Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung


May 8, 1941

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

As the Central Committee's directive of March 18, 1941, has stated, the second anti-Communist onslaught has come to an end. What has followed since is the continuance of the War of Resistance Against Japan in new circumstances, international as well as domestic. The additional factors in these new circumstances are the spread of the imperialist war, the upsurge of the international revolutionary movement, the neutrality pact between the Soviet Union and Japan,[1] the defeat of the Kuomintang's second anti-Communist onslaught and the consequent decline in the political standing of the Kuomintang and rise in that of the Communist Party, and, furthermore, the latest preparations by Japan for a new large-scale offensive against China. It is absolutely necessary for us to study and learn the lessons of our Party's heroic and victorious struggle against the recent anti-Communist onslaught, for the purpose of uniting the people throughout the country to persevere in the War of Resistance and for the purpose of continuing effectively to overcome the danger of capitulation and the anti-Communist counter-current of the big landlords and the big bourgeoisie.

1. Of China's two major contradictions, the national contradiction between China and Japan is still primary and the internal class contradiction in China is still subordinate. The fact that a national enemy has penetrated deep into our country is all-decisive. As long as the contradiction between China and Japan remains acute, even if the entire big landlord class and big bourgeoisie turn traitor and surrender, they can never bring about another 1927 situation, with a repetition of the April 12th [2] and the May 21st Incidents [3] of that year. The first anti-Communist onslaught [4] was appraised as another May 21st Incident by some comrades, and the second onslaught as a repetition of the April 12th and the May 21st Incidents, but objective facts have proved these appraisals wrong. The mistake of these comrades lies in forgetting that the national contradiction is the primary one.

2. In the circumstances, the pro-British and pro-American big landlords and big bourgeoisie, who direct all Kuomintang government policy, remain classes with a dual character. On the one hand they are opposed to Japan, and on the other they are opposed to the Communist Party and the broad masses of the people represented by the Party. And both their resistance to Japan and their anti-communism bear a dual character. With regard to their resistance to Japan, while they are opposed to Japan, they are not actively waging war or actively opposing Wang Ching-wei and the other traitors, and sometimes they even flirt with Japan's peace emissaries. With regard to their anti-communism, they are opposed to the Communist Party, having gone so far as to create the Southern Anhwei Incident and to issue the Order of January 17, but at the same time they do not want a final split and still maintain their stick-and-carrot policy. These facts have been confirmed once again in the recent anti-Communist onslaught. Chinese politics, which are extremely complex, demand our comrades' deepest attention. Since the pro-British and pro-American big landlords and big bourgeoisie are still resisting Japan and are still using the stick and carrot in dealing with our Party, the policy of our Party is to "do unto them as they do unto Us",[5] stick for stick and carrot for carrot. Such is the revolutionary dual policy. So long as the big landlords and the big bourgeoisie do not completely turn traitor, this policy of ours will not change.

3. A whole range of tactics is needed to combat the Kuomintang's anti-Communist policy, and there must be absolutely no carelessness or negligence. The enmity and brutality of the big landlords and the big bourgeoisie represented by Chiang Kai-shek towards the people's revolutionary forces were not only demonstrated by the ten years of anti-Communist war, but they have been fully demonstrated in the midst of the war against Japan by two anti-Communist onslaughts, and particularly by the Southern Anhwei Incident during the second anti-Communist onslaught. If a people's revolutionary force is to avoid extermination by Chiang Kai-shek and to compel him to acknowledge its existence, it has no alternative but to wage a tit-for-tat struggle against his counter-revolutionary policies. The defeat resulting from Comrade Hsiang Ying's opportunism during the recent anti-Communist onslaught should serve as a grave warning to the whole Party. But the struggle must be waged on just grounds, to our advantage, and with restraint; if any of the three is lacking, we shall suffer setbacks.

4. In the struggle against the Kuomintang die-hards, the big comprador bourgeoisie must be distinguished from the national bourgeoisie, which has little or no comprador character, and the most reactionary big landlords must be distinguished from the enlightened gentry and the general run of landlords. This is the theoretical basis of our Party's endeavour to win over the intermediate sections and establish organs of political power on the "three thirds system", and it has been repeatedly stressed by the Central Committee since March last year. Its correctness was proved afresh during the recent anti-Communist onslaught. The stand we took before the Southern Anhwei Incident, as expressed in our November 9 telegram,[6] was entirely necessary for our shift to the political counter-attack after the incident, otherwise we could not have won over the intermediate sections. For unless they had been taught time and again by experience, the intermediate sections would have been unable to understand why our Party must wage resolute struggles against the Kuomintang die-hards, why unity can be gained only through struggle and why there can be no unity whatsoever if struggle is abandoned. Although the leading elements in the regional power groups belong to the big landlord class and the big bourgeoisie, generally they should also be regarded and treated as intermediate sections, since there are contradictions between them and the big landlords and big bourgeois who control the central government. Yen Hsi-shan who was most active in the first anti-Communist onslaught took a middle stand in the second, and although the Kwangsi clique which took a middle stand in the first onslaught came in on the anti-Communist side in the second, it is still in contradiction with the Chiang Kai-shek clique and not to be identified with it. This applies with still greater force to other regional power groups. Many of our comrades, however, still lump the different landlord and bourgeois groups together, as though the entire landlord class and bourgeoisie had turned traitor after the Southern Anhwei Incident, this is an over-simplification of China's complex politics. Were we to adopt this view and identify all the landlords and the bourgeoisie with the Kuomintang die-hards, we would isolate ourselves. It must be realized that Chinese society is big in the middle and small at both ends [7] and that the Communist Party cannot solve China's problems unless it wins over the masses of the intermediate classes and unless it enables them to play their proper role according to their circumstances.

5. Because some comrades have wavered on the point that the contradiction between China and Japan is the primary one and hence have wrongly appraised class relations in China, they have at times wavered on the policy of the Party. Proceeding from their appraisal of the Southern Antwei Incident as another April 12th or May 21st Incident, these comrades now seem to think that the Central Committee's policy directive of December 25 last year is no longer applicable, or at least not altogether applicable. They believe that we no longer need the kind of state power that includes all who stand for resistance and democracy but need a so-called state power of the workers, peasants and urban petty bourgeoisie, and that we no longer need the united front policy of the period of the War of Resistance but need a policy of agrarian revolution as during the ten years' civil war. The Party's correct policy has become blurred in the minds of these comrades, at any rate for the time being.

6. When these comrades were instructed by the Central Committee of our Party to be prepared against a possible split by the Kuomintang, that is, against the worst possible development, they forgot the other possibilities. They do not understand that while it is absolutely necessary to prepare for the worst possibility, this does not mean ignoring the favourable possibilities; on the contrary, such preparation for the worst is precisely a condition for creating favourable possibilities and turning them into reality. On this occasion, we were fully prepared against a split by the Kuomintang, and so the Kuomintang dared not bring about a split lightly.

7. There are even more comrades who fail to understand the unity of the national struggle and the class struggle, and who fail to understand united front policy and class policy, and consequently the unity of united front education and class education. They hold that after the Southern Anhwei Incident special emphasis should be placed on class education as distinct from united front education. Even now they do not understand that for the whole period of the anti-Japanese war the Party has a single integral policy--the national united front policy (a dual policy) which integrates the two aspects, unity and struggle--towards all those in the upper and middle strata who are still resisting Japan, whether they belong to the big landlord class and big bourgeoisie or the intermediate classes. This dual policy should be applied even to the puppet troops, the traitors and the pro-Japanese elements, except for those who are absolutely unrepentant, whom we must resolutely crush. The education which our Party conducts among its own members and the people in general likewise embraces both these aspects, that is, it teaches the proletariat and the peasantry and other sections of the petty bourgeoisie how to unite, in different ways, with the different strata of the bourgeoisie and the landlord class for resistance to Japan, and at the same time how to conduct struggles against them in varying degrees according to the varying degrees in which they compromise, vacillate and are anti-Communist. United front policy is class policy and the two are inseparable; whoever is unclear on this will be unclear on many other problems.

8. Other comrades do not understand that the social character of the Shensi-Kansu-Ningsia Border Region and the anti-Japanese base areas in northern and central China is already new-democratic. The main criterion in judging whether an area is new-democratic in character is whether representatives of the broad masses of the people participate in the political power there and whether this political power is led by the Communist Party. Therefore, united front political power under Communist leadership is the chief mark of a new-democratic society. Some people think that New Democracy can be considered as accomplished only if there is an agrarian revolution like that of the ten years' civil war, but they are wrong. At present the political system in the base areas is a political system of the united front of all the people who are for resistance and democracy, the economy is one from which the elements of semi-colonialism and semi-feudalism have been basically eliminated, and the culture is an anti-imperialist and anti-feudal culture of the broad masses of the people. Therefore, whether viewed politically, economically or culturally, both the anti-Japanese base areas which have only enforced the reduction of rent and interest and the Shensi-Kansu-Ningsia Border Region which has gone through a thorough agrarian revolution are new-democratic in character. When the example of the anti-Japanese base areas is extended throughout the country, then the whole of China will become a new-democratic republic.


1. The neutrality pact between the Soviet Union and Japan, concluded on April , 1941, ensured peace on the eastern border of the Soviet Union, thus crushing the plot for a joint German, Italian and Japanese attack on the Soviet Union. It marked a major victory for the Soviet Union's peaceful foreign policy.

2. The April 12th Incident was the counter-revolutionary coup d'etat staged by Chiang Kai-shek in Shanghai on April 12, 1927, during which a great number of Communists and revolutionary workers, peasants and students and intellectuals were massacred.

3. Instigated by Chiang Kai-shek and Wang Ching-wei, the counter-revolutionary Kuomintang army commanders in Hunan, including Hsu Keh-hsiang and Ho Chien, ordered a raid on the provincial headquarters of the trade unions, the peasant associations and other revolutionary organizations in Changsha on May 21, 1927, Communists and revolutionary workers and peasants were arrested and killed en masse. This signalized the open collaboration of the two counter-revolutionary Kuomintang cliques, the Wuhan clique headed by Wang Ching-wei and the Nanking clique headed by Chiang Kai-shek.

4. The first anti-Communist onslaught during the anti-Japanese war was conducted by Chiang Kai-shek in the winter of 1939 and the spring of 1940.

5. The quotation is from the commentary by Chu Hsi (1130--1200), a philosopher of the Sung Dynasty, on the Confucian Doctrine of the Mean, Chapter 13.

6. The telegram of November 9, 1940 was sent by Chu Teh and Peng Teh-huai, Commander-in-Chief and Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Eighteenth Group Army (Eighth Route Army), and Yeh Ting and Hsiang Ying, Commander and Deputy Commander of the New Fourth Army, in reply to the telegram of the Kuomintang generals Ho Ying-chin and Pai Chung-hsi, dated October 19, 1940. Exposing the plot by the Kuomintang reactionaries to attack the Communist Party and capitulate to Japan, they denounced Ho Ying-chin's and Pai Chung-hsi's absurd proposal that the New Fourth Army and the Eighth Route Army should shift from the south to the north of the Yellow River. However, in a spirit of conciliation and compromise for the sake of maintaining unity against Japan, they agreed to shift their forces from the south to the north of the Yangtse River, while demanding the solution of a number of major outstanding issues between the Kuomintang and the Communist Party. The telegram won the sympathy of the intermediate sections and served to isolate Chiang Kai-shek.

7. Comrade Mao Tse-tung's remark about Chinese society means that the Chinese industrial proletariat which led the revolution formed only a minority of China's population, as did also the reactionary big landlords and big bourgeoisie.

Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung