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Digital Archive International History Declassified

January 26, 1977


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    Reviews the first draft of a Soviet report on "China on the Eve of Mao Zedong’s Death," which was to be handed out as joint CPSU-SED material to participants of the Ninth Interkit meeting
    "Note about the Meeting with Comrade Kulik, Division Head in the CPSU CC Department, on Preparation for the Ninth Interkit and the Situation in China on 26 January 1977," January 26, 1977, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Foundation Archives of Parties and Mass Organisations of the GDR in the Federal Archives (SAPMO-BA), DY 30, IV B 2/20/126. Translated for CWIHP by Bernd Schaefer.
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Department of International Relations

Note about the Meeting with Comrade Kulik, Division Head in the CPSU CC Department, on Preparation for the 9th Interkit and the Situation in China on 26 January 1977

On Interkit

The Soviet comrades have completed a first draft of their main statement. It is quite comprehensive material of about 80 pages, supposed to be provided to representatives of the fraternal parties. The Soviet presentation [at the Interkit meeting] will be an abridged version of this material.
It is organized in the traditional form (Introduction, domestic situation, international policy, Soviet-Chinese relations).

The theses, initially prepared for September 1976, are currently revised by the Soviet comrades. Then they will be handed to us [the SED CC] since we are co-authors. It is titled “China on the Eve of Mao Zedong's Death” and may be given out as joint CPSU-SED material to participants of the [Ninth Interkit] meeting.

On Assessing the Developments in China (Theses of the Soviet Main Statement)

Currently it is very hard to arrive at final conclusions. The policy of today's Chinese leadership is not finalized yet, both in terms of domestic and foreign policy. However, basically it is just the continuation of Maoist policy.

Domestically all the fundamentals of the Maoist regime are still on display.

The CCP is not a Marxist-Leninist party. Its theoretical and political foundation is Maoism.

The power regime is unchanged in its anti-democratic character. So far the National People's Congress has not been convened. There has been no session held by the Central Committee of the CCP. Decisions are made in an undemocratic manner. There are no indications for a process of democratization. The CC military commission -where power is essentially concentrated- has no constitutional basis. There are executions by firing squads without legal sentences.

The social situation also has not changed from the period before Mao Zedong's death. Nothing has changed regarding the status of the working class. The trade unions as the largest mass organization play no role whatsoever and are left completely unmentioned. Even the term dictatorship of the proletariat –which the Beijing leaders used to brag with constantly- is encountered only rarely.

The situation of the peasants is like it always has been. There are only a few tactical modifications vis-à-vis the intelligentsia.

In the economic area the military component is stronger than ever. Since 9 September 1976 [i.e., Mao's death] there have been two nuclear tests. One satellite was launched into space.

Also unchanged is the material situation of the workers. There are no announcements whatsoever about lowering prices, increasing wages, or expanding social benefits.

The economy continues to be run according to the motto “Learn from Dazhai and Daqing”.

Also there are not the slightest changes in foreign policy. Anti-Sovietism has been even intensified. Between 9 May and 31 August 1976 there appeared 989 anti-Soviet articles in both central newspapers (“Renmin Ribao” and “Guangmin Ribao”). Between 9 September and 31 December 1976, however, there were 1,112 such pieces. Radio propaganda against the Soviet Union is extraordinarily malicious. They talk about a fascist dictatorship in the Soviet Union and increase personal attacks against the leading comrades of the CPSU.

Actual foreign policy has not seen any new positions. This also concerns attitudes on the Helsinki process and on détente. There is no improvement in any area of foreign policy. You can put an equal sign between the policies before after 9 September 1976.

Positions toward socialist countries also remained unchanged. In contrast, special care is taken of representatives from fringe groups. The Chairman of the CC of the CCP has so far received guests from 10 splittist parties. Mao Zedong himself had mostly refrained from that. All Soviet initiatives have been rejected by the Chinese side so far.

All of the above, however, does not mean that nothing has changed at all. Such would be a wrong assumption. There are some domestic changes occurring, for instance in these regards:

- Maoism is applied in words but undergoes corrections in practice. Through the struggle against the “Gang of Four” many Maoist postulates have come under fire. The defeat of the “Gang of Four” is also a string blow against Mao Zedong.

- The current leadership is looking for new methods to steer the economy (more focus on industry, agriculture, application of foreign experiences). They are also in search for new solutions to cultural work.

- So far the raising of these questions did not yet mean the implementation of actually new ideas. There is an ongoing process of reconsideration.

In foreign policy regard, it is also remarkable that Chinese representatives are making more efforts to establish contacts with diplomats from socialist fraternal countries.

Finally Comrade Kulik stressed that currently available material [on the situation in China] is insufficient for a final assessment. A transformation of accumulated quantities into a new quality cannot be defined by a timeline.


In response to my question, Comrade Kulik then outlined the course of the Soviet comrades concerning publications.

Literature about Maoism and policy of the Chinese leaders is still on sale like it was before Mao Zedong's death.

New titles are in preparation and will come out in larger numbers in the first half of 1977, like for instance the encyclopedia “China in 1975”. These books contain a note that they are based on material published until the end of 1975. They are written in a calm style. Terms like “Mao clique” or similar ones were edited out. Yet such phrases like “Maoism” and “military-bureaucratic dictatorship” were left in.

Soviet newspapers are publishing news about events in China. If necessary, they contain references to the fact of continuing anti-Soviet propaganda. Academic journals are supposed to continue publishing material to confront Maoism.

If, in the context of anti-Sovietism, relations between the Soviet Union and fraternal countries are attacked, reactions by these countries would be preferably done in an objective fashion (like by using phrases such as “it is surprising that”, or “it is generally known that attacks on the Warsaw Pact only benefit the enemies”).

Horst Siebeck


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