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People's Security Secretariat
ㄖㄣㄇㄧㄣ ㄢㄑㄩㄢ ㄕㄨㄐㄧㄔㄨ
Rénmín ānquán shūjìchù
People's Secrurity Secretariat
Secret Police overview
Formed 7th June 1946
Preceding agency Hoankyoku
Dissolved 12th August 1990
Superseding agency National Security Secretariat
Jurisdiction Manchuria
Headquarters Flag of Harbin No.56, Xuefu Road, Nangang district, Harbin
Minister responsible Sheng Chuncheng (last), Secretary of the Interior and Security
Agency executive Wang Zhenhua (last), Commissar for Security
Parent agency Central Committee of the Communist Party of Manchuria
National Democratic Council of Manchuria


The People's Security Secretariat (Chinese: ㄖㄣㄇㄧㄣ ㄢㄑㄩㄢ ㄕㄨㄐㄧㄔㄨ; Rénmín ānquán shūjìchù) commonly known as the "Shūjìchù" (the pinyin romanisation of "Secretariat") was the official state security and intelligence agency of Manchuria from 1947 to 1990. During the existence of the Manchu People's Republic from 1947 to 1989 it served as the state secret police. It also operated the concentration and labour camp system during the communist period.

The Shūjìchù handled one of the largest intelligence networks of any communist state, possessing 50,000 employees at its peak as well as maintaining an extensive series of informants. However, it's reputation never reached the heights of the Soviet KGB or the East German Stasi, with the Shūjìchù often relying more on the institutionalised apparatus of terror over gathering genuine intelligence, and was seen as being corrupt. Manchurian defector Hua Jieshi commented that the Shūjìchù was more an organisation of "violent thugs then intelligence officers".

The Shūjìchù was at their most powerful between its creation in 1946 to 1953 where it conducted the Manchurian Red Terror. It continued to exercise considerable authority until the early 1970's when their powers began to be reigned in. By the time of the Orchid Revolution the Shūjìchù had lost the majority of its influence within the Communist Party of Manchuria, and following the end of the Manchu People's Republic the Shūjìchù became completely subordinated to the government, no longer functioning as a secret police force. In August 1990 the Shūjìchù was replaced by the National Security Secretariat.

History

The Shūjìchù were formed on the 7th March 1946 by Decree 234/05 by the National Democratic Council. It's apparatus was carried over from the remnants of the Hoankyoku, the secret police under the Japanese Manchukuo regime. The Shūjìchù was formed on the principle of "defending the revolution, democratic centralism, and the people's welfare".

The Shūjìchù was at first heavily connected to the SMERSH and the NKVD, with its members being trained by Soviet advisers. From the very beginning it was subordinated to the Communist Party of Manchuria, with the Commissar for Security (the agency chief) directly answering to the Central Committee of the CPM. In 1946 the first concentration and labour camps were created in Manchuria being placed under the jurisdiction of the Shūjìchù. In 1948 a massive purge of the Shūjìchù was conducted with members who had previously been affiliated with the Hoankyoku being arrested and in many cases sent to concentration camps. Between 1946-48 the Shūjìchù carried out the "Manchurian Red Terror", a systematic purge of opponents of the communist regime spearheaded by the Commissar of the Shūjìchù Jin Xingyu. Thousands were arrested, tortured and sent to concentration camps where many were later executed, being accused of "counter-revolutionary" acts. The Red Terror was thought to have claimed over 1 million lives alone between 1946-48.

In the lead-up to the Korean War the Shūjìchù were tasked with accessing the military capabilities of the Korean armed forces. American military historian Howard Kirk observed in 1984 that the Manchu Army was "woefully unprepared for the Korean counter offensive" because of faulty intelligence from the Shūjìchù. The Shūjìchù also incorrectly asserted that Kim Il-Sung's Korean Peoples Army was better equipped then it was in reality. During the war the Shūjìchù sent many Koreans to concentration camps during the war as well as oversee the interrogation and torture of prisoners.

Following the Tianjin Agreement and ousting of Xu Xiaobao from the leadership his successor Qian Yiu-tong sought to lessen the powers of the Shūjìchù. He created the Orgburo of the Interior and Security to oversee the Shūjìchù and demoted the Commissar for Security from holding an ex officio politburo seat. The Shūjìchù also saw a massive purge of its members as it was restructured to be more professional under its new Commissar Zhou Yuxiang. Nevertheless the Shūjìchù still largely used similar methods of torture, extra-judicial executions and detaining people in prison camps to enforce fear into the population.

During the rule of Qian Yiu-tong the Shūjìchù became a more disciplined force and saw more overseas deployment. Shūjìchù cells were placed in conflicts in Vietnam, Portuguese Africa, Lan Na, Mozambique, Laos and Cambodia were they collaborated with communist militias such as the Viet Cong, FRELIMO, Khmer Rouge, Pathet Lao and the Marxist Party of Lan Na. The Shūjìchù also collaborated with the Ethiopian govenrnment during the Ethiopian Civil War where they helped enforce the Red Terror in the country. The Shūjìchù also deployed agents in China, Korea and Japan - it is thought that Kim Jae-gyu, the bodyguard who killed Korean dictator Park Chung-hee, was a member or had links to the Shūjìchù, a claimed that has never been proved. The Shūjìchù gathered intelligence on Chinese forces during the October Crisis. Following the ousting of Chairman of the Standing Committee Wan Shuangjiang the Shūjìchù conducted the Anti-Reactionary Campaign, a huge purge of both its members and the CPM. Several high ranking members of the Shūjìchù were purged in the campaign, resulting in the organisation declining in political influence, although it still held an enormous sway over the general populace.

In 1980 following the rise of Tao Shiyou the Shūjìchù rose in influence once again as they stepped up their activities. This trend continued right up until 1989 during the Orchid Revolution. Prior to the revolution Shūjìchù officials discussed overthrowing the government and installing a new regime in what would appear to be a democratic capitalist country but in actuality would be controlled by the Shūjìchù, with similar plans being drawn up by other communist intelligence agencies such as the Stasi. During the Orchid Revolution the Shūjìchù failed to contain protests despite being ordered to crack down upon them. The Shūjìchù were instrumental in forcing Tao to step down and replaced him with Yuan Xiang, who they hoped would restore order - many Shūjìchù officials urged Yuan to renounce communism and create a more capitalist, Western-friendly regime. Following the election of Du Changhao some members of the Shūjìchù tried to stage a last minute coup before being arrested by the army.

Shortly after coming to power, Du Changhao ordered the arrest of several Shūjìchù officials before passing a conditional amnesty to Shūjìchù officers, an action that was highly controversial. The Shūjìchù continued to function as one body where they dismantled the secret police apparatus. The prison camps were closed with prisoners being released on an unconditional amnesty whilst the network of informants and spies was broken down. A large amount Shūjìchù members overseas also returned to Manchuria. On the 12th August 1990 the Shūjìchù was dissolved and its responsibilities passed onto a new agency, the National Security Secretariat.

Methods and Operations

Organisation

Jin Xiyfung

Jin Xingyu, the first Commissar for Security from 1946-54.

The Shūjìchù was overseen by the Communist Party of Manchuria, and was led by the Commissar for Security. Originally the Commissar for Security was also a member of the CPM's politburo, but this privilege was removed in 1954. Around the same time the Orgburo for the Interior and Security was created which oversaw the actions of the Shūjìchù, with the Commissar for Security reporting directly to the Secretary for the Interior and Security. The Commissar for Security was the leading member of the Commissariat which was made up of the 10 agency chiefs of the Shūjìchù's ten internal branches, known as Directorates.

Cipher and Communications Directorate

Counter-intelligence Directorate

The Counter-Intelligence Directorate was tasked with the apprehension of foreign spies residing in Manchuria. In this role the CID monitored the population of Manchuria and tracked key dissidents for signs of collaborating with foreign powers. Critics asserted that the Counter-Intelligence Directorate was more concerned with repressing internal dissent in Manchuria then rooting out foreign spies - it was well known that several MSS agents resided in Manchuria during the 1980's undetected by the Counter-Intelligence Directorate. The Counter-Intelligence Directorate after 1947 became the largest body within the Shūjìchù and the primary directorate dealing with day-to-day surveillance of the population.

Economic Security Directorate

The Economic Security Directorate was officially tasked with "protecting the economic well-being of the Manchu People's Republic" which included the prevention of economic sabotage by domestic and foreign sources and to oversee production targets to be met. Members of this directorate would be posted in every workplace (larger and more important workplaces would have more then one posted within) where they would root out saboteurs. If economic targets were not being met then it would be their responsibility to root out those deemed to be hindering economic progress.

Foreign Security Directorate

Immigration and Movement Directorate

The Immigration and Movement Directorate was designed to track the movement of the population of Manchuria, as well as monitor who entered and exited the country. Manchuria implemented draconian immigration protocols under communist rule, with it being virtually impossible to enter the country under any circumstances or exit it. Those on collective farms had to have permission from a party cadre to move to a different region within the country, and to exit the country altogether citizens needed special permission from the communist party. The Immigration and Movement Directorate tightly controlled the refugees who went into Manchuria during the First Manchu-Korean War, resulting in many being left to starve in detention and holding camps whilst being denied access into Manchuria. The Immigration and Movement Directorate also oversaw the Great Exchange, where they had many Han Chinese deported either into China or into other parts of Manchuria.

Labour and re-education Directorate

The Labour and re-education directorate officially managed the prison camp system in Manchuria. The prison camps were divided into two categories - the labour camps (designed for criminals who would perform hard labour) and the re-education camps (designed for political prisoners). Prison camps were notorious for their poor conditions, long working hours and harsh punishments with torture being common. In re-education camps time was allotted for study of Marxism-Leninism.

Military Directorate

The Military Directorate observed and collected information related to military affairs. These duties included assessing the military capabilities of other nations as well as observing the military itself for signs of insubordination. Its duties overlapped regularly with the foreign security directorate, and itself was informally split into three branches - intelligence relating to the army, navy and airforce. It went through a massive purge following the First Manchu-Korean war where it was accused of incompetence and underestimating Korean military strength.

Personal Protection Directorate

The Personal Protection Directorate was responsible for overseeing the safety of senior officials within the regime. This usually included the Premier, First Secretary of the CPM, and members of the National Democratic Council and/or the CPM's politburo. They were sometimes (incorrectly) referred to in English as the presidential guard. Unlike other directorates within the Shūjìchù the Personal Protection Directorate had the right to report directly to the CPM's politburo or the National Democratic Council. The Personal Protection Directorate was the successor of the Republican Guard which was a branch of the military, but its duties were transferred to the Shūjìchù in 1958 to weaken the power of the military.

Revolutionary Directorate

Shūjìchù death squad

Members of Shūjìchù Revolutionary Directorate death squads were identified by black coats, earning them the nickname of the "Manchu Gestapo".

The Revolutionary Directorate was officially tasked with apprehending those who participated or advocated for "counter-revolutionary action". In reality the Revolutionary Directorate mainly functioned as a death squad that would root out opposition movements and more often then not subject them to an extra-judicial execution. The Revolutionary Directorate in its capacity to protect the revolution would also serve as political commissars within the armed forces, ensuring idealogical loyalty. This pattern was repeated across other institutions, thus allowing the Revolutionary Directorate to oversee the majority of the population. From 1946 the Revolutionary Directorate made sure that a strict Marxist-Leninist line was followed throughout Manchuria, before acquiescing to the Black River Protocol in 1954. They were key in implementing the ethnic cleansing of Han Chinese during the Great Exchange. The Revolutionary Directorate was also allowed to root out opposition within the Shūjìchù and the CPM if they were deemed counter-revolutionary.

Technology and Research Directorate

The Technology and Research Directorate was primarily tasked with research into new ways of spying and defending Manchuria. Most infamously they oversaw the Manchurian nuclear weapon programme, but also directly handled the production of chemical and biological weapons. The Technology and Research Directorate has been implicated in conducting experimentation of such weapons on humans amongst other human rights abuses. The Technology and Research Directorate was also tasked with assessing the technological capability of perceived opponents. Some historians have commented that the directorate underestimated the capability of Korean forces prior to the First Manchu-Korean war, and that outside of their research into weapons of mass destruction the directorate did produce little of note.

Legacy

Shūjìchù Archives

Shujichu HQ

The headquarters of the Shūjìchù

The Shūjìchù in their capacity as a secret police organisation kept detailed records of all facets of the population. Although some of these files were destroyed during the Orchid Revolution many more were placed in archives currently under the supervision of the Orgburo of the Interior.

Debate of whether to open the Shūjìchù archives have been hotly contested. Between 1990-95 the government through the Commission for Reconciliation (the body established to prosecute communist officials) opened select Shūjìchù archives, mainly to private citizens on request. This process was slow and in 1995 following elections the Commission for Reconciliation was disbanded. Concerns had been raised such as a reluctance to name Shūjìchù members, partly due to the backlash they would receive from the population. Currently the only major parties that advocate for the opening of Shūjìchù archives are the Qinglonghui, United People's Party, Green Party and the Democratic Union for Change. The New Progressive Party's president Feng Huiyin has indicated she wants the Shūjìchù's archives to be opened, although some senior members of the party have voiced opposition toward such a proposal, most prominently Du Changhao.

A poll conducted in 2011 saw 53% of Manchurians support the opening of Shūjìchù Archives. Manchurian anti-communist, former dissident and writer Hua Jieshi pointed to the opening of Stasi records as a precedent Manchuria should follow, and has opinionated that law makers have so far hesitated to open Shūjìchù archives is because many members of the government had connections to the Shūjìchù.

See Also

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