Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung


November 21, 1941

Members of the Assembly! Comrades! Today's inauguration of the Border Region Assembly of Representatives is of great significance. The Assembly has but one objective, the overthrow of Japanese imperialism and the building of a China of New Democracy or, in other words, a China of the revolutionary Three People's Principles. In the China of today there can be no other objective. For our chief enemies now are not domestic, but are the Japanese fascists and the German and Italian fascists. At this moment the Soviet Red Army is fighting for the destiny of the Soviet Union and of the whole of mankind, and we, for our part, are combating Japanese imperialism. Japanese imperialism is continuing its aggression with the purpose of subjugating China. The Communist Party of China stands for uniting all the anti-Japanese forces throughout the country to overthrow Japanese imperialism, and for co-operating with all anti-Japanese parties, classes and nationalities; everyone, excepting traitors, must unite in the common struggle. This has been the consistent stand of the Communist Party. For more than four years the Chinese people have been heroically waging the War of Resistance, a war that has been maintained through the co-operation of the Kuomintang and the Communist Party and of all classes, parties and nationalities. But it is not yet won, and to win it we have to fight on and ensure that the revolutionary Three People's Principles are put into effect.

Why must we put the revolutionary Three People's Principles into effect? Because up to the present time Dr. Sun Yat-sen's revolutionary Three People's Principles have not been translated into reality in all parts of China. Why don't we demand that socialism be put into effect now? Of course socialism is a superior system and has long been in operation in the Soviet Union, but in China today the conditions for it are still lacking. It is the revolutionary Three People's Principles that have been put into effect in our Shensi-Kansu-Ningsia Border Region. We have not gone beyond them in solving any of our practical problems. As far as these principles are concerned, today the Principle of Nationalism means overthrowing Japanese imperialism, and the Principles of Democracy and People's Livelihood mean working in the interests not of just one section but of all the people who are against Japan. Throughout the country the people should enjoy freedom of the person, the right to take part in political activity and the right to protection of property. Throughout the country the people should have the opportunity of voicing their opinions, and they should have clothes to wear, food to eat, work to do and schools to attend; in short, some provision should be made for everyone. Chinese society is small at both ends and big in the middle, that is, the proletariat at one end and the landlord class and big bourgeoisie at the other each constitute only a small minority, while the great majority of the people consists of the peasants, the urban petty bourgeoisie and the other intermediate classes. No political party that wants to run China's affairs properly can do so unless its policy gives consideration to the interests of these classes, unless some provision is made for the members of these classes, and unless they have the right to voice their opinions. The policies put forward by the Chinese Communist Party seek to unite all the people who oppose Japan and take into account the interests of every class that does so, and especially the interests of the peasants, the urban petty bourgeoisie and the other intermediate classes. The policies of the Communist Party, which give all sections of the people the opportunity to voice their opinions and make sure they have work to do and food to eat, are policies embodying the genuinely revolutionary Three People's Principles. In agrarian relations, on the one hand we carry out reduction of rent and interest so that the peasants will have food, and on the other we provide for the payment of the reduced rent and interest so that the landlords, too, can live. In the relations between labour and capital, on the one hand we help the workers so that they have both work and food, and on the other we pursue a policy of developing industry so that the capitalists may obtain some profit. In all this our purpose is to unite the people of the whole country in the common endeavour of resistance to Japan. This is what we call the policy of New Democracy. It is the kind of policy that really suits the conditions in present-day China, and we hope that its application will not be limited to the Shensi-Kansu-Ningsia Border Region, or to the anti-Japanese base areas in the rear of the enemy, but will spread throughout the country.

We have pursued this policy with success and have won the approval of the people all over China. But there have also been shortcomings. Some Communists still do not know how to co-operate with non-Party people in a democratic way and have an exclusive, "closed-door" or sectarian style of work; they still do not understand the basic principle that Communists are in duty bound to co-operate with people outside the Party who are against Japan, and have no right to shut them out. This principle means that we should listen attentively to the views of the masses, keep in close touch with them and not become alienated from them. There is an article in the Administrative Programme of the Shensi-Kansu-Mngsia Border Region which stipulates that Communists should co-operate democratically with non-Party people and must not act arbitrarily or keep everything in their own hands. It is directed precisely at the comrades who still fail to understand the Party's policy. Communists must listen attentively to the views of people outside the Party and let them have their say. If what they say is right, we ought to welcome it, and we should learn from their strong points; if it is wrong, we should let them finish what they are saying and then patiently explain things to them. A Communist must never be opinionated or domineering, or think that he is good in everything while others are good in nothing; he must never shut himself up in his little room, or brag and boast and lord it over others. Apart from the die-hard reactionaries who are in league with the Japanese aggressors and with the traitors and are sabotaging resistance and unity, and who of course have no right to speak, everyone is entitled to freedom of speech, and it does not matter even if what he says is wrong. Affairs of state are the public affairs of the whole nation and not the private affairs of a single party or group. Hence Communists have the duty to co-operate democratically with non-Party people and have no right to exclude them and monopolize everything. The Communist Party is a political party which works in the interests of the nation and people and which has absolutely no private ends to pursue. It should be supervised by the people and must never go against their will. Its members should be among the people and with them and must not set themselves above them. Members of the Assembly and Comrades, this Communist Party principle of democratic co-operation with non-Party people is fixed and unalterable. So long as parties exist, people who join them will always be a minority while those outside them will always be the majority; hence our Party members must always co-operate with non-Party people, and they should make a good start right here in the Assembly. With this policy of ours, I believe that Communist members of the Assembly will get very good training here and overcome their "closed-doorism" and sectarianism. We are not a small opinionated sect and we must learn how to open our doors and co-operate democratically with non-Party people, and how to consult with others. Perhaps even now there are Communists who may say, "If it is necessary to co-operate with others, then leave me out." But I am sure there are very few. I can assure you that the overwhelming majority of out members will certainly be able to carry out the line of the Central Committee of our Party. At the same time I wish to ask all non-Party comrades to realize what we stand for, to understand that the Communist Party is not a small sect or clique pursuing private ends. No! The Communist Party sincerely and honestly wishes to set the affairs of state to rights. But we still have many failings. We are not afraid to admit them and are determined to get rid of them. We shall do so by strengthening education within the Party and by co-operating democratically with non-Party people. It is only by subjecting our failings to such a crossfire, both from within and from without, that we can remedy them and really set the affairs of state to rights.

Members of the Assembly! You have taken the trouble to come here for this meeting, and I am happy to greet this distinguished gathering and wish it success.

Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung