Liu Shaoqi

On the Party

I. Introduction

May 14, 1945


In his report to the Seventh National Congress of the Party, Comrade Mao Zedong made a penetrating and brilliant analysis of the present international and domestic situation.(192) He comprehensively summed up the eight years of the Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against Japan and the line persistently followed by our Party in this war. He formulated a great programme of common struggle for the Chinese people and for all democratic parties and groups throughout the country, which shows both the way to mobilize and unite all the forces of the Chinese people for the final defeat of the Japanese aggressors and the way to build an independent, free, democratic, united, prosperous and powerful new China after their defeat.

Comrade Mao Zedong’s report is a militant call to the Chinese people for victory. It is a Magna Charta for the building of a new-democratic-republic.

Over the past twenty-four years of heroic struggle and especially in the heroic war of presence of the past eight years, our Party, has together with together with the Chinese people, travelled a torturous path amidst countless difficulties and hardships. Under the leadership of Comrade Mao Zedong, it has finally achieved brilliant success and opened up the prospect of a bright future for the Chinese nation and people. Our Party has, together with the Liberated Areas, the eight route Army (55), the New Fourth Army (117) and the other armed forces of the people under its leadership, become the cornerstone of the effort by the whole country to resist Japan and save the nation.

The reason why our Party has been able to achieve these tremendous successes is that from the very beginning it had been a proletarian party of an entirely new type — a party dedicated whole-heartedly to serving the Chinese people and built upon the very solid theoretical foundation of sinified Marxism-Leninism. Having adopted Mao Zedong Thought — the theory which integrates Marxism-Leninism with the practice of the Chinese revolution — as the guide in all its work, our Party has formulated a revolutionary programme and revolutionary policies which fully represent the interests of the Chinese nation and people. It has not only waged a resolute struggle against the enemies of the Chinese nation and people and against all the reactionary political groups that act contrary to their interests, but has also crushed every kind of opportunism within the Party itself. It is under the guidance of the great Mao Zedong Thought that our Party has gathered together the most loyal, courageous, politically conscious and well-disciplined representatives of the Chinese working class and labouring people. And in doing so, the Party has become the organized vanguard of the Chinese working class, fighting most resolutely and bravely against the enemies of the Chinese nation and people and successfully striking at these enemies while avoiding their blows.

Our Party owes its great success to the fact that it has consistently carried out its fundamental principle of serving the people, which has enabled it to take root among the masses of the people, maintain close ties with them and become a well-disciplined party. It is a party which practices strict centralism on a democratic basis. It is a party which voluntarily observes iron discipline and seriously conducts criticism and self-criticism. It is a party which does not allow small groups or factions to operate within it, and it is a party which admits new members with care, demanding that each member take a direct part in a Party organization and in Party work. All such organizational principles aim at leading the people to complete emancipation. These have been embodied in our Party Constitution since its adoption by the First National Congress of the Party and have been fully borne out in the great practical struggles of the past twenty-four years. These principles on which our Party is organized not only guarantee the fulfillment of its political tasks, its unity of action in struggle and its conquest of every kind of difficulty, but also guarantee that great victories will be won by the people under Party leadership.

The broad revolutionary masses of the Chinese people enthusiastically welcome and trust such a party as ours, not only because it adheres to a revolutionary programme and revolutionary policies that fully respect the interests of the Chinese people, but also because it has a closely-knit organization and iron discipline, is capable of surviving severe, trying battles and has demonstrated its impregnable organizational strength. In the face of a powerful, cunning and barbarous enemy, the struggle for the liberation of the disaster-ridden Chinese nation with its 475 million people is an exceedingly momentous undertaking. Only a party like ours has the ability and daring to lead the entire people in defeating our enemies and winning liberation. The revision of our Party Constitution today does not involve any change in the character or in the fundamental organizational principles of our Party. On the contrary, by revising we intend to develop and strengthen that character and those principles on the basis of recent experience and on the theory of Party building enriched by Comrade Mao Zedong during the past three great revolutionary periods. Obviously, it is absolutely necessary to do so in order to enormously increase the fighting capacity of our Party, cement our ties with the broad masse of the Chinese people, get prepared for the great events which lie ahead, bring about the final defeat of the Japanese aggressors and their lackeys and build an independent, free, democratic, united prosperous and powerful new-democratic republic.

However, the Constitution - that is to say the rules and regulations of our Party - not only defines the fundamental principles governing the Party but also lays down, in line with these principles, the methods of practical action for the Party organization and the rules governing the organizational forms of Party structure and inner-Party life. Because the organizational forms and methods of work of the Party are determined by the internal and external conditions in which it finds itself and by the political tasks it sets, a certain degree of flexibility must be allowed. When the Party defines new political tasks because of changes in circumstances or in working conditions, the organizational forms and methods of work have to be changed accordingly; otherwise old organizational forms and old methods of work will hinder the progress of the Party’s work and the performance of our political tasks. Our Party is a creative Marxist political party, because at no time have we tied ourselves ideologically or politically to any rigid formulas, or regarded the organizational forms of our Party or any other organizational forms as hard fast patterns that cannot be altered. From time to time, we have been able to improve our organizational forms and our methods of work in accordance with the changing conditions and in the development of the Chinese revolution and with our new political tasks and freshly acquired experience in our organizational work. Therefore, given the fundamental organizational principles of our Party, it is entirely necessary to revise our Party Constitution in light of the new environment and conditions and the changed situation in the Party.

The Party firmly upholds the inviolability of its fundamental organizational principles. However, it must adapt its organizational forms and methods of work to the existing circumstances so as to promote progress in the Party’s work and ensure the completion of its political tasks and its unity of action.

We propose to the Seventh National Congress of the Party many important changes and additions to the Party Constitution. Why is it necessary to make such changes and additions? The reasons are as follows:

1. It is now seventeen years since our Party Constitution was revised in 1928 by the Sixth National Congress.(151) Conditions both inside and outside the Party have changed significantly during these years. Today the Party is faced with the need to mobilize the whole Party membership to carry out entirely new political tasks.

2. The experience which our Party has accumulated in directing the revolutionary struggle in China during the last seventeen years is extremely rich and vitally important. It is essential to sum up this experience and use it to enrich our Party Constitution and to strengthen the building of our Party.

3. Because the Party Constitution was adopted by the Sixth National Congress under extraordinary circumstances, many of its provisions were inapplicable, and this resulted in the failure of many Party members to pay attention to it and implement it effectively. Therefore, it is incumbent upon the Seventh National Congress to fame a new Party Constitution entirely in conformity with the actual conditions of today.

It is quite clear that our Party now has certain outstanding features which have not existed in any of its previous historical periods. Those features are as follows:

1. Our Party is a party that is national in scale and has a broad mass character. It is a party the people throughout the country are looking up to. With a membership totalling 1,210,000 and with its organizations and members operating in all parts of the country, it is regarded by the whole people as their sole liberator.

2. Our Party is a party that has been steeled in prolonged revolutionary wars and has mastered the art of leading them. The Eighth Route Army, the New Fourth Army and the other armed forces of the people, which have been organized under its leadership constitutes, the main forces present War of Resistance Against Japan. The Chinese nation and people rely on these forces to make post-war China a democratic and united new China.

3. Our is a party that has led the 95 million people living behind the enemy lines in setting up strong revolutionary base areas, where democratic reforms of various forms have been introduced and where new-democratic development in the political, military, economic and cultural fields are under way. These democratic reforms and developments have resulted in increased production, in improvement in the people’s living standards, greater social stability and a heightening of the people’s cultural level and political conciseness. The Party has mobilized and united all the people in these base areas in vigorously resisting the Japanese aggressors, and this has encouraged the revolutionary struggles of people throughout the country. These base areas are a model of new China, and they guarantee that the whole people of our country will win victory in the revolution.

4. Our Party is a party that has overcome various kinds of erroneous ideas and achieved unprecedented ideological, political and organizational unity and solidarity through a rectification movement. Past opportunist lines have been liquidated and non-proletarian ideas have been largely defeated in the rectification movement,(181) while the proletarian Marxist-Leninist line as represented by Comrade Mao Zedong have won an un paralleled, solid victory throughout the Party. Many of the saboteurs and spies who were hiding in our Party and trying to undermine the nation have been combed out. Thus, our Party has become united and consolidated ideologically, politically and organizationally as never before. This has contributed immeasurably to the cause of China’s liberation.

5. Last, but by no means least, our Party is a party that has a great leader of its own. He is none other than Comrade Mao Zedong, the organizer and leader of our Party and of the present-day Chinese revolution. Comrade Mao Zedong is an outstanding representative of the heroic proletariat of our country and of the fine traditions of our nation. He is a talented and creative Marxist, integrating, as he does, the universal truth of Marxism — the most advanced ideology in the history of mankind — with the concrete practice of the Chinese revolution. He has thus raised the ideology of the Chinese nation to a rational height unknown before and has shown the suffering Chinese nation and people the only correct road leading to complete liberation — the road of Mao Zedong. Following this road, our Party and the Chinese people launched the great pre-1927 revolutionary movement of which he was one of the organizers. During the agrarian revolution in the Soviet areas,(6) the great Red areas and the Red Army were created with Comrade Mao Zedong as their most outstanding founder and leader. In the War of Resistance Against Japan, the great Liberated Areas and the people’s armed forces — the Eighth Route Army and the New Fourth Army — were created, and again he was the founder and leader. Comrade Mao Zedong is the leader of our Party, but he is also an ordinary member of our Party, being completely at the service of the Party and most scrupulous in the observance of Party discipline in every respect. He is the leader of the masses, yet he bases everything on the will of the people. He stands before the people as their most loyal servant and their most modest pupil. Being a figure who has emerged from the revolutionary struggles of the people and who has been tested through more than thirty years of the great Chinese revolutionary struggle, he is well known to the entire Party and the people of the whole country. It is the carefully considered choice of our Party and of the Chinese nation and people that he becomes their leader. Our Party has not only a great leader of its own, but also a large number of well-tried cadres who, rallying round him armed with Mao Zedong Thought, act as the backbone of the Party. These cadres have proved, during a long period of struggle, to be the finest people, the cream of the Chinese nation, and men of action in every field of the Chinese people’s revolution and national construction. With such a great leader and with a large group of such cadres, we are invincible and will vanquish all the enemies of the Chinese nation and people.

Comrades, our Party is already a Marxist-Leninist party which is national in scale, has a broad mass character, is fully consolidated ideologically, politically and organizationally and is under a leader of its own. It has now become the determining factor in China’s political life.

Such are the main features of our Party today.

Such are the brilliant successes our Party has achieved. They are great victories for the Chinese people as a whole, great victories for Marxism-Leninism among the Chinese people and great victories for the teachings and leadership of Comrade Mao Zedong, the leader of our Party.

However, this does not mean our Party is without any shortcomings or weaknesses. Nor dose it mean that there are no difficulties ahead. We still have shortcomings and weaknesses and, for all our achievements, we are still far from our goal. here are still many difficulties ahead to be overcome. The bulk of our Party is still in the countryside and the overwhelming majority of Party members are of peasant of petty-bourgeois origin. Generally speaking, their theoretical and cultural level is not high, although they have been steeled in fierce revolutionary struggles. Some of our comrades have not yet completely overcome their subjectivist style of work, while others display such tendencies as commandism, bureaucratism and warlordism, which estrange the masses from the Party. Still others have the “mountain-stronghold” mentality which impairs the unity and solidarity of the Party. These shortcomings and weaknesses in our Party can only be overcome through greater efforts and more painstaking education.

Having undergone long, heroic struggles, especially the heroic war of resistance in the last eight years, our Party and the Chinese nation and people are now approaching victory. Our present task is to prepare to seize victory; to mobilize and unite all the forces of the Chinese people, in co-operation with our Allies, for the final expulsion of the Japanese aggressors and the recovery of our lost cities and villages; to conquer the anti-democratic forces throughout the country; and to build an independent, free, democratic, united, prosperous and powerful new China. In order to achieve these objectives we must tremendously improve the work of our Party, strengthen its organizational role and its leadership among all sections of the masses and prepare the people and ourselves ideologically, politically and organizationally for the great struggle and victory, unprecedented in our history. These are the immediate political and organizational tasks of our Party.

The present state of our Party and its tasks constitute the point of departure in our revision of the Party Constitution today.

This was the Report on the Revision of the Party Constitution delivered at the Seventh National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party held in Yan’an from April 23 to June 11, 1945. In January 1950, it was published by the People’s Publishing House under the title, On the Party by the author. The book consists of nine sections, of which sections one, two and five are included in this volume.

Next: II. The General Programme of the Party Constitution