The Central Department of Social Affairs (CDSA) (Chinese: 中央社会部) was the intelligence & counter-intelligence organ of the Chinese Communist Party leadership prior to the founding of the PRC in 1949.
The creation of the Central Department of Social Affairs (CDSA) followed a decision taken by the Chinese Communist Party's Central Secretariat on 18 February 1939. The decision assigned to the department some five major tasks, including those of overseeing CCP counter-intelligence work and intelligence. An alternative designation of the department at this early stage was the "Central Commission for Enemy Area Operations."
The first director of the CDSA was Kang Sheng. By the time the Chinese Civil War flared up again after World War II, Kang had been replaced by his senior deputy Li Kenong as acting director. Li was officially department director in August 1949, when the CDSA was dissolved and its tasks parceled out to other agencies. After the founding of the PRC, domestic counter-intelligence work was at the central level managed by the Ministry of Public Security of the People's Republic of China, while the task of collecting political and military intelligence overseas was assigned to the Intelligence Department of the Central Military Commission. In 1955, the task of political intelligence work was transferred to a newly created Communist party body, the CCP Central Investigation Department (CID) with Li Kenong as its first director. Today, China's Ministry of Public Security and Ministry of State Security of the People's Republic of China (which succeeded the CID in 1983) both trace their institutional origins to the CDSA.
Worth noting in an institutional history context is the fact that some of the CDSA's sub-national counterparts (e.g., the Department of Social Affairs of the CCP Committee of province X) continued to exist as party bodies for quite some time after the founding of the PRC. In the Tibet Autonomous Region, the Department of Social Affairs of the regional CCP Committee (orig. Work Committee) was not abolished until 2 May 1961.
Directors: Kang Sheng (October 1939 – 1948?), Li Kenong (acting dir. May 1948-?; - May 1951?)
Deputy directors: Kong Yuan (October 1939-), Pan Hannian (October 1939-), Li Kenong (March 1941-), Chen Gang (November 1945-August 1949), Tan Zhengwen (June 1948-November 1949), Liu Shaowen (May 1948-)
- Wang Jianying (ed.), "中国共产党组织史资料汇编" (Collected Material on the Organizational History of the Chinese Communist Party), revised and expanded edition. Beijing: Zhonggong Zhongyang Dangxiao Chubanshe, 1995.
- "中国人民公安史稿" (Draft History of China People's Public Security). Beijing: Jingguan Jiaoyu Chubanshe, 1997.