Deng Xiaoping

Answers to the Italian Journalist Oriana Fallaci


Published: August 21 and 23, 1980
Translated by: Unknown
Source: Deng Xiaoping Works
Transcription for MIA: Joonas Laine


It should be pointed out that some of the things done after the arrest of the Gang of Four were inconsistent with Chairman Mao’s wishes, for instance, the construction of the Chairman Mao Memorial Hall. He had proposed in the fifties that we should all be cremated when we died and that only our ashes be kept, that no remains should be preserved and no tombs built. Chairman Mao was the first to sign his name, and we all followed suit. Nearly all senior cadres at the central level and across the country signed. We still have that book of signatures. What was done in the matter after the smashing of the Gang of Four was prompted by the desire to achieve a relative stability.

There were previously no relevant rules. In fact, however, there was life tenure in leading posts. This does not facilitate the renewal of leadership or the promotion of younger people. It is an institutional defect which was not evident in the sixties because we were then in the prime of life. This issue involves not just individuals but all the relevant institutions. It has an even greater bearing on our general policy and on whether our four modernizations can be achieved. Therefore, we say it would be better for us old comrades to take an enlightened attitude and set an example in this respect.

(Excerpts concerning domestic issues taken from the Chinese transcript of a two-part interview.)