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(Prepared for RRojas Research Unit by Dr. Róbinson Rojas)

Mao Zedong
25 April 1956

During the past two months the Politburo has individually heard and
accepted the work reports of thirty-four economic and financial
departments of the Centre [1]. It has exchanged views with these
departments on a number of issues, and after further discussions has
made a synthesis containing ten problems, ten contradictions.

Raising these problems has but one aim: to mobilize all positive elements
and all available forces in order to build socialism more, faster, better
and more economically.

It has always been our policy to mobilize all positive elements and all
available forces. In the past we followed this policy in order to win
victory in the People's Democratic Revolution, and to put an end to the
rule of feudalism and bureaucratic capitalism. Now we follow it in a new
revolution, the socialist revolution, and in the building of the
socialist state. No matter whether it is for revolution or construction,
this policy should always be followed. Everybody is clear about this.

But there are some problems which are still worth discussion, among them
some points which are new. Our work still has its defects and short-
comings. If we discuss these problems and consider them and handle these
contradictions correctly, then we can avoid some deviations.

Let me read out the ten problems:

 1.- The relationship between industry and agriculture, and between heavy
    industry and light industry.
 2.- The relationship between industry in the coastal regions and industry
    in the interior.
 3.- The relationship between economic construction and defence
 4.- The relationship between the state, the units of production and the
    individual producers.
 5.- The relationship between the Centre and the regions.
 6.- The relationship between the Han nationality and the national
 7.- The relationship between Party and non-Party.
 8.- The relationship between revolutionary and counter-revolutionary.
 9.- The relationship between right and wrong.
10.- The relationship between China and other countries.

These relationships are all contradictions. Contradictions are everywhere
in the world. Without contradictions there would be no world.

I will now discuss the above ten contradictions.

              1.- The relationship between industry and agriculture,
                  heavy industry and light industry.

Everyone is agreed that heavy industry is the key sector which must be
given priority. In dealing with the relationship between heavy industry
and light industry and between industry and agriculture, we have not
committed mistakes of principle.

We have not committed the mistakes of some socialist countries which put
undue emphasis on heavy industry and neglected light industry and
agriculture. As a result they have not enough goods on the market, daily
necessities are in short supply, and their currency is unstable.

We put comparatively more emphasis on light industry and agriculture. Our
market is comparatively well supplied with goods. This differs from the
state of the market in some countries after their revolutions. While it
would not be true to say that we have a superabundance, we have fairly
good supplies of articles in daily use by the people. All our prices are
stable and the people's currency is stable.

That is not to say that there are no problems. There are still problems.
We must make appropriate adjustments to the proportion of investment
between heavy industry and light industry, and between light industry and
agriculture. We must make appropriate increases in the proportion of
investment in light industry and agriculture which is contained in the
total industrial and agricultural investment.

Does this mean that heavy industry is no longer the leading sector?
No, it is still the leading sector.
Are we no longer to emphasize heavy industry?
If the question is posed in this way, the reply is that the emphasis in
investment is still to be on heavy industry.

In future we must put more investment into light industry and agriculture
so that the proportion of investment they receive is increased. When we
increase this proportion, does this mean that we have changed the key
sector? No, the key sector has not been changed. It is still heavy
industry, but more emphasis will now be put on light industry and

What will be the outcome of this increase in emphasis? The outcome will
be to bring greater and faster development to heavy industry, greater and
faster development to the production of the means of production.

The development of heavy industry demands capital accumulation. Where
will this accumulation come from? It can come from heavy industry itself.
It can also come from light industry and agriculture. But light industry
and agriculture can provide the greater and faster accumulation.

Here a question arises. It is really your desire to develop heavy
industry? Either you have a fierce desire to do so, or you are not so
very keen.

If you don't desire to do so at all, then you will attack light industry
and attack agriculture. If you are not very keen, then you will not put
so much investment into light industry and agriculture. But if you have
a strong desire to develop heavy industry, then you will pay attention
to the development of light industry and agriculture. This will result in
more daily necessities, which in turn will mean more accumulation, and
after a few years still more funds will be invested in heavy industry.

So this is a question of whether your desire to develop heavy industry is
genuine or only a pretence.

Of course this question of whether one's desire to develop heavy industry
is genuine or not does not apply to us. Who does not genuinely desire to?
With us, it's merely a question of whether our desire is strong or weak.
If your desire is really strong then you should put more investment into
light industry. Otherwise your desire is not one hundred per cent
genuine, only ninety per cent genuine. It is not strong. That is to say,
you do not wholeheartedly stress heavy industry. If you wholeheartedly
stressed it, then you would pay attention to the development of light
industry, because in the first place it can satisfy the needs of the
people, and secondly it can provide greater and faster accumulation.

On the question of agriculture the experience of some socialist countries
proves that even where agriculture is collectivized, where
collectivization is mismanaged it is still not possible to increase

The root cause of the failure to increase agricultural production in some
countries is that the state's policy towards the peasants is questionable.
The peasants' burden of taxation is too heavy while the price of
agricultural products is very low, and that of industrial goods very

While developing industry, especially heavy industry, we must at the same
time give agriculture a certain status by adopting correct policies for
agricultural taxation, and for pricing industrial and agricultural

The importance of agriculture for the national economy as a whole is very
clear from our own experience. The practice of the years since liberation
proves that whenever there is a good harvest, life is better all around
during the corresponding year. This is a general law.

Our conclusion is as follows: one way of developing heavy industry is to
develop light industry and agriculture somewhat less. There is another
way, which consists in developing light industry and agriculture somewhat

The result of the first method, i.e. of one-sidedly developing heavy
industry without paying attention to the people's livelihood, will be to
make the people dissatisfied, so that even heavy industry cannot really
run well. In a long-term perspective, this method will lead to somewhat
slower and inferior development of heavy industry. When the overall
account is added up a few decades hence, it won't be favourable.

The second method, i.e. developing heavy industry on a foundation of
satisfying the needs of the people's livelihood, will provide a more
solid foundation for the development of heavy industry, and the result
will be to develop it more and better.

              2.- The relationship between coastal industry
                  and industry in the interior.

It is correct to develop industry in the interior. This is of primary
importance. But it is necessary to look after the coastal regions.

On this question we have no made big or fundamental mistakes, yet
we have a few weaknesses. In the past few years we have not laid enough
stress on industry in the coastal regions. I think we should make some

How much of the industry, heavy and light, which we had at the outset,
was in the coastal regions, these being taken to include Liaoning,
Jobei, Beijing, Eastern Henan, Shandong, Anhui, Jiangsu, Shanghai,
Zhejiang, Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi? Seventy per cent of all our
industry is in these coastal regions, and seventy per cent of our heavy
industry. Only thirty per cent is in the interior. It would be quite
wrong not to take account of this fact, not to give proper weight to
coastal industry, and not to utilize its productive power to the full.

We must do our utmost and use all our available time to enable the
industry of the coastal regions to develop.

I am not saying that all our new factories should be built in the
coastal regions. More than ninety per cent of them should be built in
the interior. But some can be built in the coastal regions. For example,
the Anshan steel mills and the Fushun coal mines are in the coastal
regions; Dairen has its shipbuilding, T'angshan has its iron and steel
and building-material industries. T'angku has its chemical industry.
Tientsin its iron and steel and machine industries. Shanghai has its
machine and shipbuilding industries. Nanjing has its chemical industry,
and there is industry in many other places. Now we are planning to
produce synthetic petroleum at Maoming in Guangdong province, where
there is oil-shale. This is also heavy industry.

In future the greater part of heavy industry -ninety per cent or perhaps
still more- should be set up in the interior so that industry may become
more evenly distributed and rationally sited over the whole country.
There is no doubt at all about that. But a proportion of heavy industry
must still be constructed or expanded in the coastal regions.

Our old industrial base is mainly in the coastal regions. If we do not
pay attention to industry in the coastal regions this will be to our

On the other hand, if we make full use of the capacity both in plant and
technology of coastal industry and develop it properly, then we shall
have all the more strength to develop and maintain industry in the
interior. It is wrong to adopt a negative attitude towards coastal
industry. This will not only hinder the full utilization of coastal
industry, it will also hinder the rapid development of industry in the

We all desire to develop industry in the interior. The question is only
whether your desire is genuine or not. If your desire is genuine and you
are not just pretending, then you must make more use of the industry of
the coastal regions, and build more )industry in the coastal regions,
especially light industry.

In the light of available information, industrial plan can be constructed
very quickly in some light industries. After going into production and
developing their productive capacity they can recoup their capital
outlay within one year. Hence within five years they can build three or
four new factories in addition to the original one. In some cases they
will be able to build two or three new factories, in other cases one new
factory. At the very least they can build half a new factory. This
provides further demonstration of the importance of utilizing coastal

In our long-term plans we have a shortage of 400,000 technical cadres.
These can be provided by training workers and technicians from the
coastal industries. Technical cadres do not need to come from literary
families. Gorki only had two years of elementary schooling. Lu Hsun was
not a university graduate. In the old society he could only be a
lecturer, not a professor. Comrade Hsiao Ch'u-nu never went to school at
all[2]. You must realize that skilled workers have learned through
practical experience and can make very good technical cadres.

The technical level of coastal industry is high, the quality of its
products good, its costs low, and it produces many new products. Its
development has a stimulating effect on the technical level and quality
of national industry as a whole. We must be fully aware of the
importance of this question.

In short if we do not develop light industry we cannot develop heavy
industry. If we do not utilize the industry of the coastal regions we
cannot establish industry in the interior. We must not simply maintain
coastal industry. We must also develop it where appropriate.

               3.- The relationship between economic construction
                   and defence construction.

We cannot do without defence. Would it be a good idea to demobilize all
our troops? No, it would not, because we still have enemies. These
enemies are 'containing' us. Haven't they got us encircled?

We already have quite considerable defence forces. After the war to
resist America and support Korea, our armies grew even stronger. Our
defence industry is in process of being built up.

Since P'an Ku separated heaven and earth[3], we have never been able to
manufacture automobiles or aeroplanes. Now we are beginning to be able
to do both. Our motor industry started with the manufacture of lorries,
not cars. So each day we have to come to our meetings in foreign cars.
We want to be patriotic, but we have to be patient. Roll on the day when
we can come to meetings in our own cars!

We still do not have atomic bombs, but in the past we didn't have
aeroplanes or big guns either. We defeated the Japanese invaders and
Chiang Kai-shek with millet and rifles. We are already pretty strong and
will be stronger in future.

A reliable way of ensuring this is to lay down appropriate ratios for
military expenditure, so that it is reduced step by step to about twenty
per cent of the state budget, while expenditure on economic construction
is increased so that it can develop more and faster. On such a basis
defence construction can make still greater progress, and in the
not-too-distant future we shall have not only many aeroplanes and guns,
but also our own atomic bombs.

Do you genuinely want atomic bombs? If you do, you must decrease the
proportion of military expenditure and increase economic construction.
Or do you only pretend to want them? In that case you will not decrease
the proportion of military expenditure, but decrease economic
construction. Which is the better plan? Will everybody please study this
question: it is a question of strategic policy.

In 1950 at the Third Plenum of the Seventh Central Committee, the
question of streamlining the state organs and decreasing military
expenditure was raised. Moreover it was considered as one of the three
preconditions for achieving a fundamental turn for the better in our
financial and economic situation.

But during the period of the first five-year plan, military expenditure
made up thirty-two per cent of the state's expenditure. That is to say,
one third of the expenditure was for non-productive purposes. This
proportion is too high. In the second five-year plan, we must find a
means of reducing this proportion in order to make more funds available
for economic and cultural[educational][R.R.] construction.

              4.- The relationship between the State, the units of
                  production and the individual producers.

In our recent discussions with comrades from the various provinces, they
had quite a lot to say on this question. As regards the workers, the
productivity of their labour has gone up, the value they produce per
working day has also gone up, therefore their wages should be adjusted
accordingly. It would be wrong to neglect this point.

Since Liberation there has been a great improvement in the standard of
living of the workers. This everyone knows. In the past some families
had not a single employed member. Now these families have employed
members. Some families had only one member in employment. Now they have
two or three. I have come across families which in the past had no
employed members. Now, both husband and wife and one daughter were
employed. If their wages are added up, then of course their standard of
living will be good.

Generally speaking our wage levels are not high, but we have a high rate
of employment. Since prices are both low and stable, and life is secure,
it follows that standards are incomparably better than before
Liberation. The mass of the workers has maintained a high level of

We should pay attention to arousing  the initiative and enthusiasm of
the workers. The factory as a complete unit of production also has a
problem of initiative and enthusiasm.

Everything has both unity with other things and its own independence.
Everything also has features in common with other things as well as its
own distinctive features. Things cannot only possess unity and common
features, without also having independence and distinctive features.

For instance, this meeting is an example of unity. After the meeting is
over comes independence. Some of us will go for a walk, some will study,
some eat. Each has his own independence. It would never do to keep the
meeting going on and on without a break. That would be the death of us.
So each unit of production, each individual has to have initiative and a
certain degree of independence. All must have an independence which is
linked with unity.

Would giving to the individual producers their due rewards, and to the
units of production a certain amount of initiative, be of benefit to the
industrialization of the whole country? It ought to result in some
improvements. If it makes things worse then it should not be done. If
everything is centralized, if the factories' depreciation funds are
taken from them, then the units of production would no longer have any
initiative; this would not be beneficial. On this question we do not
have much experience. I think that the comrades here present also have
little experience. We are studying it. We have so many factories, and in
future we shall have still more. If we could arouse their enthusiasm to
the full, this would certainly be of very great benefit to our country's

As for the peasants, our relations with them have always been good. But
we have made a mistake on the question of grain. In 1954 floods caused a
loss of production throughout the country, and yet we purchased 7,000
million more catties of grain. This contrast between reduced production
and increased state purchase led to criticism by the peasants. We cannot
claim that we never make mistakes.

We purchased 7,000 million catties too much because we had no experience
and did not have a proper understanding of the problem. This was a
mistake. In 1955, having discovered this mistake, we purchased 7,000
million catties less and put the 'three stabilizations'[4] into
operation. That year there was a bumper crop. Thus an increase in
production coincided with a decrease in purchasing, so that the peasants
had 20,000 million extra catties of grain on their hands. All those
peasants who had criticized us in the past now no longer criticized us.
They all said, 'the Communist Party is fine'. The whole Party should
remember this lesson.

The peasants' collective economic organization are just like factories.
They are also units of production. Within these collective economic
units the relationship between the collective and the individual must be
properly regulated and properly managed.

If we do not manage this relationship properly and do not pay attention
to the peasants' welfare, then the collective economy cannot be properly
run. Some socialist countries may have committed mistakes in this
respect. Some of their collective economic organization are generally
well run, others are not so well run. In those which are not well run,
agricultural production is not so developed. The collective needs
accumulation, but we must be careful not to make too great demands on
the peasants. We should not give them too hard a time. Except where we
meet with unavoidable natural disasters, we should enable the peasants'
income to increase year by year on the basis of increased agricultural

We have discussed the question of distribution of the summer and autumn
harvests with the comrades from the various provinces. By problems of
distribution we mean:
(1) how much is taken by the State;
(2) how much is taken by the collective, and
(3) how much is taken by individual peasants and in what form they
    take it.

The State takes it in the form of taxes, the collective economic
organizations in accumulation and management expenses, and the
individual peasants in their shares of grain and money.

Everything in the collective economy is for the service of the peasants.
Not only production expenses, which goes without saying, but management
expenses are also necessary. The accumulation fund is for the purpose of
expanding production, while the welfare fund is for the peasants'
welfare. On all of these we should work out appropriate ratios together
with the peasants.

The State must have accumulation and so must the collective, but neither
should be too high. State accumulation comes mainly through taxation and
not through pricing. In the exchange of industrial and agricultural
products we adopt in our country a policy of reducing the 'scissors'
gap, a policy of the exchange of equal or near-equal values, a policy
of low profit and high sales in industrial products, and a policy of
stable prices.

In short, the relationships between State and factory, State and worker,
factory and worker, State and collective economic organization, State
and peasant, collective economic organization and peasant must all be
seen from both sides and not from one side only. There are some new
points here. This is a big problem which concerns 600 million people,
and which demands the attention of the whole Party.

               5.- The relationship between the Centre and
                   the regions.

The relationship between the Centre and the regions is also a
contradiction. In order to resolve this contradiction, what we now need
to consider is how to arouse the enthusiasm of the regions by allowing
them to run more projects under the unified plan of the Centre.

As things look now, I think that we need a further extension of regional
power. At present it is too limited and this is not favourable to
building socialism. It is laid down in our Constitution that the regions
do not have legislative powers, and that these are concentrated in the
hands of the National People's Congress. But where the situation and the
work demand it, the regions should also make rules and regulations,
provided they do not conflict with the policies of the Centre, and that
they fall within the limits sanctioned by the law. The Constitution does
not prohibit this.

If heavy and light industries are to develop, then markets and raw
materials are needed, and to achieve these you must arouse the
enthusiasm of the regions. If we are to consolidate the leadership of
the Centre, then we must attend to the interests of the regions.

At present there are dozens of hands meddling in regional affairs,
making them difficult to manage. Every day various ministries issue
orders to the offices of provincial and municipal governments. These
orders are supposed to come from the Centre, even though the Centre
knows nothing about them and neither does the State Council. They put a
great strain on the regions. Statistics and reports come rushing in like
a torrent. This must be changed. We must discuss ways of correcting it.

There are two kinds of departments at the Centre dealing with local
affairs. The first kind extend their leadership right down to
enterprises. The management organs and enterprises which they set up in
the regions are locally supervised by the regions. The other kind have
the task of laying down guidelines and work plans, which are put into
operation by the regions, with the regions in charge of the work.

We advocate a consultative mode of operation with the regions. Whenever
the Central Committee of the Party does anything, it always consults the
regions. It has never issued blind commands without doing so. We hope
that the various ministries at the Centre will take note of this and
consult with the regions on all matters affecting them, and not issue
any orders until after consultation has taken place.

We want unity together with individuality. If local enthusiasm is really
to be aroused, every place must have the individuality appropriate to
its conditions. This individuality is not Kao Kang's kind of
individuality, which amounted to striving for an independent kingdom;
it is the individuality necessary in the interest of the whole country
and to strengthen national unity.

The provinces and municipalities have many opinions about the various
departments of the Centre which ought to be expressed. It is possible
that regions, counties, districts and townships also have many opinions
about the provinces and municipalities. The provinces and municipalities
should listen attentively so that they can arouse their enthusiasm.

There must be proper enthusiasm and proper independence. Provinces,
municipalities, regions, counties, districts and townships should all
possess both. Provinces and municipalities should not put regions,
counties, districts and townships in a strait-jacket.

Naturally we must, at the same time, tell the comrades at the lower
levels that they should not act wildly, that they must exercise caution.
Where they can conform, they ought to conform. Where they ought to
conform, they must conform. Where they cannot conform, where they ought
not to conform, then conformity should not be sought at all costs.

Two enthusiasms are much better than just one. In our fight on the
question of the regions, we do not take regionalism as our starting-
point, nor the interests of individual units, but rather the interests
of the whole State. We fight this fight wherever and opportunity arises.

The independence sanctioned by the Centre must be a proper degree of
independence. It cannot be called 'separatism'.

In short, the regions should have an appropriate degree of power. This
would be beneficial to the building of a strong socialist state.

I consider that to restrict local powers too narrowly is not so
beneficial. We still have little experience, and little maturity on the
question of the state's handling of the relationship between the Centre
and the regions. I hope that everyone will properly study and discuss it.

               6.- The relationship between the Han nationality
                   and the national minorities [5]

On this question our policy is stable. It has obtained the approval of
the national minorities. Our emphasis lies on opposing Han chauvinism.
Local nationalism exists, but this is not the crucial problem. The
crucial problem is opposition to Han chauvinism.

In respect to population, the Hans comprise the great majority. If they
practised Han chauvinism and excluded the national minorities, that
would be very bad. So we must conduct widespread education in
proletarian nationalities policy among the Han nationality, and carry
out an investigation into the relationship of the Hans and the national

We made one such investigation two years ago. It is now time for another
one. If there are cases where the relationship is abnormal, then it must
be corrected. It is not sufficient merely to talk about it. There are
plenty of people nowadays who say they do not want Han chauvinism. Their
words are fine, but they do nothing about it in practice.

We need to make a proper study of what systems of economic management
and finance would be appropriate to the national minority areas.

The national minority areas are extensive and rich in resources. While
the Han nationality has a large population, the national minority areas
have riches under the soil which are needed for building socialism. The
Han nationality must actively assist the national minorities to carry
out socialist economic and educational construction, and, by improving
relations between the nationalities, mobilize all elements, both human
and material, which are beneficial to socialist construction.

               7.- The relationship between Party and non-Party

By this is meant the relationship between the Chinese Communist Party
and the democratic parties and non-party democrats. There is nothing new
in this, but while we are on this subject, we should also include this
relationship. It is really better to have one party or several parties?

As things are now, it would seem to be better to have several parties.
Not only was this so in the past, it may very well be so in the future
too, right up to the time when all parties wither away. Long-term
coexistence and mutual supervision between the Communist Party and the
various democratic parties has advantages.

Parties are the products of history. This is point number one. The
second point is that everything which is produced by history will also
be destroyed by history. The Communist Party was produced by history,
and for that reason the day will inevitably come when it will be
destroyed. The democratic parties have a similar destiny.

Proletarian political parties and the dictatorship of the proletariat
will be destroyed in future. But at present they are indispensable.
Without them we could not suppress counter-revolution, nor could we
resist imperialism or build socialism. In order to carry out these tasks
the proletarian dictatorship needs to have great coercive power. But it
must oppose bureaucracy and it must not have an inflated establishment.
I propose that the Party and government organs should be streamlined
and that two thirds of their numbers should be axed.

This brings us back to the previous subject. If we are to streamline the
Party and government organs, does this not mean that we can dispense
with the democratic parties? In our country several democratic parties
exist side by side.[6] Among them there are people who still have many
criticisms of us. Towards these people we adopt a policy of unity
combined with struggle, in order to mobilize them in the cause of

In China there is no formal opposition. All the democratic parties
accept the leadership of the Communist Party. But within the democratic
parties there are some people who in reality are in opposition.

On "Carry the revolution through to the end", on "leaning to one side
in foreign policy", the "Resist America, Aid Korea" campaign, the land
reform and other issues, they adopted an equivocal attitude of opposing
us and yet not opposing us. They also criticized us about the
suppression of counter-revolution. They said that the Common Programme
(of 1949) was a fine thing and that they didn't want a constitution. But
when the Draft Constitution came out they all raised their hands in

Things often move towards their opposites. The attitude of some people
in the democratic parties towards many questions was like this. They are
in opposition, and at the same time they are not in opposition. Because
they want to be patriotic, they often move from being in opposition to
not being in opposition.

The relationship between the Communist Party and the democratic parties
has shown some improvement. We want to permit the people in the
democratic parties to express their criticisms. We will accept any idea
which makes good sense, no matter who puts it forward. This is
advantageous to the Party, the State, the people and socialism.

I therefore hope that our comrades will grasp united-front work.
Provincial Party secretaries should fine the time to investigate the
situation and put measures in hand to carry this work forward.

               8.- The relationship between revolutionary
                   and counter-revolutionary

What kind of element is a counter-revolutionary element? It is a
negative element, a destructive element. It is not a positive element.
It is a force opposed to positive elements.

Can a negative element turn into a positive element? Can a destructive
element turn into a beneficial element? Can a counter-revolutionary
change? This depends on social conditions.

Completely stubborn, dyed-in-the-wool counter-revolutionaries
undoubtedly exist. But where the majority of them are concerned, given
our social conditions, the day may come when they do change. Of course,
there are some who will not have time to change before they are summoned
by the King of Hell. And, as for some others, who knows when they will

Because of the people's strength, and because of our correct policy
towards counter-revolutionary elements of allowing them to reform
themselves through labour and become new men, there have been many
counter-revolutionaries who have given up being counter-revolutionary.
They have taken part in agricultural and industrial labour; some of them
have become very active and done useful work.

There are a number of points about the work of suppressing counter-
revolution which need affirmation. For instance, should we have carried
out the suppression of counter-revolution of 1951-52? It seems that some
hold that we should not have carried this out. This view is wrong. It
must be recognized that this campaign was necessary.

The methods of handling counter-revolutionaries are execution,
imprisonment, probation and release. Everybody knows what execution is.
Imprisonment means locking people up and allowing them to reform
themselves through labour. Probation means placing them in society to be
supervised and remoulded by the masses. Release means not arresting
those who might or might not be arrested, or releasing those who behave
well after arrest. It is altogether right that we give different kinds
of counter-revolutionary elements different treatment according to
circumstances. These methods all need to be explained carefully to the
common people.

Whom have we executed? What sort of people? Elements for whom the masses
had great hatred, and whose blood-debt was heavy. In a great revolution
of 600 million people, if we did not kill some tyrants, or if we were
too lenient to them, the masses would not agree. It is still of
practical significance to affirm that it was correct to execute these
people. Not to give that affirmation would be bad. This is the first

The second point needing affirmation is that counter-revolutionary
elements still exist in society, though there are now far fewer of them.
Our social discipline is very good, but we still should not relax our
vigilance. To say that not one counter-revolutionary remains and then
sit back and take things easy would be wrong. There is still a small
number of counter-revolutionaries carrying out sabotage; for example,
killing cattle, burning grain, wrecking factories, stealing information,
peddling counter-revolutionary slogans, etc.

In future, in suppressing counter-revolution in our society we must make
fewer arrests and carry out fewer executions.

We should hand the majority of counter-revolutionaries over to the
agricultural cooperatives so that they may participate in productive
work under supervision, and be transformed through labour. But we should
not declare that we shall never execute anyone. We cannot abolish the
death penalty. If a counter-revolutionary were to commit murder or to
blow up a factory, do you think he should be executed? He most
definitely should.

The third point which should be affirmed concerns the work of
suppressing counter-revolutionaries in government offices, schools and
the army. We must keep up the policy which we started in Yenan: "No
executions and few arrests". There are some whom we do not execute, not
because they have done nothing to deserve death, but because killing
them would bring no advantage, whereas sparing their lives would. What
harm is there in not executing people? Those amenable to labour reform
should go and do labour reform, so that rubbish can be transformed in
something useful. Besides, people's heads are not like leeks. When you
cut them off, they will not grow again. If you cut off a head wrongly,
there is no way of rectifying the mistake even if you want to.

If government departments were to adopt a policy of no executions in
their work of suppressing counter-revolutionaries, this still would not
prevent us from taking counter-revolution seriously. Moreover it would
ensure that we would not make mistakes, or if we did they could be
corrected. This would calm many people. If we do not execute people, we
must feed them. So we should give all counter-revolutionaries way out of
their impasse. This will be helpful to the people's cause and to our
image abroad.

The suppression of counter-revolution still requires a long period of
hard work. None of us may relax our efforts.

               9.- The relationship between right and wrong

Both inside and outside the Party we should clearly distinguish between
right and wrong. How we treat people who have made mistakes is an
important question. The correct attitude is to allow people to join the
revolution. If people have committed mistakes, we must adopt a policy of
"punishing those who have erred in the past so as to provide a warning
for the future, and curing the disease to save the patient", thus
helping them to reform.

THE TRUE STORY OF AH Q[8] is a good piece of writing. I urge comrades
who have read it to read it again, and those comrades who have not read
it to read it carefully. In the story, Lu Hsin writes mainly about a
backward and unenlightened peasant, and how he is afraid of being
criticized. If someone criticizes him, he starts a fight with them. He
has ringworm scars on his head which he never mentions, and he is
terrified of others mentioning them. But the more he takes this
attitude, the more others taunt him, so that he is pushed right on to
the defensive.  Lu Hsin wrote a special chapter in the story entitled
"Barred from the revolution", in which he tells how the fake foreign
devil does not permit Ah Q to join the revolution. In fact, all Ah Q
meant by revolution was stealing a few things, but even this kind of
revolution was not permitted.

In the past we have made mistakes in the Party on this question. That
was when the dogmatists headed by Wang Ming were in control. They were
forever accusing people, who were not to their taste, or having
committed such and such an error. They did not permit them to join the
revolution. They attacked many people, causing the Party to suffer heavy
losses. We must remember this lesson.

If we do not allow people in our society to join the revolution, that is
a bad thing. It is also a bad thing if people who have joined the Party
and committed mistakes are not allowed to correct those mistakes.

We should allow people to join the revolution. Some may say that in the
case of people who have made mistakes, it depends on whether they have
corrected them. That is correct, but it is only half the truth. There is
another half, namely that work must be done on them to help them correct
their mistakes. They must be given an opportunity to correct them.

People who have made mistakes we should first "observe" and then "help".
They should be given work and assistance. We shouldn't gloat over them,
refuse to help them, refuse them work. This is a sectarian way of doing

The more people who join the revolution the better. Of those who have
committed mistakes, a small minority cling to their mistakes and keep
repeating them, but the majority can be reformed. People who have had
typhoid become immune to it afterwards. Similarly, people who have made
mistakes, provided they are good at drawing lessons from their mistakes,
will, if they take care, make fewer mistakes in future. We hope that all
those who have made mistakes will acquire this immunity. It is those who
have not made mistakes who are in danger and should be on their guard,
because they do not have this immunity and so easily become

We must realize that if we are excessive in our correction of those who
have made mistakes, this will invariably rebound on us. It will be like
lifting a rock and dropping it on our own feet. We will fall and be
unable to rise. If we deal benevolently with those who have made
mistakes, we can win their hearts. In dealing with those who have erred,
do comrades take a hostile or a helpful attitude to them? This is the
criterion for judging whether you wish them well or ill.

Right must be distinguished from wrong. Clarity on the relationship
between right and wrong will enable us to educate people and unite the
whole Party. Within the Party we have controversy, criticism, struggle.
These are necessary. The use of an appropriate amount of criticism, or
even struggle where circumstances warrant it, is a means of helping
people to correct mistakes, and is helpful to them.

               10.- The relationship between China and other countries

We have put forward the slogan of learning from other countries. I think
that this slogan is correct. There is one kind of national leader who
neither dares nor wishes to put forward this slogan. We must have the
courage to reject such an upstage attitude.

We must learn the good points of all countries and all nationalities.
Every nationality has its good points, otherwise how could it exist, how
could it develop?

To recognize that every nationality has its good points is not to deny
that it has weaknesses and shortcomings. Strengths and weaknesses, good
points and bad, it will have both.

Our branch secretaries and company and platoon commanders all know -it
is written in their little notebooks- that in summarizing experiences
there are always two points: one is the strengths, the other the
weaknesses. Today's meeting is no exception to this. We all know that
there are two sides to things. Why, then, should we only mention one
side, the strengths, and omit the weaknesses? A state of affairs with
only one side could not exist. For 10,000 years to come there will
always be two sides. Each age has its two sides. The present age has its
two sides. Each individual has two sides. In short, there are always two
sides, not just one. If we say there is only one side, it means that we
only know about one side and we are ignorant of the other.

We propose learning the good things of other countries, not the bad. In
the past some of us were unclear about this and also learned the bad
things. They were as pleased as Punch with what they had learned, but
meanwhile the people from whom they had learned these useless things had
already discarded them. So they came a cropper like Sun Wu-k'ung.[9]

Some people never analyse anything. They simply follow the prevailing
wind. Today the north wind is blowing, so they join the north wind
school. Tomorrow there is a west wind, so they join the west wind
school. The day after tomorrow the north wind blows again, so they
switch back to the north wind school. They haven't a single opinion of
their own. They are absolutists, going from one extreme to another. We
must not be like this, we must not copy things blindly, but we should
learn analytically and critically. We should not become one-sided and
copy everything which comes from abroad, and introduce it

We used to be sectarian on this question in the past, and we have
conducted a long struggle against this sectarianism. But sectarianism is
still to be found both in the academic world and in the economic world.
We should continue our work of criticizing it.

We put the problem in this way: the study of universal truth must be
combined with Chinese reality. Our theory is made up of the universal
truth of Marxism-Leninism combined with the concrete reality of China.
We must be able to think independently.

We openly put forward the slogan of learning from foreign countries,
learning all their advanced and superior things, and continuing to learn
from them for ever. We openly acknowledge the weaknesses of our own
nation, and the strengths of others.

If we are to learn from foreign countries, we must conscientiously learn
foreign languages, if possible several.

I consider that China has two weaknesses, and at the same time, two
strong points.

First, in the past we were a colony and semi-colony. We suffered the
oppression of imperialism. Our industry was not developed and our
scientific and technical level was low. Apart from our large territory,
rich resources, large population and long history, we were inferior to
others in many respects. So we were not prone to be stuck up or
conceited. On the contrary, we have been slaves far too long and felt
inferior to others in every respect -too much so. We could not hold up
our heads in the presence of foreigners. We were like Chia Kuei in the
opera THE FA-MEN TEMPLE. When people asked him to sit down, he said he
was used to standing and would not sit. Some real effort is needed on
this problem, to raise the self-confidence of our people. We must do as
Mencius says: "When speaking to the mighty, look on them with contempt."
[10] We must develop the spirit which we had during the "Resist America,
Aid Korea" campaign, of looking with contempt on the imperialists. Our
policy is that we should study all the good points of foreign countries,
their politics, their economics, their science and technology, and their
literature and art.

Second, our revolution came late. Although the 1911 Revolution, which
overthrew the emperor, came before the Russian revolution, yet we then
had no proletarian party and the revolution failed. The victory of the
People's revolution in 1949 came over thirty years later than the Soviet
October revolution. So it is not our place to be proud. And although our
revolution is one step ahead of those of a number of colonial countries,
we should resist the temptation to be proud of that too.

These two points are weaknesses, but also strong points too. As I have
already said, we are very poor and have not much knowledge. We are first
"poor" and second "blank". By "poor" I mean that we have not much
industry and our agriculture is not so very advanced either. By "blank"
I mean that we are like a sheet of blank paper, since our educational
and scientific level is not high. Those who are poor want change; only
they want to have a revolution, want to burst their bonds, and seek to
become strong. A blank sheet of paper is good for writing on. I am, of
course, speaking in general terms. The labouring people of our country
are rich in wisdom, and we also have a pretty good bunch of scientists.
I am not saying we have no knowledge at all.

Being first "poor" and second "blank" prevent us from being stuck up.
Even if in future our industry and agriculture develop rapidly, and our
scientific and educational level is greatly raised, we must still
preserve our modest and cautious attitude and not be stuck up. We must
still learn from others. We must study for 10,000 years. What is wrong
with that?

I have altogether discussed ten points. In sum, we must mobilize all
positive factors -direct and indirect factors, direct and indirect
positive factors- and strive to build a great socialist state. We must
strive further to strengthen and consolidate the socialist camp, to win
victory for the international communist movement!
Footnote for non-Chinese readers:

[1] The term "centre" (chung-yang) in Chinese Communist jargon has a
    considerable range of meanings. In many instances, it is an
    abbreviation for 'Central Committee' of the Chinese Communist Party,
    but it is also used more narrowly to indicate an organ such as the
    Political Bureau or the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau.
    It is also employed more broadly to designate the whole apparatus
    of decision-making bodies in Beijing, including the state
    bureaucracy as well as the Party.
[2] Siao Ch'u-ni, despite his lack of formal education, had audited
    courses at a university in Wuhan, where he taught at a school and
    edited a newspaper. He participated actively in Communist Party and
    Guomintang work at the time of the first united front of 1924-7,
    serving as a political instructor at the Whampoa Military Academy,
    and also working with Mao Tse-tung in the Peasant Movement Training
    Institute in the summer of 1926. He was killed by the Guomintang in
    Shanghai in April 1927.
[3] ...since the beginning of the world, as described in traditional
    Chinese mytology.
[4] The "three stabilizations" involved fixing quotas for grain
    production, for compulsory sales to the state by grain producers,
    and for supply of grain by the state to grain-deficient peasants,
    and maintaining these unchanged, in so far as possible, for a period
    of three years.
[5] In other versions this point and the following one are inverted.
[6] Both the provisional institutions adopted in 1949, and the
    Constitution of 1954, provided for the existence, side by side with
    the Communist Party, of a number of minor parties, the most
    important being the Revolutionary Committee of the Chinese
    Guomintang, and the China Democratic League. Though clearly
    subordinate to the Communist Party, these organizations provided a
    mechanism for the participation in the political system of groups
    such as non-communist intellectuals, pre-1949 political officials
    and military men, the so-called national bourgeois, etc.
[7] At the first session of the National People's Congress, which
    adopted the Constitution on 20 September 1954.
[8] The best known work of Lu Hsin, the greatest Chinese writer of the
    twentieth century. For an English translation, see "Selected Stories
    of Lu Hsin", Foreign Languages Press, Beijing, 1960 and 1972.
[9] Hero of the celebrated novel JOURNEY TO THE WEST. Penguin published
    its English version as MONKEY, 1961.
[10] Mencius, Book VII, Part B, Chapter 34. There are several
     translations available.
RRojas Research Unit/1998