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Digital Archive International History Declassified

October 09, 1967

CSSR MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS NO. NO. 026.235/67-3, 'INFORMATION ABOUT MOST RECENT MEASURES AGAINST THE ACTIVITIES OF THE REPRESENTATIVE OFFICE OF THE CHINESE PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC'

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    Account of measures taken in response to provocative activities of the CPR (threats, propaganda, restrictions on freedom of movement, etc) and objectives in pursuing these responses.
    "CSSR Ministry of Foreign Affairs No. No. 026.235/67-3, 'Information about Most Recent Measures against the Activities of the Representative Office of the Chinese People’s Republic'," October 09, 1967, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, National Archives of the Czech Republic (NA),026.235/67-3. Obtained by East China Normal University, Shanghai, and translated by Mike Kubic. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/176524
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3045/9[Hand-written date] 9.10.1967

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

No. 026.235/67-3

[…]          

[Prominent stamp]: Secret

I n f o r m a t i o n

about most recent measures against the activities of the representative office of the Chinese People’s Republic [CPR]

The main contemporary activity of the representative offices of CPR in the majority of socialist and capitalist countries and some countries in Africa and Asia is, first of all, spreading of Chinese [political] theories, intensive anti-Soviet propaganda, and [attacks] of varying intensity against the politics of parties and governments that in some way publicly criticize CPR and advocate friendship with SSSR.

This effort of the Chinese representative offices, which in the last two years has started to dominate their activities, is a part of [these offices’] familiar views of the so-called cultural revolution[.] They derive from the thesis of “revisionist leaderships” in certain socialist countries [and] the necessity of “unconditional struggle” against them, etc.

Currently this is the focus of the activity of the Chinese representative office in Prague. As in other socialist countries, [this office] has an intentionally provocative attitude toward CSSR political entities, black-balling the politics of the CSSR government [and] leaders, and tries to blame CSSR for the worsening relations [with China]. The representative office of the CPR maintains different attitude toward the “people’s masses”. Among them it tries to spread Chinese [political] theories, anti-Soviet propaganda, and most recently also slanderous criticism of CSSR politics and its spokesmen. This activity is mainly executed by dissemination of propaganda material, and to a lesser degree by social activities, movies, and by personal visits to various towns in CSSR.

By the end of the last year, when the offensive activity of the CPR’s representative office began seriously increasing, the [CSSR] Ministry of Foreign Affairs prepared appropriate counter-measures that have the following objectives:

- Limit or stop continued injurious activity of the CPR representative office

- Prevent such activities

- Emphasize that there are limits that the representative office may not exceed

- Officially unveil [the CPR office’s] activity

- Take all such steps that the Chinese authorities take toward CSSR representatives in Peking

- Act with deliberation, do not let ourselves be provoked /provocation is one of the goals of the Chinese side/.

At the beginning of this year, Comrade A. Novotný, the First secretary of the Central Committee of the CSSR Communist Party and the President of  the republic, and other leading comrades gave their approval to a list of proposed internal and external steps that together with earlier [steps] form a united complex [of measures]. In comparison with the actions of other socialist countries, our collection of public steps is so far the broadest.

First of all there have been carried out internal measures that were basically aimed at limiting contacts between Czechoslovak citizens and the CPR representative office. A letter from the Minister of Foreign Affairs cautioned the heads of all major [CSSR] offices that can be expected to have contacts with the CPR representatives about the need to rigorously adhere to appropriate rules governing contacts with foreign representative offices, and asked them to consult with the ministry about social contacts with the CPR representative office. Outside this [CPR] office has been posted a permanent guard of Public Security, which screens the ID’s of all CSSR citizens and asks for the reason of their intent to visit the CPR representatives.

Appropriate [security] organs shadow the movements of Chinese individuals outside the zone where they are free to be and act. There is a central registry of their arrival to and departure from CSSR.

Another group of internal measures is focused on limitation of Chinese propaganda materials.  Appropriate organs have adopted measures for seizure of all printed materials distributed by the CPR representative office; [these organs] also continue to confiscate the office bulletin. Import of Chinese printed matter is in principle limited.

External measures, those that the Chinese side was informed about, included the immediate ban on dissemination of Chinese publications injurious to CSSR, and limits on the freedom of movement of diplomatic and other Chinese individuals within 30 kilometers of Prague. There was also adopted a reciprocal principle that limits the contacts of the CPR representative office with the CSSR Ministry of Foreign Affairs to an officer of rank no higher than the section chief. 

A part of these measures is the ministry’s written and oral protests of various levels.  

It is a fact that in recent months the activity of the PR representatives visibly declined, a/o because numerous members of that office left CSSR in order to participate in the “great cultural proletarian revolution”. The CPR representatives, however, intensively seek ways that would enable them to continue their activities, even at the price of violating our measures.

Regarding individual problems:

a)    Direct contact of Czechoslovak citizens with Chinese members of the representative office has substantially decreased. If in the past the office was visited /not as part of their duty/ by 100 or more CSSR citizens a month, in August the office received 11 visitors, most of them 16 to 20 years old. They are no longer any regular showing of movies. Participation of CSSR officials and members of joint [CPR-CSSR] enterprises in the CPR office’s public events,  which today takes place only on certain occasions /for example, Day of the Chinese Army, or the signing of a commercial agreement/ is guided by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The CPR representative office however continues to maintain active contacts with foreign students and it cannot be excluded that it uses them to influence CSSR students.

It is necessary to counter this influence among foreign students. To that end, it would be useful to charge appropriate Czechoslovak schools and University of 17th November with needed tasks along the Party line.     

[Attention was also paid to] contacts between foreigners and the CPR representative office[.] [These contacts] were noted particularly during the summer tourist season. In August [the CPR representative office] was visited by approximately 140 foreigners /not stationed in CSSR/, some of whom were German tourists.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has informed about this development the Prague embassy of the East German Democratic Republic, and [the CSSR] Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of the Interior will observe these contacts together with the East German embassy.

b)    The CPR representative office is particularly violating the ban by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the distribution of offensive Chinese printed material, even though there is not much of it, and a substantial part of it is seized.  

According to the reports of the appropriate organs they only miss a negligible amount of such articles; certain number of them is allowed to be received by [CSSR] institutions that need [these publications] for their work.

So far, this activity of the representative office has been only subject to [official] protests. It is now considered that expelling the [Chinese] press officer would in likelihood result in the expelling of an employee of our representative office in Peking without stopping the illegal distribution of the Chinese printed matter. Expelling another Chinese diplomat would raise the general issue of diplomatic relations with the Chinese People’s Republic and their possible termination at our initiative. So far this question is not too urgent.

In the nearest future the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of the Interior intend to continue the [present   policy] and keep on improving the internal provisions for seizing the violative Chinese materials.  

The bulletin of the Chinese representative office is published in Czech in 5,000-5,100 copies, of which 4,800 are seized. The post office sends several tens of copies to certain CSSR offices and institutions. The Chinese representative office keeps a few copies for its own needs.

The content of each issue is screened by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs before it goes to press. The embassy of the Chinese People’s Republic has so far not tried to use the bulletin for direct attacks on friendly countries and their representatives. Of the four issues that the Chinese representative office sent to press this year, the printing of the [last one], in July, was stopped because in included the term “Khrushchev’s revisionism”. The Chinese side so far has not requested the printing of the next issue.

We have not considered it necessary to completely ban the bulletin, particularly because most of it is confiscated. But if the Chinese representative office should set out on the usual road of anti-Soviet and anti-Czechoslovak attacks, the bulletin’s publishing would be immediately stopped.

c)     Recently, the Chinese representative office has been violating the measures of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs limiting the freedom of movement of [this office’s] employees in CSSR. In recent weeks, several of these employees traveled, without permission, to four towns beyond this limit. Except for one -- most likely arranged in advance -- meeting in Bratislava, there were several happenchance meetings with Czechoslovak citizens who were given Mao’s buttons, [a book of] Mao’s sayings[.] There were attempts in the course of conversation to find out how satisfied the CSSR citizens with their life and working hours were, and to slander CSSR and SSSR. It is likely that these trips were taken to test whether the Chinese representatives were shadowed by CSSR organs. And it can’t be excluded that the intent was to provoke some action by these organs that could be used for propaganda purposes. The trips could also serve as a base for reports by the representative office about its activity among Czechoslovak citizens, about their “dissatisfaction” and their “positive attitude toward the Chinese Peoples’ Republic”.  The Ministry of Foreign Affairs believes that provocations of this sort can only be responded to by protests.

The Chinese representative office has already been told that travels of its employees beyond the permitted zone can only take place with a written permission [from the Ministry] that so far had been issued orally.  The reason for this measure is to facilitate the shadowing of the Chinese [diplomats] by CSSR controlling organs. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will discuss with the Ministry of Interior how it could rapidly take over the control of the Chinese outside the area of permitted presence, so that every Chinese travelling without a written permit could be requested to immediately [turn back]. It would be also desirable to make it impossible for the Chinese without a travel permit to buy airline or railroad tickets and to find lodging beyond the authorized area. 

It cannot be excluded that following the request for their return within the permitted zone, the Chinese will refuse to comply and will make effort to provoke an incident.  In such case the Ministry of Foreign affairs in cooperation with the Ministry of the Interior will consider a proposal for additional responses after [they] weighs the [potential] consequences for the diplomats of the CSSR representative office in Peking and [elsewhere] abroad.

d)    Chinese diplomats are received at no higher level than a section chief of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Because during such meeting the anti-Czechoslovak attacks [can] increase, exceed every limit and it [becomes] unthinkable for an employee of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to hear out [the abuse] till the end /slander of the Party, the head of the state, the government etc./ the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will activate the rule of terminating the visit prematurely. Only when the Chinese {attack] requires our immediate response, the visit will be ended after we [deliver our answer].

e)    According to the appropriate authorities, CSSR is each month visited by 30-40 Chinese individuals in transit, almost all of whom are put up at the Chinese representative office. Most of them stay in Prague for a few days. So far, there is only one [Chinese] individual who is not a diplomat and has stayed in CSSR for more than six months without a registration.  Requests of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that this person be registered by the Chinese representative office have so far been in vain.

According to a routine practice, the Czechoslovak representative office in Peking registers Czechoslovak travelers who stay in China for more than 48 hours /diplomatic couriers may stay up to a week/. Couriers, employees of our representative offices and their families are registered by a diplomatic note from the protocol office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and all others [are reported to the police?]. This routine is followed by all representative offices in Peking. 

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in cooperation with the Ministry of the Interior is testing the possibility of introducing a reciprocal registration of Chinese citizens in CSSR [in line with] the law and because the Chinese so far have not submitted to any of our requirements.

Summary of our approach toward offensive activities of the representative office of the Chinese People’s Republic:

1)    Direct contacts between Czechoslovak citizens and the Chinese representative office will continue to be limited by the existing measures. It would be desirable to paralyze focused activities by the representative office among foreign students, and [with their help] probably also among Czechoslovak students. Such ban is carried out by ČSM and University of the 17th November.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in cooperation with the Ministry of the Interior, will be watchful to contacts of foreigners with the representative office of China. 

2)    Regarding the distribution of Chinese offensive publications there will be continuation of the established approach and continued perfecting of internal measures for seizing Chinese propaganda material.

Total ban on the publishing of the bulletin of the representative office will take place if [the bulletin] is used for direct anti-Czechoslovak or anti-Soviet attacks.

3)     In order to substantially reduce the infringement of directives of the   Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which have resulted in the limitation of free movement of the Chinese representatives, there will be – in addition to their ongoing shadowing – instituted a direct control of the Chinese outside the zone of free movement, and they will be requested to promptly return to Prague if they travel without a permit. There will be explored the possibility of making the sale of airline and other travel tickets and obtaining a lodging outside the free zone dependent on a travel permit. Depending on the response of the Chinese to this measure there will be worked out other complex measures.

4)    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs together with the Ministry of the Interior will explore the possibility of establishing a reciprocal registration of Chinese citizens in CSSR.

5)    Due to the fact that members of the Chinese representative office use their calls on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to launch crude attacks on CSSR, there will be instituted a rule that such contacts will be terminated as soon as the attacks commence.

Because of the current state of mutual relations and the absence of the Chinese ambassador in CSSR, it has been decided since the start of this year that Ambassador Comrade Křístek should return to the Chinese People’s Republic only after the Chinese state holiday, as will be done by the majority of the top representatives of the socialist countries.  

x         x          x

In the light of the experience so far it must be emphasized that the effectiveness of all these measures depends exclusively on their implementation by our side[.] During the current political situation in China, and while the Chinese representative offices must participate in the “great cultural proletarian revolution”, the CPR representative office in CSSR will not, in the nearest future, comply with any [CSSR Ministry of Foreign Affairs] provisions what-so-ever.