Written: May 1966.
Source: Yao Wenyuan, "On 'Three-Family Village'—The Reactionary Nature of Evening Chats at Yenshan and Notes from Three-Family Village," Shanghai Liberation Daily and Wen-hui Pao, 10 May 1966; reprinted in The Great Socialist Cultural Revolution in China, Beijing: Foreign Languages Press, 1966.
English translation: Foreign Languages Press, Beijing, 1966. Published in The Great Socialist Cultural Revolution in China, Beijing, Foreign Languages Press, 1966.
Online Version: Transcribed by www.wengewang.org.
Transcription/Markup for marxists.org: Juan Fajardo, 2014.
On April 16, 1966, the fortnightly Frontline (Oianxian) and the Peking Daily (Beijing Ribao) published some material under the title "A Criticism of Three-Family Village" and "Evening Chats at Yenshan" with an editorial note. The note says:
Our magazine and paper published these articles without timely criticism; this is wrong. The reason is that we did not put proletarian politics in command and that our minds were influenced by bourgeois and feudal ideas, and hence in this serious struggle we lost our stand of vigilance.
This is a gross lie. The author of "Evening Chats at Yenshan" is Teng T'o, while Notes from Three-Family Village represents a "gangster inn" run jointly by Teng T'o, Liao Mo-sha, and Wu Han. Teng T'o was the editor-in-chief of Frontline, and he controlled and monopolized the leading posts in the ideological and cultural work of Peking Municipality. He and his cronies of Three-Family Village made Frontline, the Peking Daily, the Peking Evening News (Beijing Wanbao), etc., instruments for opposing the Party and socialism, pursued a rabid anti-Party, antisocialist, Right opportunist, i.e., revisionist, line and served as spokesmen of the reactionary classes and the Right opportunists in their attacks on our Party. Could this be just a case of "loss of vigilance" and of publication "without timely criticism"? After letting loose so many vicious blasts against the Party and socialism, how can they claim that their minds are only a little "influenced" by bourgeois ideas? We must thoroughly expose this huge swindle.
Everyone still remembers that at the start of the criticism of Wu Han's drama, "Hai Jui Dismissed from Office", Teng T'o feigned a correct posture. After hectic plotting, he used the penname Hsiang Yang-sheng and wrote a long article, "From Hai Jui Dismissed from Office to the Theory of Inheriting Old Ethical Values," which appeared simultaneously in the Peking Daily and Frontline. This article, which was designed to save Wu Han under the guise of "criticizing" him, was a thoroughly anti-Party and anti-Marxist poisonous weed. Does the prominence given by both the Peking Daily and Frontline to Teng T'o's article "criticizing" Wu Han merely show a "loss of vigilance"? Merely a "relaxation of the class struggle on the cultural and academic front"? No, not at all. Their vigilance is very high. They spared no effort in their class struggle against the Party and the people. When they saw that the problem of Wu Han could no longer be glossed over, Teng T'o hastily came out with a fake criticism; but one who had always acted a negative role could not act a positive role convincingly, and so left a great many holes. Then, as soon as it became clear that even Teng T'o could not be saved, they hastily wrote another fake criticism in the name of the editorial departments, stubbornly fighting back to prevent the struggle from going deeper. But this sham was even more obvious, and there were even more holes. They are trying to deceive people by this talk of not putting proletarian politics in command and not making a timely criticism, hoping by their bogus criticism of Teng T'o and Three-Family Village to fool the readers and the Party into believing that they are on the side of truth.
How can they clear up the problem by taking such an attitude? How can they "unfold serious criticism"? The editorial note says that Wu Han "time and again . . . spoke on behalf of the Right opportunists who were dismissed from office." This was something which they first tried to cover up but which they now have to admit because it was exposed earlier on. The editorial note also says that Liao Mo-sha was "a protagonist consciously opposing the Party, socialism, and Mao Tse-tung's thought." But the reference to Teng T'o toward the end simply says that he "glorified dead men and stubbornly advocated learning from them . . . He propagated a large number of feudal and bourgeois ideas, opposing Marxism-Leninism and Mao Tse-tung's thought." No mention, however, is made of his anti-Party, antisocialist activities, which makes the whole thing hard to believe. Do the countless poisonous weeds in the 150-odd articles of "Evening Chats at Yenshan" and in Notes from Three-Family Village just advocate "learning from dead men"? Do they just propagate feudal and bourgeois ideas? Do they represent only an ideological mistake and not a political problem? Is it logical and credible that two out of the three brothers in Three-Family Village are anti-Party and antisocialist, while the third who actually did most of the writing merely advocates "learning from dead men"? Starting with a great flourish and then petering out and making a fake criticism in the hope of slipping by, they are simply putting on a show of criticism to resist the instructions of the Central Committee of the Party. Isn't this clear enough?
The material under the title "What Did Evening Chats at Yenshan Actually Advocate?" compiled to support the editorial note covers two whole pages of the Peking Daily, and yet it too tries to gloss over the sharp political questions. The subtitles of the various sections read: "Distorting the Party's Directive 'Let a Hundred Flowers Blossom and a Hundred Schools of Thought Contend'; Advocating Complete Freedom for Bourgeois Ideas"; "Idealizing All Aspects of the Feudal Social System"; "Using Corpses from Old Feudal Times to Resurrect the Bourgeoisie"; "Propagating the Exploiting Classes' Decadent Philosophy of Life"; and "Using Ancient Things to Satirize the Present and Attacks by Innuendo." Subtitles reveal the tendency and judgement of editors. This method of editing suggests to the reader that Evening Chats at Yenshan contained little or nothing which was opposed to the Central Committee of the Party and Chairman Mao or which supported the Right opportunists, and was different in character from Hai Jui Dismissed from Office. Prominence is given in the first section to the distortion of the Party's policy of "let a hundred flowers blossom and a hundred schools of thought contend," while "Using Ancient Things to Satirize the Present" is put at the end with a few mild comments and one or two examples for the sake of appearances. Anyone with a discerning eye can see at a glance what the editors are up to.
When we investigate the matter, however, we find that it is not at all as they present it. A great mass of political comments, which grossly slandered the Central Committee of the Party and Chairman Mao, supported the Right opportunists and attacked the general line and the cause of socialism, are either left out or abridged, while some of the most obviously vicious comments using ancient things to satirize the present and oppose the Party and socialism have been included in other sections in a deliberate attempt to make them stand out less; and there is not a single word about the pernicious nationwide influence of Evening Chats at Yenshan. On the other hand, excerpts which did not touch on vital problems are presented with a great fanfare. There is an attempt to turn big issues into small ones and slip through. In particular, the editors have concealed the fact that the mass of articles attacking the Party written by Teng T'o, Wu Han, and Liao Mo-sha during this period were not produced independently of each other but were produced by the partnership of Three-Family Village under direction, according to plan and with clear coordination. Wu Han was in the van and Liao Mo-sha followed close behind, but of these three warriors the real "commanding general," the manager and boss of the Three-Family Village gangster inn, was none other than Teng T'o himself.
Comrade Mao Tse-tung has taught us: "We must firmly uphold the truth, and truth requires a clear-cut stand" ("A Talk to the Editorial Staff of the Shansi-Suiyuan Daily"). In a sharp and complex class struggle, all sorts of disguises are bound to be encountered. Only when we hold high and in prominence the revolutionary banner of Mao Tse-tung's thought, adhere to principle, persist in the truth, and speak out clearly without mincing our words to expose the true nature of things, can we avoid being taken in by disguises. Since Frontline and the Peking Daily have suddenly raised the problem of "Evening Chats at Yenshan" and "Notes from Three-Family Village" but are concealing the truth, it is obviously the duty of all revolutionaries to make a thorough exposure of the reactionary character of these writings. Despite the jumble of trash in them, once we make an analysis we can see that they consistently follow a single black anti-Party and antisocialist line, just as "Hai Jui Scolds the Emperor" and "Hai Jui Dismissed from Office" do, and some dark clouds have been raised up over China's political skies in the last few years. It is now time to reveal the inside story of this big Three-Family Village gangster inn more fully.
"Evening Chats at Yenshan" and "Notes from Three-Family Village" came on the stage close on the heels of "Hai Jui Dismissed from Office". They formed a deliberate, planned, and organized major attack on the Party and socialism, masterminded in detail by Three-Family Village. One look at the timetable will give us a clear picture of what happened.
"Hai Jui Dismissed from Office" was published in Peking Literature and Art (Beijing Wenyi) in January 1961. Today, the reactionary nature of this drama has become increasingly evident. It directed its spearhead precisely against the Lushan meeting and against the Central Committee of the Party headed by Comrade Mao Tse-tung, with a view to reversing the decisions of that meeting. The clamorous message of the drama was that the dismissal of the "upright official Hai Jui," in other words of the Right opportunists, was "unfair" and that the Right opportunists should come back to administer "court affairs," that is, to carry out their revisionist programme. It was then the urgent desire of the author to support a Right opportunist comeback and resumption of office so as to bring about the restoration of capitalism. This was also the common desire of the "brothers" of Three-Family Village.
The drama was praised and supported by certain people as soon as it was published; and the "brothers" of Three-Family Village went wild with joy in the belief that their vanguard had won the first round. Rubbing his hands with glee, Liao Mo-sha wrote in the Peking Evening News on January 2, 1961, "After the winter drums have sounded, the spring grass begins to grow . . . An all-out effort will begin in spring." This was early spring for Three-Family Village. Then, on February 16, Liao Mo-sha wrote an open letter to Wu Han, "congratulating" him on "breaking through the door and dashing out... in order to encourage people to greater efforts." He suggested "a division of labour and cooperation" between "history" and "drama." On February 18, Wu Han in his role as vanguard replied to his "elder brother," "May I suggest to you, brother, that you too break through the door and dash out?" And he added boastfully, "You say I have broken through the door and dashed out; you have hit the nail on the head. That is precisely what I have done. This door must be broken through." What an aggressive posture, what brave airs! It really looked as if he meant to fight it out. He believed that the time for the offensive had arrived and that with the production of Hai Jui Dismissed from Office the winter drums had sounded and the gang should ready themselves for "an all-out effort."
On February 25, 1961, one week after the shout, "This door must be broken through!", Wu Han in an article "Meetings of 'Immortals' and a Hundred Schools of Thought Contending" burst out with the statement, "We must have a series of meetings of 'Immortals' at different levels right down to the grass roots. . . . Since the men at the grass roots are doing practical work and are in touch with reality, their problems are more concrete, striking, and concentrated." He called on all those at the grass roots level "with misgivings in their hearts" to go into action. He shouted about "clearing away all obstacles along the forward path of contention by a hundred schools of thought." And he boasted smugly, "Perhaps I can be rated as an intellectual, having studied for more than forty years, taught in universities for some twenty years, and written several books." Thus he considered that, with his capital and the backing of the bosses behind the scenes, the time had come for the anticommunist bourgeois intellectuals to take the stage and show their prowess.
In March 1961, amid this great fanfare and in the "dramatic" atmosphere of night and cloud raised by Hai Jui Dismissed from Office, immediately after Wu Han had "cleared the path" with his staff, the commanding general took the stage. With Evening Chats at Yenshan, he "broke through the door and dashed out" "at the suggestion of friends." Teng T'o said he had been "compelled to mount horse," but this is wrong. Rather, he was "begged to mount horse." After the vanguard had cleared the way, and with another "brother" wielding the whip for him, wasn't it time for the commanding general to mount horse?
Close on the heels of Wu Han's preface to "Hai Jui Dismissed from Office" came "Notes from Three-Family Village". In August 1961, when the reactionary classes in the country were intensifying their attacks, Wu Han made a special point in his introduction to the same book, "This drama lays stress on the uprightness and tenacity of Hai Jui, who was undaunted by force, undismayed by failure, and determined to make a fresh start after defeat." He actively incited and supported the Right opportunists who had been "dismissed from office" to renew their attacks on the Party. In this preface, he gloated over the way in which his friends were helping to plan his campaign and claimed that his effort was "a modest spur to induce others to come forward with valuable contributions," to "induce" many other poisonous weeds to come out. Then on October 5, 1961, in an article entitled "Show Concern for All Things" in the column "Evening Chats at Yenshan", Teng T'o quoted the couplet:
Sounds of wind, rain, and the reading of books all fill my ears;
Family, state, and world affairs, I show concern for them all.
He declared with deep feeling that this "fully reflected the political ideals of the scholars of the Tunglin party at that time," and that "this couplet has a really profound significance." The Tunglin party was an "opposition party" within the landlord class during the Ming Dynasty. The reason why Teng T'o so much admired their "political ideals" was that the term "opposition party" resounded in his mind. Apparently, he felt that all the "sounds of wind and rain," all the ill winds and pestilential rains of the time, had induced such a state of restlessness that he must take a step further to live up to his "political ideals," "show concern for all things," and launch even more open attacks on the Party and on socialism. Only a few days later, on October 10, 1961, the "Three-Family Village" signboard was publicly hung up in Frontline, edited by Teng To, and this underground factory was turned into an open partnership. The three partners concentrated their fire, and in its first issues extremely vicious attacks, like "Great Empty Talk" and other articles, were launched against the leadership of the Central Committee of the Party.
The appearance of "Evening Chats at Yenshan" and "Notes from Three-Family Village" signified another offensive against the Party, which was planned, organized, and under direction, following up on "Hai Jui Dismissed from Office". Only by linking up the writings of the Three Families can we get to the bottom of this gangster inn's secrets.
Teng T'o explained how the topics for "Evening Chats at Yenshan" were chosen when he said, "I often thought of, saw, or heard of things which struck me as problems, and these at once provided topics." Since Teng T'o was in a position of leadership, what things did he see? What people did he hear talking? His remarks disclose that these evening chats were written to deal with "problems" from real life over which he felt dissatisfaction. Some of the vicious anti-Party and antisocialist stuff was first heard and then written up by him. In all cases, the points of departure and themes of these essays were important current political issues intimately bound up with reality, and were by no means just the "idealizing of the ancients." This clue, provided by the author himself, helps us to see clearly that "Evening Chats at Yenshan" and "Notes from Three-Family Village" are shot through and through with the same black anti-Party, antipopular, and antisocialist line as that followed in "Hai Jui Scolds the Emperor" and "Hai Jui Dismissed from Office", namely, slanderous attacks on the Central Committee of the Party headed by Comrade Mao Tse-tung; attacks on the general line of the Party; all-out support for the attacks of the Right opportunists who had been "dismissed from office" in an attempt to reverse earlier correct decisions concerning them; and support for the frenzied attacks of the feudal and capitalist forces. In step with the changes in the situation of the class struggle at home and abroad and with the different "problems" thought of, seen, and heard of, they selected different lines of attack and there was a division of labour, in which they complemented and responded to each other, in whipping up a succession of black waves and gusts of ill wind.
The Ninth Plenary Session of the Eighth Central Committee of the Party, held in January 1961, pointed out:
The great achievements of our country during the last three years show that the Party's general line for socialist construction, the big leap forward, and the people's communes suit the realities of China. . . .in view of the serious natural calamities which affected agricultural production for two successive years, the whole nation must concentrate in 1961 on strengthening the agricultural front.
The communique of this plenary session pointed out sharply:
. . .a very small number of unregenerate landlord and bourgeois elements, accounting for only a few percent of the population. . .invariably try to stage a comeback. . . . They have taken advantage of the difficulties caused by the natural calamities and of some shortcomings in the work at the primary levels to carry out sabotage. (Communique of the Ninth Plenary Session of the Eighth Central Committee of the Communist Party of China)
These elements stirred up an anti-Party and antisocialist ill wind, did their utmost to slander and vilify the socialist cause of the Party and the people, and abused the Central Committee of the Party in a futile attempt to overthrow the Party's general line. Serving the political ends of the bourgeois and landlord class elements who were attempting a comeback, Evening Chats at Yenshan, which appeared soon after the plenary session, exploited certain economic difficulties caused by the grave natural calamities to concentrate on stirring up an evil flurry of attacks on the general line and on bolstering up the restorationist activities of the landlord and capitalist classes.
On March 26, 1961, Teng T'o raised the slogan, "Welcome the 'miscellaneous scholars.' " Who were these "miscellaneous scholars"? According to him, they were those "with a wide range of knowledge" and knowing "an assortment of bits of everything." He said: "The noted scholars of yore could all, more or less, be classified as miscellaneous scholars." He added the warning to the Party: "It will be a great loss to us if we now fail to acknowledge the great significance of the wide range of knowledge of the 'miscellaneous scholars' for all kinds of work of leadership and for scientific research work." "Work of leadership," please note. Here is the vital issue. From these words of Teng T'o's, it is quite clear that the "miscellaneous scholars" were none other than the unregenerate elements and intellectuals of the bourgeois and landlord classes, a handful of characters of dubious political background, as well as such reactionaries as the "scholars" of the landlord and bourgeois classes. The motley collection of the dead—emperors, generals, and ministers, scum of all sorts, feudal die-hards, and charlatans like geomancers—all of whom Teng T'o wrote about with great awe in his articles, have their memorial tablets in the ancestral temple of the "miscellaneous scholars." Using their "knowledge" as their capital, such characters are trying desperately to intrigue themselves or climb into leading positions at different levels and change the nature of the dictatorship of the proletariat. In demanding that we recognize the "great significance" of the "miscellaneous scholars" for the "work of leadership," Teng To was in effect, demanding that the Party open the door to those "miscellaneous scholars" who had taken the capitalist road and allow them to lead in "all kinds of work of leadership" and in "scientific research work"—in other words, in the academic and ideological fields—and so to prepare public opinion for the restoration of capitalism. He styled himself a first-rate "miscellaneous scholar." At that time some bourgeois elements were eagerly urging the "leadership" to "respect" their "wide range of knowledge" of how to carry out capitalist exploitation. They wanted to use this "knowledge" of theirs to change socialist enterprises into capitalist enterprises. The slogan "Welcome the 'miscellaneous scholars' " raised by Three-Family Village in support of the seizure of leadership by members of the exploiting classes must not be regarded as mere empty talk. Did not the "miscellaneous scholars" of Three-Family Village actually control a number of leading positions?
On April 13, 1961, Teng To demanded in his essay "Guide Rather than Block" that "everything" should be "actively guided to facilitate its smooth development." "Blocking the path of the movement and development of things" is "doomed to failure." "Everything," please note, including those dark, reactionary things that are anti-Party and antisocialist. If we are to persist in the socialist road, we have to block the road to the restoration of capitalism; if we are to support all newborn, revolutionary things, we have to strike down all decadent, counterrevolutionary things. As the saying goes: "There is no construction without destruction, no flowing without damming, and no motion without rest." To clear the way for the tide of revolution, we must dam the tide of reaction. By demanding that instead of blocking we should "facilitate the smooth development" of "everything," including antisocialist things, was not Teng T'o clearly demanding that we should practise bourgeois liberalization and bend and surrender to the ill winds which were blowing at the time, the winds of "going it alone" (i.e., the restoration of individual economy) and of the extension of plots for private use and of free markets, the increase of small enterprises with sole responsibility for their own profits or losses, and the fixing of output quotas based on the household? "Guiding" meant paving the way, and these men styled themselves "the vanguard paving the way"—for the capitalist forces. Three-Family Village counted on the "failure" of socialism and the "certain triumph" of the black wind of capitalist restoration, and thought they could now openly throw themselves into the arms of the reactionary forces for the development of capitalism!
On April 30, 1961, in an essay "The Theory of Treasuring Labour Power," Teng T'o levelled a direct attack on us for not "treasuring labour power." Mentioning the dictatorship of the proletariat and that of the landlord class in the same breath, he argued that "as far back as the periods of the Spring and Autumn Annals and the Warring States and thereabout," the exploiting classes "discovered certain objective laws governing the increase and decrease of labour power. . . through the experience of their rule" and were able to calculate the limits on "the labour power to be used in different kinds of capital construction." Teng T'o demanded that "we should draw new enlightenment from the experience of the ancients, and take care to do more in every way to treasure our labour power." Everybody knows that we give the utmost attention to treasuring labour power. In all its work the Chinese Communist Party proceeds from the fundamental interests of the broad masses of the people and is wholeheartedly in their service. On the other hand, none of the slave-owner and landlord classes in history cared about anything but the insatiable and cruel exploitation of the working people, thus arousing the slaves and the peasants to one great uprising after another. How could they recognize the "objective laws governing the increase and decrease of labour power"? All this was merely an attempt to slander the general line and the Great Leap Forward as not "treasuring labour power" by exploiting the temporary difficulties caused by the natural calamities at the time, and a demand that we should give up the general line of going all out, aiming high, and building socialism with greater, quicker, better, and more economical results, give up developing agriculture in a big way and abandon the revolutionary policy of energetically building a prosperous country through self-reliance, but instead use the landlord class's "experience as rulers" to undermine the dictatorship of the proletariat. What Teng T'o was saying, in other words, was this: It is "beyond your capacity" to carry on through self-reliance. This is "excessively forced." Call a halt at once. Give it up quickly and use the old methods of the "miscellaneous scholars" of the landlord class! Was this not clearly coordinated with the vicious attacks of U.S. imperialism and modern revisionism? Had we followed this line, not only would we have had no Taching, no Tachai, no atom bombs, but we would have been reduced to an imperialist colony.
It is by no means accidental that both before and after the publication of this article, Teng T'o ranted in favour of learning from the Khrushchev revisionist clique. In his essay "The Way to Make Friends and Entertain Guests," he advocated "learning from" and "uniting with" countries "stronger than our own" and said, "We should be pleased if a friend is stronger than we are." In the essay "From Three to Ten Thousand," he swore, "If a man with a swelled head thinks he can learn a subject with ease and kicks his teacher out, he will never learn anything." This was a vicious attack on our struggle against modern revisionism and a demand that we ask the revisionists in and let the wolves into the house. We want to learn from all the experience and lessons beneficial to socialist construction that the world provides, but we must never learn from revisionism. We warmly welcome the victorious development of every revolutionary cause, but we must never welcome revisionism. In his series of indirect accusations "reviling the locust tree while pointing to the mulberry," Teng T'o sings exactly the same tune as the Right opportunists, slandering the Party line for socialist construction as "forced" and claiming that China's only "way out" is to "learn from" the Soviet revisionist clique and practise revisionism in China.
In stirring up this evil wind, Three-Family Village raised a hullabaloo and cleared the way for the release of all kinds of monsters from confinement, collaborating from within with sinister forces from without. In league with the reactionaries in China and abroad and with the modern revisionists, it made dastardly attacks on the Party's general line for socialist construction, the Great Leap Forward, and the people's communes, and painted modern revisionism in glowing colours in a vain attempt to create public opinion favourable to a comeback by the Right opportunists.
In June and July 1961, Three-Family Village let loose another vicious blast. July 1 was the fortieth anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China. Holding high the red banner of the general line, the great, glorious, and correct Chinese Communist Party headed by Comrade Mao Tse-tung was leading the Chinese people forward triumphantly along the socialist road amidst sharp struggles against reactionaries in China and abroad and against serious natural calamities. Not reconciled to their defeat, the domestic reactionary forces and the Right opportunists who had been dismissed from office were trying harder than ever to have the previous decisions reversed, in an attempt to negate the repudiation of the Right opportunists at the Lushan meeting and the fruits of the various other major political struggles since liberation. It was at this moment that the "brothers" of Three-Family Village shot poisoned arrows thick and fast at the Central Committee of the Party in support of the Right opportunists.
On June 7,1961, Wu Han described another "trumped-up case" in an insidious article ostensibly written in memory of Yu Chien. He glorified Yu Chien who had been dismissed from office, calling him "unbending and simple," and a man whose "spirit will live for ever." He made a point of stating that Yu Chien had been "rehabilitated," that "Yu Chien's political enemies failed one after another," and that he was moreover appointed "secretary of war (minister of national defense)." "Rehabilitate" is a modern term which no emperor would ever have used. By using it, Wu Han betrayed what was in his mind, namely, that the proletarian revolutionaries would fail one after another and the Right opportunists would soon be rehabilitated.
On June 22, 1961, shortly after Wu Han's article on Yu Chien, Teng T'o published "The Case of Chen Chiang and Wang Keng." It was so blatantly vicious that the author's heart misgave him and he dared not include it in the collected volumes of Evening Chats at Yenshan. We can find it, however, in the Evening Chats column in the Peking Evening News. The author claims to have picked this "anecdote" up from some old books because it was so "thought-provoking." The article threw out hints about a "deliberately exaggerated and trumped-up case," but the revelation comes in the last paragraph, which reads:
By the reign of Empress Dowager Ming Su, the Sung government was growing daily more corrupt. There was no intelligent and capable prime minister at the top with responsible assistants to take charge of personnel and administration, while the local officials lower down did exactly as they pleased.
As a result, he wrote, "this case was inflated and complicated." This was venomous slander, directed against our Party and expressed in the counterrevolutionary language of landlords, rich peasants, counterrevolutionaries, bad elements, and Rightists. The ostensible attack on Empress Dowager Ming Su and on the prime minister was a malevolent denigration of the Central Committee of the Party, while the statement that "local officials lower down did exactly as they pleased" was a malicious denunciation of Party cadres at various levels, a charge that the Right opportunists and other anti-Party elements had been unjustly treated. He even used the modern term "inflated." What sort of thought was provoked? Was it not the thought that would pave the way for reversing the previous decisions on the Right opportunists and other anti-Party elements? Was it not the thought that would release monsters to attack socialism and the dictatorship of the proletariat? What is particularly interesting is the fact that Teng T'o pinned his hope of reversing the previous decisions on an "intelligent and capable prime minister" coming forward and seizing the leadership. To those with discerning eyes, it is as clear as daylight what kind of people he was appealing to for the seizure of power. This is the true voice of the commanding general of Three-Family Village. He refrained from including this article in the collection, but the harder one tries to conceal a thing, the more it attracts attention.
At the same time, in another article "The Prosperity and Decline of Two Temples," Teng T'o gave full vent to his feelings about the fate of two temples. One had had many worshippers and was "famed far and near," while the other was "in decline" and "ignored all along." For fear that others might not understand his meaning, he urged readers to apply this to "similar situations," implying that we had cold shouldered the Right opportunists and stopped paying tribute to them. Teng T'o expressed strong dissatisfaction over the fate of being "ignored all along" that had overtaken those anti-Party, antisocialist clay idols who had fallen from their political pedestals, the Right opportunists and other anti-Party elements who were utterly spurned by the Party and the people. He wanted the Party to "esteem" them highly again, to put these clay idols "in decline" back in their shrines.
Immediately afterwards, Wu Han in his introduction to "Hai Jui Dismissed from Office" cried even more openly, "Although Hai Jui lost his post, he did not give in or lose heart." He shouted about the need to be "undismayed by failure and determined to make a fresh start after defeat." This was the common cry of Three-Family Village at the time, and certainly not an isolated phenomenon. They not only incited the Right opportunists to try again, but also redoubled their own efforts.
On July 25, 1962, Three-Family Village came out with a most venomous anticommunist article, entitled "Special Treatment for 'Amnesia.' " They vilified responsible Party members as suffering from "amnesia," which made them "quickly forget what they have seen and said. . .go back on their own word, fail to keep faith, "and become quite "capricious." They proposed "hitting the patient over the head with a special club to induce a state of 'shock.' " They were not only using exactly the same language as the Right opportunists to slander the Central Committee of the Party which they hated; they actually wanted to finish off the proletarian revolutionary fighters with one blow. What poison! Were they not hoping to render revolutionaries unconscious or kill them so that revisionism could seize power? This article was a stark revelation of their deep class hatred for the Party, an attack on our Party made completely from the stand of the landlords, rich peasants, counterrevolutionaries, bad elements, and Rightists.
The series of facts listed above definitely proves that "Hai Jui Dismissed from Office" not only represented Wu Han's personal political attitude but was a prelude to the anti-Party, antisocialist political activities of the Three-Family Village clique in support of the Right opportunists who had been "dismissed from office." The members of this small clique, who pinned their hope on the seizure of power in the Party and government by the anti-Party, antisocialist elements, stirred up an adverse current. "Like mayflies trying to topple the giant tree, they ridiculously overrated themselves"—the slanderous attacks by this handful of anti-Party, antisocialist elements could not damage the great prestige of our Party in the least, but only revealed their own criminal features, aroused the people's anger, and ended up in their repudiation by the Party and the people.
The Three-Family Village offensive was at its most frenzied from the start of publication of Notes from Three-Family Village until March 1962, when the Third Session of the Second National People's Congress met. In the first place, during this period, the imperialists, reactionaries, and modern revisionists abroad had intensified their anti-China chorus, which was very noisy for a time. At the Twenty-second Congress of the C.P.S.U. in October 1961, the leadership of the C.P.S.U. systematized the revisionist line which it had been gradually developing since the Twentieth Congress, and pushed further ahead with its revisionist political line for splitting the international communist movement and restoring capitalism. In China, the reactionary classes and their political agents, aiming to come back to power, took advantage of the three consecutive years of serious natural calamities we had suffered to launch a still wilder all-out attack in the political, economic, and cultural fields in a futile attempt to overthrow the Party leadership and the dictatorship of the proletariat at the very time when we were implementing the policy of "readjustment, consolidation, filling out, and raising of standards."
Two articles typified how Three-Family Village sized up the situation during this period. The first, "On Waves" by Wu Han, appeared on January 1, 1962. With irrepressible fanaticism he hailed the "wave" that had been pounding society "during the past half year and more." He joyously declared that "this is a really big tidal wave," advertising the countercurrent against the Party leadership and the dictatorship of the proletariat as one of its achievements. He predicted that this "tidal wave" would grow "bigger and bigger." Blinded by inordinate ambition, Wu Han believed that the gang he belonged to would win and the adverse current of revisionism would become the main stream. Shortly afterwards, on February 4, in his article "This Year's Spring Festival" which later he dared not include in the collection Evening Chats, Teng T'o wrote even more explicitly, "The bitter cold of the north wind will soon come to an end. In its stead a warm east wind will blow and a thaw will soon set in on this earth." Was not "thaw" one of the terms in the out-and-out counterrevolutionary vocabulary used by the Khrushchev revisionist clique against Stalin? Blinded by inordinate ambition, this gang now predicted that by 1962 socialist New China would "soon come to an end," that the dictatorship of the proletariat would be toppled by the antisocialist adverse "tidal wave," and "in its stead" there would be a Right-opportunist or revisionist regime, that Three-Family Village would gain greater influence and would be able to do whatever it wanted. Comrades, you can see how eagerly this group wished China to have a revisionist "thaw"!
It was with this estimate of the situation that Three-Family Village launched its wild all-out offensive.
On November 10, 1961, Teng T'o came out with his article "Great Empty Talk" in Notes from Three-Family Village. In ostensibly criticizing a child's poem, he indirectly condemned the statement that "the East wind is our benefactor and the West wind is our enemy" as "empty talk," "jargon," "cliches," and "pomposity." This was a flagrant denigration of the Marxist-Leninist scientific thesis that "the East wind prevails over the West wind" as "empty talk." Teng T'o said, "In certain special situations such great empty talk is inevitable," hinting to readers that what he was condemning was not the child's poem but our Party's ideological weapon for carrying on the struggle and educating the masses in "special situations," that is, in the international and domestic class struggle. What was Teng T'o's purpose? It was to slander the great thought of Mao Tse-tung, which leads us forward, as "empty talk," to get us to abandon Mao Tse-tung's thought in our political life, and to give up the Marxist-Leninist line. He went so far as to make the arrogant demand that our Party should "say less and take a rest when the time comes for talking." If Mao Tse-tung's thought were laid to rest, would it not become possible for revisionist ideas to run rampant? This desperate denunciation of Mao Tse-tung's thought could not do it the least harm; on the contrary, it showed even more clearly that Mao Tse-tung's thought is an ideological weapon of unlimited revolutionary force which makes all monsters tremble with fright.
In close coordination with the above, Three-Family Village brought out a series of articles attacking Mao Tse-tung's thought and maligning revolutionaries. Evening Chats at Yenshan came out with the article "Give It Up and You Will Be on Firm Ground." Its central idea was that the Party should "give up" the general line for socialist construction, and it ridiculed those who would not give it up for being "blind" and "looking for trouble." It demanded that the Party should "boldly give it up" so as to come down to "firm ground," i.e., the ground of capitalism. On November 25, Liao Mo-sha also published two articles, "Wherein Lies Confucius' Greatness?" and "Jokes About Being Afraid of Ghosts." In the first, he sang the praises of Confucius for being "rather 'democratic' and welcoming criticisms of his theories," implying that the Party should encourage bourgeois democracy and thus allow the reactionary elements to come forward and attack Mao Tse-tung's thought. In the second, he vindictively slandered Mao Tse-tung's thought and vilified revolutionary Marxist-Leninists as "braggarts. . .who claim that they are not afraid of ghosts but are actually frightened out of their wits by them." He tried to show them up as "utterly ridiculous." Everybody knows that the great Chinese Communist Party and the great Chinese people, educated by Mao Tse-tung's thought, are not only not afraid of monsters and ghosts, but are determined to destroy all the monsters and ghosts in the world.
Only heroes can quell tigers and leopards,
And wild bears never daunt the brave.
This couplet sums up the fearless heroism of the great Chinese people. Such heroism prevails over all evil trends. Liao Mo-sha even planned to edit a collection of Stories About Being Afraid of Ghosts. Was this not open collaboration with the reactionaries, both in China and abroad, and the modern revisionists to defame the Chinese people who are not afraid of ghosts, to defame our Party and the revolutionaries who persist in following Mao Tse-tung's thought?
The day after the appearance of these two articles, "Two Foreign Fables" was published in the Evening Chats at Yenshan column as a further attack on so-called bragging. It claimed that "even now one can always and everywhere find such braggarts," and clamoured viciously, "We must not let these charlatans off lightly." Do you want revolution? Do you want to keep the interests of the country and those of the world at heart? Do you want to rely on your own efforts to overcome difficulties? All this is "bragging" and "boasting." Three-Family Village will settle accounts with you. When this article was included in the collection, the author deleted the sentence, "Instead of being overcome, difficulties will daily grow in number and seriousness." See how maliciously these men ridiculed our Party's policy of self-reliance in overcoming difficulties! They even thought that the difficulties would grow in number. A little later, Wu Han in his article "Chao Kuo and Ma Su" made use of two historical tales about what he called "talking big to impress people" and "boasting" in order to satirize the present and urge us to "review now" the "lessons of failure," the "lessons of harming oneself and others and ruining the country." Obviously, Wu Han imagined that the great Chinese people had "come to grief," that the general line had "failed," and that the Right opportunists would soon come to power. The gust of foul wind which started with Teng T'o's "Great Empty Talk" was closely coordinated with the clamor for the advent of the Right opportunists to power. As we read these words again today, at a time when a vigorous new upsurge is taking place in China's socialist construction, we can come to only one conclusion—such anti-Party and antisocialist "heroes" are never able to see the great strength of the masses, they are blinder than the blind in their estimate of the political situation.
Comrades and friends! These slanders and attacks, with Teng T'o's articles at their core, were made within such a short period of time, concentrating on the same targets and using identical terms. Is it possible1 that they were not organized and coordinated in a planned way? How frenzied they are in opposing the Party and socialism! How can we fail to be aroused to great indignation! How is it possible for us not to smash them to smithereens!
A subsequent series of articles also "breaking through the door and dashing out" directed the attack even more crudely against the Central Committee of the Party headed by Comrade Mao Tse-tung. In an exceptionally savage attack, they shifted the emphasis from political to organizational problems.
In an article "Is Wisdom Reliable?" published on February 22, 1962, Teng T'o urged the "emperor" to "seek advice from all sides." He emphasized that "one need not plan everything oneself and said with ulterior motives that "when a man plans everything himself, flatterers will seize the chance to say things to please him." By this he certainly did not mean that those in leading positions should listen modestly to opinions from below; what he wanted was the acceptance by the Central Committee of the Party of the revisionist line which he and his like supported. They insolently warned the Party, "One will eventually suffer heavy reverses" if "one makes all decisions oneself in the hope of achieving success with original ideas," without accepting "good advice" from "below," in other words from Three-Family Village. This was an open demand that their scheme to restore capitalism should be made by the Party line and a scurrilous aspersion on the Central Committee of the Party. Their "good advice" was that we should take the revisionist road and restore capitalism, which would throw more than 90 percent of the Chinese people back into a state of dark and cruel oppression. This "good advice" was exceedingly bad advice. Here, as on the question of fragrant flowers and poisonous weeds, the revolutionary people and the handful of anti-Party, anti-socialist elements are diametrically opposed in their views on what is good and what is bad. They do not speak a common language.
On February 25, 1962, only three days later, there appeared another article, "The Royal Way and the Tyrant's Way." Now the Marxist theory of the state teaches us that both the "royal way" and the "tyrant's way" are ways of dictatorship by the landlord class, forms of counterrevolutionary violence. However royal in appearance, all landlord rule was nevertheless essentially tyrannical. "Benevolent government," so-called, was merely a mask for sanguinary counterrevolutionary violence. As Lu Hsun sharply pointed out, "Though the Chinese royal way appears to be the opposite of the tyrant's way, in actual fact they are complementary. The tyrant's way invariably precedes and succeeds the royal way." (Collected Works of Lu Hsun, Chinese edition, Vol. 6, Peking: People's Literature Publishing House, 1963, p. 10.) Teng T'o, however, extolled the "royal way," saying that "after all, even in ancient times the royal way was much better than the tyrant's way." Why did he eulogize the dictatorship of the landlord class in this most absurd manner? He did so with the aim of making us accept the "lesson" he had fabricated: "Thus people can see at a glance how those who wanted to be tyrants made enemies everywhere and became very unpopular." He even translated this into "our language" (the language of Three-Family Village), saying that "by the tyrant's way. . .we mean the arrogant, subjectivist and arbitrary way of thinking and style of work of one bent on acting willfully." Isn't this a tune we have heard only too often? The modern revisionists have been eulogizing U.S. imperialism, which is vainly attempting to establish world hegemony, as an angel of peace, and have been calumniating China, which is firmly opposing U.S. imperialism, as "bellicose" and "seeking hegemony." At home, the reactionary classes actively advocated the liquidation of struggle in our relations with imperialism, the reactionaries of various countries, and modern revisionism and the reduction of assistance and support to the revolutionary struggle of other peoples, and attacked us as being "isolated" and "making enemies everywhere." If we compare the language used, it is. evident that when Evening Chats at Yenshan slandered those who "wanted to be tyrants," "made enemies everywhere," "became unpopular," and were "bent on acting willfully," their target was the revolutionary line of our dictatorship of the proletariat, and they were parroting the reactionaries in China and abroad. This was certainly not merely a question of "idealizing the feudal social system," as the article in the Peking Daily claimed.
On March 29, 1962, there appeared the article "In Defense of Li San-tsai." The title itself was odd. Nobody in our time was attacking Li San-tsai, who lived four hundred years ago; so why this cry for the "defense of Li San-tsai"? According to the article, Li San-tsai "was a positive historical figure," a great hero who "attacked the dark politics of feudalism." But when we look up the History of the Ming Dynasty, we find something quite different. He was a butcher who ferociously suppressed peasant uprisings, who "used many tactics to capture and destroy big brigands and evil men," and whose life was a record of sanguinary crimes. He was an out-and-out flunkey of the landlord class, a loyal servant of the "dark politics of feudalism," who repeatedly memorialized the emperor to wipe out those he called "troublemakers" and "big brigands" in order to "preserve for ever" the rule of the landlord class. Now what was the real purpose of "defending" such a man?
In fact, Li San-tsai was a careerist who wanted to climb into the cabinet. Because he was at loggerheads with the ruling faction of the landlord class, he kept attacking them as a member of an "opposition party," and used the slogan of "pleading for the people" in his memorials to the emperor. In this dogfight, he was "dismissed from office." Teng T'o praised this member of the "opposition party" who was "dismissed from office" and passed him off as a great hero because he wanted to use this dead man to defend the Right opportunists. He focussed on what happened after Li's dismissal. "Even after Li San-tsai had retired to his home, charges of 'stealing imperial timber to build a private mansion' were brought against him, etc. . . .Li San-tsai wrote memorials time and again. . .but the court of Emperor Wan Li dared not make a thorough investigation." This statement, "dared not make a thorough investigation," was concocted to hint at something else, since the historical records make it clear that certain officials did go to investigate the matter. Teng T'o simply wanted to use it to laud to the skies the Right opportunists who had been "dismissed from office," to obstruct the struggle of the revolutionary people to make further investigations into their criminal activities, to have the verdict on them reversed, and to back them in their renewed attacks on the Party by writing "memorials."
"In Defense of Li San-tsai" was a sequel to Hai Jui Dismissed from Office. Li San-tsai was just another Hai Jui, another "upright official" dismissed from office. Isn't this abundantly clear?
Instances of Three-Family Village's direct attacks on the Central Committee of the Party, on Chairman Mao and the general line are too numerous to quote. But it is clear even from some of the evil blasts after the publication of "Hai Jui Dismissed from Office" how shocking the secrets of Three-Family Village are, what virulent class hatred this handful of men have for the Party and the cause of socialism, and what lavish praise and support they have given the Right opportunists, i.e., the revisionists. They hoped that China would change its colour from red to black. Their "gangster inn" is an important den of restorers of capitalism, a nest of poisonous snakes which we must expose thoroughly and destroy completely. Our fighting task today is to step forward and destroy Three-Family Village and carry the revolution through to the end!
In addition to writings openly opposing the Party, the people, and socialism, Evening Chats at Yenshan and Notes from Three-Family Village contained most poisonous weeds in the form of so-called "academic discussion," "textual research," and "relaxation." Under the cover of "learning useful knowledge, both ancient and modern," they launched all-round attacks on socialism. They did not merely "idealize the feudal social system" and "glorify dead men," but had their own practical political objectives. On the one hand, in coordination with the black line of shameless opposition to the Party, the people, and socialism, they used the cover of "history," "knowledge," and "things of interest" to dull the revolutionary vigilance of the people, hoodwink more readers, and extend their influence. On the other hand, they employed what is called "the gentle method of decapitation" to conduct all-round attacks on the proletarian line consistently upheld by the Party and Comrade Mao Tse-tung in all fields, and used the ideas of the landlord and bourgeois classes to corrode the revolutionary cadres and revolutionary people in every way in order to promote "peaceful evolution." Whoever is addicted to and obsessed by all this will degenerate and become a new bourgeois element. The dual tactics of Three-Family Village consisted of using sharp poisonous arrows and all kinds of sugar-coated bullets.
In the very first article of his Evening Chats at Yenshan, Teng To put up the signboard of grasping "one-third of life." He said that "people's attention should be called to treasuring one-third of one's life [i.e., one-third of 24 hours each day] so that, after a day's labour or work, everyone can learn some useful knowledge, both ancient and modern, in a relaxed mood." Taken at face value, "one-third" referred to one's spare time. But of course what Three-Family Village wanted was not merely this "one-third," its real aim being to subvert the entire system of the dictatorship of the proletariat and bring about the restoration of capitalism. But "one-third" could very well serve as a smokescreen for seizing the remaining "two-thirds." In asking everyone to read Evening Chats at Yenshan "in a relaxed mood," they were trying to dull the people's revolutionary vigilance; beginning by corroding "one-third of the life" of those who were not firm in their revolutionary stand, they aimed at corroding the whole of their lives and making them serve as the organized force and social basis for the Three-Family Village clique in recruiting more and more people and promoting "peaceful evolution."
Making abundant use of the form of replies to readers, Teng T'o spoke at length in his articles in Evening Chats at Yenshan of how he received young people, of how he got "enlightenment" and "suggestions" from "fellow townsmen," "comrades," "friends," "children," "editors," "students," and "teachers" and even from the "working staff in various departments, and of how he answered their "questions." It can be seen from all this how extensive were the activities of Three-Family Village. The spreading of antisocialist ideas went hand in hand with these extensive activities of theirs. They poisoned the minds of some persons and pulled people over to their side. Under the cover of imparting knowledge, they feverishly tried to lure young people into the Three-Family Village gangster inn. Suffice it to mention only two examples. In "Poor, But with Lofty Ideals," Teng T'o said, "The day before yesterday, a young student came to see me. ... He said that he intended to write a paraphrase in the vernacular of the Lives of Poor Scholars by Huang Chi-shui of the Ming Dynasty and asked me if I approved of the idea." The Lives of Poor Scholars is the biography of members of decayed landlord families; in particular, it is a eulogy of the "moral integrity" of the landlord class and therefore can have [the] most pernicious influence on people today. This student was seriously corrupted by bourgeois ideology, but he had not yet made up his mind whether or not to write the paraphrase. It must have seemed to Teng T'o that he had hit the jackpot. He not only praised the student's intention as a "very good idea" but immediately seized the opportunity for a long political lecture, linking the work of paraphrasing the Lives of Poor Scholars with the idea of showing "respect" for the landlord class and of learning from its "lofty moral integrity," and insinuated that the biography could be used as an "example to learn from" for certain people "when they happened to meet with unexpected difficulties in the future." Is this not clearly a case of pushing someone down a well and then dropping rocks on him? Is this not using the student to serve the "poor scholars" of today, that is, the antisocialist elements? Another fellow, "a student writing from the Peking Broadcasting Institute," was also strongly influenced by bourgeois ideology. Obsessed by vulgar interests, this student saw nothing but the "long hair of a certain woman on a bus," and he asked Teng T'o to tell him "what inspiration we can get from such long hair." Teng To promptly wrote an article that is typical of the decadent class. He not only supported this student but also widely publicized various cases of "long-haired beauties" from the most licentious imperial courts in history. Is this not leading those who are already corrupted by bourgeois ideology further down the road of decadence and turning them into new bourgeois elements? All the young people who have been under the corrupting and seductive influence of Three-Family Village should step forward and indict Teng To and his gang for their criminal schemes.
When one looks from this standpoint at these writings advocating a reactionary ideology, their political aims are only too clear.
Teng T'o and his gang energetically pursued a reactionary bourgeois educational line, preparing their forces organizationally for the restoration of capitalism. Using the bourgeois theory of human nature as the basis of education, they preached that "one should, in the main, agree with Mencius when he said that 'all men are born good.' " They opposed the use of the class viewpoint for analysis and for educating the younger generation in an attempt to cover up their crime of poisoning the minds of young people. They went so far as to assert that "the whole set of methods used by opera schools of the old type was in line with educational principles" and that "it should be completely adopted in every field of society." They wanted to replace the class line by the so-called principle of "employing people according to their talents" and thereby to train large numbers of successors of the landlords and bourgeoisie "in a planned way." They did their best to spread such ideas among the young people as "the method of combining teaching oneself with family tradition," "becoming a famous scholar" through "hard study," "laying a foundation" by "reading all the materials available," etc. Here the question is not merely one of seeking fame and becoming an expert in the bourgeois way; more important is the fact that they intended to corrode and drag over some people by this method, assemble a bunch of disciples of Three-Family Village, turn them into propagators of their anticommunist ideas, and transform certain young people into instruments of Three-Family Village for restoring capitalism. Using honeyed words to lure the youth to become "scholars" and "famous persons," the Three-Family Village clique harboured most vicious designs.
They persisted in a reactionary bourgeois line in academic work, preparing the intellectual ground for the restoration of capitalism. They raised the slogan of "learn more and criticize less," saying: "The attitude to take toward everything is to learn more and criticize less." They pilloried those holding the revolutionary banner high as "fault-finders," who "love to resort to censure at the slightest opportunity" and who "are bound to come to grief." What does the slogan "learn more and criticize less" mean? It means that while they should be allowed to malign Mao Tse-tung's thought, extol landlord and bourgeois culture, and strive for the restoration of capitalism by their "academic work," we should not be allowed to criticize the culture of the bourgeoisie and landlord class, and the revolutionary people are to be deprived of the right to criticize them. All this amounts to saying that the culture of the exploiting classes has to be accepted in its entirety and regarded as sacrosanct imperial edicts. The core of their reactionary academic line is attack on the proletariat, support for the bourgeoisie, the strengthening of the control exercised by their gang over academic departments, and encouragement for the unrestrained growth of all poisonous weeds, including the highly poisonous ones of Three-Family Village.
The same is true of literature and art. In line with "learning more and criticizing less," they created the slogan "give equal treatment to everything." They said, "All dramatic works are equal, be the themes modern or traditional. We must give equal treatment to both." In class society, there is no such thing as supraclass equality, and equality between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie simply does not exist. The only question is who will win. Support for the revolutionary modern drama of the proletariat necessarily calls for criticism of the old drama of the landlord class and the bourgeoisie. To proclaim that "there are good plays completely suited to present-day needs" in the "dramatic heritage" inevitably brings in its wake attack on and suppression of revolutionary modern drama. Their intention in raising the slogan "give equal treatment to everything" was to kill two birds with one stone: to attack all measures of full support to revolutionary modern drama as well as to boost the numerous poisonous weeds and protect them against criticism, thus making these weeds serve their anti-Party and antisocial-ist activities.
They persistently upheld the reactionary moral code of the landlords and the bourgeoisie in an effort to restore the rule of the exploiting classes in the field of social relations. They recommended these classes' utterly decadent philosophy of life, including "moral integrity," "loftiness and aloofness," "patience," "moneymaking," etc. They advocated learning "the virtue of patience" from the reactionary philosopher Chu Hsi, the "refractory spirit" of "contempt for labour" from Chang Shih, the method of "complying with the rites by setting restraints on oneself from Confucius, etc. They even urged the restoration of the feudal form of greeting—clasping one's own hands in front. This amounts to an open appeal for us to go back to the old China of feudalism and capitalism! Comrades! Just imagine. If all these things came to pass, wouldn't all the new communist morality and practices be trampled underfoot? Wouldn't our society be turned into a dark world with the feudal order as its standard? If we were to show respect for elements of the exploiting classes when seeing them, wouldn't it mean that the counterrevolutionaries had regained power? Wouldn't the broad masses of workers, peasants, and soldiers be once again subjected to cruel oppression by these "gentlemen" with "moral integrity," these stubborn elements of the exploiting classes?
As dutiful sons of the landlord class, they publicly demanded that biographies of its members should be written up. Please read this passage by Teng To:
In the past, in editing the local chronicles of various places, it used to be the practice to list the "rural gentry" and then collect data and write separate biographies of each one. If we should now compile the chronicles of Peking, we should obviously consider giving proper place to the old and young Mi's of Wanping (referring to Mi Wan-chung and Mi Han-wen, bureaucrats of the Ming and Ching Dynasties respectively).
"In the past" means the era of feudalism and the period of reactionary Kuomintang rule; "it used to be the practice" means the "practice" followed by the landlords and squires, particularly the despotic landlords, and all those nauseatingly acclaimed as "rural gentry" [who] were prominent members of this class. That "we should now" write biographies of the "rural gentry" means that the landlords and local despots, overthrown since the land reform, should be placed on top again together with their ancestral tablets and that the broad masses of the poor and lower-middle peasants should be trodden down again by the "rural gentry." This shows that their madness knows no bounds. Responding to the call of the commanding general, Notes from Three-Family Village brought up this question time and again, demanding that warlords, bureaucrats, landlords, and other "negative figures" be honoured with biographies. This was an attempt at restoration in the most profound sense of the term. It was precisely an attempt to increase the political capital of the landlord class and the bourgeoisie and to create conditions for them to rule again over the Chinese people. The masses of workers, peasants, and soldiers will never permit the purposes of such criminal activities to be attained!
What has been given here is only a fraction of the relevant material. Even so, it can be seen that all propaganda put forth under the guise of imparting "learning" and "knowledge" has a single focus—opposition to Mao Tse-tung's thought, the total negation of socialism, the effort to bring about the degeneration of cadres and young people, and the complete and out-and-out restoration of capitalism.
Comrade Mao Tse-tung has said, "The proletariat seeks to transform the world according to its own world outlook, so does the bourgeoisie" ("On the Correct Handling of Contradictions Among the People"). Three-Family Village relished portraying all that was decadent and reactionary, and this exposes its reactionary world outlook. Here one can see right into the rotten souls of the warriors of Three-Family Village. Wu Han has an "epigram", "Spare time is a free world where one's prime interest can roam at will." This reveals that when they donned the communist cloak to attend meetings, do their work, give reports . . ., all this was a disguise which they assumed reluctantly, and not their "prime interest." It was during their "spare time" at Three-Family Village that their true countenance, their "prime interest," came out without inhibitions. Apart from conspiring against the Party and socialism, they indulged in gluttony and pleasure hunting, gossiped about raising cats and dogs, lauded landlords, collected antiques, played mah-jong, and engaged in trade and in the same kind of pursuits that are common among Soviet revisionist intellectuals. They were capable of indulging in all kinds of rottenness ranging from acidly reciting the poet Tu Fu's lines, "The rich do not die of hunger, Most scholars fail in their career," to getting sweet inspiration from the "miracle of long-haired beauties." They are double-dealing hypocrites. They have put some of their ideas into words to corrupt our people and our Party.
Do you want to know the meaning of "peaceful evolution"? Then just look at the living examples of Three-Family Village. All their nasty talk, their activities and aims add up to "peaceful evolution" in the truest sense of the term. We can draw profound lessons about class struggle from these horrid teachers by negative example.
In September 1962, the Tenth Plenary Session of the Eighth Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party was convened. At this meeting, Comrade Mao Tse-tung issued the great call to the whole Party and the people throughout the country never to forget class struggle. The meeting raised high the great red banner of Mao Tse-tung's thought and sounded the clarion call for resolute struggle against the forces of capitalism and feudalism seeking restoration. It pointed out, "This class struggle inevitably finds expression within the Party." Deeply alarmed, the monsters and freaks of all descriptions trembled with fright. Seeing bad weather ahead, Three-Family Village began to beat a retreat, with its commanding general withdrawing first. Soon afterwards, in his "Announcement to Readers" in the fifth volume of "Evening Chats at Yenshan" in October 1962, Teng To said, "I am discontinuing "Evening Chats at Yenshan" because I have recently turned my attention to other things in my spare time."
The last essay in "Evening Chats at Yenshan" published on September 2, 1962, was entitled "Thirty-six Stratagems." "Of all the thirty-six stratagems, to depart is best." This remark indicated that he was about to slink away. However, in collecting these "chats" in one volume, the author, fearing that this might leave a trace of his slinking away, placed this particular essay in the middle of the volume instead of at the end in disregard of the order of publication. This article says with a deep implication:
"To depart is best" was not the only stratagem Tan Tao-chi then employed; without employing other stratagems he could not have succeeded in getting away, much as he wanted to. It was thanks to several coordinated stratagems he employed, such as those of deceptive military deployment and sowing discord among the enemy. . . that he succeeded in making good his retreat.
After the Tenth Plenary Session of the Eighth Central Committee of the Party, Three-Family Village, besides continuing its attacks, did indeed employ "several coordinated stratagems" with the intention of "making good its retreat" once the revolutionary people started their counterattack. This is why they have staged numerous other fascinating performances. Let us see some of their stratagems:
1. Making the following hypocritical announcement in the fifth volume of "Evening Chats at Yenshan":
For some time I have been compelled to "mount horse" in writing "Evening Chats", and I now dismount in order not to feel dissatisfied with myself any more. It will not be too late to write again when there is really something to write about in future and when I feel the urge to do so.
Here Teng T'o was trying on the one hand to explain that he had not made deliberate attacks and that both in "mounting" and "dismounting" he was acting under compulsion and, on the other hand, to give a hint that "in future" when the situation became favourable, he would write again and start all over again.
2. Retaining their position, namely, the column of "Notes from Three-Family Village", and continuing their attacks while writing a number of articles like the "Ode to Petroleum" as a gesture of approval for "Comrade Mao Tse-tung's policy of self-reliance" in order to cover their retreat.
3. Encouraging papers elsewhere, which, inspired by "Evening Chats at Yenshan", had opened up "special columns for miscellaneous essays, to carry on for a long time to come" so as to retain more positions.
4. Taking down the signboard "Notes from Three-Family Village" in July 1964, lest the criticism of Liao Mo-sha's article "There Is No Harm in Ghost Plays," which was unfolded from 1963 to 1964, should expose Three-Family Village as a whole.
5. Letting Liao Mo-sha write a sham self-criticism in which he ascribed "the cause of my mistake" to "the bourgeois world outlook" which "still dominates my mind," and to his being "forgetful of the fact that classes, class contradictions, and class struggle still exist in our socialist society." Please note that Wu Han repeated this almost word for word in his own "self-criticism" at a later date! Liao Mo-sha added that he had "unconsciously lent a helping hand to the bourgeois and feudal forces in their frenzied attacks on the Party and socialism." Since Liao Mo-sha was a mere "helping hand" to Meng Chao, there would, of course, be no need to make an inquiry into Three-Family Village. What a wonderful stratagem!
6. After the criticism of "Hai Jui Dismissed from Office" began, Teng T'o hastily wrote a "critical" article under the pseudonym Hsiang Yang-sheng, saying that the "guiding thought" and the "basic idea" of the play was "to propagate the moral code of the feudal ruling class" and solely "to propagate historical idealism." In doing so, on the one hand, he tried to cover up the political motive and the politically reactionary nature of the drama, thus trying to save Wu Han and to lead the discussion into a blind alley. On the other hand, he implied that such an entity as Three-Family Village did not exist and that he had "broken away from" Wu Han. Towards the end of his article, he added a line of reminder to Wu Han: "It is also my hope that Comrade Wu Han will continue to write if he has anything to say. . . , to make an analysis and a study of things in a truth-seeking way." Here he was instructing Wu Han on how to make his next move.
7. Wu Han responded immediately to his call and wrote more than one article to show his "gratitude" to Hsiang Yang-sheng, while continuing his furious attacks in the name of "self-criticism." Emboldened by the backing he had received, Wu Han proceeded to lavish praise on himself and, taking over for his own use the weapon employed by Liao Mo-sha in the latter's "self-criticism," he said, "Correct thinking has not established a dominant position in my mind" and, "in a word, I have forgotten the class struggle!" Hsiang Yang-sheng's "criticism," he added, "has helped me realize my mistakes." As if this would enable him to get away!
8. Finally, seeing that the situation was getting pretty hot for them, they suddenly "criticized" Teng T'o in the name of the editorial departments and used every stratagem for slinking off to cover their retreat.
Can all these "coordinated stratagems" enable them to "make good their retreat"? They have played a great many tricks and indeed have gone to extreme lengths in cheating people. But they have seriously underestimated the ability of the revolutionary people to see things in their true light and the determination of the proletariat to carry on with the revolution. Can they lock up their secrets? Can they slip away? Led and educated by the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party and Comrade Mao Tse-tung, the broad masses of the revolutionary people are determined to eradicate this black anti-Party and antisocial line. These persons think their different stratagems very clever. Actually the things they have done are stupid and only serve to expose them. They have not only common reactionary political ideas but also a common program of action; theirs is an anti-Party, antipopular, antisocialist clique of a handful of individuals. Is this not crystal clear?
In March 1962, when the frenzied attacks by Three-Family Village reached their zenith, Teng T'o published a poem entitled "Black Swan" in the Peking Evening News. One verse reads: "When the spring breeze brings dreams and the lake waters send forth their warmth, I alone have foresight!" How he exulted in his keen "foresight"! But his "foresight" has failed this time. It is the revolutionary people who have grasped Mao Tse-tung's thought that have real foresight. Look, are not the secrets of Three-Family Village being gradually exposed by the broad masses of the people?
One cannot help asking why is it that such wild, venomous, and unscrupulous activities opposing the Party and socialism on the part of Three-Family Village could have gone on for several years? Could it be that the only reason lay in "not putting proletarian politics in command"? What was put in command if not proletarian politics?
Since the criticism of "Hai Jui Dismissed from Office" began, people have been exposing its reactionary nature, its political motive which was to lend support to the Right opportunists, and Wu Han's ugly history of opposition to the Communist Party, the people, and the revolution. But it is only when we view "Hai Jui Dismissed from Office" in the context of all the activities of Three-Family Village and ascertain the latter's role in the acute class struggles of the last few years that we are able to get down to the very roots of these big poisonous weeds, uproot them thoroughly and destroy this big inn of gangsters.
Comrade Mao Tse-tung has said, "Everything reactionary is the same; if you don't hit it, it won't fall." ("The Situation and Our Policy After the Victory in the War of Resistance Against Japan") The fact that since the criticism of Hai Jui Dismissed from Office the Three-Family Village clique has tried to make a stand at every step and carried on the fight while beating a retreat again confirms this universal truth. In no circumstances will the reactionary classes and their representatives retire from the stage of history of their own free will. Only when the broad masses of workers, peasants, and soldiers rise up and wage arduous struggles step by step will the proletariat be able gradually to wrest back positions from these "miscellaneous scholars."
The tentacles of the Three-Family Village clique have reached into many departments. Evening Chats at Yenshan has exerted a bad influence throughout the country. Under the signboard of "knowledge" and a "fine style," it attracted a number of people who lacked political discrimination. It did not lack admirers and followers in journalistic, educational, literary and art, and academic circles. Teng T'o himself has boasted, "The viewpoints and theses in many of the articles are approved by friends." "Letters sent to me by readers from afar have increased." "In order to satisfy readers' requests, some newspapers in other places have also adopted the same form and published special columns for miscellaneous essays which impart knowledge." A number of articles were also written to echo certain viewpoints of Evening Chats at Yenshan. On September 9, 1961, the Peking Evening News advertised the publication of these essays in boldface characters, bragging that "the author has grasped certain contemporary questions," and that they are "both rich in ideological content and useful in enriching knowledge." The paper tried by every possible means to spread the pernicious effects of these essays among the people. As a result, they did much to corrode people's minds and spread their poison far and wide. It is imperative for the broad masses of workers, peasants, and soldiers to come forward and thoroughly expose in all their aspects the evils done by Evening Chats at Yenshan and Notes from Three-Family Village and conduct still more penetrating criticism. Only in this way can their bad effects be liquidated.
The course of events from the criticism of "Hai Jui Dismissed from Office" to that of Three-Family Village has been one of stirring class struggle. It is a great revolution in the political, ideological, and cultural fields. Faced with so arduous and militant a task, we must dare to make revolution.
Comrade Mao Tse-tung's words encourage us: " 'He who is not afraid of death by a thousand cuts dares to unhorse the emperor'—this is the indomitable spirit needed in our struggle to build socialism and communism." ("Speech at the Chinese Communist Party's National Conference on Propaganda Work") Today we very much need to give play to this principled and critical spirit which proceeds from the interests of the cause of communism. All those who oppose Mao Tse-tung's thought, obstruct the advance of the socialist revolution, or are hostile to the interests of revolutionary people of China and the world should be exposed, criticized, and knocked down, whether they are "masters" or "authorities," a Three-Family or a Four-Family Village, and no matter how famous they are, what influential positions they hold, by whom they are directed or supported, or how numerous their flatterers are. On questions of principle, it is either the East wind or the West wind which must prevail. For the sake of the socialist revolution, of the defence of Mao Tse-Tung's thought, and of the cause of communism, we must have the courage to think, to speak out, to break through, to act, and to make revolution.
The Golden Monkey wrathfully swung his massive cudgel,
And the jade-like firmament was cleared of dust.
No matter how much poisonous fog or blinding dust has been spread by Three-Family Village, it will certainly be thoroughly cleared away by the spirited struggle of the millions of workers, peasants, and soldiers who are armed with the "massive cudgel" of Mao Tse-tung's thought. The brilliant light of Mao Tse-tung's thought will penetrate all the dark corners and show up all the monsters and goblins in their true colours.