Source: International Information Bulletin, No. 2, 1968. Published as a fraternal courtesy to the United Secretariat of the Fourth International by the (US) Socialist Workers Party
Transcription/Proofing: David Walters and Andy Pollack
HTML Markup: David Walters
Public Domain: Peng Shuzi Internet Archive 2005. This work is completely free to copy and distribute. Please cite the Marxists Internet’s Peng Shuzi Internet Archive if the contents herein are reproduced.
This interview was obtained by Antonio Farien (David Fender) on July 6, 1967.
Question: Since my last interview with you the development of events has become more and more serious. The struggle between the two factions—anti-Mao and pro-Mao—has become more and more violent.
On the one hand, since Mao openly called on the army to intervene in the struggle to help the Red Guards to seize power, the Maoists have occupied the government and party offices in Shanghai and in the capitals of Shansi, Heilungkiang, Kwei-chow, Fukien, Kiangsi, and Kwangtung. This struggle for power has now extended into the provinces of Honan and Szechwan, as well as many other cities and districts, such as Ch'ich'i, Heilungkiang; Suchow, Kiangsu; Pinghsiang, Kiangsi; etc. The situation in Honan and Szechwan is of special significance, since according to Le Monde of June 14, 1967, during the night of June 7-8, a large-scale, bloody clash took place in Szechwan in which over three hundred were killed and several thousand wounded. In Honan similar clashes were supposed to have taken place, and the opposition captured the key positions of power. It was reported over the Honan radio that the oppositionists openly supported the positions of Liu Shao-ch'i. These events demonstrate that the possibility of the struggle between the two factions breaking out into a national civil war is becoming increasingly greater. In fact, the present clashes already constitute civil war on a local scale.
On the other hand, immediately following the publication of an article in Red Flag by Tse P'eng-yu (April 1, 1967), huge demonstrations of Red Guards took place in Peking, Shanghai, and other cities against Liu Shao-ch'i, openly accusing him of being “the top party person in authority taking the capitalist road,” and shouting the slogans “Down with Liu Shao-ch'i!” “Down with the Chinese Khrushchev!” “Down with Liu Shao-ch'i, Teng Hsiao-p'ing, and T'ao Chu!” and “Bury the Black Dynasty of Liu's Family!” These and other such slogans were spread about as widely as possible by the Maoists. The Peking radio even broadcast newspaper articles attacking Liu Shao-ch'i by name, and reported all the news about the demonstrations and meetings which were held in order to denounce him. Judging from these events, it seems that Mao had decided to prepare public opinion for the removal of Liu, Teng, and other opposition leaders from their posts. This development is, of course, not surprising, since it stems logically from the earlier developments. However, many people who are interested in China and concerned with her fate find it difficult to understand why and how these two factions have reached such irreconcilable positions. In other words, it is very difficult to understand just what the basic political differences are that separate the two factions, making all compromise between Mao and Liu impossible. Can you explain these differences and how they developed?
Answer: Because of the Stalinist traditions of the Chinese Communist Party, the nature of all essential differences is kept secret, and it is very difficult for anyone outside of the party to understand these differences. However, owing to the wall posters and the many newspapers of the Red Guards, which in recent months have openly attacked Liu Shao-ch'i, we can see much more clearly what the essential differences between Liu and Mao are. For example, two articles—“See the Ugly Face of Liu Shao-ch'i,” published in the Red Guard newspaper, Chingkang-shan (reprinted in Ming Pao Monthly, January 18 and 19, 1967), and “The Crimes of Liu Shao-ch'i,” published in Red Guards in the Capital (February 22, 1967)—despite the most malicious attacks on Liu and his past activities, reveal some important facts that may be used to judge the underlying historical differences between Mao and Liu. (It should be pointed out here that some of the facts revealed in the Red Guard newspapers have never before been known outside of the ruling echelons of the party. Therefore, it is quite evident that these articles were written, if not by, then under the direction of, some very high officials close to Mao, directing the “Cultural Revolution,” such as Ch'en Po-ta, Chiang Ch'ing, K'ang Sheng, etc.)
However, before one can understand the present differences between Liu and Mao, one should first know a little about their past, that is, their different posts and activities, both inside and outside the party, as well as the two men's past relationships.
After attending the founding congress of the CCP in 1921, Mao was sent to Hunan as the secretary of the provincial committee, where he was active for about two years. In 1923 he was elected to the Central Committee at the Third Congress of the party, and was assigned to the post of organizational secretary. It was during this period that the Comintern ordered members of the CCP to join the Kuomintang and to collaborate with it, and Mao was appointed a member of the Kuomintang's Shanghai Municipal Committee, where he did all of his work, neglecting his work in the CCP.
In the autumn of 1924 Mao returned to Hunan and participated in the peasant movement, after which he went to Canton and began to work in the headquarters of the Central Committee of the Kuomintang as a secretary of the Propaganda Department and as editor of the Kuomintang's magazine Political Weekly. Toward the end of 1926 he again returned to Hunan, and it was during this time that he gathered the information for his famous article on the peasant movement.
In the spring of 1927 Mao became the president of the Provisional National Federation of Peasant Associations. He held this post until the defeat of the revolution in July 1927, when the members of the CCP in Wuhan were purged from the Kuomintang.
Liu Shao-ch'i's work during this same period is quite different. After returning to China from Moscow in the summer of 1922, all of his work was done in the workers' movement. His first activities were among the coal miners in Anyuan, where he and Li Li-san led huge strikes and organized several trade unions, and Liu became one of the most important leaders.
In the summer of 1925 Liu went to Shanghai, where he participated in the May Thirtieth Movement and helped in the organization of trade unions. In the latter part of the year he was sent by the party to Tientsin to help in the organization of the workers' movement there.
In the spring of 1926 Liu went to Canton, where he organized, together with Li li-san and Teng Chung-hsia, the Third Congress of the National General Labor Union and he was elected secretary of the congress and a member of the NGLU executive committee. After this Liu became well known, and one of the most important leaders in the trade union movement.
At the end of 1926 Liu went to Wuhan as a delegate from the NGLU in order to lead the workers' movement. He remained there until July 1927, when the Kuomintang purge took place.
From the above brief descriptions of the two men one may say that, generally speaking, up to mid-1927 Mao's main area of work was in the Kuomintang and with the peasant movement, while Liu's work was entirely in the working-class movement. Therefore, we can say that during this period there was no direct working relationship between Mao and Liu.
After the defeat of the 1925-27 revolution, the policies of the Comintern changed from opportunism to adventurism. It was during this turn that Mao began to play an important role in carrying out the party's line by organizing the peasants into guerrilla units and carrying out the “Autumn Harvest Uprising.” After the failure of the uprising he became one of the most important leaders of the guerrilla and soviet movement in Kiangsi until 1934. Nevertheless, during this period, Mao was still under the leadership of Ch'u Ch'iu-pai, Li Li-san, and Wang Ming—ideological leaders of the Central Committee of the CCP— who criticized him very severely, especially the Wang Ming group, which dealt him a very severe blow after the Central Committee moved to the soviet base in Kiangsi in 1933. All of Mao's powers were, in reality, taken away from him, and he was left with only the name of “Chairman of the Soviet Government,” while the vice-chairman, Hsiang Ying, took over almost all the responsibilities.
The situation only changed for Mao at the meeting of the Central Committee of the CCP held in Tsun-i during the Long March, where Mao took over the leadership of the party. Yet, he did not control the whole party and the army, because the followers of Wang Ming captured many leading posts, and because a part of the army remained behind in Kiangsi, Anhwei, and Chekiang led by Hsiang Ying, who was a follower of Wang Ming and refused to accept Mao's leadership. It was not until the Seventh Congress of the CCP in 1945 that Mao was able to gain complete supremacy over the party.
This same period (1928-45) found Liu Shao-ch'i in much different circumstances. After 1928 Liu's work was mainly inside the party. Until about 1931 he worked in Peking and Manchuria, and then in 1932 he was sent to the soviet area in Kiangsi, where he was assigned to the workers' movement. (In reality, he had no work there, since there was no workers' movement in the soviet areas.) He arrived just about the time when Mao lost all of his powers.
In the autumn of 1934 Liu was sent north, where he again began to work for the party in Peking, and became the secretary of the party's Northern Bureau. It was during his work at this time that he helped to launch the anti-Japanese movement of September 9, 1935. It was from this movement that Liu, along with P'eng Chen and others, was able to win many new, young, and talented recruits to the party, such as Liu Lan-t'ao, Chiang Nan-hsiang, Lu P'ing, Teng T'o, etc.:
At the beginning of 1938 Liu was recalled to Yenan to participate in the work of the Central Committee and Political Bureau of the CCP, where for the first time he collaborated closely with Mao Tse-tung.
In 1938 Liu, as secretary of the newly created Central Plains Bureau, was sent as a special representative from the Central Committee to the region occupied by the New Fourth Army (NFA). This army had been organized out of the many small guerrilla units in the South which had not made the Long March. The commander of this army was Yeh T'ing, and the vice-commander and political commissar was Hsiang Ying.
At this time there was a dispute taking place between Mao and Wang Ming over the question of collaboration with the Kuomintang, and since Hsiang Ying was in agreement with Wang Ming, it was Liu's mission to try and reduce the influence of the Wang Mingists in the New Fourth Army.
In January 1941 the New Fourth Army was attacked by Chiang Kai-shek's forces, and Yeh T'ing was captured and imprisoned by Chiang; Hsiang Ying was lulled in action. Afterward, Ch'en I took over as commander while Liu Shao-ch'i took Hsiang Ying's place as political commissar. Liu also dissolved the Southeastern Bureau, of which Hsiang Ying had been the secretary, and incorporated its jurisdiction under the Central Plains Bureau, of which he himself was secretary. Liu then became the party's most important leader in those areas under the influence of the Kuomintang and those areas occupied by Japanese imperialism. During this time he greatly expanded the influence of the party throughout these areas, and at the same time increased the numbers of the New Fourth Army, destroying in the process all the influence of Wang Ming's group. In other words, he brought the entire NFA under Mao's direction, since before, while under the influence of the followers of Wang Ming, the NFA had not always obeyed Mao's directives. This was a great contribution to Mao and his position, and there followed a very close collaboration between Liu and Mao.
In the autumn of 1942 Liu returned to Yenan to work in the Political Bureau, and he became recognized as the party's number-two leader after Mao.
During the next few years Liu helped Mao to discredit Wang Ming and his supporters in the Central Committee. He also helped Mao prepare several documents, such as the “Resolution on Some Questions in the History of Our Party” (adopted by the Seventh Plenum of the Central Committee in April 1945) and “The New Statutes of the CCP” (adopted at the Seventh Congress of the CCP, April-June 1945).
In the first document, all the defeats which the CCP had suffered were blamed on Ch'en Tu-hsiu, Ch'ii Ch'iu-pai, Li Li-san, and especially Wang Ming and his group. Ch'en Tu-hsiu was blamed for the defeat of the 1925-27 revolution; Ch'ii Ch'iu-pai and Li Li-san were blamed for the defeats during the adventurist period; and Wang Ming was held responsible for the defeat of the Red Army in Kiangsi, which was followed by the Long March. The Comintern was never singled out for any rebuke whatsoever. This document justified Mao's work as always having been correct, and praised Liu for his position from 1928 to 1932.
The second document, which was probably written by Liu Shao-ch'i and which was reported on by him at the Seventh Congress, stated in the preamble: “The CCP takes the theories of Marxism-Leninism and the combined principles derived from the practical experience of the Chinese revolution—the ideas of Mao Tse-tung—as the guiding principles of all its work.”
Liu's whole report was along this very line, praising Mao's thought as the supreme guide of the Chinese revolution.
The congress ended by electing Mao as the supreme leader of the party, and Liu as one of its top leaders, while almost all of Wang Ming's followers were either removed from the Central Committee or set back to candidate status. (Of the forty-four members and nineteen candidates in the new Central Committee, Wang Ming arid a close collaborator of his were elected members in the next-to-last and last positions.)
Following the congress, Mao and Liu collaborated closely hi the struggle against Chiang Kai-shek. With the victory of the CCP in 1949, Mao became the chairman of the People's Republic of China, and Liu its vice-chairman; the ensuing close collaboration between Mao and Liu is well known.
Q: When did the differences between Mao and Liu develop, and over what questions?
A: There were, of course, no major political differences during the period I have just described. According to some recent news, major differences became apparent over the question of the agricultural cooperative movement. For example, the newspaper The Red Guards in the Capital reported that in 1955-56 “Liu Shao-ch'i openly and frankly dared to sabotage the movement of cooperativization. In 1955 he helped Teng Tzu-hui [then head of the CCP's Rural Work Department] to cut off the formation of 200,000 cooperatives.” This accusation is, of course, far from concrete. Yet it is sufficient to demonstrate that a major difference between Mao and Liu developed in 1955.
Mao proposed his plan of agricultural cooperativization in 1955, and insisted that it be completed in a very short time. His plan called for the completion of 850,000 cooperatives before the end of the year. Liu Shao-ch'i, Teng Tzu-hui, and others, probably basing themselves on some of the past experiences of the Soviet Union, as well as on some of Lenin's ideas concerning collectivization, advocated a much more prudent policy of long-term collectivization (Liu was reported by a Red Guard newspaper to have said, in a speech given at the conference of national propaganda workers in 1951, that “some comrades think that socialism in the countryside can be realized through the peasant mutual aid groups and cooperatives. This is, however, impossible. It is the Utopian idea of agricultural socialism.' The realization of socialism in the countryside, i.e., collectivization, without industrialization, is absolutely impossible.” This statement tends to indicate that Liu has studied some of Lenin's works on collectivization and industrialization.)
Liu, Teng, and their supporters were able to secure the majority of the National People's Congress for a program that called for the completion of cooperativization only in 1967. Mao was against this decision, and over the head of the NPC he called a conference of municipal, provincial, and regional party secretaries which decided that the agricultural collectivization should be completed in 1957.2
This was the first major difference between Liu and Mao, and it is clearly and closely connected with the later differences over the “People's Communes.”
Q: In previous discussions you have stated that the most important difference was over de-Stalinization. You explained that while Mao was opposed to de-Stalinization, Liu seems to have been in agreement with it. Are there any facts to substantiate this?
A: Yes, it is true that this is the most serious difference between Mao and Liu. The Maoists have openly called Liu the “Chinese Khrushchev.” The origin of this label is precisely over the question of de-Stalinization. The article recently published in the Red Guard newspaper Chingkang-shan, entitled “See the Ugly Face of Liu Shao-ch'i,” stated that at the Eighth Congress of the CCP in September 1956 Liu revised the statutes of the party, changing the sentence from the preamble which I quoted earlier: “The CCP takes the theories of Marxism-Leninism and the combined principles derived from the practical experience of the Chinese revolution—the ideas of Mao Tse-tung—as the guiding principles of all its work.” In the 1956 party constitution this read simply: “The Communist Party of China takes Marxism-Leninism as its guide to action.”3
Thus, any reference to Mao and his thought was deleted. The author of the article in the Red Guard journal considered this to be proof that Liu was in most malicious opposition to the great leader, Chairman Mao.
The Eighth Congress of the CCP not only revised the party constitution, removing the reference to Mao, but also emphasized the prohibition of any personality cult. This can be seen very clearly in Teng Hsiao-p'ing's report on the revision of the party constitution:
The Twentieth Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union has thrown a searching light on the profound significance of adhering to the principle of collective leadership and combating the cult of the individual, and this illuminating lesson has produced a tremendous effect not only on the Communist Party of the Soviet Union but also on the Communist parties of all other countries throughout the world.
And: “An important achievement of the Twentieth Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union lies in the fact that it shows us what serious consequences can follow from the deification of the individual.”5
And: “Of course the cult of the individual is a social phenomena with a long history, and it cannot but find certain reflections in our Party and public life. It is our task to continue to observe faithfully the Central Committee's principle of opposition to the elevation and glorification of the individual. . . .”
Teng, who became the general secretary of the party at this congress, has, along with Liu, been attacked as one of the “top leaders in the party who are taking the capitalist road.”
It is very clear that under the impact of the Twentieth Congress of the CPSU and de-Stalinization, the majority of the Central Committee accepted the ideas of opposition to the personality cult; hence the removal of the reference to Mao and his thought from the party constitution and the prohibition of his personal cult.
It is necessary to point out that Teng's words about the personality cult reflecting the society and the party are very important, as this was in direct reference to Mao Tse-tung himself. Since the Seventh Congress in 1945, and especially since the CCP took power in 1949, Mao Tse-tung has deliberately established his personal cult, and has considered himself as “the Sun in the East,” and “the Chinese Stalin.” For example, there is a song, “The East Is Red,” which has the following verse:
The east is red,
The sun rises.
China has brought forth a Mao Tse-tung.
He works for the people's happiness,
He is the people's great saviour.
After Mao's talks with Stalin in Moscow in 1950, a new song was composed, “Mao Tse-tung and Stalin Are Like the Sun Shining in the Sky.” These two songs have been scored for orchestration, and at the beginning of important meetings, especially when Mao was in attendance, one or both of these songs were played, while everybody stood and afterward shouted, “Long Live Chairman Mao Tse-tung!” This became almost a religious ceremony. After the beginning of de-Stalinization in the USSR, however, this ceremony was discontinued in China.
The effects of de-Stalinization in China constituted, without a doubt, a severe personal blow to Mao, and under the pressure of existing conditions Mao was obliged to make certain concessions, tolerate the changes—if only for the time being—and wait for more favorable circumstances in order to reassert his own cult.
At the Eighth Congress Mao made a speech in which he declared:
At its Twentieth Congress held, not long ago, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union formulated many correct policies and criticized shortcomings which were found in the Party. It can be confidently asserted that very great developments will follow on this in its work. ... In transforming China from a backward, agricultural country into an advanced, industrialized one, we are confronted with many strenuous tasks and our experience is far from being adequate. So we must be good at studying. We must be good at learning from our forerunner, the Soviet Union. . . .
This demonstrates that Mao at this time could not oppose the anticult atmosphere, and that it was only against his will that he tolerated the anticult actions of the party.
If one compares the Seventh and Eighth congresses of the CCP one can see clearly the decline of Mao's prestige. At the Seventh Congress, Mao made the political report, and with Liu's help Mao's “thought” was incorporated into the party constitution, thus establishing his personal cult. At the Eighth Congress, however, the political reporter was Liu, Mao's “thought” was removed from the constitution, and measures were taken to prohibit his personal cult. This shows what a tremendous effect Khrushchev's de-Stalinization has had, and it is clear why Mao became so hostile toward Khrushchev, as well as toward Liu Shao-ch'i and Teng Hsiao-p'ing.
Q. Earlier, you stated that the differences between Mao and Liu on the cooperative movement were closely connected to the differences concerning the People's Communes. Could you explain this?
A: Until recently, Liu was thought to have been a supporter of the People's Communes idea launched by Mao. However, the recent facts have revealed that this is not true. In the article, “The Crimes of Liu Shao-ch'i,” it was stated:
At a meeting called by the Central Committee, which was attended by seventy-eight cadres in January 1962, he [Liu Shao-ch'i] made a revisionist report. He violently attacked the “Three Red Banners” and exaggerated to the utmost errors and mistakes in our work.9 He felt that the temporary economic difficulties were due to these errors and mistakes— 30 percent due to natural disasters, 70 percent due to artificial disasters. He attacked the 1959 struggle against the rightists as being excessive and even said, in an attempt to rehabilitate the rightists, that the struggle itself was a mistake. He maliciously said that the party lacks democracy, and that party life is a “brutal struggle” and a “pitiless fight,” attacking Chairman Mao's correct leadership of the Central Committee.
From the many attacks against Liu, one can conclude the following:
1. Liu opposed the “Three Red Banners” policy, that is, he opposed the People's Communes launched by Mao. This stems logically from his opposition to Mao's cooperativist movement.
2. Liu considered the economic difficulties as mainly the result of artificial disasters; that is, he felt that the economic troubles from 1960 were a result of the People's Communes and Great Leap Forward policies.
3. Liu's opinion that the party was mistaken in the struggle against the rightists of 1959, and in the purging of Defense Minister P'eng Te-huai, Huang K'o-ch'eng, and others, means that he felt their criticism of the People's Communes was correct, and therefore he felt they should be rehabilitated.
4. Liu's charges that the CCP lacked democracy, that party life was a “brutal struggle” and a “pitiless fight,” mean that Liu felt that Mao's purge of P'eng Te-huai and the others was a very dangerous symptom.
These four points show that very serious differences existed at that time between Liu and Mao.
Following the failure of the People's Communes and the economic disaster, Mao let Liu take over the reins of the party and deal with the serious difficulties. Liu, along with Teng Hsiao-p'ing, put into effect a rectification campaign which included many reforms, such as reestablishing private plots, a free market, personal ownership of livestock, and doing away with most of the public kitchens, public nurseries, etc. All the reforms met with a very favorable response from the great majority of the people, and therefore Liu won their respect and support, as well as that of most of the party cadres.
Q: Are there, or have there been, any differences between Mao and Liu over questions of literature, art, and education?
A: Differences between Mao and Liu do exist over these questions. Your interview with Chen Pi-Ian explained some of the differences which exist between Mao and the opposition as a whole; The fact that Chou Yang was one of the main leaders of the opposition in the cultural field shows that it was under the influence of Liu Shao-ch'i. One can find proof of this in an article in the People's Daily, April 25, 1967, entitled “Crush the Counterrevolutionary Program of Peaceful Transition—Expose the Words of the Chinese Khrushchev Concerning the Problems of Writers.” In this article it was stated that in March 1953 Liu Shao-ch'i asked Chou Yang and others to discuss .with him questions concerning the writers. During these discussions Liu was supposed to have advocated the necessity of .writers having more time to study, allowing them to write freely, and not interfering with their creative freedom.
These same ideas were expressed by Liu in his political report to the Eighth Congress of the CCP, September 1956, and the congress adopted a resolution based on Liu's report. This resolution stated: “In order to ensure the full flowering of science and art, we must steadfastly give, effect to the policy of 'letting flowers of many kinds blossom and diverse schools of thought contend.' It is wrong to impose restrictions and arbitrary measures on science and art through administrative channels.”
This shows that Liu's ideas on these questions are much different from those of Mao.
When Liu took over the reins of the party (in 1960) he carried out a much more moderate policy in the fields of literature, art, and education, allowing much more freedom to the artists and writers. As a result, the work in the cultural fields improved to a. certain degree under Liu's direction of the party. This, combined with the improvement in the economy, rallied to Liu's side most of the cultural workers, as well as the party cadres. The Peking Municipal Party Committee, led by P'eng Chen, is a good example. This turn of events led to the increasing isolation of Mao, and he even felt that his leadership position had been brought into question.
Q: What was Mao's reaction to this situation?
A: Mao saw the hopelessness of waging a struggle inside the party; he therefore turned toward the army. After 1960 Mao, through Lin Piao, Lo Jung-huan, and Hsiao Hua, launched a broad movement in the People's Liberation Army to study “Mao Tse-tung Thought,” under the pretext of “correcting the mistaken line of P'eng Te-huai and Huang K'o-ch'eng.”
Lin Piao proposed to the Central Military Committee a resolution entitled “The Correct Handling of Four Questions in the Political Fields of the Army.” In this resolution Lin placed his emphasis on the importance of the role of man, politics, and thought. Some time later, the Military Committee adopted a “Resolution Concerning Political Work in the Army.” This resolution set forth fourteen provisions. The first one stated that “it is necessary that Mao Tse-tung Thought be in command in all spheres of the army.” Before this, the slogan had been “Politics in Command,” but now openly, and probably for the first time, this was spelled out clearly to mean “Mao Tse-tung Thought” in command.
It was following the adoption of this resolution that Lin Piao demanded: “Everyone must read Chairman Mao's books, listen to Chairman Mao's words, work according to Chairman Mao's instructions, to become a good fighter of Chairman Mao.”
An editorial published on January 1, 1966, in the Liberation Army Daily even stated that “every word of Chairman Mao is truth. . . . We must firmly support and carry out everything conforming to Mao Tse-tung's thought and we must firmly resist and oppose anything which does not conform to Mao's thought.” The reasoning behind such statements is very clear. No longer were the directives of the Central Committee, headed by Liu Shao-ch'i, to be followed, if they did not correspond to Mao's own personal thinking.
Mao also attempted to purge Liu's supporters in the party. In September 1963 Mao proposed a resolution entitled “Some Current Problems Raised in the Socialist Education Movement in the Rural Areas” (the twenty-three article document). This resolution was not adopted by the Political Bureau; nevertheless, it was circulated throughout the party. This document then formed the basis of the “Four Clean-ups Movement,” i.e., the Socialist Education Movement to clean up politics, ideology, organization, and economy. The main purpose of this movement was to purge those cadres who supported Liu, but the movement met with strong resistance, and in many places was sabotaged. The movement had no great effect except for the purging of some lower ranking cadres in the People's Communes and the district party committees. Therefore, Mao became even more dependent upon the army, and put forward a theory to carry on the struggle outside the party. The foundation of this theory was the idea that the class struggle continues after the victory of the proletariat and is reflected inside the party.
In a plenum of the Central Committee in September 1962 Mao put forward the slogan “We must not forget the class struggle!”
This same plenum issued a communique on Mao's insistence, which said:
throughout the historical period of transition from capitalism to communism . . . there is class struggle between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie and struggle between the socialist road and the capitalist road. . . . This class struggle inevitably finds expression within the Party. . . . While waging a struggle against foreign and domestic class enemies, we must remain vigilant and resolutely oppose in good time various opportunist ideological tendencies in the Party. The great historic significance of the Eighth Plenary Session of the Eighth Central Committee held in Lushan in August 1959 lies in the fact that it victoriously smashed attacks by right opportunism, i.e., revisionism, and safeguarded the Party line and the unity of the Party.12
Here we can see that Mao is directly attacking Liu's defense of P'eng Te-huai and Liu's suggestion that those who had been purged should be rehabilitated.
During 1963 and 1964 the Central Committee of the CCP published nine articles criticizing the CPSU. The ninth article was entitled “On Khrushchev's Phoney Communism and Its Historical Lessons for the World” (July 14, 1964). This article maintained that under the leadership of the revisionist Khrushchev the USSR had been transformed from a socialist to a capitalist state. The implication was, of course, that it was necessary to unleash a struggle inside the party against all revisionists, otherwise China herself would “change color.”
At a meeting of the All-China Federation of Literature and Art Circles in June 1964 Mao made an address in which he warned that
In the past fifteen years, these associations and most of their publications have for the most part failed ... to carry out the policies of the party. ... In the recent years, they have even verged on revisionism. If they do not make serious efforts to remold themselves, sooner or later they are bound to become groups of the Hungarian Pet6fi Club type.
These words were a frank warning to those cadres working in the cultural fields under the influence of Liu's leadership.
All the arguments elaborated by Mao, such as those mentioned above, were a preparation for the purge of “those people in power who are taking the capitalist road,” which was to follow.
Recently, Red Flag and the People's Daily published an article entitled “A Great Historic Document” in which they stated:
Lenin saw that after the-proletariat seized power, the defeated bourgeoisie still remained stronger than the proletariat and was always trying to stage a comeback. ... In order to cope with this counter-revolutionary threat and overcome it, it was therefore necessary to strengthen the dictatorship of the proletariat over a long period of time. There was no other way. However, Lenin died before he could solve these problems in practice. Stalin was a great Marxist-Leninist who actually cleared out a large number of counter-revolutionary representatives of the bourgeoisie who had sneaked into the Party, including Trotsky, Zinoviev, Kamenev, Radek, Bukharin, Rykov and their like.
These words not only demonstrate that Mao tries to justify his purge of the opposition led by Liu Shao-ch'i and Teng Hsiao-p'ing on the basis of Lenin's theory, but also justifies his purge on Stalin's famous frame-up trials in the 1930s. From this, one can see clearly what Mao has in mind for Liu, Teng, and the rest of the opposition.
Q: Are there any differences between Mao and Liu on foreign policy?
A: In the last interview I pointed out that the position of the opposition on foreign policy questions is much more difficult to determine, since there is less material from which to judge, and up to now I have been unable to find any new facts. Nevertheless, the position of Liu on foreign policy is different from Mao's extremely sectarian attitude. Foreign policy is almost always an extension of domestic policy. Therefore, in my opinion, Mao is responsible for China's extremely sectarian foreign policy, which would be in agreement with his extremely sectarian domestic policies. Liu, on the other hand, probably advocates a more moderate foreign policy, in line with his domestic policy. Since Lo Jui-ch'ing has been attacked as one of Liu's strongest supporters, we can almost certainly say that Liu's attitude towards the USSR and the united front with the various socialist countries over the Vietnam War is identical with that of Lo.
Q: You have explained how reference to Mao's thought was included in the party statutes at the Seventh Congress, and how it was removed at the Eighth Congress, as well as the campaign carried out in the army on how everything was to be done under the guidance of Mao's thought. Now, in the “Cultural Revolution,” Mao's thought stands out as one of its most prominent characteristics. Other than the personality cult aspect, can you briefly describe what Mao's thought actually is?
A: Broadly speaking, Mao's thought boils down to nothing more than the practical application in China of Stalin's theories. The essence of Stalinism consists of opportunism and adventurism, the revolution by stages, socialism in one country, and bureaucratic centralism, which finds its most pronounced form in personal dictatorship. All these things can not only be found in Mao's theoretical works, but also in his actions. Here I will only give a few examples.
You will recall some of the things I have already said about the “Resolution on Some Questions in the History of Our Party,” adopted by the Central Committee in April 1945, in which Mao laid all the blame for all past defeats on Ch'en Tu-hsiu, Ch'ii Ch'iu-pai, and Li Li-san. Mao never analyzed or even pointed out the opportunist or adventurist policies of the CCP during and after the 1925-27 revolution, which had been forced on the CCP by Stalin. That is, Mao accepted Stalin's role and policies of opportunism and adventurism as being correct.
Mao's most important theoretical work is “On New Democracy.” When the party adopted the new statutes at the Seventh Congress in 1945, which stated that Mao's thought should be the guide to all the party's actions, the party congress was basing itself on this work, written by Mao in January 1940. At this congress, Lin Po-ch'ii, an important member of the Political Bureau at that time, said: “The theory of 'New Democracy' is the most brilliant manifestation of the universal truth of Marxism-Leninism combined with the concrete revolutionary practice in China. This theory is the sharpest weapon the party and the Chinese people have in the struggle for victory.”
Chou En-lai said: “We are dependent on the brilliant leadership of our party's leader and comrade Mao Tse-tung. He has shown us the direction to follow in 'New Democracy.'” With such praise, we should examine the contents of Mao's “New Democracy.”
According to Mao, after the October revolution in Russia the national democratic revolution in the colonial and semicolonial countries was a “new bourgeois-democratic revolution.” In this revolution, the national bourgeoisie remained a revolutionary class, and hence it was necessary to carry out the “united front” of workers, peasants, petty bourgeoisie, and national bourgeoisie—the bloc of four classes—in order to destroy the imperialists and feudal forces, and to establish a “New Democratic Republic.” That is to say, Mao advocated the establishment of a coalition government of four classes, as well as a “New Democratic economy.”
The “New Democratic economy” meant the nationalization only of “the big banks and the big industrial and commercial enterprises” by the state; “but the republic will neither confiscate capitalist private property in general nor forbid the development of such capitalist production as does not 'dominate the livelihood of the people'....A rich peasant economy will be allowed in the rural areas.”
All this is, of course, self-explanatory, and demonstrates clearly Mao's opportunism.
In Indonesia, where Mao applied the theory of revolution by stages, the revolution has suffered a greater disaster than did the second Chinese revolution, which Stalin led to defeat with the same theory.
Here it should be pointed out that Mao's “On New Democracy” is still considered as the center of Mao Tse-tung's thought. The “Sixteen Point Decision” adopted by the Central Committee in August 1966 put “On New Democracy” as the first work to be studied in studying Mao's thought. The Liberation Army Daily published some articles explaining the contents of “On New Democracy,” encouraging all the cadres in the army and the party to study it.
As far as Mao's methods are concerned, one can really find no difference between him and Stalin. Mao has always imposed his own opinions upon the party, and the present “Cultural Revolution” is the best example of Mao's bureaucratic methods against the great majority of the party in order to maintain his own personal dictatorship.
Q: What has been your personal relationship with Mao and Liu, and what is your personal appraisal of the two men?
A: Because my work and posts in the party were different from Mao's I did not have much of a working relationship with him. I did have some personal contacts with him, however, only two of which I will describe.
In May 1926, after Chiang Kai-shek's coup d'etat of March 20,1 went to Canton as the Central Committee's representative to discuss with Borodin, the Comintern representative. During my stay Mao visited me twice. One time he asked me to address his peasant school. The other time he brought an article he had written on the different strata among the peasantry, on which he asked my opinion. In his article he had divided the peasantry into many different strata according to the amount of land they owned. I then told him that in Lenin's opinion the peasants were divided mainly into three categories—rich, middle, and poor— depending upon the amount of land they were able to farm and what they needed in order to maintain their families. Mao did not reject my criticism and seemed to have accepted it.
In June 1927 I saw Mao for the last time in Wuhan. At that time he was very disappointed with the revolution, although he never discussed with me how the revolution could be rescued from the dangerous situation which existed. He was only concerned with finding a safe place for his family, and he asked my wife, Ch'en Pi-Ian, if she could help him.
My contact with Liu Shao-ch'i is somewhat different. In Shanghai in 1920 I studied Marxism and Russian together with Liu, and our relationship was quite close. In 1921-22 we studied together in Moscow, during which time I was able to recruit him to the party.
After returning to Shanghai from Moscow in August 1924 all my work was in the party itself, and especially in the Political Bureau, as head of the Propaganda Department. I therefore had no real working relationship with Liu, although I saw him several times during my stay in Canton, and again in Wuhan during the summer of 1927. The last time I saw Liu was in the summer of 1929. At this time Ch'en Tu-hsiu and I had started to organize the Left Opposition. Liu, of course, understood my position in relation to the party, yet nevertheless he visited me at my home. During this visit we discussed the party's policy, and I criticized the party's present policy of adventurism as well as the bureaucratic organizational methods of the leadership. I also pointed out that during the workers' and peasants' uprising in the spring of 1927 the party should have then organized Soviets in preparation for the taking of power. With all these criticisms Liu expressed his agreement, but could not bring himself to join the Left Opposition and struggle against the leadership. Liu was considered in the party at that time a “conciliator.”
As far as my personal appraisal of the two men goes, I would say from a political point .of view that both of them are Stalinists. After the defeat of the second Chinese revolution, neither of them accepted the lessons of the defeat, and they remained in the Stalinized CCP following Stalin's line on all fundamental questions. Nevertheless, from the point of view of character and personal experience, the two men are quite different. While both men are very strong willed, Mao is very arbitrary while Liu is much more considerate.
Due to Mao's experiences of working in the Kuomintang, and especially his work in organizing the peasants and guerrilla warfare, his arbitrary character has been reinforced. Hence, upon coming to power in 1949, regardless of the opinions or well-being of the majority, Mao deliberately established his personal cult and personal dictatorship. The Cooperativization, the Great Leap Forward, the People's Communes, and the present Cultural Revolution, as well as China's sectarian foreign policy, are all the result of Mao's arbitrariness.
Liu's life work, however, has mainly been among the working masses, and at times under very difficult circumstances, such as after the defeat of the 1925-27 revolution when he worked for the party in the underground during the reactionary rule of Chiang Kai-shek. These environmental conditions reinforced his basic thoughtfulness, since he was obliged to listen to the opinions of other cadres in the party and workers' movement who reflected the opinions and aspirations of the masses. Hence, in his dealings with people, he is more capable of reaching a balanced solution, and this is the origin of his personal differences with Mao on cooperativization, People's Communes, etc., as I have already explained.
Q: What, in your opinion, will be the future of China under the leadership of the two men respectively?
A: The above analysis of Liu and Mao shows clearly that Mao represents a more hardened and extreme form of Stalinism. Regardless of the circumstances or the will of the masses he has carried out his adventuristic and sectarian domestic policies. On the other hand, Liu represents a much more moderate and reformist tendency in the party. He attempted to a certain degree to correct Mao's extremist policies, in order to avoid the catastrophic consequences.
In my opinion this same analysis is valid in the present struggle between the two men. If Mao should win, it would be at the expense of all the Left and revolutionary elements, and he will commit China to a most reckless and cataclysmic course, in which the Chinese revolution would be placed in grave danger. If Liu should win, China's domestic course will most likely be similar to that carried out when the party was under Liu's leadership, with China's foreign policy becoming less sectarian and possibly resulting in a united front with other socialist countries, including the USSR, to aid the Vietnamese and their struggle.
In a China under Liu's leadership there would definitely be more freedom in the party and society, although the overall question of the Stalinist bureaucracy would not be solved. Nevertheless, Liu's victory could be a first phase in the development of a real revolutionary struggle for socialist democracy.