Deng Xiaoping

Remarks At the Sixth Plenary Session of the Party’s Twelfth Central Committee


Published: September 28, 1986
Translated by: Unknown
Source: Deng Xiaoping Works
Transcription for MIA: Joonas Laine


With regard to the question of opposing bourgeois liberalization, I am the one who has talked about it most often and most insistently. Why? First, because there is now a trend of thought among the masses, especially among the young people, in favour of liberalization. Second, because this trend has found support from the sidelines. For example, there have been some comments from people in Hong Kong and Taiwan who are opposed to our Four Cardinal Principles and who think we should introduce the capitalist system lock, stock and barrel, as if that were the only genuine modernization. What is this liberalization? It is an attempt to turn China’s present policies in the direction of capitalism. The exponents of this trend are trying to lead us towards capitalism. That is why I have explained time and again that our modernization programme is a socialist one. Our decision to introduce the open policy and assimilate useful things from capitalist societies was made only to supplement the development of our socialist productive forces.

We all remember that in 1980, after the defeat of the Gang of Four, the National People’s Congress adopted a resolution to delete from the Constitution the provision concerning the right of citizens to “speak out freely, air their views fully, hold great debates and put up big-character posters”. Why did we do this? Because there was an ideological trend in favour of liberalization. If that trend had been allowed to spread, it would have undermined our political stability and unity, without which construction would be out of the question.

Liberalization itself is bourgeois in nature — there is no such thing as proletarian or socialist liberalization. Liberalization by itself means antagonism to our current policies and systems and a wish to revise them. In fact, exponents of liberalization want to lead us down the road to capitalism. That’s why we call it bourgeois liberalization. It doesn’t matter if the term has been used elsewhere in other contexts, for our current politics demands that we use it in the resolution, and I am in favour of it.

It seems to me that the struggle against liberalization will have to be carried on not only now but for the next 10 or 20 years. If we fail to check this trend, it will merge with undesirable foreign things that will inevitably find their way into China because of our open policy and become a battering ram used against our socialist modernization programme. This is something we cannot afford to ignore. If you have read some of the comments that have been made by people in Hong Kong and by bourgeois scholars in foreign countries, you will see that most of them insist that we should liberalize, or say that there are no human rights in China. These commentators oppose the very things we believe in and hope that we will change. But we shall continue to raise problems and solve them in the light of the realities in China.

(Made during discussion of the “Draft Resolution of the CPC Central Committee on the Guiding Principles for Building a Socialist Society with an Advanced Level of Culture and Ideology”.)