Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung


March 1955


March 21, 1955

Comrade Delegates to the National Conference of the Communist Party of China,

There are three items on the agenda of our present National Conference: (1) the First Five-Year Plan for the Development of the National Economy and a report on this plan; (2) a report on the anti-Party alliance of Kao Kang and Jao Shu-shih; and (3) the establishment of a central control commission.

Basing itself on Lenin's teachings on the transition period, the Central Committee summed up the experience gained after the founding of the People's Republic of China and in 1952 put forward the Party's general line for the transition period at the time when the stage of the rehabilitation of China's national economy was coming to an end. This general line means the accomplishment step by step of the socialist industrialization of the country together with the socialist transformation of agriculture, handicrafts and capitalist industry and commerce in a period of roughly three five-year plans and thus the attainment of the goal of building a socialist society in China. Practice has borne out the correctness of the Party's general line and of the important policies and measures adopted to implement it. There have been great achievements in our work thanks to the efforts of all comrades in the Party and of the people of the whole country. But there have also been shortcomings and mistakes. It is impossible for many of the measures we devised to be appropriate in all respects, and they have to be supplemented and revised in the light of new experience in the process of being carried out.

The First Five-Year Plan for the Development of the National Economy is a major step towards the realization of the Party's general line. The present National Conference should discuss this draft plan conscientiously in the light of our practical experience so as to make it relatively sound in content and therefore workable.

It is no easy job to build a socialist society in a large country like ours with its complicated conditions and its formerly very backward economy. We may be able to build a socialist society over three five-year plans, but to build a strong, highly industrialized socialist country will require several decades of hard work, say, fifty years, or the entire second half of the present century. Our task requires us to handle the relations among the people well, particularly those between the working class and the peasantry; it requires us to handle the relations among our different nationalities well. At the same time, it requires us to do a good job in furthering close co-operation with the Soviet Union, which is a great and advanced socialist country, and with the People's Democracies and also to promote co-operation with all the peace-loving countries and people in the capitalist world.

We often say that we should not become conceited because we have done well in our work and that we comrades should remain modest and learn from the advanced countries, from the masses and from each other so as to make fewer mistakes. I think all this still needs to be repeated at the present Party conference. We can see from the anti-Party case of Kao Kang and Jao Shu-shih that conceit and complacency do exist in our Party and indeed to a serious extent among certain comrades. Failure to overcome them will hinder the accomplishment of our great task of building a socialist society.

As you comrades all know, the emergence of the anti-Party alliance of Kao Kang and Jao Shu-shih was by no means accidental, but was an acute manifestation of the intense class struggle in our country at the present stage. The criminal aim of this anti-Party alliance was to split our Party and seize supreme power in the Party and the state by conspiratorial means, and thus pave the way for a counter-revolutionary come-back. Under the unified leadership of the Central Committee, our Party has smashed the anti-Party alliance and become still more united and consolidated. This is an important victory in our struggle for the cause of socialism.

The case of Kao Kang and Jao Shu-shih serves as an important lesson for our Party, and all the members should take warning and make sure that similar cases will not recur in the Party. Kao Kang and Jao Shu-shih schemed and conspired, operated clandestinely in the Party and surreptitiously sowed dissension among comrades, but in public they put up a front to camouflage their activities. These were precisely the kind of vile activities the landlord class and the bourgeoisie usually resorted to in the past. In the Manifesto of the Communist Party Marx and Angels say, "The Communists disdain to conceal their views and aims." As Communists, let alone as senior Party cadres, we must all be open and above-board politically, always ready to express our political views openly and take a stand, for or against, on each and every important political issue. We must never follow the example of Kao Kang and Jao Shu-shih and resort to scheming.

For the purpose of building a socialist society, the Central Committee deems it necessary at this juncture to set up a central control commission in accordance with the Party Constitution to replace the old Discipline Inspection Commission. Its aim is to tighten Party discipline in the new period of intense class struggle, step up the struggle against all kinds of violations of the law and of discipline and in particular guard against the recurrence of cases like the Kao-Jao anti-Party alliance which seriously jeopardizes the interests of the Party.

In view of the various lessons of the past and the fact that only through being integrated with collective wisdom can individual wisdom be turned to better account so that fewer mistakes are made in our work, the Central Committee and the Party committees at all levels must adhere to the principle of collective leadership and continue to oppose two deviations, personal dictatorship and decentralism. We must understand that collective leadership and personal responsibility are two aspects which are not opposed but are linked to each other. And personal responsibility and personal dictatorship, which violates the principle of collective leadership, are two entirely different things.

Internationally, conditions at present are favourable to our socialist construction. The socialist camp headed by the Soviet Union is strong and its ranks are united, while the imperialist camp is weak and beset by numerous insurmountable contradictions and crises. Even so, we should realize that we are still surrounded by imperialist forces and must be prepared against all possible emergencies. If the imperialists should unleash a war in the future, very likely they would launch a surprise attack, as in World War II. Therefore, we must be prepared, mentally and materially, to avoid being caught unawares by such a sudden turn. This is one aspect of the matter. The other aspect is that the remaining counter-revolutionary forces inside the country are still very active, and, basing ourselves on the facts, we must deal them more blows in a planned and discriminating way so as to further weaken these hidden counter-revolutionaries and ensure the safety of our socialist construction. If we take proper measures with regard to these two aspects, we can prevent our enemies from doing us serious harm; otherwise, we may make mistakes.

Comrades, we are now in a new historical period. For a country in the Orient with a population of 600 million to make socialist revolution, to change its face and the course of its history, to accomplish its basic industrialization and the socialist transformation of agriculture, handicrafts and capitalist industry and commerce in a period of roughly three five-year plans and to catch up with or surpass the most powerful capitalist countries in the world in several decades -- in doing all this it will inevitably encounter difficulties as numerous as or perhaps even greater than those encountered in the period of the democratic revolution. Nevertheless, comrades, we Communists are known for our dauntlessness before difficulties. Tactically, we must take all difficulties seriously. We must adopt a serious attitude towards each specific difficulty, create the necessary conditions, study the methods for coping with them and overcome them one by one and batch by batch. Our experience over the past decades shows that we did succeed in overcoming every difficulty encountered. Every kind of difficulty has to give way before Communists, just as in the saying, "Mountains bow their heads and rivers make way." The lesson derived from this is that we can scorn difficulties. Here we are talking of strategy, of the situation as a whole. However great the difficulty, we can readily take its measure. Difficulties are nothing but what both our enemies in society and Nature put in our way. We know that the imperialists, the domestic counter-revolutionaries, their agents in our Party, and so on, are mere moribund forces, while we ourselves constitute the new-born forces with truth on our side. Against them we are always invincible. A review of our history will enable us to see the point. When our Party was first founded in 1921, it was very small and had only a few score members, yet later it grew in strength and succeeded in overthrowing its powerful domestic enemy. Nature as an enemy can be conquered, too. In Nature as in society, all new-born forces are intrinsically invincible. Conversely, all the old forces, however numerous, are bound to be eliminated. Therefore, we can and must scorn all the difficulties we encounter in this world, however immense they may be, and regard them as beneath contempt. Such is our optimism. It is based on scientific grounds. Provided that we know more about Marxism-Leninism and the natural sciences, in short, more about the laws of the objective world and make fewer mistakes of a subjectivist kind, we are sure to attain our goals in revolution and construction.


March 31, 1955


The speeches from the floor have ended. Now I'll say a few words on the following questions: an evaluation of the present conference, the Five-Year Plan, the case of Kao Kang and Jao Shu-shih, the current situation, and the Eighth Congress.


Most comrades agree that the conference has been a great success and that it has been another rectification meeting, following the rectification of the Yenan days. Democracy has been promoted and criticism and self-criticism carried out, which has enabled us to know each other better, think more along the same lines and arrive at a common understanding. There was common understanding among us, but on some questions opinions differed, and this conference has enabled us to unify our understanding. Our Party will be better united on this basis, that is, on the basis of our common understanding of ideology, politics and various policies. As Comrade Chou En-lai put it, if the Seventh National Congress of the Party and the all-Party ideological and political rectification in the period preceding it laid the foundation of our Party's ideological unity, a unity on which we proceeded to win victory in the democratic revolution against imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat-capitalism, then the present conference will enable us to win victory for socialism.

This conference has proved that our Party has attained a much higher level. Our Party has made great strides not only since the Seventh Congress ten years ago, but also since the Second and Third Plenary Sessions of the Seventh Central Committee in 1949 and 1950. This is good, the conference indicates our progress.

We have entered a period, a new period in our history, in which what we have set ourselves to do, think about and dig into is socialist industrialization, socialist transformation and the modernization of our national defence, and we are beginning to do the same thing with atomic energy. So far as the Party as a whole is concerned, some comrades are digging deep into their jobs while others are not, and this is true of the comrades present at this conference. As is the case with doctors, some can perform operations, others can't. Some can give intravenous injections while others can't and know only how to give subcutaneous injections. And there are doctors who don't dare to go beneath the skin and can work only on the surface. Although some are not digging into their jobs, most comrades are, and quite a few seem to have learned their trade and are becoming rather expert at it. This has been borne out at this conference and is a very good thing. For we are now confronted with new problems, socialist industrialization, socialist transformation, a new defence system and other new fields of work. It is our task to adapt ourselves to this new situation, dig into our jobs and become experts. It is therefore necessary to educate those who have failed to dig into their jobs and remained on the surface, so that they will all turn into experts.

The struggle against the anti-Party alliance of Kao Kang and Jao Shu-shih will take our Party a big step forward.

We must propagate dialectical materialism among the five million intellectuals inside and outside the Party and among cadres at all levels so that they will grasp it and combat idealism, and we shall then be able to organize a powerful corps of theoretical workers, which we urgently need. That again will be a very good thing.

We must draw up a plan for the formation of such a corps with several million people taking up the study of dialectical materialism and historical materialism, the theoretical basis of Marxism, and combating all shades of idealism and mechanical materialism. At present there are many cadres doing theoretical work, but there is still no corps of theoretical workers, much less a powerful one. Without such a corps, the cause of the entire Party, the socialist industrialization and socialist transformation of our country, the modernization of our national defence and our research in atomic energy cannot move along or succeed. I therefore recommend that you comrades read philosophy. Quite a few people are not interested in philosophy and have not cultivated the habit of reading it. They can begin by reading pamphlets or short articles and, after their interest is thus aroused, tackle books running to a length of seventy thousand or eighty thousand and then even several hundred thousand words. Marxism consists of several branches of learning: Marxist philosophy, Marxist economics and Marxist socialism, that is, the theory of class struggle, but the foundation is Marxist philosophy. If this is not grasped, we will not have a common language or any common method, and we may keep on arguing back and forth without making things any clearer. Once dialectical materialism is grasped, a lot of trouble will be saved and many mistakes avoided.


Comrades say that during the discussion of the Five-Year Plan most speeches were good and they all feel satisfied with them. Some speeches were exceptionally good, for the speakers gave thorough expositions and sounded rather like experts. But some of the speeches delivered on behalf of the central departments were rather poor in content and left something to be desired in the way of analysis and criticism. The same holds for some of the speeches by comrades from different localities. Then there is something else. In certain speeches the grave problem of waste and other errors were exposed for what they are, but nothing was said about ways to tackle them. Some comrades are dissatisfied with these speeches. I think there is cause for such dissatisfaction.

I hope that all secretaries of provincial, municipal and prefectural Party committees and the comrades in charge of the central departments will strive to become expert in political and economic work on the basis of a higher level of Marxism-Leninism. They must do well both in political and ideological work and in economic construction. As for the latter, we must really get to know how to do it.

In regard to the many problems submitted by the local authorities at this conference to the central authorities for solution, efforts should be made to solve them in those cases where guidelines have been laid down by the Central Committee. As for the other problems, the secretariat of the conference should work out solutions with the comrades who raised them and submit reports to the Central Committee for decision.

Then there are also many matters in which the central departments would like to enlist the co-operation of the local authorities. The local Party committees are requested to supervise and help the enterprises of the central departments in different localities, particularly in regard to political and ideological work. It is incumbent upon the local Party committees to help these enterprises to fulfil their tasks. Therefore, not only do the local authorities have demands on the central authorities but the same is true the other way round. The First Five-Year Plan can be successfully carried out only when the central departments and the local Party committees bend their efforts in a single direction and work in co-operation with a due division of labour.


The first point. Some ask, "Was there or was there not such an alliance? Were there perhaps two independent kingdoms or two go-it-alone firms, and not an alliance?" Some comrades say that they have not come across any document and that if Kao and Jao had an alliance, there must be some kind of agreement, and an agreement must be in black and white. To be sure, there is no written agreement, it's nowhere to be found. We say Kao Kang and Jao Shu-shih did have an alliance. How did we find this out? First, we found it out when Kao Kang worked hand in glove with Jao Shu-shih during the Conference on Financial and Economic Work. Second, we found it out when Jao Shu-shih collaborated with Chang Hsiu-shan in their anti-Party activities during the Conference on Organizational Work. Third, we found it out from Jao Shu-shih's own words. He said, "From now on Kuo Feng will serve as the pivot of the Organization Department of the Central Committee." Jao Shu-shih was director of the Organization Department and Kuo Feng, Kao Kang's confidant, was to be the pivot there. Very fine! What perfect unity! Fourth, we found it out when Kao Kang and Jao Shu-shih spread far and wide a list of prospective Political Bureau members illicitly drawn up by An Tzu-wen. For this An Tzu-wen was given disciplinary warning. Kao Kang, Jao Shu-shih and others spread this list to all those attending the Conference on Organizational Work and even had it circulated in the southern provinces. What was their motive in giving it such wide currency? Fifth, we found it out when Kao Kang twice expressed to me his wish to have Jao Shu-shih protected, while Jao Shu-shih went on protecting Kao Kang right up to the end. Kao Kang said that Jao Shu-shih was now in hot water and wanted me to help him out. Why, I asked, are you speaking for him? I'm in Peking and so is Jao Shu-shih. Why does he want you to speak for him and not come to me direct? Even if he were in Tibet, he could send a telegram. He is right here in Peking and he's got legs. The other occasion was the day before Kao Kang was exposed, and he tried once more to protect Jao Shu-shih. Jao Shu-shih persisted to the end in protecting Kao Kang and wanted to redress the "injustices" done to Kao Kang. At an enlarged meeting of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee to expose Kao Kang, I said there were two headquarters in Peking. The first headed by me stirred up an open wind and lit an open fire. The second headed by others stirred up a sinister wind and lit a sinister fire; it was operating underground. Did political leadership come from one or more sources? Judged by the many facts mentioned above, they did have an anti-Party alliance and were not two independent kingdoms or two go-it-alone firms which had nothing to do with each other.

Now about the doubts expressed by some comrades to the effect that since there was no written agreement, perhaps there wasn't an alliance after all. This is putting anti-Party alliances knocked together by schemers on a par with open and formal political and economic alliances in general and regarding the two as of the same kind. They were conspiring. Does a conspiracy need a written agreement? If no written agreement means no alliance, then how about each of the two anti-Party cliques headed separately by Kao Kang and Jao Shu-shih? Kao Kang didn't sign any covenant with Chang Hsiu-shan, Chang Ming-yuan, Chao Teh-tsun, Ma Hung and Kuo Feng who were in his clique. Anyway we have not seen any written agreement of theirs. Then is the existence of this anti-Party clique, too, to be denied? Neither have we seen any covenant signed by Jao Shu-shih with Hsiang Ming and Yang Fan. So it is wrong to say that no alliance can exist without a written agreement.

The second point. What should be the attitude of comrades who fell under the influence of Kao and Jao and of those who did not? Those who did were influenced in varying degrees. Some were influenced in a general way, Kao and Jao brushed them with their wings. A few comrades were deeply influenced, they talked over many things with Kao and Jao, carried on clandestine activities and spread their views. There is a difference between these two categories of people. But whatever the degree of such influence, most comrades have made their attitude clear at this conference. Some were very good in their attitude and this was welcomed by all. Some others were fairly good in their attitude and this was welcomed by most of the comrades though what they said was not free from shortcomings. Some didn't go far enough but have followed up with supplementary remarks today. Some speeches were good on the whole, but had parts that were not quite right. In any case, all of them have more or less indicated where they stand, and we should welcome that. After all they have done something to make their positions clear. A few comrades who wanted to speak but didn't for lack of time can send in written reports to the Central Committee. With those who have not spoken the problem is not serious, they just got grazed and were privy to some of the doings of Kao and Jao but failed to reveal them. As for those who have spoken, aren't there some who are still holding something back? Well, let it now be decided that comrades can get back their speeches and reports for revision, whether they were on the Five-Year Plan or on the anti-Party alliance of Kao and Jao. These comrades may go over their wording carefully and have five days to change whatever they had said inadequately or not quite correctly. Don't get a handle on anyone to make things hard for him in the future merely because he said something not quite right at this conference. You are allowed to make corrections and your revised text will be taken as final.

We should take this attitude towards these comrades, that is, we should not only observe but also help them, in the hope that they will correct their mistakes. In other words, we should not only observe them to see whether they are going to correct their mistakes but also help them to do so. Everybody needs help. With all its beauty the lotus needs the green of its leaves to set it off. A fence needs the support of three stakes, an able fellow needs the help of three other people. To go it alone is no good, and help from others is always necessary. And this is all the more necessary on the matter in question. It is necessary to observe these people, to see whether they are going to mend their ways. But merely to observe them is passive, it is also necessary to give them help. As for those comrades who fell under the influence of Kao and Jao, regardless of the extent, we should be glad to see them mend their ways and should not only observe but also help them. Such is the positive attitude towards comrades who have made mistakes.

Comrades who did not come under their influence should not become conceited but should guard against this sort of disease. This is extremely important. Among the comrades mentioned earlier, probably some were duped and others rather deeply involved. But having made mistakes, these comrades may become more or less alert and avoid similar mistakes in future. You become immune to some diseases after having them. Vaccination has a preventive effect. But it is not a sure guarantee and you may still get smallpox. Therefore it is better to have another vaccination--in our case another meeting of the present kind -- after a lapse of three or five years. Other comrades should not be conceited, but should guard against making mistakes. Why didn't Kao Kang and Jao Shu-shih approach these people? There are several categories. The first category consists of those they regarded as their enemies, and naturally they would not try to influence them. The second consists of those they looked down upon as of no consequence, and they felt no need to influence them at this stage, thinking that these people would automatically come over when the "country was well under control". The third category consists of those they did not dare to approach, probably because these people were better immunized and didn't look like the sort of people they wanted; although they didn't regard them as enemies or as of no consequence, nevertheless they did not dare to approach them. The fourth category consists of those they hadn't had time to influence. This sort of plague takes time to spread. Defer the exposure for another year and you can't be sure that some more might not have become infected. So don't play the braggart and say, "Look, haven't you got smirched? But see how clean I am!" If the exposure had been put off for another year, I dare say quite a few people would have been affected.

The above, I believe, should arouse the attention of both the comrades who fell under the influence of Kao and Jao and those who did not.

The third point. On matters of principle, we should constantly be on our guard and keep a certain distance from comrades when their remarks or actions run counter to Party principles. Whenever their remarks and actions do run counter to Party principles and repel us, we should not identify ourselves with them on such matters and in such circumstances. As for their remarks and actions which conform to Party principles, on such matters as the Five-Year Plan, the resolution and report on the anti-Party alliance of Kao and Jao, our correct policies and Party rules and regulations, we should of course give them strong backing and identify ourselves with them. We should keep a certain distance from whatever is inconsistent with Party principles, in other words, we should draw a clear line of demarcation and rebuff it then and there. We should not fail to keep this distance merely because someone is an old friend, an old superior, an old subordinate, an old colleague, a schoolmate or a fellow townsman. We have repeatedly had this experience in the current anti-Party case of Kao and Jao and in the previous two-line struggles in the Party: when on account of an old and intimate relationship with certain people you find it difficult to speak out and fail to keep a certain distance, give any rebuff and draw a clear line of demarcation, you'll find yourself more and more deeply involved and haunted by their "ghosts". Therefore we must take a stand and adhere to principle.

The fourth point. Some comrades say, "We knew of some of the bad deeds of Kao and Jao, but did not discern their plot." I would say there are two categories. First, there are those who heard Kao and Jao say many things which were against Party principles, and furthermore Kao and Jao consulted with them on some of their anti-Party activities. These people should have discerned their plot. Second, there are those who learned of their bad deeds in a general way but did not realize they had a plot. These people are not to blame, for it was not easy to discern. It was only in 1953 that the Central Committee detected their anti-Party conspiracy. After what happened at the Conferences on Financial and Economic Work and on Organizational Work and after all the goings-on prior to the Conference on Financial and Economic Work, we realized that they were not behaving normally. During the Conference on Financial and Economic Work their unusual activities were discovered and on each occasion they were rebuked. So from then on they switched over completely to undercover activities. It was not until the autumn and winter of 1953 that we detected this conspiracy, the conspirators and the cliques. For quite some time we had no idea that Kao Kang and Jao Shu-shih were bad types. This kind of thing had happened before. During the Chingkang Mountains period there were a few renegades, and we never suspected that they would betray the revolution. Very likely you have all had similar experiences.

We should draw a lesson here: Don't be misled by false appearances. Some of our comrades are easily misled by them. There is contradiction between appearance and essence in everything. It is by analysing and studying the appearance of a thing that people come to know its essence. Hence the need for science. Otherwise, if one could get at the essence of a thing by intuition, what would be the use of science? What would be the use of study? Study is called for precisely because there is contradiction between appearance and essence. There is a difference, though, between the appearance and the false appearance of a thing, because the latter is false. Hence we draw the lesson: Try as far as possible not to be misled by false appearances.

The fifth point. The danger of conceit. Don't play the braggart. Our cause depends on the many for its success and the few play only a limited role. While the few, that is, the leaders and cadres, play a role that should be recognized, it is not a role of signal importance. The role of signal importance is played by the masses. The correct relationship between the cadres and the masses is such that, necessary as the cadres are, it is the masses who do the actual work, with the cadres giving leadership, a role which should not be exaggerated. Would things be in a mess without you? Things can get along without you, as history and many facts of life can testify. Have things been in a mess, say, without Kao Kang and Jao Shu-shih? Well, things are going quite well, aren't they? Without Trotsky, without Chang Kuo-tao, without Chen Tu-hsiu, things have gone quite well, too. They were all bad characters. Confucius has been dead for ages and today we have a Communist Party in China, which is surely wiser than Confucius; this goes to show that we can do better without Confucius. As for good people, they are not indispensable either. Would the earth stop turning without them? The earth will go on turning all the same. Things will proceed as usual or perhaps even better.

We have two kinds of people. The first are the veterans, and many of you here are high in seniority; the second are the new blood, the young people. Which of the two holds out greater promise? Certainly the new blood, as Comrade Chou En-lai said today. Some comrades are swollen with pride just because they are veterans of the revolution. This is quite unwarranted. If allowance is to be made for being proud of oneself, it is rather the young people who have something to be proud of. As for people over forty or fifty, the older they are and the more experience they have, the more modest they should be. Leave it to the young people to realize that we are really experienced: "These veterans do have some experience. We should not underrate them. Look, how modest they are!" If people over forty or fifty became conceited in spite of their rich experience, what sorry figures they would cut! That would start the young talking, "All your experience is nothing, you are behaving just like kids." Young kids may like to show off a bit, that's understandable. But for people who are getting on in years and have so much experience behind them to be conceited and so cocky, that's quite uncalled for. As the saying goes, "Behave yourself and tuck your tail between your legs." Human beings have no tails, but why talk about tucking the tail between the legs? Let a dog illustrate our point. There are times when a dog sticks its tail up and there are times when it tucks its tail between its legs. Generally, it tucks its tail between its legs when beaten and sticks its tail up when doing fine. I hope all our comrades, and veteran comrades most of all, will, so to speak, tuck their tails between their legs rather than stick them up, guard against conceit and rashness, always remain modest and keep forging ahead.

The sixth point. Guard against "Left" and Right deviations. Some people say, "It is better to be on the 'Left' than on the Right," a remark repeated by many comrades. In fact, there are many who say to themselves that "It is better to be on the Right than on the 'Left' ", but they don't say it aloud. Only those who are honest say so openly. So there are these two opinions. What is "Left"? To move far ahead of the times, to outpace current developments, to be rash in action and in matters of principle and policy and to hit out indiscriminately in struggles and controversies -- these are "Left" deviations and are no good. To fall behind the times, to fail to keep pace with current developments and to be lacking in militancy --these are Right deviations and are no good either. In our Party there are people who prefer to be on the "Left", and then there are also quite a few who prefer to be on the Right or to take a position right of centre. Neither is good. We must wage a struggle on both fronts, combating both "Left" and Right deviations.

That's all I want to say about the anti-Party alliance of Kao Kang and Jao Shu-shih.


How do things stand with respect to the international situation, the situation at home and that in the Party? Which is predominant -- the bright side or the dark? It must be affirmed that the bright side predominates over the dark whether internationally, at home or in the Party. Likewise with our conference. Don't think that everything is dark merely because so many people have made a self-criticism. These comrades laid the emphasis on their shortcomings and mistakes and did not touch on their positive points, leaving out such things as the time when they joined the revolution, the battles they won and the successes they achieved in their work. If you judge by their self-criticism alone, then there is nothing but darkness. In fact this is only one side of the story and for many comrades the secondary one. The case is different with Kao Kang and Jao Shu-shih and their five lieutenants, Chang Hsiu-shan, Chang Ming-yuan, Chao Teh-tsun, Ma Hung and Kuo Feng. The estimate that the bright side is predominant cannot apply to them. What predominant bright side is there in Kao Kang's case? There is darkness through and through, a mass of murkiness which neither moonlight nor sunlight can penetrate. Things are quite different with our comrades. They are stained with a few dark spots which can be removed by the repeated use of soap.

Why do we call for preparedness against a sudden turn of events, against a counter-revolutionary come-back and against the recurrence of an incident of the Kao-Jao kind? Because we have nothing to lose if we are prepared for the worst. Whatever work we do, we must envisage the worst possibilities and plan accordingly. The worst that might happen can only be the following: a new world war unleashed by the imperialists, Chiang Kai-shek back in the saddle in Peking, and the recurrence of such incidents as the Kao-Jao anti-Party alliance, and what is more, not just one of these events may occur but as many as ten or even a hundred. But whatever their number, as long as we are prepared beforehand there is no cause for alarm. If ten happen, that means only five pair and there is nothing to make a fuss about since we have anticipated them all. Imperialism brandishes its atom bomb and hydrogen bomb to scare us and that doesn't frighten us either. The world is so constituted that there is always one thing to conquer another. When one thing is used for attack, there is bound to be another to conquer it. If you read the novel Apotheosis of Heroes, [1] you will know that there is no such thing as an invincible "magic weapon". Hosts of "magic weapons" have in fact been defeated. We believe that so long as we rely on the people there is no invincible "magic weapon" in this world.


The Central Committee has decided to convene the Eighth National Congress of the Party in the second half of 1956. There will be three items on the agenda: (1) a report on the work of the Central Committee; (2) the revision of the Party Constitution; and (3) the election of a new Central Committee. The election of delegates and the preparation of documents should be completed before July next year. We call for a big step forward within a little over a year in all fields of work: the economy, culture and education, military affairs, the Party, politics and ideology, mass organizations, the united front and the minority nationalities.

In passing, a few words about minority nationality work. We must combat Han chauvinism. Don't get the idea that it is the Han nationality that has been helping the minority nationalities. In fact, the minority nationalities have been helping the Han nationality a great deal. Some comrades like to brag about the help given to the minority nationalities, but they don't realize that we can't do without the minority nationalities. Who is it that inhabits 50 to 60 per cent of our territory, the Hans or the other nationalities? The minority nationalities. Rich resources and hidden wealth abound in these areas. Till now we have given the minority nationalities little help and in some places no help at all, whereas the minority nationalities have rendered help to the Hans. Some minority nationalities, however, must have our help first before they can help us. Politically the minority nationalities have given the Han nationality big help; their participation in the community of the Chinese nation constitutes political help to the Han nationality. The people of the whole country are pleased that the minority nationalities and the Hans are united. So the minority nationalities have been a great help politically, economically and in national defence to the whole country, the whole Chinese nation. It is wrong to think that only the Hans have helped the minority nationalities while the minority nationalities have not helped the Hans, or to swell with pride over the little help given to the minority nationalities.

When we say that a big step forward must be taken in all fields within a year, we mean that the shortcomings and mistakes exposed must be remedied. Don't just make promises at this conference and leave these shortcomings and mistakes intact and uncorrected when the Eighth Congress is convened next year. What we mean by striving for the convocation of the Eighth Congress is precisely to have our shortcomings and mistakes remedied. For instance, we must make conscientious efforts to do away with extravagance and waste and the big-roof style of architecture. Don't make promises here and the moment you are home, stretch out and go to sleep.

Some people suggest that a conference of this kind should be held either annually or every other year so that there can be mutual supervision among comrades. I think the suggestion is worth considering. Who is to exercise supervision over people like us? Mutual supervision is a good idea, it will promote the rapid progress of the cause of the Party and the state. We need rapid progress, not slow. We haven't had a Party congress for ten years. Of course, in the first five years it would not have been right to call another congress because the war was going on with all its stresses and strains and because the Seventh Congress had met. During the second five years a congress could have been held but it wasn't. Still something was gained by not convening it. It was better to get to the bottom of the case of Kao and Jao before the congress, or otherwise they would have made full use of the Eighth Congress for their own ends. In the meantime, our Five-Year Plan is well under way, we have put forward the general line for the transition period and through this conference we have achieved greater unity in thinking, thus paving the way for the Eighth National Congress of the Party. While not every delegate will be required to make a self-criticism at the forthcoming congress, there should be open criticism and self-criticism of shortcomings and mistakes in our work. It is wrong not to apply this Marxist principle.

Criticism should be sharp. I don't find the criticism made by some comrades at this conference very sharp; they seem to be afraid of offending others. If you are not sharp enough, if the sting doesn't reach home, the person criticized will not feel any pain and take any heed. Identify by name the person and the department involved. You have done a poor job and I am not satisfied, and if you feel offended, so be it. Fear of offending others is only fear of losing votes and of an uneasy relationship in work. Will I lose my rice-bowl if you don't vote for me? Nothing of the kind. Actually, if you speak your mind and lay the issues on the table sharply, you'll find it easier to get along with others. Don't draw in your horns. Why does an ox have two horns? They are for fighting, for self-defence and attack. I often ask comrades if they have "horns" on their heads. Comrades, touch and feel if you have any. I can see some comrades have horns, some have horns but not very sharp ones, and others have no horns at all. In my opinion, it is better to have them, for that goes well with Marxism. One of the tenets of Marxism is criticism and self-criticism.

So to hold meetings at regular intervals for conducting criticism and self-criticism is a good measure for exercising mutual supervision among comrades and promoting the rapid progress of the cause of the Party and the state. I suggest that you comrades of the provincial and municipal Party committees think it over and see if you can do likewise. You want to follow the example of the Central Committee don't you? I think on this score you can.

Finally, I call on you comrades here and all Party members:

Strive for the successful convocation of the Eighth National Congress of the Party in 1956!

Strive for the successful fulfilment of the First Five-Year Plan !


1. A Chinese mythological novel with the conflict between the ancient states of Shang and Chou as background.

Transcription by the Maoist Documentation Project.
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Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung