Soong Ch'ing-ling


Welfare Work and World Peace



Source: Soong Ching Ling, "Welfare Work and World Peace", in China Reconstructs magazine, No. 1 (January-February 1952), pages 2-3.
Transcription & HTML Markup for Juan Fajardo, January 2022.





There is a direct correlation between world peace and welfare work. They run parallel to one another, prosper under the same conditions and deteriorate from the same causes. Build peace and you enhance welfare. Destroy peace and you eliminate welfare. It follows, therefore, that the attitude of a government towards war and peace determines the welfare programme it plans and operates for its people.

The unprecedented progress of welfare work in the new China this past year reflects our ardent desire for peace. For example, labour insurance has become the law of our land for the first time. Its many benefits are gradually spreading, reaching millions of workers and their families. In other sectors of our national life, giant and fundamental solutions have been undertaken for age- old problems, such as the floods with which the Huai river has plagued our people for thirty centuries. Child care, medical services, workers’ housing and modem facilities for workers' districts. rural services of many varieties —all are growing and raising the living standards of the people right before our eyes. Such progress can only result from a policy which prizes peace and pursues the aim of peaceful relations among all nations.

We have such a policy. It arises directly from the needs of the Chinese people and the progress that it has brought is the result of their strength. The new welfare programme of our country emphasizes the use of the people’s might to overcome all problems, a basic approach clearly formulated by Vice-Premier Tung Pi-wu at the All-China People’s Relief Conference held in 1950. In his detailed speech on that occasion, Vice-Premier Tung described how welfare work is now in the hands of the people, how it has become part of a tremendous overall reconstruction effort and how it is founded on the principle of self-reliance.

Such policies, principles and progress are possible only in nations that are truly independent —nations that allow no infractions of their own right of self-determination while at the same time seeking cooperation with all who respect that right. In fact, the effort a government puts into people’s welfare is not only an accurate measure of Its devotion to peace; it is also a reflection of its status among the nations of the world.

We know that In countries which are still in colonial or semi- colonial bondage, welfare work for the people is either nil or exists merely as a deceptive showcase, serving only a tiny percentage of those who need it vivid confirmation of this may be found even in the reports submitted by the colony-owning powers themselves to economic and trusteeship organs of the United Nations, al-though these obviously put the treat possible face on a situation that it actually much worse than they admit

History has shown too that when the rulers of any country seek to perpetuate colonial slavery or to dominate the entire world by force, their own people are among the first sufferers, as exploitation rises and welfare programmes disappear to make way for arms budgets. Published facts on "wage-freezes," skyrocketing prices, speeding up of workers, material shortages and falling educational and health expenditures in the United States, Britain and western Europe, provide many Illustrations of this axiom right now.

On the other hand, rising living standards and welfare provisions are evident in every country where the people rule, where state power serves the majority instead of small minorities, either domestic or foreign. Whether we look at China, or the Soviet Union, or central and eastern Europe, we find that the damage of war has been repaired, new industries are growing, wages have risen and prices fallen in the last few years. Welfare and educational facilities, both in terms of total budget outlays and in terms of tangible improvements in the lives of working people, are increasing steadily and very fast. At the same time, mutual aid among these countries helps each one to accelerate its gains. All these facts are not only recorded in their own reports but admitted In serious studies by persons and groups who are not at all well-disposed towards them. Here again the economic publications of the United Nations can be cited.

That China is on the side of peace, yet at the same time able both to defend herself and help her neighbours, is of special Interest to the other peoples of Asia. They have seen how our peasants are now the masters of their own fields, how our workers have become masters in some of our factories and equal partners in others. They have seen how this has released the creative and productive forces of our people so that the output of material wealth in China grows both generally and in terms of each worker. They know that, in two years, we have not only solved our food problem but begun to export grain, something unheard-of in the past. They have witnessed how our welfare work has grown to be an integral part of the nation's life, developing in the healthy atmosphere of a country that controls Its own destiny.

Such is the status of welfare work in the People's Republic of China, which is one of the staunchest bulwarks of world peace.

Our people have absolutely nothing to gain from war. Only peace is in our interest, so that we may further develop our services to the people and enlarge our contribution to the welfare of the world.

It should be dear too that the progress we have made is precious to us. Any aggressor will find that we will defend it with every ounce of our strength and courage. We will neither allow ourselves to be oppressed nor deny aid to others who suffer oppression. We stand for a peace among equals, with each people determining its own life.

We desire friendship and cooperation with all countries and peoples who are willing to live at peace and to trade for mutual benefit, regardless of what their form of government may be or what views they may hold.

This outlook, uniting a country of 475,000,000 people, helps as never before to guarantee that peace will conquer war all over the world It menaces no other nation and no honest person anywhere It helps all who are working and fighting to make mankind's dearest dreams of peace and well-being come true in our own day.