Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung


November 15, 1956

I am going to speak on four questions: the economy, the international situation, Sino-Soviet relations and the question of great and small democracy.


We must make a comprehensive analysis of a problem before it can be properly solved. Whether to advance or to retreat, whether to get on or get off the horse, must accord with dialectics. In this world there are always cases of getting on or off the horse, of advancing or retreating. How is it possible to ride all day without getting off? When we walk, our two feet do not move forward together, but always one after the other. When we take a step, one foot moves forward, the other stays behind, and when we take the next, the latter moves forward, leaving the former behind. We see in a movie that the figures are continually in motion on the screen, but when we look at the filmstrip, we see they are all motionless in each frame. The essay "Under Heaven" in Chuang Tzu says, "The shadow of a flying bird is not in motion." All things are at once in motion and not in motion -- such is the dialectics of our world. Pure motionlessness does not exist, neither does pure motion. Motion is absolute while rest is temporary and conditional.

Our planned economy is at once in equilibrium and in disequilibrium. Equilibrium is temporary and conditional. After equilibrium is temporarily established, changes will take place. Equilibrium in the first half of the year will become disequilibrium in the second half; equilibrium in the current year will change into disequilibrium in the next. It is impossible to have equilibrium all the time without having it upset. We Marxists hold that disequilibrium, contradiction, struggle and development are absolute, while equilibrium and rest are relative. Relative means temporary, conditional. Viewed in this light, is our economy advancing or retreating? We should tell the cadres and the masses that it is both advancing and retreating, but mainly advancing, though not in a straight line but in a wave-like manner. Although there are times when we get off the horse, as a rule we get on more often. Are our Party committees at all levels, the various central departments and the governments at all levels promoting progress or promoting retrogression? Fundamentally speaking, they are promoting progress. Society is always advancing, for to advance, to develop, is the general trend.

Is the First Five-Year Plan correct? I support the opinion that it is essentially correct, as is clearly shown by the first four years of its implementation. True, there have been mistakes, but this is hardly avoidable because we lack experience. Shall we still make mistakes in the future when we have gained experience after several five-year plans? Yes, we shall. One can never acquire enough experience. Will it be possible to make no mistakes at all in planning ten thousand years hence? Things happening ten thousand years hence will no longer be our business, but one thing is certain, mistakes will be made even then. Young people will make mistakes, but won't older people? Confucius said that at the age of seventy whatever he did was in conformity with objective law [1] but I don't believe it, he was just bragging. Some of the construction projects above the norm in our First Five-Year Plan have been designed for us by the Soviet Union, but most of them have been of our own designing. Do you think the Chinese are incompetent? Why, we are competent too. However, it must be admitted that we are still not so competent, for we cannot as yet design some of the projects ourselves. There has been a problem in our construction in the last few years. As some comrades put it, attention has been paid only to the "bones" but very little to the "flesh". Factory buildings have been put up and machinery and other equipment installed without the municipal construction and service facilities to go with them, and this will become a big problem in the future. In my view, its effects will be felt not during the First Five-Year Plan, but during the Second, or perhaps the Third. As to whether the First Five-Year Plan is correct, we can draw a partial conclusion now and another one next year, but I think a comprehensive conclusion will have to wait till the last phase of the Second Five-Year Plan. It is impossible to avoid some degree of subjectivism in planning. To make a few mistakes is not so bad. Achievements have a dual character and so have mistakes. Achievements encourage people but at the same time are liable to turn their heads; mistakes depress people and cause anxiety, hence they are an enemy, but at the same time a good teacher. On the whole, nothing seriously or fundamentally wrong has been found in the First Five-Year Plan so far.

We must protect the enthusiasm of the cadres and the masses and not pour cold water on them. Once some people did pour cold water on the socialist transformation of agriculture, and there was then, as it were, a "committee for promoting retrogression". We pointed out later that it was not right to pour cold water, so we countered with a committee for promoting progress. According to the original plan, the socialist transformation of ownership was to be basically completed in eighteen years, but with this promotion it has been greatly speeded up. The Draft Programme for Agricultural Development stipulates that higher-stage agricultural co-operation should be completed in 1958, and now it seems that we can achieve the aim this winter or next spring. There may be quite a few flaws in the process, but this is better than that committee for promoting retrogression; the peasants are pleased and there has been an increase in agricultural production. But for this co-operative transformation, the grain output could not have increased this year by over 20,000 million catties in the face of such severe natural calamities. In the stricken areas, the existence of co-operatives also helps relief work through production. The shortcomings of the cadres and the masses as well as our own are to be criticized on the premise that their enthusiasm is protected, and in this way they will have plenty of push. When the masses want something done which is impossible for the time being, matters should be clearly explained to them, and this can certainly be done.

There should be three rounds of discussion before the annual state budget is decided. That is to say, comrades on our Central Committee and other comrades concerned should hold three meetings to discuss it and make the decision. This will enable all of us to get to understand the contents of the budget. Otherwise it will always be the comrades in charge who know them better while we on Our part will just raise our hands. Yet don't we know anything about the contents? Well, I would say yes and no, we don't know very much about them. With this method of decision after three rounds of discussion, can you say you will know them very well? Not likely, and there will still be a gap between us and the comrades in charge. They are like opera singers on the stage, they know how to sing; we are like the audience, we don't know how to sing. But if we go to the opera often enough, we shall be able to tell good singers from poor ones more or less correctly. After all, it is up to the audience to pass judgment on the singer's performance. And it is with its help that the singer corrects his mistakes. This is where the audience is superior. An opera can continue to run if people like to see it over and over again. Operas which people don't like very much have to be changed. Therefore, inside our Central Committee there is the contradiction between experts and non-experts. Experts have their strong points, and so do non-experts. Non-experts can tell what is right from what is wrong.

In the report on the state budget for 1956 the expression "safely reliable" was used, and I suggest that from now on it should be changed into "fully reliable". At the meeting held last January on the question of the intellectuals, I used the expression "fully reliable". "Safe" and "reliable" are tautological. To use "safely" to modify "reliable" neither adds nor qualifies anything. A modifier both describes and qualifies. To say something is "fully reliable" is to qualify reliability as to degree, meaning that it is not just reliable in a general sense but reliable to the full. It is not easy to make things fully reliable. When the budget was adopted at the National People's Congress last June, everybody said it was reliable. Now it seems that a portion of the budget, less than l0 per cent, is unreliable, because some of the items are not given due priority and others are allocated too much money. So in the future we must pay attention to the priorities of the items in the budget. Whether the priorities are correct or not requires the experts' attention, but it also requires our attention, and particularly that of the comrades at the provincial level. Of course, everybody should give it his attention.

Both we and the secretaries of the provincial, municipal and autonomous region Party committees should attend to finance and planning. In the past some comrades failed to do so seriously. I would like to call your attention, comrades, to the questions of grain, pork, eggs, vegetables and so on, since they present quite a big problem. Beginning from last winter, efforts were concentrated on grain to the neglect of side-lines and industrial crops. This deviation has now been corrected, and efforts have been shifted to them; particularly since there are fixed price ratios between grain and twenty or thirty other items such as cotton, edible oil, pigs and tobacco, the peasants have become very much interested in side-lines and industrial crops at the expense of grain. Lop-sided stress first on grain, and then on side-lines and industrial crops. Low prices for grain hurt the peasants; now that you have set such low prices for grain, the peasants will simply stop growing it. This problem merits close attention.

We must build the country through diligence and thrift, combat extravagance and waste, and encourage hard work and plain living and sharing weal and woe with the masses. Some comrades have suggested that factory directors and heads of schools and colleges might live in sheds, and this, I think, is a good idea, especially in hard times. There were no houses whatsoever when we crossed the marshlands on the Long March, we just slept where we could, and Commander-in-Chief Chu Teh did so too when he walked for forty days across the marshlands. We all came through. Our troops had no food and ate the bark and leaves of trees. To share happiness and suffering with the people -- we did this in the past, why can't we do it now? As long as we keep on doing so, we shall not alienate ourselves from the masses.

We must attend to the newspapers. Where newspapers are published, the Central Committee and the Party committees at all levels should take the running of newspapers as a matter of major importance. Since the beginning of this year there has been one-sided and unrealistic propaganda in the press for improving the people's livelihood, but very little publicity has been given to building the country through diligence and thrift, combating extravagance and waste and encouraging hard work, plain living and sharing weal and woe with the masses, which should from now on be the focus of our propaganda in the press. Probably what is broadcast by the radio stations also comes from the newspapers. Therefore it is necessary to call meetings of reporters, newspaper staffs and radio personnel to exchange views with them and inform them of the guiding principles in our propaganda.

Here I would like to touch on another question, the question of suppressing counter-revolutionaries. Should the local tyrants and evil gentry, despots and counter-revolutionaries who have committed heinous crimes be put to death? Yes, they should. Some democratic personages say it is bad to execute them and we say it is fine -- we are singing different tunes, that's all. On this theme, we can never sing in tune with the democratic personages. Those we executed were "little Chiang Kai-sheks". As for the "big Chiang Kai-sheks" such as Emperor Pu Yi, Wang Yao-wu and Tu Yu-ming, we will execute none of them. But if the "little Chiang Kai-sheks" were not done away with, there would be an "earthquake" under our feet every day, the productive forces would not be set free nor the working people liberated. The productive forces consist of two factors, labourers and tools. If we did not suppress counter-revolutionaries, the working people would be unhappy. So would the oxen and the hoes, and even the land would feel uncomfortable, all because the peasants who put the oxen and hoes and the land to use would be unhappy. Therefore, some counter-revolutionaries must be executed, others arrested and still others put under public supervision.


On the whole, the international situation is fine. There are a few imperialist powers, but what of it? Nothing terrifying even if there were a few dozen more.

Now troubles have occurred in two areas, Eastern Europe and the Middle East. Disturbances have taken place in Poland and Hungary,[2] and Britain and France have launched an armed aggression against Egypt. I think these bad things are good things too. In the eyes of a Marxist, a bad thing has a dual character; on the one hand it is bad and on the other it is good. When people see the word "bad" before the word "thing", many think that it's nothing but bad. But we say there is another aspect to it, that is, a bad thing is at the same time a good thing, and this is what is meant by "failure is the mother of success". Every failure, every reverse, or every mistake, may lead to good results under given conditions. Since there is fire in Poland and Hungary, it will blaze up sooner or later. Which is better, to let the fire blaze, or not to let it? Fire cannot be wrapped up in paper. Now that fires have blazed up, that's just fine. In this way numerous counter-revolutionaries in Hungary have exposed themselves. The Hungarian incident has educated the Hungarian people and at the same time some comrades in the Soviet Union as well as us Chinese comrades. It was such a shock when Beria was uncovered. How could a socialist country produce a Beria? It was another big shock when Kao Kang was exposed. It is precisely through such phenomena that we learn. They are in the nature of things and will always happen.

Will there still be revolutions in the future when all the imperialists in the world are overthrown and classes eliminated? What do you say? In my view, there will still be the need for revolution. The social system will still need to be changed and the term "revolution" will still be in use. Of course, revolutions then will not be of the same nature as those in the era of class struggle. But there will still be contradictions between the relations of production and the productive forces, between the superstructure and the economic base. When the relations of production become unsuitable, they will have to be overthrown. If the superstructure (ideology and public opinion included) protects the kind of relations of production the people dislike, they will transform it. The superstructure itself constitutes social relations of another kind. It rests on the economic base. By the economic base we mean the relations of production, chiefly ownership. The productive forces are the most revolutionary factor. When the productive forces have developed, there is bound to be a revolution. The productive forces consist of two factors: one is man and the other tools. Tools are made by men. When tools call for a revolution, they will speak through men, through the labourers, who will destroy the old relations of production and the old social relations. "A gentleman uses his tongue, not his fists," and the best way is to reason things out. But if reasoning goes unheeded, arms will have to speak. What if there aren't any arms? The labourers have tools in their hands and those without can use rocks, and if there aren't any rocks even, there are always one's two fists.

Our state organs are organs of the dictatorship of the proletariat. Take the courts for instance, their function is to deal with counter-revolutionaries, but that is not all, for they have to settle numerous disputes among the people. It looks as if courts will still be needed ten thousand years from now. For when classes are eliminated, there will still be contradictions between the advanced and the backward, there will still be struggles and scuffles among people, and there will still be all sorts of disturbances. What a mess there would be without a court! However, the struggles will then be of a different nature, different from class struggle. The court will be different in nature too. The superstructure may then still go wrong. For instance, people like us may make mistakes, lose out in struggle and be ousted from office, so that a Gomulka may come to power or a Jao Shu-shih be propped up. Would you say such things will not happen? I think they will, even a thousand or ten thousand years from now.


Everything in the world is a unity of opposites. By the unity of opposites we mean the unity of opposite things differing in nature. For instance, water is a combination of two elements, hydrogen and oxygen. If there were only hydrogen and no oxygen, or vice versa, water could not be formed. Over a million compounds are said to have already been named and no one knows how many have not yet been. All compounds are unities of opposites differing in nature. Likewise with things in society. The relationship between the central and the local authorities is a unity of opposites, and so is that between one department and another.

The relationship between two countries is also a unity of opposites. China and the Soviet Union are both socialist countries. Are there any differences between them? Yes, there are. The two countries are different in nationality. Thirty-nine years have gone by since the October Revolution took place, whereas it is only seven years since we won state power throughout the country. As for the things each has done, they are different in many ways. For instance, unlike theirs our agricultural collectivization has gone through several stages, our policy towards the capitalists is different from theirs, so are our market price policy and the way we handle the relationship between agriculture and light industry on the one hand and heavy industry on the other, and so are our army system and Party system. We have told them: We don't agree with some of the things you have done, nor do we approve of some of the ways you handle matters.

Some comrades simply don't pay attention to dialectics and are not analytical. They say all things Soviet are good and they transplant them mechanically. In fact, all things, whether Chinese or foreign, admit of analysis, some being good and some bad. This is true of the work in each province, there are both achievements and shortcomings. And it is also true of every one of us, for we all have not just one but two aspects, strong points and weak points. The doctrine that everything has only one aspect has existed ever since ancient times, and so has the doctrine that everything has two aspects. They are known as metaphysics and dialectics respectively. An ancient Chinese said: "The yin and the yang make up the Tao." [3] It is impossible to have only the yin without the yang, or vice versa. This was a doctrine in ancient times affirming two aspects. Metaphysics is a doctrine affirming only one aspect. And it still persists among a considerable number of comrades. They take a one-sided view of things and think everything Soviet is good and transplant it indiscriminately, bringing in quite a few things which should not have been transplanted. Where things are wrongly transplanted and unsuited to this land of ours, there must be changes.

Here I'll speak on the question of "having illicit relations with foreign countries". Are there such people in our country who provide foreigners with information behind the back of the Central Committee? I think there are. Kao Kang is a case in point. Many facts have proved this.

On December 24, 1953, at an enlarged meeting of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee to unmask Kao Kang, I declared that there were two headquarters in the city of Peking, one comprised all of us present and it stirred up an open wind and lit an open fire, whereas the other was an underground headquarters, and it also stirred up a kind of wind and lit a kind of fire, a sinister wind and a sinister fire. Lin Tai-yu, a character in a classical Chinese novel, said: "Either the east wind prevails over the west wind, or the west wind prevails over the east wind." As for the present day, either the open wind and open fire prevail over the sinister wind and sinister fire, or the sinister wind and sinister fire prevail over the open wind and open fire. The purpose of the other headquarters in stirring up the sinister wind and lighting the sinister fire was to overpower the open wind and put out the open fire, that is, to overthrow a large number of people.

Among our cadres of higher and middle rank there are a few (not many) who maintain illicit relations with foreign countries. This is not good. I hope you comrades will make it clear to everybody in the leading Party groups and Party committees of the central departments as well as in the Party committees at the provincial, municipal and autonomous region level that this kind of business must stop. We don't approve of some of the things done in the Soviet Union, and the Central Committee has already said this to the Soviet leaders several times; some questions on which we have not touched will be taken up later. If they are to be taken up, it should be done by the Central Committee. As for information, don't try to pass it on. Such information is of no use at all, it can only cause harm. It undermines the relations between the two Parties and the two countries. Moreover, those engaged in such activities put themselves in an awkward position. Since they do this behind the Party's back, they always have a guilty conscience. Those who have passed on information should make a clean breast of it and be done with it, or else there will be an investigation and they will be duly punished if found out.

I would like to say a few words about the Twentieth Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. I think there are two "swords": one is Lenin and the other Stalin. The sword of Stalin has now been discarded by the Russians. Gomulka and some people in Hungary have picked it up to stab at the Soviet Union and oppose so-called Stalinism. The Communist Parties of many European countries are also criticizing the Soviet Union, and their leader is Togliatti. The imperialists also use this sword to slay people with. Dulles, for instance, has brandished it for some time. This sword has not been lent out, it has been thrown out. We Chinese have not thrown it away. First, we protect Stalin, and, second, we at the same time criticize his mistakes, and we have written the article "On the Historical Experience of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat". Unlike some people who have tried to defame and destroy Stalin, we are acting in accordance with objective reality.

As for the sword of Lenin, hasn't it too been discarded to a certain extent by some Soviet leaders? In my view, it has been discarded to a considerable extent. Is the October Revolution still valid? Can it still serve as the example for all countries? Khrushchov's report at the Twentieth Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union says it is possible to seize state power by the parliamentary road, that is to say, it is no longer necessary for all countries to learn from the October Revolution. Once this gate is opened, by and large Leninism is thrown away.

The doctrine of Leninism has developed Marxism. In what respects has it done so? First, in world outlook, that is, in materialism and dialectics; and second, in revolutionary theory and tactics, particularly on the questions of class struggle, the dictatorship of the proletariat and the political party of the proletariat. And then there are Lenin's teachings on socialist construction. Beginning from the October Revolution of 1917, construction went on in the midst of revolution, and thus Lenin had seven years of practical experience in construction, something denied to Marx. It is precisely these fundamental principles of Marxism-Leninism that we have been learning.

In both our democratic revolution and our socialist revolution, we have mobilized the masses to wage class struggle in the course of which we have educated the people. It is from the October Revolution that we have learned to wage class struggle. During the October Revolution, the masses in the cities and villages were fully mobilized to wage class struggle. Those who are now sent by the Soviet Union as experts to various countries were but children or teenagers at the time of the October Revolution, and many of them have forgotten about this practice. Comrades in some countries say that China's mass line is not right, and they are only too happy to pick up the paternalistic approach. There is no stopping them if they want to do so; in any case, we adhere to the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, with non-interference in each other's internal affairs and mutual non-aggression. We have no intention of exercising leadership over any country save our own, that is, the People's Republic of China.

The fundamental problem with some East European countries is that they have not done a good job of waging class struggle and have left so many counter-revolutionaries at large, nor have they trained their proletariat in class struggle to help them learn how to draw a clear distinction between the people and the enemy, between right and wrong and between materialism and idealism. And now they have to reap what they have sown, they have brought the fire upon their own heads.

How much capital do you have? Just Lenin and Stalin. Now you have abandoned Stalin and practically all of Lenin as well, with Lenin's feet gone, or perhaps with only his head left, or with one of his hands cut off. We, on our part, stick to studying Marxism-Leninism and learning from the October Revolution. Marx has left us a great many writings, and so has Lenin. To rely on the masses, to follow the mass line -- this is what we have learned from them. Not to rely on the masses in waging class struggle and not to make a clear distinction between the people and the enemy -- that would be very dangerous.


A few cadres with an intellectual background at the level of department or bureau head advocate great democracy, saying that small democracy is not satisfying enough. Their "great democracy" means the adoption of the bourgeois parliamentary system of the West and the imitation of such Western stuff as "parliamentary democracy", "freedom of the press" and "freedom of speech". Their advocacy is wrong, for they lack the Marxist viewpoint, the class viewpoint. However, the terms great democracy and small democracy are quite graphic, so we have borrowed them.

Democracy is a method, and it all depends on to whom it is applied and for what purpose. We are in favour of great democracy. And what we favour is great democracy under the leadership of the proletariat. We mobilized the masses to fight Chiang Kai-shek and licked him after a struggle lasting more than twenty years. In the agrarian reform movement, the peasant masses rose against the landlord class and got land after three years of struggle. These were instances of great democracy. The movement against the "three evils" was a struggle against those of our personnel who had been corrupted by the bourgeoisie. The movement against the "five evils" was a struggle against the bourgeoisie. In both movements relentless blows were dealt. These were all vigorous mass movements and instances of great democracy. A few days ago, masses of people held a demonstration in front of the Office of the British Chargé d'Affaires in China, and several hundred thousand people held a rally at Tien An Men Square in Peking in support of Egypt's resistance to Anglo-French aggression. This was also an instance of great democracy, aimed at imperialism. Why shouldn't we cherish this great democracy? We do in fact cherish it. Who is this great democracy directed against? Against imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat-capitalism, and against capitalism. The socialist transformation of private industry and commerce was directed against capitalism. The socialist transformation of agriculture, which was designed to abolish the private ownership of small producers, was by its nature also directed against capitalism. It was by means of the mass movement that we carried out the socialist transformation of agriculture, mobilizing the peasants, principally the poor and lower-middle peasants first, to organize themselves, so that the upper-middle peasants could not but agree. As for the fact that the capitalists beat drums and struck gongs to welcome the socialist transformation, it was because they had no alternative with the advent of the socialist upsurge in the countryside and with the pressure from the masses of workers under them.

If great democracy is now to be practiced again, I am for it. You are afraid of the masses taking to the streets, I am not, not even if hundreds of thousands should do so. "He who is not afraid of death by a thousand cuts dares to unhorse the emperor." This was a saying of a character in a classical Chinese novel, Wang Hsi-feng, otherwise called Sister Feng. She it was who said this. The great democracy set in motion by the proletariat is directed against class enemies. Enemies of the nation (who are none other than the imperialists and the foreign monopoly capitalists) are class enemies also. Great democracy can be directed against bureaucrats too. I just said that there would still be revolutions ten thousand years from now, so possibly great democracy will have to be practiced then. If some people grow tired of life and so become bureaucratic, if, when meeting the masses, they have not a single kind word for them but only take them to task, and if they don't bother to solve any of the problems the masses may have, they are destined to be overthrown. Now this danger does exist. If you alienate yourself from the masses and fail to solve their problems, the peasants will wield their carrying-poles, the workers will demonstrate in the streets and the students will create disturbances. Whenever such things happen, they must in the first place be taken as good things, and that is how I look at the matter.

Several years ago, an airfield was to be built somewhere in Honan Province, but no proper arrangements were made beforehand for the peasants living there nor any adequate explanations offered them when they were compelled to move out. The peasants of the village affected said, even the birds will make a few squawks if you go poking with your pole at their nest in a tree and try to bring it down. Teng Hsiao-ping, you, too, have a nest, and if I destroyed it, wouldn't you make a few squawks? So the local people set up three lines of defence: the first line was composed of children, the second of women, and the third of able-bodied young men. All who went there to do the surveying were driven away and the peasants won out in the end. Later, when satisfactory explanations were given and arrangements made, they agreed to move and the airfield was built. There are quite a few similar cases. Now there are people who seem to think that, as state power has been won, they can sleep soundly without any worry and play the tyrant at will. The masses will oppose such persons, throw stones at them and strike at them with their hoes, which will, I think, serve them right and will please me immensely. Moreover, sometimes to fight is the only way to solve a problem. The Communist Party needs to learn a lesson. Whenever students and workers take to the streets, you comrades should regard it as a good thing. There were over a hundred students from Chengtu who wanted to come to Peking to present a petition, but those in one train were halted at the Kuangyuan station in Szechuan Province, while those in another train got as far as Loyang but failed to reach Peking. It is my opinion and Premier Chou's too that the students should have been allowed to come to Peking and call on the departments concerned. The workers should be allowed to go on strike and the masses to hold demonstrations. Processions and demonstrations are provided for in our Constitution. In the future when the Constitution is revised, I suggest that the freedom to strike be added, so that the workers shall be allowed to go on strike. This will help resolve the contradictions between the state and the factory director on the one hand and the masses of workers on the other. After all they are nothing but contradictions. The world is full of contradictions. The democratic revolution resolved the set of contradictions with imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat-capitalism. At present, when the contradictions with national capitalism and small production with respect to ownership have been basically resolved, contradictions in other respects have come to the fore, and new contradictions have arisen. There are several hundred thousand cadres at the level of the county Party committee and above who hold the destiny of the country in their hands. If they fail to do a good job, alienate themselves from the masses and do not live plainly and work hard, the workers, peasants and students will have good reason to disapprove of them. We must watch out lest we foster the bureaucratic style of work and grow into an aristocratic stratum divorced from the people. The masses will have good reason to remove from office whoever practices bureaucracy, makes no effort to solve their problems, scolds them, tyrannizes over them and never tries to make amends. I say it is fine to remove such fellows, and they ought to be removed.

Now the democratic parties and the bourgeoisie are against the great democracy of the proletariat. If we were to start a second movement against the "five evils", they would not like it. They are very much afraid that the democratic parties will be eliminated and will not enjoy long-term coexistence if great democracy is put into practice. Do professors like great democracy? It is hard to say, but I think they are on their guard, they too are afraid of proletarian great democracy. If they want to practice bourgeois great democracy, I will propose a rectification, that is, ideological remoulding. All the students will be mobilized to criticize them, and in every college a checkpoint, so to speak, will be set up which they must pass through before the whole matter can be considered closed. So professors, too, are afraid of proletarian great democracy.

Here I will take up another topic, the question of the Dalai. Buddha has been dead for 2,500 years, and now the Dalai and his followers want to go to India and pay homage to him. Shall we let him go or not? The Central Committee thinks that it is better to let him go than not. He will set out in a few days. We advised him to go by air, but he refused, preferring to travel by car via Kalimpong, [4] where there are spies from various countries as well as Kuomintang secret agents. It must be anticipated that the Dalai may not come back, that, in addition, he may abuse us every day, making allegations such as "the Communists have invaded Tibet", and that he may go so far as to declare "the independence of Tibet" in India. It must also be anticipated that he may incite the Tibetan upper-stratum reactionaries to issue a call for major disturbances in the hope of driving us out, while using his absence as an alibi to shirk responsibility. This is possible, if the worst comes to the worst. I would still be glad even if this bad situation occurred. Our Working Committee and our troops in Tibet must make preparations, build fortifications and store up plenty of food and water. All we have there is only a few soldiers; anyway, each party is free to act as he chooses. If you want to fight, we shall be on our guard; if you make an attack, we shall defend ourselves. We should never attack first but let them do so, and then we shall launch a counter-attack and crush the attackers with relentless blows. Shall I feel aggrieved at the desertion of one Dalai? Not at all, even if you throw in nine more and make it ten Dalais. It was our experience that Chang Kuo-tao's desertion did not turn out to be a bad thing. You cannot bind a man and a woman together to make them husband and wife. When someone stops caring for your place and wants to leave it, just let him go. What harm will his departure do us? None whatsoever. He can't do more than curse us. Our Communist Party has been cursed for thirty-five years. And the curses have been just such hackneyed nonsense as that the Communist Party "is extremely ferocious", "communizes property and women" and "is brutal and inhuman". What difference will it make if a Dalai or anyone else should be added to the number of abusers? If the abusing goes on for another thirty-five years, that will amount to only seventy years. I don't consider it good for a person to be afraid of being abused. Some people are worried that confidential information may be divulged. Didn't Chang Kuo-tao possess a lot of confidential information? Never heard that our affairs went amiss as a result of Chang Kuo-tao divulging confidential information.

Our Party has millions of experienced cadres. Most of them are good cadres, born and brought up on our native soil, linked to the masses and tested in the course of long struggles. We have a whole body of cadres--those who joined the revolution in the period of the founding of the Party, in the period of the Northern Expedition, during the War of the Agrarian Revolution, the War of Resistance Against Japan, and the War of Liberation and those who joined after nationwide liberation. They are all valuable assets to our country. The situation in some East European countries is not very stable, and one major reason is that they lack such a body of experienced cadres. With such cadres as ours who have been tested in different periods of the revolution, we are able to "sit tight in the fishing boat despite the rising wind and waves". We must have this much confidence. We are not even afraid of imperialism, so why should we be afraid of great democracy? Why should we be afraid of students taking to the streets? Yet among our Party members there are some who are afraid of great democracy, and this is not good. Those bureaucrats who are afraid of great democracy must study Marxism hard and mend their ways.

We are to carry out a rectification movement next year. Three bad styles are to be rectified: (1) subjectivism, (2) sectarianism and (3) bureaucracy. After the Central Committee has made the decision, a circular will first be issued, in which different items will be listed. For instance, bureaucracy consists of several items, such as failure to make contact with cadres and the masses, failure to go down and find out about the situation below and failure to share weal and woe with the masses, plus corruption, waste and so on. If a circular is issued in the first half of the year, the rectification movement is to begin in the second, with a period of several months in between. Whoever has embezzled public money must confess and return it during that interval, or pay it back later in instalments, or if he cannot possibly manage it even in instalments, he will have to be exempted from repaying it ; each of these three ways is all right. But in any case he must admit his mistake and of his own accord state the amount taken. This is to provide him, so to speak, with a staircase by which he can come down step by step. This method is also to be adopted in dealing with other mistakes. Rather than meting out "punishment without prior warning", make an announcement beforehand and then start the rectification movement at the specified time--this is a method of applying small democracy. Some say, if this method is adopted, there probably won't be much left to rectify in the second half of the year. That is precisely the end we hope to achieve. Our hope is that by the time the rectification movement formally starts, subjectivism, sectarianism and bureaucracy will have been considerably reduced. In our history the rectification movement has proved to be an effective method. From now on, all problems among the people or inside the Party are to be solved by means of rectification, by means of criticism and self-criticism, and not by force. We are in favour of the method of the "gentle breeze and mild rain", and though it is hardly avoidable that in a few cases things may get a little too rough, the over-all intention is to cure the sickness and save the patient, and truly to achieve this end instead of merely paying lip-service to it. The first principle is to protect a person, and the second one is to criticize him. First he is to be protected because he is not a counter-revolutionary. This means to start from the desire for unity and, through criticism and self-criticism, arrive at a new unity on a new basis. Within the ranks of the people, if we adopt the method of both protecting and criticizing a person who has made mistakes, we shall win people's hearts, be able to unite the entire people and bring into play all the positive factors among our 600 million people for building socialism.

I am in favour of the idea that in peace-time the wage gap between cadres in the army and those outside it should be gradually narrowed, but this does not mean absolute egalitarianism. I have always been of the opinion that the army should live plainly and work hard and be a model. At a meeting held here in 1949, one of our generals proposed that the pay in the army should be raised, and many comrades were for his proposal, but I was against it. The illustration he used was that a capitalist ate a meal of five courses whereas a PLA soldier had only salt water plus some pickled cabbage at a meal, and this, he said, wouldn't do. I said, on the contrary, this was just fine. They had five courses while we ate pickles. There was politics in these pickles, out of which models would emerge. The PLA won people's hearts precisely because of these pickles, but, of course, there were other factors too. Now the army meals have improved and are already rather different from having only pickles to eat. But what is most essential is that we must advocate plain living and hard work, which is our intrinsic political quality. Chinchow is an apple-growing area. At the time of the Liaohsi campaign, it was autumn, and there were plenty of apples in the villagers' homes, but our fighters did not take a single apple. I was deeply moved when I read about this. Here the fighters themselves were conscious that not to eat the apples was noble, whereas to eat them would have been ignoble, for the apples belonged to the people. Our discipline rests on such consciousness. It is the result of leadership and education by our Party. Man must have some spirit, and the revolutionary spirit of the proletariat stems from this consciousness. Did anyone starve to death from not eating an apple? No, for there was millet plus pickles. In times of necessity, you comrades present here will have to live in sheds. When we crossed the marshlands, we had no sheds to sleep in and yet we managed without. Why can't we live in sheds now that we have them? The army people have been in session these few days, and they have expressed with deep feelings and enthusiasm their readiness to exercise self-denial and practice economy. Now that the army is doing this, there is all the more reason for other people to live plainly and work hard. Otherwise they would be challenged by the army people. There are both civilians and army people present here, so we'll let the army people challenge the civilians. The PLA is a good army, and I like it very much.

Political work must be strengthened. It must be greatly strengthened in every sphere, whether among civilians or army people, whether in factories, villages, shops, schools or army units, whether in Party and government organs or people's organizations, so as to raise the political level of the cadres and the masses.


1. This refers to a saying of Confucius, "At seventy, I can follow my heart's desire, without transgressing what is right." Confucian Inflects, Book II, "Wed Cheng".

2. They refer to the riot that occurred in Poznan, Poland, in June 1956 and to the counter-revolutionary rebellion that took place in Hungary in October of the same year.

3. The Book of Changes, "Hsi Tzu", Part 1.

4. Kalimpong is a border town in northeastern India near Yatung in Tibet, China.

Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung