In order to foster the illusion that the counter-revolution is a “revolution” led by “Marxist-Leninists”, as well as to boost the image of the counter-revolutionary leader as ”the world’s greatest-Marxist-Leninist”, a campaign was instituted by the counter-revolutionaries for the “mass study” of the writings of Mao Tse-tung.
The study of the classics...of Marxism-Leninism, the works of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin was not encouraged, for
In our era, the study of Mao Tse-tung’s thought is the best way to study Marxism-Leninism. (Yang Cheng-wu: “Thoroughly Establish the Absolute Authority of the Great Supreme Commander Chairman Mao...etc”, in: “Peking Review”, No.46, 1967; p. 22).
and those who encouraged the study of the classics of Marxism-Leninism were denounced as “persons taking the capitalist road”:
Under the pretext of learning from Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin, he (i.e., Liu Shao-chi – Ed.) opposed learning from Chairman Mao. (Yang Cheng-wu: op.cit.; p. 22).
The deep study and analysis of Mao Tse-tung’s works, which might reveal the revisionist content of some of the more important of these, was equally discouraged as
the academic study of theory behind closed doors. (Kuang Hsuan: “Basic Assurance for Consolidating the Proletarian Dictatorship” in: “Peking Review”, No.35, 1967; p. 10).
In place of the deep study and analysis of Mao Tse-tung’s works, the counter-revolutionaries demanded a form of “mass study” which would yield the “quick results” they want.
Comrade Lin Piao...showed amazing courage and determination in unswervingly and actively initiating the mass movement for the creative study and application of Chairman Mao’s works throughout the army, the Party and the country. ...He has stressed the necessity of using Mao Tse-tung’s thought to unify the thinking of the entire Party and of the people of the whole country. ...First study what must be urgently applied so as to get quick results. (Yang Cheng-wu: op. cit.; p. 22).
In fact, the book recommended above all others for the “mass study” of “the thought of Mao Tse-tung” is the “Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-tung”, and the “creative mass study” of this book of isolated quotations consists primarily of learning them by heart and collectively reciting, chanting or singing these in the manner of a religious ritual.
China’s hundreds of millions are absorbedly studying the ’Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-tung’. ...The red plastic covered pocket edition of the ’Quotations’ has become the basic, most constantly read book of the masses.
You will hear people reading them aloud collectively at their work places, during work breaks, before a meeting, play or movie, while travelling by train, bus or ship. ...They are determined to imprint every work on their minds, infuse every sentence into their blood. (“All China Studies ’Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-tung’”, in: “Peking Review”, No. 2, 1967; P. 14).
The masses are taking Comrade Lin Piao’s advice: ’In order really to master Mao Tse-tung’s thought it is necessary to study many of Chairman Mao’s basic concepts over and over again, and it is best to memorize some of his important passages...Workers, peasants, soldiers, revolutionary cadres and intellectuals, and young Red Guard fighters, are... committing many of his quotations to memory. Hence the public demand for Chairman Mao’s instructions to be set to music so that they can be sung everyday and at any time, the better to imprint them in one’s mind more deeply. ... The workers say: ... ’Singing these songs is as good as attending a political class...’ (“Quotations from Chairman Mao Set to Music”, in: “Peking Review”, No. 2, 1967; p. 27).
It is this form of “mass study” which Chinese Marxist-Leninists have condemned as
’over-simplification’, ’vulgarization’ and ’formalism’. (Kuang Hsuan: “Basic Assurance for Consolidating the Proletarian Dictatorship”, in: “Peking Review”, No. 35, 1967; p. 10).
As a result of intense propaganda, the “little red book” has come to function somewhat as a sacred talisman or charm against “ghosts, demons and monsters”.
Waving their red-covered ’Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-tung’, the revolutionary masses shouted again and again: “Long live the People’s Republic of China!’ ... Holding ’Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-tung’ in their hands, Comrades Chou En-lai, Kang Sheng...went up, shook hands with them and embraced them. ...
A group of young Red Guard fighters then...presented them with copies of the treasured revolutionary book ’Quotations from Chair- man Mao Tse-tung’...
The Indonesian friends waved their copies of ’Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-tung’ to express their high respect. (“Chairman Mao’s Red Diplomatic Fighters Return Gloriously from Indonesia to Peking”, in: “Peking Review”, No. 46, 1967; p. 36, 37).
A handful of ruffians...went so far as to burn a copy of ’Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-tung’ which is most treasured by the revolutionary people of the world and regarded by them as a powerful weapon against imperialism, revisionism and all reactionaries... Staff members of the Chinese Charge d’Affaires Office, who have enormous love for the great leader Chairman Mao, immediately rushed out to stop the ruffians’ shameless crime, and managed to seize evidence of the crime on the spot. ...
On July 5, Chinese Charge d’Affaires ad interim Shen Ping lodged the most serious and most emphatic protest with the British Foreign Office. (“Peking Review”, No 29, 1967; p. 40).