In one of the frankest of recent reports on Chinese political dissent, officials of a southern Chinese region have appealed for defense of "Chairman Hua's leadership position" against "reactionary speeches" attacking the new Communist Party Central Committee that Hua leads.
The appeal, carried in an official radio broadcast monitored here Thursday, is the latest of a number of such reports in the past few months.
"We must spontaneously uphold, ardently propagate and resolutely defend Chairman Hua's leadership position," said the broadcast, intended for the 31 million people of the Kwangsi Chuan Autonomous Region along China's border with Vietnam.
"The question of the attitude toward Chairman Mao's great banner or not and whether to hold it aloft genuinely or falsely."
The hints of provincial troubles from official broadcasts have come at a time when Peking has announced its post-Mao leadership but indicate some uncertainty over just how the leaders rank in respect to each other. The Chinese seem to be trying out a form of collective leadership, with Hua operating closely with Defense Minister Yeh Chein-Ying and vice Premier Teng Hsiao-ping.
The sense of a nation experimenting with new policies and administrative styles following the long Mao era pervades most reports out of Peking and seems to extend to dealings with recalcitrants in the provinces.In some areas, the authorities call for restraints in punishing people, in others they call for hard measures. They appear to be trying to see just what will work.
I remains unclear just who is resisting the leadership of Hua's new pragmatic administration in Peking and just how serious that resistance is.
There have been no reports from independent foreign observers over the last few months of any concrete signs of local political troubles in China. Few foreigners are allowed to travel in the nine or 10 provinces where official broadcasts have indicated that there are problems, and those who do travel find their movements restricted.
The Central News Agency, oofficial news service of the anti-Communist Nationalist Chinese government on Taiwan, has carried reports secretly of anti-Hua posters and some antigovernment riots in chronically troubled provinces like Fukien and Szechwan, but the Taiwan agency attributes its stories only to "intelligence reports" that independent analysts are usually unable to corroborate. Taiwan has issued so many such reports so frequently over the years that most analysts have come to ignore them.
Following the death of Chairman Mao Tse-tung last year and the purge of many of his more dogmatic political disciples, the official Chinese press has provided more reliable hints of dissent. These have come in appeals for popular support in identifying and removing supporters of purged dogmatists like Chiang Ching, Mao's widow.
"We must deal effective blows at the kind of reactionary speeches which harm and discredit Chairman Mao's great banner and attack and split the party Central Committee headed by Chairman Hua," said Thursday's Kwangsi broadcast without indicating who had delivered such speeches or when.
Several provinces may be more troublesome than Kwangsi. The autonomous region is thought to be under the firm influence of Politburo member Wei Kuo-ching, party chief of neighboring Kwang-tung Province and a member of the Chuang minority group that makes up a substantial portion of Kwangsi's population. It was disclosed yesterday that Wei has been given control of the general political department of the Chinese army, a job that might require him to move from his solid political base in the south of Peking.
In Hupei Province, where one Hong Kong visitor reported seeing a bus drivers' strike this summer, a broadcast last week complained of "ineffective leadership in some places and units." The broadcast said, wrong things . . . are still unwilling to admit their errors and confess. The masses are very dissatisfied over this."
A former mayor of Shanghai apparently trusted by the new Peking administration as a tough administrator was transferred to Hupei recently. The official, Chen Pi-hsien, also turned up in troubled Yunan Province in February after a nine-year absence from public life.Now listed as Hupei's number two leader, Chen has been heading provincial meetings in the last three weeks as the provincial chief, Chao Hsin-chu, has apparently been otherwise occupied.
Such officials are undoubtedly having to deal with younger officials who owed their careers to radicals like Chiang Ching and dislike the sudden turnabout and with others who had some ideological or emotional commitment to Mao's policies and are now being phased out.