Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Workers Congress (Marxist-Leninist)

Call to Modernize China!


First Published: The Communist, Vol. IV, No. 10, April 10, 1978.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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The first session of the Fifth National People’s Congress, held last month in socialist China, marked the beginning of a new period for the People’s Republic. The ideological, political, and organizational defeat of the “gang of four” laid the basis for China to move forward on becoming a powerful, modern socialist country by the year 2000. The first session of the Fifth National People’s Congress was an important step in mobilizing and uniting the masses of Chinese people around this goal.

The Fifth National People’s Congress re-affirmed the direction established by the Third (1964-65) and Fourth (1975) National People’s Congresses. Under the leadership of Mao Tsetung and Chou En Lai, a plan was presented at those congresses which called for the all-round modernization of agriculture, industry, national defense, and science and technology – “The Four Modernizations”. This direction is now affirmed as law in the new constitution adopted by the Fifth National People’s Congress.

The building of China into a powerful, modern socialist country is of great significance for the entire world-wide communist movement and for the broad masses of oppressed peoples. Everyday the threat of war grows greater as the rivalry between the US and the USSR for world hegemony sharpens. Against this threat of war stands the world-wide united front against superpower hegemonism. This united front is becoming stronger each day as more and more countries of Africa, Asia, and Latin America, and even in Europe stand up to the hegemonistic aims of both the US and the USSR.

China, a socialist country, must play a leading role in building this united front. By building its economy, defense capabilities, and solidifying its ties with the countries of the third and second worlds, China is taking concrete steps to strengthen the united front against hegemonism.


The Fifth National People’s Congress adopted a ten-year plan which sets guidelines for economic development until 1985. The ten-year plan explains that rapid development of the economy is decisive in building China into a powerful and modern socialist country by the year 2000. In agriculture the plan calls for mechanization, electrification, and irrigation of areas where backward methods are still employed. Industrial planning calls for accelerated development of industry, especially heavy industry.

In the work report delivered to the National People’s Congress Party Chairman Hua Kuo-fung states that agriculture is the foundation of China’s economy. Therefore China’s resources must be used to mobilize agriculture. Agricultural regions must raise their output by applying the lessons learned from Tachai, a model rural county which emphasized modernization. If scientific farming methods are practiced and mechanization is speeded up, a 4-5% yield increase per year will be achieved. In industrial regions, plans adopted by the National People’s Congress call for the production of more tractors and other farm machinery. Scientific and technical know how will also be mobilized in order to build more sophisticated machinery, improve fertilizers, and develop new hybrids. A goal of 70% mechanization by 1980 was set by the Congress.

Hua states in the work report submitted to the Congress that industry plays the leading role in modernization of China’s economy. Production of steel, oil, power and other materials will be stepped up in order to modernize agriculture. Without such industry, tractors and other machinery can neither be built nor operated. To meet the need for steel, fuel and other materials, 120 large industrial projects in branches of basic industry will be completed by the year 2000. In addition existing enterprises will undergo improvements enabling them to increase their output.


The lofty goals for agriculture, industry and other sectors of the economy can only be met, if major advances are made in science, education and culture.

Modernization of agriculture and industry depends on scientific and technological developments. Production of high grade fertilizers and improved machinery, and the development of more efficient growing methods are products of scientific research. Geological exploration techniques are necessary for systematic oil exploration. Without adequate oil and other natural resources, mechanization cannot occur. Computer and electronic technology are fields where China lags far behind the major industrial countries. Attaining a highly mechanized economy requires that inroads in such fields be made.

In March, a National Science Conference was convened to implement the policy on Science presented to the National People’s Congress by Chairman Hua in the work report. Delegates at the Conference addressed the scientific and technological obstacles to rapid modernization of the economy and national defense.

Therefore, the Conference set concrete plans aimed at mobilizing the whole Party and the whole country around rapid development of science.

In the long run, science and technology can only move forward in China by training a vast numbers of scientists and technologists. Enrollment in all levels of education will be raised in order for China to produce a substantial number of working class intellectuals capable of meeting the needs of an advanced socialist country.


The main obstacle to China’s development as a powerful and modern socialist country has been the Gang of Four. Their defeat cleared the way for China to make many advances.

Under the guise of putting “politics in command” the Gang sabotaged all efforts to move forward on the plans laid out by Chairman Mao Tse Tung and Premier Chou En Lai at the 3rd and 4th National People’s Congresses to modernize China by the year 2000. They carried out disruptive activities in many parts of the country and made it impossible for the party, government, and military departments to carry out their functions. They justified this disruption with the absurd claim that “the day the four modernizations are realized is the day capitalism has been restored.”

This is the reactionary view of the petty bourgeoisie.

They claimed to be the “left” and to be fighting revisionism, but their real aim in equating a socialist China with backwardness and capitalist restoration with economic progress was to create country-wide confusion and seize power in the process. In plants where they held influence production came to a standstill. Economically, the activities of the Gang of Four were responsible for the loss of over 100 billion yuan in total value of output, 28 million tons of steel, and 40 billion yuan in state revenues. In short they almost accomplished their goal by bringing China to the brink of economic collapse.

In the realm of science, the Gang of Four opposed party members who were scientists from playing an active role in their field. They told those cadre that it was unimportant to concern themselves with science and to attend only to political matters. This counterposing of scientific work to political work isolates party members who are scientists and breaks the link between the party and science. The aim of the gang of four was to weaken the development of science – a necessary condition for economic development. In order to justify this they treated the distinction between physical and mental labor as an antagonistic contradiction and berated all contributions by intellectuals toward socialist construction.


The Fifth National People’s Congress re-affirmed that proletarian internationalism is the single most important element guiding the policy of China. Since the restoration of capitalism in the USSR, the Chinese Communist Party has presented the leading line on the international situation. In accordance with Chairman Mao’s theory of the three worlds, the National People’s Congress has re-affirmed China’s policy of strengthening unity with the proletariat, oppressed people and oppressed nations of the world, with the socialist countries and with the third world, uniting with all countries subjected to aggression, subversion, interference, control and bullying by the two superpowers and forming the broadest united front against superpower hegemonism.

In contrast to the US and USSR, China conducts its relations with other nations on the basis of the Five Principles of mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, mutual non-aggression, non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit, and peaceful coexistence.

At present China’s ability to support the struggle against superpower exploitation of the oppressed peoples and countries of the world through trade and aid is limited. But, a modern China, through trade and cultural exchange on the basis of equality and mutual benefit will greatly strengthen the oppressed peoples and countries of the world, lessen their economic dependence on the US and USSR, build the unity of the united front and further isolate the two superpowers.

As the US and the USSR arm themselves to the teeth and prepare for war, it is only this united front that can stand up to the aggression of the superpowers. And, it is only a united front led by a People’s Republic of China with a strong economy and defense capabilities that can meet the challenge of the superpowers and hold back the outbreak of war.