Deng Xiaoping

Realize the Four Modernizations and Never Seek Hegemony


Spoken: May 7, 1978
Translated by: Unknown
Source: Deng Xiaoping Works
Transcription for MIA: Joonas Laine


The entire Chinese nation rejoiced over the downfall of the Gang of Four. Things are better now and the mood of the people has improved. We are soberly aware that it is an arduous task to achieve┬áthe four modernizations, but we can manage. First of all, the entire Party is united, as are the people of the whole nation. Our people are hard-working and have a tradition of hard struggle. Second, we have laid a solid material foundation. Third, we have clearly defined principles whereby we shall make use of all the advanced technologies and achievements from around the world. The Gang of Four did not allow us to do so, calling this a slavish comprador philosophy. Science and technology have no class nature; capitalists make them serve capitalism, and socialist countries make them serve socialism. Ancient China had four great inventions (paper, printing, gunpowder and the compass — Tr.), which later found their way to countries around the world. Why then should we be hesitant about making use of advanced technologies and achievements from around the world? We should make advanced technologies and achievements the starting point for our development. Finally, we have abundant natural resources. To sum up, the tremendous enthusiasm of our people, a substantial material foundation and our enormous resources, in addition to the introduction of state-of-the-art technology from around the world will make it possible for us to achieve the four modernizations. Naturally, the task will be far from easy. The world’s advanced technologies continue to develop rapidly, with the rate of development no longer calculated in terms of years, but in terms of months, and even in terms of days, a trend which we call “changes coming with each passing day”. Even when we have realized the four modernizations, our output of industrial and agricultural products and our national income will remain relatively low when calculated on a per capita basis. Our current principles and policies are clearly defined, and our motto is “less talk, more action”.

At present, we are still a relatively poor nation. It is impossible for us to undertake many international proletarian obligations, so our contributions remain small. However, once we have accomplished the four modernizations and the national economy has expanded, our contributions to mankind, and especially to the Third World, will be greater. As a socialist country, China shall always belong to the Third World and shall never seek hegemony. This idea is understandable because China is still quite poor, and is therefore a Third World country in the real sense of the term. The question is whether or not China will practise hegemony when it becomes more developed in the future. My friends, you are younger than I, so you will be able to see for yourselves what happens at that time. If it remains a socialist country, China will not practise hegemony and it will still belong to the Third World. Should China become arrogant, however, act like an overlord and give orders to the world, it would no longer be considered a Third World country. Indeed, it would cease to be a socialist country. I first addressed these points in a speech delivered at the Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly in 1974. The current foreign policy, which was formulated by Chairman Mao Zedong and Premier Zhou Enlai, will be passed on to our descendants.

(Excerpt from a talk with an economic and trade delegation of the government of the Democratic Republic of Madagascar.)