March 14, 1977
Hua Guofeng's Speech at the Central Work Conference
This document was made possible with support from MacArthur Foundation
(14 March 1977)
Within these few days, the conference has discussed the issue of our national economic plan. I will now share some views on the following issues:
It has been more than five months to the day that we foiled the plot of the anti-Party clique of the Gang of Four to usurp supreme Party and state power. Over the last five months or so, despite the difficult conditions following the death of our great leader and mentor Chairman Mao and the disastrous effects of the damage caused by the Gang of Four, the Central Committee has led the whole Party, military and people of all ethnicities nationwide in launching a major political revolution to oppose, expose and criticize the Gang of Four. A great deal of work has been done on all fronts, and we have secured a great victory.
In eternal remembrance of our great leader and mentor Chairman Mao and to continue his legacy, and arm the masses with Mao Zedong Thought, the Central Committee, after smashing the Gang of Four, immediately decided to erect a memorial hall dedicated to our great leader and mentor Chairman Mao Zedong as well as publish his selected works and prepare for the publication of his complete works. Progress in constructing the memorial hall has been swift and it is targeted for completion before the first anniversary of Chairman Mao’s demise. We are keeping a close eye on the work to edit and publish the five volumes of the Selected Works of Mao Zedong and expect to publish them before Labor Day this year. The final manuscript of the five volumes will be distributed to comrades present at this conference in advance for study. On 26 December last year, the Central Committee published Chairman Mao’s brilliant work On the Ten Major Relationships. Now, the Central Committee has further established the Committee for Editing and Publishing the Works of Chairman Mao Zedong to push ahead with the editing and publication of the six volumes of the Selected Works of Mao Zedong and other volumes as well as preparation for the publication of his complete works. It is a major event in the political life of the Chinese people and also in the developmental history of Marxism to publish Chairman Mao’s works. Over the last five months or so, the Central Committee has dedicated a great deal of energy to this fundamental theoretical work of Marxism. This has great practical significance and profound historical meaning not only for the current struggle to expose and criticize the Gang of Four, but also for our Party’s ideological and theoretical development and the international communist movement.
The Central Committee initiated a series of maneuvers in launching the mass movement to expose and criticize the Gang of Four, which exposed and denounced their plot to usurp Party power and their extreme rightist line that brought disaster to the country and the people, and essentially revealed their counterrevolutionary nature and heinous past. Last year, the Central Committee called separate “advanced notice” (da zhaohu) meetings with the comrades in charge of Central Party, government and military organs as well as the various provinces, municipalities, autonomous regions and military regions to circulate information on the incident involving the anti-Party clique of the Gang of Four。 Subsequently, the Central Committee issued documents no. 16 and 24 as well as the first set of materials detailing the crimes of the Gang of Four. These two important documents revealed a series of extremely important directives by Chairman Mao, which denounced the Gang of Four and systematically exposed and criticized their futile and evil plot to usurp supreme Party and state power, clarified the nature and significance of the struggle against the Gang of Four as well as Party policy on the matter, thereby effectively mobilizing and arming the whole Party, military and people of all ethnicities nationwide to swiftly bring the great revolutionary mass movement to expose and criticize the Gang of Four to a crescendo. At the same time, the Central Committee followed Chairman Mao’s teachings on the policy to integrate specialized organs with the broad masses to seriously and solemnly investigate the political history of the Gang of Four. Based on a vast amount of conclusive evidence, we have now ascertained that Zhang Chunjiao was a special operative of the Guomindang, Jiang Qing was a traitor, Yao Wenyuan was a bourgeois dissenter and Wang Hongwen was a member of the new bourgeois. The second set of materials giving evidence of their crimes has now been distributed to all comrades attending the conference. The third set of materials giving evidence of their crimes will liquidate the counterrevolutionary revisionist line of the Gang of Four. The Central Committee has made arrangements for this and work to collate it is underway.
The Central Committee took strong measures to retake the propaganda, cultural and educational fronts that were seized and dominated by the Gang of Four, convened the National Conference on Propaganda Work, maneuvered to expose and criticize the Gang of Four and drove this great struggle forward. Under the Central Committee’s leadership, our Party’s propaganda work is back on the tracks of Chairman Mao’s revolutionary line and unleashing the combative power of proletarian revolutionary public opinion. The Central Committee also took on the task of strengthening and consolidating the Central Party School and is preparing to launch reading classes for senior and mid-level cadres in stages and batches as well as gather a group of cadres to learn the works of Marx, Lenin and Chairman Mao, study our Party history, and raise the theoretical standards of Marxism.
The Central Committee has also taken strong measures to resolve the issue of the Gang of Four’s strict control and grave destruction of some regions and departments, beginning with the problem of Shanghai, and also that of Baoding and of provinces such as Yunnan, in addition to the problems of the Zhengzhou and Lanzhou railway departments and others. The Central Committee adjusted and strengthened the Party Committee leadership for dozens of provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions as well as the leadership of some departments under the Central Committee and State Council, and retook the power usurped by the Gang of Four in some regions and work units. Now, the First Party Secretaries of the 29 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions nationwide have all been appointed and the abovementioned measures are important organizational guarantees for the deepening struggle to expose and criticize the Gang of Four, the implementation of the Party line, guidelines and policies, the reinforcement of the dictatorship of the proletariat and the development of socialism.
The Central Committee has adhered to Chairman Mao’s teachings to “learn from models of Daqing in industry and Dazhai in agriculture” and to advance the national economy by convening the Second National Conference on Learning from Dazhai in Agriculture and the preparatory meeting for the National Conference on Learning from Daqing in Industry. The Central Committee and the State Council also held work conferences in areas such as railway and planning, and are also about to convene the National Conference on Learning from Daqing in Industry. This series of meetings is mainly focused on how to deepen the exposure and criticism of the Gang of Four on the agricultural and industrial fronts as well as clarify our ideological and political line and the specific policy guidelines and methods to do so, so as to bring the various sectors of the national economy onto a path of robust development.
The situation over the last five months or so showed that the political line and the organizational line of, as well as the strategic decisions and measures taken by the Central Committee were correct, and the fundamental reason they were correct is because we have continued our great leader Chairman Mao’s legacy, raised the great banner of Mao Zedong Thought high, fully mobilized and relied on the broad masses, kept a firm grip on the key link of the class struggle and the principal contradiction of exposing and criticizing the Gang of Four, thereby driving developments in the overall situation. Even though there are still some weaknesses here and there, but generally speaking, we have enjoyed popular support and our work has been progressing relatively smoothly, with very significant results achieved. The situation is stable and our whole Party, military and people of all ethnicities nationwide are glad, and so are our friends abroad.
I had proposed in my speech at the Second National Conference on Learning from Dazhai in Agriculture that we should achieve stability and unity, reinforce the dictatorship of the proletariat and establish great order in the vigorous struggle between the two classes. I also proposed to let 1977 be the year in which we move toward this great order. This is an important strategic decision by the Central Committee. This decision was made in accordance with Chairman Mao’s great theory of continuing the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat and the basic Party line, as well as a series of his important directives on the need to “achieve great order through great chaos”, that “eight years have passed since the start of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution and it is preferable to have stability now. The whole Party and the whole military should unite as one” and that “stability and unity do not mean writing off the class struggle. The class struggle is the key link and everything else hinges on it.” In order to purge the evil consequences of the Gang of Four’s so-called counterrevolutionary strategy to keep Shanghai stable while seizing power by creating chaos nationwide, develop our country’s socialist revolution and construction, reinforce the dictatorship of the proletariat, and stave off the incursion and threat of imperialism and social imperialism, it is necessary for us to make this strategic decision. Based on this strategic decision, we will do good work for China and make it an even more powerful stronghold of world revolution. This is in the fundamental interests of the Chinese people and it is their common want as well as the fervent wish of revolutionary masses around the world.
And what exactly would be considered achieving great order?
We must carry the great struggle to expose and criticize the Gang of Four to the end and reestablish the Party line as well as the sense of right and wrong that they had destroyed. We must thoroughly condemn and purge the pernicious influence of their counterrevolutionary revisionist line both politically and ideologically, sum up the experiences of the two-line struggle during the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, reinforce and develop the victorious outcomes of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, and unite the whole Party’s thinking and understanding to follow Chairman Mao’s revolutionary line. From an organizational perspective, we must clarify the class alignments that have been distorted by the Gang of Four, so that the various aspects of our work can truly rely on the working classes, the poor and lower-middle peasants, the revolutionary cadres and the revolutionary intelligentsia, and the task of reinforcing the dictatorship of the proletariat can be accomplished by everyone at the grassroots level.
We must consolidate and develop our Party well in terms of ideology, organization and practice. We should follow the three basic principles of embracing Marxism and not revisionism, being united and not divided, as well as being open and aboveboard and not engaging in conspiracies and intrigues. We must conscientiously work to resolve the issue of impurity in ideology organization and practice due to the damage caused by the Gang of Four, reinforce theoretical education on Marxism, Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought, strengthen the team of theorists working on Marxist theories, reinforce education on the Party’s development, enhance the proletarian character of the Party, dispel the factional tendencies of the bourgeois, restore and promote the fine practices of the Party, as well as organize and develop the Party Committees at various levels into spirited and energetic vanguard teams capable of leading the proletariat and revolutionary masses in the struggle against class enemies.
We must adhere to Chairman Mao’s list of five traits in a successor and his principle of combining the senior, middle-aged, and young cadres in turning our Party leaders at various levels into a highly capable leadership nucleus that steadfastly implements Chairman Mao’s proletarian revolutionary line and the Central Committee’s strategic decisions and directives, resolutely participates in collective productive labor, closely engages the masses, consciously limits bourgeois rights, is united in its struggle, and enjoys high prestige among the masses.
We must carry out Chairman Mao’s directive to advance our national economy and overcome the difficulties caused by the Gang of Four’s interference and destruction. We must resolutely crack down on capitalism in the cities and the countryside, and bring the whole national economy onto a path of planned, proportionate and high-speed development. We must strive to universalize the experiences of enterprises in Dazhai and Daqing, foster socialist labor competition, improve and strengthen socialist economic management, first reach and then surpass domestic best historical levels in terms of chief economic and technological indicators, strive to catch up with and surpass advanced world standards, and gradually improve our people’s lives on the basis of developing production.
We must follow the direction that Chairman Mao had pointed out for us to continue the revolution in the educational, literary, artistic, health and technological fronts, earnestly carry out Chairman Mao’s educational policy which advocates that “education must serve proletarian politics and be combined with productive labor” and must “enable everyone receiving an education to develop morally, intellectually and physically, and to become a worker with both socialist consciousness and culture.” We must also resolutely implement Chairman Mao’s policy of “letting a hundred flowers bloom and a hundred schools of thought contend,” develop the socialist scientific and cultural enterprises, develop social scientific research in Marxist philosophy, and let literature, drama, film, art, music and dance flourish under socialism.
We must strengthen the people’s state apparatus and accelerate our military revolution and modernization, as well as strive to be well prepared for war against aggression and for the liberation of Taiwan, in accordance with Chairman Mao's military thought and military line. We must further carry out Chairman Mao’s directive on how “grasping military work is simply studying the Party line, checking unhealthy tendencies, overcoming the mountain-stronghold mentality and factionalism, and stressing unity” and launch a broad-based mass movement to learn from Lei Feng and the Hard-Boned (Dauntless) Sixth Company, realistically enhance combat readiness, military training and the acquisition of military technology so as to increase our combat power. We must earnestly implement Chairman Mao’s directive to not only have a strong army, but also a formidable air force and navy, strengthen the people’s militia and public security work, deal a sure, accurate and relentless blow to the handful of class enemies, protect the people’s interests and defend the socialist system.
We must promote democracy and improve the system of democratic centralism. We must achieve unity in our understanding, policies, plans, commands and actions under the big red banner of Mao Zedong Thought and strive to create a robust and lively political atmosphere among the masses where there is both centralism and democracy, discipline and freedom, as well as unity of purpose and individual ease of mind.
We must have overall consideration and comprehensive planning under a centralized and unified Party leadership to earnestly implement Party policies involving cadres, the intelligentsia and ethnic groups. We must bring all positive factors within and outside the Party into play and further strengthen the overall unity of our whole Party, military and people of all ethnicities nationwide, as well as further develop the revolutionary united front led by the working class and based on the worker-peasant alliance inclusive of patriotic democratic parties and patriotic individuals.
To sum up the above in a single sentence, we must comprehensively and correctly implement Chairman Mao's proletarian revolutionary line in our country’s socialist political, economic and cultural realms, in industry, agriculture, commerce, culture and education, and in the military, the government and the Party. Only then would we be able to achieve great order.
To implement strategic decision, we must have a firm grasp of the key link that is class struggle and be persistent in continuing the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat. All regions, departments and work units must firmly grasp this key link, adhere to this strategic decision and strive to implement it when engaging in various work or resolving various contradictions. Raising the great red banner of Mao Zedong Thought high, grasping the key link in running the country and achieving great order are the common aspirations of the people. The whole Party must work hard together to implement this strategic decision and see preliminary results by this year and significant results within three years.
Two, on the struggle to expose and criticize the Gang of Four
Over the last five months, the great struggle to expose and criticize the Gang of Four has gathered great momentum, and many places, including some regions, departments and work units that were under their long-term control, exceeded public expectations with the good progress made in the struggle. We can certainly say that this is a striking feature of the way the situation of the struggle to expose and criticize the Gang of Four has developed.
Take Shanghai for example, where the Gang of Four had been in control for as long as a decade. We had originally prepared ourselves for much trouble, or perhaps some trouble or maybe even a small amount of trouble there. But in reality, after news of their arrests spread, the Gang of Four and a handful of their remaining followers foundered in a sea of exposure and criticism by the ten million people in Shanghai. The revolutionary masses were energetic and jubilant, and there was social order and stability. Industrial production rose by the month and there was no trouble, big, moderate or small.
Looking at the whole country from the perspective of Shanghai, it was not a coincidence that the struggle has gone so well. It was a powerful reflection of how the Gang of Four had lost all popular sympathy and how extreme and insular they had become. It was a powerful reflection of how well Chairman Mao had nurtured our Party, our military and our people. At the same time, it was a powerful statement of the correctness of the Central Committee’s guiding policy in launching this great struggle.
From the perspective of guiding policy, the following points are rather important
First, raising the great red banner of Mao Zedong Thought high, continuing Chairman Mao’s legacy and publicizing a series of his important directives on exposing and criticizing the Gang of Four so that they can become the public’s most powerful ideological weapon in the struggle. This will essentially wipe out the enemies’ attempts at rumormongering and slander, and ensure that our struggle can victoriously proceed along the lines of Mao Zedong Thought.
Second, the movement had from its beginning starkly exposed the Gang of Four’s vital weakness in their attempts at revisionism, dividing the Party, engaging in conspiracies and intrigues, and in their futile and evil attempt to usurp Party and state power. It clearly revealed the extreme right-wing nature of their counterrevolutionary revisionist line and showed that the Gang of Four was simply a handful of extreme rightists, thus enabling the broader public to see that their line was one that was at odds with that of Chairman Mao’s, that subverted the dictatorship of the proletariat and restored the extreme right line of the bourgeoisie. This therefore strikes at the Gang of Four’s vital weakness.
Third, we must keep a firm grip on the overall direction of the struggle. The struggle between our Party and the Gang of Four is essentially a continuation of the protracted struggle between the Communist Party and the broad masses under its leadership and the Guomindang, between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie and between Marxism and revisionism. By grasping the key link of class struggle, we will be able to lead the masses in distinguishing friend from foe, recognizing the enemy’s conspiracy to create confusion within our ranks and undermine the Central Committee’s strategic planning, eradicating all kinds of interference and placing the blame squarely on Gang of Four and a handful of their diehard followers.
Fourth, we must have unwavering faith in the majority of the people, rely directly on the broad revolutionary masses and keep raising the people’s awareness of the nature and significance of this struggle. We must rouse a great revolutionary army that marches forth boldly in the people’s war to expose and criticize the Gang of Four.
Fifth, we must fully unleash the People’s Liberation Army’s great influence as the pillar in the dictatorship of the proletariat. Our military was created and nurtured by Chairman Mao himself and it obeys the party. The fact that we were able to smash the Gang of Four easily and keep the national situation stable during the struggle is inseparable from our trust in the People’s Liberation Army to fully play their role.
Sixth, the whole movement proceeded under the centralized leadership of the Party and the Party Committee to resolutely dismantle the bourgeois factionalist system propagated by the Gang of Four and their residual supporters as well as eradicate the interference of bourgeois factionalism. At the same time, as the movement progressed, we promptly took the necessary organizational measures to adjust and strengthen the leadership of the Party committees of all provinces, municipalities, and autonomous regions, as well as those of the ministries and commissions of the Central Committee and state organs and support their work so as to enable them to establish their authority as proletarian revolutionaries during the struggle.
Seventh, we must pay attention to policy. The Central Committee had stated clearly from the beginning that our position must be clear-cut and resolute, and we would pull no punches in dealing with the Gang of Four and their handful of diehard followers. Yet, we must also make a strict distinction between the two types of contradictions that are dissimilar in nature as well as broaden the scope of education and narrow the scope of attack. This will make our struggle one that resolves problems and benefits overall stability.
Of course, the situation is not all rosy and there are problems. There is uneven development of the movement, with a handful of leaders in some regions and work units who are still lagging behind the public, lacking in spirit and not showing competent leadership. Until now, some have yet to give a free hand in mobilizing the masses or link theory to practice in their local regions and work units so as to expose and criticize the counterrevolutionary revisionist line of the Gang of Four. Some individual regions and work units are still trying to cover up cases and individuals connected to the Gang of Four’s conspiracy and not come clean. The broad masses are not satisfied at all, positive factors cannot be brought into play, and work in various areas cannot progress. This situation has to change quickly and at the same time, we must take care to prevent another kind of wrong tendency to avoid talking about policies and differences, and not liberate what should be liberated, to the extent that we fail to unite more than 95 percent of the masses and cadres.
On the issue of how we can continue to deepen our exposure and criticism of the Gang of Four henceforth, the Central Committee has determined that the exposure and criticism of the Gang of Four’s counterrevolutionary revisionist line should focus on the period since the 10th Party Congress and especially since the campaign to “Criticize Lin and Criticize Confucius.” Of course, the disruption and damage caused by the Gang of Four has been going on for quite some time and it is difficult to draw a sharp line, but there should be a clear-cut emphasis.
In my speech at the Second National Conference on Learning from Dazhai in Agriculture, I suggested that we should thoroughly and completely expose and criticize the Gang of Four along political, ideological and organizational lines and launch a few campaigns. Over the last few months, the broad masses have focused on fighting the first campaign, which exposed and criticized the Gang of Four’s conspiracy to usurp power, with great results. The Central Committee is of the view that in the next phase, we should continue the exposure and criticism of their conspiracy to seize power and at the same time, combine the former closely with the second set of materials distributed to provide evidence of their crimes, so as to further deepen the exposure and criticism of their counterrevolutionary nature and heinous past.
The Central Committee is prepared to adopt a resolution during the Third Plenary Session of the 10th Central Committee on the political conclusion and disciplinary measures to be made and taken against the Gang of Four. Party Committees at various levels should now actively communicate and circulate the second set of materials detailing the Gang of Four’s crimes, mobilize and organize the broad masses to focus on exposing and criticizing the counterrevolutionary nature and heinous past of the Gang of Four for a period of time and create a groundswell of enthusiasm for exposure and criticism, so as to mentally prepare the masses and shape public opinion toward settling the case during the Third Plenary Session.
On the issue of publicity in publicly available newspapers and publications during this period, the People’s Daily, Liberation Army Daily and the Red Flag must publish key articles exposing and criticizing the counterrevolutionary nature and heinous past of the Gang of Four as well as systematically publicize the relevant case materials. Regional newspapers and publications must adopt a tone consistent with that of the People’s Daily, Liberation Army Daily and the Red Flag, and they must not jump the gun in publishing case materials provided in the second set of materials on the Gang of Four’s crimes. The duration of focus on the exposure and criticism of the Gang of Four’s counterrevolutionary nature and heinous past should not be too long, and at the same time, other than exposure and criticism along these lines, newspapers and publications can also alternate the former with articles exposing and criticizing the Gang of Four’s attempt to seize power from the Party and their counterrevolutionary revisionist line, etc.
The in-depth and systematic repudiation of the Gang of Four’s counterrevolutionary revisionist line and reactionary worldview along political and ideological lines is a long-term task. The Gang of Four exerted prolonged control over the media machine and created immense ideological and theoretical confusion. We need to put it a great deal of effort to thoroughly purge their pernicious influence, and this requires painstaking effort in the long-term. We must make an adequate estimate of this. The Central Committee is preparing to distribute the third set of materials detailing the Gang of Four’s crimes and focus on liquidating the Gang of Four’s counterrevolutionary revisionist line in the first half of this year. After the materials are distributed, the emphasis should shift to the exposure and criticism of the extreme right-wing nature of the Gang of Four’s counterrevolutionary revisionist line and its various manifestations, as well as the denunciation of the Gang of Four from the theoretical perspectives of philosophy, political economy and scientific socialism.
Over the last few months, we have also achieved great results in investigating individuals and cases linked to the Gang of Four’s conspiracy and this work will continue henceforth. We will continue to thoroughly investigate all individuals and cases connected to the Gang of Four’s conspiracy that have yet to be thoroughly investigated in accordance with the guidelines and policies stipulated by the Central Committee and with reference to the experiences of Shanghai, Baoding and other regions.
Three, on current ideological and political trends
I have said earlier that the fundamental reason we were able to smash the Gang of Four with a single blow was because we had held the great banner of Mao Zedong Thought high, continued his legacy and carried out his revolutionary line. In the struggle against the Gang of Four, our whole Party, especially our senior cadres, need to pay particular attention to one issue, and that is the resolute defense of Chairman Mao’s great banner. This is an important issue that concerns the overall direction and line of the revolution, the destinies of our Party and country, and the fundamental interests of our people and people all over the world. We must have a resolute stand and a clear attitude on this issue. Chairman Mao is the founder of our Party, our military and our People’s Republic and the greatest contemporary Marxist-Leninist. Chairman Mao’s great contribution to revolutionary theory and practice is unprecedented in China’s history and has no contemporary parallel. More than half a century of history has proven that all our victories were achieved under the banner of Chairman Mao and the guidance of his line.
When Chairman Mao was alive, we united under his banner and launched a victorious battle. Now that he is gone, it is even more necessary for us to raise his banner high so that we can unite the more than 800 million people and 30 million Party members in continuing the victorious fight.
In the history of the international communist movement, there are both positive and negative experiences on the issue of inheriting the cause of revolutionary leaders and defending their banners. After the death of Lenin, Stalin defended Lenin’s banner and triumphed over Trotsky, and Bukharin advanced the cause that began with the October Revolution. After Stalin died, Khrushchev completely turned against him and went down the path of betraying the revolution. Chairman Mao had pointed out then that: “As I see it, there are two knives, one is Lenin and the other is Stalin. Now the Russians have thrown away the knife that is Stalin, and they have basically also discarded the knife that is Lenin. The Khrushchev-Brezhnev traitor clique threw away the two knives that were Lenin and Stalin, thus delighting the imperialists and the reactionaries. The revisionists are in power and the revolutionary masses are suffering.” Under Chairman Mao’s leadership, our Party did not throw away the knife that is Stalin and we have defended and developed Marxism-Leninism in the international communist movement, launched a battle against modern revisionism and won the trust and support of true Marxist-Leninists and revolutionary masses all over the world. Mao Zedong Thought is not only the great revolutionary banner of the Chinese people, but also the great revolutionary banner of the world’s revolutionary masses against imperialism, revisionism and reactionism.
Defending Mao Zedong Thought and Chairman Mao’s great banner is the sacred duty of our whole Party, military and people of all ethnicities nationwide. The overwhelming majority of our comrades have a high degree of awareness on this important issue of principle, but at the same time, we do see a small number of our comrades having an inadequate understanding of the extreme importance and seriousness of this issue, and a handful of them had even wavered in their political stance. The Central Committee is of the view that it is necessary and timely to highlight this problem now and enable everyone to further enhance their understanding.
In the recent period, there has been considerable discussion on the issues concerning Comrade Deng Xiaoping and the Tiananmen Incident within the Party and among the masses. We must stand on higher ground to look at these issues in a longer perspective and have a fundamental standpoint, and that is to keep the great banner of Chairman Mao flying high and resolutely defend it. With such a standpoint, we would be able to correctly and appropriately resolve these issues. If we depart from it, there would be ideological confusion, which would not only hinder the resolution of the issues, but would also allow our enemies to take advantage.
On the issue of Comrade Deng Xiaoping, all of us are aware that it was Chairman Mao’s decision to “criticize Deng and counterattack the rightist tendency to reverse the verdict.” Thus, criticism was necessary except that the Gang of Four took it upon themselves to do so in a way that contravened Chairman Mao’s instructions and Central Committee documents no. four and five issued in 1976, and undermined Chairman Mao’s strategic planning. They attacked and framed Comrade Deng Xiaoping, which was an important part of their plot to usurp Party power. When resolving the issue of the anti-Party clique of the Gang of Four, the Central Committee felt that Comrade Deng Xiaoping’s issue should be correctly resolved, but there must be a procedure and a process. The decision by the Central Committee then to retain mention of the slogan to “criticize Deng and counterattack the rightist tendency to reverse the verdict” was made after repeated consideration. This would fundamentally preempt all attempts by the Gang of Four and their remaining followers or other counterrevolutionary forces to use this issue as a pretext for fanning the flames of counterrevolution, which in turn benefits overall stability and the big picture of the struggle against the Gang of Four. This was a pivotal moment in the history of the struggle against the Gang of Four. The Central Committee made an important decision and the reality of the struggle fully proved that this decision was absolutely correct.
Some comrades have not been too understanding or approving of the Central Committee’s decision and they feel that we should have immediately reinstated Comrade Deng Xiaoping after bringing down the Gang of Four. This sort of thinking fails to take the big picture into consideration. If we do not first keep a firm grasp of the overall situation in the struggle against the Gang of Four and instead hastily move to resolve Comrade Deng Xiaoping’s issue before we publish the first set of materials detailing the Gang of Four’s crimes, thoroughly expose their counterrevolutionary nature, and clarify that it was them who created chaos by doing their own thing in the criticism of Deng, it could have left all sorts of lingering questions on the minds of a section of our cadres and the masses. In particular, the remaining supporters of the Gang of Four would have seized the opportunity to make trouble. Didn’t the Gang of Four spread rumors early on that someone wished to reopen Deng Xiaoping’s case and fanned the debate on the Deng Dapings and Deng Erpings? Now we have found out that there were a handful of counterrevolutionaries who under the guise of calling for Comrade Deng Xiaoping to return to work, wanted to force the Central Committee to make a stand, and then attack us for disobeying Chairman Mao’s last wishes. By doing so, they hoped to incite the people to overthrow those in the Central Committee and put Wang Hongwen in power, so that they could reverse the case against the Gang of Four. Thus, if we had hastily let Comrade Deng Xiaoping return to work, we could have fallen right into the trap of our class enemies and unraveled the movement to expose and criticize the Gang of Four, which might have pushed us into a defensive position.
Our policy is to raise Chairman Mao’s banner high, do more work, and wait for the right moment to let Comrade Deng Xiaoping return to work. The Gang of Four’s remaining followers want to make our action to raise Chairman Mao’s banner high at odds with the one to let Comrade Deng Xiaoping return, and they clearly have an ulterior motive for doing so. Chairman Mao had long made a very clear and comprehensive appraisal of Comrade Deng Xiaoping’s past merits and faults. Since his return to his post in 1973, Comrade Deng Xiaoping had produced results but also made mistakes. We should follow the spirit of Chairman Mao’s directive that “it is necessary criticize, but we should not kill with one blow.” We should adopt the policy of “learning from past mistakes and avoiding future ones” and “curing the illness to save the patient” when it comes to Comrade Deng Xiaoping and help him correct his mistakes. The longstanding rule of our Party is to allow people to make mistakes and be given a chance to correct them, and there is no issue so long as they are willing to correct themselves. All the lies and falsehoods that the Gang of Four had propagated about Comrade Deng Xiaoping should all be refuted, such as the instance when they falsely accused Comrade Deng Xiaoping of masterminding the Tiananmen Incident and investigations revealed that he was not involved at all. After more than five months of struggle to expose and criticize the Gang of Four and work in many other aspects, conditions are now gradually becoming ripe for the resolution of Comrade Deng Xiaoping’s issue. The Central Politburo is of the opinion that it is more appropriate if an official decision is made by the Third Plenary Session of the 10th Central Committee and the 11th Party Congress to let Comrade Deng Xiaoping return to work. It benefits the Party’s cause for Comrade Deng Xiaoping to develop his strengths under the Central Committee’s leadership and this issue is being resolved as we speak. We must ensure that this is a process in which “when a melon is ripe, it falls off its stem” and “when water flows, a channel will form” (i.e. everything comes easily when conditions are ripe).
On the issue of the Tiananmen Incident in April 1976, it was understandable for the public to turn up at Tiananmen Square to express their grief at Premier Zhou’s passing, given that the Gang of Four had persecuted the beloved premier and suppressed all mourning activities by the masses. There were indeed a small number of counterrevolutionaries who pinned the blame on our great leader Chairman Mao and seized the opportunity to conduct counterrevolutionary activities at the time, thus causing the counterrevolutionary incident at Tiananmen Square to occur. But it must be affirmed that the overwhelming majority of people who turned up at the Tiananmen Square that day had the benign wish to mourn Premier Zhou. There were many among them who were unhappy with the Gang of Four, and who opposed them. We cannot equate them, including those who were arrested simply for opposing the Gang of Four, with the participants of the counterrevolutionary incident at Tiananmen Square. After smashing the Gang of Four, the Central Committee had issued a notice on 5 December 1976 calling for the release of those who were arrested simply for opposing the Gang of Four, the dropping all charges and termination of ongoing investigations against such people, the quashing of sentences for those who were convicted and their release, and withdrawal of all disciplinary action against such people in the Party and youth league. It can thus be said that the practical issues have been resolved for this matter.
In January this year, the masses turned up at Tiananmen Square to pay their respects to Premier Zhou. The Central Committee made the appropriate arrangements and managed it well, and the broader public was satisfied. However, there was a minority who stuck big character posters and made speeches to draw the public’s attention to the Tiananmen Incident, and went so far as to openly attack comrades heading the Central Committee by name. What they did was completely wrong, and with their fingers pointed in the wrong direction, they had essentially strayed from the overall direction of the struggle to expose and criticize the Gang of Four. Their actions had a negative impact both domestically and internationally and the broad masses strongly disapproved of their actions. Our comrades should be vigilant against the intrigues of the Gang of Four’s remaining followers and counterrevolutionaries and cease argument on issues such as the Tiananmen Incident. So long as the Party Committees at various levels take their work seriously and further use the Central Committee’s guidelines and planning to unify the broader public’s understanding and actions, the latter will be easily persuaded. Thus, the wrong actions of a few can easily be corrected and stopped, and bad individuals will be thoroughly isolated and exposed.
It must also be pointed out that there were quite a few political rumors circulating among the people some time ago. In response to this situation, the Central Committee issued the no. 5 document in 1977. The broad masses were very supportive of this document but there were some comrades who expressed their disapproval and wondered if this was an attempt to stop them from giving their suggestions to the comrades in charge of the Central Committee (meaning unclear as there seems to be some missing text). This view is incorrect and reflects a flawed understanding of the spirit of the no. 5 document issued by the Central Committee. It should be pointed out that criticisms and opinions of the Party’s work and leading comrades made in good faith are of course permitted and welcomed from the standpoint of defending Chairman Mao’s great banner and the Party’s interests, and it is fine even if they were wrong. However, we must resolutely stamp out political rumors and reactionary views that are aimed at ruining and vilifying Chairman Mao’s great banner or attacking and breaking up the Party Central Committee that is implementing Chairman Mao’s revolutionary line, and not allow them to spread freely.
In short, the Central Committee’s handling of Comrade Deng Xiaoping’s issue and the Tiananmen Incident is firmly rooted in the fundamental standpoint of defending Chairman Mao’s great banner and resolutely upholding Chairman Mao’s line and policy. If we do not do it this way, issues that could mar our banner would occur. The Central Committee urges everyone to firmly boycott all kinds of political rumors from this very fundamental standpoint. If we listened to such things and allowed them to spread freely, problems affecting our banner would occur. We should adopt the correct attitude toward the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution ended with 30% mistakes and 70% results. The 70% results were achieved under Chairman Mao’s leadership while the 30% mistakes were a result of the disturbance and damage caused by Lin Biao, Chen Boda and the Gang of Four. If we do not look at it this way, problems affecting our banner would occur. The whole Party, military and people of all ethnicities nationwide have to take note that they must defend all policy decisions that Chairman Mao had made and suppress all words and actions that tarnished his image in their struggle to expose and criticize the Gang of Four. We must raise the great banner of Chairman Mao high and not discard it, not just within our generation, but also in our children’s and grandchildren’s generations, who must be taught that they too cannot throw it away. We must treat the great banner of Chairman Mao as our family heirloom, to be passed from generation to generation.
Four, on this year’s national economic plan
The State Council has a document on the national economic plan for 1977. I will hereby share some views on the current economic situation.
How should we gauge the current difficulties facing our economy and how should we deal with them? The disturbance and damage wrought by the Gang of Four had truly created many difficulties for us and their consequences are gradually manifesting themselves. We should make it clear to the public that there is a process for overcoming these difficulties and we must do our best to shorten it. It is wrong to be blindly optimistic and fail to see the difficulties, but on the other hand, some comrades have been unable to appreciate the nature and main trend of the situation, and they fail to see the favorable conditions that allow us to overcome these difficulties. Instead, they overestimate the problems involved and thus lack the confidence to resolve them. This situation deserves our attention, and we must recognize the temporary nature of the current difficulties that we face and that they are not difficult to resolve once we put in some effort. The conditions for developing our national economy this year are very different from that when the Gang of Four wielded unchecked power. We have defeated the Gang of Four and tackled the source of difficulties at its roots. Chairman Mao’s revolutionary line and various policies can now be comprehensively implemented, and the suppressed and untapped socialist zeal among the broad masses and cadres has now been unleashed. This is the key and the most basic favorable condition that will help us do well in our economic development and other socialist endeavors. This favorable condition will show its tremendous power with time. So long as we make full use of it, the process of overcoming difficulties may not be too slow. We must have confidence and not be confused by the temporary phenomenon that emerged during the end of the previous year and the beginning of this year. The key to surmounting difficulties is to strengthen our leadership, raise our spirits and work with great vigor to implement the Marxist-Leninist line. Since the railroad conference, the situation of our railways has seen relatively swift improvements, and it proves that pessimistic estimates about the economic situation are baseless.
We should formulate and execute the national economic plan in accordance with Chairman Mao’s policy of making agriculture the foundation and leading industry of our economy. We should plan our economy in the order of agriculture, light industry and heavy industry in terms of priority, and emphasize Chairman Mao’s policy of bringing both central and local initiative into play. We must gather all our strength to fight a war of annihilation, we cannot have an overextended front in our basic infrastructural development and we must ensure the development of key projects.
Five, on our work for the second half of the year
During the Second National Conference on Learning from Dazhai in Agriculture, I spoke about the four tasks that the Central Committee had set out for this year. The Party Committees at various levels are now earnestly tackling them and they must continue to do so for the second half of the year. The movement to expose and criticize the Gang of Four still forms the core that drives various other work and plans for the second half of the year have already been mentioned earlier. The whole Party will embark on a comprehensive consolidation and rectification campaign in the later half of the year. This conference has also drawn up plans for issues concerning the national economy, and we will strive for significant improvements in the second half of the year over the first half. With the publication of the five volumes of the Selected Works of Mao Zedong, we must do a good job of studying and publicizing them, and we must conscientiously encourage a new wave of serious study of Chairman Mao’s works. The Central Committee had approved the introductory note to the five volumes after discussion, which noted that Chairman Mao’s greatest theoretical contribution during the period of socialist revolution and construction was to systematically summarize Chinese and international historical experiences in achieving the dictatorship of the proletariat, use dialectical materialism to unify this fundamental viewpoint, analyze the contradictions in a socialist society and class struggle, thereby revealing the laws governing the development of a socialist society and establishing the great theory of continuing the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat. The learning and publicity of the five volumes must grasp this basic spirit.
Our Party has experienced a series of major changes since the 10th Party Congress, and Chairman Mao, our great leader and mentor who led the Party through more than five decades of struggle, has died. Our beloved Premier Zhou and a few other proletarian revolutionaries from the older generation have also passed on. Our Party launched an intensive fight against the Gang of Four and scored a great victory. This was the eleventh major line struggle in the history of our Party. The Central Committee is of the view that it is necessary to bring the 11th Party Congress forward to raise Chairman Mao’s great banner high and continue his legacy, summarize the experiences in the eleventh line struggle, as well as reinforce and develop the great victory in the struggle against the Gang of Four. At the same time, domestic political, ideological and organizational conditions are ripe for doing so, as are the international conditions, which are in our favor, making it possible for us to convene this Party Congress. This congress will be an important event in the political lives of our Party, our military and our people nationwide. It will become a hallmark of our country’s progress toward great order, and it is also a significant political and organizational outcome of smashing the Gang of Four. This congress will have both profound domestic and international impact.
The 11th Party Congress is slated to be held sometime in July and August, and it would not be good to hold it too late, as it would not allow our country to swiftly move toward achieving great order and commence work in various areas. It would also be impossible to have it earlier, as we need time for preparation. The Central Committee has prepared a draft resolution on the convening of the 11th Party Congress, and we will now distribute it to fellow comrades for discussion, and this will be issued after discussion. Thus, we hope that fellow comrades can engage in thorough and meticulous political and ideological work when they go home, as well as prepare themselves well and choose their representatives in time for the 11th Party Congress.
The Central Committee is also preparing to hold the 5th National People’s Congress in the fourth quarter of this year. The various provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions or their prefectures and counties have not held their respective people’s congresses since the 4th National People’s Congress. I hope that the various provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions can actively prepare themselves to hold the congresses earlier when conditions are right, and the prefectures and counties should do the same. The revolutionary committees of the provinces, prefectures and counties were formed during the early period of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, and great changes have since occurred in the situations of the members. Some have been redeployed to work elsewhere, while others have had this or that problem. In reality, the revolutionary committees have not performed their roles to the greatest effect, and we thus hope that by convening the people’s congresses at various levels, we can fully embrace the spirit of democracy and through deliberation and consultation, and elect various representatives who fulfill Chairman Mao’s five criteria for successors and have genuine support from the masses to the revolutionary committees at various levels. This is so that we can truly allow the revolutionary committees at the provincial, prefectural and county levels to play their role. Issues concerning the preparation work for the 5th National People’s Congress will be discussed at a later date.
We must do a good job in the various aspects of our work and strive for the victorious opening of the 10th Party Congress and the 5th National People’s Congress.
Printed and distributed on 21 March 1977
Hua Guofeng criticizes the Gang of Four, evaluates Deng Xiaoping, comments on demonstrations in Tiananmen Square, and calls for the CCP to "implement Chairman Mao's proletarian revolutionary line."
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