Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung
February 2, 1958
The people of our country, under the leadership of the CP, having won basic victories in the socialist ownership system in 1956, achieved further basic victories on the ideological and political front in the rectification campaign of 1957. In that year, [they] also over-fulfilled the first Five-year Construction Plan. In this way, more than 600 million people of our country, led by the CP, clearly see their own future and duties and have exorcized the evil anti-party, anti-people, and anti-socialist wind fanned up by bourgeois rightists. At the same time they have rectified, and are still rectifying, the mistakes and weaknesses rooted in the subjectivism which the party and people have inherited from the old society. The party has become more united, the morale of the people further heightened, and the party-masses relationship greatly improved. We are now witnessing greater activity and creativity of the popular masses on the production front than we have ever witnessed before. A new high tide of production has risen, and is still rising, as the people of the whole country are inspired by the slogan — ‘Overtake Britain in Iron and Steel and Other Major Industrial Production in Fifteen or More Years’. To meet this new situation certain methods of work of the party Center and local committees have to be modified. Not all the points listed below are new. Some are; others come from years [of experience]. They are the conclusions reached at the Hangchow and Nanning conferences of the comrades in the Centre and regions in January 1958. These points, largely indebted to the inspiration of what was said at the conferences, are thought over and written down by me. Some are simply notes of what other comrades have said; the important points (on rules and regulations) are drafted by Comrade Liu Shao-ch’i after consultations with comrades working in the regions; only a few are put forward by me. Not all the points concern working methods some are on actual w! ork tasks and some on theory and practice, but mostly on working methods. Our main purpose is to improve our working methods so as to meet the changed political conditions and needs. The points are suggestions for [your] comments. Their number can be increased or reduced, as it is by no means definite. Comrades, you are hereby invited to study them and make known your views on them. These points will be revised in the light of your comments before being submitted to the Politburo for approval, in the hope that they may become a document for internal circulation.
31 January, 1958
1. Party committees above the county level must get down to the work of construction and there are fourteen items: a. industries; b. handicrafts; c. agriculture; d. village subsidiary production; e. forestry; f. fishery; g. animal husbandry; h. transport and communications; i. commerce; j. public and other finance; k. labor, wages, and populations; l. sciences; m. culture and education; n. public health.
2. Party committees above the county level must get down to socialist industrial work and here there are also fourteen items: a. targets of output; b. quality of products; c. experiment in new products; d.new techniques; e. advanced targets; f. raw material economy and discovery and use of substitutes; g. labor organization, labor insurance, wages, and welfare; h. costs; i. sinking fund and variable capital for production; j. division of labor and co-ordination between enterprises; k.equilibrium of supply, manufacture, and sales; l. geological exploration; m. uses of resources; n. design and manufacture. These are preliminary items. Later [we] must step by step develop a forty-point program for industrial development.
3. Party committee at all levels must get down to socialist agricultural work. Again fourteen items: a. targets of output; b. irrigation; c. fertilizers; d soil; e. seeds; f. changes in the system of farming, such as enlarging the areas of a second crop, changes from late to early crops, from dry [rice] to paddy, etc.; g. diseases and pests; h. mechanization (modern tools, two-wheel and two-blade ploughs, pumps, tractors designed to suit different local conditions in China, motorized transport vehicles, etc.); i intensified farming; j. animal husbandry; k. subsidiary products; l. afforestation; m. elimination of the ‘four pests’, n. medical and health services. These are fourteen items in the forty-point program of agrarian development, which should be put into practice as a whole. The purpose of singling out these fourteen items is to show where the emphasis of the program lies. Once they are grasped, the program as a whole will consequently be materialized.
4. The three important methods are: over-all planning, regular inspection, and annual reviews and comparisons. By them, both the over-all situation and the details will receive appropriate attention, experiences can be summed up and outstanding achievements can be made known in time; morale can be heightened in order to make a concerted progress.
5. The method of timing is: the previous winter determines what can be done in this year, this year determines what can be done in the next two years, and the first three years determine what can be done in a quinquennium. [We] should have greater confidence [in our work] with emphasis on different periods of time.
6. There must be at least four inspections per annum once each season at the Center and the provincial level whereas [the number of inspections] at lower level is to be decided according to [local] conditions. Monthly inspection is necessary before an important task gets into a smooth running order. This is a method of timing over the period of a year.
7. How to review and compare? Province with province, city with city, county with county, commune with commune, factory with factory, mine with mine, and work site with work site. Agreed rules of comparison are not absolutely necessary. It is easier to review and compare agricultural [than industrial achievements]. In industries, [we] just compare what is comparable in a given line of production.
8. When to submit plans? Province, autonomous regions, cities, special regions, and counties should formulate their plans according to Points 1, 2, and 3, which must have foci of attention. They must not try to do everything at the same time. The plans of districts, villages, and communes must essentially be based on Point 3, but the items may be increased or reduced in the light of local conditions. They should draw up a five-year plan first, which may be in an outline form, to be submitted before 1 July 1958. The plans should be examined level after level. To facilitate comparison, a provincial committee should select the best and worst from county, district, village, and commune plans and submit them to the Center for consideration, but all provincial and special region plans should be sent up to the Center.
9. There are three production plans: two are central plans one must be fulfilled; this is the one to be published and the other is expected to be fulfilled but not to be published. Two are local plans the first local plan is the second central plan which from the point of view of a locality must be fulfilled, and the other is expected to be fulfilled. The second central plan is the basis of comparison.
10. From this year onward, the party committees of provinces, cities, and autonomous regions must really get down to manufacturing industries, public and business finance, and commerce. Each year, they should review these problems four times, especially in July (or August), November, and the first ten days in January. If we refuse to come to grips with them the slogan of ‘Overtaking Britain in Fifteen Years’ will be like a burst bubble. Cadres shouldering important responsibilities in industrial, financial, and commercial departments should go to local meeting places those at the Central level should go to the regions; those at the provincial, city, and autonomous region levels should go to special regions, suburbs, and counties. This is also what the comrades at the Center and in the regions want to do.
11. The [total] value of industrial output at a place (including those of the factories and mines taken over from the center and of the publicly Owned industries and handicrafts which have always been managed by local authorities, but excluding those of the factories directly managed by the center) must within five, seven, or ten years overtake the (total) value of agricultural output of that place. All the provinces and cities must at once get down to drawing up their plans before 1 July. This is in the main to make industries serve agriculture. All of us should do some industrial work so that we know what it is all about.
12. The forty-point program for agrarian development should be fulfilled in five, six, seven, or eight years and it should be discussed by all the provincial, city, and autonomous region party committees. In the country as a whole, it may not be possible to fulfil all the forty points in five years, but it may be generally possible in six or seven years or more likely in eight years.
13. [We] must strive to make a basic change in the appearance of most areas in three years and the [next] three years will determine [the achievement] of the [next] decade. In the rest of the country [we] may fix a longer period [for the task]. Our slogan: Bitter struggle for three years. Our method: Arouse the masses in an entirely uninhibited manner — and everything must be tried out first.
14. Oppose wastefulness. During the rectification, each unit must devote a few days to a bloom-contend-rectify-reform campaign directed against wastefulness. Every co-operative, every shop, every office, every school, and every military unit must seriously conduct its own anti-wastefulness campaign and will continue to do so once every year.
15. In our national economy, the question of an optimum ratio between [capital] accumulation and consumption is one of cardinal importance to our economic development, which should be studied by all of us.
16. What should also be studied is the question of the ratio between accumulation and consumption in the agricultural co-operatives. The views of comrades in Hupei are as follows. On the basis of the production and distribution of 1957, future increases in production should be divided 40/60 (i.e. 40 per cent to members of co-operatives and 60 per cent for co-operative accumulation), 50/50, or 60/40 (i.e. 60 per cent to members of co-operatives and 40 per cent for co-operative accumulation). At places where production and income have reached the level of wealthy middle peasants, after bloom-contend debates and after agreement has been reached among the masses, the increase in production may be either divided 30/70 (i.e. 30 per cent to the members of co-operatives and 70 per cent for co-operative accumulation) or not divided at all in one or two years in order to enlarge the accumulation in preparation for a great leap forward. All the regions are requested to discuss the adequacy of this suggestion.
17. The contradiction between collective and individual economies must be resolved by fixing an adequate ratio between them. The present situation is like this. In the income of some rural households at some places, the ratio between individual and collective economies is 60/40 or 70/30 (i.e. income from domestic subsidiary production and the private plot makes up 60 or 70 per cent of the total income of a household). This situation inevitably affects the peasants’ enthusiasm for socialist collective economy and must be altered. The provinces can find a way to control it through bloom-contend debates, and make suitable readjustment of the economic relations. On the basis of encouraging the peasants’ enthusiasm in production and a comprehensive development in production, [we] must in a few years gradually change the ratio of individual and collective economies to 30/70 or 20/80 (i.e. the peasants get 70 or 80 per cent of their income from co-operatives).
18. Popularize experimental fields. This is a very important method of leadership. In this way the style of our party’s leadership in the field of economy will rapidly change. In the country, the experimental fields are important; in the cities it is the advanced factories, mines, machine-tool shops, work sites, or work sections. A break-through at one point may induce the rest [of the entire system] to move.
19. Seize both ends and drag the middle along with them. This is an excellent method of leadership. Every situation has two ends the advanced and backward extremes. Once you seize them, the middle can be dragged along with them. This is a dialectical method, too, [because] to seize the two ends, the advanced and backward extremes, is to seize a pair of opposites.
20. Two other good methods of leadership are to organize tours for cadres and the masses to see and learn from advanced experience and to organize exhibitions of good quality products and their techniques of production. These methods can raise the technological level, popularize advanced experience and encourage competition. Many problems can be solved by an on-the-spot inspection. Communes, villages, provinces and counties may organize tours to visit each other, while the Center, provinces, cities, special regions and counties may organize exhibitions of manufactures.
21. Uninterrupted revolution. Our revolutions come one after another. Starting from the seizure of power in the whole country in 1949, there followed in quick succession the anti-feudal land reform, the agricultural co-operativization, and the socialist reconstruction of private industries, commerce and handicrafts. The three great socialist reforms i.e. the socialist revolution in the ownership of means of production were basically completed in 1956 and there came the socialist revolution on the ideological and political front last year. This revolution may draw to the end of one stage by 1 July this year, but the problems [involved] are not yet solved. For a considerable period of time to come they will continue to be solved by annual bloom-contend-rectify-reform campaigns. [But] now we must start a technological revolution so that we may overtake Britain in fifteen or more years. Chinese economy is backward and China is materially weak. This is why we have been unable to take much initiative; we are spiritually restricted. We are not yet liberated in this sense. We must make a spurt [forward in production]. We may have more initiative in five years, and more still in ten. After fifteen years, when our foodstuffs and iron and steel become plentiful, we shall take a much greater initiative. Our revolutions are like battles. After a victory, we must at once put forward a new task. In this way, cadres and the masses will forever be filled with revolutionary fervour, instead of conceit. Indeed, they will have no time for conceit, even if they like to feel conceited. With new tasks on their shoulders, they are totally preoccupied with the problems for their fulfilment. The technological revolution is designed to make every one learn technology and science. The rightists say that we are small intellectuals incapable of leading big intellectuals. Some even suggest that we ‘buy’ old cadres pensioning them off, because they do not understan! d science and technology although they know how to fight and how to conduct land reform. We must summon up our energy to learn technology so as to accomplish the great technological revolution history has left to us [to accomplish]. This question must be discussed at a conference of cadres, to find out what other talents we have. In the past we had talents in fighting and land reform. These talents are not enough now and we must learn new things such as a real understanding of business matters, science and technology. If we do not, we shall not be able to lead. In ‘On the People’s Democratic Dictatorship’, which I wrote in 1949, I have said: ‘The serious task of economic reconstruction lies before us. We shall soon put aside some of the things we know well. This means difficulties. . . . We must overcome difficulties. We must learn what we do not know.’ Eight years have passed [since this was written]. In the eight years, one revolution followed another. They preoccupied our thoughts, thus leaving little time for us to learn science and technology. From this year onward, simultaneously with the accomplishment of the continued socialist revolution on the ideological and political front, [we] must shift the foci of attention of the whole party. Members of party committees at all levels may prepare the ground for this by explaining it to the cadres, but for the time being there is not yet the need to publicize it in the newspapers. We shall say a great deal about it after 1 July when the basic level rectification will have been more or less completed and when the party’s focus of attention can be transferred to a technological revolution. With the focus on technology, [we are] apt to neglect politics. Therefore [we] must carefully combine technology with politics.
22. Red and expert, politics and businessthe relationship between them is the unification of contradictions. We must criticize the apolitical attitude. [We] must oppose empty-headed ‘politicoes’ on the one hand and disoriented ‘practicoes’ on the other.
It is beyond any doubt that politics and economy, politics and technology must be unified. This must be so and will for ever be so. This is the meaning of ‘red and expert’. The term, ‘politics’, will continue to exist, but in a different sense. To ignore ideology and politics, to be always preoccupied with business mattersthe result will be a disoriented economist or technologist and that is dreadful. Ideological and political work is the guarantee for the completion of economic, technological work and it serves the economic base. Ideology and politics are, moreover, the commanders, the ‘sour’. A slight relaxation in our ideological and political work will lead our economic and technological work astray.
At present there is on the one hand the grave class struggle between the socialist and imperialist worlds; on the other there still exist classes and class struggle within our country. [We] must give these two aspects [of class struggles] our full consideration. In the past politics meant basically struggles against [our] class enemies. But once the people have seized political power, the relationship between the people and the government is essentially an internal relationship among the people. The method [of political struggle] to be employed is [therefore] persuasion not suppression. This is a new political relationship. This government uses various degrees of suppression only temporarily on the criminals who break the law and order of society, and used them to supplement persuasion. In the transition from capitalism to socialism, there are still anti-socialist elements hiding among the people, e.g. the bourgeois rightists. With regard to the problems of these people, our solutions are essentially the bloom-contend type of mass debate. Suppression applies only to serious counter-revolutionary saboteurs. When the transition is over and classes are eliminated, the politics of a country become purely a matter of internal relationship among the people. Even then, ideological and political struggles between men and revolutions will continue to occur; they will never cease. The laws of unification of contradictions, of quantitative to qualitative changes and of affirmation and negation will hold good universally and eternally. However, the nature of struggles and revolutions will be different. They will not be class struggles, but struggles between advanced and backward techniques. The struggle during the transition from socialism to communism will also be a revolution. In the communist era there will be many, many phases of development. The development from one phase to another must necessarily be a relationship between quantitative and qualitative changes. All mutations, all leaps forward are revolutio! ns which must pass through struggles. The theory of cessation of struggles is sheer metaphysics.
Political workers must have some knowledge of business matters. It may be difficult to know a lot [about them]; but it will not do to know only a little. They must know something. [Those who] have no practical knowledge are pseudo-red, empty-headed politicoes. . [We] must unite politics and technology. In agriculture [this means] experimental fields and in industries it means picking out the advanced types and trying out new techniques and new products. The method to be used is comparison. Compare the advanced with the backward under identical conditions and encourage the backward to catch up with the advanced. They are the two extremes of a contradiction and comparison is the unification of them. Disequilibria exist between enterprises, machine shops, teams and individuals. Disequilibrium is a general, objective rule. The cycle, which is endless, evolves from disequilibrium to equilibrium and then to disequilibrium again. Each cycle, however, brings us to a higher level of development. Disequilibrium is normal and absolute whereas equilibrium is temporary and relative. The changes into equilibrium or disequilibrium in our national economy consist of the process of an over-all quantitative change and many qualitative changes . After a certain number of years, China will complete a leap by transforming herself from an agrarian to an industrial country. Then she will pick up the process of her quantitative changes again.
Comparison applies not only to production and technology, but also to politics, i.e. to the art of leadership in an endeavor to find out who are better leaders.
23. The superstructure must meet the needs of the development of the economic base and productive force. A part of the superstructure is the rules and regulations formulated by government departments. Many of them, drawn up during the past eight years, are still applicable, but a considerable number of them have become obstacles to heightening the activism of the masses and the development of the productive force. The latter kind should be revised or abolished. Recently, the masses had acquired many advanced experiences, e.g. the improved workers’ welfare scheme at the Shihchingshan Power Station, the improved workers’ dormitory system at the Hsiangchiang Machine Manufacturing Factory, the improved bonus system at the Ch’iyeh Power Station in Kiangsu, and the amalgamation of several first-grade commercial enterprises in Kwangsi thereby reducing their employees from 2,400 to 350 (i.e. a cut of six-sevenths). In revising or abolishing irrational rules and regulations, [we] must establish a general principle under the premise of developing socialist enterprises according to the principles of ‘more, faster, better and more economical’, of planning and of [keeping things] to the right proportions, on the basis of raising [the standard] of understanding of the masses, [we] permit and encourage the masses to break those rules and regulations which restrict the development of the productive force.
All the departments of the Center and the party committees of all the provinces, cities and autonomous regions should send responsible comrades to the basic level units of all localities to sum up advanced experiences of the masses. They should develop innovations of this kind [attained] at the basic level and by the masses which are beneficial to socialist construction, recommend them to the authorities concerned for approval, stop the operation of some articles in the existing rules and regulations in these basic level units and spread their advanced experiences to other units.
All departments of the Center and the party committees of all the provinces, cities and autonomous regions should in this respect systematically sum up exemplifying and mature advanced experiences. The more important and nationally significant kinds should have the approval of the Center and the State Council; the locally significant kinds need only have the approval of the local party committees or local governments; the technically significant kinds have to have the approval of the departments concerned. Then they are popularized among similar units throughout the country or province. After a period of time, if it is necessary, old rules and regulations will be revised or new ones introduced in the light of new experiences. This is the mass-line method of formulating and revising rules and regulations.
24. The rectification must be carried through to the end. The party as a whole should summon up its energy to get rid of bureaucratism, to come to grips with reality, and to unite with the people. It must do its best to rectify the mistakes and weaknesses in its work, style and institutions.
25. Members of the party committees of the Center, provinces, cities and autonomous regions, apart from the old and sick, should leave their offices for four months every year, to investigate and study at a lower level and to attend meetings at various places. They ought to adopt the methods of ‘flower viewing on horse back’ and ‘flower viewing at a lower level’. It is of some use even if [one] pays a flying visit to a place for only three or four hours [one] must contact workers and peasants and enhance one’s real understanding. Some of the conferences of the Centre may be held away from Peking; some of those of a provincial [party] committee may be held away from the capital of the province.
26. [We] must adopt an attitude of genuine equality towards cadres and the masses and make people feel that relationships among men are truly equal. [We] must make others feel that there is full and openhearted communication. [We] must learn from Lu Hsun, who communicated with his readers and evoked responses from them. People do different work and hold different jobs. No matter how high one’s position is, one must appear among people as an ordinary worker. One must not assume airs; one must get rid of bureaucratism. One must patiently listen to the end [of what others say] and consider the divergent views expressed by the lower grades. One must not lose one’s temper as soon as one hears an opinion different [from one’s own] and take it as a personal insult. This is one way of treating people as one’s equal.
27. Members of party committees at all levels, especially those responsible ones who resolutely follow the correct line of the Centre, must be prepared for criticism. If the criticism is correct, we must accept it and reform ourselves; if it is not, especially if it is foul, we must toughen the skin of our head and take [whatever is showered upon us]. Then we investigate [the charges] before acting on the criticism. Under such circumstances, [we] must not bend ourselves to whichever way the wind is blowing; [we] must fearlessly stand up against the wind. We have already passed the test in 1957.
28. The party’s leadership principles must be discussed at the cadre meetings of the provincial, district and county and perhaps also the village levels, in an attempt to make sure whether the principles are correct.
‘Concentrate important powers in one hand;
Diffuse less important ones.
Decisions are to be taken by party committees
And to be carried out by all concerned.
Implementation implies decision-making,
But this must not deviate from the principles.
As to inspecting work
Party committees have that responsibility.’
In these few lines, the responsibility of party committees is shown to consist of decision-making on matters of importance and inspecting the implementation of the decisions. ‘Concentrate important powers in one hand’ is an old saying which normally means personal dictatorship. We use it to mean that essential powers should be concentrated collectively in the hands of the party committees of the Center and regions, so as to combat the diffusion of powers. How can important powers be diffused? These eight lines were coined in 1953 with the diffusion of powers at that time in mind. ‘And to be carried out by all concerned’ does not mean implementation of decisions by members of the party alone. It means that members of the party should get in touch and discuss and consult with others in government organizations, in co-operatives, in independent bodies and in cultural and educational institutions, modify what is inadequate and obtain a general agreement before carrying out the decisions. The word ‘principles’ in the third couplet refers to the party representing the highest form of proletarian organization, democratic centralism, the unification of collective leadership and the role of the individual (i.e. the unification [of the contradiction] between a party committee and its first secretary) and decision-taking at the Center or a high level.
29. Is it necessary to consult the first secretary on everything? No, only on important matters. There must be the second and third in command who can take over when the first secretary is absent.
30. Party committees must handle military affairs, placing armed units under their supervision. Basically this remains the situation today and this has been a good tradition of our armed forces. Comrades engaged in military work want central and local party committees to handle these matters. In recent years, [however], we handled less because of our preoccupation with social reform-and economic construction. This tendency must be averted by dealing with military matters periodically every year.
31. Meetings of large, medium and small sizes are necessary and should be arranged well by the departments or at various places. Small size meetings of a few or one or two dozen are better for discovering and discussing problems. Large ones of over a thousand can adopt only the method of discussion following reports and they should not be too frequent, perhaps twice a year. But there must be at least four small and medium size meetings which are better held at a low level. [For instance] a provincial [party] committee may call a meeting of the county party secretaries of a district or of several districts; members of the Center or of the State Council may go to districts separately to call meetings there. An economic co-operative district may call a meeting whenever there are problems to discuss, at least four times a year.
32. The method of meeting must be the unification of [factual] materials and views. It is a very bad method if it fails to link up material with views, to review material without any view, or to expound views without material [to substantiate them]. The worst is to present a great pile of material without either a favourable or an unfavourable view. [We] must learn to use material to explain our views. [We] must have material but [we must] also have a clear and definite view [on how] to control it. There must not be too much material, just enough to make clear our views. [We] need anatomize only one or two sparrows, not too many [so to speak]. Although [we] must have a great deal of material at our disposal, [we] present only the representative pieces. [We] must understand that to hold a meeting is not to write a magnum opus.
33. Generally speaking, [we] must not impose a huge pile of material and views in a matter of a few hours on those who are not familiar with them. There must be several meetings a year to make people familiar with them. There must be several meetings a year to familiarize people with business matters. [We] must give them the kind of primary and processed source materials they need. [We] must not present to them only the finished products, the conclusions, suddenly in a morning [so to speak]. [They] need a trickle not a deluge of several hundred centimeters. The system of ‘compulsory instruction’ must be abolished. ‘Rubber stamping’ must be reduced to the minimum. Perfect communication comes from sharing the necessary information in the first place.
34. The question of ten fingers. A man has ten fingers and a cadre must learn to see the differences between nine fingers and one, or the difference between a majority and minority of fingers. Nine fingers are not the same as one finger. This seems an elementary matter, but not many people understand it. Therefore we must publicize this point of view the differences between the larger and smaller situations, general and specific [situations] and main and subsidiary trends [of development]. We must seize upon the main trend unless we want to tumble down. This is a question of understanding, of logic. It is more vivid and more suitable to our work to put it in the form of nine fingers and one finger. Unless there is a mistake in its basic line, our work depends mainly on its achievements. This view, however, does not apply to some people, e.g. the rightists. All the fingers of many extreme rightists are diseased. That is why they may remain at school.
35. ‘Attack one or a few points, exaggerate them and ignore the rest.’ This is an unpractical, metaphysical method. In 1957 the bourgeois rightists virulently attacked socialism in precisely this way. Our party had been harmed grievously by this method in its [past] history, i.e. when it was dominated by dogmatism. The [Li] Li-san line, revisionism, or rightist opportunism, the Ch’en Tu-hsiu line and Wang Ming line during the anti-Japanese war period, [all] employed this method. In 1935 Chang Kuo-t’ao used it and in 1953 the Kao Kang-Jao Shu-shih anti-party alliance used it too. We must sum up our experience in the past and criticize this method from the point of the theory of knowledge and methodology in an attempt to awaken our cadres so that they may not be harmed by it any more. Even good people when they are wrong may unconsciously adopt this method; therefore it is necessary for them to study methodology.
36. The process of conceptualization, judgment and reasoning, are the processes of investigation and study and thinking. The human brain can reflect the objective world, although it is not easy to do so correctly. Correct reflection or the reflection which is closest to reality can be arrived at only after thinking and rethinking. Having arrived at the correct point of view and correct thought, [we] must design an adequate way of expressing them [to make them intelligible] to others. The processes of conceptualization, judgment, reasoning are the processes ‘from the people’; those of communicating one’s own points of view and thoughts to others are the processes ‘to the people’. This simple truth is perhaps not yet grasped by many of our cadres. However great a man may be, his thoughts, views, plans and methods are a mere reflection of the objective world and the raw materials and half-digested facts [for this conceptualization] come from the practice of the masses or his own scientific experiments. His mind is only a processing plant in which finished products are manufactured. Otherwise it is utterly useless. The usefulness and correctness of such finished products are tested by the popular masses. Unless our comrades understand this, they will bang their heads on a nail.
37. Essays and documents must be written precisely, clearly and in a lively [manner]. Precision is a matter of logic, of concepts, judgments and reasoning. Clarity and liveliness are matters of both logic and rhetoric. Most essays nowadays suffer from, a. vague conceptualization, b. inadequate judgment, c. a lack of logic in the process of using concepts and judgment in reasoning, d. a lack of literary merit. [As a result] reading an essay becomes an ordeal, a gigantic waste of energy for very little reward. This bad tendency must be averted. Comrades engaged in economics work must pay attention not only to precision but also to clarity and liveliness when they are drafting [something]. [They] must not think [clarity and liveliness] are [only] for language and literature teachers, not for gentlemen like themselves. Important documents must be written, not by the second or third, but by [the first in command] himself or jointly [with the others].
38. [We] must not depend on secretaries or ‘back-benchers’ [underlings?] entirely. [We] must do things ourselves, accepting only other people’s help. The secretary system should not be allowed to become an epidemic. Wherever a secretary is unnecessary, there should not be one. To depend entirely on secretaries for everything is a symptom of the decline of revolutionary spirit.
39. Learn some natural and applied sciences.
40. Learn some philosophy and political economy.
41. Learn some history and jurisprudence.
42. Learn some literature.
43. Learn some grammar and logic.
44. [I] propose that responsible comrades in the Centre, provinces, and cities voluntarily learn a foreign language, aiming at the middle school standard in five or ten years.
45. Those who are shouldering heavy responsibility at the Centre and the provincial level may each have an apprentice secretary.
46. A cadre from another place should learn the dialect of the place [where he works]; all cadres should learn the p’u-tung-hua [the standard Han-Chinese]. [We] must draw up a five-year plan, aiming at a certain [linguistic] standard. Han cadres who work in minority area must learn the language of that minority. Likewise cadres of a minority must learn Han-Chinese.
47. All the departments of the Centre, provinces, special regions, and counties should foster ‘hsiu-ts’ai’[young people of intellectual potential]. It will not do to be without an intelligentsia. [But] the proletariat must have its own intelligentsia which knows more about Marxism and has achieved a certain cultural standard, scientific knowledge, and literary facility.
48. All secondary technical schools and schools for technicians should, if possible, experiment in setting up workshops and farms to attain complete or partial self-sufficiency by engaging in production. Students should do part-time study and part-time work. Under favorable conditions, these schools can take on more students but should not at the same time cost the country more money
All the industrial colleges should try to set up laboratories and workshops for teaching and research and also for production. In addition, their students and teachers may sign contracts with local factories to take part in their work.
49. All agricultural schools, apart from productive work on their own farms, may sign work contracts with local agricultural co-operatives. Their teachers should be sent to the co-operatives enabling them to unite their theory with practice. Local co-operatives should recommend qualified students to study at these schools.
The middle and primary schools of a village should sign contracts with local co-operatives to take part in agricultural and subsidiary production. Rural students should make use of their summer vacation, other holidays, and leisure time to work in their own village.
50. Under favourable conditions, universities and urban middle schools may jointly set up factories or workshops and they may sign work contracts with factories, work sites, or service industries.
All universities and middle and primary schools which have land should run their own farms. Those which do not have land of their own may participate in the production work of the agricultural co-operatives on the outskirts of a city.
51. Develop a patriotic public health campaign centering on the elimination of the ‘four pests’, and have monthly inspections this year, so that the groundwork of [this campaign] may be laid. Other pests may be added to the list according to local conditions.
52. The Center, provinces, and special regions may set up chemical fertilizer plants. The chemical industrial departments of the Center ought to help the regions in designing medium or small-scale plants of this kind and the engineering departments of the Center ought to help equip them.
53. The provinces, autonomous regions, and cities should set up farming-tool research institutes specially responsible for the improvement of tools and medium to small sized machines. They should have a close association with farming-tool factories so that once an improved tool is designed it can be given to a factory to produce.
54. In the Lien-meng commune of Hsiaokan, Hupei, some land produces 2,130 catties per mou in one crop a year; in the Ch’ien-chin commune of Jenshou, Szechwan, the land produces 1,680 catties per mou in one crop a year; in the Ch’ing-ho commune of Ichun, Shensi, some of its hilly land produces 1,650 catties per mou; in the Na-p’o commune of Paise, Kwangsi, some land produces 1,600 catties per mou in one crop a year. The experience gained by these examples of high yields in one crop should be studied and emulated by other places.
55. The problem of adequate proportions of different kinds of seeds [i.e. the sowing of several types of seed of the same crop in a given area] should be studied at various places.
56. Root-crops are extremely useful things for human and pig consumption, for distilleries, for making sugar, and for making noodles, which may be manufactured at various places. The planting of root-crops should be popularized in conjunction with adequate planning.
57. Afforestation. Trees that can be planted at any time of the year should be planted every season; those that can be planted only in two or three seasons of the year should be planted in those seasons.
58. In the special region, Shanglo, in Shensi, every household grows a pint of walnuts. This experience is well worth studying. It may be extended to other cash crops such as fruit, mulberry, oak, tea, cashew and oil, if the masses agree to it after a bloom-contend type of discussion.
59. Forests should be measured in terms of covered areas. The covered areas and their ratios [to the un-covered areas] in all the provinces, special regions, and counties should be measured and then the target for covered areas [at each place] can be determined.
60. Before September this year the question of my retirement from the Chairmanship of the Republic should be raised at the bloom-contend type of meetings, first among cadres of all grades and then in factories, in an attempt to sound out the views of both the cadres and the masses and to arrive at a majority agreement to it. My retirement from the Chairmanship of the Republic and concentration on [the duties] of the Chairman of the party Center will enable me to save a great deal of time in order to meet the demands of the party. This is also the way most suitable to my condition. If during discussions the masses are opposed to this proposal, it must be explained to them. Whenever the nation is urgently in need [of my services] and if the party decides [to recall me], I will shoulder this leadership task once again. Now the country is at peace, it is better for me to be relieved of the Chairmanship. This request has been agreed to and regarded as a good move by the Politburo of the Center and by many comrades in the Center and other places. Please explain all this clearly to cadres and the masses so as to avoid misconstruction.
The method of communication [of the results] of these conferences: The views should be explained clearly and gradually to cadres. Do not adopt the method of a ‘sudden deluge’.
The views recorded here are all suggestions. Our comrades should take them back [to their respective regions] to sound out the cadres. They can be refuted or developed. They are to be drawn up as a formal documents after a few months.
[1.] To receive a setback in one’s career is, in a Chinese metaphor, ‘to knock one’s head against a nail’. Therefore one needs to toughen the skin of one’s head so as to be able to sustain setbacks.
Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung