During the Cultural Revolution in China, the term ‘Five Black Categories‘ was used as a political label for cracking down on five social and political groups – landlords, rich farmers, anti-revolutionists, ‘bad-influencers’ and right-wingers. Many innocent people were prosecuted as a result or even killed, and even the Chinese government admitted that the political struggle was a man-made “disaster” [zh].
However, recently Chinese state media has revived the political labels to describe another five groups – human rights lawyers, underground churches and religions, dissidents, online opinion leaders and social minorities.
The new ‘Black Five Categories’
The article [zh] concerned, written by Yuan Peng, the head of United States Studies under the China Institute of Contemporary International Relation (CICIR), was published in the China Daily overseas edition on July 31, 2012. It accused the U.S. government of penetrating China's grassroots communities to create the conditions for political change, and declared that the ‘new five black categories’ have become U.S. allies.
Beijing lawyer Zhang Kai was among the first to comment on [zh] the political propaganda on social networking platform Weibo:
All Chinese people are “black fives”
Human rights lawyer Xiao Guozheng, however, looks into the new black five categories and concludes [zh] that 100% of Chinese people fall into the categories:
No wonder that news commentator, Yan Jiawei, believes [zh] the new political label will create no real effect:
Indeed, instead of rejecting the new political label, dissidents and marginalized social groups have started to use the term to label themselves. The photo below shows some Fujian demonstrators who have dressed themselves like the “black fives” during the Cultural Revolution to protest against judicial injustice. The photo spread quickly in Sina Weibo and was deleted.
Twitter user @xinceng34 [zh] reposted it: