The Case of Meng Weizai

This is an old case that has received some new attention.  The most recent invocation came during a press conference this week in which the CPC Central Committee's Organization Department deputy head Li Jingtian fielded questions from the press.  According to China Daily

Li also denied rumors that thousands have renounced their Party membership in recent months.  He rejected reports posted on foreign Websites, depicting the claims as "false rumors spread by people with ulterior motives." 

Hong Kong's Wen Wei Po gave some more details to this Q&A section:

In response to the question from our reporter at the press conference, Li Jingtian said that the CPC had attempted to examine the so-called resigning party members and found that either these people did not exist or else the stories were fabricated by people outside of China.  For example, the rumors implicated a writer named Meng Weizai for having resigned from the CPC.  Meng Weizai was very angry when he heard about it, and has informed the media that he has not resigned from the Party. 

If the Wen Wei Po reporter posed the question as the 'rumored thousands of resignations per month,' then he/she was soft-pedaling the claim.  The latest running count is shown here in this banner at the July 1 march in Hong Kong, and that would have translated into hundreds of thousands of resignations per month:

But to get to the real subject -- Who is Meng Weizai?  And did he resign or not?  The following account will be based primarily on the article published in Phoenix Weekly on February 28, 2005.

Meng Weizai was the former Director of the Art Bureau of the Central Propaganda Ministry and former Vice Party Secretary of the China Literature Association.  That much is not in doubt.

On or about December 6, 2004, an overseas F*L*G website BBS published a post under the name of Meng Weizai to announce his resignation from the Communist Party of China.  Shortly afterwards,the overseas Chinese-language websites Boxun, Secret China, Renminbao, the Sound of Hope and others also relayed the news of Meng's resignation.

On December 8, 2004, there was another post titled "Meng Weizai's final declaration" on overseas Chinese-language websites to re-affirm that decision to resign.  In this post, he said that he was a 70-year-old man who does not want to be tortured or threatened, and so he will therefore keep silent hereafter.

On December 9, 2004, Meng Weizai released the following statement to the Chinese media via Xinhua:

I learned on the evening of December 8 that a certain overseas website said that I had resigned from the Communist Party of China.  I am shocked.  On this, I make the following solemn declaration.

1. I joined the Chinese Communist Party on the front lines of the Korean battlefield in April 1953.  For more than half a century, I have been a firm and loyal member.  The 'resignation' is pure fabrication.

2. My father was a revolutionary martyr.  He was a Communist party member who perished during the War of Resistance against Japan.  I was injured on the Korean battlefield.  My father and I have had war experiences for which I am proud of.

3. I have received my education under the Chinese Communist Party.  Nurtured by the party, I went through wartime training and in peacetime, I entered university and became a writer.  I will never forget the Party's nurturing and education.

4.  I have been retired for some years, even though I have not stopped writing and patining.  I am still the president of the Chinese Art and Culture Popularization and Development Association, and I contribute my humble efforts towards the construction of socialism with Chinese characteristics.

5.  I have been up to date with my party dues, and I am a base-level member.

Therefore, all the talk about 'resignation from the party' is malicious rumor mongering without any basis.

I, Meng Weizai, was a CPC member, I am a CPC member and I will be a CPC member until I die.  I will never betray the great Chinese Communist Party!

The day after Xinhua published the statement, the F*L*G web sites, Boxun and other overseas Chinese-language websites published a third "Meng Weizai" statement titled "Meng Weizai condemns the Xinhua statement as fabrication."

By this point, outsiders have the lost the ability to tell between true and false.  Who can tell what is really going on here!?

On December 12, Voice of America reporter Hai Tao filed a report titled "The difficulty in telling between true and false in the Meng Weizai resignation case" from Hong Kong.  "During the past several days, there have been two completely different sets of statements on the Internet concerning the resignation of Meng Weizai from the CPC.  Meng Weizai has not been interviewed in person by the media, and so outsiders have no way to know the truth.  Xinhua said that their announcement is accurate, but certain China watchers say that the Meng Weizai resignation statement is more believable."

On December 21, Epoch Times hosted a Washington DC forum on ďThe Nine Commentaries on the Chinese Communist Party.Ē  Opinion editor Stephen Gregory said: 

"On December 10, Xinhua, Chinaís official media voice, ran a front page story explaining that Meng Weizai had not resigned from the Communist Party. Xinhua does not run newspaper articles discussing resignations from the CCP, much less front page articles. Meng Weizai is the former director of the Bureau of Art. But he is old and long since retired. Why should anyone care about what Mr. Meng is doing in his retirement?"  

During the discussion session of that forum, a certain Professor Ming said (via Washington China Review): 

There was a funny incident more than a week ago, about Mr. Meng Weizai, as mentioned by Stephen earlier. There was an announcement published on the New China News Agency website saying that he will forever stay on as a Party member, as a very stubborn Party member, so on and so forth. And this happened because a few days prior to that, there was a withdrawal announcement circulating in several websites, saying that he withdrew from the Communist Party, so the New China News Agency published this announcement, allegedly by him. The funny thing is that New China News Agency is the major news agency in China, it is the news agency in China. I cannot imagine the national news agency would run a story like that, itís an itty-bitty story by any standard, so that means itís a major thing, itís a major blow to them. Thatís why they reacted in such a, how should I describe itóbizarre way. But thatís not the end to it. 

A few days later, we hear more things coming out, saying that he personally made an announcement that ďNew China News Agency fabricated that announcement, I did not say that. I did withdraw from the Party.Ē There were some people who called mainland China in the past few days, and what they heard was that it was true, Mr. Meng did withdraw from the Communist Party, because it had been circulated, officially circulated inside the Party network, so we know itís true. I want to call your attention to the development of the whole thing. That it was so strange means that it was a heavy blow to the Party. I would not exactly call it a disintegration of the Party, but I would call it, rather, an awakening of conscience.

So what is the deal here?  It didn't matter what Meng Weizai have to say, or if he released signed documents, or even if he said it on television (see photo below), because some people have made up their minds.  If anything, any denials from him only seemed to reinforce those beliefs.

So what happened next?

Near the end of 2004 and the start of 2005, the overseas Chinese-language websites published another article titled "Fifty senior comrades including Deng Liqun and others inititate the 'resign from the Party to save the nation' campaign."  Once again, the author of the article was Meng Weizai, and this article listed 50 signees.  Apart from the fact that some of the listed persons denied that they have resigned from the Party (and that would mean nothing in this environment), the following six named individuals were highly significant:

What was the significance of these six individuals?  They had expired respectively in 1996, 1997, 1999, 2002, 2004 and 2000.  And dead people do not rise up to write letters to announce their resignation from the Communist Party of China.  This article was pure crap from someone who didn't bother to do the research well enough.

This became a dead story from that point on.  Either Meng Weizai did not write the letter or if he did, then he was full of crap.  The case is closed from this point on without a pipsqueak from the overseas Chinese-language websites.  The remaining question is:  If Meng Weizai really did not resign, then what does it take to convince the outside world, some of whom have closed their minds to all evidence?  It is not Meng's fault; the problem lies with the rest of the world.

Postscript:  It would seem that no one has advanced the theory that the final communication from Meng Weizai was a fabrication by those rotten Communists to subvert what was the truth before then.  But all those previous communications had come from mengweicai@yahoo.com, whereas the individual known as Meng Weicai told Phoenix Weekly that he is a 71-year-old computer-illiterate.  So what do you say?  Or do you wish to wait until the claimed count gets past 70 milliion, which is the current membership size of the Communist Party of China before fading away?

Reference: Can 200,000 Chinese Ex-Communists Be Wrong?  Daniel Drezner (referred to from Those Who Dare).