Deng Xiaoping

Keeping To Socialism and the Policy of Peace


Published: April 4, 1986
Translated by: Unknown
Source: Deng Xiaoping Works
Transcription for MIA: Joonas Laine


It is almost 37 years since the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949. During that time China has followed a tortuous road with alternating periods of smooth development and setbacks. After the “cultural revolution” we made a sober appraisal of the situation and thought over the course we were going to follow from then on. The turning point was marked by the Third Plenary Session of our Party’s Eleventh Central Committee, which defined a series of new principles and policies.

In carrying out the reform, opening to the outside world and invigorating the domestic economy, we are keeping to the socialist road. It is the task of socialism to develop the productive forces, build up the strength of the socialist state and gradually raise the people’s living standards, thus laying the foundation for the realization of communism in the future. For a very long time we neglected the need to develop the productive forces during the stage of socialism. Now, after analysing our experience, we have decided to abandon the closed-door policy and open to the outside world, and to invigorate the domestic economy, so as to stimulate the initiative of the whole nation. Otherwise, it will be impossible to develop the productive forces. If we practise egalitarianism — what we call letting everyone “eat from the same big pot”, it will never be possible to raise the people’s standard of living and stimulate their initiative. All the measures we are taking are designed to expand the productive forces in the interest of socialism.

When the policies of reform and opening to the outside world were adopted at the Third Plenary Session of the Eleventh Central Committee of our Party, people all over the world, particularly in the Western countries, thought that we were going to adopt capitalism, or that our policies would ultimately lead to capitalism. But witnessing the realities of reform over the past few years, they have come to realize that we are keeping to socialism. Keeping to socialism is of vital importance for China. If China, with its one billion people, took the capitalist road, it would be a disaster for the world. It would be a retrogression of history, a retrogression of many years. If China, with its one billion people, abandoned the policy of peace and opposition to hegemonism or if, as the economy developed, it sought hegemony, that would also be a disaster for the world, a retrogression of history. But if China, with its one billion people, keeps to socialism and adheres to the policy of peace, it will be following the right course and will be able to make greater contributions to humanity.

(Excerpt from a talk with Radovan Vlajkovic, President of the Presidium of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.)