Deng Xiaoping

We Must Follow Our Own Road In Economic Development As We Did In Revolution


Published: October 26, 1984
Translated by: Unknown
Source: Deng Xiaoping Works
Transcription for MIA: Joonas Laine


China is a major country as well as a minor one. By major I mean that it has a huge population and a vast territory, and by minor I mean that it is still a relatively poor, developing country with a per capita GNP of only US$300. So China is in fact both a minor and a major country. It is one of the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. Its vote definitely represents the Third World, the underdeveloped countries. We have said more than once that China belongs to the Third World. It will still belong to the Third World even after it is developed. China will never become a “superpower”.

China’s economic development is at a comparatively low level, which is not commensurate with its status as a country with such a huge population and vast territory. Our achievements since the founding of the People’s Republic are great. But our progress has been delayed by setbacks, notably the “cultural revolution”; things would definitely be different were it not for those setbacks. In the past six years we have broken with “Left” policies. We are now devoting ourselves wholeheartedly to economic development. In these six years we have scored successes well beyond our expectations. I think we shall be able to achieve our goal of increasing per capita GNP to US$800 by the end of the century. We need a peaceful international environment to ensure our development and the attainment of our great goal. We love peace.

Recently, at its Third Plenary Session, our Party’s Twelfth Central Committee adopted the “Decision on Reform of the Economic Structure”. The reform of the economic structure is now focused on the cities. Reform in the cities is more complicated than in the countryside. Some minor problems may arise in the process, but it doesn’t matter. The correctness of the decision adopted at the Third Plenary Session will be borne out in three to five years’ time. By adhering to the principles embraced in that decision, we can accelerate the development of our economy.

If we have learned anything from our achievements in these years, it is that we were right to reaffirm the principle of seeking truth from facts, as advocated by Comrade Mao Zedong. The Chinese revolution owed its success to Comrade Mao Zedong, who blazed a Chinese road by integrating Marxism-Leninism with Chinese realities. In our present development programme we should do likewise, It is precisely because, in accordance with this principle, we have been following our own road in these six years that our rural reform has been successful. The recently adopted decision to focus reform on the cities is another example of following our own road by integrating the fundamental principles of Marxism-Leninism with Chinese realities. The lesson we have learned from our setbacks is that this is what we must do. We may make mistakes in future, but first, we shall avoid major ones and second, we shall correct anything untoward as soon as it is discovered.

(Excerpt from a talk with President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom of the Republic of Maldives.)