Comments of a Chinese who worked at the WUHAN steel mill
(dated 12 January, 1968)
1. After the deterioration in Sino-Soviet relations, production at the WUHAN steel mill was affected by a shortage of raw materials. This was due to the lack of progress in the development of the TAYEH iron ore deposits. Round about 1965 the number of employees at the mill was much reduced. In January 1967, when the cultural revolution intensified, transport services became irregular, and the shortage of raw materials in particular became grave. This added to the confusion at the mill. No. 2 blast furnace and Nos. 2 and 3 open hearth furnaces successively ceased operations, and part of the coking plant was also closed down.
2. A large number of the cadres under criticism were formed into labour brigades and were made to work and study. After the WUHAN incident, a three way alliance was set up anew between the revolutionary cadres, representatives of the P.L.A. and representatives of the TSAO FAN, but the "WUHAN mill No. 3 group", which was a left-wing TSAO FAN organisation, did not acquire any great following.
3. Prom the outset of 1967 "supplementary payments" and "assistance benefits" were not provided.
TEXT Comments of a Chinese (party member, 20th grade
cadre, aged 29) who worked at the WHAN steel mill from 1964until the end of November 1967, and who escaped from China via KWANGTUNG province in mid-December, about the WUHAN steel mill, its production, and the state of the cultural revolution there.
1. Brief personal history
The informant was born in SHIHLUNG (4258 7893) district, TUNG KUAN (2639 5451) Hsien, KWANGTUNG province. As a child he was separated from his father, and was brought up by his mother. His father later moved to HUANG HUA. He graduated from CHUNG SHAN University in 1963, having read Chinese language and literature. After an excellent record during the anti-rightist campaign at University (the anti-PENG TE-HUAI struggle which began in 1959), he joined the party in 1963 at the introduction of LIU WANG-YUAN, the first secretary of the University party committee. After graduation he was assigned to the party committee of the CH'IAO K'0U (2890 0656) district of WUHAN, and then in 1964 he was sent to the organisation section of the party committee at the WUHAN steel mill. There his job was to investigate the personal history and ideology of the employees.
After the formation of the TSAO FAN in the mill, he was criticised as a running dog of the power group, and in February 1967 was sent to work in a labour brigade and told to criticize himself. He subsequently refused to comply with the TSAO FAN’s demand for self-criticism which was put to him dozens of times and on 28 November he suddenly deserted his labour brigade and made his way to Canton. On 15 December he escaped to the New Territories of Hong Kong.
2. The state of production at the WUHAN steel mill
(i) After the deterioration in Sino Soviet relations, production at the WUHAN steel mill was affected by a shortage of raw materials. This was due to problems at the ore mining centre of TAYEH (1129 0396). The basic programme for the development of TAYEH was divided into four stages, and the final stage had yet to be realised. Because of this, recently more than half the raw iron for use in the No. 1 blast furnace had consisted of scrap, and the No. 3 blast furnace had ceased operation due to the shortage of raw materials. In 1966 the annual production of ore at TAYEH was about 2 million tons. Also P'ING HSIANG (5493 6763) mine in KIANGSI province and HO PI (7729 1084) mine in HOPEH provided about 800,000 tons of coking coal. In the same year steel production at WUHAN amounted to about 1 1/2 million tons.
(ii) Because of the intensification of the Cultural Revolution at the outset of 1967, transport for raw materials became irregular, and production dropped to some extent. The situation was as follows:-
(a) Of two blast furnaces, No. 2 ceased production from January to the beginning of November 1967.
(b) Of three open hearth furnaces two were not used as from April 1967.
(c) In the rolling mill, production of welded steel pipes ceased in the spring of 1967. (There were no facilities for the manufacture of seamless pipes.)
(d) Of the two coking plants, one ceased production in January 1967.
Furthermore, for about a month during the WUHAN incident, even those blast furnaces, open hearth furnaces and generating plant which had continued to function until then, all temporarily ceased operation.
3. The Cultural revolution at the WUHAN steel mill
The TSAO FAN at the WUHAN mill consisted of the "United Steel Workers", the "General Workers" and the "WUHAN No. 3 group" and of these the first two enjoyed the greatest support. The "WUHAN mill No. 3 group" was a small faction made up mainly of "students" (half work, half study individuals) and "assistants" (unlike ordinary employees, these were taken on on short term contracts), but after the WUHAN incident it received the support of the P.L.A. Among the employees, any group on temporary work, irrespective of faction, were known as the "destroy the past faction".
As for those who had been senior executives at the mill before the cultural revolution began, CH'EN I-CH'ING (7115 0001 3237) first secretary of the party committee (assistant to the head of HUPEH province), CHOU SHIH-YING (0719 2514 2019) the manager (third secretary of the WUHAN steel party committee) and HO CHIEN-CHING (0149 7002 3237) the general works manager, all lost their jobs.
After the summer of 1967 the great alliance was set up, if only in form, under the leadership of representatives of the three parties, namely the representative of the P.L.A., a woman named CHOU (0719), WU CHAO-CH'ANG (0124 0340 2490) of the revolutionary cadres, and LI I-YING (2621 1355 5391), the workers representative (WUHAN mill No. 3 group).
The labour brigades for the reeducation of cadres were three in number and together amounted to about 100 persons. The day's programme consisted of carrying coal during the daylight hours and study at night. The food ration of staples only amounted to 0.2 chin three times a day. There was no rest at all, and the treatment was outrageous.
4. The number of employees at the WUHAN mill
Several years ago there were about 26,000 employees. Subsequently workers from other occupations such as department stores, film and theatre industries and shops, who had been temporarily transferred for the original construction work, were released, and in 1965 the number was down to about 17,000.
5. The situation in the party committee
The party committee consisted of about 60 representatives and the "party affairs" members numbered 18. The first, second, and third secretaries were appointed and sent to their posts by the HUPEH provincial party committee which was the senior organisation. After my arrival at the mill there had not been any general meeting for party members.
The party organisation had lost its authority since the end of 1966, but party funds were collected by special units set up by party members of the TSAO FAN. The monthly contribution was 3 yuan for those earning less than 100 yuan, 5 yuan for those earning between 100-150 yuan, and 8 yuan for those receiving 150 yuan or more.
6. The allowance system
Until recently a kind of monthly bonus, the "subsidiary labour allowanceu, had been paid to workers. In each factory, the party organisation put forward the names of those who should receive the allowance, and after general discussion the names were confirmed by the party committee. However, from the beginning of 1967 the payments were revised to a standard figure of 6 yuan a month per person. Also for the cadres who were responsible for the economic situation, attitudes to work and ideology, there had been a "subsidiary payment" of a maximum of 15 yuan amonth, 35 yuan a quarter, and 70 yuan a year, but this was discontinued at the same time.
出处：英国外交官档案馆 FCO 21/27