Seventeen Year Periodic "Circadian Rhythm"
One might say that the period of opening up and reform on the macro scale and the common prosperity of Dawu Group as a private enterprise on the micro scale represented a kind of Paradise. However, the fall from grace for Dawu Group took place with the arrest of Sun Dawu and his two brothers on May 27, 2003. Arrest represented Hell. Purgatory began in prison and lasted until November 11, 2020 when all legal details were finalized. Paradise was revisited with freedom of the individual and group. It was reached in the establishment of the Private Entrepreneurial Constitutional System in 2004 which was a type of constitutional monarchy.
敢言民企老板遭抄家 警方拘捕30人恐涉黑入罪 - 万维读者网 2020年8月4日
Over the years, there were many trials and tribulations faced by the Group due to property disputes of a historical nature going back to the 1950's and more recently to an intellectual property dispute resolved at the Supreme Court. The main dispute though was between Dawu Group and Xushui State Farm which is only an organ or agent of the government; so, its actual ownership is unclear. The dispute involved land. However, despite these disputes it is indisputable that common prosperity was achieved by 9000+ employees of Dawu Group through a system that emphasized people rather than profit.
The year 2020 resembled the year 2003 in some respects. One similarity was the emergence of atypical pneumonia in southern China. It was classified as SARS-CoV-1 during its emergence in Guangdong Province in November 2002 and SARS-CoV-2 as it emerged in Wuhan perhaps in November of 2019. The initial government response in both cases was deceit and denial. It treated diseases as a political issue; for example, it organized neighbourhood committees as it had utilized them to control political dissent during The Cultural Revolution. People were afraid of the disease, but the government was more afraid of losing control of the people.
It is no coincidence that Sun was arrested as the disease hit Beijing in May 2003 and also after the evolved virus struck the Xinfadi market in Beijing and and then Baoding which is 150 kilometers southwest of the capital. Martial law was declared in Baoding and a wartime mechanism was imposed by the epidemic response center.
Today, the government restricts visits of lawyers to SUN Dawu on the excuse of SARS-CoV-2. However, it is more concerned how peasants, farmers, entrepreneurs and even intellectuals of China are influenced by the man considered to be the moral conscience of the nation. Incarceration merely strengthens the people's trust in The Great Noon (伟大的正午). The author's own sobriquet for him is "Twelve O'Clock High" (十二点钟高) as in the movie of the same name.
The re-descent into Hell of the decent SUN Dawu and Dawu Group began with two protests reflecting its relations with Xushui State Farm. Sun has characterized it as a "Freak Farm". They were known as the 6.20 and 8.4 incidents in the summer of 2020. By themselves they were not very important as they historically involved only 740 mu of land, but their influence was magnified as they are representative of land disputes throughout China.
The incidents were special, too, in that they are responses to land laws enacted in the commune era of Mao dating back to The Great Leap Forward in 1958. They haven't yet been adequately solved by any CCP government. Therefore, who is to blame for the incidents? It's almost an example of "original sin" of the Party as opposed to its propaganda which emphasizes "original sin" of the peasants. Peasants like Sun--and Sun still calls himself a peasant even if he is a billionaire-- commit no sin when they set up a grain bank in 2003 at Langwuzhuang to maximize and stabilize the income of farmers nor did they commit any sin when they prevented thugs from leaving who provokingly demolished a Dawu building in the August 4th incident of 2020. Sun does admit though that he made some inappropriate comments which he regrets in the aftermath of the incidents.
As a guide to the reader it may be said by the poet that Dawu Group entered Hell around midnight on November 11, 2020. Six busloads carrying 300 submachine-gun toting police and their dogs were dispatched. One can infer that the purpose was to instill terror.
The main difference though between the 2003 and 2020 arrests was in degree. In 2003, SUN Dawu was actually lured outside of the area to the Hongyan Hotel in Xushui City through a dinner invitation from a newly appointed county-party secretary. 10. The arrest was done in the light of day by plainclothes officers. If the poet recalls correctly there were many plainclothes police and unmarked cars that arrived during the day at Dawu Group in order to mop up and about 20 employees were detained. However, in the 2020 raid, The Great Noon was arrested along with about 30 senior Dawu officials by police in full tactical gear at midnight. The actions in 2003 were intended to instill fear; although, in retrospect, SUN Dawu described it as an atmosphere of terror. 10. The actions of November 11, 2020 were intended to instill terror. There is a saying by an unknown poet that reads as follows:
"When the use of fear fails
then the abuse of terror trails"
One might compare the fear and terror used in the Dawu arrests in 2003 and 2020 by contrasting the use of fear and terror in the The Great Leap Forward (1958-1962) and The Cultural Revolution (1966-1976). The Great Leap Forward (大跃进) was a disaster in that it caused The Great Chinese Famine (三年大饥荒) from 1959-1961 which killed between 15 and 55 million. While terror was a factor in The Great Leap Forward it would seem that fear was the dominant emotion instilled in the peasants. Generally, people died slowly of starvation. They feared death through starvation. Of course, there were many individual exceptions such as scholars who experienced terror.
However, one might say that terror was instilled in the Chinese population in the early stages of The Cultural Revolution (文化大革命) 1966-1976. The first stage of mass killings began with the Red Terror (August-December 1966). For example, it did not concentrate on poor peasants, but rather rich peasants along with four other black categories as well as "capitalist roaders" in the Party. In Qufu or the birthplace of Confucius, the graves of the Kung family were dug up by the Red Guards (红卫兵) led by TAN Houlan in order to Annihilate the Kung Family Business (歼灭孔氏家族企业) 2. The takeover of the Confucian, Dawu Group (大午集团) in 2020 is its equivalent in what might be called Cultural Revolution 2.0 with its campaign to Annihilate the Dawu Family Business (歼灭大悟家族企业).
Seven of the innocent defendants which included Sun -- who were presumed guilty until proven innocent --- were transferred to RSDL under jurisdiction of the Baoding municipal Public Security Bureau (PSB). RSDL stands for “Residential Surveillance at a Designated Location”. This means they had no fixed residence. This is unbelievable because the poet has visited SUN Dawu in his residence and listened to the words of Xi Jinping at the time of the national holiday. Now, the PSB is saying SUN Dawu didn't live there. They hastily converted a structure to a new RSDL in Baoding to inflict torture.
Normally, RSDL is temporary in nature. For example, it may last three months. However, it can be extended as it was in these cases. The duration was extended several times. It appears to have lasted from November 11, 2020 to at least July 25, 2021 or the last day of the trial. "The PSB took advantage of the law with ill-intention, and nullified the human rights protection statute by designating jurisdiction." 3.
The defendants asked to be able to transfer from RSDL or Hell to a detention center because they said under RSDL they were being tortured. SUN Dawu stated "During RSDL, I once requested to be transferred to the detention center because my treatment produced misery beyond words and life was worse than death. I went on a hunger strike for three days." 4. All defendants said "life was worse than death". 6.
The defendant Ji Weilian ( 纪玮莲) said "I could see that there were once windows in the Residential Surveillance at a Designated Location (RSDL) room. I applied to change rooms, I was extremely agitated, and wanted to dig out the window. I wanted to open the door. I wanted air. I was interrogated too many times. My memory was declining." 5.
The RSDL was specifically constructed for the defendants of Dawu Group. They can hardly be called residences as there were no windows and no ventilation. The "formaldehyde level severely exceeded safety standards." 6. Formaldehyde is known to be a human carcinogen based on "higher risks of nasopharyngeal cancer and leukemia". 7. It is also used as an embalming fluid for the dead.
In other words, terror of the arrest was transforming into torture through RSDL for the defendants. Torture became a tactic of terror. During The Cultural Revolution the paramilitary organization called the Red Guards used torture through brutal struggle sessions. For example, on August 23, 1966, SHU Qingchu known as Lao She who was a communist party member and 20 other writers were transported to Beijing’s Temple of Confucius where a mob of 150 teenage girls beat them with bamboo sticks and theater props. 8.
The actual trial started on July 15th and lasted until July 25th 2021. It can be said that this was the eighth circle of Hell for the defendants. They were faced by those who claimed that the trial was open, but the visitors invited by those facing trial could not be seen. Each defendant was allowed only one visitor who was held in another room. SUN Dawu himself stated “All my family members had come, including our in-laws and other relatives, as well as employees, where are they? I want to know: Is this an open trial or not?” 3. Secondly, in the 2003 trial there were photographs allowed of the defendants which were published. No photos were allowed in the "open" court of 2021 to be published. Lawyers requested that judges recuse themselves on the ground that the court hearing was not truly public. The operative word there is "truly".
Canto XXIX Hell Divine Comedy Dante Alighieri
With points of thrilling pity, that I clos'd
Both ears against the volley with mine hands.
Together; such was here the torment: dire
The stench, as issuing steams from fester'd limbs. 9.
The outcome of the trial was never in doubt. If ever there were a predetermined result it was in the Gaobeidian Municipal Court. For example, the Dawu Group itself was on trial. However, before the trial, government working groups took over operation of the company including company seals and financial affairs. The trial and sentence merely legalized seizure and control of the company by the government. SUN Fushuo (youngest son of SUN Dawu) has not been allowed to return to his position even when he completed his sentence on September 29, 2021. He and his family are invited to Canada as the poet's guests.
While SUN Dawu has risen from Hell he may be trapped in Purgatory for 18 years. He might get an opportunity to appeal his sentence if ever again allowed to see his lawyer. SARS-CoV-2 is used as the excuse to isolate Sun. Will Purgatory reform SUN Dawu? Perhaps, if he is allowed to read "Thirty Lectures on Socialist Thinking" by Xi Jinping which he was prevented from reading in Hell while he awaited trial.
One expects though that the real impact will be on the Chinese people. They may finally realize that the same thing could happen to any one of them. If they do not have the protection of lawyers, law, police and Party then who will protect them?
Purgatory where SUN Dawu was briefly incarcerated is called Baoding Prison or should one say the whole city of Baoding (保定) itself? The poet may have visited Baoding a hundred times for various reasons. However, he found no reason to stay for more than a few hours. It is one of the most heavily polluted cities in China.
It seems though that Baoding Prison was a little too close to Langwuzhuang or Sun's birthplace for the comfort of local authorities. They wanted to get rid of him as far away as possible from potential support. The capital of Hebei or Shijiazhuang which is hundreds of miles away was too close. They went further south to a prison in the Tangshan Guye District of Xingtai (邢台); so, having spent a year in detention he will spend 17 years in prison. Xingtai is almost on the southern boundary of the province of Hebei. The poet has passed through Xingtai by bus and train on his way from Anyang, Henan to Langwuzhuang Hebei, but again, it is no place to linger.
Xingtai is reminiscent of industrialized London in the mid-nineteenth century. London is described by Charles Dickens (查尔斯·狄更斯) in Chapter One (The Chancery) of the serialized novel Bleak House (荒凉山庄).
"Smoke lowering down from chimney-pots, making a soft black drizzle, with flakes of soot in it as big as full-grown snowflakes—gone into mourning, one might imagine, for the death of the sun." 14.
The pollution in Xingtai is not the only environmental problem. In the Spring, large sandstorms blow in from the Mongolian steppe. The worst sandstorm the poet ever experienced was in Linyi City when his face and larynx were literally sandblasted.
There are few who don't know -- which includes authorities -- that this super-sized Purgatory is prone to earthquakes. Xingtai, Hebei is located above the North China Seismic Belt. "The frequency and intensity of earthquakes here are second only to the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau". 12. From March 8th to March 29th in 1966 the Xingtai earthquakes (邢台大地震) struck and killed 8064 people. 13. Fate will dictate whether you go out with a bang (earthquake) or a whimper (pollution) in the Purgatory of Xingtai.
SUN Dawu may take some solace in the lessons that real history provides. The Battle of Julu (鉅鹿之戰) 13. was fought at Xingtai in 207 BCE between forces of the Qin dynasty and the insurgent state of Chu. The battle provided a decisive victory for the rebels over the larger Qin army. Furthermore, it allowed for the rise of Liu Bang (劉邦) who was born into a peasant family. He reigned from 202-195 BCE as the first emperor of the Han Dynasty. 16. It was a dynasty that lasted 500 years.
In summary, there are two key 18 year periods of three phases each for Dawu Group and its founder SUN Dawu which may be broadly summarized. In period one, Dawu Group is founded. This may be equated with Paradise as barren land becomes fertile. However, Hell begins with the arrest of SUN Dawu and his brothers on May 27, 2003. It is followed by Purgatory until the official settlement on November 11, 2003 for time served.
In period two, Paradise begins for the Sun family and Dawu Group with the release of the Suns and establishment of normalcy at Dawu Group. The fruition of Paradise is the creation of the Private Entrepreneurial Constitutional System in 2004. The company continues to grow and its employees prosper. However, there were several major setbacks which included two trademark cases, African Swine Flu, seizure of apartment buildings and later two land disputes in 2020.
It may be said that there was a descent into Hell on November 11, 2020 in the detention of Dawu employees which included SUN Dawu and the seizure of Dawu Group. Seven employees including SUN Dawu were removed from their residences and then designated without residence. Life in “Residential Surveillance at a Designated Location” is Hell. The defendants are consigned to Purgatory in their sentences on July 28, 2021.
Sun is sentenced to 1 year in the detention of Hell and 17 years in Purgatory for pleading not guilty. The verdict implies that he has learned nothing in the last two periods of from 1986 to 2003 and then from 2003 to 2020 respectively. The open question though is what have the Chinese people learned from the imprisonment of SUN Dawu, the seizure of Dawu Group and their own situation within the Cultural Revolution 2.0 of fear and terror sponsored by the State. Perhaps the unintended lesson is that revolution is the solution.
D. Carlton Rossi
December 24, 2021
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