Deng Xiaoping

We Must Promote Education In the Four Cardinal Principles and Adhere To the Policies of Reform and Opening To the Outside World


Published: January 20, 1987
Translated by: Unknown
Source: Deng Xiaoping Works
Transcription for MIA: Joonas Laine


Recently two major events have taken place in our country: one was the student disturbances and the other the replacement of the General Secretary of our Party. The two events are related, and we have dealt with both of them. Why did the students create disturbances? Basically, it was because of weak leadership. Since we call for upholding theĀ Four Cardinal Principles, we must conduct constant education in these principles among the people. In the last few years we have witnessed the emergence of an ideological trend in favour of bourgeois liberalization that has not been effectively countered. Although I have warned against this trend on many occasions, our Party has failed to provide adequate leadership in combating it. This was a major mistake made by Comrade Hu Yaobang. So the Central Committee accepted his resignation from the post of General Secretary.

Student disturbances and the replacement of the General Secretary are by no means minor matters, but our Party has been quite capable of dealing with them. Comrade Hu Yaobang’s case has been handled reasonably, or quite gently I should say, and it was settled very smoothly. The student disturbances have also been dealt with satisfactorily. The handling of these two events will affect neither our Party’s line, principles and policies, nor our policy of opening up both domestically and internationally, nor the reform of our economic and political structures. It will only help clarify the thinking of the Party and the people and strengthen our conviction that we are on the right road. In spite of these events, things will go on as usual, and there will be no changes at all. This is what I wanted to say to the comrades present here.

In the last eight years the line, principles and policies our Party formulated at the Third Plenary Session of the Eleventh Central Committee have been smoothly implemented, our country has made notable progress and living standards have risen visibly. This reality cannot be negated by student disturbances. If we have been successful over the last eight years, it is chiefly because our policies have been based on China’s realities and because we have relied on our own efforts. Our goals are realistic. Raising the standard of living is a long-term task. The mistakes we have made since the founding of the People’s Republic were all due to overeagerness: disregarding China’s realities, we set excessively high targets, with the result that progress was slowed. Building socialism is no easy job.

To achieve genuine political independence a country must lift itself out of poverty. And to do that it must base its economic and foreign policies on its own conditions. It should not erect barriers to isolate itself from the rest of the world. China’s experience shows that for a country to isolate itself is only to its own disadvantage. If it is to develop, it must persist in opening to the outside world and carrying out reforms at home. These should include reform of the political structure, which is in the realm of the superstructure. The open policy that China is currently pursuing is correct, and it has greatly benefited the country. If anything, we should open our doors even wider. And that’s what we are going to do. Because we have a great capacity for assimilation, and because we have correct policies, even if some unhealthy phenomena appear, they cannot affect the foundations of our socialist system. Educating our people in the Four Cardinal Principles will provide a fundamental guarantee for the sound progress of our cause.

(Excerpt from a talk with Prime Minister Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe.)