Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung


January 5, 1953

[Inner-Party directive drafted for the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party.]

The task of combating bureaucracy, commandism and violations of the law and of discipline should arouse the attention of our leading bodies at all levels.

In the movement against the "three evils", our Party has basically solved the two problems of corruption and waste among many of our cadres at four levels, the central, the greater administrative area, the provincial and municipal, and the prefectural. It has also basically overcome one kind of bureaucracy, namely, that which alienates many leading cadres from those working under them. But the problem of the following kind of bureaucracy has not been basically solved in many areas, departments and fields of work. Some leading cadres are ignorant of the people's hardships, of the conditions in subordinate units only a short distance from their offices, and of the fact that among the cadres at the county, district and township levels there are many bad people guilty of commandism and violations of the law and of discipline. Or they may have some knowledge of such bad people and bad deeds, but turn a blind eye to them, feel no indignation, are not aware of the seriousness of the matter and so take no positive measure to back up good people and punish the bad or to encourage good deeds and stop bad ones. To cite the handling of letters from the masses as an example. Reports say that a certain provincial people's government has sat on well over seventy thousand letters; as for the number of letters shelved by Party and government organizations below the provincial level, we have no idea as yet, but presumably it is by no means small. Most of the letters appeal to us to help solve problems, and many contain accusations against certain cadres whose lawless behaviour requires prompt attention.

For our Party and government, bureaucracy and commandism are a big problem not only for today but for a long time to come. In terms of social origin, it reflects the survival in our Party and government of the reactionary style of work (an anti-popular style of work, a Kuomintang style of work) of the reactionary ruling classes in dealing with the people. As far as the role and methods of leadership of our Party and government organizations are concerned, it means failure to make clear the policy limits and the proper style of work when giving assignments, in other words, failure to give the cadres at the middle and lower levels receiving assignments thorough instructions on these matters. It means failure to make a proper examination, or indeed any examination at all, of cadres at the various levels, particularly at the county, district and township levels. It means failure to carry out Party consolidation work at these three levels or, in cases where Party consolidation has started, failure to launch a struggle to combat commandism and comb out violators of the law and of discipline. It means failure to combat and stamp out the kind of bureaucracy still existing among cadres in the leading organizations at the prefectural level and above, which finds expression in ignorance of and callousness to both the hardships of the masses and the conditions in the grass-roots organizations. If we strengthen and improve our role and methods of leadership, then bureaucracy and commandism, which are harmful to the people, will gradually diminish and many of our Party and government organizations will be able to break away sooner from this Kuomintang style of work. And the sooner will the many bad people who have infiltrated our Party and government organizations be combed out and the many bad deeds still evident today be eliminated.

Therefore, in 1953 starting with the handling of letters from the masses, please make an investigation into bureaucracy, commandism and violations of the law and of discipline and wage a resolute struggle against them in co-ordination with Party consolidation, Party building and other spheres of work. Typical cases of bureaucracy, commandism and violations of the law and of discipline should be widely exposed in the press. Serious offenders should be punished by law, and when they are Party members they should also be dealt with according to Party discipline. Party committees at all levels should make a determined effort to punish and clear out of Party and government organizations those violators of the law and of discipline who are bitterly hated by the masses, and the worst among them should be executed so as to assuage the people's anger and help educate the cadres and the masses. However, at an appropriate stage of the broad struggle against bad people and bad deeds, we should look into, evaluate and praise models of good people and good deeds in various places so that all Party members will strive to measure up to these fine models and what is upright will prevail over what is evil. We believe that a substantial number of such models are certain to be found in various parts of the country.

Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung