Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung


December 25, 1940

[This inner-Party directive was written by Comrade Mao Tse-tung on behalf of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China.]

In the present high tide of anti-Communist attacks, the policy we adopt is of decisive importance. But many of our cadres fail to realize that the Party's present policy must be very different from its policy during the Agrarian Revolution. It has to be understood that in no circumstances will the Party change its united front policy for the entire period of the War of Resistance Against Japan, and that many of the policies adopted during the ten years of the Agrarian Revolution cannot just be duplicated today. In particular, many ultra-Left policies of the latter period of the Agrarian Revolution are not merely totally inapplicable today in the War of Resistance, but were wrong even then, arising as they did from the failure to understand two fundamental points--that the Chinese revolution is a bourgeois-democratic revolution in a semi-colonial country, and that it is a protracted revolution. For example, there was the thesis that the Kuomintang's fifth "encirclement and suppression" campaign and our counter-campaign constituted the decisive battle between counterrevolution and revolution; there was the economic elimination of the capitalist class (the ultra-Left policies on labour and taxation) and of the rich peasants (by allotting them poor land); the physical elimination of the landlords (by not allotting them any land); the attack on the intellectuals; the "Left" deviation in the suppression of counterrevolutionaries; the monopolizing by Communists of the organs of political power; the focusing on communism as the objective in popular education; the ultra-Left military policy (of attacking the big cities and denying the role of guerrilla warfare); the putschist policy in the work in the White areas; and the policy within the Party of attacks on comrades through the abuse of disciplinary measures. These ultra-Left policies were manifestations of the error of "Left" opportunism, or exactly the reverse of the Right opportunism of Chen Tu-hsiu in the latter period of the First Great Revolution. It was all alliance and no struggle in the latter period of the First Great Revolution, and all struggle and no alliance (except with the basic sections of the peasantry) in the latter period of the Agrarian Revolution-- truly striking demonstrations of the two extremist policies. Both extremist policies caused great losses to the Party and the revolution.

Today our Anti-Japanese National United Front policy is neither all alliance and no struggle nor all struggle and no alliance, but a combines alliance and struggle. Specifically, it means:

(1) All people favouring resistance (that is, all anti-Japanese workers, peasants, soldiers, students and intellectuals, and businessmen) must unite in the Anti-Japanese National United Front.

(2) Within the united front our policy must be one of independence and initiative, i.e., both unity and independence are necessary.

(3) As far as military strategy is concerned, our policy is guerrilla warfare waged independently and with the initiative in our own hands within the framework of a united strategy; guerrilla warfare is basic, but no chance of waging mobile warfare should be lost when the conditions are favourable.

(4) In the struggle against the anti-Communist die-hards, our policy is to make use of contradictions, win over the many, oppose the few and crush our enemies one by one, and to wage struggles on just grounds, to our advantage, and with restraint.

(5) In the enemy-occupied and Kuomintang areas our policy is, on the one hand, to develop the united front to the greatest possible extent and, on the other, to have well-selected cadres working underground. With regard to the forms of organization and struggle, our policy is to have well-selected cadres working underground for a long period, to accumulate strength and bide our time.

(6) With regard to the alignment of the various classes within the country, our basic policy is to develop the progressive forces, win over the middle forces and isolate the anti-Communist die-hard forces.

(7) With respect to the anti-Communist die-hards, ours is a revolutionary dual policy of uniting with them, in so far as they are still in favour of resisting Japan, and of isolating them, in so far as they are determined to oppose the Communist Party. Moreover, the die-hards have a dual character with regard to resistance to Japan, and our policy is to unite with them, in so far as they are still in favour of resistance, and to struggle against them and isolate them in so far as they vacillate (for instance, when they collude with the Japanese aggressors and show reluctance in opposing Wang Ching-wei and other traitors). As their opposition to the Communist Party has also a dual character, our policy, too, should have a dual character; in so far as they are still unwilling to break up Kuomintang-Communist co-operation altogether, it is one of alliance with them, but in so far as they are high-handed and launch armed attacks on our Party and the people, it is one of struggling against them and isolating them. We make a distinction between such people with a dual character and the traitors and pro-Japanese elements.

(8) Even among the traitors and pro-Japanese elements there are people with a dual character, towards whom we should likewise employ a revolutionary dual policy. In so far as they are pro-Japanese, our policy is to struggle against them and isolate them, but in so far as they vacillate, our policy is to draw them nearer to us and win them over. We make a distinction between such ambivalent elements and the out-and-out traitors like Wang Ching-wei, Wang Yi-tang [1] and Shih Yu-san.[2]

(9) The pro-Japanese big landlords and big bourgeoisie who are against resistance must be distinguished from the pro-British and pro-American big landlords and big bourgeoisie who are for resistance; similarly, the ambivalent big landlords and big bourgeoisie who are for resistance but vacillate, and who are for unity but are anti-Communist, must be distinguished from the national bourgeoisie, the middle and small landlords and the enlightened gentry, the duality of whose character is less pronounced. We build our policy on these distinctions. The diverse policies mentioned above all stem from these distinctions in class relations.

(10) We deal with imperialism in the same way. The Communist Party opposes all imperialism, but we make a distinction between Japanese imperialism which is now committing aggression against China and the imperialist powers which are not doing so now, between German and Italian imperialism which are allies of Japan and have recognized "Manchukuo" and British and U.S. imperialism which are opposed to Japan, and between the Britain and the United States of yesterday which followed a Munich policy in the Far East and undermined China's resistance to Japan, and the Britain and the United States of today which have abandoned this policy and are now in favour of China's resistance. Our tactics are guided by one and the same principle: to make use of contradictions, win over the many oppose the few and crush our enemies one by one. Our foreign policy differs from that of the Kuomintang. The Kuomintang claims, "There is only one enemy and all the rest are friends"; it appears to treat all countries other than Japan alike, but in fact it is pro-British and pro-American. On our part we must draw certain distinctions, first between the Soviet Union and the capitalist countries, second, between Britain and the United States on the one hand and Germany and Italy on the other, third, between the people of Britain and the United States and their imperialist governments, and fourth, between the policy of Britain and the United States during their Far Eastern Munich period and their policy today. We build our policy on these distinctions. In direct contrast to the Kuomintang our basic line is to use all possible foreign help, subject to the principle of independent prosecution of the war and reliance on our own efforts, and not, as the Kuomintang does, to abandon this principle by relying entirely on foreign help or hanging on to one imperialist bloc or another.

To correct the lop-sided views of many Party cadres on the question of tactics and their consequent vacillations between "Left" and Right, we must help them to acquire an all-round and integrated understanding of the changes and developments in the Party's policy, past and present. The ultra-Left viewpoint is creating trouble and is still the main danger in the Party. In the Kuomintang areas, there are many people who cannot seriously carry out the policy of having well-selected cadres working underground for a long period, of accumulating strength and biding our time, because they underestimate the gravity of the Kuomintang's anti-Communist policy. At the same time, there are many others who cannot carry out the policy of expanding the united front, because they over-simplify matters and consider the entire Kuomintang to be quite hopeless and are therefore at a loss what to do. A similar state of affairs exists in the Japanese-occupied areas.

In the Kuomintang areas and the anti-Japanese base areas, the Rightist views which were once prevalent to a serious extent have now been basically overcome; those who held such views used to stress alliance to the exclusion of struggle and overestimate the Kuomintang's inclination to resist Japan, and they therefore blurred the difference in principle between the Kuomintang and the Communist Party, rejected the policy of independence and initiative within the united front, appeased the big landlords and big bourgeoisie and the Kuomintang, and tied their own hands instead of boldly expanding the anti-Japanese revolutionary forces and conducting resolute struggle against the Kuomintang's policy of opposing and restricting the Communist Party. But since the winter of 1939 an ultra-Left tendency has cropped up in many places as a result of the anti-Communist "friction" engineered by the Kuomintang and of the struggles we have waged in self-defence. This tendency has been corrected to some extent but not altogether, and it still finds expression in concrete policies in many places. It is therefore most necessary for us to examine and define our concrete policies now.

As the Central Committee has already issued a series of directives on concrete policies, now only a few points are given here by way of summary.

The organs of political power. The "three thirds system", under which Communists have only one-third of the places in the organs of political power and many non-Communists are drawn into participation, must be carried out resolutely. In areas like northern Kiangsu, where we have just begun to establish anti-Japanese democratic political power, the proportion of Communists may be even less than one-third. The representatives of the petty bourgeoisie, the national bourgeoisie and the enlightened gentry who are not actively opposed to the Communist Party must be drawn into participation both in the government and in the people's representative bodies, and those Kuomintang members who do not oppose the Communist Party must also be allowed to participate. Even a small number of right-wingers may be allowed to join the people's representative bodies. On no account should our Party monopolize everything. We are not destroying the dictatorship of the big comprador bourgeoisie and the big landlord class in order to replace it with a one-party dictatorship of the Communist Party.

Labour policy. The livelihood of the workers must be improved if their enthusiasm in the fight against Japan is to be fully aroused. But we must strictly guard against being ultra-Leftist; there must not be excessive increases in wages or excessive reductions in working hours. Under present conditions, the eight-hour working day cannot be universally introduced in China and a ten-hour working day should still be permitted in certain branches of production. In other branches of production the working day should be axed according to the circumstances. Once a contract between labour and capital is concluded, the workers must observe labour discipline and the capitalists must be allowed to make some profit. Otherwise factories will close down, which will neither help the war nor benefit the workers. Particularly in the rural areas, the living standards and wages of the workers should not be raised too high, or it will give rise to complaints from the peasants, create unemployment among the workers and result in a decline in production.

Land policy. It must be explained to Party members and to the peasants that this is not the time for a thorough agrarian revolution and that the series of measures taken during the Agrarian Revolution cannot be applied today. On the one hand, our present policy should stipulate that the landlords shall reduce rent and interest, for this serves to arouse the enthusiasm of the basic peasant masses for resistance to Japan, but the reductions should not be too great. In general, land rent should be reduced by 25 per cent, and if the masses demand a greater reduction, the tenant-farmer may keep up to 60 or 70 per cent of his crop, but not more. The reduction in interest on loans should not be so great as to render credit transactions impossible. On the other hand, our policy should stipulate that the peasants shall pay rent and interest and that the landlords shall retain their ownership of land and other property. Interest should not be so low as to make it impossible for the peasants to obtain loans, nor the settlement of old accounts be such as to enable the peasants to get back their mortgaged land gratis.

Tax policy. Taxes must be levied according to income. Except for the very poor who should be exempt, all people with an income shall pay taxes to the state, which means that the burden shall be carried by more than 80 per cent of the population, including the workers and peasants, and not be placed entirely on the landlords and the capitalists. Arresting people and imposing fines on them as a means of financing the army must be forbidden. We may use the existing Kuomintang system of taxation with appropriate alterations until we have devised a new and more suitable one.

Anti-espionage policy. We must firmly suppress the confirmed traitors and anti-Communists, or otherwise we shall not be able to protect the anti-Japanese revolutionary forces. But there must not be too much killing, and no innocent person should be incriminated. Vacillating elements and reluctant followers among the reactionaries should be dealt with leniently. Corporal punishment must be abolished in trying criminals; the stress must be on the weight of evidence and confessions should not be taken on trust. Our policy towards prisoners captured from the Japanese, puppet or anti-communist troops is to set them all free, except for those who have incurred the bitter hatred of the masses and must receive capital punishment and whose death sentence has been approved by the higher authorities. Among the prisoners, those who were coerced into joining the reactionary forces but who are more or less inclined towards the revolution should be won over in large numbers to work for our army. The rest should be released and, if they fight us and are captured again, should again be set free. We should not insult them, take away their personal effects or try to exact recantations from them, but without exception should treat them sincerely and kindly. This should be our policy, however reactionary they may be. It is a very effective way of isolating the hard core of reaction. As for renegades, except for those who have committed heinous crimes, they should be given a chance to turn over a new leaf provided they discontinue their anti-Communist activities; and if they come back and wish to rejoin the revolution they may be accepted, but must not be re-admitted into the Party. The general run of Kuomintang intelligence agents must not be identified with the Japanese spies and Chinese traitors; the two should be differentiated and handled accordingly. An end should be put to the state of confusion in which any governmental or non-governmental organization can make arrests. To establish revolutionary order in the interests of the war, it must be stipulated that, with the exception of army units in combat action, only government judicial or public security agencies shall be empowered to make arrests.

The rights of the people. It must be laid down that all landlords and capitalists not opposed to the War of Resistance shall enjoy the same rights of person and property, the same right to vote and the same freedom of speech, assembly, association, political conviction and religious belief as the workers and peasants. The government shall take action only against saboteurs and those who organize riots in our base areas, and shall protect all others and not molest them.

Economic policy. We must actively develop industry and agriculture and promote the circulation of commodities. Capitalists should be encouraged to come into our anti-Japanese base areas and start enterprises here if they so desire. Private enterprise should be encouraged and state enterprise regarded as only one sector of the economy. The purpose in all this is to achieve self-sufficiency. Care must be taken not to damage any useful enterprise. Both our tariff and our monetary policies should conform to our basic line of expanding agriculture, industry and commerce, and not run counter to it. The essential factor in maintaining the base areas over a long period is the achievement of self-sufficiency through a conscientious and meticulous, not a crude and careless, organization of the economy.

Cultural and educational policy. This should centre on promoting and spreading the knowledge and skills needed for the war and a sense of national pride among the masses of the people. Bourgeois liberal educators, men of letters, journalists, scholars and technical experts should be allowed to come to our base areas and co-operate with us in running schools and newspapers and doing other work. We should accept into our schools all intellectuals and students who show enthusiasm for resisting Japan, give them short-term training, and then assign them to work in the army, the government, or mass organizations; we should boldly draw them in, give them work and promote them. We should not be over-cautious or too afraid of reactionaries sneaking in. Unavoidably, some such elements will creep in, but there will be time to comb them out in the course of study and work. Every base area must establish printing shops, publish books and newspapers and organize distribution and delivery agencies. Every base area must also, as far as possible, set up big schools for training cadres, and the more and bigger, the better.

Military policy. There must be maximum expansion of the Eighth Route and New Fourth Armies, because they are the most reliable armed forces of the Chinese people in pressing on with the national war of resistance. We should continue our policy of never attacking the Kuomintang troops unless attacked and do all we can to make friends with them. In order to help the building up of our army, no effort should be spared to draw those officers who are sympathetic to us into the Eighth Route and New Fourth Armies, whether they are members of the Kuomintang or are without party affiliation. Something must be done now to change the situation where Communists dominate everything in our armies by sheer numbers. Of course, the "three thirds system" should not be introduced into our main forces, but so long as the leadership of the army is kept in the hands of the Party (this is an absolute and inviolable necessity), we need not be afraid of drawing large numbers of sympathizers into the work of building up the military and technical departments of our army. Now that the ideological and organizational foundations of our Party and our army have been firmly laid, not only is there no danger in drawing in large numbers of sympathizers (not saboteurs of course) but it is indeed an indispensable policy, for otherwise it will be impossible to win the sympathy of the whole country and expand our revolutionary forces.

All these tactical principles for the united front and the concrete policies formulated in accordance with them must be firmly applied by the whole Party. At a time when the Japanese invaders are intensifying their aggression against China and when the big landlords and big bourgeoisie are pursuing high-handed policies and launching armed attacks against the Communist Party and the people, the application of the tactical principles and concrete policies outlined above is the only way to press on with the War of Resistance, broaden the united front, win the sympathy of the whole people and bring about a turn for the better in the situation. In rectifying errors, however, we must proceed step by step, and must not be so hasty as to cause discontent among the cadres, suspicion among the masses, counter-attacks by the landlords, or other undesirable-developments.


1. Wang Yi-tang was a big bureaucrat in the period of the Northern warlords and a pro-Japanese traitor. He was recalled from retirement by Chiang Kai-shek after the Northern China Incident of 1935 to serve in the Kuomintang government. In 1938, he served as a Japanese puppet in northern China and was made chairman of the bogus Northern China Political Council.

2. Shih Yu-san was a Kuomintang warlord who frequently changed sides. He was commander-in-chief of the Kuomintang's 10th Army Group after the outbreak of the War of Resistance, collaborated with the Japanese armed forces in southern Hopei and did nothing but attack the Eighth Route Army, destroy organs of anti-Japanese democratic political power and slaughter Communists and progressives.

Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung