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Digital Archive International History Declassified

August 16, 1967

STENOGRAPHIC NOTE HELD DURING THE CONVERSATION BETWEEN CHAIRMAN MAO ZEDONG AND VANGJEL MOISIU AND MYFIT MUSHI IN SHANGHAI

This document was made possible with support from the MacArthur Foundation, Leon Levy Foundation

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    Mao Zedong discusses the Cultural Revolution with a delegation from Albania.
    "Stenographic Note held during the Conversation between Chairman Mao Zedong and Vangjel Moisiu and Myfit Mushi in Shanghai," August 16, 1967, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, AQSH, F. 14/AP, M-PKK, V. 1967, Dos. 47, Fl. 1-8. Obtained and translated by Elidor Mëhilli. http://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/117304
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Stenographic note held during the conversation between Chairman Mao Zedong and Vangjel Moisiu and Myfit Mushi in Shanghai. [1]

16 August 1967

(Top Secret)

At the beginning of the conversation, Chairman Mao Zedong asked about the visit that the comrades were undertaking in China and the work being carried out with Chairman Mao’s quotations. He said that some people think that these quotations are worthless. The Albanian comrades responded that they are very valuable.

Chairman Mao added: I also think that they are worthless; they are nothing else but a collection of materials with historical insights into China. A while ago I gave instructions to publish Marx’s quotations, Engels’, Lenin’s and Stalin’s but so far nobody has preoccupied themselves with this matter. Now we ought to do this. Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Stalin have authored a lot of works and, in order to popularize them, we must publish their quotations.

We told him that comrade Enver Hoxha has taken a personal interest in publishing the quotations of Chairman Mao, and he pleaded with comrade Kang Sheng to have these quotations translated into Albanian. We are now carrying out precisely this task entrusted to us by our party.

Chairman Mao continued: See if you find them useful in the future. China’s experience may serve other countries but they must judge this for themselves. Our experience is limited. Ever since some socialist countries turned revisionist, a big problem materialized. I thought that perhaps our country might also go the way of revisionism. We thought about this issue, and we took a series of measures. For example, the struggle against the three evils, the four-cleansing movement, and so on. But it is necessary to find a way of mobilizing the broad masses. Perhaps this time around we found such a way: They say that this is broad-based democracy—the hongweibing.

Our intention is to keep this movement going for three years. The first year—mobilization; the second year—the attainment of victory in general; the third year—conclusion. So we are not rushing. Where things are rotten completely, we can take effective measures, that is, make the necessary preparations. But in those regions where it’s neither fish nor fowl, it is more difficult to find a solution. There, it is necessary to prolong the movement.

Over 17 years, some of our cadres have changed, and are not Marxist-Leninists anymore. Their thoughts have undergone transformations, so they have been in a standstill and have not progressed. This is the first category. Another type consists of cadres who do bad things. The third category consists of good cadres. We must fight against those who do bad things. Against those who are at a standstill we must take measures to educate them. But the kind of education we carry out is not effective; they only listen to the Red Guards and are scared to death by the hongweibing. We believe that the majority of the people are good, be it in schools or institutions and in the army. But, nevertheless, there is a minority of bad people. Even if we exaggerate, among 100 people only a few are bad people.

In January-February comrades Hysni Kapo and Beqir Balluku paid a visit to us. My thoughts have changed since then. I told them then that within three months we would see what the results were, so until April. What I meant to say is that we would be able to see clearly the appearance of the situation, the results. Now the considerations are different. April came and went, and so did May, June, July, and now it is August. In some of our regions things went well and in some of them not so well, so we think that this revolution ought to be prolonged for a while, for three years, calculating this from June of last year. The reason is that this is a revolution, which is not easy to carry out, and it is a very serious struggle.

     Our country is somewhat different from yours, because we inherited many leftovers from the past. For example, we kept the capitalists. The teachers in all of the schools, with no exception, were prepared by the Kuomintang. At the time, we agreed to keep them and called on them to stay because at that time we had no experience in administering schools or industrial enterprises. Thus, for radio shows we have used these older people; those writing dramas or novels or poems were older people; the actors too. I, for instance, do not know how to perform on stage, neither to write a drama, and I only write poems in the old style but I do not know how to write poems according to the new style. I am incapable of being a professor, even though I taught in a primary school. So we could do nothing else but keep them. So, over more than the past ten years, we have used these older people in education and industry, even in the villages. These people hold leading positions. Had we not used the hongweibing “broom,” we would have been faced with disasters. Those who were in positions of authority now are nothing—worthless.

Chairman Mao asked the translator, comrade Fan: Are there perhaps such people among you translators as well?

Comrade Fan responded that there are no such people among them, because they are young comrades who have been trained after the liberation.

Comrade Yao Wenyuan added that in the translation bureau there were some old translators who were rotten.

Then, comrade Mao Zedong asked the translator if he works in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or in the Central Committee Foreign Department. The latter responded that he worked in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Chairman Mao continued: There too (meaning the Ministry of Foreign Affairs)[2] there is a mess now. They have not yet defeated Chen Yi. I am not pleased with Chen Yi either, but it is difficult now to find another foreign minister. So I agree that we must attack whim with artillery fire but not call to “bring him down.” (Meaning: We ought to reprimand him severely but not bring him down.)[3] There have been many instances of confusion in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I have seen some materials. Chen Yi carried out self-criticism in January. The Central Cultural Revolution Group then came to Chen’s defense, but he later said that his self-criticism was false, that he was forced to do it. Later on, the schools that fall under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, some research institutions supervised by them, some branches, and the collective of the ministry rose up against him. I have seen some of the materials written by the rebels, and some of them are convincing and some of them are vacuous. For example, the materials on the second Afro-Asian conference of government chiefs, held in Algiers, are valuable. There are other good materials. Some other materials, which depict even unimportant issues as important, are not well founded.

    

Comrade Fan, the translator, informed the Chairman about the big meeting held on 11 August in the main hall of the People’s Assembly for the purpose of criticizing Chen Yi. He said that the army kept order during the proceedings of this meeting.

In relation to this, Chairman Mao said: In our army, the field troops, the air force, and the navy are good. Some units in certain regions are not good. Every province has 1-2 autonomous divisions. Some of the ones that are not good belong to the Ministry of Public Security and now they are led by the provinces themselves. Every province has its own military circle (voenii okrug) and every military circle has subdivisions and every district has branches of people’s forces. Not all of these troops are good, but some are. We need some time to overhaul these groups. For example, the Peking district and garrison has good troops. Out of ten districts in Beijing, the Mi Vin [?] district, one hundred kilometers from Beijing, and the branch of people’s forces in this district, as well as the people’s militia, are not good and they have weapons. Issues will be solved starting from one district to the other.  

We now have 2,400 districts in China. Large districts have a population of 1-2 million inhabitants and the small ones some 70-100,000. In general, there are two groups in the provinces or staffs of the Red Guards: rebels and conservatives. Sometimes they send their people to Peking. We see things relatively clearly now. We have found a way to solve the issue. The imperialists say that there will be great confusion in China, that there will be two groups and that a civil war is possible. I do not think so. For example, lately there was disorder in Wuhan and, later on, the local leaders, including military leaders and leaders of the various organization of the Red Guards, were transferred to Beijing. Now the command of the Wuhan region has been reorganized. Today, in five provinces—Henan, Hubei, Hunan, Tianjin, Xizang [Tibet]—problems have been solved or are being solved. We need some time to solve problems permanently. Hunan has 50 million inhabitants.

There will again be disorder in some regions. The more confusion there is, the happier we will be. Some foreign friends do not understand why this pleases us. Because it is impossible to uncover contradictions without disorder. There are weapons in the industrial enterprises. In the people’s communes, too, every brigade has a people’s militia, which is armed. The issue is who holds these weapons. During these past years of the development of the revolution in China, the general tendency has been in a favorable direction. Compared to the time when comrade Hysni and Beqir were here, the situation is better now.

Then, comrade Fan, on instructions of Chairman Mao, informed us that during the meeting of 11 August, where were also present comrades Zhou Enlai and Xie Fuzhi, Chen Yi, under severe criticism from those present, took three bows. He first bowed in front of comrade Mao’s portrait, saying: “I have erred against you, Chairman Mao, Vice Chairman Lin Biao, Prime Minister Zhou Enlai and Cultural Revolutionary Group.” The second bow was in front of a youth from the Szechuan province, who had been persecuted by Chen Yi because a while back he had criticized the latter’s thesis on peaceful coexistence. The third bow was in front of the masses attending this meeting. Fan said that Yi’s bows were received with applause. Comrade Zhou Enlai had the youth from Szechuan stand right next to him. Upon instructions from Chairman Mao, Fan also translated the words he just said to Chairman Mao: that this was a hot shower for Chen Yi; he had only taken lukewarm showers before this.

Then, Chairman Mao continued: I was not aware of many mistakes of Chen Yi, and neither were comrades Zhou Enlai and Lin Biao, so we could not help. The people’s masses ought to take measures. Now, whether Chen Yi will continue to serve as minister of foreign affairs or whether he will be brought down, this will depend on the masses, because he suffers from an old mentality, even though he once gained in stature within the party.

We are prepared for confusion across all of China; this confusion will be good for us, not a bad thing. Only a minority of people will be brought down. For example, in Shanghai, at the level of the city, or districts and areas, or in the sectors under the city administration, in the party committees of enterprises or the secretaries of the party cells, those who will be brought down or fired will constitute a minority, a certain percentage. (Comrade Yao Wenyuan added: “8-9 percent.”) After they have taken a hot bath, some of them will recover. We have not had catastrophic disorder. In Beijing, we can have manifestations of one millions people and there will be no disorder. No airplane has left the country. Over more than one year of revolution, not a single one of our diplomatic cadres in our embassies has betrayed us.

We must abolish the bourgeois formalities and regulations in the field of diplomacy. Now, a large number of our diplomats in embassies abroad have returned back home and engage in the revolution within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. They come back in waves. There are even some instances when the revolution has taken place inside the embassies. Some have even taken over the leadership of the embassy, in those cases when the ambassador did not perform his duties. These kinds of ambassadors ought to be transferred. Until now, the ambassadors from Pakistan and Algeria have returned home to engage in the revolution.

Some revolutionary measures are exaggerated: They go and take hold of the ambassador immediately, as soon as he exits the plane. The Red Guards have no regard for rules.

Chairman Mao asks: So, you approve of the actions of the Red Guards?

We replied: We completely approve of the Great Cultural and Proletarian Revolution. This is what our party and comrade Enver teaches us.

Comrade Mao said: Thank you and thanks to comrade Enver. Please, when you return to Albania, tell him about the situation in China and give him my regards. Also give my regards to comrades Mehmet, Hysni, Ramiz, Beqir, etc., whom I have gotten to know well.

Then, comrade Mao Zedong said that the conservatives like neither him, nor comrade Enver. We replied that this is because he is a great Marxist-Leninist, and because comrade Enver is also a Marxist-Leninist.

Chairman Mao said immediately: We must add the adjective “great” to comrade Enver as well.

  He continued: We have seen Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union undergo changes over the years, but also Sharkey in Australia, who once used to behave well towards both of us.[4]  There is also the Communist Party of Japan, which once fought against Khrushchev, but now has taken the side of the revisionists. Since it has joined in the mire of revisionism, it does not fight back anymore against the Soviet revisionists and the comprador capitalists of Japan.

In China, revolutionaries are rising to power from one province to the next. Some elements in the army have been unmasked, for example Luo Ruiching and He Long. Their own unmasking is a good thing, because if they had assumed power, it would have been a disaster. Our slogan is: “Down with the elements who hold leading positions in the party and who have pursued a capitalist path!” This slogan was launched at the end of 1964 and beginning of 1965 in the document of 23 points. This slogan was borne as a result of our war against Liu. Since then, he was aware that this slogan was about him.

The problem with Liu Shaoqi is not simple; the issue is not merely that he holds rightist thoughts. When he used to work in the offices of the Kuomintang, he was arrested at least four times. There are now people who are witnesses of how Liu Shaoqi has testified in front of enemies. So it was not a coincidence that in 1936, when he was secretary of the Northern Regional Bureau of China, he encouraged traitors captured by the enemy to get out of prison.[5] Now the Guards have found all these materials from contemporary newspapers and have published them. (These Guards are terrible!) Among them were Bo Yibo (deputy prime minister), An Ziwen (chief of the Central Committee Organizational Department), [?] (exercising the functions of minister of public security), Yang Xianzhen (former director of the Higher Party School), Liu Lantao (first secretary of the Northwestern Regional Bureau)—all in all, 60 individuals. Peng Zhen also was a traitor. You have not been informed about all of this?

We replied that the Chinese comrades have informed us through readings of Renmin ribao, on specific events, etc.

Chairman Mao said that Renmin ribao is not enough; it is necessary to read the small newspapers of the hongweibing.

Comrade Mao asked about the journey of ships traveling to Albania and after we told him that the journey has now gotten longer because of the events between Egypt and Israel, he said that their ships would even travel in zigzags to get to Albania.

Concluding the meeting, we wished him a long life.

Chairman Mao said: A long life to you! May comrade Enver have a long life!

Note: Present in the meeting, from the Chinese side, was comrade Yao Wenyuan, deputy chairman of the revolutionary committee of Shanghai. The meeting took place between 18:00 and 19:30 hours.

[1] Trans. note—Whenever possible, names have been identified from the transliterated variants in the Albanian language and rendered into their commonly used English forms. The original document was composed as a summary that constantly switches between first and second person, rather than a verbatim record. A separate copy of the document is contained in the Foreign Ministry Archives; both versions have been compared. See “Shënim stenografik i bisedës së zhvilluar nga Kryetari Mao Ce-Dun gjatë takimit që pati me shokët Vangjel Moisiu dhe Myfit Mushi në Shanghaj më 16.8.1967” (Top Secret), in AMPJ, V. 1967, Dos. 61, Fl. 98-105. For related reports, see also Albanian embassy in Beijing to Tirana (Top Secret), 18 August 1967, in AMPJ, V. 1967, Dos. 61, Fl. 113-118; Albanian embassy in Beijing to Tirana (Top Secret), 18 August 1967, Fl. 119-124.

[2] Trans. note—Note in the original document by the Albanian translator.

[3] Trans. note—Note in the original document by the Albanian translator.

[4] Trans. note—Lance Sharkey was General Secretary of the Communist Party of Australia (CPA) until 1965.

[5] Trans. note—Here, Mao Zedong refers to the so-called case of “61 renegades.”