An unusual wallposter apparently removed by authorities but still circulating here has made a rare direct attack on China's two top leaders and reported several suicides by people seeking government help here.
The lengthy poster, a copy of which was obtained from unofficial sources here, supports several other indications of growing danger for China's leadership in the generally raised expectations of better lives among the population. It criticizes both Communist Party Chairman Hua Guofeng and Vice Chairman Deng Xiaoping by name for neglecting the governmental problems of hundreds of thousands of Chinese, while rescuing a few hundred top officials from longtime political persecution.
"Just because there haven't been posters naming you, doesn't mean the masses have no thoughts against you," said the wallposter. "Since Chairman Hua and Vice Chairman Deng have not grasped our problems personally, how can they order the lower level leaders to grasp them?"
Details in the poster, including several suicides in Peking, cannot be confirmed, but longtime observers here say the stories agree with incidents reported by other sources. The poster is significant, they add, because its detailed documentation suggests some official inspiration and willingness on the part of political enemies of Hua and Deng to use raised popular expectations against them.
Since a general order forbidding "slander" of high officials was announced in late March, attacks on Hua and Deng have been practically nonexistent on Peking's "Democracy Wall" wallposter area. Even at the height of the democracy movement last winter, most critics here took pains to describe themselves as a loyal opposition who simply wanted to help top leaders do a better job.
Attempts by hundreds of thousands of Chinese to come here seeking redress of personal grievances -- such as jobs lost or relatives murdered or jailed in old political struggles -- have proved particularly troublesome to a leadership committed to moderate methods in dealing with protest.
"Why is it that officials have been rehabilitated while workers, peasants, intellectuals, demobilized soldiers . . . who had been persecuted and sent back to their old homes in the countryside only have their cases reversed, but don't have their jobs returned to them or their food rations augmented?" the poster asked.
The political turmoil of the late 1960s forced many officials and workers who had been criticized to leave what they considered good jobs with guaranteed food and housing and return to subsistence farming in rural areas. In recent years several high officials have been returned to their jobs through efforts of people like Deng, who himself lost his job temporarily in the late 1960s, but both the official and unofficial press acknowledge that many lower level officials and workers -- perhaps numbering in the millions -- have not been returned to jobs as good as they had before.
The poster, which was torn down in late August but still circulates here, faults the official People's Daily and Peking Radio for creating a false impression in articles extolling the rehabilitation of veteran officials.
Labels like "counterrevolutionary" placed on several top officials by radicals in the late 1960s may now be gone, the wallposter said, but smaller injustices are still ignored.
"Ordinary people sell all they have, abandon their aged parents, leave behind wives and children, and undergo all kinds of difficulties to get to Peking from a thousand miles away. They think officials in Peking will be better than those in their localities, but . . . they have not the slightest sincerity and the people are deceived," said the wallposter writer, who signed himself Zhang Hsi Xifeng, from a fruit plantatios in southeast Shanxi Province.
Foreign analysts remain uncertain about how spontaneous such posters are and whether their authors received any kind of official guidance, through relatives or friends with influence in the party. The poster circulating here offers precise details on suicides by petitioners seeking government action, suggesting some kind of official connection.
The suicides reported include an unnamed man who drowned himself in a canal July 15 near the Yongdingmen railroad station, site of a major reception area for people coming here, and another who lay down on the tracks at the Qianmen subway station, a major gathering point for petitioners who make a living selling trinkets.
A government official at the Yongdingmen reception station said Thursday that only about 1,500 petitioners remained there and most would be escorted back to their home provinces soon to have their problems solved. Several followed a reporter away from the center, with tears in their eyes. They recited cases of lost jobs or loved ones being killed in earlier political squabbles and being unable to force those responsible to make restitution.