Looking back to history to move into the future
To educate cadres and officials, the disciplinary watchdog of Macheng, a city in Hubei province and the site of a former revolutionary base, is scouring military history in search for examples of clean governance.
On May 10, the city established a special education base, where examples — old regulations, details of punishments and uplifting stories of senior officers — are exhibited in a revolution-themed museum. The local authorities are planning more exhibitions to illustrate the legacy of clean governance.
“Macheng is one of the most important places i n China. It’s where the Huangma Uprising (a Communist-led insurrection) was planned and rolled out. Exploring the revolutionary army’s culture of clean governance and establishing an education base is a historic mission for Macheng’s supervisory apparatus. It could help to pass on t hat culture, and promote efforts to combat corruption and build a clean government,” said Luo Lijuan, head of the Macheng committee for discipline inspection.
On Aug 1, 1927, the Communist Party of China initiated the Nanchang Uprising in Jiangxi province to counter anti-communist purges by the Kuomintang. The move marked the beginning of the CPC’s efforts to build an army aimed at serving the people and establishing a government of the people for the people.
The residents of the Dabie Mountains, located on the border between the provinces of Hubei, Henan and Anhui, quickly followed the example of Nanchang, and launched the Huangma Uprising on Nov 13 of the same year.
The Fourth Corps of the Red Army (the predecessor of the People’s Liberation Army), one of the Army’s three principal forces, was established in the region in 1931.
In the month after the education base opened, more than 200,000 people visited to view three famous documents in its possession, plus 36 lists of disciplinary regulations and the stories of 53 famous local people.
One of the most famous stories involves Wang Bicheng, a lieutenant general from Macheng who joined the revolution in 1926. He famously drafted five “don’ts” for his family, including vowing to never use a car the government dispatched for him and never to use his position for personal gain.
In another story, Wu Huanxian, a Red Army officer, and more than 20 soldiers ran out of food after being surrounded by enemy troops for three days. Wu only allowed each soldier to dig two sweet potatoes from nearby farmland to eat. He then buried a parcel containing five silver dollars (China’s old currency) as compensation for the farmer, along with a letter explaining what had happened.
Yang Yao, the Party chief of Macheng, has asked the committee to set up at least two more exhibitions in the city’s martyrs’ cemetery and a local park, according to Shu Li, an official with the Macheng committee for discipline inspection.
Xue Fushun joined the PLA in 1943. He retired in 1951 and started work as an official in Macheng. The 87-year-old veteran spoke highly of the clean governance of the revolutionary armies, saying the troops always left money or IOUs if they had to take goods when the owners were absent.
“The strict discipline continued to influence me after I retired from the Army. I never gained extra profit from the government or owed the government anything,” he said.
The character for “clean” is displayed on a drum at the education base in Chengmagang, where clean governance is the main theme.