Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung


January 7, 1948

[This inner-Party directive was drafted by Comrade Mao Tse-tung for the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China. The system of reports instituted in the directive was a development under new conditions in the long struggle of the Central Committee firmly to uphold democratic centralism and combat tendencies of indiscipline and anarchy. The problem was especially important at that time because there had been tremendous progress in the revolutionary situation. Many Liberated Areas had been linked together, many cities had been or were about to be liberated, the People's Liberation Army had become much more of a regular army, the People's War of Liberation had become much more of a regular war, and countrywide victory was in sight. This situation demanded that the Party should speedily overcome any conditions of indiscipline or anarchy existing in the Party and the army and should concentrate in the Central Committee all the powers that had to be and could be centralized. The setting up of a strict system of reports was an important step taken by the Party for this purpose. On this question, see also "The Work of Land Reform and of Party Consolidation in 1948", Section 6, p. 258 and "On the September Meeting -- Circular of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China", Point 4, pp. 273-74, of this volume. ]

In order to provide the Central Committee with timely information so that it can help all areas, either before or after the event, to avoid mistakes or commit fewer mistakes and win even greater victories in the revolutionary war, the following system of reports is instituted, beginning with this year.

1. For each bureau or sub-bureau of the Central Committee, the secretary is responsible for submitting to the Central Committee and its chairman a comprehensive bi-monthly report (written by himself, not by his assistants). The report should cover military, political, land reform, Party consolidation, economic, propaganda and cultural activities, the problems and tendencies that have arisen in these activities and the methods of dealing with them. Each report should be limited to about a thousand words and, except in special cases, should not exceed two thousand words. When all questions cannot be covered in one report, write two. Or the first report may concentrate on certain questions and deal briefly with the rest, and the next report may concentrate on the latter and deal briefly with the former. The comprehensive report should be concise in content and succinct in wording and point out the problems or controversial issues. It should be written and telegraphed early in every odd month. This is to be the regular report and request for instructions which the secretary of each bureau or sub-bureau is personally responsible for submitting to the Central Committee and its chairman. When the secretary is at the front directing military operations, he should, in addition to submitting his own reports, authorize the acting secretary or deputy secretary to report on rear-area activities. The above does not include occasional reports and requests for instructions which the bureaus or sub-bureaus should continue to submit to the Central Committee.

We are instituting this system of regular comprehensive policy reports and requests for instructions because, after the Seventh National Congress of our Party, some (not all) comrades in the bureaus or sub-bureaus still do not realize the necessity and importance of submitting reports to the Central Committee and asking for instructions before or after the event, or they send reports and requests for instructions only on technical points; and, as a result, the Central Committee is not clear or is not sufficiently clear about their major activities and policies (not those of secondary importance or of a technical nature), and therefore certain things have occurred that cannot be remedied or are hard to remedy, or can be remedied but have already caused losses. Those bureaus and sub-bureaus that have asked for prior instructions and submitted reports afterwards have avoided or reduced such losses. Beginning with this year, the Party's leading bodies at all levels must correct the bad habit of neither asking the higher level for prior instructions nor submitting reports afterwards. The bureaus and sub-bureaus, being organs appointed by the Central Committee to carry out on its behalf the tasks entrusted to them, must keep in the closest possible contact with the Central Committee. Also, the provincial or area Party committees must keep in close contact with the bureaus and sub-bureaus of the Central Committee. At a time when the revolution has entered a period of new high tide, it is imperative to strengthen these contacts.

2. Leaders of field armies and military areas, apart from their obligation to submit reports and requests for instructions on matters of strategy when necessary and their obligation to submit, as previously required, monthly reports on combat gains, on losses and munitions consumed and on the actual strength of their forces, must also submit comprehensive policy reports and requests for instructions every two months, beginning this year. These should cover the discipline of the troops, their living conditions, the morale of commanders and fighters, any deviations that have arisen among commanders and fighters and the methods for overcoming them, the progress or retrogression in technique and tactics, the strong and weak points of the enemy forces and whether their morale is high or low, the political work of our army, its implementation of land policy, urban policy and policy concerning captives and the methods of overcoming deviations from these policies, the relations between the army and the people and the trends among different strata of the people. The length, method of writing and time of dispatch of these reports should be the same as those laid down for reports by the bureaus and sub-bureaus of the Central Committee. If intense fighting is going on when a report is due (that is, early in every odd month), its submission may be advanced or postponed a few days, but the reasons must be given. The section dealing with political work should be drafted by the director of the army's political department, examined and corrected by the commander and political commissar and then jointly signed by all three. These reports should be telegraphed to the Chairman of the Party's Military Commission. We require these comprehensive policy reports for the same reasons as we require such reports from the bureaus and sub-bureaus.

Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung