June 27, 1981
Resolution on Certain Questions in the History of Our Party since the Founding of the People’s Republic of China
This document was made possible with support from MacArthur Foundation
Resolution on Certain Questions in the History of Our Party since the Founding of the People’s Republic of China
(Adopted by the Sixth Plenary Session of the Eleventh Central Committee of the Communist Party of China on June 27, 1981)
Review of the History of the Twenty-Eight Years Before the Founding of the People’s Republic
1. The Communist Party of China has traversed sixty years of glorious struggle since its founding in 1921. In order to sum up its experience in the thirty-two years since the founding of the People’s Republic, we must briefly review the previous twenty-eight years in which the Party led the people in waging the revolutionary struggle for New Democracy.
2. The Communist Party of China was the product of the integration of Marxism-Leninism with the Chinese workers’ movement and was founded under the influence of the October Revolution in Russia and the May 4th Movement in China and with the help of the Communist International led by Lenin. The Revolution of 1911 led by Dr. Sun Yat-sen, the great revolutionary forerunner, overthrew the Qing Dynasty, thus bringing to an end over 2,000 years of feudal monarchical rule. However, the semi-colonial and semi-feudal nature of Chinese society remained unchanged. Neither the Kuomintang nor any of the bourgeois or petty-bourgeois political groupings and factions found any way out for the country and the nation, nor was it possible for them to do so. The Communist Party of China and the Communist Party of China alone was able to show the people that China’s salvation lay in overthrowing once and for all the reactionary rule of imperialism and feudalism and then switching over to socialism. When the Communist Party of China was founded, it had less than sixty members. But it initiated the vigorous workers’ movement and the people’s anti-imperialist and anti-feudal struggle and grew rapidly and soon became a leading force such as the Chinese people had never before known.
3. In the course of leading the struggle of the Chinese people with its various nationalities for New Democracy, the Communist Party of China went through four stages: the Northern Expedition (1924-27) conducted with the co-operation of the Kuomintang, the Agrarian Revolutionary War (1927-37), the War of Resistance Against Japan (1937-45) and the nationwide War of Liberation (1946-49). Twice, first in 1927 and then in 1934, it endured major setbacks. It was not until 1949 that it finally triumphed in the revolution, thanks to the long years of armed struggle in conjunction with other forms of struggle in other fields closely co-ordinated with it.
In 1927, regardless of the resolute opposition of the left wing of the Kuomintang with Soong Ching Ling as its outstanding representative, the Kuomintang controlled by Chiang Kai-shek and Wang Jingwei betrayed the policies of Kuomintang-Communist co-operation and of anti-imperialism and anti-feudalism decided on by Dr. Sun Yat-sen and, in collusion with the imperialists, massacred Communists and other revolutionaries. The Party was still quite inexperienced and, moreover, was dominated by Chen Duxiu’s Right capitulationism, so that the revolution suffered a disastrous defeat under the surprise attack of a powerful enemy. The total membership of the Party, which had grown to more than 60,000, fell to a little over 10,000.
However, our Party continued to fight tenaciously. Launched under the leadership of Zhou Enlai and several other comrades, the Nanchang Uprising of 1927 fired the opening shot for armed resistance against the Kuomintang reactionaries. The meeting of the Central Committee of the Party held on August 7, 1927 decided on the policy of carrying out agrarian revolution and organizing armed uprisings. Shortly afterwards, the Autumn Harvest and Guangzhou Uprisings and uprisings in many other areas were organized. Led by Comrade Mao Zedong, the Autumn-Harvest Uprising in the Hunan-Jiangxi border area gave birth to the First Division of the Chinese Workers’ and Peasants’ Revolutionary Army and to the first rural revolutionary base area in the Jinggang Mountains. Before long, the insurgents led by Comrade Zhu De arrived at the Jinggang Mountains and joined forces with it. With the progress of the struggle, the Party set up the Jiangxi central revolutionary base area and the Western Hunan-Hubei, the Haifeng-Lufeng, the Hubei-Henan-Anhui, the Qiongya, the Fujian-Zhejiang-Jiangxi, the Hunan-Hubei-Jiangxi, the Hunan-Jiangxi, the Zuojiang-Youjiang, the Sichuan-Shaanxi, the Shaanxi-Gansu and the Hunan-Hubei-Sichuan-Guizhou and other base areas. The First, Second and Fourth Front Armies of the Workers’ and Peasants’ Red Army were also born, as were many other Red Army units. In addition, Party organizations and other revolutionary organizations were established and revolutionary mass struggles unfolded under difficult conditions in the Kuomintang areas. In the Agrarian Revolutionary War, the First Front Army of the Red Army and the central revolutionary base area under the direct leadership of Comrades Mao Zedong and Zhu De played the most important role. The front armies of the Red Army defeated in turn a number of “encirclement and suppression” campaigns launched by the Kuomintang troops. But because of Wang Ming’s “Left” adventurist leadership, the struggle against the Kuomintang’s fifth “encirclement and suppression” campaign ended in failure. The First Front Army was forced to embark on the 25,000-li Long March and made its way to northern Shaanxi to join forces with units of the Red Army which had been persevering in struggles there and with its Twenty-Fifth Army which had arrived earlier. The Second and Fourth Front Armies also went on their long march, first one and then the other arriving in northern Shaanxi. Guerrilla warfare was carried on under difficult conditions in the base areas in south China from which the main forces of the Red Army had withdrawn. As a result of the defeat caused by Wang Ming’s “Left” errors, the revolutionary base areas and the revolutionary forces in the Kuomintang areas sustained enormous losses. The Red Army of 300,000 men was reduced to about 30,000 and the Communist Party of 300,000 members to about 40,000.
In January 1935, the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Party convened a meeting in Zunyi during the Long March, which established the leading position of Comrade Mao Zedong in the Red Army and the Central Committee of the Party. This saved the Red Army and the Central Committee of the Party which were then in critical danger and subsequently made It possible to defeat Zhang Guotao’s splittism, bring the Long March to a triumphant conclusion and open up new vistas for the Chinese revolution. It was a vital turning point in the history of the Party.
At a time of national crisis of unparalleled gravity when the Japanese imperialists were intensifying their aggression against China, the Central Committee of the Party headed by Comrade Mao Zedong decided on and carried out the correct policy of forming an anti-Japanese national united front. Our Party led the students’ movement of December 9, 1935 and organized the powerful mass struggle to demand an end to the civil war and resistance against Japan so as to save the nation. The Xi’an Incident organized by Generals Zhang Xueliang and Yang Hucheng on December 12, 1936 and its peaceful settlement which our Party promoted played a crucial historical role in bringing about renewed co-operation between the Kuomintang and the Communist Party and in achieving national unity for resistance against Japanese aggression. During the war of resistance, the ruling clique of the Kuomintang continued to oppose the Communist Party and the people and was passive in resisting Japan. As a result, the Kuomintang suffered defeat after defeat in front operations against the Japanese invaders. Our Party persevered in the policy of maintaining its independence and initiative within the united front, closely relied on the masses of the people, conducted guerrilla warfare behind enemy lines and set up many anti-Japanese base areas. The Eighth Route Army and the New Fourth Army — the reorganized Red Army — grew rapidly and became the mainstay in the war of resistance. The Northeast Anti-Japanese United Army sustained its operations amid formidable difficulties. Diverse forms of anti-Japanese struggle were unfolded on a broad scale in areas occupied by Japan or controlled by the Kuomintang. Consequently, the Chinese people were able to hold out in the war for eight long years and win final victory, in co-operation with the people of the Soviet Union and other countries in the anti-fascist war.
During the anti-Japanese war, the Party conducted a rectification movement, a movement of Marxist education. Launched in 1942, it was a tremendous success. It was on this basis that the Enlarged Seventh Plenary Session of the Sixth Central Committee of the Party in 1945 adopted the Resolution on Certain Questions in the History of Our Party and soon afterwards the Party’s Seventh National Congress was convened. These meetings summed up our historical experience and laid down our correct line, principles and policies for building a new-democratic New China, enabling the Party to attain an unprecedented ideological, political and organizational unity and solidarity. After the conclusion of the War of Resistance Against Japan, the Chiang Kai-shek government, with the aid of U.S. imperialism, flagrantly launched an all-out civil war, disregarding the just demand of our Party and the people of the whole country for peace and democracy. With the whole-hearted support of the people in all the Liberated Areas, with the powerful backing of the students’ and workers’ movements and the struggles of the people of various strata in the Kuomintang areas and with the active co-operation of the democratic parties and non-party democrats, our Party led the People’s Liberation Army in fighting the three-year War of Liberation and, after the Liaoxi-Shenyang, Beiping-Tianjin and Huai-Hai campaigns and the successful crossing of the Changjiang (Yangtse) River, in wiping out a total of 8,000,000 Chiang Kai-shek troops. The end result was the overthrow of the reactionary Kuomintang government and the establishment of the great People’s Republic of China. The Chinese people had stood up.
4. The victories gained in the twenty-eight years of struggle fully show that:
1) Victory in the Chinese revolution was won under the guidance of Marxism-Leninism. Our Party had creatively applied the basic principles of Marxism-Leninism and integrated them with the concrete practice of the Chinese revolution. In this way, the great system of Mao Zedong Thought carne into being and the correct path to victory for the Chinese revolution was charted. This is a major contribution to the development of Marxism-Leninism.
2) As the vanguard of the Chinese proletariat, the Communist Party of China is a party serving the people whole-heartedly, with no selfish aim of its own. It is a party with both the courage and the ability to lead the people in their indomitable struggle against any enemy. Convinced of all this through their own experience, the Chinese people of whatever nationality carne to rally around the Party and form a broad united front, thus forging a strong political unity unparalleled in Chinese history.
3) The Chinese revolution was victorious mainly because we relied on a people’s army led by the Party, an army of a completely new type and enjoying flesh-and-blood ties with the people, to defeat a formidable enemy through protracted people’s war. Without such an army, it would have been impossible to achieve the liberation of our people and the independence of our country.
4) The Chinese revolution had the support of the revolutionary forces in other countries at every stage, a fact which the Chinese people will never forget. Yet it must be said that, fundamentally, victory in the Chinese revolution was won because the Chinese Communist Party adhered to the principle of independence and self-reliance and depended on the efforts of the whole Chinese people, whatever their nationality, after they underwent untold hardships and surmounted innumerable difficulties and obstacles together.
5) The victorious Chinese revolution put an end to the rule of a handful of exploiters over the masses of the working people and to the enslavement of the multinational Chinese people by the imperialists and colonialists. The working people have become the masters of the new state and the new society. While changing the balance of forces in world politics, the people’s victory in so large a country having nearly one-quarter of the world’s population has inspired the people in countries similarly subjected to imperialist and colonialist exploitation and oppression with heightened confidence in their forward march. The triumph of the Chinese revolution is the most important political event since World War II and has exerted a profound and far-reaching impact on the international situation and the development of the people’s struggle throughout the world.
5. Victory in the new-democratic revolution was won through long years of struggle and sacrifice by countless martyrs, Party members and people of all nationalities. We should by no means give all the credit to the leaders of the revolution, but at the same time we should not underrate the significant role these leaders have played. Among the many outstanding leaders of the Party, Comrade Mao Zedong was the most prominent. Prior to the failure of the revolution in 1927, he had clearly pointed out the paramount importance of the leadership of the proletariat over the peasants’ struggle and the danger of a Right deviation in this regard. After its failure, he was the chief representative of those who succeeded in shifting the emphasis in the Party’s work from the city to the countryside and in preserving, restoring and promoting the revolutionary forces in the countryside. In the twenty-two years from 1927 to 1949, Comrade Mao Zedong and’ other Party leaders managed to overcome innumerable difficulties and gradually worked out an overall strategy and specific policies and directed their implementation, so that the revolution was able to switch from staggering defeats to great victory. Our Party and people would have had to grope in the dark much longer had it not been for Comrade Mao Zedong, who more than once rescued the Chinese revolution from grave danger, and for the Central Committee of the Party which was headed by him and which charted the firm, correct political course for the whole Party, the whole people and the people’s army. Just as the Communist Party of China is recognized as the central force leading the entire people forward, so Comrade Mao Zedong is recognized as the great leader of the Chinese Communist Party and the whole Chinese people, and Mao Zedong Thought, which came into being through the collective struggle of the Party and the people, is recognized as the guiding ideology of the Party. This is the inevitable outcome of the twenty-eight years of historical development preceding the founding of the People’s Republic of China.
Basic Appraisal of the History of the Thirty-Two Years Since the Founding of the People’s Republic
6. Generally speaking, the years since the founding of the People’s Republic of China are years in which the Chinese Communist Party, guided by Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought, has very successfully led the whole people in carrying out socialist revolution and socialist construction. The establishment of the socialist system represents the greatest and most profound social change in Chinese history and is the foundation for the country’s future progress and development.
7. Our major achievements in the thirty-two years since the founding of the People’s Republic are the following:
1) We have established and consolidated the people’s democratic dictatorship led by the working class and based on the worker-peasant alliance, namely, the dictatorship of the proletariat. It is a new type of state power, unknown in Chinese history, in which the people are the masters of their own house. It constitutes the fundamental guarantee for the building of a modern socialist country, prosperous and powerful, democratic and culturally advanced.
2) We have achieved and consolidated nationwide unification of the country, with the exception of Taiwan and other islands, and have thus put an end to the state of disunity characteristic of old China. We have achieved and consolidated the great unity of the people of all nationalities and have forged and expanded a socialist relationship of equality and mutual help among the more than fifty nationalities. And we have achieved and consolidated the great unity of the workers, peasants, intellectuals and people of other strata and have strengthened and expanded the broad united front which is led by the Chinese Communist Party in full co-operation with the patriotic democratic parties and people’s organizations, and comprises all socialist working people and all patriots who support socialism and patriots who stand for the unification of the motherland, including our compatriots in Taiwan, Xianggang (Hong Kong) and Aomen (Macao) and Chinese citizens overseas.
3) We have defeated aggression, sabotage and armed provocations by the imperialists and hegemonists, safeguarded our country’s security and independence and fought successfully in defence of our border regions.
4) We have built and developed a socialist economy and have in the main completed the socialist transformation of the private ownership of the means of production into public ownership and put into practice the principle of “to each according to his work". The system of exploitation of man by man has been eliminated, and exploiters no longer exist as classes since the overwhelming majority have been remoulded and now live by their own labour.
5) We have scored signal successes in industrial construction and have gradually set up an independent and fairly comprehensive industrial base and economic system. Compared with 1952 when economic rehabilitation was completed, fixed industrial assets, calculated on the basis of their original price, were more than 27 times greater in 1980, exceeding 410,000 million yuan; the output of cotton yarn was 4.5 times greater, reaching 2,930,000 tonnes; that of coal 9.4 times, reaching 620 million tonnes; that of electricity 41 times, exceeding 300,900 million KWH; and the output of crude oil exceeded 105,000,000 tonnes and that of steel 37 million tonnes; the output value of the engineering industry was 54 times greater, exceeding 127,000 million yuan. A number of new industrial bases have been built in our east hinterland and the regions inhabited by our minority nationalities. National defence industry started from scratch and is being gradually built up. Much has been done in the prospecting of natural resources. There has been a tremendous growth in railway, highway, water and air transport and post and telecommunications.
6) The conditions prevailing in agricultural production have experienced a remarkable change, giving rise to big increases in production. The amount of land under irrigation has grown from 300 million mu in 1952 to over 670 million mu. Flooding by big rivers such as the Changjiang (Yangtse), Huanghe (Yellow River), Huaihe, Haihe, Zhujiang (Pearl River), Liaohe and Songhuajiang has been brought under initial control. In our rural areas, where farm machinery, chemical fertilizers and electricity were practically non-existent before liberation, there is now a big increase in the number of agriculture-related tractors and irrigation and drainage equipment and in the quantity of chemical fertilizers applied, and the amount of electricity consumed is 7.5 times that generated in the whole country in the early years of liberation. In 1980, the total output of grain was nearly double that in 1952 and that of cotton more than double. Despite the excessive rate of growth in our population, which is now nearly a billion, we have succeeded in basically meeting the needs of our people in food and clothing by our own efforts.
7) There has been a substantial growth in urban and rural commerce and in foreign trade. The total value of commodities purchased by enterprises owned by the whole people rose from 17.5 billion yuan in 1952 to 226.3 billion yuan in 1980, registering a nearly 13-fold increase; retail sales rose from 27.7 billion yuan to 214 billion yuan, an increase of 7.7 times. The total value of the state’s foreign trade in 1980 was 8.7 times that of 1952. With the growth in industry, agriculture and commerce, the people’s livelihood has improved very markedly as compared with pre-liberation days. In 1980, average consumption per capita in both town and country was nearly twice as much as in 1952, allowing for price changes.
8) Considerable progress has been made in education, science, culture, public health and physical culture. In 1980, enrolment in the various kinds of full-time schools totalled 204 million, 3.7 times the number in 1952. In the past thirty-two years, the institutions of higher education and vocational schools have turned out nearly 9 million graduates with specialized knowledge or skills. Our achievements in nuclear technology, man-made satellites, rocketry, etc. represent substantial advances in the field of science and technology. In literature and art, large numbers of fine works have appeared to cater for the needs of the people and socialism. With the participation of the masses, sports have developed vigorously, and records have been chalked up in quite a few events. Epidemic diseases with their high mortality rates have been eliminated or largely eliminated, the health of the rural and urban populations has greatly improved, and average life expectancy is now much higher.
9) Under the new historical conditions, the People’s Liberation Army has grown in strength and in quality. No longer composed only of ground forces, it has become a composite army, including the naval and air forces and various technical branches. Our armed forces, which are a combination of the field armies, the regional forces and the militia, have been strengthened. Their quality is now much higher and their technical equipment much better. The P.L.A. is serving as the solid pillar of the people’s democratic dictatorship in defending and participating in the socialist revolution and socialist construction.
10) Internationally, we have steadfastly pursued an independent socialist foreign policy, advocated and upheld the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, entered into diplomatic relations with 124 countries and promoted trade and economic and cultural exchanges with still more countries and regions. Our country’s place in the United Nations and the Security Council has been restored to us. Adhering to proletarian internationalism, we are playing an increasingly influential and active role in international affairs by enhancing our friendship with the people of other countries, by supporting and assisting the oppressed nations in their cause of liberation, the newly independent countries in their national construction and the people of various countries in their just struggles, and by staunchly opposing imperialism, hegemonism, colonialism and racism in defence of world peace. All of which has served to create favourable international conditions for our socialist construction and contributes to the development of a world situation favourable to the people everywhere.
8. New China has not been in existence for very long, and our successes are still preliminary. Our Party has made mistakes owing to its meagre experience in leading the cause of socialism and subjective errors in the Party leadership’s analysis of the situation and its understanding of Chinese conditions. Before the “cultural revolution” there were mistakes of enlarging the scope of class struggle and of impetuosity and rashness in economic construction. Later, there was the comprehensive, long-drawn-out and grave blunder of the “cultural revolution". All these errors prevented us from scoring the greater achievements of which we should have been capable. It is impermissible to overlook or whitewash mistakes, which in itself would be a mistake and would give rise to more and worse mistakes. But after all, our achievements in the past thirty-two years are the main thing. It would be a no less serious error to overlook or deny our achievements or our successful experiences in scoring these achievements. These achievements and successful experiences of ours are the product of the creative application of Marxism-Leninism by our Party and people, the manifestation of the superiority of the socialist system and the base from which the entire Party and people will continue to advance. “Uphold truth and rectify error” — this is the basic stand of dialectical materialism our Party must take. It was by taking this stand that we laved our cause from danger and defeat and won victory in the past. By taking the same stand, we will certainly win still greater victories in the future.
The Seven Years of Basic Completion of the Socialist Transformation
9. From the inception of the People’s Republic of China in October 1949 to 1956, our Party led the whole people in gradually realizing the transition from new democracy to socialism, rapidly rehabilitating the country’s economy, undertaking planned economic construction and in the main accomplishing the socialist transformation of the private ownership of the means of production in most of the country. The guidelines and basic policies defined by the Party in this historical period were correct and led to brilliant successes.
10. In the first three years of the People’s Republic, we cleared the mainland of bandits and the remnant armed forces of the Kuomintang reactionaries, peacefully liberated Tibet, established people’s governments at all levels throughout the country, confiscated bureaucrat-capitalist enterprises and transformed them into state-owned socialist enterprises, unified the country’s financial and economic work, stabilized commodity prices, carried out agrarian reform in the new liberated areas, suppressed counter-revolutionaries, and unfolded the movements against the “three evils” of corruption; waste and bureaucracy and against the “five evils” of bribery, tax evasion, theft of state property, cheating on government contracts and stealing of economic information, the latter being a movement to beat back the attack mounted by the bourgeoisie. We effectively transformed the educational, scientific and cultural institutions of old China. While successfully carrying out the complex and difficult task of social reform and simultaneously undertaking the great war to resist U.S. aggression and aid Korea, protect our homes and defend the country, we rapidly rehabilitated the country’s economy which had been devastated in old China. By the end of 1952, the country’s industrial and agricultural production had attained record levels.
11. On the proposal of Comrade Mao Zedong in 1952, the Central Committee of the Party advanced the general line for the transition period, which was to realize the country’s socialist industrialization and socialist transformation of agriculture, handicrafts and capitalist industry and commerce step by step over a fairly long period of time. This general line was a reflection of historical necessity.
1) Socialist industrialization is an indispensable prerequisite to the country’s independence and prosperity.
2) With nationwide victory in the new-democratic revolution and completion of the agrarian reform, the contradiction between the working class and the bourgeoisie and between the socialist road and the capitalist road became the principal internal contradiction. The country needed a certain expansion of capitalist industry and commerce which were beneficial to its economy and to the people’s livelihood. But in the course of their expansion, things detrimental to the national economy and the people’s livelihood were bound to emerge. Consequently, a struggle between restriction and opposition to restriction was inevitable. The conflict of interests became increasingly apparent between capitalist enterprises on the one hand and the economic policies of the state, the socialist state-owned economy, the workers and staff in these capitalist enterprises and the people as a whole on the other. An integrated series of necessary measures and steps, such as the fight against speculation and profiteering, the readjustment and restructuring of industry and commerce, the movement against the “five evils", workers’ supervision of production and state monopoly of the purchase and marketing of grain and cotton, were bound to gradually bring backward, anarchic, lopsided and profit-oriented capitalist industry and commerce into the orbit of socialist transformation.
3) Among the individual peasants, and particularly the poor and lower-middle peasants who had just acquired land in the agrarian reform but lacked other means of production, there was a genuine desire for mutual aid and co-operation in order to avoid borrowing at usurious rates and even mortgaging or selling their land again with consequent polarization, and in order to expand production, undertake water conservancy projects, ward off natural calamities and make use of farm machinery and new techniques. The progress of industrialization, while demanding agricultural products in ever increasing quantities, would provide stronger and stronger support for the technical transformation of agriculture, and this also constituted a motive force behind the transformation of individual into co-operative farming.
As is borne out by history, the general line for the transition period set forth by our Party was entirely correct.
12. During the period of transition, our Party creatively charted a course for socialist transformation that suited China’s specific conditions. In dealing with capitalist industry and commerce, we devised a whole series of transitional forms of state capitalism from lower to higher levels, such as the placing of state orders with private enterprises for the processing of materials or the manufacture of goods, state monopoly of the purchase and marketing of the products of private enterprise, the marketing of products of state-owned enterprises by private shops, and joint state-private ownership of individual enterprises or enterprises of a whole trade, and we eventually realized the peaceful redemption of the bourgeoisie, a possibility envisaged by Marx and Lenin. In dealing with individual farming, we devised transitional forms of co-operation, proceeding from temporary or all-the-year-round mutual-aid teams, to elementary agricultural producers’ co-operatives of a semi-socialist nature and then to advanced agricultural producers’ co-operatives of a fully socialist nature, always adhering to the principles of voluntariness and mutual benefit, demonstration through advanced examples, and extension of state help. Similar methods were used in transforming individual handicraft industries. In the course of such transformation, the state-capitalist and co-operative economies displayed their unmistakable superiority. By 1956, the socialist transformation of the private ownership of the means of production had been largely completed in most regions. But there had been shortcomings and errors. From the summer of 1955 onwards, we were over-hasty in pressing on with agricultural co-operation and the transformation of private handicraft and commercial establishments; we were far from meticulous, the changes were too fast, and we did our work in a somewhat summary, stereotyped manner, leaving open a number of questions for a long time. Following the basic completion of the transformation of capitalist industry and commerce in 1956, we failed to do a proper job in employing and handling some of the former industrialists and businessmen. But on the whole, it was definitely a historic victory for us to have effected, and to have effected fairly smoothly, so difficult, complex and profound a social change in so vast a country with its several hundred million people, a change, moreover, which promoted the growth of industry, agriculture and the economy as a whole.
13. In economic construction under the First Five-Year Plan (1953-57), we likewise scored major successes through our own efforts and with the assistance of the Soviet Union and other friendly countries. A number of basic industries, essential for the country’s industrialization and yet very weak in the past, were built up. Between 1953 and 1956, the average annual increases in the total value of industrial and agricultural output were 19.6 and 4.8 per cent respectively. Economic growth was quite fast, with satisfactory economic results, and the key economic sectors were well-balanced. The market prospered, prices were stable. The people’s livelihood improved perceptibly. In April 1956, Comrade Mao Zedong made his speech On the Ten Major Relationships, in which he initially summed up our experiences in socialist construction and set forth the task of exploring a way of building socialism suited to the specific conditions of our country.
14. The First National People’s Congress was convened in September 1954, and it enacted the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China. In March 1955, a national conference of the Party reviewed the major struggle against the plots of the careerists Gao Gang and Rao Shushi to split the Party and usurp supreme power in the Party and the state; in this way it strengthened Party unity. In January 1956, the Central Committee of the Party called a conference on the question of the intellectuals. Subsequently, the policy of “letting a hundred flowers blossom and a hundred schools of thought contend” was advanced. These measures spelled out the correct policy regarding intellectuals and the work in education, science and culture and thus brought about a significant advance in these fields. Owing to the Party’s correct policies, fine style of work and the consequent high prestige it enjoyed among the people, the vast numbers of cadres, masses, youth and intellectuals earnestly studied Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought and participated enthusiastically in revolutionary and construction activities under the leadership of the Party, so that a healthy and virile revolutionary morality prevailed throughout the country.
15. The Eighth National Congress of the Party held in September 1956 was very successful. The congress declared that the socialist system had been basically established in China; that while we must strive to liberate Taiwan, thoroughly complete socialist transformation, ultimately eliminate the system of exploitation and continue to wipe out the remnant forces of counter-revolution, the principal contradiction within the country was no longer the contradiction between the working class and the bourgeoisie but between the demand of the people for rapid economic and cultural development and the existing state of our economy and culture which fell short of the needs of the people; that the chief task confronting the whole nation was to concentrate all efforts on developing the productive forces, industrializing the country and gradually meeting the people’s incessantly growing material and cultural needs; and that although class struggle still existed and the people’s democratic dictatorship had to be further strengthened, the basic task of the dictatorship was now to protect and develop the productive forces in the context of the new relations of production. The congress adhered to the principle put forward by the Central Committee of the Party in May 1956, the principle of opposing both conservatism and rash advance in economic construction, that is, of making steady progress by striking an over-all balance. It emphasized the problem of the building of the Party in office and the need to uphold democratic centralism and collective leadership, oppose the personality cult, promote democracy within the Party and among the people and strengthen the Party’s ties with the masses. The line laid down by the Eighth National Congress of the Party was correct and it charted the path for the development of the cause of socialism and for Party building in the new period.
Ten Years of Initially Building Socialism in All Spheres
16. After the basic completion of socialist transformation, our Party led the entire people in shifting our work to all-round, large-scale socialist construction. In the ten years preceding the “cultural revolution” we achieved very big successes despite serious setbacks. By 1966, the value of fixed industrial assets, calculated on the basis of their original price, was 4 times greater than in 1956. The output of such major industrial products as cotton yarn, coal, electricity, crude oil, steel and mechanical equipment all recorded impressive increases. Beginning in 1965, China became self-sufficient in petroleum. New industries such as the electronic and petrochemical industries were established one after another. The distribution of industry over the country became better balanced. Capital construction in agriculture and its technical transformation began on a massive scale and yielded better and better results. Both the number of tractors for farming and the quantity of chemical fertilizers applied increased over 7 times and rural consumption of electricity 71 times. The number of graduates from institutions of higher education was 4.9 times that of the previous seven years. Educational work was improved markedly through consolidation. Scientific research and technological work, too, produced notable results.
In the ten years from 1956 to 1966, the Party accumulated precious experience in leading socialist construction. In the spring of 1957, Comrade Mao Zedong stressed the necessity of correctly handling and distinguishing between the two types of social contradictions differing in nature in a socialist society, and made the correct handling of contradictions among the people the main content of the country’s political life. Later, he called for the creation of “a political situation in which we have both centralism and democracy, both discipline and freedom, both unity of will and personal ease of mind and liveliness". In 1958, he proposed that the focus of Party and government work be shifted to technical revolution and socialist construction. All this was the continuation and development of the line adopted by the Eighth National Congress of the Party and was to go on serving as a valuable guide. While leading the work of correcting the errors in the Great Leap Forward and the movement to organize people’s communes, Comrade Mao Zedong pointed out that there must be no expropriation of the peasants; that a given stage of social development should not be skipped; that equalitarianism must be opposed; that we must stress commodity production, observe the law of value and strike an over-all balance in economic planning; and that economic plans must be arranged with the priority proceeding from agriculture to light industry and then to heavy industry. Comrade Liu Shaoqi said that a variety of means of production could be put into circulation as commodities and that there should be a double-track system for labour as well as for education  in socialist society. Comrade Zhou Enlai said, among other things, that the overwhelming majority of Chinese intellectuals had become intellectuals belonging to the working people and that science and technology would play a key role in China’s modernization. Comrade Chen Yun held that plan targets should be realistic, that the scale of construction should correspond to national capability and considerations should be given to both the people’s livelihood and the needs of state construction, and that the material, financial and credit balances should be maintained in drawing up plans. Comrade Deng Xiaoping held that industrial enterprises should be consolidated and their management improved and strengthened, and that the system of workers’ conferences should be introduced. Comrade Zhu De stressed the need to pay attention to the development of handicrafts and of diverse undertakings in agriculture. Deng Zihui and other comrades pointed out that a system of production responsibility should be introduced in agriculture. All these views were not only of vital significance then, but have remained so ever since. In the course of economic readjustment, the Central Committee drew up draft rules governing the work of the rural people’s communes and work in industry, commerce, education, science and literature and art. These rules which were a more or less systematic summation of our experience in socialist construction and embodied specific policies suited to the prevailing conditions remain important as a source of reference for us to this very day.
In short, the material and technical basis for modernizing our country was largely established during that period. It was also largely in the same period that the core personnel for our work in the economic, cultural and other spheres were trained and that they gained their experience. This was the principal aspect of the Party’s work in that period.
17. In the course of this decade, there were serious faults and errors in the guidelines of the Party’s work, which developed through twists and turns.
Nineteen fifty-seven was one of the years that saw the best results in economic work since the founding of the People’s Republic owing to the conscientious implementation of the correct line formulated at the Eighth National Congress of the Party. To start a rectification campaign throughout the Party in that year and urge the masses to offer criticisms and suggestions were normal steps in developing socialist democracy. In the rectification campaign a handful of bourgeois Rightists seized the opportunity to advocate what they called “speaking out and airing views in a big way” and to mount a wild attack against the Party and the nascent socialist system in an attempt to replace the leadership of the Communist Party. It was therefore entirely correct and necessary to launch a resolute counter-attack. But the scope of this struggle was made far too broad and a number of intellectuals, patriotic people and Party cadres were unjustifiably labelled “Rightists", with unfortunate consequences.
In 1958, the Second Plenum of the Eighth National Congress of the Party adopted the general line for socialist construction. The line and its fundamental aspects were correct in that it reflected the masses’ pressing demand for a change in the economic and cultural backwardness of our country. Its shortcoming was that it overlooked objective economic laws. Both before and after the plenum, all comrades in the Party and people of all nationalities displayed high enthusiasm and initiative for socialism and achieved certain results in production and construction. However, “Left” errors, characterized by excessive targets, the issuing of arbitrary directions, boastfulness and the stirring up of a “communist wind", spread unchecked throughout the country. This was due to our lack of experience in socialist construction and inadequate understanding of the laws of economic development and of the basic economic conditions in China. More important, it was due to the fact that Comrade Mao Zedong and many leading comrades, both at the centre and in the localities, had become smug about their successes, were impatient for quick results and overestimated the role of man’s subjective will and efforts. After the general line was formulated, the Great Leap Forward and the movement for rural people’s communes were initiated without careful investigation and study and without prior experimentation. From the end of 1958 to the early stage of the Lushan Meeting of the Political Bureau of the Party’s Central Committee in July 1959, Comrade Mao Zedong and the Central Committee led the whole Party in energetically rectifying the errors which had already been recognized. However, in the later part of the meeting, he erred in initiating criticism of Comrade Peng Dehuai and then in launching a Party-wide struggle against “Right opportunism". The resolution passed by the Eighth Plenary Session of the Eighth Central Committee of the Party concerning the so-called anti-Party group of Peng Dehuai, Huang Kecheng, Zhang Wentian and Zhou Xiaozhou was entirely wrong. Politically, this struggle gravely undermined inner-Party democracy from the central level down to the grass roots; economically, it cut short the process of the rectification of “Left” errors, thus prolonging their influence. It was mainly due to the errors of the Great Leap Forward and of the struggle against “Right opportunism” together with a succession of natural calamities and the perfidious scrapping of contracts by the Soviet Government that our economy encountered serious difficulties between 1959 and 1961, which caused serious losses to our country and people.
In the winter of 1960, the Central Committee of the • Party and Comrade Mao Zedong set about rectifying the “Left” errors in rural work and decided on the principle of “readjustment, consolidation, filling out and raising standards” for the economy as a whole. A number of correct policies and resolute measures were worked out and put into effect with Comrades Liu Shaoqi, Zhou Enlai, Chen Yun and Deng Xiaoping in charge. All this constituted a crucial turning point in that historical phase. In January 1962, the enlarged Central Work Conference attended by 7,000 people made a preliminary summing-up of the positive and negative experience of the Great Leap Forward and unfolded criticism and self-criticism. A majority of the comrades who had been unjustifiably criticized during the campaign against “Right opportunism” were rehabilitated before or after the conference. In addition, most of the “Rightists” had their label removed. Thanks to these economic and political measures, the national economy recovered and developed fairly smoothly between 1962 and 1966.
Nevertheless, “Left” errors in the principles guiding economic work were not only not eradicated, but actually grew in the spheres of politics, ideology and culture. At the Tenth Plenary Session of the Party’s Eighth Central Committee in September 1962, Comrade Mao Zedong widened and absolutized the class struggle, which exists only within certain limits in socialist society, and carried forward the viewpoint he had advanced after the anti-Rightist struggle in 1957 that the contradiction between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie remained the principal contradiction in our society. He went a step further and asserted that, throughout the historical period of socialism, the bourgeoisie would continue to exist and would attempt a comeback and become the source of revisionism inside the Party. The socialist education movement unfolded between 1963 and 1965 in some rural areas and at the grass-roots level in a small number of cities did help to some extent to improve the cadres’ style of work and economic management. But, in the course of the movement, problems differing in nature were all treated as forms of class struggle or its reflections inside the Party. As a result, quite a number of the cadres at the grassroots level were unjustly dealt with in the latter half of 1964, and early in 1965 the erroneous thesis was advanced that the main target of the movement should be “those Party persons in power taking the capitalist road". In the ideological sphere, a number of literary and art works and schools of thought and a number of representative personages in artistic, literary and academic circles were subjected to unwarranted, inordinate political criticism. And there was an increasingly serious “Left” deviation on the question of intellectuals and on the question of education, science and culture. These errors eventually culminated in the “cultural revolution". but they had not yet become dominant.
Thanks to the fact that the whole Party and people had concentrated on carrying out the correct principle of economic readjustment since the winter of 1960, socialist construction gradually flourished again. The Party and the people were united in sharing weal and woe. They overcame difficulties at home, stood up to the pressure of the Soviet leading clique and repaid all the debts owed to the Soviet Union, which were chiefly incurred through purchasing Soviet arms during the movement to resist U.S. aggression and aid Korea. In addition, they did what they could to support the revolutionary struggles of the people of many countries and assist them in their economic construction. The Third National People’s Congress, which met between the end of 1964 and the first days of 1965, announced that the task of national economic readjustment had in the main been accomplished and that the economy as a whole would soon enter a new stage of development. It called for energetic efforts to build China step by step into a socialist power with modern agriculture, industry, national defence and science and technology. This call was not fulfilled owing to the “cultural revolution".
18. All the successes in these ten years were achieved under the collective leadership of the Central Committee of the Party headed by Comrade Mao Zedong. Likewise, responsibility for the errors committed in the work of this period rested with the same collective leadership. Although Comrade Mao Zedong must be held chiefly responsible, we cannot lay the blame for all those errors on him alone. During this period, his theoretical and practical mistakes concerning class struggle in a socialist society became increasingly serious, his personal arbitrariness gradually undermined democratic centralism in Party life and the personality cult grew graver and graver. The Central Committee of the Party failed to rectify these mistakes in good time. Careerists like Lin Biao, Jiang Qing and Kang Sheng, harbouring ulterior motives, made use of these errors and inflated them. This led to the inauguration of the “cultural revolution".
The Decade of the “Cultural Revolution”
19. The “cultural revolution", which lasted from May 1966 to October 1976, was responsible for the most severe setback and the heaviest losses suffered by the’ Party, the state and the people since the founding of the People’s Republic. It was initiated and led by Comrade Mao Zedong. His principal theses were that many representatives of the bourgeoisie and counter-revolutionary revisionists had sneaked into the Party, the government, the army and cultural circles, and leadership in a fairly large majority of organizations and departments was no longer in the hands of Marxists and the people; that Party persons in power taking the capitalist road had formed a bourgeois headquarters inside the Central Committee which pursued a revisionist political and organizational line and had agents in all provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions, as well as in all central departments; that since the forms of struggle adopted in the past had not been able to solve this problem, the power usurped by the capitalist-roaders could be recaptured only by carrying out a great cultural revolution, by openly and fully mobilizing the broad masses from the bottom up to expose these sinister phenomena; and that the cultural revolution was in fact a great political revolution in which one class would overthrow another, a revolution that would have to be waged time and again. These theses appeared mainly in the May 16 Circular, which served as the programmatic document of the “cultural revolution", and in the political report to the Ninth National Congress of the Party in April 1969. They were incorporated into a general theory — the “theory of continued revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat” — which then took on a specific meaning. These erroneous “Left” theses, upon which Comrade Mao Zedong based himself in initiating the “cultural revolution", were obviously inconsistent with the system of Mao Zedong Thought, which is the integration of the universal principles of Marxism-Leninism with the concrete practice of the Chinese revolution. These theses must be clearly distinguished from Mao Zedong Thought. As for Lin Biao, Jiang Qing and others, who were placed in important positions by Comrade Mao Zedong, the matter is of an entirely different nature. They rigged up two counter-revolutionary cliques in an attempt to seize supreme power and, taking advantage of Comrade Mao Zedong’s errors, committed many crimes behind his back, bringing disaster to the country and the people. As their counter-revolutionary crimes have been fully exposed, this resolution will not go into them at any length.
20. The history of the “cultural revolution” has proved that Comrade Mao Zedong’s principal theses for initiating this revolution conformed neither to Marxism, Leninism nor to Chinese reality. They represent an entirely erroneous appraisal of the prevailing class relations and political situation in the Party and state.
1) The “cultural revolution” was defined as a struggle against the revisionist line or the capitalist road. There were no grounds at all for this definition. It led to the confusing of right and wrong on a series of important theories and policies. Many things denounced as revisionist or capitalist during the “cultural revolution” were actually Marxist and socialist principles, many of which had been set forth or supported by Comrade Mao Zedong himself. The “cultural revolution” negated many of the correct principles, policies and achievements of the seventeen years after the founding of the People’s Republic. In fact, it negated much of the work of the Central Committee of the Party and the People’s Government, including Comrade Mao Zedong’s own contribution. It negated the arduous struggles the entire .people had conducted in socialist construction.
2) The confusing of right and wrong inevitably led to confusing the people with the enemy. The “capitalist-roaders” overthrown in the “cultural revolution” were leading cadres of Party and government organizations at all levels, who formed the core force of the socialist cause. The so-called bourgeois headquarters inside the Party headed by Liu Shaoqi and Deng Xiaoping simply did not exist. Irrefutable facts have proved that labelling Comrade Liu Shaoqi a “renegade, hidden traitor and stab” was nothing but a frame-up by Lin Biao, Jiang Qing and their followers. The political conclusion concerning Comrade Liu Shaoqi drawn by the Twelfth Plenary Session of the Eighth Central Committee of the Party and the disciplinary measure it meted out to him were both utterly wrong. The criticism of the so-called reactionary academic authorities in the “cultural revolution” during which many capable and accomplished intellectuals were attacked and persecuted also badly muddled up the distinction between the people and the enemy.
3) Nominally, the “cultural revolution” was conducted by directly relying on the masses. In fact, it was divorced both from the Party organizations and from the masses. After the movement started, Party organizations at different levels were attacked and became partially or wholly paralysed, the Party’s leading cadres at various levels were subjected to criticism and struggle, inner-Party life carne to a standstill, and many activists and large numbers of the basic masses whom the Party has long relied on were rejected. At the beginning of the “cultural revolution", the vast majority of participants in the movement acted out of their faith in Comrade Mao Zedong and the Party. Except for a handful of extremists, however, they did not approve of launching ruthless struggles against leading Party cadres at all levels. With the lapse of time, following their own circuitous paths, they eventually attained a heightened political consciousness and consequently began to adopt a sceptical or wait-and-see attitude towards the “cultural revolution", or even resisted and opposed it. Many people were assailed either more or less severely for this very reason. Such a state of affairs could not but provide openings to be exploited by opportunists, careerists and conspirators, not a few of whom were escalated to high or even key positions.
4) Practice has shown that the “cultural revolution” did not in fact constitute a revolution or social progress in any sense, nor could it possibly have done so. It was we and not the enemy at all who were thrown into disorder by the “cultural revolution". Therefore, from beginning to end, it did not turn “great disorder under heaven” into “great order under heaven", nor could it conceivably have done so. After the state power in the form of the people’s democratic dictatorship was established in China, and especially after socialist transformation was basically completed and the exploiters were eliminated as classes, the socialist revolution represented a fundamental break with the past in both content and method, even though its tasks remained to be completed. Of course, it was essential to take proper account of certain undesirable phenomena that undoubtedly existed in Party and state organisms and to remove them by correct measures in conformity with the Constitution, the laws and the Party Constitution. But on no account should the theories and methods of the “cultural revolution” have been applied. Under socialist conditions, there is no economic or political basis for carrying out a great political revolution in which “one class overthrows another". It decidedly could not come up with any constructive programme, but could only bring grave disorder, damage and retrogression in its train. History has shown that the “cultural revolution". initiated by a leader labouring under a misapprehension and capitalized on by counter-revolutionary cliques, led to domestic turmoil and brought catastrophe to the Party, the state and the whole people.
21. The “cultural revolution” can be divided into three stages.
1) From the initiation of the “cultural revolution” to the Ninth National Congress of the Party in April 1969. The convening of the enlarged Political Bureau meeting of the Central Committee of the Party in May 1966 and the Eleventh Plenary Session of the Eighth Central Committee in August of that year marked the launching of the “cultural revolution” on a full scale. These two meetings adopted the May 16 Circular and the Decision of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China Concerning the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution respectively. They launched an erroneous struggle against the so-called anti-Party clique of Peng Zhen, Luo Ruiqing, Lu Dingyi and Yang Shangkun and the so-called headquarters of Liu Shaoqi and Deng Xiaoping. They wrongly reorganized the central leading organs, set up the “Cultural Revolution Group Under the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party” and gave it a major part of the power of the Central Committee. In fact, Comrade Mao Zedong’s personal leadership characterized by “Left” errors took the place of the collective leadership of the Central Committee, and the cult of Comrade Mao Zedong was frenziedly pushed to an extreme. Lin Biao, Jiang Qing, Kang Sheng, Zhang Chunqiao and others, acting chief ly in the name of the “Cultural Revolution Group", exploited the situation to incite people to “overthrow everything and wage full-scale civil war". Around February 1967, at various meetings, Tan Zhenlin, Chen Yi, Ye Jianying, Li Fuchun, Li Xiannian, Xu Xiangqian, Nie Rongzhen and other Political Bureau members and leading comrades of the Military Commission of the Central Committee sharply criticized the mistakes of the “cultural revolution". This was labelled the “February adverse current", and they were attacked and repressed. Comrades Zhu De and Chen Yun were also wrongly criticized. Almost all leading Party and government departments in the different spheres and localities were stripped of their power or reorganized. The chaos was such that it was necessary to send in the People’s Liberation Army to support the Left, the workers and the peasants and to institute military control and military training. It played a positive role in stabilizing the situation, but it also produced some negative consequences. The Ninth Congress of the Party legitimatized the erroneous theories and practices of the “cultural revolution", and so reinforced the positions of Lin Biao, Jiang Qing, Kang Sheng and others in the Central Committee of the Party. The guidelines of the Ninth Congress were wrong, ideologically, politically and organizationally.
2) From the Ninth National Congress of the Party to its Tenth National Congress in August 1973. In 1970-71 the counter-revolutionary Lin Biao clique plotted to capture supreme power and attempted an armed counterrevolutionary coup d’etat. Such was the outcome of the “cultural revolution” which overturned a series of fundamental Party principles. Objectively, it announced the failure of the theories and practices of the “cultural revolution". Comrades Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai ingeniously thwarted the plotted coup. Supported by Comrade Mao Zedong, Comrade Zhou Enlai took charge of the day-to-day work of the Central Committee and things began to improve in all fields. During the criticism and repudiation of Lin Biao in 1972, he correctly proposed criticism of the ultra-Left trend of thought. In fact, this was an extension of the correct proposals put forward around February 1967 by many leading comrades of the Central Committee who had called for the correction of the errors of the “cultural revolution". Comrade Mao Zedong, however, erroneously held that the task was still to oppose the “ultra-Right". The Tenth Congress of the Party perpetuated the “Left” errors of the Ninth Congress and made Wang Hongwen a vice-chairman of the Party. Jiang Qing, Zhang Chunqiao, Yao Wenyuan and Wang Hongwen formed a Gang of Four inside the Political Bureau of the Central Committee, thus strengthening the influence of the counter-revolutionary Jiang Qing clique.
3) From the Tenth Congress of the Party to October 1976. Early in 1974 Jiang Qing, Wang Hongwen and others launched a campaign to “criticize Lin Biao and Confucius". Jiang Qing and the others directed the spearhead at Comrade Zhou Enlai, which was different in nature from the campaign conducted in some localities and organizations where individuals involved in and incidents connected with the conspiracies of the counterrevolutionary Lin Biao clique were investigated. Comrade Mao Zedong approved the launching of the movement to “criticize Lin Biao and Confucius". When he found that Jiang Qing and the others were turning it to their advantage in order to seize power, he severely criticized them. He declared that they had formed a “gang of four” and pointed out that Jiang Qing harboured the wild ambition of making herself chairman of the Central Committee and “forming a cabinet” by political manipulation. In 1975, when Comrade Zhou Enlai was seriously ill, Comrade Deng Xiaoping, with the support of Comrade Mao Zedong, took charge of the day-to-day work of the Central Committee. He convened an enlarged meeting of the Military Commission of the Central Committee and several other important meetings with a view to solving problems in industry, agriculture, transport and science and technology, and began to straighten out the work in many fields so that the situation took an obvious turn for the better. However, Comrade Mao Zedong could not bear to accept systematic correction of the errors of the . “cultural revolution” by Comrade Deng Xiaoping and triggered the movement to “criticize Deng and counter the Right deviationist trend to reverse correct verdicts", once again plunging the nation into turmoil. In January of that year, Comrade Zhou Enlai passed away. Comrade Zhou Enlai was utterly devoted to the Party and the people and stuck to his post till his dying day. He found himself in an extremely difficult situation throughout the “cultural revolution". He always kept the general interest in mind, bore the heavy burden of office without complaint, racking his brains and untiringly endeavouring to keep the normal work of the Party and the state going, to minimize the damage caused by the “cultural revolution” and to protect many Party and non-Party cadres. He waged all forms of struggle to counter sabotage by the counter-revolutionary Lin Biao and Jiang Qing cliques. His death left the whole Party and people in the most profound grief. In April of the same year, a powerful movement of protest signalled by the Tian An Men Incident swept the whole country, a movement to mourn for the late Premier Zhou Enlai and oppose the-Lang of Four. In essence, the movement was a demonstration of support for the Party’s correct leadership as represented by Comrade Deng Xiaoping. It laid the ground for massive popular support for the subsequent overthrow of the counter-revolutionary Jiang Qing clique. The Political Bureau of the Central Committee and Comrade Mao Zedong wrongly assessed the nature of the Tian An Men Incident and dismissed Comrade Deng Xiaoping from all his posts inside and outside the Party. As soon as Comrade Mao Zedong passed away in September 1976, the counterrevolutionary Jiang Qing clique stepped up its plot to seize supreme Party and state leadership. Early in October of the same year, the Political Bureau of the Central Committee, executing the will of the Party and the people, resolutely smashed the clique and brought the catastrophic “cultural revolution” to an end. This was a great victory won by the entire Party, army and people after prolonged struggle. Hua Guofeng, Ye Jianying, Li Xiannian and other comrades played a vital part in the struggle to crush the clique.
22. Chief responsibility for the grave “Left” error of the “cultural revolution", an error comprehensive in magnitude and protracted in duration, does indeed lie with Comrade Mao Zedong. But after all it was the error of a great proletarian revolutionary. Comrade Mao Zedong paid constant attention to overcoming shortcomings in the life of the Party and state. In his later years, however, far from making a correct analysis of many problems, he confused right and wrong and the people with the enemy during the “cultural revolution". While making serious mistakes, he repeatedly urged the whole Party to study the works of Marx, Engels and Lenin conscientiously and imagined that his theory and practice were Marxist and that they were essential for the consolidation of the dictatorship of the proletariat. Herein lies his tragedy. While persisting in the comprehensive error of the “cultural revolution", he checked and rectified some of its specific mistakes, protected some leading Party cadres and non-Party public figures and enabled some leading cadres to return to important leading posts. He led the struggle to smash the counter-revolutionary Lin Biao clique. He made major criticisms and exposures of Jiang Qing, Zhang Chunqiao and others, frustrating their sinister ambition to seize supreme leadership. All this was crucial to the subsequent and relatively painless overthrow of the Gang of Four by our Party. In his later years, he still remained alert to safeguarding the security of our country, stood up to the pressure of the social-imperialists, pursued a correct foreign policy, firmly supported the just struggles of all peoples, outlined the correct strategy of the three worlds and advanced the important principle that China would never seek hegemony. During the “cultural revolution” our Party was not destroyed, but maintained its unity. The State Council and the People’s Liberation Army were still able to do much of their essential work. The Fourth National People’s Congress which was attended by deputies from all nationalities and all walks of life was convened and it determined the composition of the State Council with Comrades Zhou Enlai and Deng Xiaoping as the core of its leadership. The foundation of China’s socialist system remained intact and it was possible to continue socialist economic construction. Our country remained united and exerted a significant influence on international affairs. All these important facts are inseparable from the great role played by Comrade Mao Zedong. For these reasons, and particularly for his vital contributions to the cause of the revolution over the years, the Chinese people have always regarded Comrade Mao Zedong as their respected and beloved great leader and teacher.
23. The struggle waged by the Party and the people against “Left” errors and against the counter-revolutionary Lin Biao and Jiang Qing cliques during the “cultural revolution” was arduous and full of twists and turns, and it never ceased. Rigorous tests throughout the “cultural revolution” have proved that standing on the correct side in the struggle were the overwhelming majority of the members of the Eighth Central Committee of the Party and the members it elected to its Political Bureau, Standing Committee and Secretariat. Most of our Party cadres, whether they were wrongly dismissed or remained at their posts, whether they were rehabilitated early or late, are loyal to the Party and people and steadfast in their belief in the cause of socialism and communism. Most of the intellectuals, model workers, patriotic democrats, patriotic overseas Chinese and cadres and masses of all strata and all nationalities who had been wronged and persecuted did not waver in their love for the motherland and in their support for the Party and socialism. Party and state leaders such as Comrades Liu Shaoqi, Peng Dehuai, He Long and Tao Zhu and all other Party and non-Party comrades who were persecuted to death in the “cultural revolution” will live for ever in the memories of the Chinese people. It was through the joint struggles waged by the entire Party and the masses of workers, peasants, PLA officers and men, intellectuals, educated youth and cadres that the havoc wrought by the “cultural revolution” was somewhat mitigated. Some progress was made in our economy despite tremendous losses. Grain output increased relatively steadily. Significant achievements were scored in industry, communications and capital construction and in science and technology. New railways were built and the Changjiang River Bridge at Nanjing was completed: a number of large enterprises using advanced technology went into operation; hydrogen bomb tests were successfully undertaken and man-made satellites successfully launched and retrieved; and new hybrid strains of long-grained rice were developed and popularized. Despite the domestic turmoil, the People’s Liberation Army bravely defended the security of the motherland. And new prospects were opened up in the sphere of foreign affairs. Needless to say, none of these successes can be attributed in any way to the “cultural revolution", without which we would have scored far greater achievements for our cause. Although we suffered from sabotage by the counter-revolutionary Lin Biao and Jiang Qing cliques during the “cultural revolution", we won out over them in the end. The Party, the people’s political power, the people’s army and Chinese society on the whole remained unchanged in nature. Once again history has proved that our people are a great people and that our Party and socialist system have enormous vitality.
24. In addition to the above-mentioned immediate cause of Comrade Mao Zedong’s mistake in leadership, there are complex social and historical causes underlying the “cultural revolution” which dragged on for as long as a decade. The main causes are as follows:
1) The history of the socialist movement is not long and that of the socialist countries even shorter. Some of the laws governing the development of socialist society are relatively clear, but many more remain to be ‘explored. Our Party had long existed in circumstances of war and fierce class struggle. It was not fully prepared, either ideologically or in terms of scientific study, for the swift advent of the new-born socialist society and for socialist construction on a national scale. The scientific works of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin are our guide to action, but can in no way provide ready-made answers to the problems we may encounter in our socialist cause. Even after the basic completion of socialist transformation, given the guiding ideology, we were liable, owing to the historical circumstances in which our Party grew, to continue to regard issues unrelated to class struggle as its manifestations when observing and handling new contradictions and problems which cropped up in the political, economic, cultural and other spheres in the course of the development of socialist society. And when con-fronted with actual class struggle under the new conditions, we habitually fell back on the familiar methods and experiences of the large-scale, turbulent mass struggle of the past, which should no longer have been mechanically followed. As a result, we substantially broadened the scope of class struggle. Moreover, this subjective thinking and practice divorced from reality seemed to have a “theoretical basis” in the writings of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin because certain ideas and arguments set forth in them were misunderstood or dogmatically interpreted. For instance, it was thought that equal right, which reflects the exchange of equal amounts of labour and is applicable to the distribution of the means of consumption in socialist society, or “bourgeois right” as it was designated by Marx, should be restricted and criticized, and so the principle of “to each according to his work” and that of material interest should be restricted and criticized; that small production would continue to engender capitalism and the bourgeoisie daily and hourly on a large scale even after the basic completion of socialist transformation, and so a series of “Left” economic policies and policies on class struggle in urban and rural areas were formulated; and that all ideological differences inside the Party were reflections of class struggle in society, and so frequent and acute inner-Party struggles were conducted. All this led us to regard the error in broadening the scope of class struggle as an act in defence of the purity of Marxism. Furthermore, Soviet leaders started a polemic between China and the Soviet Union, and turned the arguments between the two Parties on matters of principle into a conflict between the two nations, bringing enormous pressure to bear upon China politically, economically and militarily. So we were forced to wage a just struggle against the big-nation chauvinism of the Soviet Union. In these circumstances, a campaign to prevent and combat revisionism inside the country was launched, which spread the error of broadening the scope of class struggle in the Party, so that normal differences among comrades inside the Party came to be regarded as manifestations of the revisionist line or of the struggle between the two lines. This resulted in growing tension in inner-Party relations. Thus it became difficult for the Party to resist certain “Left” views put forward by Comrade Mao Zedong and others, and the development of these views led to the outbreak of the protracted “cultural revolution".
2) Comrade Mao Zedong’s prestige reached a peak and he began to get arrogant at the very time when the Party was confronted with the new task of shifting the focus of its work to socialist construction, a task for which the utmost caution was required. He gradually divorced himself from practice and from the masses, acted more and more arbitrarily and subjectively, and increasingly put himself above the Central Committee of the Party. The result was a steady weakening and even undermining of the principle of collective leadership and democratic centralism in the political life of the Party and the country. This state of affairs took shape only gradually and the Central Committee of the Party should be held partly responsible. From the Marxist viewpoint, this complex phenomenon was the product of given historical conditions. Blaming this on only one person or on only a handful of people will not provide a deep lesson for the whole Party or enable it to find practical ways to change the situation. In the communist movement, leaders play quite an important role. This has been borne out by history time and again and leaves no room for doubt. However, certain grievous deviations, which occurred in the history of the international communist movement owing to the failure to handle the relationship between the Party and its leader correctly, had an adverse effect on our Party, too. Feudalism in China has had a very long history. Our Party fought in the firmest and most thoroughgoing way against it, and particularly against the feudal system of land ownership and the landlords and local tyrants, and fostered a fine tradition of democracy in the anti-feudal struggle. But it remains difficult to eliminate the evil ideological and political influence of centuries of feudal autocracy. And for various historical reasons, we failed to institutionalize and legalize inner-Party democracy and democracy in the political and social life of the country, or we drew up the relevant laws but they lacked due authority. This meant that conditions were present for the over-concentration of Party power in individuals and for the development of arbitrary individual rule and the personality cult in the Party. Thus, it was hard for the Party and state to pre-vent the initiation of the “cultural revolution” or check its development.
Great Turning Point in History
25. The victory won in overthrowing the counterrevolutionary Jiang Qing clique in October 1976 saved the Party and the revolution from disaster and enabled our country to enter a new historical period of development. In the two years from October 1976 to December 1978 when the Third Plenary Session of the Eleventh Central Committee of the Party was convened, large numbers of cadres and other people most enthusiastically devoted themselves to all kinds of revolutionary work and the task of construction. Notable results were achieved in exposing and repudiating the crimes of the counterrevolutionary Jiang Qing clique and uncovering their factional setup. The consolidation of Party and state organizations and the redress of wrongs suffered by those who were unjustly, falsely and wrongly charged began in some places. Industrial and agricultural production was fairly swiftly restored. Work in education, science and culture began to return to normal. Comrades inside and outside the Party demanded more and more strongly that the errors of the “cultural revolution” be corrected, but such demands met with serious resistance. This, of course, was partly due to the fact that the political and ideological confusion created in the decade-long “cultural revolution” could not be eliminated overnight, but it was also due to the “Left” errors in the guiding ideology that Comrade Hua Guofeng continued to commit in his capacity as Chairman of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party. On the proposal of Comrade Mao Zedong, Comrade Hua Guofeng had become First Vice-Chairman of the Central Committee of the Party and concurrently Premier of the State Council during the “movement to criticize Deng Xiaoping” in 1976. He contributed to the struggle to overthrow the counter-revolutionary Jiang Qing clique and did useful work after that. But he promoted the erroneous “two-whatever’s” policy, that is, “we firmly uphold whatever policy decisions Chairman Mao made, and we unswervingly adhere to whatever instructions Chairman Mao gave", and he took a long time to rectify the error. He tried to suppress the discussions on the criterion of truth unfolded in the country in 1978, which were very significant in setting things right. He procrastinated and obstructed the work of reinstating veteran cadres in their posts and redressing the injustices left over from the past (including the case of the “Tian An Men Incident” of 1976). He accepted and fostered the personality cult around himself while continuing the personality cult of the past. The Eleventh National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party convened in August 1977 played a positive role in exposing and repudiating the Gang of Four and mobilizing the whole Party for building China into a powerful modern socialist state. However, owing to the limitations imposed by the prevailing historical conditions and the influence of Comrade Hua Guofeng’s mistakes, it reaffirmed the erroneous theories, policies and slogans of the “cultural revolution” instead of correcting them. He also had his share of responsibility for impetuously seeking quick results in economic work and for continuing certain other “Left” policies. Obviously, under his leadership it was impossible to correct “Left” errors within the Party, and all the more impossible to restore the Party’s fine traditions.’
26. The Third Plenary Session of the Eleventh Central Committee in December 1978 marked a crucial turning point of far-reaching significance in the history of our Party since the birth of the People’s Republic. It put an end to the situation in which the Party had been advancing haltingly in its work since October 1976 and began to correct conscientiously and comprehensively the “Left” errors of the “cultural revolution” and earlier. The plenary session resolutely criticized the erroneous “two-whatever’s” policy and fully affirmed the need to grasp Mao Zedong Thought comprehensively and accurately as a scientific system. It highly evaluated the forum on the criterion of truth and decided on the guiding principle of emancipating the mind, using our brains, seeking truth from facts and uniting as one in looking forward to the future. It firmly discarded the slogan “Take class struggle as the key link,” which had become unsuitable in a socialist society, and made the strategic decision to shift the focus of work to socialist modernization. It declared that attention should be paid to solving the problem of serious imbalances between the major branches of the economy and drafted decisions on the acceleration of agricultural development. It stressed the task of strengthening socialist democracy and the socialist legal system. It examined and redressed a number of major unjust, false and wrong cases in the history of the Party and settled the controversy on the merits and demerits, the rights and wrongs, of some prominent leaders. The plenary session also elected additional members to the Party’s central leading organs. These momentous changes in the work of leadership signified that the Party re-established the correct line of Marxism ideologically, politically and organizationally. Since then, it has gained the initiative in setting things right and has been able to solve step by step many problems left over since the founding of the People’s Republic and the new problems cropping up in the course of practice and carry out the heavy tasks of construction and reform, so that things are going very well in both the economic and political spheres.
1) In response to the call of the Third Plenary Session of the Eleventh Central Committee of the Party for emancipating the mind and seeking truth from facts, large numbers of cadres and other people have freed themselves from the spiritual shackles of the personality cult and the dogmatism that prevailed in the past. This has stimulated thinking inside and outside the Party, giving rise to a lively situation where people try their best to study new things and seek solutions to new problems. To carry out the principle of emancipating the mind properly, the Party reiterated in good time the four fundamental principles of upholding the socialist road, the people’s democratic dictatorship (i.e., the dictatorship of the proletariat), the leadership of the Communist Party, and Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought. It reaffirmed the principle that neither democracy nor centralism can be practised at each other’s expense and pointed out the basic fact that, although the exploiters had been eliminated as classes, class struggle continues to exist within certain limits. In his speech at the meeting in celebration of the 30th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, which was approved by the Fourth Plenary Session of the Eleventh Central Committee of the Party, Comrade Ye Jianying fully affirmed the gigantic achievements of the Party and people since the inauguration of the People’s Republic, while making self-criticism on behalf of the Party for errors in its work and outlined our country’s bright prospects. This helped to unify the thinking of the whole Party and people. At its meeting in August 1980, the Political Bureau of the Central Committee set itself the historic task of combating corrosion by bourgeois ideology and eradicating the evil influence of feudalism in the political and ideological fields which is still present. A work conference convened by the Central Committee in December of the same year resolved to strengthen the Party’s ideological and political work, make greater efforts to build a socialist civilization, criticize the erroneous ideological trends running counter to the four fundamental principles and strike at the counter-revolutionary activities disrupting the cause of socialism. This exerted a most salutary countrywide influence in fostering a political situation characterized by stability, unity and liveliness.
2) At a work conference called by the Central Committee in April 1979, the Party formulated the principle of “readjusting, restructuring, consolidating and improving” the economy as a whole in a decisive effort to correct the shortcomings and mistakes of the previous two years in our economic work and eliminate the influence of “Left” errors that had persisted in this field. The Party indicated that economic construction must be carried out in the light of China’s conditions and in conformity with economic and natural laws; that it must be carried out within the limits of our own resources, step by step, after due deliberation and with emphasis on practical results, so that the development of production will be closely connected with the improvement of the people’s livelihood; and that active efforts must be made to promote economic and technical co-operation with other countries on the basis of independence and self-reliance. Guided by these principles, light industry has quickened its rate of growth and the structure of industry is becoming more rational and better coordinated. Reforms in the system of economic management, including extension of the decision-making powers of enterprises, restoration of the workers’ congresses, strengthening of democratic management of enterprises and transference of financial management responsibilities to the various levels, have gradually been carried out in conjunction with economic readjustment. The Party has worked conscientiously to remedy the errors in rural work since the later stage of the movement for agricultural co-operation, with the result that the purchase prices of farm and sideline products have been raised, various forms of production responsibility introduced whereby remuneration is determined by farm output, family plots have been restored and appropriately extended, village fairs have been revived, and sideline occupations and diverse undertakings have been developed. All these have greatly enhanced the peasants’ enthusiasm. Grain output in the last two years reached an all-time high, and at the same time industrial crops and other farm and sideline products registered a big increase. Thanks to the development of agriculture and the economy as a whole, the living standards of the people have improved.
3) After detailed and careful investigation and study, measures were taken to clear the name of Comrade Liu Shaoqi, former Vice-Chairman of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and Chairman of the People’s Republic of China, those of other Party and state leaders, national minority leaders and leading figures in different circles who had been wronged, and to affirm their historical contributions to the Party and the people in protracted revolutionary struggle.
4) Large numbers of unjust, false and wrong cases were re-examined and their verdicts reversed. Cases in which people had been wrongly labelled bourgeois Rightists were also corrected. Announcements were made to the effect that former businessmen and industrialists, having undergone remoulding, are now working people; that small tradespeople, pedlars and handicraftsmen, who were originally labourers, have been differentiated from businessmen and industrialists who were members of the bourgeoisie; and that the status of the vast majority of former landlords and rich peasants, who have become working people through remoulding, has been re-defined. These measures have appropriately resolved many contradictions inside the Party and among the people.
5) People’s congresses at all levels are doing their work better and those at the provincial and county levels have set up permanent organs of their own. The system according to which deputies to the people’s congresses at and below the county level are directly elected by the voters is now universally practised. Collective leadership and democratic centralism are being perfected in Party and state organizations. The powers of local and primary organizations are steadily being extended. The so-called right to “speak out, air views and hold debates in a big way and write big-character posters", which actually obstructs the promotion of socialist democracy, was deleted from the Constitution. A number of important laws, decrees and regulations have been reinstated, enacted or enforced, including the Criminal Law and the Law of Criminal Procedure which had never been drawn up since the founding of the People’s Republic. The work of the judicial, procuratorial and public security departments has improved and telling blows have been dealt at all types of criminals guilty of serious offences. The ten principal members of the counter-revolutionary Lin Biao and Jiang Qing cliques were publicly tried according to law.
6) The Party has striven to readjust and strengthen the leading bodies at all levels. The Fifth Plenary Session of the Eleventh Central Committee of the Party, held in February 1980, elected additional members to the Standing Committee of its Political Bureau and re-established the Secretariat of the Central Committee, greatly strengthening the central leadership. Party militancy has been enhanced as a result of the establishment of the Central Commission for Inspecting Discipline and of discipline inspection commissions at the lower levels, the formulation of the Guiding Principles for Inner-Party Political Life and other related inner-Party regulations, and the effort made by leading Party organizations and discipline inspection bodies at the different levels to rectify unhealthy practices. The Party’s mass media have also contributed immensely in this respect. The Party has decided to put an end to the virtually lifelong tenure of leading cadres, change the over-concentration of power and, on the basis of revolutionization, gradually reduce the average age of the leading cadres at all levels and raise their level of education and professional competence, and has initiated this process. With the reshuffling of the leading personnel of the State Council and the division of labour between Party and government organizations, the work of the central and local governments has improved.
In addition, there have been significant successes in the Party’s efforts to implement our policies in education, science, culture, public health, physical culture, nationality affairs, united front work, overseas Chinese affairs and military and foreign affairs.
In short, the scientific principles of Mao Zedong Thought and the correct policies of the Party have been revived and developed under new conditions and all aspects of Party and government work have been flourishing again since the Third Plenary Session of the Eleventh Central Committee. Our work still suffers from shortcomings and mistakes, and we are still confronted with numerous difficulties. Nevertheless, the road of victorious advance is open, and the Party’s prestige among the people is rising day by day.
Comrade Mao Zedong’s Historical Role and Mao Zedong Thought
27. Comrade Mao Zedong was a great Marxist and a great proletarian revolutionary, strategist and theorist. It is true that he made gross mistakes during the “cultural revolution", but, if we judge his activities as a whole, his contributions to the Chinese revolution far outweigh his mistakes. His merits are primary and his errors secondary. He rendered indelible meritorious service in founding and building up our Party and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, in winning victory for the cause of liberation of the Chinese people, in founding the People’s Republic of China and in advancing our socialist cause. He made major contributions to the liberation of the oppressed nations of the world and to the progress of mankind.
28. The Chinese Communists, with Comrade Mao Zedong as their chief- representative, made a theoretical synthesis of China’s unique experience in its protracted revolution in accordance with the basic principles of Marxism-Leninism. This synthesis constituted a scientific system of guidelines befitting China’s condi56tions, and it is this synthesis which is Mao Zedong Thought, the product of the integration of the universal principles of Marxism-Leninism with the concrete practice of the Chinese revolution. Making revolution in a large Eastern semi-colonial, semi-feudal country is bound to meet with many special, complicated problems which cannot be solved by reciting the general principles of Marxism-Leninism or by copying foreign experience in every detail. The erroneous tendency of making Marxism a dogma and deifying Comintern resolutions and the experience of the Soviet Union prevailed in the international communist movement and in our Party mainly in the late 1920s and early 1930s, and this tendency pushed the Chinese revolution to the brink of total failure. It was in the course of combating this wrong tendency and making a profound summary of our historical experience in this respect that Mao Zedong Thought took shape and developed. It was systematized and extended in a variety of fields and reached maturity in the latter part of the Agrarian Revolutionary War and the War of Resistance Against Japan, and it was further developed during the War of Liberation and after the founding of the People’s Republic of China. Mao Zedong Thought is Marxism-Leninism applied and developed in China; it constitutes a correct theory, a body of correct principles and a summary of the experiences that have been confirmed in the practice of the Chinese revolution, a crystallization of the collective wisdom of the Chinese Communist Party. Many outstanding leaders of our Party made important contributions to the formation and development of Mao Zedong Thought, and they are synthesized in the scientific works of Comrade Mao Zedong.
29. Mao Zedong Thought is wide-ranging in content. It is an original theory which has enriched and developed Marxism-Leninism in the following respects:
1) On the new-democratic revolution. Proceeding from China’s historical and social conditions, Comrade Mao Zedong made a profound study of the characteristics and laws of the Chinese revolution, applied and developed the Marxist-Leninist thesis of the leadership of the proletariat in the democratic revolution, and established the theory of new-democratic revolution — a revolution against imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat-capitalism waged by the masses of the people on the basis of the worker-peasant alliance under the leadership of the proletariat. His main works on this subject include: Analysis of the Classes in Chinese Society, Report on an Investigation of the Peasant Movement in Hunan, A Single Spark Can Start a Prairie Fire, Introducing “The Communist", On New Democracy, On Coalition Government and The Present Situation and Our Tasks. The basic points of this theory are: i) China’s bourgeoisie consisted of two sections, the big bourgeoisie (that is, the comprador bourgeoisie, or the bureaucrat-bourgeoisie) which was dependent on imperialism, and the national bourgeoisie which had revolutionary leanings but wavered. The proletariat should endeavour to get the national bourgeoisie to join in the united front under its leadership and in special circumstances to include even part of the big bourgeoisie in the united front, so as to isolate the main enemy to the greatest possible extent. When forming a united front with the bourgeoisie, the proletariat must preserve its own independence and pursue the policy of “unity, struggle, unity through struggle"; when forced to split with the bourgeoisie, chiefly the big bourgeoisie, it should have the courage and ability to wage a resolute armed struggle against the big bourgeoisie, while continuing to win the sympathy of the national bourgeoisie or keep it neutral. ii) Since there was no bourgeois democracy in China and the reactionary ruling classes enforced their terroristic dictatorship over the people by armed force, the revolution could not but essentially take the form of protracted armed struggle. China’s armed struggle was a revolutionary war led by the proletariat with the peasants as the principal force. The peasantry was the most reliable ally of the proletariat. Through its vanguard, it was possible and necessary for the proletariat, with its progressive ideology and its sense of organization and discipline, to raise the political consciousness of the peasant masses, establish rural base areas, wage a protracted revolutionary war and build up and expand the revolutionary forces. Comrade Mao Zedong pointed out that “the united front and armed struggle are the two basic weapons for defeating the enemy". Together with Party building, they constituted the “three magic weapons” of the revolution. They were the essential basis which enabled the Chinese Communist Party to become the core of leadership of the whole nation and to chart the course of encircling the cities from the countryside and finally winning countrywide victory.
2) On the socialist revolution and socialist construction. On the basis of the economic and political conditions for the transition to socialism ensuing on victory in the new-democratic revolution, Comrade Mao Zedong and the Chinese Communist Party followed the path of effecting socialist industrialization simultaneously with socialist transformation and adopted concrete policies for the gradual transformation of the private ownership of the means of production, thereby providing a theoretical as well as practical solution to the difficult task of building socialism in a large country such as China, a country which was economically and culturally backward, with a population accounting for nearly one-fourth of the world’s total. By putting forward the thesis that the combination of democracy for the people and dictatorship over the reactionaries constitutes the people’s democratic dictatorship, Comrade Mao Zedong enriched the Marxist-Leninist theory of the dictatorship of the proletariat. After the establishment of the socialist system, Comrade Mao Zedong pointed out that, under socialism, the people had the same fundamental interests, but that all kinds of contradictions still existed among them, and that contradictions between the enemy and the people and contradictions among the people should be strictly distinguished from each other and correctly handled. He proposed that among the people we should follow a set of correct policies. We should follow the policy of “unity — criticism — unity” in political matters, the policy of “long-term coexistence and mutual supervision” in the Party’s relations with the democratic parties, the policy of “let a hundred flowers blossom, let a hundred schools of thought contend” in science and culture, and, in the economic sphere the policy of over-all arrangement with regard to the different strata in town and country and of consideration for the interests of the state, the collective and the individual, all three. He repeatedly stressed that we should not mechanically transplant the experience of foreign countries, but should find our own way to industrialization, a way suited to China’s conditions, by proceeding from the fact that China is a large agricultural country, taking agriculture as the foundation of the economy, correctly handling the relationship between heavy industry on the one hand and agriculture and light industry on the other, and attaching due importance to the development of the latter. He stressed that in socialist construction we should properly handle the relationships between economic construction and building up defence, between large-scale enterprises and small and medium scale enterprises, between the Han nationality and the minority nationalities, between the coastal regions and the interior, between the central and the local authorities, and between self-reliance and learning from foreign countries, and that we should properly handle the relationship between accumulation and consumption and pay attention to over-all balance. Moreover, he stressed that the workers were the masters of their enterprises and that cadres must take part in physical labour and workers in management, that irrational rules and regulations must be reformed and that the three-in-one combination of technical personnel, workers and cadres must be effected. And he formulated the strategic idea of bringing all positive factors into play and turning negative factors into positive ones so as to unite the whole Chinese people and build a powerful socialist country. The important ideas of Comrade Mao Zedong concerning the socialist revolution and socialist construction are mainly contained in such major works as Report to the Second Plenary Session of the Seventh Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, On the People’s Democratic Dictatorship, On the Ten Major Relationships, On the Correct Handling of Contradictions Among the People and Talk at an Enlarged Work Conference Convened by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China.
3) On the building of the revolutionary army and military strategy. Comrade Mao Zedong methodically solved he problem of how to turn a revolutionary army chiefly made up of peasants into a new type of people’s army which is proletarian in character, observes strict discipline and forms close ties with the masses. He laid it down that the sole purpose of the people’s army is to serve the people whole-heartedly, he put forward the principle that the Party commands the gun and not the other way round, he advanced the Three Main Rules of Discipline and the Eight Points for Attention and stressed the practice of political, economic and military democracy and the principles of the unity of officers and soldiers, the unity of army and people and the disintegration of the enemy forces, thus formulating by way of summation a set of policies and methods concerning political work in the army. In his military writings such as On Correcting Mistaken Ideas in the Party, Problems of Strategy in China’s Revolutionary War, Problems of Strategy in Guerrilla War Against Japan, On Protracted War and Problems of War and Strategy, Comrade Mao Zedong summed up the experience of China’s protracted revolutionary wars and advanced the comprehensive concept of building a people’s army and of building rural base areas and waging people’s war by employing the people’s army as the main force and relying on the masses. Raising guerrilla war to the strategic plane, he maintained that guerrilla warfare and mobile warfare of a guerrilla character would for a long time be the main forms of operation in China’s revolutionary wars. He explained that it would be necessary to effect an appropriate change in military strategy simultaneously with the changing balance of forces between the enemy and ourselves and with the progress of the war. He worked out a set of strategies and tactics for the revolutionary army to wage people’s war in conditions when the enemy was strong and we were weak. These strategies and tactics include fighting a protracted war strategically and campaigns and battles of quick decision, turning strategic inferiority into superiority in campaigns and battles and concentrating a superior force to destroy the enemy forces one by one. During the War of Liberation, he formulated the celebrated ten major principles of operation. All these ideas constitute Comrade Mao Zedong’s outstanding contribution to the military theory of Marxism-Leninism.
After the founding of the People’s Republic, he put forward the important guideline that we must strengthen our national defence and build modern revolutionary armed forces (including the navy, the air force and technical branches) and develop modern defence technology (including the making of nuclear weapons for self-defence).
4) On policy and tactics. Comrade Mao Zedong penetratingly elucidated the vital importance of policy and tactics in revolutionary struggles. He pointed out that policy and tactics were the life of the Party, that they were both the starting-point and the end-result of all the practical activities of a revolutionary party and that the Party must formulate its policies in the light of the existing political situation, class relations, actual circumstances and the changes in them, combining principle and flexibility. He made many valuable suggestions concerning policy and tactics in the struggle against the enemy, in the united front and other questions. He pointed out among other things: that, under changing subjective and objective conditions, a weak revolutionary force could ultimately defeat a strong reactionary force; that we should despise the enemy strategically and take him seriously tactically; that we should keep our eyes on the main target of struggle and not hit out in all directions; that we should differentiate between and disintegrate our enemies, and adopt the tactic of making use of contradictions, winning over the many, opposing the few and crushing our enemies one by one; that in areas under reactionary rule, we should combine legal and illegal struggle and, organizationally, adopt the policy of assigning picked cadres to work underground; that, as for members of the defeated reactionary classes and reactionary elements, we should give them a chance to earn a living and to become working people living by their own labour, so long as they did not rebel or create trouble; and that the proletariat and its party must fulfill two conditions in order to exercise leadership over their allies: (a) Lead their followers in waging resolute struggles against the common enemy and achieving victories; (b) Bring material benefits to their followers or at least avoid damaging their interests and at the same time give them political education. These ideas of Comrade Mao Zedong’s concerning policy and tactics are embodied in many of his writings, particularly in such works as Current Problems of Tactics in the Anti-Japanese United Front, On Policy, Conclusions on the Repulse of the Second Anti-Communist Onslaught, On Some Important Problems of the Party’s Present Policy, Don’t Hit Out in All Directions and On the Question of Whether Imperialism and All Reactionaries Are Real Tigers.
5) On ideological and political work and cultural work. In his On New Democracy, Comrade Mao Zedong stated: Any given culture (as an ideological form) is a reflection of the politics and economics of a given society, and the former in turn has a tremendous influence and effect upon the latter; economics is the base and politics the concentrated expression of economics. In accordance with this basic view, he put forward many important ideas of far-reaching and long-term significance. For instance, the theses that ideological and political work is the life-blood of economic and all other work and that it is necessary to unite politics and economics and to unite politics and professional skills, and to be both red and expert; the policy of developing a national, scientific and mass culture and of letting a hundred flowers blossom, weeding through the old to bring forth the new, and making the past serve the present and foreign things serve China; and the thesis that intellectuals have an important role to play in revolution and construction, that intellectuals should identify themselves with the workers and peasants and that they should acquire the proletarian world outlook by studying Marxism-Leninism, by studying society and through practical work. He pointed out that “this question of `for whom?’ is fundamental; it is a question of principle” and stressed that we should serve the people whole-heartedly, be highly responsible in revolutionary work, wage arduous struggle and fear no sacrifice. Many notable works written by Comrade Mao Zedong on ideology, politics and culture, such asThe Orientation of the Youth Movement, Recruit Large Numbers of Intellectuals, Talks at the Yan’an Forum of Literature and Art, In Memory of Norman Bethune, Serve the People and The Foolish Old Man Who Removed the Mountains, are of tremendous significance even today.
6) On Party building. It was a most difficult task to build a Marxist, proletarian Party of a mass character in a country where the peasantry and other sections of the petty bourgeoisie constituted the majority of the population, while the proletariat was small in number yet strong in combat effectiveness. Comrade Mao Zedong’s theory on Party building provided a successful solution to this question. His main works in this area include Combat Liberalism, The Role of the Chinese Communist Party in the National War, Reform Our Study, Rectify the Party’s Style of Work, Oppose Stereotyped Party Writing, Our Study and the Current Situation, On Strengthening the Party Committee System and Methods of Work of Party Committees. He laid particular stress on building the Party ideologically, saying that a Party member should join the Party not only organizationally but also ideologically and should constantly try to reform his non-proletarian ideas and replace them with proletarian ideas. He indicated that the style of work which entailed integrating theory with practice, forging close links with the masses and practising self-criticism was the hallmark distinguishing the Chinese Communist Party from all other political parties in China. To counter the erroneous “Left” policy of “ruthless struggle and merciless blows” once followed in inner-Party struggle, he proposed the correct policy of “learning from past mistakes to avoid future ones and curing the sickness to save the patient", emphasizing the need to achieve the objective of clarity in ideology and unity among comrades in inner-Party struggle. He initiated the rectification campaign as a form of ideological education in Marxism-Leninism throughout the Party, which applied the method of criticism and self-criticism. In view of the fact that our Party was about to become and then became a party in power leading the whole country, Comrade Mao Zedong urged time and again, first on the eve of the founding of the People’s Republic and then later, that we should remain modest and prudent, guard against arrogance and rashness and keep to plain living and hard struggle in our style of work, and that we should be on the lookout against the corrosive influence of bourgeois ideology and should oppose bureaucratism which would alienate us from the masses.
30. The living soul of Mao Zedong Thought is the stand, viewpoint and method embodied in its component parts mentioned above. This stand, viewpoint and method boil down to three basic points: to seek truth from facts, the mass line, and independence. Comrade Mao Zedong applied dialectical and historical materialism to the entire work of the proletarian party, giving shape to this stand, viewpoint and method so characteristic of Chinese Communists in the course of the Chinese revolution and its arduous, protracted struggles and thus enriching Marxism-Leninism. They find expression not only in such important works as Oppose Book Worship, On Practice, On Contradiction, Pre face and Postscript to “Rural Surveys", Some Questions Concerning Methods of Leadership and Where Do Correct Ideas Come From? but also in all his scientific writings and in the revolutionary activities of the Chinese Communists.
1) Seeking truth from facts. This means proceeding from reality and combining theory with practice, that is, integrating the universal principles of Marxism-Leninism with the concrete practice of the Chinese revolution. Comrade Mao Zedong was always against studying Marxism in isolation from the realities of Chinese society and the Chinese revolution. As early as 1930, he opposed blind book worship by emphasizing that investigation and study is the first step in all work and that one has no right to speak without investigation. On the eve of the rectification movement in Yan’an, he affirmed that subjectivism is a formidable enemy of the Communist Party, a manifestation of impurity in Party spirit. These brilliant theses helped people break through the shackles of dogmatism and greatly emancipate their minds. While summarizing the experience and lessons of the Chinese revolution in his philosophical works and many other works rich in philosophical content, Comrade Mao Zedong showed great profundity in expounding and enriching the Marxist theory of knowledge and dialectics. He stressed that the dialectical materialist theory of knowledge is the dynamic, revolutionary theory of reflection and that full scope should be given to man’s conscious dynamic role, when it is based on and is in conformity with objective reality. Basing himself or social practice, he comprehensively and systematically elaborated the dialectical materialist theory on the sources, the process and the purpose of knowledge and on the criterion of truth. He said that as a rule, correct knowledge can be arrived at and developed only after many repetitions of the process leading from matter to consciousness and then back to matter, that is, leading from practice to knowledge and then back to practice. He pointed out that truth exists by contrast with falsehood and grows in struggle with it, that truth is inexhaustible and that the truth of any piece of knowledge, namely, whether it corresponds to objective reality, can ultimately be decided only through social practice. He further elaborated the law of the unity of opposites, the nucleus of Marxist dialectics. He indicated that we should not only study the universality of contradiction in objective existence, but, what is more important, we should study the particularity of contradiction, and that we should resolve contradictions which are different in nature by different methods. Therefore, dialectics should not be viewed as a formula to be learned by rote and applied mechanically, but should be closely linked with practice and with investigation and study and should be applied flexibly. He forged philosophy into a sharp weapon in the hands of the proletariat and the people for knowing and changing the world. His distinguished works on China’s revolutionary war, in particular, provide outstandingly shining examples of applying and developing the Marxist theory of knowledge and dialectics in practice. Our Party must always adhere to the above ideological line formulated by Comrade Mao Zedong.
2) The mass line means everything for the masses, reliance on the masses in everything, and “from the masses, to the masses". The Party’s mass line in all its work has come into being through the systematic application in all its activities of the Marxist-Leninist principle that the people are the makers of history. It is a summation of our Party’s invaluable historical experience in conducting revolutionary activities over the years under difficult circumstances in which the enemy’s strength far outstripped ours. Comrade Mao Zedong stressed time and again that as long as we rely on the people, believe firmly in the inexhaustible creative power of the masses and hence trust and identify ourselves with them, no enemy can crush us while we can eventually crush every enemy and overcome every difficulty. He also pointed out that in leading the masses in all practical work, the leadership can form its correct ideas only by adopting the method of “from the masses, to the masses” and by combining the leadership with the masses and the general call with particular guidance. This means concentrating the ideas of the masses and turning them into systematic ideas, then going to the masses so that the ideas are persevered in and carried through, and testing the correctness of these ideas in the practice of the masses. And this process goes on, over and over again, so that the understanding of the leadership becomes more correct, keener and richer each time. This is how Comrade Mao Zedong united the Marxist theory of knowledge with the Party’s mass line. As the vanguard of the proletariat, the Party exists and fights for the interests of the people. But it always constitutes only a small part of the people, so that isolation from the people will render all the Party’s struggles and ideals devoid of content as well as impossible of success. To persevere in the revolution and advance the socialist cause, our Party must uphold the mass line.
3) Independence and self-reliance are the inevitable corollary of carrying out the Chinese revolution and construction by proceeding from Chinese reality and relying on the masses. The proletarian revolution is an internationalist cause which calls for the mutual support of the proletariats of different countries. But for the cause to triumph, each proletariat should primarily base itself on its own country’s realities, rely on the efforts of its own masses and revolutionary fortes, integrate the universal principles of Marxism-Leninism with the concrete practice of its own revolution and thus achieve victory. Comrade Mao Zedong always stressed that our policy should rest on our own strength and that we should find our own road of advance in accordance with our own conditions. In a vast country like China, it is all the more imperative for us to rely mainly on our own efforts to promote the revolution and construction. We must be determined to carry the struggle through to the end and must have faith in the hundreds of millions of Chinese people and rely on their wisdom and strength; otherwise, it will be impossible for our revolution and construction to succeed or to be consolidated even if success is won. Of course, China’s revolution and national construction are not and cannot be carried on in isolation from the rest of the world. It is always necessary for us to try to win foreign aid and, in particular, to learn all that is advanced and beneficial from other countries. The closed-door policy, blind opposition to everything foreign and any theory or practice of great-nation chauvinism are all entirely wrong. At the same time, although China is still comparatively backward economically and culturally, we must maintain our own national dignity and confidence, and there must be no slavishness or submissiveness in any form in dealing with big, powerful or rich countries. Under the leadership of the Party and Comrade Mao Zedong, no matter what difficulty we encountered, we never wavered, whether before or after the founding of New China, in our determination to remain independent and self-reliant and, we never submitted to any pressure from outside; we showed the dauntless and heroic spirit of the Chinese Communist Party and the Chinese people. We stand for the peaceful co-existence of the people of all countries and their mutual assistance on an equal footing. While upholding our own independence, we respect other people’s right to independence. The road of revolution and construction suited to the characteristics of a country has to be explored, decided on and blazed by its own people. No one has the right to impose his views on others. Only under these conditions can there be genuine internationalism. Otherwise, there can only be hegemonism. We will always adhere to this principled stand in our international relations.
31. Mao Zedong Thought is the valuable spiritual asset of our Party. It will be our guide to action for a long time to come. The Party leaders and the large group of cadres nurtured by Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought were the backbone fortes in winning great victories for our cause; they are and will remain our treasured mainstay in the cause of socialist modernization. While many of Comrade Mao Zedong’s important works were written during the periods of new-democratic revolution and of socialist transformation, we must still constantly study them. This is not only because one cannot cut the past off from the present and failure to understand the past will hamper our understanding of present-day problems, but also because many of the basic theories, principles and scientific approaches set forth in these works are of universal significance and provide us with invaluable guidance now and will continue to do so in the future. Therefore, we must continue to uphold Mao Zedong Thought, study it in earnest and apply its stand, viewpoint and method in studying the new situation and solving the new problems arising in the course of practice. Mao Zedong Thought has added much that is new to the treasure-house of Marxist-Leninist theory. We must combine our study of the scientific works of Comrade Mao Zedong with that of the scientific writings of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin. It is entirely wrong to try to negate the scientific value of Mao Zedong Thought and to deny its guiding role in our revolution and construction just because Comrade Mao Zedong made mistakes in his later years. And it is likewise entirely wrong to adopt a dogmatic attitude towards the sayings of Comrade Mao Zedong, to regard whatever he said as the immutable truth which must be mechanically applied everywhere, and to be unwilling to admit honestly that he made mistakes in his later years, and even try to stick to them in our new activities. Both these attitudes fail to make a distinction between Mao Zedong Thought — a scientific theory formed and tested over a long period of time — and the mistakes Comrade Mao Zedong made in his later years. And it is absolutely necessary that this distinction should be made. We must treasure all the positive experience obtained in the course of integrating the universal principles of Marxism-Leninism with the concrete practice of China’s revolution and construction over fifty years or so, apply and carry forward this experience in our new work and enrich and develop Party theory with new principles and new conclusions corresponding to reality, so as to ensure the continued progress of our cause along the scientific course of Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought.
Unite and Strive to Build a Powerful, Modern Socialist China
32. The objective of our Party’s struggle in the new historical period is to turn China step by step into a powerful socialist country with modern agriculture, industry, national defence and science and technology and with a high level of democracy and culture. We must also accomplish the great cause of reunification of the country by getting Taiwan to return to the embrace of the motherland. The fundamental aim of summing up the historical experience of the thirty-two years since the founding of the People’s Republic is to accomplish the great objective of building a powerful and modern socialist country by further rallying the will and strength of the whole Party, the whole army and the whole people on the basis of upholding the four fundamental principles, namely, upholding the socialist road, the people’s democratic dictatorship (i.e., the dictatorship of the proletariat), the leadership of the Communist Party, and Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought. These four principles constitute the common political basis of the unity of the whole Party and the unity of the whole people as well as the basic guarantee for the realization of socialist modernization. Any word or deed which deviates from these four principles is wrong. Any word or deed which denies or undermines these four principles cannot be tolerated.
33. Socialism and socialism alone can save China. This is the unalterable conclusion drawn by all our people from their own experience over the past century or so; it likewise constitutes our fundamental historical experience in the thirty-two years since the founding of our People’s Republic. Although our socialist system is still in its early phase of development, China has undoubtedly established a socialist system and entered the stage of socialist society. Any view denying this basic fact is wrong. Under socialism, we have achieved successes which were absolutely impossible in old China. This is a preliminary and at the same time convincing manifestation of the superiority of the socialist system.
The fact that we have been and are able to overcome all kinds of difficulties through our own efforts testifies to its great vitality. Of course, our system will have to undergo a long process of development before it can be perfected. Given the premise that we uphold the basic system of socialism, therefore, we must strive to reform those specific features which are not in keeping with the expansion of the productive fortes and the interests of the people, and to staunchly combat all activities detrimental to socialism. With the development of our cause, the immense superiority of socialism will become more and more apparent.
34. Without the Chinese Communist Party, there would have been no New China. Likewise, without the Chinese Communist Party, there would be no modern socialist China. The Chinese Communist Party is a proletarian party armed with Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought and imbued with a strict sense of discipline and the spirit of self-criticism, and its ultimate historical mission is to realize communism. Without the leadership of such a party, without the flesh-and-blood ties it has formed with the masses through protracted struggles and without its painstaking and effective work among the people and the high prestige it consequently enjoys, our country — for a variety of reasons, both internal and external — would inexorably fall apart and the future of our nation and people would inexorably be forfeited. The Party leadership cannot be exempt from mistakes, but there is no doubt that it can correct them by relying on the close unity between the Party and the people, and in no case should one use the Party’s mistakes as a pretext for weakening, breaking away from or even sabotaging its leadership. That would only lead to even greater mistakes and court grievous disasters. We must improve Party leadership in order to uphold it. We must resolutely overcome the many shortcomings that still exist in our Party’s style of thinking and work, in its system of organization and leadership and in its contacts with the masses. So long as we earnestly uphold and constantly improve Party leadership, our Party will definitely be better able to undertake the tremendous tasks entrusted to it by history.
35. Since the Third Plenary Session of its Eleventh Central Committee, our Party has gradually mapped out the correct path for socialist modernization suited to China’s conditions. In the course of practice, the path will be broadened and become more clearly defined, but, in essence, the key pointers can already be determined on the basis of the summing up of the negative as well as positive experience since the founding of the People’s Republic, and particularly of the lessons of the “cultural revolution".
1) After socialist transformation was fundamentally completed, the principal contradiction our country has had to resolve is that between the growing material and cultural needs of the people and the backwardness of social production. It was imperative that the focus of Party and government work be shifted to socialist modernization centring on economic construction and that the people’s material and cultural life be gradually improved by means of an immense expansion of the productive forces. In the final analysis, the mistake we made in the past was that we failed to persevere in making this strategic shift. What is more, the preposterous view opposing the so-called “theory of the unique importance of productive forces", a view diametrically opposed to historical materialism, was put forward during the “cultural revolution". We must never deviate from this focus, except in the event of large-scale invasion by a foreign enemy (and even then it will still be necessary to carry on such economic construction as wartime conditions require and permit). All our Party work must be subordinated to and serve this central task — economic construction. All our Party cadres, and particularly those in economic departments, must diligently study economic theory and economic practice as well as science and technology.
2) In our socialist economic construction, we must strive to reach the goal of modernization systematically and in stages, according to the conditions and resources of our country. The prolonged “Left” mistakes we made in our economic work in the past consisted chiefly in departing from Chinese realities, trying to exceed our actual capabilities and ignoring the economic returns of construction and management as well as the scientific confirmation of our economic plans, policies and measures, with their concomitants of colossal waste and losses. We must adopt a scientific attitude, gain a thorough knowledge of the realities and make a deep analysis of the situation, earnestly listen to the opinions of the cadres, masses and specialists in the various fields and try our best to act in accordance with objective economic and natural laws and bring about a proportionate and harmonious development of the various branches of our economy. We must keep in mind the fundamental fact that China’s economy and culture are still relatively backward. At the same time, we must keep in mind such favourable domestic and international conditions as the achievements we have already stored and the experience we have gained in our economic construction and the expansion of economic and technological exchanges with foreign countries, and we must make full use of these favourable conditions. We must oppose both impetuosity and passivity.
3) The reform and improvement of the socialist relations of production must be in conformity with the level of the productive forces and conducive to the expansion of production. The state economy and the collective economy are the basic forms of the Chinese economy. The working people’s individual economy within certain prescribed limits is a necessary complement to public economy. It is necessary to establish specific systems of management and distribution suited to the various sectors of the economy. It is necessary to have planned economy and at the same time give play to the supplementary, regulatory role of the market on the basis of public ownership. We must strive to promote commodity production and exchange on a socialist basis. There is no rigid pattern for the development of the socialist relations of production. At every stage our task is to create those specific forms of the relations of production that correspond to the needs of the growing productive forces and facilitate their continued advance.
4) Class struggle no longer constitutes the principal contradiction after the exploiters have been eliminated as classes. However, owing to certain domestic factors and influences from abroad, class struggle will continue to exist within certain limits for a long time to come and may even grow acute under certain conditions. It is necessary to oppose both the view that the scope of class struggle must be enlarged and the view that it has died out. It is imperative to maintain a high level of vigilance and conduct effective struggle against all those who are hostile to socialism and try to sabotage it in the political, economic, ideological and cultural fields and in community life. We must correctly understand that there are diverse social contradictions in Chinese society which do not fall within the scope of class struggle and that methods other than class struggle must be used for their appropriate resolution. Otherwise, social stability and unity will be jeopardized. We must unswervingly unite all forces that can be united with and consolidate and expand the patriotic united front.
5) A fundamental task of the socialist revolution is gradually to establish a highly democratic socialist political system. Inadequate attention was paid to this matter after the founding of the People’s Republic, and this was one of the major factors contributing to the initiation of the “cultural revolution". Here is a grievous lesson for us to learn. It is necessary to strengthen the building of state organs at all levels in accordance with the principle of democratic centralism, make the people’s congresses at all levels and their permanent organs authoritative organs of the people’s political power, gradually realize direct popular participation in the democratic process at the grass roots of political power and community life and, in particular, stress democratic management by the working masses in urban and rural enterprises over the affairs of their establishments. It is essential to consolidate the people’s democratic dictatorship, improve our Constitution and laws and ensure their strict observance and inviolability. We must turn the socialist legal system into a powerful instrument for protecting the rights of the people, ensuring order in production, work and other activities, punishing criminals and cracking down on the disruptive activities of class enemies. The kind of chaotic situation that obtained in the “cultural revolution” must never be allowed to happen again in any sphere.
6) Life under socialism must attain a high ethical and cultural level. We must firmly eradicate such gross fallacies as the denigration of education, science and culture and discrimination against intellectuals, fallacies which had long existed and found extreme expression during the “cultural revolution"; we must strive to raise the status and expand the role of education, science and culture in our drive for modernization. We unequivocally affirm that, together with the workers and peasants, the intellectuals are a force to rely on in the cause of socialism and that it is impossible to carry out socialist construction without culture and the intellectuals. It is imperative for the whole Party to engage in a more diligent study of Marxist theories, of the past and present in China and abroad, and of the different branches of the natural and social sciences. We must strengthen and improve ideological and political work and educate the people and youth in the Marxist world outlook and communist morality; we must persistently carry out the educational policy which calls for an all-round development morally, intellectually and physically, for being both red and expert, for integration of the intellectuals with the workers and peasants and the combination of mental and physical labour; and we must counter the influence of decadent bourgeois ideology and the decadent remnants of feudal ideology, overcome the influence of petty-bourgeois ideology and foster the patriotism which puts the interests of the motherland above every the modernization of our national defence. The building up of national defence must be in keeping with the building up of the economy. The People’s Liberation Army should strengthen its military training, political work, logistic service and study of military science and further raise its combat effectiveness so as gradually to become a still more powerful modern revolutionary army. It is necessary to restore and carry forward the fine tradition of unity inside the army, between the army and the government and between the army and the people. The building of the people’s militia must also be further strengthened.
7) The improvement and promotion of socialist relations among our various nationalities and the strengthening of national unity are of profound significance to our multinational country. In the past, particularly during the “cultural revolution", we made a grave mistake on the question of nationalities, the mistake of widening the scope of class struggle, and we wronged a large number of cadres and masses of the minority nationalities. In our work among them, we did not show due respect for their right to autonomy. We must never forget this lesson. We must have a clear understanding that relations among our nationalities today are, in the main, relations among the working people of the various nationalities. It is necessary to adhere to their regional autonomy and enact laws and regulations to ensure this autonomy and their decision-making power in applying Party and government policies according to the actual conditions in their regions. We must take effective measures to assist economic and cultural development in regions inhabited by minority nationalities, actively train and promote cadres from among them and resolutely oppose all words and deeds undermining national unity and equality. It is imperative to continue to implement the policy of freedom of religious belief. To uphold the four fundamental principles does not mean that religious believers should renounce their faith but that they must not engage in propaganda against Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought and that they must not interfere with politics and education in their religious activities.
8) In the present international situation in which the danger of war still exists, it is necessary to strengthen the modernization of our national defence. The building up of national defence must be in keeping with the building up of the economy. The People’s Liberation Army should strengthen its military training, political work, logistic service and study of military science and further raise its combat effectiveness so as gradually to become a still more powerful modern revolutionary army. It is necessary to restore and carry forward the fine tradition of unity inside the army, between the army and the government and between the army and the people. The building of the people’s militia must also be further strengthened.
9) In our external relations, we must continue to oppose imperialism, hegemonism, colonialism and racism, and safeguard world peace. We must actively promote relations and economic and cultural exchanges with other countries on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. We must uphold proletarian internationalism and support the cause of the liberation of oppressed nations, the national construction of newly independent countries and the just struggles of the peoples everywhere.
10) In the light of the lessons of the “cultural revolution” and the present situation in the Party, it is imperative to build up a sound system of democratic centralism inside the Party. We must carry out the Marxist principle of the exercise of collective Party leadership by leaders who have emerged from mass struggles and who combine political integrity with professional competence, and we must prohibit the personality cult in any form. It is imperative to uphold the prestige of Party leaders and at the same time ensure that their activities come under the supervision of the Party and the people. We must have a high degree of centralism based on a high degree of democracy and insist that the minority is subordinate to the majority, the individual to the organization, the lower to the higher level and the entire membership to the Central Committee. The style of work of a political party in power is a matter that determines its very existence. Party organizations at all levels and all Party cadres must go deep among the masses, plunge themselves into practical struggle, remain modest and prudent, share weal and woe with the masses and firmly overcome bureaucratism. We must properly wield the weapon of criticism and self-criticism, overcome erroneous ideas that deviate from the Party’s correct principles, uproot factionalism, oppose anarchism and ultra-individualism and eradicate such unhealthy tendencies as the practice of seeking perks and privileges. We must consolidate the Party organization, purify the Party ranks and weed out degenerate elements who oppress and bully the people. In exercising leadership over state affairs and work in the economic and cultural fields as well as in community life, the Party must correctly handle its relations with other organizations, ensure by every means the effective functioning of the organs of state power and administrative, judicial and economic and cultural organizations and see to it that trade unions, the Youth League, the Women’s Federation, the Science and Technology Association, the Federation of Literary and Art Circles and other mass organizations carry out their work responsibly and on their own initiative. The Party must strengthen its co-operation with public figures outside the Party, give full play to the role of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, hold conscientious consultations with democratic parties and personages without party affiliation on major issues of state affairs and respect their opinions and the opinions of specialists in various fields. As with other social organizations, Party organizations at all levels must conduct their activities within the limits permitted by the Constitution and the law.
36. In firmly correcting the mistake of the so-called “continued revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat", a slogan which was advanced during the “cultural revolution” and which called for the overthrow of one class by another, we absolutely do not mean that the tasks of the revolution have been accomplished and that there is no need to carry on revolutionary struggles with determination. Socialism aims not just at eliminating all systems of exploitation and all exploiting classes but also at greatly expanding the productive forces, improving and developing the socialist relations of production and the superstructure and, on this basis, gradually eliminating all class differences and all major social distinctions and inequalities which are chiefly due to the inadequate development of the productive forces until communism is finally realized. This is a great revolution, unprecedented in human history. Our present endeavour to build a modern socialist China constitutes but one stage of this great revolution. Differing from the revolutions before the overthrow of the system of exploitation, this revolution is carried out not through fierce class confrontation and conflict, but through the strength of the socialist system itself, under leadership, step by step and in an orderly way. This revolution which has entered the period of peaceful development is more profound and arduous than any previous revolution and will not only take a very long historical period to accomplish but also demand many generations of unswerving and disciplined hard work and heroic sacrifice. In this historical period of peaceful development, revolution can never be plain sailing. There are still overt and covert enemies and other saboteurs who watch for opportunities to create trouble. We must maintain high revolutionary vigilance and be ready at all times to come out boldly to safeguard the interests of the revolution. In this new historical period, the whole membership of the Chinese Communist Party and the whole people must never cease to cherish lofty revolutionary ideals, maintain a dynamic revolutionary fighting spirit and carry China’s great socialist revolution and socialist construction through to the end.
37. Repeated assessment of our successes and failures, of our correct and incorrect practices, of the thirty-two years since the founding of our People’s Republic, and particularly deliberation over and review of the events of the past few years, have helped to raise immensely the political consciousness of all Party comrades and of all patriots. Obviously, our Party now has a higher level of understanding of socialist revolution and construction than at any other period since liberation. Our Party has both the courage to acknowledge and correct its mistakes and the determination and ability to prevent repetition of the serious mistakes of the past. In the last analysis, from a long-term historical point of view the mistakes and setbacks of our Party were only temporary whereas the consequent steeling of our Party and people, the greater maturity of the core force formed among our Party cadres through protracted struggle, the growing superiority of our socialist system and the increasingly keen and common aspiration of our Party, army and people for the prosperity of the motherland will be decisive factors in the long run. A great future is in store for our socialist cause and for the Chinese people in their hundreds of millions.
38. Inner-Party unity and unity between the Party and the people are the basic guarantee for new victories in our socialist modernization. Whatever the difficulties, as long as the Party is closely united and remains closely united with the people, our Party and the cause of socialism it leads will certainly prosper day by day.
The Resolution on Certain Questions in the History of Our Party unanimously adopted in 1945 by the Enlarged Seventh Plenary Session of the Sixth Central Committee of the Party unified the thinking of the whole Party, consolidated its unity, promoted the rapid advance of the people’s revolutionary cause and accelerated its eventual triumph. The Sixth Plenary Session of the Eleventh Central Committee of the Party believes that the present resolution it has unanimously adopted will play a similar historical role. This session calls upon the whole Party, the whole army and the people of all nationalities to act under the great banner of Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought, closely rally around the Central Committee of the Party, preserve the spirit of the legendary Foolish Old Man who removed mountains and work together as one in defiance of all difficulties so as to turn China step by step into a powerful modern socialist country which is highly democratic and highly cultured. Our goal must be attained! Our goal unquestionably can be attained!
The Chinese Communist Party assesses the legacy and shortcomings of Mao Zedong, criticizes the Cultural Revolution, and calls for Party unity going forward.
Associated People & Organizations
- Chinese Communist Party
- China--Foreign policy
- Political purges--China
- China--Economic conditions
- China--History--Cultural Revolution, 1966-1976
- China--Economic policy--1976-2000
- China--Politics and government--1976-2002
- China--Politics and government--1949-1976
- China--Economic policy--1949-1976
- Chinese Communist Party. 11th Congress
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