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February 29, 1960

Ideas for Returned International Chinese Students’ Work

This document was made possible with support from MacArthur Foundation

Recently, Indonesian reactionary cliques have raised an anti-Chinese exclusionary counter current. This is tantamount to Indonesia being anti-Chinese, which is indeed the sharpening trend of this increasingly nationalist nation and a manifestation of the controlling capitalist faction’s reactionaryism. It is also part of American imperialism’s international Cold War conspiracy. American imperialism and the Indonesian ruling faction plan to use anti-Chinese exclusion to weaken the influence of China’s Great Leap Forward, fan up racial chauvinist feelings, divert their public’s attention while impacting the state’s Communist party and progressive strength, and bring about the path to unjust military dictatorship.


In order to destroy the conspiracy of Indonesia’s reactionary clique, knock down all of its anti-Chinese exclusionary excuses, and expose its stance as completely and unjustifiably passive, our Foreign Minister Chen Yi decisively resolved Burma’s international Chinese problems on 9 December, giving the Indonesian government a set of three recommendations. Particular among them was our state’s intention to welcome back to China those international Chinese who have lost their homes or do not wish to go on living in Burma.


The work of bringing back expatriates has already begun. Among the returning Chinese, students make up a significant portion. By sincerely welcoming this large number of students, and completing the educational work inherent in their welcome, we will not only effectively complement and support the struggle to oppose the foreigners’ anti-Chinese exclusionism, splintering the anti-Chinese exclusionary conspiracy started by imperialism and the Burmese reactionaries, which is what inspired the people’s will to fight. Moreover, we will encourage more students to return home for education, in order for the fatherland to nurture the human potential for construction, massively developing the enthusiasm of returning Chinese internationals to participate in socialism.


In the future, Chinese international students returning in large groups, with the exception of a few progressives, will lack the proper mental training to return to China and take up a socialist education. Their political culture is particularly low. There will be many students from underprivileged backgrounds at the kindergarten, elementary, and middle school level. Therefore, how to strategize for these particular facts, under the united leadership of the committees in all locales, how to complete the educational welcoming work for returning Chinese international students—these are serious political responsibilities. To this end, as you decide the nature of their instruction while welcoming returning Chinese international students, bring up the following notions for them.


1- Students returning in 1960 (with the exception of international Chinese farmers from the Suijia Resettlement) include roughly 25,000 who are already properly educated. In the coming years, we expect that number to rise to a million. In accordance with the settlement strategy of “concentration first and support from dispersion,” the majority of them will be “concentrated” to the China-Expat Committee’s Returning Student Farm Labor Enrichment School, as well as the currently in-preparation International Chinese Farm Labor Mid-Level Training School. After they have received a certain level of education, they will be “dispersed” to the related academies in diverse locations. There is another portion that will need to return home or be resettled in a factory town, so distinguish between each province’s returning Chinese internationals to present a unified welcome. Every location must give them a warm, thoughtful welcome, explain the domestic situation to them, and convince them of the fatherland’s warmth and unconditional love for them, taking this as an opportunity for patriotic education.


2- International Chinese students who have lived extensively in capitalist countries are for the most part deficient in their knowledge of the fatherland’s socialism and socialist construction. In their political ideology and lifestyle, they lag significantly behind domestic students. Therefore, the intellectual education work to be done for these students should not be carried out in too much haste. During a period of significant length, emphasis should be placed on beginning their patriotism education: comparing the old and new China, comparing the situation for Chinese internationals in the old and new society, etc. After that, flexibly and naturally bring them together for rudimentary socialist education. There is no need to rush into independent study. This is absolutely not meant to reject the possibility of transformative reform; rather it follows from returning Chinese international students’ realistic awareness levels, in order to better carry out their educational transformation.


Based on the present domestic situation, patriotic education is essentially a component of socialist education. Patriotism is the fatherland of socialism—supporting the Communist Party leadership, supporting the fatherland’s Great Leap Forward, supporting the people’s commune. Therefore all that is needed is for them to truthfully yearn for the socialist fatherland, and there you have the raw materials for socialism. At the same time, not until they are settled down and have demonstrated intellectual improvement, can there finally be considerations made for finding appropriate methods for beginning their socialist education. Returning students generally lack the habits of physical labor, so schools in every region should look after their labor programs appropriately.


3- If returning Chinese international students encounter difficulty in their lives, this should be fully monitored and dealt with in a timely fashion. Chinese international students have not experienced collectivized living in their countries. Some of them have lived with quite an air of material finery. They must gradually grow accustomed to the needs of socialist life. It is imperative that their intellectual education be strengthened. The small number of lawbreakers among them should be dealt away with in order that they shall not influence the educational process. It is entirely possible that a few anti-party constituents could be mixed in with the Chinese international students. It is necessary to stay alert to this possibility. Lowering one’s guard against right wing deviationism is not acceptable. But on the other hand, if returning expatriate students’ backwardness were exaggerated as “reactionaryism,” to conflate reactionaryism and backwardness would also be a mistake.

A report on the crackdown against Overseas Chinese in Indonesia and the responses of the Chinese Communist Party.


Document Information


Guangdong Provincial Archives 232-1-0044-32-35. Obtained for CWIHP by Hongwei Fan and translated by Max Maller.


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