Tainted History: Blood Lineage Theory Vs Egalitarianism

Yu Luoke’s essay 'On Family Background' called for egalitarianism. (Image: Screen Shot/ Youtube)
Yu Luoke’s essay 'On Family Background' called for egalitarianism. (Image: Screen Shot/ Youtube)

In the series Tainted History, Vision Times focuses on stories about the fates of famous Chinese people around 1949, at a time when the Communist Party occupied China after winning the civil war. Before the Republic of China retreated to Taiwan, President Chiang Kai Shek made a tremendous effort to rescue scholars and social elites. We will bring you stories of those who remained in China and those who left with President Chiang.

During the period of the Republic of China in the mainland, when Marxism was publicized and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) was developing, Mao Zedong gave his support to the Blood Lineage Theory, which stated that a person’s family background made them either politically superior or inferior and determined what position in society they could have and what treatment they deserved. But one young scholar, Yu Luoke, wrote an essay refuting the theory, stating that people were inherently equal and that their position and treatment in society ought to be based on the merit of their actions instead of their family connections.

Refuting Blood Lineage Theory

A Chinese couplet widely used during the early days of the Cultural Revolution states: “Dragons bear dragons, phoenixes bear phoenixes, and the offspring of mice can only burrow holes; When the father is a hero, the son is a good man; when the father is counter-revolutionary, the son is an idiot.” It is a summary of Blood Lineage Theory, which insultingly classified people into the “five red categories” (workers, poor and lower-middle class peasants, revolutionary cadres, revolutionary soldiers, and revolutionary martyrs), the “five black categories” (landlords, rich farmers, counter-revolutionaries, bad influencers, and rightists) and the “five hemp categories” (for people falling between the red and black categories). Organizing into Red Guards and responding to Mao Zedong’s call for the “Right to Rebel,” students yelled the second half of the above couplet as their slogan while spreading across China inflicting bodily harm and brutally suppressing innocent people simply for their family backgrounds.


People were placed into categories based on their family background. Those in the ‘five black categories’ were brutally suppressed. (Image: Screen Shot/ Youtube)

In the midst of this turmoil, Yu Luoke’s essay On Family Background was published on January 18, 1967 in the Journal of Middle School Cultural Revolution. He used the essay to criticize the anti-human rights Blood Lineage Theory and pointed out: “All young people are equal in face of their performance.” He wrote: “We don’t recognize any right that is not achieved through one’s personal efforts.” In another of his writings, On the Chasm, he explicitly asserted: “Regardless of backgrounds, all young people should be treated the same politically.”

Arrested as a counter-revolutionary

On April 14, 1967, Qi Benyu, a member of the Central Cultural Revolution Group, announced that On Family Background was a poisonous weed. On January 5, 1968, Yu was arrested for the alleged crimes of “whipping up counter-revolutionary public opinion,” having the mindset of a fully counter-revolutionary,” “threatening to assassinate,” and “organizing a small counter-revolutionary clique.”

Two years later, on March 5, 1970, 100,000 people filled the Workers’ Stadium in Beijing to watch the sentencing of prisoners. All units of the Chinese Communist Party were required to send representatives to attend the event. The auditorium and athletic field were packed with people. During the loud chanting of slogans and waving of the book Quotations from Chairman Mao, 19 prisoners were brought in. Each had five police guarding them, a shaved head, and a large board hanging around their necks. As the speaker read out each convict’s name, he paused for the respective group of police to push that convict forward, pull down the rope around his neck to show his face to the audience, and then press his head down. A few convicts refused to bend their heads. Among those few was Yu Luoke.


A few convicts refused to bend their heads. Among those few was Yu Luoke. (Image: Screen Shot/ Youtube)

The verdict claimed: “Yu’s mind was totally counter-revolutionary. Since 1963, he had spread a great amount of counter-revolutionary speeches, writing several ten-thousand-word counter-revolutionary letters, verses, and journals, viciously smearing and slandering the Proletariat Headquarters, writing more than ten counter-revolutionary articles during the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. The counter-revolutionary Yu Luoke is now sentenced to a summary death execution.” As soon as the verdict was announced, Yu was identified, bound, sent to the execution site and shot to death. He died a hero’s death in Beijing at the age of 27.

After the Cultural Revolution ended, Yu Luoke’s unjust case was redressed. On November 21, 1979, the Intermediate People’s Court of Beijing Municipality announced: “The original judgment of Yu Luoke committing the crime of counter-revolution and being sentenced to the death penalty was a mistake on grounds of truth and applicable laws, and was therefore redressed.” With these words, Yu Luoke’s verdict was officially overturned.

Chinese Version: http://www.epochtimes.com/b5/13/12/27/n4044049.htm

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