REPORT ON VISIT OF THE SOCIETY OF CHINESE-SOVIET FRIENDSHIP TO THE SOVIET UNION, T. SKVORTSOV-TOKARIN
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get citationReport on a tour group of Chinese citizens from the Society of Chinese-Soviet Friendship. The group visited Moscow, Tbilisi, Sochi, Kiev, Riga, and Leningrad. The Soviet guides were frustrated by the groups' argumentative behavior and attempts to speak directly to Soviet workers. The group was especially interested in finding out if Soviet listeners heard broadcasts of Radio Beijing."Report on Visit of the Society of Chinese-Soviet Friendship to the Soviet Union, T. Skvortsov-Tokarin," September 24, 1963, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, GARF f. 9576, op. 18s, 1963, d. 217, l. 273-281. Obtained and translated for CWIHP by Austin Jersild. http://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/116833
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Secret. Copy No. 5
24 September 1963
To No. 1741s
About the stay in the USSR of a group of tourist-activists of the Society of Chinese-Soviet Friendship
From 28 August to 19 September of this year a group of tourists-activists of the Society of Chinese-Soviet Friendship (OKSD) was located in the Soviet Union:
1. Wang Zhongyin -member of the Bureau of the provincial committee of the CCP in the province of Shandong, deputy of the department of agitation and propaganda of the provincial committee of the CCP, the deputy chairman of the OKSD of Shandong province, the leader of the group.
2. Zong Kewen -commander of the archive administration of the people’s provincial committee of Heilongjiang, member of the OKSD administration in Heilongjiang province, the deputy leader of the group
3. Mi Jiafan -the deputy chairman of the Hubei branch of the Chinese people’s society of cultural ties abroad, the deputy chair of OKSD in Hubei province and the city of Wuhan, the deputy leader of the group
4. Zhai Xingdong -the main editor of Hebei ribao (newspaper), a member of the OKSD administration in Hebei province
5. An Lin -deputy commander of the finance and trade office of the people’s committee in the city of Beijing
6. Xu Guang -chair of the federation of women in city of Tianjin, deputy chair of OKSD in Tianjin
7. Zhong Wangyang -deputy rector of Shanghai Conservatory
8. Zhang Zhenlun -deputy chair of the federation of trade unions in Jiangxi province
9. Su Ming -deputy chair of the people’s committee in city of Changsha, member of the city committee of the people’s political consultative council of China in the city of Changsha
10. Zhao Zhen -general secretary of OKSD in city of Zhengzhou
11. Cui Yunchang -journalist
12. Yang Tingti -secretary of OKSD central administration
13. You Dazhen -worker of main administration of “Inturist” of PRC
14. Zhang Mingliu -translator for central administration of OKSD
15. Wang Yiying -translator for central administration of OKSD
From 28 August to 1 September the group was located in Moscow.
A conversation took place about the program of stay of the group in the USSR on 29 August. L.V. Dubrovik, the deputy chairman of OSKD, outlined the itinerary for the group in the USSR. During this discussion the leader of the group informed us that the group had come to the USSR to strengthen Chinese-Soviet friendship. In particular he said: “We are sure that if the peoples of our countries will live in friendship and unity, then we can mutually learn from each other, and achieve great successes.”
At the first discussion in the Society the members of the Chinese group requested information about how they might best spend their free time in Moscow and other cities. Already at this time it was obvious that the group members had little interest in the work of the Union of Soviet Societies of Friendship and the Society of Soviet-Chinese Friendship. At the subsequent trips to various OSKD branches in the republics and cities, during visits to particular sites—the members of the Chinese group as a collective were never particularly interested in the work of the OSKD. The true face of the group was revealed already by 30-31 August, when the Chinese visited the Moscow Shcherbakov Silk Factory, the Moscow Kremlin, and the Lenin Central Museum, and started to hand out cards to passing Soviet citizens with information about daily radio broadcasts from Beijing in Russian and query Soviet people to see if they had heard Beijing radio broadcasts and whether or not they liked them.
T.T. Skvortsov-Tokarin, the leader of SOD who accompanied the group, informed their leader that the workers of the Shcherbakov Factory had called the administration of OSKD and that the workers were indignant about the distribution of the Beijing radio broadcasts, that is, they were aware of the character of these broadcasts. Skvortsov-Tokarin asked that they stop this in the future, as it did not contribute to the strengthening of friendship.
In response to this group leader Wang Zhongyin said: “We consider that such activity strengthens friendship and that there is nothing bad in this and that the members of the Chinese group of tourist-activists of OKSD will continue to distribute [information about] these broadcasts.” However, a short time later he said: “Maybe we’ll continue to distribute [the information], and maybe not.”
Subsequently in the cities of Tbilisi, Sochi, Kiev, Riga, Leningrad, and Moscow the members of the group did not openly try to distribute the information, although at every opportunity they would continue to query Soviet citizens about whether or not they listened to Radio Beijing and whether they liked it or not.
It is also worth noting the tactless behavior of the group at the Lenin Museum [in Moscow], where the Chinese began to argue with the Soviet tour guides and tried to convince them of the correctness of their views on one or another work of V.I. Lenin. The Chinese straightforwardly said that they disagreed with the presentations of the tour guides about Lenin and his works. Extremely sharp discussions developed concerning questions of war, peace, and revolution, the issue of the cult of personality, and an all-people’s state. Beginning such discussions, the members of the group tried to attract the attention of Soviet citizens that they met in the hallways, inviting them to listen to the Chinese point of view. They would always try to have the last word in these discussions.
The Soviet tour guides and those accompanying the group provided a dignified response to the Chinese, and defeated the Chinese arguments. Seeing that they could not justify their point of view, the leader of the group usually said: “Let’s not discuss this any further, and move to the next theme.”
From 1-16 September the group went on a trip throughout the country.
Beginning with Tbilisi, party workers and Society of Soviet-Chinese Friendship activists valued highly the significance of work with this group.
From 1-3 September the group was located in Tbilisi. During their stay in Georgia the group visited the Rustav Metallurgical Factory, VDNKh [Exhibit of the Achievements of the Economy], and Mtskheti, and had discussions with the OSKD branch. In order to have more free time, the members of the group declined a visit to a champagne factory.
During a visit in Tbilisi to a park of culture and rest the members of the group, having discovered that a statue of Stalin had been removed, started demonstratively to photograph the empty foundation and engage passers-by in conversation, playing on the feelings of the Georgians. In their discussions they talked about how the Georgians were a heroic nation and they expressed their unhappiness in connection with the dismantling of the statue of Stalin. During one of these discussions a member of the group, Yang Tingti said: “You can take down a statue, but the name of Stalin can never be removed from history.”
On 2 September the group visited the Rustav Metallurgical Factory, where they looked over a variety of workshops and dormitories of the workers. During the visit to the dormitory the Chinese divided up into separate groups and began to converse with the workers. In one of these conversations, the deputy leader of the group Zong Kewen said to the workers: “Yesterday we were in the park and we photographed the empty pedestal [of the Stalin statute]. We don’t understand; why has the statue of Stalin been removed?” The workers and those accompanying provided an explanation to Zong Kewen. One of the workers asked the Chinese if they were going to Gori [the birthplace of Stalin], and to this the Chinese answered: “We with pleasure would go there, but the Society of Friendship did not plan a trip there.”
During the conversations in the dormitory the Chinese again expressed interest in whether or not the workers listened to Radio Beijing broadcasts and whether or not these broadcasts appealed to them.
In Georgia the members of the group were extremely active in their efforts to engage in discussion with Soviet people, stop them on the street, shake their hands, talk to them, and attempt to separate from those that accompanied them.
From the 4-5 September the group was in Sochi. During their stay in Sochi the group again posed the question about free time so they could have independent walks in the city to establish contact with Soviet people. During an excursion in the city to the Lenin Monument the Chinese led a discussion about peaceful coexistence and the signing of the Treaty against nuclear testing. During this discussion the deputy leader of the group, Mi Jiafan, said that the CCP does not recognize peaceful coexistence as a general line, and that the signing of the Treaty amounts to a betrayal of the socialist camp. Later he said: “There are people who distort the teachings of Lenin.” To these claims the Chinese received a decisive rejection from the tour guides and those accompanying [the group].
In Sochi the group visited a sanatorium and the Ostrovskii Museum.
From 5-9 September the group was in Kiev, where they visited the Darnitskii Silk Factory, the “Kiev” Collective Farm, School No. 1, VDNKh, and had discussions with the city executive committee of Kiev and the OSKD branch. As in other cities the group pushed for more free time, rejecting the possibility of walks along the Dnepr and a visit to a panoramic movie theater. In Kiev the Chinese demanded the opportunity to be present during a Chinese ensemble concert. This request was granted.
The members of the group were very interested in the “Kievskii” state collective farm, but paid almost no attention to their visit to the Darnitskii Silk Factory. During the visit to the state collective farm the members of the group the whole time tried to explore whether or not the state collective farm was profitable, and convinced themselves that the workers of the state collective farm spent more time interested in their private plots than the state property.
In School No. 1 the group was most interested in whether or not the school children had access to radio broadcasts from Beijing, and whether or not the older students read Chinese newspapers. The group paid special attention to the list of readers of the newspaper “Renmin ribao,” to verify whether or not it was being read.
In Kiev during trips to a collective farm, the city, enterprises, a school, and VDNKh the Chinese spoke often with Soviet citizens, trying to understand what Soviet people think about China, and inviting them to come to China and see the successes of the PRC, and inviting them to the Chinese ensemble concert.
At the end of the stay in Kiev the group was received by A.F. Fedorov, the chair of the local branch of OSKD. In response to the welcoming speech from A.F. Fedorov the leader of the group, Wang Zhongyin, pulled out a previously prepared speech and began to explain Chinese views on a series of complicated problems. A.F. Fedorov interrupted him and explained that this was not a political study group, and that we are well acquainted with the Chinese positions. In response to this the Chinese began another polemic, in which they made various slanderous accusations against the USSR. The Soviet comrades at the meeting responded to these accusations. During the discussion the Chinese group behaved very tactlessly, often leaving the group and the Soviets who accompanied them.
From 9-12 September the group was in Riga, where they visited the Popov Radio Factory, the “9 May” collective farm fishery, a history museum, a sanatorium, and had talks with the Riga city executive committee and the local branch of OSKD. As in other cities the members of the group requested more free time. Seeing that they were not granted much free time, they began to attend the visits while leaving a smaller group of 4-5 people behind in the hotel, including two Russian speakers, for independent walks around the city.
The members of the group in Riga were not at all interested in the planned visits, and even refused to board a bus to go see a cemetery.
At the reception sponsored by OSKD the leader of the group again read his prepared speech, the same one he used in Kiev. In response to this the deputy director of the Latvian Society of Friendship and Cultural Ties, E.K. Biron, gave a speech in which he laid out the views of the Soviet government toward the issues raised by the Chinese.
From 13-15 September the group was located in Leningrad, where they visited the “Detskosel’skii” state collective farm, visited sites associated with the life of V.I. Lenin, had a tour of the city, saw the “Hermitage,” and the “Aurora” ship. The group was received by the city executive committee and the local branch of OSKD.
As before the group raised the issue of having more free time for independent walks around the city.
During the visit to the collective farm the group was only interested in establishing contacts with the workers of the farm, and the workers in the fields. During the visit to the farm a member of the group, Zhao Zhen noted: “There are not that many workers visible on the collective farm. Probably you have everything so mechanized that workers are unnecessary.” A corresponding explanation was offered to this.
During the trip to the “Hermitage,” a Russian-speaking member of the group left for exchanges with Soviet people, showing no interest in the words of the tour guide.
[The group engages in further disputes at the “Hermitage” over Lenin, war, and revolution.]
On 16 September the group returned to Moscow.
Immediately upon their arrival in Moscow the group declined visits to industrial enterprises and educational institutions, asking to have a day and one-half of free time. The group asked only to visit the Gor’kii TsPKiG, the metro, VDNKh, and the Armory [in the Kremlin], and hoped to establish contacts with Soviet citizens.
At the conclusion of the stay in Moscow the group was received by Moscow Soviet party secretary c. Pegovyi. During the discussion in the Moscow Soviet the group did not raise any ideological disputes.
In the Moscow the activity level of the group was less, also several Russian-speaking members of the group continued to decline visits in favor of independent walks in the city.
On 19 September the group left for Beijing.
During the trip the group was accompanied by OSKD secretary T.T. Skvortsov and “Inturist” translator Iu.A. Ushakov.
1. The actual goals pursued by the group of tourist-activists of the Society of Chinese-Soviet Friendship did not correspond to their original purpose. The members of the group were not interested in visits to sites or the work of the Society of Soviet-Chinese Friendship. The members of the group were interested above all in the effectiveness of radio broadcasts from Beijing, and whether or not they were being heard by Soviet listeners. With such a goal, using the five Russian-speaking people in the group, they tried to make contact with Soviet people and address issues that interested them. They carefully wrote down the names and addresses of people with whom they communicated on these themes. With this goal in mind the group asked for more free time in every city for independent walks around town.
Pay attention to the behavior of group member Cui Yunchang, who was especially interested in the situation in agriculture. Cui Yunchang directly queried Soviet people about whether or not they had droughts or floods in regions they inhabited. He was also interested in the views of our people about Tito, and what our people think about relations with Albania, the pay level of our workers, the prices of goods, and what is for sale in our stores in the USSR.
2. The members of the group were not allowed to give speeches in large auditoriums to Soviet listeners. This [decision] was fully justified, as the Chinese took every opportunity, even before 5-10 people at local OSKD branches, to deliver bombastic speeches about the foreign policy of the Soviet government and the signing of the nuclear Test Ban Treaty. The content of these presentations of the Chinese leaders also included calls to oppose imperialism headed by the USA, and calls to struggle by both peaceful and militaristic means. The speeches were constructed in such a way to attract the attention of Soviet people, with general “leftist” phrases and assertions designed to suggest that the leaders of the CCP do not want war and are fighters for peace.
3. The members of the group behaved poorly in their relationship to OSKD officials and workers, the tour guides, and the accompanying Soviets, constantly getting in arguments and maintaining their position even when told that the Soviet people are in favor of peace, that war would mean enormous losses, and that [the Soviet Union] helps the poorly developed countries, and so on.
4. The group was presented with many opportunities to become acquainted with the successes of the Soviet people in communist construction and with the work of the Society of Soviet-Chinese Friendship, and became convinced of the fact that the Soviet people has friendly feelings for the Chinese people. However as a result of the strength of their anti-Soviet orientation and the strength of their prejudice against all things Soviet, the members of the group were essentially uninterested in everything they saw in the USSR, and did not say a single positive thing about what they saw here.
5. The positive work performed by the local party organizations in the reception of the Chinese group in Kiev, Riga, Tbilisi, and Sochi deserves mention.
1. In light of the fact that for some time OKSD has been trying to use trips of their tourist-activists to the USSR not for the strengthening of friendship between the Soviet and Chinese peoples, but for the conducting of anti-Soviet propaganda and related activities designed to undermine the authority of the CPSU and the Soviet government, we consider further invitations to the USSR of groups of OKSD tourist-activists to be unnecessary.
2. In light of the fact that in Georgia the members of the Chinese delegations and groups found fertile soil for their views, it would make sense to exclude temporarily Georgia from the regions visited by Chinese delegations and groups.
Responsible Secretary of the OSKD
Translator of VAO “Inturist”