Soong Ch'ing-ling


The Beginning of a New Era



Source: Soong Ching Ling, "The Beginning of a New Era", in China Reconstructs magazine, vol. XXI, no. 1 (January 1972); pages 2-4
Transcription & HTML Markup for Juan Fajardo, January 2022.




THE announced visit of the U.S. President to Peking has aroused excitement throughout the entire world. During the Korean War he urged the bombing of China, but now he is ready to open a dialogue with the Chinese leaders. A year before his election President Nixon asserted in an article: “Any American policy toward Asia must come urgently to grips with the reality of China.” The reality of China during the past twenty years has brought about his new realization, and this must be true for many others. What then is the reality of China?

In brief it is this: During the past twenty-two years the Chinese Communist Party, a party whose deeds are true to its words, has led the people of China in building up a socialist state worthy of the name of People’s Republic; moreover, the Chinese people are now fighting shoulder-to-shoulder with the other peoples abroad — we are supporting each other in heroic efforts to bring about peace and prosperity. A new era, the era of the people, is being initiated.

Twenty years ago, at a time when this magazine — China Reconstructs — was first published, people in China were devoting their efforts to aiding Korea and resisting U.S. aggression, to rehabilitating the national economy, to distributing agricultural lands and establishing a system of apportioning housing, grain and cotton for cloth, all on the general principle of equality. Then they carried out the socialist transformation of industry, agriculture and handicrafts. In the realm of production, banking, communications and transport, state enterprises stood side by side with numerous cooperatives — cooperatives for agriculture, animal husbandry and fishing as well as those for credit and for carrying on various kinds of manufacture. Thus capitalist exploitation began to be eliminated and the Chinese people organized a brand-new system of livelihood.

Then the people took a long step towards socialism. They dealt heavy blows at all kinds of antirevolutionary elements and established people’s communes. In every commune, land is collectively owned and cultivated. A commune often builds its own factories, manages its own mines, organizes its own schools and ad-ministers its own affairs. It is the basic unit of our socialist state power in the countryside.

The basic socialist idea has long been expressed by Chairman Mao Tsetung as “Serve the People”. For it is the people, and only the people who create the world. We must measure the virility and merit of our work by the yardstick of how far it brings benefits to the people in general. Chairman Mao calls on us to “be prepared against war, be prepared against natural disasters, and do everything for the people”.

Before our national liberation, modern industrial establishments were concentrated along the coast, especially in the Shanghai region. But now, as we move in the direction pointed out by Chairman Mao, numerous brand-new industrial units have sprung up like spring-time bamboo-shoots all over the country. The wide distribution of factories and mines in every province greatly facilitates our service to the people. A little more than twenty years ago China’s industry was the property of foreign imperialist investors and Chinese capitalists who cared only for their own profits. But now, under state and collective ownership, industrial production is solely for the benefit of the people. Moreover, the development of light industry has not lagged behind that of heavy industry. Thus, commodities for daily consumption have on the whole not been short or lacking, except for a three-year period of natural calamities. And after it, led by the Communist Party, the people quickly restored production to its former scale and rate of progress.

Revolution has radically changed the character of military service. Whereas before the feudal army was merely the tool of warlords, now the people’s army helps in nearly all kinds of civil activities. Soldiers and army cadres are now working on farms, building railways and helping to supervise the administration of factories, mines and schools. During the cultural revolution they have given much assistance to the young Red Guards in their revolutionary activities. Often it is said in China that armymen and civilians work together side by side and mix with each other “like water mixes with milk”.

This is the era of the people. Chairman Mao teaches us that to serve the people is the highest ideal of life. We should love the people and hate their enemies; we must either overthrow our enemies or be oppressed by and even slaughtered by them.

Keep politics firmly in command, launch vigorous mass movements in our work, carry out the tasks of struggle-criticism-transformation — these are our guides for our daily tasks. Day by day these ideas are being inculcated throughout the land. Thus all working people in China are conscientiously striving for peace and prosperity, and, when necessary, they will defend their power and national independence with all their might.

Among the people in China there is a prevailing atmosphere and general feeling of solidarity. They understand their common duty to build up a peaceful and prosperous society for themselves and for their posterity. Sales personnel are more attentive to their customers than ever before. Bus conductors take meticulous care of their passengers. We hear less of quarrels. Criminal cases have been reduced.

Few people are sullen. The people appreciate the fact that they themselves are the masters.

The countryside, which contains the major proportion of the population, is being served by more roads and more vehicles than ever before. More .and more cooperatives for credit and commerce serve the rural areas, all under the supervision of the people’s communes. One of the aims of establishing socialism is to wipe out the obvious difference in living standard between the urban and the rural population. Today millions of cadres and school graduates have gone to the rural areas, and many of them have already established new homes there. As more and more factories and mines are being opened in the countryside and production steadily increases, the people’s standard of living is obviously improving.

In Sinkiang, Inner Mongolia, Tibet and other regions where China’s minority nationalities live in compact communities, socialist development has been and is being helped by the people of the more advanced provinces. Selected cadres, technicians and soldiers as well as young school graduates have been sent to these regions to assist the local people in hastening progress on the tasks of construction. Numerous local cadres have now also been trained to handle the various jobs. For example, the number of cooperatives, people’s communes and state enterprises is steadily rising in Tibet. Twenty years ago Tibet was a region of serfdom. Now it has stepped into the socialist era.

It is said that foreign policy is an extension of domestic politics. Thus the foreign affairs of a truly socialist state are logically linked with an internationalism which is beneficial to all peoples abroad, but not to any of the imperialist industrial-military cliques. Just as China’s policy at home is to serve the people, her foreign policy is to benefit the people all over the world. China does not go in for investments to bring in exorbitant profit, for interference or exploitation. She is for international mutual help. A new era has begun.

For years, many friendly countries have worked tirelessly to restore China’s legitimate rights in the United Nations. The 26th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in 1971 adopted by an overwhelming majority the resolution sponsored by Albania, Algeria and 21 other countries to restore all China’s legitimate rights in the United Nations and to immediately expel the Chiang Kai-shek clique. This is a victory for Chairman Mao’s proletarian revolutionary line in foreign policy. It is a victory for all the countries which uphold justice in the United Nations and a victory for the people throughout the world.

Chairman Mao prophesies that the next 50 to 100 years, beginning from now, will be a great era of radical change in the social system throughout the world, an earth-shaking era without equal in any previous historical period. These prophetic words are daily being unfolded before our very eyes. Indeed we are on the threshold of a new era of the people.