Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung


February 15, 1948

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

1. Do not be impetuous. The speed of land reform should be determined according to the circumstances, the level of political consciousness of the masses and the strength of leading cadres. Do not attempt to complete the land reform in a few months, but prepare to complete it in each area in two or three years. This also applies to the old or semi-old Liberated Areas.

2. Land reform in a new Liberated Area should be divided into two stages. In the first stage strike blows at the landlords and neutralize the rich peasants. This stage is to be sub-divided into several steps; strike blows at the big landlords first, and then at the other landlords. Treatment must be different for those who are local tyrants and those who are not, and different also for big, middle and small landlords. The second stage is the equal distribution of land, including the land rented out by the rich peasants and their surplus land. However, the treatment of rich peasants should differ from that of landlords. The total scope of attack should generally not exceed 8 per cent of the households or 10 per cent of the population. In the semi-old Liberated Areas the differences in treatment and the total scope of attack should be the same. These questions do not arise in the old Liberated Areas, where in general only minor adjustments in the distribution of lands are needed.

3. Organize poor peasant leagues first and then, after a few months, peasant associations. Strictly prohibit landlords and rich peasants from sneaking into the peasant associations and poor peasant leagues. Activists in the poor peasant leagues should become the backbone of leadership in peasant associations, but a section of the activists among the middle peasants must also be drawn into the committees of peasant associations. In the land reform struggle, the middle peasants must be drawn in to participate, and their interests should be given consideration.

4. Do not start the work in all places at the same time, but choose strong cadres to carry it out first in certain places to gain experience, then spread the experience step by step and expand the work in waves. This applies to a whole strategic area as well as to a single county. It also applies to the old and the semi-old Liberated Areas.

5. Distinguish between consolidated Liberated Areas and guerrilla zones. In the former, land reform can proceed step by step. In the latter, we should confine ourselves to propaganda, covert organizational work and the distribution of a certain amount of movable property. Mass organizations should not be openly set up and land reform should not be carried out, lest the enemy should persecute the masses.

6. The reactionary armed bands of the landlords and the reactionary secret police must be destroyed and must not be utilized.

7. Reactionaries must be suppressed, but killing without discrimination is strictly forbidden; the fewer killings, the better. Death sentences should be reviewed and approved by a committee formed at the county level. The power to try and to deal with the cases of political suspects is vested in committees at the district Party committee level. This applies in the old as well as the semi-old Liberated Areas.

8. Local revolutionary intellectuals and semi-intellectuals who come from landlord or rich peasant families but support land reform should be utilized and drawn into the work of building the base areas. But we must intensify our educational work among them and prevent them from entrenching themselves in power and hindering land reform. In general we should not let them work in their native districts or townships. Emphasis should be placed on employing intellectuals or semi-intellectuals from peasant families.

9. Pay strict attention to the protection of industry and commerce. Take a long-term view in the planning and management of economic and financial affairs. The armed forces and district and township governments should all guard against waste.


1. See "Greet the New High Tide of the Chinese Revolution", Note 14, p. 127 of this volume.

Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung