During the building of socialism, says Mao, the capitalist class should be allowed freedom to put forward the ideology of its class.
The bourgeoisie and petty-bourgeoisie are bound to give expression of their ideologies. It is inevitable that they should stubbornly persist in expressing themselves in every way possible on political and ideological questions. You can’t expect them not to do so. We should not use methods of suppression to prevent them from expressing themselves, but should allow them to do so and at the same time argue with them and direct well-considered criticism at them. (Mao Tse-tung: ibid., p.40).
And, he proceeds, during the building of socialism the Party should adopt a policy of liberalism in all cultural fields, for socialist culture can flourish only in free competition with capitalist culture.
In the light of the specific conditions existing in China, ... the policy of letting a hundred flowers blossom and a hundred schools of thought contend is designed to promote the flourishing of the arts and the progress of science; it is designed to enable socialist culture to thrive in our land.
Different forms and styles in art can develop freely and different schools in science can contend freely. We think that it is harmful to the growth of art and science if administrative measures are used to impose one particular style of art or school of thought and to ban another. Questions of right and wrong in the arts and sciences should be settled through free discussion in artistic and scientific circles and in the course of practical work in the arts and sciences. They should not be settled in summary fashion.
What is correct always develops in the course of struggle with what is wrong. The true, the good and the beautiful always exist in comparison with the false, the evil and the ugly, and grow in struggle with the latter. ... What should be our policy towards non-Marxist ideas?
... Will it do to ban such ideas and give them no opportunity to express themselves? Certainly not. ... Correct ideas, if pampered in hot-houses ... will not win out against wrong ones. ...
On the surface, these two slogans – let a hundred flowers blossom and a hundred schools of thought contend – have no class character: the proletariat can turn them to account, so can the bourgeoisie and other people. (Mao Tse-tung: ibid.; p.36, 38, 39, 40, 41).