Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung


May 25, 1948

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


It is necessary to pay attention to the seasons. In areas designated by the bureaus or sub-bureaus of the Central Committee, the whole of next autumn and winter, that is, the seven months from this September to next March, must be devoted to carrying out the following tasks in the proper order:

1. Make an investigation of rural conditions.
2. Carry out the initial work for Party consolidation in accordance with correct policy. A working corps or working team sent by a higher organ to a rural district must first of all unite with all the activists and better members in the local Party branch and together with them lead the work of land reform.
3. Organize or reorganize or strengthen the poor peasant leagues and the peasant associations and launch the land reform struggle.
4. Identify class status according to correct criteria.
5. Distribute feudal land and property in accordance with correct policy. The final result of the distribution must be such that it is considered fair and reasonable by all the main strata and that the landlords too feel that there is a way for them to make a living and that this is assured.
6. Form people's representative conferences and elect government councils at the township (or village), district and county levels.
7. Issue land certificates taxing the ownership of land.
8. Adjust or revise the rates of the agricultural tax (i.e., public grain). These rates must conform to the principle of giving consideration to both public and private interests; in other words, they must on the one hand help support the war and on the other get the peasants interested in restoring and developing production, which will help improve their livelihood.
9. Complete the work of the organizational consolidation of the Party branches in accordance with correct policy.
10. Shift our work from land reform to rallying all the rural working people and to organizing the labour power of the landlords and rich peasants in a general struggle to restore and develop agricultural production. Start organizing small-scale work-exchange groups and other co-operative units according to the principles of voluntary participation and exchange of equal values; prepare seed, fertilizer and fuel; work out production plans; issue agricultural credits (chiefly loans for means of production, to be definitely repaid and to be strictly distinguished from relief grants) when necessary and possible; draw up plans, where possible, for building water conservancy works.

This is the whole process of work from land reform to production, a process which all comrades directly engaged in land reform must be brought to understand so that they can avoid one-sidedness in their work and, without missing the seasons, accomplish all the above tasks in the coming autumn and winter.


To achieve these aims, it is necessary to get the following work done in the next three months -- from June through August:

1. Designate the areas for land reform. Each such area must meet the following three conditions:
a. All the enemy armed forces must have been wiped out and conditions must have become stable; it must not be an unstable guerrilla zone.
b. The overwhelming majority of the basic masses (the farm labourers, poor peasants and middle peasants), not just a minority, must already be demanding the distribution of land.
c. Party cadres must be adequate both in numbers and in quality to grasp the work of land reform and must not leave it to the spontaneous activity of the masses.
An area where any one of these three conditions is lacking should not be designated for land reform in 1948. For instance, since they do not meet the first condition, we should not include in this year's plan for land reform those parts of the Liberated Areas in northern and eastern China, the Northeast and the Northwest, which border on enemy territory, nor most of the area enclosed by the Yangtse, Huai, Yellow and Han Rivers, which is under the jurisdiction of the Central Plains Bureau of the Central Committee. Whether they are to be included in next year's plan will depend on circumstances. In these areas we should make full use of the experience acquired during the period of the War of Resistance Against Japan and put into effect the social policy of reducing rent and interest and of properly adjusting supplies of seed and food grains, as well as the financial policy of reasonable distribution of burdens, so as to unite with or neutralize all social forces that can be united with or can be neutralized, help the People's Liberation Army to wipe out all the Kuomintang armed forces and strike blows at the local tyrants who are politically the most reactionary. Neither land nor movable property should be distributed in these areas, because they are newly liberated and border on enemy territory, and distribution there would not be of advantage to uniting with or neutralizing all social forces that can be united with or neutralized for the accomplishment of the basic task of wiping out the Kuomintang forces of reaction.
2. Make cadres' conferences a success. At cadres' conferences concerned with the work of land reform and Party consolidation, all the correct policies relating to these two tasks must be fully explained and a clear line must be drawn between what is and what is not permitted. All cadres working on land reform and Party consolidation are required to study seriously and understand fully the important documents issued by the Central Committee; cadres must be enjoined to adhere to them all and must not make any unauthorized change. In case parts of the documents do not suit local conditions, cadres may and should propose amendments, but they must secure the approval of the Central Committee before actually making any change. The higher leading organs of the various areas must make adequate and proper preparations beforehand for the cadres' conferences which are to be held at different levels this year. That is to say, before a conference is convened, there should be discussions among a few persons (with one of them taking the main responsibility), in the course of which questions are raised and analysed and an outline is written; this outline must be carefully worked out in content and wording (be sure to make it clear and concise and avoid long-windedness). Then a report should be made at the conference, discussion should be unfolded, the outline should be supplemented, revised and finalized in the light of the views expressed in the discussion, and the final document should be circulated in the whole Party and published, as far as possible, in the newspapers. It is necessary to oppose holding meetings in an empiricist way, that is, with no advance preparations, no problems raised or analysed and no report, carefully prepared and well-weighed in content and wording, submitted to the cadres' conference, but with the participants allowed to indulge in pointless, random talk so that the sessions drag on without reaching any clear, well-considered conclusion. Pay attention to eliminating this harmful empiricist way if it is found in the leadership work of any bureau or sub-bureau of the Central Committee, or in any area, provincial or prefectural Party committee. Conferences to discuss policy should not be attended by too many people and can be shortened if there is enough preparation. Generally it is proper for a dozen or so people, or twenty to thirty, or forty to fifty -- the number varying according to circumstances -- to meet for about a week. Meetings for transmitting policy may have a larger attendance but must not last too long either. The only conferences which may have a larger attendance and may last longer are those for Party consolidation among senior and middle-rank cadres.
3. By the first half or at the latest the second half of September, all cadres who are to take a direct part in the land reform must arrive in the villages and start work. Otherwise, it will be impossible to utilize the whole of the coming autumn and winter to complete the land reform, the Party consolidation and the formation of organs of political power and to prepare for spring ploughing.


At cadres' conferences as well as in their work, cadres must be taught how to analyse concrete situations and how, proceeding from the concrete situations in different areas with different historical conditions, to decide on their tasks and methods of work in a given place and time. Distinctions must be drawn between the cities and the rural areas and among the old Liberated Areas, semi-old Liberated Areas, areas bordering on enemy territory and new Liberated Areas; otherwise mistakes will be made.


The land problem should be considered solved and the question of land reform should not be raised again in areas where the feudal system has been fundamentally abolished, where the poor peasants and farm labourers have all acquired roughly the average amount of land and where there is still a difference (which is permissible) between their holdings and those of the middle peasants, but where the difference is not great. In these areas the central tasks are to restore and develop production, to complete the Party consolidation and the formation of organs of political power and to support the front. If, in certain villages in these areas, some land is still to be distributed or readjusted, the class status of some individuals still needs to be revised and some land certificates still have to be issued, these tasks should of course be completed in accordance with the actual circumstances.


In all the Liberated Areas, whether or not the land reform has been completed, we must direct the peasants to cultivate the wheat fields and to plough part of the land this autumn. In the winter, the peasants should be called upon to collect fertilizer. All this is vitally important to agricultural production and the 1949 harvests in the Liberated Areas and must be accomplished through administrative measures co-ordinated with mass work.


It is necessary resolutely to overcome certain manifestations of indiscipline or anarchy existing in many places. There are people who, without authorization, modify the policies and tactics adopted by the Central Committee or other higher Party committees and apply extremely harmful policies and tactics, which go against the united will and discipline but which they opinionatedly believe to be correct. There are also people who, on the pretext of pressure of work, adopt the wrong attitude of neither asking for instructions before an action is taken nor submitting a report afterwards and who regard the area they administer as an independent realm. All this is extremely harmful to the interests of the revolution. Party committees at every level must discuss this matter again and again and work earnestly to overcome such indiscipline and anarchy so that all the powers that can and must be centralized will be concentrated in the hands of the Central Committee and its agencies. [1]


The Central Committee, its bureaus (or sub-bureaus), the area (or provincial) Party committees and the prefectural, county and district Party committees down to the level of Party branches must establish close contact with each other in order to have a good grasp of trends in the various movements, constantly exchange information and experience, and promptly correct mistakes and spread successes. For these purposes, they should make full use of such means of communication as the radio, telegraph, telephone, posts and couriers; of such methods of consultation as small meetings (of four or five persons), joint local conferences (of a few counties) and personal talks; of such inspection tours as may be made by small groups (of three to five persons) or by individual committee members with prestige; and of the news agency and newspapers. There should be no waiting for several months, half a year or even longer before a lower organization submits its summary report to the one above, or before a higher organization issues general directives to those below. For such reports and directives often become out of date, losing all or part of their usefulness. And mistakes are made and cannot be corrected in time, causing serious damage. What the whole Party urgently needs is reports and directives that are timely, lively and concrete.


In exercising their leadership, the bureaus and sub-bureaus of the Central Committee and the area, provincial, prefectural and municipal Party committees must give proper attention to both urban and rural work, to the tasks of both industrial and agricultural production. That is to say, they should not, on account of directing the land reform and agricultural production, neglect to give leadership to urban work and industrial production or slacken their efforts in this regard. Since we now have many big, medium and small cities and a vast network of industries, mines and communications, we shall make mistakes if any of the leading organizations concerned becomes negligent or slackens its efforts in this respect.


1. The agencies of the Central Committee, as referred to here, were its bureaus and sub-bureaus.

Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung