Five months after the appointment of Communist Party Chairman Hua Kuofeng, Chinese leaders are still acknowledging significant lawlessness and resistance to his authority and are restoring the criminal justice system to cope with it.
A broadcast from Hua's political base in Hunan recently monitored here called for suppression of those "who attack Chairman Mao, Chairman Hua and the party Central Committee headed by Chairman Hua . . . We must exercise dictatorship over the criminals who commit theft, fraud, murder and arson, and cliques of scoundrels and bad elements who seriously sabotage social order."
In their usual slow, jerky manner, the Chinese are now bringing before public meetings the handful of top leaders in each province charged with aiding last fall's alleged national coup attempt led by Mao's widow, Chiang Ching.
This purge presumably will work its way down to county and village levels, but it is slow going. Unlike other totalitarian governments, Peking appears to prefer persuasion and vague threats to brute force. It is trying to roct out pockets of resistance with radio broadcast demanding action against, or repentance by, wrongdoers. The broadcast references to "exercising dictatorship of the proletariat" and reports of some executions of common criminals suggest that police forces stymied by last year's political struggles are now getting back to work.
Police are not much use in the complex political mancuvers going on in Chinese towns. Where there is resistance to Hua or to the veteran officials who want to purge Chiang's admirers, Chiang's people are backtracking.
"This reactionary clique . . . would not truly lay down its weapons but would employ a double-dealing trick to retain its strength in order to stage a comeback at the opportune moment," said a recent broadcast from Kiangsi.
"In some party organizations and leading bodies at the basic level, there are still cases where power is in the hands of bad elements, political degenerates, persons eager to take the capitalist road, goody-goodies and those whose ideology still remains at the stage of the democratic revolution," said a broadcast from Fukien.
These complaints are Peking's time-tested way of alerting the Chinese, and those foreigners who happen to be eavesdropping, to political problems that they prefer not to talk about when asked directly.
"Those who come to China for fact-finding don't have to hunt for any inside information," the late Premier Chou En-lai told American writer Edgar Snow in 1964. "They can discover our problems from the stage or from our publications. . . When we encourage the good and criticize the bad, it means that bad things surely still exist and good ones are not yet perfect."
Perhaps the frankest admissions of lingering political difficulties have come in the last few weeks from Hua's own province, Hunan, where he retains the top provincial party post despite his responsibilities in Peking. "In some places and units, the masses have not yet been truly launched," said one of Hua's subordinates at a Hunan rally Thursday, "and the people and events involved in the conspiritorial activities of (Chian Ching's) gang of four to usurp the party and seize power have not all been exposed. A very small number of people who followed the gang of four and fell in very deep are continuing to stage a trial if strength with us."
The broadcast of the Human rally revealed six local officials had been charged with involvement in the coup.
In line with he vague way in which the purge has been reported up to now, the six are not named and the meadures taken against them, on instructions from Peking, are not described.
Peking is more specific in telling the Chinese what is expected of them: All must get back to work.
Western visitors reported that Shanghai factory workers took time off recently to build an elaborate snowman. In apparent response, one recent official broadcast demanded a return to the "eight-hour system." Another suggested that political classes be held after work, rather than in the morning hours when peasants should apply their energy to planting and construction.
In the never ending stream of rumors and wall posters concerning the possible reinstatement of former Vice Premier Teng Hsiao-ping, the theme of allegiance to Hua has also come to the fore.
An independent Chinese newspaper here printed today an alleged conversation in which Teng congratulates Hua on his appointment.Says the wise-cracking Teng: "Even a capitalist roader like me welcomes it."