Yesterday, I got into the grittier aspects of this collection: the records of various individuals during the early communist years. Wikipedia titles it as “public records,” but based on what my mom told me, they are the exact opposite, considering that NO ONE in China even knows what their own record looks like. Needless to say, it’s pretty cool that I’m working with the personal records of several individuals.
The ones I looked at yesterday were from 1950 and 1951, during the Three Anti, Five Anti Campaigns, launched to rid society of Corruption, Waste, Bureaucracy (3 antis) and Bribery, Theft of State Property, Tax Evasion, Cheating Government Contracts, and Stealing State Economic Information (5 antis). AKA Chairman Mao’s campaign to consolidate power and get rid of counterrevolutionaries.
These documents are ridiculously detailed, and include things like month-by-month timelines of where they were and what they were doing:
Each person was also required to write a “self-evaluation,” which included a detailed explanation of what they did and learned throughout their years of schooling. These documents were then evaluated by several groups of people through the hierarchy, and were signed off and stamped at each level.
The above files are from a member of the Anhui Province Food Management/Administration Department (粮食厅 — not a cafeteria, as I originally thought lol). According to my mom, this is a really big and important role, as this department controlled distribution of food at the provincial level. If they don’t give the go-ahead, everyone can starve.
And the final, and perhaps most scary, piece of the day:
From what I can make out, I think this person was charged with corruption/graft. And according to my mom, depending on the amount and the time period, that could mean a death sentence. O_O I don’t want to know if that paper in my hands precluded a sentence, but in all likelihood it could have.
Playing it safe here, no names, but it’s scary and a little jarring to see names and pictures and know that these are files attached to real people. More to come tomorrow!