1)Current treatment of children of a Kuomintang military officer;2)Proportion of Chinese population who are members of the Communist Party; Possible sanctions for a person who voluntarily leaves the Party;3)Information on the demonstrations in Guangzhou City, in April-May 1989 [CHN1715]

1) A Canadian academic expert on Chinese politics states that the treatment of the children of former Kuomintang officers depends upon what the parents' rank had been and in what part of the country they now reside. The rank of officer will impart more significance because the attainment of this rank would have involved more active participation in politics. Otherwise, ordinary soldiers conscripted by the Kuomintang are of less concern to the Communist authorities. The person's residence is an important factor because the impact of the father's Kuomintang linkwhich comes under the category of political background and is most likely noted on the personal dossier kept on every Chinese citizenis assessed at the discretion of local officials. (According to this source, there is a strong Chinese cultural tradition that sins of the father can be visited upon his children.)

A second academic source contacted on this request for information observes that a person with the abovementioned type of background might be discriminated against in such areas as employment.

The Department of External Affairs adds that since the events of the first weekend of June, there is a stronger possibility that such a person would encounter difficulties. Before that time, it appears that in the interests of fostering cordial relations with Taiwan (which is still governed by the Kuomintang), people with links to former Kuomintang officials were not harassed. The Departmental spokesperson corroborated the fact that the current treatment depends very much on the locale and rank factors.

As an additional note on this topic, some recent press and periodical articles have mentioned the Taiwanese and Kuomintang factors in the current unrest and the fact that authorities in the PRC have fallen back into the xenophobia of the earlier years of the Communist Regime. [Roumain Franklin, "Le pouvoir relance la Xénophobie", Libération, 6 July 1989; Jeffrey Bartholet, "China's New Long March", Newsweek, 7 August 1989; "Note the Contrast", The Economist, 1 July 1989; and Jan Wong, "Great Leap Backward", The Globe and Mail, 31 July 1989.]

2) According to the World Encyclopedia of Political Systems & Parties, less than four percent of the Chinese population is a member of the Communist Party. The attached excerpt from this document outlines the basic requirements for party admission. On the topic of voluntary resignation from the Party, there is not very much information. According to one of the academic sources mentioned above, such voluntary resignations have become known to China watchers only recently. Party membership is the apex of prestige in Chinese society and voluntary withdrawal is unheard of because of this. Recently, however, there have been some highly publicized cases of withdrawal, including the case of a young university lecturer in Beijing, and another case involving the daughter of one of China's most famous Marshals. Such actions involve "very major consequences", but the academic commentator could not be more specific.

The second academic expert on China corroborates this in some measure by claiming that a person voluntarily withdrawing from the Communist Party would be denying themselves a great deal of opportunity. But the professor equates Party Membership with a full-time job which places great demands upon the time and abilities of the cadre. Consequently, some people do leave the party because of the strains of membership. On the other hand, some people may be given the option to leave the party "voluntarily", rather than face being purged much like a corporate director in the West resigns a position to avoid being fired. In these cases, according to available information, there is usually no further action taken against the former Party member.

No further information is available to the IRBDC at this time which corroborates the information provided by these academic sources.


Despite Western press interest in the recent events in China, the Southern city of Guangzhou (Canton) has been largely ignored. As the attached press clippings indicate, this may be due to the fact that the demonstrations and aftermath in that city were of a lesser magnitude than in Beijing. This, in turn, has been attributed to the relative prosperity of the Guangdong region and the fact that Cantonese have access to Hong Kong television and thus were well aware of the violent government crackdown which the demonstrations in Beijing provoked (The Times 14 June 1989). For details of the demonstrations in Guangzhou, please see the attached articles from the IRBDC'S newsline service.

With regard to government reprisals against the students, according to The Times, troops were brought into Guangzhou but remained out of sight. When news of the events in Beijing reached the demonstrators in Guangzhou, they reportedly blocked the Haizhu Bridge for two days but dispersed without major incident after stern warnings from the regional (Guangdong) government. A report in The Globe and Mail, dated 06 June 1989, notes that besides blocking the five main bridges in Guangzhou, the demonstrations had brought the city to a standstill with people refusing to work or attend classes. The article from The Times further claims that about a dozen people were known to have been detained, mostly unemployed labourers from the rural areas. A shortwave broadcast by a Hong Kong source, monitored by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), reported on 14 June 1989 that a "combing out" movement is underway in Guangzhou. "Combing out" is a Communist Party order for all personnel in Party, government and army organs, as well as in certain enterprises, to state whether they had participated in or expressed support for the demonstrations. For further details, please consult the attached documentation.