A copy of a CCP CC Politburo discussion shared with the Albanian Labor Party.
May 5, 1966
Meeting with Comrade Mao Zedong on 5 May 1966
This document was made possible with support from The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
Meeting with comrade Mao Zedong on 5 May 1966
Comrades present from the Chinese side: Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping, Zhou Enlai, Lin Biao, Wu Xiuquan.
Present from the Albanian side: Mehmet Shehu, Hysni Kapo, Abdyl Kellezi, Nesti Nase
Comrade Mao Zedong: You have not changed; you look the same as you were before. In what year were you here [before]?
Comrade Mehmet Shehu: The first time was in 1956 and the second time was in 1959.
Comrade Mao Zedong: Do you smoke?
Comrade Mehmet Shehu: No, thank you, I do not smoke. Comrade Enver smokes a lot and says that when comrade Mao quits smoking, I will quit also.
Comrade Mao Zedong: I will not quit even after meeting with Marx. Marx used to smoke too, but Lenin did not, whereas Stalin did.
Comrade Zhou Enlai: Today is Marx’s birthday, the fifth of May.
Comrade Mao Zedong: Marx had not predicted that his social democrats would create the social democratic party and that these ones would eventually rise and turn against him. This means that things do not depend on the will and wishes of Marx and Engels. These parties used to be revolutionary in the beginning, but after the death of Marx and Engels they turned counterrevolutionary. Things in the Soviet Union also did not go according to Lenin’s wishes. Lenin had not predicted that in the Soviet Union Khrushchev and revisionism would emerge. But to these two generations also belongs the generation of Stalin, who put into practice Lenin’s principles. Stalin had not predicted what happened in the Soviet Union, the coming to power of revisionism, and a great war against him took place immediately after his death; but in reality this was a war against Lenin, against Marx and Engels. It is also a war against us and against you, the Albanians. Unless I am mistaken, as far as I have been informed, Khrushchev has said to you that I would rather throw grains to the dogs than give it you.
Comrade Mehmet Shehu: Khrushchev had predicted that Albania would only survive 15 days without him.
Comrade Hysni Kapo: Khrushchev was a “great prognosticator.”
Comrade Mao Zedong: Yes, Khrushchev had not even predicted that his own rule would only last 10 years, that he would be overthrown. This is why phenomena must always be assessed with their opposites. Not only changes in terms of quantity, but also quality. Without looking at issues in terms of qualitative change, and by looking at them only in terms of quantitative change, one falls into metaphysics.
We have prepared ourselves because, who knows, perhaps the revisionists penetrate all the way to Beijing and our people might make an about face and become revisionists. This is one possibility, the first possibility. There is also a second possibility: a partly differentiated one.
If we look at the history of the 45 years of our Party, at the changes that have taken place, there have also been coups. [Chinese revolutionary and party founder] Chen Duxiu betrayed [us], [early party leader] Qu Qiubai enacted a coup, expelling me from the Politburo and as a member of the party Central Committee, and later they told me that I was expelled from the Party also. So then I became a democrat. The coup method only lasted four months, and then it collapsed. I once again entered the Party, became a functionary even, a candidate of the Politburo. This was the second time. The third time was the one with [early party leader] Li Lisan, when I stayed in Beijing as a member of the party Central Committee, in 1930. The other period was even shorter, only between June and August, so two months. He expelled me from the Red Army, sending me to Shanghai. I did not want to go and asked the Central Committee not to send me. At the time we had an army of several tens of thousand troops, in 1930. Three and a half years after 1927, I only had one vote and it was only I. It was sufficient; it was the majority.
Comrade Mehmet Shehu: When it is on the correct path, it will win.
Comrade Mao Zedong: There were people who had not seen Li Lisan; they had only heard about him. I would tell them that not only have I met him, but I know him very well. He worked under my leadership for a number of years. And then, one person became two persons, and then two became an army corps and an army led by Peng Dehuai.
For the fourth time, the line of [senior party leader] Wang Ming was adopted and it ruled the party for four years, from January 1931 to January 1935. Nobody would even come to me at that time. Not even the devil would come to see me. At the time, they did not call me a Marxist. According to them, they were 100 percent Marxist, whereas I was zero percent.
Comrade Mehmet Shehu: According to them.
Comrade Mao Zedong: After the Long March, we must thank them. Some of them from the earlier period later betrayed [us], like Chen Duxiu, who became a Trotskyist, Qu Qiubai. After the Zunyi meeting, I came out as if discarded, removed from the others, and thrown into the trash bin. After I washed myself, I became appealing again. During the March, I met [founding member of the Communist Party] Zhang Guotao who had his own Central Committee, and I had my own. He is in Hong Kong now and works for the Americans. He was a member of the Politburo. The Red Army, which had had 300,000 troops, then ended up with 25,000.
Comrade Mehmet Shehu: During the march?
Comrade Mao Zedong: Yes. But each individual of these 25,000 was a force, and they surpassed the 300,000 troops because they had tested themselves, had marched close to 12,500 kilometers, which corresponds to the globe’s meridian. If multiplied 1 x 14 and 16, it is 40,000 kilometers. All of us present here have been through such a march, and our feet have hurt.
Until this point in time, we gained some relative experience. There was the defeat of 1947 at the time of Chiang Kai-shek. During the ten-year civil war we had three instances of leftist deviations. The revolution was badly damaged.
By generalizing the experience in these two directions, we drew a lesson, and therefore during the eight years of the war against the Japanese, our army, which used to consist of 25,000 troops, then reached 1,200,000 troops, and the population of our bases was 100 million. After Japan was banished, Chiang Kai-shek attacked us again and we banished Chiang Kai-shek to Taiwan in only three and a half years.
In this way, the Party developed in a struggle with oppositions and generally united—this is why we won. Later, [party leader] Gao Gang, [military leader and later defense minister] Peng Dehuai, and others came out in opposition. There were 7-8 members of the Central Committee of the Party, among them two Politburo members. Often, the phenomenon differentiates itself; one is divided in two. Nothing is untouchable. Still, even though Peng Dehuai made errors in his party line, we nevertheless got him involved. For example, he led the Northern and Western China field army all the way to Xinjiang. In the war to support the Koreans, against American imperialism, our volunteers reached one million. Comrade Lin Biao was ill at that time. I made a mistake because I did not send Deng Xiaoping. He was an experienced leader; do not underestimate him because he is short. He has led two field armies in the liberation of Nanking, and for the liberation of some cities like Shanghai, and so on, including the lake where you will be visiting the day after tomorrow. The second field army marched west, liberating a large province with a population of 100 million.
The former general commander of Yan’an, Lu Lian [sic; proper name spelling unclear] is still alive and in Beijing. Today he only has three tasks: to eat, to sleep, and to go to the bathroom. Many generals like those of the Kuomintang—tens of them—are now in Beijing and have these three tasks: to eat, to sleep, and to go to the bathroom. They cannot do anything else. The more they study, the dumber they become. Only emperor Puyi has studied. He is suffering from cancer now.
Why don’t you get in touch with the former generals, meet with them as the emperors or the big capitalists of Shanghai[?] Nesti Nase has been ambassador and should have undertaken general studies.
Comrade Mehmet Shehu: Yes, this is fair criticism.
Comrade Mao Zedong: You have established contacts with workers, peasants, and soldiers but this is not enough. You should establish contacts with counterrevolutionaries also. You have focused on only one side, mainly on this side — the revolutionaries — and have studied it, but not the counterrevolutionaries. You write telegrams — he says to comrade Nesti Nase — but only conveying good things. This is dangerous. We just brought down Luo Ruiqing, who was Chief of Joint Staff, and it was discovered in December of last year. We will give you the document relating to this. We are now criticizing Peng Zhen.
According to the Chinese experience, the lessons of the Communist Party of China, revolutionaries exist. Surely, there are revolutionaries. But there is no revolution without counterrevolution. Where there are leftists, there surely are rightists also. Are there leftists? There are, surely, but where there are leftists there are also rightists, because they cannot all be cleansed and to think that one can cleanse all of them in China, and there will only be rightists left. This is a mistake. A phenomenon like this has not happened, but there have always been two opposites. What is the unity between the working class, the peasantry, and the intelligentsia? Are there only non-antagonistic contradictions, contradictions amongst the masses of people, and there are no antagonistic contradictions amongst enemies and us? Stalin used to say that in the Soviet Union there were no reactionaries after the liquidation of the classes. But how many counterrevolutionaries had Stalin executed? Perhaps along this line, comrade Stalin did not understand Marxism-Leninism very well. This is why we say that in China there are two possibilities after the death of our generation, that revisionism may rule here as it happened in the Soviet Union. Our generation, all of us, are roughly of the same age. Some of our comrades are ill. We are not like you—the sun as it rises. We are the sun as it sets. So, as long as we live, our generation must undertake measures, to make sure to do a good job, so that we avoid the rise of revisionism and the restoration of capitalism.
Comrade Mehmet Shehu: This problem affects you as it also affects us, regardless of age.
Comrade Mao Zedong: Perhaps.
Comrade Mehmet Shehu: We believe that it applies to us as well.
Comrade Mao Zedong: In short, we must think hard about these two possibilities. The first possibility is the establishment of the dictatorship or the restoration of counterrevolution, but by putting this concern first we must not relax and think that everything is under control. To think that everything is under control is not correct, because there are elements who have been punished and who continue to work in illegality. Lenin has also said that the peasantry, the petite bourgeoisie, gives birth to capitalism every hour and every day. What do the overthrown classes consist of? Feudalism, capitalism, and imperialism. Which class has emerged victorious in our case?
It is the working class, the peasantry, the petite bourgeoisie, the national bourgeoisie, the bourgeois intellectuals, and the children of the landowners, whom we have brought to our side.
We have defeated the exploitative classes like the landowners, etc., but they have not physically disappeared. In our country’s institutions of higher education, the majority of the professors were from the feudal class and from the bourgeoisie. The children of workers, poor or middle peasants, and the lower classes were not even able to study in primary school, so how can we ask them to attend middle and higher schools? This kind of intelligentsia must consist of at least a few million people, and consequently the problem of education was not in our hands but in their hands (the professors who stem from feudal and bourgeois origins). We had many primary schools, but had lots of gaps when it came to the professors and we were forced to take people from the Kuomintang to serve as teachers in middle and higher education. We did not have professors for the universities, engineers, artists, painters, people who work in publishing, the press, etc. We were forced to bring in elements from these classes, and some of them even joined our party. For some time, they had not been uncovered, like Khrushchev, who was disguised in the beginning but then came out openly and was uncovered in the end. Like [German Marxist theorist and politician Eduard] Bernstein and [Czech-Austrian philosopher and Marxist theoretician Karl Johann] Kautsky. I believe that if tomorrow China becomes a revisionist country, or even worse, a fascist one, if we look at the issue on the basis of oppositions, you should go to war against China. In China, the workers, the peasants, and the revolutionary intelligentsia will hide at first, but then they will go to war against revisionism, to bring down revisionism, fascism, and the counterrevolutionaries. This is the first possibility. Do you have bamboos in Albania?
Comrade Mehmet Shehu: No, but we have reeds. They always grow back.
Comrade Mao Zedong: The peels of the bamboo must be cleaned one by one so that what one is left with is the inner part that is good. This is what we have done for 45 years. We have uprooted one by one the revisionists and the counterrevolutionaries. In other words, we have peeled them like a bamboo—Gao Gang, Peng Dehuai, Peng Zhen, Luo Ruiqing, etc. This is what will also do against those who have not yet been uncovered, who sleep close to us. Over 100 members of the Central Committee have been expelled, in addition to some thousands of traitorous communists. If we had not taken measures against them, they would have infected others.
In February and April of this year, I was sick twice. They medicated me with injections and antibiotic pills. I have taken 74 pills until now. According to the tests they did, I had microbes in the lungs. This is the microbe of revisionism, of counterrevolution. The 74 antibiotic pills defeated the enemy. But during this time of illness, I could sleep and eat. It was a one-sided illness. You have never fallen ill in your life?
Comrade Mehmet Shehu: We have and we do.
Comrade Hysni Kapo: One must always undergo cures.
Comrade Mao Zedong: One must always undergo cures against revisionism and Khrushchevism. Like those against Peng Zhen and Luo Ruiqing — this one was Chief of Joint Staff, whereas Lin Biao was defense minister, and I was Chairman of the Defense Council. Luo Ruiqing waged a five-year war against Lin Biao. Antibiotics were also used against Luo Ruiqing until December of the past year, as we tried to cure him but without any results. Luo Ruiqing jumped from a window in order to kill himself, but he fell on the ground and broke his leg. It would have been better if he had fallen on his head.
We are ready to clear away all these counterrevolutionaries, both within the party and outside of the party ranks, within the government and in the army ranks, like Peng Dehuai, and so on. Earlier, we had many people like these, but they nevertheless were not the primary force.
So we must have great hope and not be pessimists; let us not exclude the first possibility, but let us consider that revisionism may emerge in the whole world, and this may include us, as it happened in the Soviet Union, in Eastern Europe, in Western Europe, but also revisionists, social-democrats, [Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel] Nasser, and others like him will be overthrown.
We must not think that the counterrevolutionaries are powerful. In China, there were many counterrevolutionaries prior to the 1911 revolution, and later the soldiers of the various provinces and more recently Chiang Kai-shek’s rule. None of this had a base among the people. It was sufficient for us not to move away from the masses of people. If you do not remove yourself from the revolutionary masses, the counterrevolution cannot win. Even if it emerges, it cannot achieve success, as with Khrushchev, who stayed in power only ten years. In the beginning, Khrushchev expelled you Albanians and then began the struggle against China. But how was he overthrown? In reality, he overthrew himself. The heirs of Khrushchev will also overthrow themselves. They say that we are isolated, because they have relations with more than 60 parties. But we are also not few, including the Marxist groups that have emerged, and the individuals, so in reality we are the majority. If we look at it carefully, we are the majority because there are millions of poor people around the world, and they are with us.
But we are only talking about us. How about we also talk about you? How about you open fire and talk about yourselves [?] Let us make this conversation democratic and not dictatorial.
Comrade Mehmet Shehu: Comrade Mao, we consider your ideas like a great lesson for us. They are a great education, a big lesson for our Party.
As you were speaking, it was as if we were seeing in film in front us the communist movement in China, the war between two worlds, and the war between two ideologies.
Comrade Mao Zedong: And the war between two classes.
Comrade Mehmet Shehu: The war between two worlds. Of course, your Party’s history is bigger than ours, both in terms of quantity and quality, but the same phenomenon of the internal struggle between oppositions, between opposing ideologies, has taken place and also takes place with us.
Comrade Mao Zedong: There has been a woman who has betrayed [in Albania]. She has also been here in China.
Comrade Mehmet Shehu: Yes, Liri Belishova. After she spoke with comrade Liu Shaoqi, she went to the Soviet ambassador [Stepan] Chervonenko, without us knowing this, and reported to him everything that she had talked about with comrade Liu Shaoqi. Comrade Enver Hoxha wrote a letter to her, sent it via our embassy so that it could get to her in Mongolia where she was. The letter was sent after we found out about what had happened at the trade unions meeting in Beijing. The letter was brief. It only said “the issue is very important, do not speak about anything with the Soviets.” Our ambassador went on his way to give the letter in Mongolia. But we did not know that she had gone to Chervonenko and had informed him about everything she spoke about with comrade Liu Shaoqi. As a reply to the letter sent to her by comrade Enver, Liri Belishova gave a speech in Ulaanbaatar where she said that Albania cannot survive even 24 hours without the Soviet Union. This speech was printed with capital letters in Pravda and Izvestia. After she returned to Moscow, she gave comrade Enver’s letter to [Soviet party official Frol Romanovich] Kozlov. Now Liri Belishova has been expelled from the party. It is the same phenomenon as here.
Comrade Mao Zedong: Is she still alive?
Comrade Mehmet Shehu: Yes, she is alive.
Comrade Mao Zedong: Do not execute her; execute as few people as possible.
Comrade Mehmet Shehu: No, we do not execute people now.
Comrade Mao Zedong: So then give her three tasks: to eat, to sleep, and to go to the bathroom. Maybe even give her a fourth task: to be reeducated.
Comrade Mehmet Shehu: We have offered her work, but she does not want to work. Only if we force her. We have given the other tasks to her. Her husband has also been expelled from the party. He was minister of agriculture and member of the Central Committee.
Comrade Hysni Kapo: It was not a bad thing that they were uncovered. It was a good thing because this is how we grow stronger.
Comrade Mehmet Shehu: Yes, a good thing that they were uncovered.
Comrade Mao Zedong: Yes, it is a good thing because this provides some lessons. We have negative as well as positive examples about your party.
Comrade Mehmet Shehu: This is correct. We have also learned from Tito, Khrushchev, and from traitors inside the country.
Comrade Hysni Kapo: From 1948 until today, we have traitors who are still alive, who have been members of the Politburo, or members of the Central Committee of the Party.
Comrade Mao Zedong: We have secretaries of lower-level party organizations who became kings, ruled over the provinces, and so on. So that they get to rule, the rich landowners buy them off with two packets of cigarettes or half a kilogram of pork meat. Moreover, in order to strengthen their position, the landowners have their daughters marry our cadres.
Comrade Mehmet Shehu: This is entirely correct. We have the same phenomenon. We have such examples. Or, there are those who try to benefit themselves by joining the party and wage class war on the inside. This is why we say that comrade Mao’s lessons are very valuable, life-giving, not only for our Party but for all those who want to be revolutionaries and to defend the revolution, for the entire revolutionary movement in the world.
Comrade Mao Zedong: The lessons of Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Stalin, and especially Lenin’s lessons where he says that, for a period of time, the overthrown classes are stronger than the ruling ones. The petite bourgeoisie and the micro-level bourgeoisie give birth to capitalism at all times, every day, and every hour. People no longer use Lenin’s quotes. I think that our people should use these quotes more often.
Comrade Zhou Enlai: The ninth article in the response to the open letter to the Communist Party of the Soviet Union there is only one use of Lenin’s quotes. This is not sufficient. They must be used more often.
Comrade Mao Zedong: Revolutionary elements can degenerate also. [Czech-Austrian philosopher and Marxist theoretician Karl Johann] Kautsky, for example, was a revolutionary during the first part of his life. But he betrayed later, becoming a counterrevolutionary. I have read his works. [Russian revolutionary and Marxist theoretician Georgi Valentinovich] Plekhanov also was a revolutionary early on but then became a renegade, a bourgeois, a member of the Second International.
Lenin has not paid attention to the study of the peasant problem. He did not have a platform or a program on this issue. So Lenin only used the social democrats’ agrarian reform program, the Narodniks. At that time, he joined them and only when they became counterrevolutionaries he showed vigilance. For a long time, Lenin also brought along Kautsky and only when the latter voted in support of the German emperor’s war, he split from him and wrote [The Proletarian Revolution and Renegade Kautsky.]
Our old cadres are constantly thinking about the issue of salaries and about Saturday, because after Saturday comes rest. In doing this, they do not behave like revolutionaries. We have given them three tasks because unless they become revolutionaries, what else can we do with them [?] This is how it must be done because in the event of a war, they will become shameless and who knows what they do against us.
We have some people who are no longer revolutionaries. They brag about their past even though they do not have any merits. They say that they have been on a hard path, for example “I used to be with the revolution, how can they boss me around [?]”
Comrade Mehmet Shehu: They speculate with the past.
Comrade Mao Zedong: They are not revolutionaries. Their revolutionary foundation disappears. As for revisionism, they are not known as such, but one is not born a revisionist but becomes one.
We are transforming our universities so that people do not read books for many years. The people who study in the military schools are more combative. Our soldiers, the commanders in the provinces, have not attended military academies. The minister of defense, for example, attended the academy for nine months, six months as a student in a military school. He was a student of Chiang Kai-shek, as was Zhou Enlai. The majority of our commanders, from the commanders of regiments, divisions, the staff, and to the various units in the provinces, have either been illiterate or only knew some basic reading and writing. Comrade Lin Biao’s assistance has been very important for the revolution. He finished primary school, plus three years of high school and six months of Chiang Kai-shek’s military school. I was the only one studying at the university. None of these comrades studied at the university. When he finished the first half of high school Vu Hu Cian [sic; proper name spelling unknown] went to Moscow, where he stayed for a year and a half. He has studied more than we have. I think that those who have learned a lot, who have studied the most in schools, in general are worse elements. We had very few comrades in the Central Committee who had finished university. The minister of higher education was educated, Jiang Nanxiang. The minister of culture and the propaganda chief Lu Dingyi turned out to be bad. He does not support the Cultural Revolution, and so he can no longer be chief of propaganda and candidate of the Politburo, deputy prime minister, and Party Central Committee Secretary. So let’s give him the three tasks, as with Peng Zhen and Luo Ruiqing. You cannot educate people well only by having them study Marxism. Another kind of instructor is needed: counterrevolution. We have all studied Marxism, but Marxism alone cannot make you a teacher. You must also learn—and we have learned—from Chiang Kai-shek, from the Japanese, from the Americans. For example, I used to be a teacher in a primary school, and after joining the Chinese Communist Party I had no intention of participating in the war. After reading Marx, I understood that through war one could obtain power. This happened because I had gotten used to city life, and I had not thought that I would go to a battlefield. None of us had thought about becoming military men; only comrade Lin Biao has studied to be a military man.
Comrade Lin Biao: I used to be part of the May Thirtieth Movement. When the feudal forces oppressed the movement, I was forced to go into the army.
Comrade Mao Zedong: He used to be a student of Chiang Kai-shek. Back then, Chiang Kai-shek used to be an army commander. Although he was not truly a party representative; that function was Zhou Enlai’s. Later, Chiang Kai-shek became a traitor.
At that time, I was like a deputy director of propaganda at the Central Committee of the Kuomintang party. I used to be a secretary of Hunan and all those around me were big counterrevolutionaries, but do not think that I am an extraordinary man.
Comrade Mehmet Shehu: You have lived surrounded by snakes.
Comrade Mao Zedong: Although I did sleep close to poisonous snakes.
By generalizing the experience of a decade, we reach the conclusion that the counterrevolutionaries are not very powerful. At times, it suffices to push them a bit with a finger and they waver, and then you punch them and they fall. But, in short, without a push they do not fall. I think it is the same thing as with a house where you cannot remove dust without a broom, and if you don’t wash your eyes, your face will surely be full of dust. Dust settles very easily on your face if you do not wash it. They use soap now, but I have not used soap in my lifetime, though I would wash myself often. Counterrevolutionaries get on our face like the dust, unless we wash ourselves. Do not be afraid of the counterrevolutionaries if you wash yourself. If something is of concern, let us not sleep but let us gather the comrades and discuss it, and then let us take measures. We have had many experiences like this. For example, I could not take measures until the other day, but after sleeping, after discussing it with the comrades, then I would take measures and decide on the correct method. I am referring to the wartime. Chiang Kai-shek and the imperialists have gotten us into a war, and I could not do as I pleased, or we do as we please. We had not thought that we would go to war, but we did enter the war and it lasted 23 years. People call me a scholar but I do not think this is true. I am a military man because Chiang Kai-shek taught me how I should fight, as did the Japanese and the Americans. They taught me, all of us, our entire Party, how one should fight and we fought for tens of years against foreign and domestic enemies. If we also include the war we fought to help the Korean people, it is 25 years of uninterrupted war. So we are not civilians, but military men, and this is why the imperialists and the revisionists call us warmongers.
We worry when there are no storms in the world. The more storms there are, the better. Imperialism across the world is a good teacher to us.
 Translator’s note: The romanization of Chinese terms, places, and names in Albanian-language documents is often inconsistent, complicating translation into English. One Albanian variant might apply to different Chinese equivalents. To note this, uncertain variants are marked with brackets and question marks. Readers who spot errors are kindly encouraged to get in touch with corrections.
 Translator note: Since the syntax in the original text is messy, sentences in this section have been broken up.
Mao Zedong, Mehmet Shehu, Hysni Kapo, and others have a conversation, coincidentally, on Marx’s birthday. They discuss Khrushchev’s legacy, the history of the Chinese Communist Party, and the story of Liri Belishova.
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