social repression in the Jinyintan in the form of indiscriminate killing of innocent people and barbaric relocation of the populace became inevitable. At that time, Haiyan County had a population of only 19,000, and 80% lived in the beautiful Jinyintan and its surrounding areas, mainly Tibetan and Mongolian compatriots, with a small number of Han and other ethnic groups. The Tibetans and Mongolians still retained their tribal systems.

Under the guidance of the deputy director of the provincial public security bureau, from June to October 1958, Haiyan County "cracked" a counter-revolutionary rebel group called a “counter-revolutionary conspiracy and insurgent group in the name of wolf-hit (hunting) ", also known as "The counter-revolutionary conspiracy in the name of wolf (hunting)” - since no rebellion ever took place in Haiyan County,  the word "conspiracy" was added. It was also sometimes referred to as the "rebellion conspiracy group". In short, name of this "counter-revolutionary rebel group" was changeable, not fixed. When we read the case file, there were seven or eight charges. The file provided by the Public Security Bureau recorded that a total of 734 (some say 800) people were accused of being members of this "rebel group" and were arrested. For a small county with a population of only 10,000 or so, the shock caused by the mass arrests was not hard to imagine. Besides that, the majority of those arrested were Tibetans and Mongolians living in Jinyintan and surrounding areas.

Why were they suspected of rebellion? The reason was that according to ethnic minority custom and actual needs, every family had hunting guns in order to protect their herds. In the 1950s, wolves were a severe plague in Jinyintan area. Under the instructions of the county Party Committee and the county government, and under the guidance of the county public security bureau, young herdsmen were organized into hunting teams. After several years of hard work, the wolf problem was basically solved. When the "Great Leap Forward" campaign started, coupled with the rebellion in Xunhua County, the [Haiyan] county party committee and county government leaders believed that these herdsmen had the potential to rebel and must be pre-emptively arrested to prevent them from rising up. Among the more than 700 arrested, 631 were members of wolf-hunting teams, including 231 militiamen, 14 township and community (cooperative) heads, 8 deputy county-level officials, and 34 ethnic and religious middle and upper-class figures. The arrested also included 69 party and youth league members, all from poor herder families. They were the people the Communist Party relied on in the pastoral areas, but were arrested on groundless charges.

The arrest list was proposed by the county party committee’s Political and Judicial Leadership Group (group leader being the director of the Public Security Bureau who was also a member of the standing committee, but was actually decided by the Bureau), and was approved by the standing committee after study. As for the manner of arrest, notices to attend meetings, study classes and briefings were sent to cadres, ethnic minority and religious upper-class personnel, and united front targets, and each and every one of them was arrested when they showed up. The others were arrested by sending policemen down to their locations and grabbing them on the spot. Sentences were proposed by the Public Security Bureau after a preliminary trial. Sentences for cadres, persons of ethnic and religious upper strata, and united front targets were decided by the standing committee.  There was a variety of more than ten charges, such as "attempting to rebel in the name of hunting", "organizing a wolf-hunting team in an attempt to overthrow the Communist Party", "reactionary ideological attempts to restore reactionary rule", "spreading rumors, hoping that Chiang Kai-shek will counterattack the mainland", "dissatisfied with the Communist Party, kowtowing to living Buddhas, lighting butter lamps," "reactionary thoughts, exploiting and oppressing the herder masses", "corrupted way of life, raping women", "organizing and participating in counter-revolutionary groups", and so on.

How were the terms of sentence determined? What were the principles? The general rule was that the young people must be given long prison terms; the rationale was that if they were given shorter prison time, what if they rebelled again after being released?  The elderly should be given shorter sentences because they were likely to die in prison before the end of their term. For example, while studying the sentencing of a 71-year-old Mongolian headman, the county party secretary chairing the standing committee meeting asked: "How old is this man?" The case handler replied: "He is 71 years old." “Ten years is enough for him. He will die in jail and never be able to rebel.” Out of the over 700 people arrested, only 63 had been tried in court (based on court trial records), and the rest had never received a court hearing. After the preliminary trials, the Public Security Bureau decided the terms of imprisonment, and all the court did was to write a verdict based on the decision, affix the official seal, and the case was closed and the accused sent to the reform-through-labor farm. None of the defendants admitted the crime he was accused of committing, but said that they had never thought of rebelling. During the Public Security Bureau’s preliminary trials, some defendants refused to admit the crime and were tortured to extract a confession, resulting in 17 deaths and 40 people becoming disabled.

After Wang Zhao[9] came to Qinghai to take charge of administrative work, he vigorously rehabilitated unjust, false and wrong cases, but the major case in Haiyan County that involved more than 700 people, namely, the case of "using the excuse of wolf-hunting to organize a counter-revolutionary clique in an attempt to rebel", had not been fundamentally redressed.   Leaders of the county party committee whom we contacted still believed that it was due to their timely action to smash the enemy conspiracy that rebellion did not break out in Haiyan County. Individual mistakes could be corrected on an individual basis, but the general case could not be redressed. By the time we went to investigate, 57 people had been rectified, either released separately or employed by labor farms as farm hands, but were not allowed to return to Jinyintan. After the Third Plenary Session of the Eleventh Central Committee,[10] this unjust case was completely rehabilitated. However, by then the majority of the arrested people had been starved or tortured to death in labor farms, few had survived.

The case was determined by a deputy director of the provincial Public Security Bureau at that time. The county leadership had different opinions. They proposed that as the wolf-hunting teams were deployed by the county party committee and county government, and organized by the county public security bureau, it was unreasonable to accuse them of conspiracy to rebel. Those who held this opinion were not the leaders of the county party committee and had no decision-making power. Besides, they were criticized for being “rightists” and soon transferred to other counties. However, they were not able to escape the fate of being purged in the "Four Cleanups" campaign.

The same deputy director of the provincial Public Security Bureau, who supported the county Party committee in refusing to reassess the "major counter-revolutionary conspiracy and rebellion group" in 1962 and 1963, went to Qilian County (also under the jurisdiction of the Haibei Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture) as deputy head of the "Four Cleanups" working group in 1965. Once again, he managed to unearth a “major counter-revolutionary rebellion group headed by Guo Zhengguo", Guo being the county head.   414 people were dragged into this group, including the county’s chief justice, the director of the Public Security Bureau, the director of the United Front Work Department, etc. The county leadership was almost completely wiped out. Of the county’s 28 commune Party secretaries and presidents, only one was spared - all the rest were classified as members of this counter-revolutionary rebellion group.

For this reason, the masses made up a doggerel “Four times seven is twenty-eight, and Liu Chunfa is the only one who escaped the net." Only this Liu Chunfa, who had been transferred from the army to Qilian County as a commune president for a short time, was not counted in this counter-revolutionary rebel group. 34 people committed suicide, including the chief justice. The deputy director had a sharp political perception: he believed that counter-revolutionary armed rebellion did not break out in Haiyan County in 1958 due to the fact that it was discovered early and nipped in the bud, contributing to the safety of the 221 factory and the success of the atomic bomb test. However, the suppression of counter-revolutionaries had not been done thoroughly, for the roots were yet to be dug out. The roots were the people headed by Guo Zhenguo, who was transferred to Qilian County as the county head. County leader Guo Zhenguo was therefore convicted of a conspiracy to rebel, on the ground that he had convened several meetings at the grassroots level to study issues related with production and herdsmen’s livelihood. This so-called "counter-revolutionary rebel group” was duly rehabilitated, but the disasters and the pain it brought to the people can never be healed.

In order to build Factory 221, relocation of local people was necessary. However, the relocation practices at Jinyintan were extremely barbaric. Cracking a large “counter-revolutionary rebel group” had laid a social foundation [of fear], [and at the time of relocation], there was no propaganda, explanation or meetings to make the situation clear to the masses in advance. Instead, an order was issued, giving the herders two to three days to get ready to leave.  Three cows [yaks?] were allowed for each family to carry their belongings and what they could not take with them had to be left behind. Some herders received notice the night before and had to leave the next morning. They were escorted by armed police and militiamen throughout the process, and were abused all the way. Hundreds perished on the road.

The construction of Factory 221 required 1715 households totaling 9325 people to be relocated. It was relatively easier for those resettled in the vicinity of Haiyan and Huangyuan Counties. For the 461 households or  2183 people  resettled in Qilian County and 474 households or 2649 people sent to Gangcha County, it was a journey of hundreds of kilometers. Relocation began on October 20, 1958. Those who were sent to Qilian County encountered a blizzard in the Qilian mountains. They drove hundreds and thousands of livestock, dragging their sons and daughters along with them, enduring all kinds of hardship. At night, several families had to camp in a single tent. They suffered hunger, cold, and abuse [from the escorting police and militiamen]. It took 26 days of walking for them to reach their destination.  Quite a few elderly people and young children died in the wind and snow.  Our investigation team failed to find out the actual number of deaths, however, the list of resettled people in Qilian County shows that 879 were accepted from Haiyan County. This means that 304 people had died during the process. 20,000 livestock also died [on the road]. After arriving in Qilian, all the livestock were allocated to Tuocai Ranch, depriving the herders of their ownership, and the herders became pastoral workers. Since the county denied our request to go there and find out the actual condition of resettled families, we only learned some of their experiences from appeal letters. [Out of the 2649 people] relocated to  Gangcha County, more than 400 had died on the way. Their livestock were also classified as collective property.  Relocated herders had nothing left, and had to make a living by working for the ranch.

The disaster in Jinyintan fell not only on the relocated herders; employees of Factory 221, who contributed their youth and knowledge to the "two bombs and one satellite", were not spared either. In 1969, when the "Cultural Revolution" was in full swing, Factory 221 launched a "class clean-up" movement, and cracked a "major counter-revolutionary [group]".  More than 80% of workshop and department cadres, and 90% of high- and intermediate-level scientists and technicians were investigated and persecuted. In a period of two years, more than 4,000 employees were persecuted and subjected to cruel torture to extract confessions, resulting in the injury or disability of more than 310 and suicide of more than 40 employees. In addition, 5 were executed on unreasonable charges (see Wang Jingheng: The Secrets of China's Nuclear Weapons Base, published in Yanhuang Chunqiu 2010 No. 1). For a period of time, the beautiful Jinyintan was reduced to a blood-stained place. People who lived and worked there, including Factory 221 employees, whether Han or ethnic minorities, were not immune from the disasters.

This undoubtedly was a painful history.  However, the past, if not forgotten, can serve as a guide for the future. Thankfully, building a harmonious relationship between nationalities has become the main theme of our time. By writing about this history, I hope it will help the cause.  


Yanhuang Chunqiu No.3, 2012.

Document 1 
Document 2
Document 4
Document 5
Document 6


[1] Tib. Dashi.

[2]  Jinyintan (Gold-silver grassland) is the Chinese name for the pastoral area located in today’s Haiyan County, Haibei Tib. TsojangTibetan Autonomous Prefecture. Traditionally it is divided into two parts, referred to as Ngulthang and Serthang in Tibetan. Both areas underwent a few administrative changes from townships to communes and back to townships again in 1983. In 2001 Ngulthang Township was dissolved to establish  Sanchotring town.

[3] Tib. Dola.

[4] Tib. Kangtsa.

[5] Tib. Bimdo. A historic monastery in Xunhua (Tib. Yadzi) county.

[6] Tri Gyanakpa Yeshe Pel, the senior incarnate Lama of Bimdo monastery.

[7] Tib. Gomang, in today’s Gomang Township, Guinan (Mangra) County, Hainan (Tsolho) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Qinghai Province.

[8] In August 23, 1958, CCP started shelling Quemoy. The CCP planned to use the northwestern regions, including Qinghai, as the “great rear” in case of American military intervention.

[9] Wang Zhao (1917 – 1970), a Korean War veteran awarded the first-class national flag medal and second-class independence freedom medal in North Korea. In 1953 he was appointed deputy minister of Public Security. In 1961 he was appointed second secretary of CCP Qinghai Provincial Committee and governor of the province. During the Cultural Revolution he was persecuted to death. He was politically rehabilitated in 1979. 

[10] Held in Beijing between December 18 to 22, 1978.

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