Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung


March 12, 1950

[Circular to the Central-South Bureau of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party and concurrently to the East China Bureau, the South China Sub-Bureau, the Southwest Bureau and the Northwest Bureau.]

At your current meeting of leading provincial comrades please gather opinions on the tactics for dealing with the rich peasants and telegraph these opinions to us. The tactics in question are to leave untouched not only the capitalist rich peasants but also the semi-feudal ones in the agrarian reform scheduled for this winter in southern provinces and some regions in the Northwest and to defer the solution of the problem of the semi-feudal rich peasants for several years. Please consider whether this way is not more advantageous. The reasons for taking this course are: First, the agrarian reform is unprecedented in scale and ultra-Left deviations are likely to occur. If we touch only the landlords and not the rich peasants, we can more effectively isolate the landlords, protect the middle peasants and guard against indiscriminate beating and killing, which would be very hard to prevent otherwise. Second, the agrarian reform in the north was carried out in wartime, with the atmosphere of war prevailing over that of agrarian reform; but now, with the fighting practically over, the agrarian reform stands out in sharp relief, and the shock to society will be particularly great and the landlords' outcries particularly shrill. If we leave the semi-feudal rich peasants untouched for the time being and deal with them a few years later, we will stand on stronger ground, that is to say, politically we will have more initiative. Third, we have formed a united front with the national bourgeoisie politically, economically and organizationally; and since the national bourgeoisie is closely tied up with the land problem, it seems better not to touch the semi-feudal rich peasants for the time being in order to set the minds of the national bourgeoisie at rest.

At the meeting of the Political Bureau last November, I raised the question of not touching the rich peasants for the time being, but neither a detailed analysis nor a decision was made then. Now is the time to make a decision. Following that, the Land Law and other documents related to agrarian reform will have to be revised and promulgated for the agrarian reform cadres in the recently liberated provinces to study, so that we can facilitate the agrarian reform which is due to begin after the autumn harvest. Otherwise, we would be letting the right moment slip by and lose the initiative. Therefore, it is most important for the comrades not only of the Central-South Bureau but also of the East China Bureau, the South China Sub-Bureau, the Southwest Bureau and the Northwest Bureau to discuss this question, forward this telegram to the provincial and municipal committees under them for discussion, collect opinions, pro and con, and promptly telegraph them to the Central Committee for our consideration in making the decision.

Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung