Dazhai Counterfeiting and the Red Terror of Red Flag Drain

In the 1960s, Mao Zedong, the top party leader of the Communist Party of China, issued a directive that mentioned “learning from Daqing in industry and Dazhai in agriculture”. Under the leadership of Chen Yonggui, a local cadre, layers of terraced fields were opened up and watering of the land was diverted to change the situation of living off the sky. In the absence of investment in rural areas by the Chinese Communist government, Mao appreciated this initiative and therefore called on farmers to learn from Dazhai, and Chen Yonggui was nominated by Mao as Vice Premier. Among all the places learning from Dazhai, a “Red Flag Ditch” was created. However, the true nature of Dazhai and the horrors behind the construction of the Red Flag Ditch are little known.

The real face of Dazhai was revealed

In the summer of 1978, the National Congress of the Chinese Agricultural Society was held in Taiyuan, Shanxi Province, and after the meeting, the delegates were organized to visit Dazhai. Chen Yonggui, then vice premier, personally appeared to receive them and made a speech. The delegates recalled that Chen Yonggui talked about the importance of agricultural science in the context of his own personal experience, such as when the corn in Dazhai got a disease a few years ago and the agricultural technicians told him that he had to pull out the diseased plant and burn it quickly to prevent it from spreading. He did not believe, is not plucked, the result of all the corn disease died, no harvest, he was convinced, and so on. Chen Yonggui’s frankness inevitably made the experts attending the meeting jaw-dropping: a vice premier in charge of agriculture, can be completely ignorant of common sense in agricultural science and let the country’s agriculture to learn from him.

Interestingly, when Chen Yonggui spoke, there was a young man sitting in the right corner of the stage reminding him of agricultural statistics and terminology, and the participants could hear his voice over the loudspeaker.

After listening to Chen Yonggui’s speech, the delegates were also “arranged” to have a tour of Dazhai village in groups. The route was fixed, and all were led by someone. Not only did the delegates not see any Dazhai farmers during the tour, they also did not see any farmers in the fields, and the doors of every house were closed, so they could not go in and explore. Interestingly, almost all of them had goldfish tanks in their windows, where goldfish were kept; at the same Time, each Family‘s small patio must also have a large tank, where flowers and trees were planted and were in bloom. The delegates obviously felt that this was a “show” for the visitors, because at that time, even in coastal cities, not every family kept goldfish and every household planted flowers and trees, not to mention the long working hours of the Dazhai people, which had such leisure time.

When the delegates arrived at the highest point of the longed-for Dazhai hill, they looked around and were greatly disappointed. Because Dazhai in order to create a small plain between the mountains, cut down the woods, planted wheat to the top of the mountain, but the wheat seedlings are growing poorly, the summer harvest season has passed, wheat seedlings only six, seven inches high, wheat ears can not be drawn out. Even if the ears of wheat, but also small, each spike only a few deflated seeds. As for the corn, the production team near the Dazhai, the growth is not good, only the corn field within the Dazhai is a great scenery. This means that the corn in Dazhai is eating “small stoves”, that is, there is extra support from the state for materials such as fertilizer as a backing.

The delegates discussed, some said that there is no woods, no livestock, no comprehensive management; some said that the Dazhai experience has not even been pushed out of their own nearby production teams, what to talk about the national learning Dazhai.

Yang Xindong, an agricultural expert and vice minister of the Ministry of Agriculture, also felt that there was no science in Dazhai, so after returning to Beijing, he organized a symposium with more than 60 participants and decided to “lift the lid on Dazhai”. The book “Blood for Xuan Yuan” published in 2012 on the mainland also disclosed the visit and the questions of the experts, as well as the six major problems summarized in Dazhai, specifically.

First, Dazhai’s arable land area, production, large harvest in a year of great drought, and self-reliance are false. Because after Mao set it as a typical example, Dazhai received unpaid support from the authorities in terms of human, material and financial resources. The so-called drought year was not a drought, but Chen Yonggui himself wrote down the actual rainfall of that year. The actual rainfall of the year was underwritten by Chen Yonggui himself. Secondly, there was no implementation of the policy of “Food as an outline, all-round development” in agriculture, and other kinds of business operations were cancelled by Dazhai. The first is that the company has been able to create a lot of land and destroy the ecological balance. Four, the past propaganda Dazhai “sponge field” is overstated. Five, farmers’ family side businesses, such as raising chickens and pigs, were banned from development, causing discontent among farmers. Sixthly, the peasants were not motivated by the “big pot of rice” for social work.

In the spring of 1979, at a meeting of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, Yang Xiandong revealed the true nature of Dazhai and pointed out that “mobilizing the whole country to learn from Dazhai is a great waste, leading agriculture astray and pushing the peasants into the canyon of poverty”. He also criticized, “Chen Yonggui became vice premier, but so far he has not admitted his serious mistakes.” Yang Xiandong’s speech sparked an uproar, and a CPPCC member from Dazhai made a fuss, saying that Yang Xiandong was slandering Dazhai, attacking it, and was trying to cut down a red flag that Mao had personally cultivated and set up. However, Yang still got the support of most people.

In 1981, at a state meeting held by the State Council, the issue of Dazhai was formally raised before the lid was completely lifted on Dazhai. The main problem of Dazhai was falsification and the persecution of innocents during the Cultural Revolution, which created many unjust and false cases. It is said that Dazhai people in those years often proud of a baby in the village, just a week old, can not speak, but can show distinct love and hate: as soon as his father shouted “kissing Chairman Mao”, he raised his hands to make a smile, if the father shouted “hate Liu Shaoqi If his father shouted “Hate Liu Shaoqi”, he would make a face of hatred by clenching his teeth.

And Dazhai counterfeiting was first discovered in 1964. In the winter of that year, Dazhai was found out by the “Four Cleanups” task force sent from above that the actual mu yield of grain was less than Chen Yonggui’s report. This was tantamount to declaring that Dazhai’s advancement was a deception, and the shock it caused can be imagined. The result reached the central government, leading Zhou Enlai to pursue the matter personally. At this time, Mao invited Chen Yonggui to his birthday party, and the problem of Dazhai was no longer the amount of grain production, but the attitude towards Mao overnight. In this way, Chen Yonggui has a huge political resource to tide over the crisis. Because of Mao’s support, Dazhai became a distinct banner and Chen Yonggui was emboldened to continue his counterfeiting.

Because Dazhai became a national model, the highway to Xiyang was built as a tarred road in 1978. The city of Xiyang also built a magnificent guest house, a large canteen that could accommodate thousands of people at a time, where visitors could eat all over the country instead of Dazhai corn. This shows how much money and materials were sent to Dazhai from the central government to the province at that time to set up this national agricultural model.

According to the county records, from 1967 to 1979, during the 13 years Chen Yonggui was in charge of Xiyang, Xiyang completed a total of 9,330 farmland water conservancy capital construction projects, which transformed 98,000 mu of new arable land. Xiyang farmers suffered 1,040 casualties, including 310 deaths. As for Xiyang grain production, it increased 1.89 times, while misreporting the output of 270 million jin, accounting for 26% of the actual output. The consequences of the misrepresentation were naturally borne by Xiyang’s farmers, and not a single pound of grain was sold to the state.

In addition, Xiyang was beaten and criticized and labeled as various kinds of people, more than 2,000 people, accounting for one percent of the county’s population. The number of people who have been processed in the case is over three thousand, one for every 70 people. After Liu Shugang came to power, Xiyang started a big vindication. 1979, the county reviewed and vindicated more than 70 wrongful cases, many people were punished for selling livestock, grain, taking advantage of small advantages, indiscipline, engaging in extramarital relationships, not learning from Dazhai, etc. The punishment was lifted; some people were sentenced for stealing a little grain, cursing a few cadres, saying a few “reactionary words “In 1980, Xiyang’s “vindication” reached a climax and lasted until the following year. The county corrected a total of 3,028 wrongful cases and restored the reputation of 2,061 people who had been criticized under various labels in the Dazhai movement.

In contrast, the “Agricultural Learning from Dazhai” movement, which was launched nationwide for more than a decade, brought rigidity, stereotypes and falsifications to Chinese agriculture. Strangely enough, although Dazhai received 9.6 million visitors from the mid-1960s to the late 1970s, Mao Zedong, the originator of Dazhai, did not visit it once, not even to suggest when he would visit it. The Vice Premier Chen Yonggui, whom he had promoted out of the blue, also resigned from his post in 1980, and with that, the Party media began to focus on criticizing Dazhai, and Chen Yonggui lost his position as a member of the Politburo.

In 1983, Chen Yonggui was assigned to work as a consultant in Beijing’s eastern suburbs farms, and died in Beijing in March 1986 at the age of 71 due to advanced lung cancer.

The Terror of Hongqi Ditch

After Mao advocated learning from Dazhai in agriculture, Henan Province produced a Red Flag Ditch, which not only became a benchmark at the time and was considered one of the two wonders of the 20th century, but is also a red “patriotic Education base” promoted by the Chinese Communist Party today, with its so-called “Red Flag Ditch Spirit”. The so-called “spirit of Hongqiqu” has been asked by the Chinese Communist Party to “carry on for generations to come”. The Associated Press once commented, “The man-made construction of the Hongqi Canal, a model of Mao’s will in Red China, shocked the world when it was seen.”

The Red Flag Canal is located in present-day Linzhou City (formerly Lin County), Henan Province, which is at the junction of the three Red Flag Canal provinces of Henan, Shanxi and Hebei, and has historically been a region of severe drought and water shortage. The person who led the construction of the Red Flag Canal was Yang Gui, then secretary of the Lin County Party Committee and later deputy secretary of the Anyang District Party Committee.

In May 1958, the second meeting of the 8th Communist Party Congress was held in Beijing. Yang Gui attended the meeting as the standard bearer of mountain construction. Mao proposed: water conservancy is the lifeblood of agriculture, in order to improve agriculture, we must greatly promote water conservancy. Yang Gui, who had received the holy decree, decided to make a big effort. However, according to the Chinese Communist Party, Yang Gui “could not bear to see the people of Linxian suffering from drought and water shortage after their ‘political turnaround'”, so he decided to lead the people of the county to “rearrange the rivers and mountains of Linxian”. From 1955, he built the Anti-Japanese Drain, Tianqiao Drain, Hero Drain and three medium-sized reservoirs, and in 1960, he started the construction of the Red Flag Drain, which is the project of “introducing Zhang into Lin”, and completed it nine years later, and it is said that the effective irrigation area of the irrigation district could reach 540,000 mu. Yang Gui’s hard work won praise from the leaders of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, and was reported in major central newspapers several times.

However, after 1990, the Red Flag Canal project aged extremely badly and the central government ordered its restoration, but the blasting of the project caused a strong reaction.

Leaving aside the project itself, Yang Gui, who seemed to be “dedicated to the people” and won the hearts of the Chinese Communist Party, was called “Yang Ghost” by the people of Lin County. Shortly after Mao’s death, the people of Linxian organized a rally chanting: “Down with the fascist dictator, the thief of the people – Yang Ghost! The blood debt must be paid with blood! Cut Yang Gui to death by a thousand swords in order to appease the people’s anger!”

Why was Yang Gui’s public anger so great? According to an article written by Professor Zhang Yuming, a medical expert living abroad, it turns out that when the construction of the Red Flag Canal began, Yang Gui forced the people, both men and women, young and old, to work like cattle and horses in order to hurry up the progress, resulting in many casualties and humiliating scenes for women.

When the workers walked into the labor site, they would hear the loudspeaker shouting: “Be a hero, not a scoundrel! To be Mu Guiying, not to be a stinking woman! Don’t let the cart fall down, just push it! Pull up the white flag and plant the red flag! Down with Liu (Shaoqi) Deng (Xiaoping) Tao (cast), die with Chairman Mao, revolution to the end!” In accordance with the instructions of the county party committee, both men and women, young and old, regardless of the daughter-in-law, a small daughter-in-law, to the scene, all stripped top and bottom inside and outside clothes, only allowed to wear a small pants. If there are women who do not take off, cadres a word, several young people immediately surrounded her, pressed to the ground to forcibly strip the inner and outer clothes, and then to carry large baskets to transport stones. Many women had to endure such humiliation. Moreover, even in the cold winter months, who did not run dry had to freeze to death.

For those who were physically weak and inefficient in labor, they were punished by kneeling and standing and starving. At that time, each migrant worker daily rations of eight taels, sweet potato dry cornmeal four taels each is collected by the production team from the farmers’ homes to the site of the big room, morning and evening each person to eat two taels of dried sweet potatoes dipped in chili salt water to eat, noon to eat two taels of cornmeal bun drink two taels of yellow flour paste plus a small piece of salted radish. Punished hunger is not even allowed to eat their own rations, but also kneeling in the freezing cold or hot sun, so many migrant workers or die of hypoglycemia, heart failure and a variety of malnutrition, or freezing to death or heat stroke.

Some young migrant workers were arrested on the spot and sentenced to ten or eight years in prison for “reformation”, which resulted in either death by exhaustion or starvation. According to official Communist Party information, more than 100,000 people were involved in the construction of the Red Flag Canal, with more than 60 people killed and 300 injured directly.

In order to suppress the grievances of the local people, the Henan Provincial Military Region ordered the Anyang Military Sub-district to carry out a major militia live-fire exercise in Lin County. However, strangely enough, during the exercise, not only the guns and ammunition of the commander, political commissar and soldiers of the guard company disappeared, but even the ten light and heavy machine guns, four mortars and dozens of boxes of hand grenades in the warehouse were gone, and there was no trace of human destruction and theft at all. After some investigation, the Chinese Communist Party authorities concluded that: only the supernatural great energy and wisdom of the people can do. Finally, the chief declared discipline: absolute secrecy is not allowed to spread!


In 2016, mainland media published an article on Mao’s former secretary Li Rui’s views on the Red Flag Canal. According to the article, Li Rui wrote a book entitled “On the Three Gorges Project”, in which he talked about the Hongqi Canal. According to Li Rui, the Red Flag Canal “lacked unified planning and was built blindly” and “the Red Flag Canal in Linxian and other water diversions did not take into account the balance of water volume in the whole river upstream and downstream. At best, the Red Flag Canal was a political product of the “how bold people are, how productive the land is” era, and therefore, its actual utility was destined to be short-lived.

Today, although the true nature of Dazhai and Hongqiqu has been restored, the CCP is still using them as opium to deceive the people. Undoubtedly, the root of opium eradication is to eradicate its roots, in other words, to eradicate the Chinese Communist Party completely from the Chinese land.