D.卡尔顿 罗西
D. Carlton Rossi

Social Unrest




The Land of Darkness and Injustice

There were a few lines of news published on the internet of December 03, 2003 which might easily have been overlooked. This date was about a month after the court sentence of Sun Dawu to time served and probation. Sun was notified by the Central Party School that he had won third place in a competition which honored  entrepreneurs for their contribution  to solve rural problems. Sun expressed gladness for the award because he believed that what he had been doing what was in line with the reforms carried out by the central government. However, the author is unaware of his opinion concerning the local government when three days after his release it expressed the view to let bygones be bygones. It appears to the author that Xushui officials had become bygones of a bygone era.
The award had been decided by a jury consisting of scholars from the rural research institute of the Central Party School. Also, on the jury, were leaders from the provinces of Anhui, Guangdong, Henan, Hubei, Hunan, Jilin, Shandong and Zhejiang. Significantly, there were no representatives from Hebei which was the home province of the Dawu Group. 
However, in 2015, rural land issues are still perhaps the most difficult and important problems to solve in the transition from collective to private ownership. To some extent the problems also vary throughout China. Sun has warned that “Farmers cannot be said to enjoy human rights unless they enjoy property rights”.

The ownership issue recently came to the forefront in the pear orchards of Dawu Group. Last year, Dawu Group established its sixteenth business. There were four hundred mu of orchards involved.  If memory serves me correctly the purchase involved 12 million yuan. These kinds of pears are large, round and firm. The Chinese like to present boxes of them for Spring Festival and at other holiday times and occasions.  The company’s plan was also to establish a juice industry.

However, serious social unrest erupted in the pear orchards of Dawujituan Gaoyang in Baoding, Gaoyang beginning on August 25th, 2015. It involved hundreds of villagers.Walls were torn down. Pears were looted. Women and the elderly carried off the pears in bags. The looting lasted for several days. The police were called many times.  

Managers of Dawujituan Gaoyang were at a loss to explain the cause of the looting. Afterall, negotiations had concluded with a successful agreement a year earlier. The villagers had also been given the rights to purchase the pears at wholesale. It seems that many wanted the pears for free—perhaps believing this was their right on village collective land.  
Sun Dawu was saddened by these developments.

It seemed that the lack of harmony stemmed from the contradiction between the collective and private concepts of rural land. As a result, he has proposed a five-point plan to resolve some of these complex and varied issues at the grass roots level in a paper called The Land of Darkness and Injustice.  “Allowing farmers to undertake market-oriented land transfers and transactions whether they involve households or individuals will be able to eliminate most of the darkness and injustice, promote social harmony and promote rapid and healthy development of the rural economy.

D. Carlton Rossi
October 1, 2015

1. Contest Award Creates a Dilemma for Officials, December 03, 2003, SCMP     
2.  Sun Dawu, The Land of Darkness and Injustice


Chinese Entrepreneur Responds to Arrest of Rights Lawyers

By Sun Dawu,  published: July 24, 2015

Mr. Sun Dawu (孙大午) is a farmer-turned-businessman, and in 2003 he was accused by the government of running an illegal credit cooperative among farmers in Hebei province. His case was one of the landmark cases taken on by rights lawyers when this group of legal professionals were just emerging. Dr. Xu Zhiyong (许志永) wrote, in his 2003 essay The "Illegal" Life of Private Enterprise: Defending Sun Dawu,” “providing legal assistance to Sun Dawu is not merely about helping Mr. Sun himself; we are also helping many entrepreneurs who find themselves in similar positions, helping to create a better environment for our nation’s private enterprises to survive and develop, and helping to further the development of reform. We are willing to work hard and serve as legal volunteers promoting social change.” – The Editors

Sun Dawu (孙大午)

On May 27, 2003, I got a call from a deputy chairman of the Xushui (河北徐水) County People’s Consultative Congress. He told me the new county party secretary had invited me to lunch at the Hongyan Hotel. As soon as I got to the hotel, I was taken away by plainclothes police. This might not qualify as terror.

My company reported news of my detention to my brother Erwu and my deputy Liu Ping, who were more than 400 km away in Handan () on an inspection tour. When they finished up their inspection and hurried back, they were arrested at the highway exit. That doesn’t qualify as terror either.

When my younger brother Sun Zhihua learned that his two older brothers had been arrested and went to the public security bureau to make an inquiry, he, too, was arrested. That’s not terror either.

Then how about afterwards, when dozens of police cars (including official government vehicles), hundreds of police and government officials locked up the Dawu Group and seized more than 20 people, took away computers, and pried open safes—does this count as terror?

Even worse than that was when a warrant was issued for my wife and friends had to help her escape by hiding in the trunk of a car. Or when the police wanted to take away my eldest son Sun Meng and my mother, who’s in her 80s, stood in front of the police car saying: “You’ve arrested my three sons, can’t you leave me one grandson? You’ll have to run me over first.”

If Sun Dawu is the one who committed a crime, why did they need to arrest so many other people? What effect were they trying to achieve by making the atmosphere so terrifying? Did they want to destroy people’s will? It makes me think of the way the Manchus or the Japanese devils acted when they invaded China. Once the army has already surrendered and the city has fallen, why do you have to massacre unarmed civilians? They’re trying to destroy people’s will to resist, to make people recoil in terror and live in humiliation, like lowly insects.

A couple of days ago, I read the news that lawyer Yang Jinzhu (杨金柱), whom I do not know) was making the long trip to Beijing to defend lawyer Zhou Shifeng (周世). Yang said that if he was arrested for this, he would go on hunger strike and die like a martyr. Meanwhile, some lawyers and scholars who have been courageous in the past have kept silent. Jiang Ping and Mao Yushi have both spoken up, but they’ve indicated that they are fearful and a bit despondent. I also feel this way. The terror comes from being afraid, from knowing that one is innocent but that one must bear the responsibility of being convicted. What’s so strange is not knowing when or how one might be punished or how serious the punishment might be. These are all unknowns, and terror comes from the unknown!

In the space of only a few days, more than a hundred lawyers were suddenly arrested, taken in for questioning, or given warnings. This has created an atmosphere of terror throughout society. Even if a few lawyers have committed mistakes, there’s no need to arrest lawyers by the dozens or even hundreds. And the lawyers who have been arrested are mostly those who speak up for vulnerable groups or speak out about sensitive cases.

In my case back in 2003, the Dawu Group (大午集) benefited from the help of three dedicated lawyers who came to our defense. At a moment when we were suddenly faced with great calamity, our managers and employees were able to remain steadfast in the midst of that atmosphere of terror because they could seek the assistance of these lawyers and get some moral support. If we had gone to the public security bureau for help, they would have kept locking us up one after another. We could have gone to the procuratorate, but they even wanted to arrest my wife. How about the courts? They were all set to hand down a swift and heavy sentence!

Without the help of our lawyers, I don’t know whether there would even be a Dawu Group today. Whether the Dawu Group committed any crimes will be a question for history to decide—the facts are there to see. No matter what, at the time it was a sensitive case. Thanks to the help of our lawyers and support from the public, the Dawu Group was able to weather the storm and become the company we are today, with more than 3000 employees. If we had been sentenced to an actual prison term, the company would have collapsed. What good would that have done society?

I’m also reminded of the violent actions of people like Yang Jia (杨佳) and Hu Wenhai (胡文海 ). If they had had lawyers petitioning and protesting on their behalf, would it have moderated their situations at all? In other words, would it have helped to reduce these types of violent crimes? If we eliminate people with different opinions and get rid of these rights lawyers, when there are sensitive cases in the future and the public falls silent, won’t that be the beginning of an era when everyone is muzzled? Won’t these violent crimes escalate into a violent revolution? Doesn’t the Communist Party’s own revolutionary history demonstrate how successful revolutions begin like this?

I’m a businessman. I don’t want to see violent crime turn into violent revolution. I want social stability and the ability to resolve problems in a lawful and orderly fashion.

In his final court statement in 2001, Hu Wenhai said: “I have always aspired to be an honest and decent person. To this end, I have continually worked hard to realize my goals. However, in recent years one village cadre after another has been corrupt and tyrannized the people, dividing up the more than 4 million yuan our village coal mines and other enterprises were forced to hand over to them. I and other villagers went to the relevant departments to file complaints, all to no result. The public security bureau, the procuratorate, and officials at all levels gave us the cold shoulder and ignored us. . . . But you want us to discuss things rationally with them? Who is going to take care of things for us? I went to file a report with the police and those civil servants who only know about drawing their salaries swaggered about their car worth 300,000 yuan but did absolutely no work on the case and even colluded with the village officials to tyrannize the people. . . . I could only answer violence with violence, and I have no regrets!”

To this day, these words can still make a deaf man hear and a blind man see!

Corrupt officials and people with special privileges don’t believe in the law and won’t care one bit whether or not there are lawyers. They live and die by the party organization. But ordinary people want their society to be well ordered. In the past, when they had an economic dispute, a divorce, or were involved in some criminal violation, they might have gone looking for connections or someone powerful to protect them. Now, the first thing people will think of is getting help from a lawyer. This is social progress and represents ordinary people’s awakening!

I don’t know when being a lawyer started to become such a risky profession. Two of my three lawyers from back in 2003 have since been arrested. Zhu Jiuhu was released, but Xu Zhiyong is still in prison. The third, Zhang Xingshui, has turned to Buddhism.

When I read lawyer Yang Jinzhu’s statement on his way to Beijing, I truly worried that he too would wind up in jail. So I would like to issue the following statement of my own: I will not financially support Yang Jinzhu, but I will give financial support in the amount of 100,000 yuan to the next lawyer who steps up to defend Yang Jinzhu.

It is agonizing and discouraging to see these lawyers heroically go forward one after another, and it makes one want to cry out for help. After all, there is still some conscience left in society. But when we are faced with terror, what can we ordinary people do? Opening one’s eyes in horror and letting out a cry is both animal instinct and what remains of modern people’s conscience. Even more, it is the last recourse of humans seeking to survive—the freedom that comes from being without terror!

In 2003, people surmised that I had been arrested because of things I’d said. I hope that saying these words now will not bring me or the Dawu Group trouble again. But if I must be punished for the things I’ve said above, it’s enough to punish me only. Punishing me as an individual is not terror!

China Change Organization

July 24, 2015

Reproduced courtesy and permission of The Editors

Translated by volunteers of China Change Organization


The ‘Illegal’ Life of a Private Enterprise: Defending Sun Dawu

by Dr. Xu Zhiyong


The Year of Two Suns

Sun began rebuilding Dawu Group.  In 2004, Sun established China’s first Family Business Constitution with elections. He undertook extensive travel to give speeches on the invitation of various groups, submitted to interviews and wrote incisive essays. He became adept at communication through bloging. On the 30th anniversary of Dawu Group, he united the Sun family from different provinces of China by holding a meeting of over 1300 delegates in the new conference center. The guest of honor was Lily Sui-fong Sun  孫穗芳. By 2015 Sun Dawu was warning about the land of darkness and injustice in terms of the agricultural land policy and the dire consequences if problems are not resolved. 

China's Rural Nightmare


January 2009


Huang's book is that rare thing, a conceptual earthquake. Its dedication encapsulates its theme. Huang names three Chinese he has never met. In 1982, Nian Guangjiu, a farmer from a poor province, began selling a particularly delicious version of the popular snack, roasted sunflower seeds, which he called "Idiot's Seeds" because he had a low opinion of himself. Soon, he was well on the way to becoming a corporate giant. The other two dedications, both from provincial areas, are to Sun Dawu, who ran an animal-feed company, and Zheng Lefeng, an illiterate female moneylender. In 1989, Nian was arrested for corruption and embezzlement, charges so flimsy, even by Chinese standards, that he was recharged as a "hooligan" who had had "immoral relationships" with 10 women. Nian reportedly replied, "No, 12." He was sentenced to three years' imprisonment and his business was closed down. Sun was imprisoned for "illegally absorbing public funds". He had refused to bribe bank officials. He is remembered for his remark in prison: "Chinese peasants, your name is misery." Zheng Lefeng was executed.

Huang says of Nian, Sun and Zheng that "millions like them created the true Chinese miracle". But they "met the common unhappy fate of being brought down by the illiberal policies of the 1990s". Nian, Sun and Zheng were smashed, as the Chinese say, because they made money while free of state control.

Before the trio were detained, Huang shows, China was moving "fast and far" towards a laissez-faire home grown entrepreneurial economy, founded on the rural-based capitalism of township and village enterprises. But that free economy, which created China's true economic miracle, was swept away soon after Tiananmen in 1989, and its place taken by "crony capitalism", built on foreign investment, "systematic corruption and raw political power", in which property rights, the basis of lasting economic progress, are not secure.

Capitalism with Chinese Characteristics: Entrepreneurship and the State, Huang Yasheng (Cambridge University Press, 2008)



The New York Times









Changing of the Guard,

The New York Times

Edward Wong,  November 10, 2012

The rules have become so unbalanced against private entrepreneurs that even some who have benefited handsomely from China’s growth are denouncing the system. One is Sun Dawu, a party member and the millionaire founder of a rural food conglomerate. He was handed a suspended three-year prison sentence in 2003 for trying to raise capital from local residents. Mr. Sun stayed quiet after his trial, but is now openly critical again.

“The finance system is very corrupt,” he said in a telephone interview. “The country should allow private banks to do financing, especially for peasants and the rural population.”



This is a machine translation of a report of the Dulu incident on August 14, 2015.   For accuracy and comprehensiveness the original transcript in Chinese must be consulted. 

The Great afternoon road has been open since July 15, 2014. Taiwujituan wanted Xushui transportation department to include the road management in their scope. They replied that the government administration does not accept the responsibility to managed rural roads. Subsequently, there have been stalls selling swimsuits by villagers on the road causing traffic jams and a spate of accidents. On July 17th, 2015, there was a car accident causing death near the stalls.  In view of this we began to strengthen the large afternoon road through Dawujituan governance, clean up roadside stalls, and to arrange a fixed place of business for village vendors.

After cleanup of the stalls, Dawujituan released an announcement that the vast majority of the villagers expressed understanding. If there was no agreement to a fixed point then the temporary  stalls were not allowed.  Only five village villagers of the  Li Yongchen Lang family continued to sell from the roadside stall.

On the morning of September 14, 2015 the Dawujituan staff cleaned the swimsuit stalls of Liyong Chen.李永臣 and his wife who lied down in public  on the big afternoon road. This blocked the left and right lanes for four hours.  Hundreds of vehicles were blocked which seriously affected the normal operation of Taiwujituan and the travel of surrounding villagers.  The direct economic losses were extensive

The Dulu issue of August 14th was not an emergency.  Li Yongchen was involved in Dulu for more than three hours and yet the police of the Public Security Bureau did not deal with the issue. However, this event which  targeted Dawujituan  was premeditated,  purposeful and  organized.

Just lying on the ground shamelessly, 李永臣 ‘s wife had little energy, so much appears to make the network posts; 李永臣 malingering  hangs the infusion bottle (although only the needle fixed on the back of the hand, there is no liquid to drip). This practice is also not ordinary to villagers and is a means of blackmail.  In the process of the event  there was always three robust young daughters of  Li Min Wai around.  Onlookers used mobile phones to take videos, but there these clips of technology also expressed the willingness of onlookers to lie on the road. The event escalated.  Loudspeakers broadcast to the villagers to block the bypass road. When the police were ready to clear the roads were blocked by several villagers.  The worst was when a pregnant woman from a neighboring village blocked the road.  Someone shouted "Let her live, better than two dead”.

All these are indications that it was Liyong Chen and his wife blocked the roads by lying in them, but the gangs launched a stand in front of a small pawn.  The real troublemakers were someone else. Dawujituan roads were blocked for more than three hours.  Finally, more than 20 police arrived for more than two hours.  However, the road was still blocked in this situation.

Later, the Xushui Public Security Bureau filed an alleged fight subpoena against Dawujituan leadership. What are the Xushui police trying to do by escalating the Dalu event into a “fight incident”?

Dawujituan that the "9.14" incident was a vicious affray, gang crime, must crack down, clean up roadblocks Taiwujituan assist policemen, is a legitimate act of justice, it should be supported and protected.

Dawujituan is a company with more than 3000 employees of law-abiding businesses. The Group's chairman, president and chief security officers act to clear the road is a public behavior, not "fight". In fact, there is no "fight" event.

We are suffering labor groups, please protect us, not to fight against us!