Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Chinese Communist Party decides socialist modernization is China’s foremost task

First Published: Unity, Vol. 2, No. 1, January 12-25, 1979.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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On December 18-22, the 11th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China held its third plenary session in Peking.

At this meeting important decisions were made regarding China’s current drive to modernize its industry, agriculture, national defense, and science and technology. China has called this modernization drive its “new Long March” and aims to raise the level of its economy to the most advanced world levels by the end of the 20th century. Other decisions and conclusions were reached, aimed at mobilizing the energies of the entire country towards this goal.

The recent plenary session opened a new period in China’s socialist revolution following the past two year’s nationwide mass movement to criticize the “gang of four.” In 1976, the “gang of four’s” conspiracy to overthrow the leadership of the Communist Party of China and the state and take over power for themselves was uncovered and defeated. But in the years, prior to this, the “gang of four” had caused great disruption to China’s economy, exercised repression and persecution over the masses of people in China and caused confusion on a number of ideological and political questions. This necessitated waging a broad political movement to criticize their reactionary ideas and restore the damage done. Today as a result of this movement, enthusiasm is high among the masses for building socialism, and the economy has steadily improved.

Summing up the victories achieved in the struggle against the “gang of four,” the plenary session called for shifting the main focus of the Chinese Communist Party’s work and the whole country’s attention to the tasks of socialist modernization, starting in 1979.

The campaign for modernization is aimed at strengthening socialism and further consolidating the dictatorship of the proletariat. To bring China’s economy to the “front ranks of the world” by the year 2000 will be a tremendous achievement and example in building socialism. It requires monumental efforts to realize the vast potential for growth of the society’s productive forces, which in turn requires developing the economic and political system to more advanced levels to meet the needs of this growth. Changes must take place to revolutionize thinking and actions so that the people of the whole country can meet this great goal. The plenary session pointed out that “socialist modernization is a profound and extensive revolution.”

Important policies were adopted to increase China’s production and on this basis raise the living standards of the people. It was decided to concentrate the main energies and efforts of the Communist Party on advancing agriculture as fast as possible. Agriculture forms the foundation of China’s economy, and in recent years it has suffered serious damage because of severe droughts which hit China and also obstruction by the “gang of four.” The development of agricultural production is crucial for raising the living standards of the Chinese people and also as a basis for the all-round development of China’s economy.

The plenary session also adopted national economic plans for 1979 and 1980 and also various economic measures to improve the management of China’s industrial and agricultural enterprises. New measures were passed to give more initiative to the local levels in the running of these enterprises and give fuller play to the enthusiasm and initiative of the workers and peasants in increasing production.

The plenary session also discussed the current international situation and expressed the urgency of modernization in light of world conditions. It summarized that in the past year China has had significant success in implementing its line on foreign policy guided by Chairman Mao’s theory of the three worlds. As a socialist country and part of the third world, China has played a leading role internationally in building a broad international united front against the two superpowers. The plenary session evaluated the world situation as developing in a direction favorable to the people and the strengthening of this united front. It also pointed out the danger of a new world war and the need to prepare for this eventuality, and in particular speed up its modernization of the economy and national defense to prepare for the danger of a war of aggression being launched against it by the Soviet Union.

The plenary session called upon the Communist Party and the Chinese people to “bring into full play the Marxist style of study advocated by Comrade Mao Tsetung, that is upholding a materialist ideological line.” This discussion was especially important because of the confusions on ideological questions spread by the “gang of four.” The “gang of four” had attacked the Marxist principle that theory comes from practice and must be tested in practice. The plenary session affirmed the great tradition of the Communist Party of seeking truth from facts, proceeding from reality and integrating theory and practice. It affirmed and emphasized that Chairman Mao was a great Marxist, and that Mao Tsetung Thought must be creatively applied to the new problems and historical conditions that will arise in the practice of socialist modernization.

The plenary session also reevaluated several historical questions that needed settling in order to further consolidate the situation of stability and unity that has been achieved in China and mobilize the whole people around the revolutionary task of modernization in the coming period.

The plenary decision decided to cancel erroneous documents that had been issued concerning the political line and work of the Communist Party during the year 1975. At that time, when Teng Hsiao-ping was presiding over the work of the Communist Party’s Central Committee, the “gang of four” had wrongly labelled the line and positive achievements made in that period a “right deviationist wind to reverse correct verdicts.” The session upheld the positive work of that period.

Recently, also, the Communist Party re-evaluated the Tien An Min incident that took place in April, 1976, as a memorial to Chou En Lai. The “gang of four” had labelled the memorial “reactionary” due to their opposition to Chou. The plenary session decided to cancel a document that had been issued at the time which put forth this incorrect evaluation of the Tien An Min events.

Re-evaluations were made of certain party members who in the past had been victims of persecutions and frame-ups by Lin Piao and the “gang of four.” The contributions of Peng Teh-huai, Tao Chu, Po I-po, Yang Shang-kun and others to the Communist Party and to the country were affirmed and the false charges against them lifted.

There was discussion on additional topics, including the strengthening of the Communist Party’s practice of democratic centralism, the question of democracy and China’s legal system and other questions.

Finally, the plenary session elected Chen Yun to be an additional member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau and Vice Chairman of the Central Committee. It also added Teng Ying-chao, Hu Yao-pang and Wang Chen to the Political Bureau. A 100 member Central Commission for Inspecting Discipline in the party was elected.

The enthusiastic response to the decisions reached at this session throughout China is an indication that China’s movement for socialist modernization will achieve new breakthroughs and successes in the coming year.