Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung

Highlights Of Forum On
Central Committee Work

December 20, 1964

[SOURCE: Long live Mao Tse-tung Thought, a Red Guard Publication.]

Chairman: The Premier reported that you did not even dare to mention the words of “catching up.” I added for you “not only catching up but also surpassing.” I also added the passage that “Sun Yat-sen said in 1905 that it could be surpassed.” Since I have said this, there is no need to publish it in the newspaper. You should read some modern history. Articles written by men like Wang Ching-wei[1], Hu Han-min and Chang Tai-yen[2] are not included in the Complete Works of Sun Yat-sen. You should also read the New People’s Miscellaneous Journal, Liang Ch’i-ch’ao’s Collected Essays of Yin-ping-shih, and especially Sun Yat-sen’s Three People’s Principles. There is not much substance in the Three People’s Principles,[3] it has no substance. In his later years, Sun Yat-sen’s knowledge declined. He was an orator and an instigator, speaking very eloquently and earning huge applauses. I had listened to his speeches and talked with him. He would not allow others to argue with him or to present their own views. In fact, his words were full of water, but had very little oil, and he was rather undemocratic. I think he could make himself a good emperor for 60 years, without any democracy. When he entered the hall, everybody was supposed to rise and say Mr. Sun. He was so undemocratic and so ignorant that when he was defining communism for the rightists, he would draw a T’ai-chi diagram first, and then draw a smaller circle inside it, and write the word communism. On the outside, he would draw still another circle, which he would call socialism. Finally, he would draw a large circle, and write the words “Principle of People’s Livelihood.” He would say that both socialism and commun! ism are included in “my Three People’s Principles.” Commander-in-Chief,[4] you never thought highly of him.

Premier [Chou En-lai]: When Sukarno[5] speaks of the “Five foundations,” he also includes socialism in his “five foundations.”

Chairman: Do you know a Hunanese by the name of Mien Yun-shan. He said at first that Sun Yat-sen was unlearned, being dubbed Cannon [loudmouth] Sun. But Huang K’o-ch’iang[6] was better and more erudite because Huang was a Hsiu-ts’ai scholar [holding a degree] and could write in Su Tung-po’s calligraphic style. Later, he went to Kwangtung, met with Sun Yat-sen, and his attitude changed completely. He said: “Mr Sun is really most remarkable!”

Why can’t Yu Ch’iu-li serve as deputy director of planning? Isn’t he brave and enterprising? There is also planning work in the Ministry of Petroleum. He must bring with him some new working style.

Premier: Go there to stir up a pool of stagnant water.

Chairman: Do you (pointing toward Ho) endorse it? We have now some people who would never do summing ups, and are concerned only with small matters, not big ones. Four letters are published in today’s People’s Daily. [Note: this refers to the four letters published in page 2 of this column: “From where Comes Correct Planning?”] Was this organized by Ku Mu?

XX: No. This was done by Hu Chi-wei and others.

Chairman: I have read all of them. Who wrote the remarks?

XX: The remarks were written by Hu Chi-wei.

Chairman: Not written by Ku Mu? Before I would never read Jen-min Jih-pao [People’s Daily]. I learned this from Chiang Kai-shek who would not read the Chung-Yang Jih-pao. There are now in the Jen-min Jih-pao fewer things like how cabbages are grown, and there are some discourses. Let Hu Chi-wei consult Chung-kuo Ch’ing-nien and Chueh-fang-chun Pao where there are considerable materials of an ideological nature. Some children read only Jen-min Jih-pao. I asked them if they read Chung-kuo Ch’ing-nien and Chih-fang-chun Pao any more.

(XX: has come.)

Chairman: You speak up first, and be the commander. If you don’t speak up, we will adjourn the meeting.

XX: We have had meetings for several days. Some comrades have talked about a number of problems. We raised many problems, and our basic concept is unanimous. We have all stationed at local points which is a very good thing. Let’s have some discussions.

Chairman: Let us discuss what contradictions we have.

XX: We have all been stationed at selected basic units. Our understanding has been unified.

Chairman: The time is short.

XX. It’s still the preliminary stage and the first time. We haven’t seen the mobilization of the masses, matured experience. We haven’t seen what it’s like after the masses have been mobilized and must wait until after the mobilization.

Chairman: It will be possible only when the provinces, counties, communes, brigades and teams have mobilized the masses and formed poor peasants associations.

XX: I know something about the rural villages, but understand very little about the urban areas. I have seen more data on rural areas. I have been trying to read the data on urban factories. But this is still only a preliminary experience for me.

Chairman: The experiences of Pai-yin-ch’ang [Silver Plant] seem to be more mature.

XX: It has been two years since Pai-yin-ch’ang was established. I have also seen Kao Yang-wen’s report which seems to require some further explanation. He could write something more of a summary nature. In short, our experiences of stationing at basic units are still in their preliminary stage and consequently there are many problems which we cannot explain. After you have experienced this for the second and third times, you will have a better idea of where to start and some basis for comparison. After you have acquired some understanding of the rural areas, you will be able to make additional comparison and understand the situation. We have now seen the seriousness of rural problems. In some units, it would take two years to undertake this task, and the methods may vary. You will understand it when you engage in it later. In a county, it may take two years, but in the large factories of the urban areas, it may also take two years.

Chairman: It should take two years! If it is extended, it may take even three years, since we must thoroughly resolve the problems. The time may also be shortened somewhat.

XX: This is true in Hsiang-t’an and Shantung. Ch’en Cheng-jen[7] suggested that the Loyang Tractor Factory should also take two years to do it.

Chairman: We must solve the problem.

XX: After one has become adept, it won’t take such a long time. There is a problem, that is, what is the principal contradiction in the rural villages? X X said that a well-to-do stratum and a special stratum have formed in the rural areas. The main contradiction, he said, is that between the broad masses of poor and lower middle peasants and the well-to-do and special stratum. X X X said that this is the contradiction between the masses and a coalition of landlords, rich peasants, counter-revolutionaries, bad elements, and bad cadres. Is this true? (XX: Yes, it is.)

Chairman: Landlords and rich peasants are the masters backstage. On the stage are the four unclean cadres. Power is held by the four unclean cadre[8]. The poor and lower middle peasants won’t be satisfied if you struggle against the landlords and rich peasants only. What is more urgent is what to do with the cadres. The landlords, rich peasants, counter-revolutionaries and bad elements are not in power yet, and moreover, they have been struggled against before. The masses do not care too much for them, but the main thing is that these bad cadres have been riding over their head, and they are so dismally poor. These landlords and rich peasants have already engaged in the distribution of land, and have thus become odius. But the power holders haven’t been struggled against, and haven’t become odious. He is a power holder; the upper echelons listen to him; he is also given fixed wage points; he is moreover a member of the Communist party.

XX: This is the first round. In the back of the power holders are landlords, rich peasants, counter-revolutionaries and bad elements, or elements of the four categories who have wormed their ways into our ranks. Some bad cadres do not have close relations with landlords and rich peasants. Among landlords, rich peasants, counter-revolutionaries and bad elements who have wormed their ways into the organization are included landlords and rich peasants who have escaped class demarcation and become poor peasants and Communist party members. They are also power holders, though not belonging to the former landlords and rich peasants. The latter have become odious, but not this group of people.

Chairman: In the case of Huang-chung County which was mentioned by X X X, it was Ma Pu-fang’s chief of staff.

XX: Such cases are in the minority even in the Northwest.

Chairman: They are in the minority in the Northwest and also throughout the country.

XX: We should hold discussions on how to draw a line of demarcation and how to unify our language. How should we discuss principal contradictions?

Chairman: Let’s talk about power holders. They want to have more wage points: “The five great leaders?” Aren’t the “five great leaders” power holders?

XX: T’ao X has raised this question, and reactions have come from various quarters. Some endorsed him: others did not. I have heard that someone in the Central organs did not endorse him. There are three kinds of people: landlords who have escaped demarcation, the nascent bourgeoisie, and the rotten. . . The status of most of them is that they come from laboring people, and are not clean in their political, economic, ideological and organizational stands. They connive with landlords, rich peasants, counter-revolutionaries and bad elements, and some of them have been manipulated by the latter. There are also some landlords and rich peasants who have escaped class demarcation and become power holders. Some landlords, rich peasants, counter-revolutionaries and bad elements have rid themselves of these labels and become power holders.

Chairman: Which is more in the latter two categories?

XX: Those who have escaped class demarcation are more numerous.

Chairman: We need not concern ourselves with class or stratum, but with these power holders, Communist power holders, and the “five great leaders” who follow the power holders. Since you are the power holders now, the purpose of mobilizing the masses is to rectify our party.

XX: Some of the production team[9] have also become bad.

Chairman: The majority of production team cadres aren’t party members, which is unreasonable. There are several, a dozen or a score of party members in a brigade which is too few. This is a dead situation that has been going on for a long time and it seems to suit someone’s taste. The crucial problem is party rectification; otherwise it would be impossible. There can be no hope if the party is not rectified.

Premier: This is also true in government offices. Aren’t you Liu Hsiu-feng of the Ministry of Building Industry, Li Wei-han[10] of the United Front Department and Chang Chih-i of the Political Consultative Conference, all party members who must be removed? We have announced it among the democratic personages, and they were very shocked.

Chairman: The Communist party is a prestigious party. Let’s not mention strata which involve too many people who have been scared and offended. Let’s discuss party committees only! The local committee is a party committee; so are county committees, commune committees, brigade committees, as well as party branches. They belong to the left, center or right. I believe the rightists are a minority, and those who are ultra right constitute only a small portion. The left is also a minority. The middle-of-the-roaders are more numerous and they must be won over. You should single out these people. X X X has said: Utilize contradictions, strive to secure the majority, oppose the minority, and break them up one by one. It is necessary to rally and to fight, to fight while rallying, and vice versa. We should develop progressive forces, strive to win over middle-of-the-road forces, and isolate the stubborn forces. We haven’t discussed these tactics for many years.

XX: This is the tactic of the united front.

Chairman: I think this is still useful; there is Nationalist-Communist coalition even in this party now. There is also a united front.

XX: This is practically so, but we mustn’t mention it outside.

Chairman: A few have become rotten, and some provincial committees have also become rotten, such as your committee in Anhwei, yours in Kweichow, yours in Tsinghai and yours in Kansu! (Some said Yunnan also.) Yunnan is an “individual” case, and has not reached this point, yet. Wu Chih-fu[11] of Honan is so extremely “leftist!”

XX: We need not mention the rich class, but call them new exploitative and oppressive elements, or mention them only as the so-called corrupt and theft elements, or speculative and profiteering elements. If they should form into an entity, they may also be called a clique.

Chairman: Don’t mention strata; it suffices to call them elements or cliques. You should study them. Elements may also have cliques, or cliques elements.

XX: Their contradiction with the broad masses is that these few people oppressed and exploited the majority. It is the majority who are oppressed and who want to make revolution. This minority of oppressors in the world will be isolated as their oppression is intensified. Here lies our faith.

Chairman: Exploited and oppressed, many people are disaffected and so they want to make revolution.

XX: There are certain conditions which must be cleared up. One is that landlords and rich peasants are standing on the forefront. They should be overthrown. The other consists of landlord and rich peasant elements who have escaped class demarcation. This kind of people will never do anything good. After the data on them have been cleared up, it would be easy to deal with them. All landlords, rich peasants, counter-revolutionaries, and bad elements who have wormed their ways into the party should be dealt with like the four category elements. There are also some poor and lower middle peasants who, during the land reform, engaged in revolution. Later, they were won over by landlords and rich peasants, and they have been riding over the heads of the masses to repress them. A severe struggle should be conducted against these people. They should be asked to thoroughly reimburse [the masses].

Chairman: The third group is the principal one, and they form the majority.

X X: Since there were many areas where land reform was peaceful, many have escaped class demarcation.

X X: Landlords could change their personal status after undertaking five years of labor, and rich peasants could change their personal status after undertaking three years of labor. Some people who have rid themselves of their labels have later become bad. This stipulation is no longer practical and it must be changed.

X X: That’s easy, we can give them another label.

X X: During the land reform, we suggested the policy of neutralizing the rich peasants.[12]

Chairman: We made some mistakes because of our lack of understanding. At that time, with a view to stabilizing middle peasants, we only took away from the rich peasants that portion of land they had gotten by feudal exploitation. No data were reflected on their infringement against middle peasants, and after the poor and lower middle peasants have been mobilized, they would invade the middle peasants. Are there cases where middle peasants were classified as rich peasants? You have waged struggles against middle peasants in northwestern Shansi.

XX: In Northwest Shansi, there was the mistake of checking the past three generations, and grain was confiscated for the purpose of tiding over the famine.

XX: One group has been given labels; one group has escaped class demarcation; there was another group which used to be poor and lower middle peasants, but they have become powerful and bad. Among the original poor and lower middle peasants (Chairman: even middle peasants), most of them can be won over and can enhance their class consciousness. But you must not take away their property, watches, bicycles and new houses. The masses are disaffected. It is necessary to ask for reimbursement and compensation.

Chairman: You may speak about the third group.

XX: If they do not reimburse or make compensation, it is also not conducive to educating the cadres.

XX: By taking away these things, it would educate the new cadres. It is no longer possible to serve as cadres. We must win over the majority, and give labels to the few, and this policy should be fixed.

Chairman: As for a few of the vicious elements, we should give them the label of new bourgeoisie.

XX: In my view, these people, after all, are not Communists. However, the important thing is to rectify the Communist party, regardless of whether you come from among the laboring people or are escaped landlords and rich peasants. . . In short, as a result of the struggle, the number of families given labels should not exceed 7 percent – 8 percent, and the number of persons should not exceed 10 percent.

Hsueh-feng: Does this include those who are there now?

Chairman: What do you think? Otherwise, too many people would be offended. You must know that they are not a sheet of iron and they change: some rich and some poor, some up and some down, some good and some bad, and some powerful and some not in power. On this question I am somewhat on the right. There are so many landlords and rich peasants, Kuomintang elements, and counter-revolutionaries that they might constitute 20 percent of the people in a peaceful evolution. How many people would there be if 20 percent were marked out in a population of 700 million? I am afraid there will be a tide towards the “left.”

Hsueh-feng: We must patiently win over those cadres that can be won over. Otherwise, the proportion of poor and lower middle peasants will be diminished drastically.

Chairman: If the masses should do the demarcating, it would affect your taking the mass line. The masses would demand that more should be demarcated, and the cadres also wanted the same. The result is that this would be inimical to the people as well as to the poor and lower middle peasants. Among the four-unclean cadres, the majority are those who committed 40, 50 or 100 yuan of corruption or graft. When this batch is liberated first, we will then be the majority! After we have explained the reasons to them, those who have committed errors will continue to make revolution. The plant directors, work section chiefs, and group leaders mentioned in that report are all veteran workers. After they admitted their mistakes, they should be allowed to continue their work!

XX: There is well-to-do class with the so-called “three great pieces.”

Chairman: They have become well-to-do first and used the methods of deducting wage points. They bought bicycles and woolen clothes. There are also poor and lower middle peasants who became prosperous afterwards.

Chairman: The original “Four clean-ups” is called “one clean-up” in economic matters. This was started in Hopeh.

(General discussion: The context of “four clean-ups” was positively presented in the First Ten Articles. It was added by the Chairman, and has been reported by X X X later. The Hopeh provincial party committee has also elaborated on it from the opposite viewpoint.)

XX: In North China they consider communes and educational institutions generally as “four cleans.”

Hsueh-feng: We spoke first the four uncleans of economic matters and the four uncleans of politics. Later we added organizational uncleans, and Comrade X X X reported that coupled with ideology, there are four uncleans.

Chairman: I did not have this impression. I won’t endorse your way of denigrating X X X. The earliest I have seen this mention was X X X’s.

K’ang Sheng:[13] X X’s presentation of the four uncleans is very good. I enjoyed his report.

XX: You attributed this to Hopeh, but X X X is also a native of Hopeh Province. All landlords, rich peasants, counter-revolutionaries and bad elements who have come into power are bad, and there won’t be any good ones. The question is when the poor and lower middle peasants come into power.

Chairman: What we have to do is to liberate those who have committed grafts of 100 to 150 yuan.

XX: That may not be so. There are many with corruptions amounting to hundreds of yuan, and those who committed grafts and corruption involving several thousand yuan or 1,000 catties of grain are also numerous. Perhaps we should liberate those who have committed graft amounting to 1,000 yuan, and ask them to pay back the money.

Chairman: What can you do since you cannot squeeze out all the tooth-paste? It may be possible to keep some. How can you squeeze it so clean? Let’s be lenient!

XX: We must squeeze as much as possible. One exploits the masses, while the other exploits the state. They should pay back, and the reimbursement must be stringent and thorough. Where it is especially vicious, and if one should stubbornly resist to the end, there must be confiscation.

Chairman: The state also belongs to the people. We have nothing ourselves. It is correct to seriously exact repayment. And it should be proper and reasonable. We need not talk about “thoroughness.”

XX: To what extent should this be carried out? It may be well to do it on a percentage basis. There are some honest persons among landlords and rich peasants whose labels could be removed, though the number is extremely small. Conditions of the children of landlords and rich peasants vary. There are some whose family properties have been divided, and some whose family properties have not been divided. Some have behaved well, and some haven’t.

XX: What is that percentage? From the outset, it would be necessary to divide up the four unclean cadres. There are some landlords and rich peasants whose performance has been good, and they should not have labels. Among poor and lower middle peasants, it may be advisable to put labels on a very few, such as the label of new despot elements. Nonetheless, in regard to the majority, we must divide them and win over them. They can not serve as cadres or party members; they aren’t targets to strike at, but are objects to win over.

XX: This is not yet the time, but in future the new exploitation elements will eat more and possess more.

Chairman: Eat more and possess more, this is rather complex! It is primarily people like us who have cars, houses and steam heat, and chauffeurs. I have only 430 yuan. I can’t afford to hire secretaries, but I must.

XX: How much should be returned and repaid?

XX: It will be all right after this has been carried out to some extent.

Chairman: The masses know that when it gets to a certain extent, it’d be all right. The toothpaste can’t be squeezed clean. There are only 18 families in some places, and how can you catch lice if there is none?

XX: It possible to set up one or two such elements in each brigade? Some must be given labels, and after the label of certain elements has been worn, it will be easy to handle them. The labels can be removed later.

Chairman: Just call them elements, and leave some way out for them! Don’t involve their families, and the labels can be removed at some point. Among those whose labor is good, no label for corrupt elements should be given.

XX: Where the transformation is good and voluntary, they should not be made to wear any kind of label.

Chairman: Ch’en Ping was famous for his ability to cut meat evenly. When he became prime minister, he was corrupt. Chou P’u and others charged that whoever bribed him more would get higher offices, and whoever gave him less money would be made a lesser bureaucrat. . . Liu Pang therefore asked Ch’en for a talk, telling him that people have charged him for corruption. He said: I have to support many people and I have no money myself! Liu Pang said, I will give you 40,000 ounces of gold to engage in the united front. With 40,000 ounces of gold, you would no longer have to commit corruption. This drama entitled “Banquet at Hung-men” is no longer performed. Ma X X used to play the role eloquently and exuberantly. People would refer to him (Ch’en p’ing) in citing cases of corruption, especially Ts’ao Ts’ao’s. This is in a crucial stage now, and I am afraid that I am pouring cold water!

XX: If the masses are fully mobilized, they will be understanding and reasonable.

Chairman: Sometimes this isn’t so. Once the masses are aroused, they become blind, and we have our own blindness too. In the past during the Wu-han epoch, the masses mobilized factory strikes and reduction of wages. There was unemployment and blindness.

XX: I had suspected it then.

Chairman: Now what I fear is the pouring of cold water. It is still in the anti-rightist stage. Not counting December, during January, February and March next year. . . at least we must work for another five months. The first thing is that the area in which to hit at must not be too wide, and secondly don’t pour cold water. Don’t announce it to the lower echelons that the toothpaste shouldn’t be squeezed too clean and that corrupt elements could also serve as prime ministers.

Hsueh-feng: Among antagonists should be included the serious four unclean cadres, nascent bourgeois elements, and the old bourgeois elements and landlords and rich peasants in the society. (The former) should be called corrupt elements and speculators.

XX: It’s all right. In regard to the four unclean cadres, we must ask them to reimburse and make compensations. We have not yet clarified. . .

Chairman: Where no four clean-ups have been undertaken, it may be possible to first lend some money to the state to relieve the poor. When the movement is launched later and when corruption and graft are found, no repayment would be needed.

XX: How much can be reimbursed in general? Can the repayment and reimbursement reach 70 or 80 percent? If it can only reach 50 percent, it won’t pass the hurdle.

Chairman: The question now is whether there are still real goods on hand. If there are no such things, then they cannot be squeezed, and if there are, they can be squeezed all right They consist usually of the “four big items,” gold and silver, houses, and what is buried underground.

(Hsueh-feng: In serious four unclean cases, it is generally followed by speculation and profiteering.)

XX: It is even more different in urban areas. In the “three original policies” of joint operation, the United Front Department has never attacked the bourgeoisie. Whenever there was a movement, it would first issue a notice to protect the capitalists and their representatives. The new and the old stay together. This is very serious at the top echelon and in factories and companies. Consequently, the first target should be clear, and we must concentrate our strength, to rectify the department, the factory and the party. For instance, in a department, members of the party group should be rectified first; in a factory, the secretary of party committee and the factory director should be rectified first. It is necessary to make this stipulation clearly, for otherwise the cadres in power would slip away.

Chairman: By catching wolves first and foxes later, we have found the problem. It’d be impossible if we don’t start with the power holders.

[Li] Hsien-nien:[14] If we don’t rectify the power holders, we will eventually rectify poor and lower middle peasants.

Chairman: The basic problem lies here.

XX: Strike at the wolf first and catch the fox later. We must not talk about strata. Otherwise, if you emphasize the bourgeois engineering and technical personnel, or the petty thieves and pickpockets, or students who come from uninfluential capitalist families, the cadres would be very enthusiastic. The consequence is that the cadres might slip away easily, and it will be impossible to strike at them. For instance, the root of the trouble of Pai-yin plant lies in the provincial committee and Ministry of Metallurgical Industry. Unless this is cleared up, it will be impossible to improve Pai-yin Plant.

Chairman: Who is the root of the Ministry of Metallurgical Industry?

XX: I have not heard who is the root of the Ministry of Metallurgical Industry. (XX: Wang Hao-shou.)

XX: The principal contradictions at the present stage and the contradictions between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat center around the four uncleans, principally four unclean cadres and the power holders.

XX: If they are not cleared up now, they will recur later.

Chairman: It will recur with the lapse of two or three years. This does not depend on the will of man. One will escape class demarcation, one will be born anew, and one will disintegrate. That’s the power holders’ group, and the principal target. Of Tu Fu’s[15] nine poems on “Leaving the Great Wall” (Ch’ien Ch’u-sai), people remember only these four lines: “One often chooses the stronger bow, and one uses the longer arrow in shooting and when shooting the enemy one shoots the horse first, and one captures the king first when one is out to catch the thieves,” but not the other verses. After catching the big ones, we can clear up the foxes later! In regard to the Ministry of Metallurgical Industry, we also must catch the king before the thieves are caught, and catch Wang Hao-shou! He shouldn’t be minister, and should be demoted to a manager. We will reform him after we have caught him from his horse.

XX: The focal point is the party.

Chairman: The focal point is the party. In the Ministry of Metallurgical Industry it is the party committee and so it is in Pai-yin Plant. It is also the party committee in provincial committees, local committees, hsien [county] committees, and commune committees. When one grasps them, it will then be possible to cope with the situation. When you, Kao Yang-wen first went to Pai-Yin Factory, you also harbored him, but once you have stayed at the point, you changed. Have you Wang Hao-shou changed?

XX: When Lu P’ing[16] was being rectified at Peking University, bourgeois professors came out to protect him. Wasn’t Comrade X X X considered a rightist at Yenan? It was done well at Tsing Hua University where the masses were mobilized.

Chairman: You of the Lu family name, when X X X was rectifying X X, I had stood on your side. Can X X still be the president of the university? Of course not, X X X X X! It seems that Tsing Hua[17] is better. (Someone asked: are the four cleans and four uncleans the principal contradictions in rural villages? No.) (Someone asked: What’s the character of these affluent strata?)

Chairman: What character? Anti-socialist capitalist character. Plus feudalism and imperialism! This is because what we are undertaking is a democratic revolution which has opened the way for capitalism and also for socialism. By staying at a point, you are opening the way. . . Anyway, we cannot do everything, and we will leave something for the next generation. Don’t take the ages of people like us as a criterion.

XX: Two kinds of contradictions interweave together and that is where the complexity of the problem lies.

Chairman: Others engage in corruption and theft. What socialism is there?

XX: Some of them have no lice, and some lice are very small. There is a tactical problem and bad cadres are responsible for it.

Chairman: If you rectify him will he still be responsible for it?

XX: The four-unclean cadres have created many rumours, alleging that “masses will be rectified first and cadres later.” It should be explained clearly that cadres will be rectified.

Chairman: What does this matter? Cadres will be rectified first

XX: Cadres who ate more and took more than their shares must make reimbursements. What belongs to the commune members need not be returned. It does not mean that only the poor and lower middle peasants are exempted from this. In this way, the misgivings of the masses will be dispelled. Next, liberate those cadres who have taken more than their share. If the things were shared between cadres and commune members, only the excessive portion taken by cadres will be returned.

Chairman: Divide one into two! One for the masses and one for the cadres.

XX: Then concentrate your efforts to deal with a few of the most serious cases.

Chairman: There are so many steps. I won’t endorse what has been done in An-yuan[18] in beginning to make connections with small staff members. In An-yuan, you had Hsiao Chih-yuan, Chu Chin-t’ang, and Chu Shao-chien. The latter had two wives, but we maintained contact with him. When a trade union of the Canton-Hankow Railway was being set up, we did not know a single person there. We found a foreman who also had two wives and was later executed.

XX: Strive to win over the majority and isolate the minority. We must not be deceived. What Comrade Hsueh-feng said about planting the roots in veteran bonafide poor peasants is correct. But what roots laid in the beginning might not be necessarily good, and we could utilize some of the brave elements.

Chairman: Let’s utilize some brave elements! When we started to fight battles, we depended on vagrants because they dared to die. There was a time when the army wanted to weed out the vagrant elements, but I opposed it.

XX: It may not be easy to find honest roots as soon as the work team begins to operate. What roots we discover may not be necessarily good, and they will emerge only when the time is ripe. Don’t tell a root that he is such.

Chairman: Let’s leave the question of roots alone, we are committed to socialism anyway.

XX: One batch of active elements follows another. After undergoing struggle, they would also have gained seniority and how can you say they are not qualified?

Chairman: Wasn’t Li Li-san senior in qualification? It was only at the time of emergency when he could no longer cope with the situation that he invited our state chairman to go there.

XX: Not only Li Li-san, but Chiang Hsien-yun also ran away. There were more people who knew Li Li-san because he proclaimed the victory. At that time, nobody was allowed to kill, and if you should kill, we would strike.

Chairman: When that mine suspends work, it will be filled with water in three days.

XX People may not support us if we try to look into the history of exploitation. In seeking out active elements among the poor and lower middle peasants, one may not get the right ones from the outset. In X X X’s place, they have changed some 30 percent of them! It seems better for us to discover them in the process of struggle.

Chairman: You are engrossed with honest people which shows you don’t know how to work. . .

XX: It is better to work on both cadres and the poor and lower middle peasants simultaneously. Back to back, he won’t know it. When one cadres exposes another and the masses also expose him, the news will leak out.

Chairman: Are these well informed people? Why then did Chao Tzu-yang live in a poor old peasant’s house to feed dogs? He was afraid others might get him.

XX: First, they are back to back, and then they sit on the presidium. Let these poor peasants participate in a cadres’ “bath” meeting first, they cannot be chairman at once.

Chairman: He has not read Sun Yat-sen’s First Step of Democracy (Min-ch’uan Ch’u-pu). Won’t it be possible to get a brave element to the chairman? In short, we shouldn’t describe that vagrant proletariat so badly.

XX: We still do not have sufficient experiences of the five antis. The number of bad cores in factories may not be too small. There are problems in both the basic and middle strata. In order to rectify the leadership core, we must rectify both the basic level cadres and middle level cadres.

Chairman: Has Wang Hao-shou changed?

XX: He has made progress.

Chairman: I am glad that he has improved. This man has had some relation with me. I don’t know whether he has emulated the Liberation Army and the Ta-ch’ing oil fields.

XX: In short, once one becomes separated from physical labor, he will go astray. It is a must to take part in labor.

XX: Whether one can practice “three togethernesses” is the principal key to whether one can stay at the point and align himself with the masses. It’s especially important to participate in labor. Once there is participation, any problems can be resolved. Jen Pai-ko went to stay at the Chungking Steel Mill where the “three fixes and one replacement” was implemented successfully. Some cadres there have learned only the skills of making steel.

XX: These people have technology and they should not be kept away from production. To do the work, it suffices to give them some time.

Chairman: How many hours will be required each day?

XX: It’s sufficient for a small group leader to have half an hour to an hour, and the plant director to have 1-2 hours.

Chairman: All staff members of sections and offices have gone down. There are tens of thousands of people at Ta-ch’ing and all kinds of public opinions, but they all laboured under strict orders. X X scolded this time! He wanted everybody to stay at selected primary units. I scolded my mother in vain. After X X scolded them they went.

XX: The majority of cadres were veteran workers who should be criticized and won over.

Chairman: This is why we must issue strict orders. There must be a Ch’in Shih-hung. Who is China’s Ch’in Shih-huang?[19] It is X X X. I am his aide.

[Hsieh] Fu-chih: There is the question of how to deal with so many people. There is also the question of how to handle bonuses which form a part of the workers’ wages.

XX: There are many good people in the factory. The cadres there are not any weaker than those we have sent down. If we take them out for training, they won’t be able to carry out their tasks! You recruit 20 percent from them and when you have gained some experience, we will reap the benefit. All cadres engaged in the five antis should be recruited from the factory concerned. There are more people in the factory who can be trained into backbone elements. This is what Hsieh Fu-chih did, and Ch’en Cheng-jen has also trained 400 people.

Chairman: It should be undertaken throughout the country. You (referring to Hsieh) will recruit half of the personnel from your factory to develop another factory. Thus, with one factory, we can have two.

XX: The technicians and engineers of the factory should also take part in class struggle, and pay attention to the movement before they can become both red and expert.

Chairman: They are not that expert. They won’t unite with the masses, or participate in labor. They won’t listen for other people’s views. Or they would look and see, but won’t make any real effort. . . Yu Ch’iu-li’s method is to issue strict orders. There are 7,000 people like him among an outfit of 60,000. There were all kinds of opinions.

XX: There are all kinds and shades of opinions. “Participation in labor would affect research,” “I have just been promoted and they want me to do labor work now. . .”

Chairman: It would be better to issue a strict order to ask everybody to go down.

(Someone suggested: We should set up revolutionary committees. There is so much corruption in the trade unions which won’t work now.)

XX: The Loyang Tractors Factory is launching a five antis representatives conference.

XX: It seems the trade union system is no longer feasible. We must reorganize it. Whenever there is a good one, it can be reorganized under whatever new name, but it must be revolutionary, and we should begin with organizing 20-8- percent of the active elements.

Chairman: It will be wonderful if we can have 30 percent.

XX: Moreover, how should we deal with the surplus personnel from factories and offices? What do we do when they come to us?

XX: They shouldn’t be sent up. It should be, as Hsueh-feng said, handled by themselves with one lazybone sandwiched between three diligent persons.

Chairman: It would be better to have three diligent workers mixed with one lazybone in the factory, as Comrade Li Hsueh-feng said! I didn’t say it! It won’t be good to use one’s neighbor as a dumping ground. We can divide one into two in this factory, with three diligent ones and a lazy bone! Do not be afraid! Disperse them properly.

XX: We might just as well give some labels to these bad people, and send them to the countryside to labor.

XX: If one has a home to go back to, can he do that?

Chairman: Who has a home to return to? How many tens of thousands of you have gone to Kiangsi and have returned to it? The factory can be moved. To concentrate on a few thousand, it would take only a few tens of cadres to control them. How can you say there is no way to handle 40 percent of them? If everybody must be sent up, I want to see where to send them. Maybe we can send them to him (referring to the Premier).

XX: I also believe the future is very bright indeed. There are tens of thousands of people in each township, and in each factory. . . Regarding Comrade Li Hsueh-feng’s talk yesterday on the theory of cognition, where do people get their correct ideology? If the leadership is good and Marxism-Leninism is truly practiced, with the enhancement of culture, of the theory of cognition, and of Mao Tse-tung thought, there will be both centralism and democracy, discipline and freedom, a united will and a pleasant individual mood, as well as a vivid and active political situation. But if the methods of thinking and working in a large factory, a county or big city are not sound, then they will change their colour. So many cadres have emerged from Hsing-kuo and Shang-hang in Kiangsi.

Chairman: There is also Yung-hsin.

XX: There is the Kirov Factory in the Soviet Union which used to be known as the Hammer and Sickle Factory, and after the October Revolution, its cadres were found throughout the USSR. After setting up a large factory, a large hisen or a large city will have cadres to transform the entire nation and even the entire world, thus bringing about a change in people’s spiritual outlook. A large factory can influence an entire city, nation and world. If the present work teams continue their efforts, it will have an effect on our new type of personages. . . .

Chairman: Lenin paid great attention to the peasants and founded a worker-peasant alliance (Communist Manifesto). He was afraid of the petty bourgeoisie, over-emphasized their weaknesses. The petty bourgeoisie has a dual character, and it depends on which side you emphasize. How many petty bourgeoisie are there in China? There are even more vagrants and proletarians.

He was even more harsh towards vagrant proletarians by stressing their negative aspect. But they also have their positive aspect and according to our experience, are also amenable to transformation.

XX: It is also true of the offices which are very bright. The basic problem is that there must be a strong leadership core, Marxism-Leninism, the proletarian ideological system, 3-8 work style, and the 4 firsts[20] which, when implemented and persisted in, will greatly change nature and man’s outlook. After the passage of years, the world will also change. This will be a tremendous contribution to the world proletarian revolution. The October Revolution was brisk and lively. Stalin built socialism. Later, it became dismal with stagnation. Then Khrushchev tried something. . . The world has not had any experience in freely mobilizing the masses under socialism to engage in revolutionary struggles. A Communist reporter of Iceland asked me what conditions would bring about a capitalist restoration.

Chairman: Two probabilities: One is restoration, and the other is no restoration.

XX: My answer for them is that we should mobilize the masses to engage in the four clean-ups, five antis. Wages should not be too high, and half work and half study should be introduced to gradually eliminate the gap between brain labor and manual labor. Chairman Mao has spoken about the three great revolutions, namely: class struggle, production struggle and scientific experiment, and urged us to avoid revisionism and insure the construction of a powerful socialist state. When we go into action, this will be our working style. As of now, China’s population constitutes one-third of the entire world population. After this one-third has done the work, the other two-thirds will come over to us.

Chairman: We hope we can develop and build a very respectable nation, which is one probability. The other probability is that we may not succeed. Then what do we do? It does not matter. Don’t be impatient; don’t hope that it will be consummated during our lifetime. If one third of a province does its work well, it may not have to work in the other two-thirds, because when this one-third moves, the other two-thirds will also move. You have in Hupeh 71 counties. One third of this is about 24 counties, which is just well.

XX: But it would be impossible to do well in one county and one factory. . . unless labor is provided and unless one has Marxism-Leninism and Chairman’s Mao’s theory of cognition. . .

Chairman: In teaching the theory of cognition, it has been customary to neglect its link with practical work. But apart from practical work, what’s the use of teaching theory of cognition and teaching philosophy!

XX: With it one can create. . . .

Chairman: It does not mean that everybody will feel fine; there is bound to be some who won’t feel good. Landlords, rich peasants, bad elements and undesirable elements won’t feel good. Otherwise why should they block it?

XX: Should it be necessary to kill people? I think it would be better to kill individually. . . mass killing would be harmful. Once there is killing, there would be a panic. But this does not mean that no one will be killed, and what time to kill must also be considered.

Chairman: It may be necessary to shock the people. Too many may be killed. What is the harm? First, if we try to use him later, there would not be any living material. Second, it would embitter his family — the vengeance of a father killed. We may incarcerate first the one who must be executed. It is impossible for us not to kill, but we must not kill too many. Kill a few to shock them. There is another aspect, that is, the one killed by mistake won’t resurrect.

XX: In a case like Tientsin’s Li Hui-liang where no material is available, if she was not killed, it would antagonize the broad mass of people.

Chairman: This has caused problems in the Peking drama circles.

XX: How many children of the landlords and rich peasants should engage in labor?

Chairman: If they are commune members, they of course are peasants! How can you not allow the people to participate in socialism and monopolize it for your family only?

Hsueh-feng: Poor and lower middle peasants are also called commune members, and so this cannot resolve the problem.

Premier: They are all peasants! Let’s call them peasants.

Chairman: You better argue some more!



[1.] Wang Ching-wei was a notorious Kuomintang leader and pro-Japanese traitor. He openly surrendered to the Japanese invaders in December 1938 when he was vice-chairman of the Kuomintang and chairman of its People’s Political Council. In March 1949 he became president of the puppet central government then formed in Nanking. He died in Japan in November 1944.

[2.] Chang Tai-yen (also known as Chang Ping-lin) was an influential intellectual of the early twentieth century, politically radical but conservative in cultural and literary matters.

[3.] The Three People’s Principles were the principles and the programme put forward by Sun Yat-sen on the questions of nationalism, democracy and people’s livelihood in China’s bourgeois-democratic revolution. In the manifesto adopted by the Kuomintang at its First National Congress in 1924 Sun Yat-sen restated the Three People’s Principles. Nationalism was interpreted as opposition to imperialism and active support was expressed for the movements of the workers and peasants. Thus the old Three People’s Principles were transformed into the new Three People’s Principles characterized by the Three Great Policies, that is, alliance with Russia, co-operation with the Communist Party, and assistance to the peasants and workers. The new Three People’s Principles provided the political basis for the co-operation between the Communist Party of China and the Kuomintang during the First Revolutionary Civil War period.

[4.] Comrade Chu Te.

[5.] Sukarno, the then President of Indonesia.

[6.] Huang K’och’eng (1902-), PLA Chief of Staff from October 1958 to September 1959, was regarded as P’eng Te-huai’s principal accomplice and dismissed from office at the same time.

[7.] Chen Cheng-jen, a veteran revolutionary. He worked along with comrade Mao in the land reform in Kiangsi Soviet, 1930-31.

[8.] Four unclean cadres; those who were not clear in their political, economic, ideological, and organisational stands.

[9.] Production team, see note 4 on p. 8 of this volume.

[10.] Li Wei-han (1897- ), a Hunanese, played a leading role in the Chinese Communist Party from its foundation in 1921. From 1944 to 1964 he was Director of the Party’s United Front Work Department.

[11.] Wu Chih-fu (c. 1906) at this time First Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party for Honan province, who had taken the lead in establishing communes in the summer of 1958.

[12.] The question of the rich peasants in China’s land reform was a peculiar one arising from her specific historical and economic conditions. China’s rich peasants differed from those in many capitalist countries in two respects: first, they generally and to a great degree had the character of feudal and semi-feudal exploiters and, second, this rich peasant economy did not occupy an important place in the country’s agricultural economy. In the struggle against feudal exploitation by the landlord class in China, the broad masses of poor peasants and farm labourers also demanded the abolition of feudal and semi-feudal exploitation by rich peasants. During the War of Liberation, the Communist Party of China adopted the policy of requisitioning the surplus land and property of rich peasants for distribution among the peasants, and thus satisfied the demands of the masses of poor peasants and farm labourers and ensured victory in the People’s War of Liberation. As the war progressed towards victory, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China in February 1948 laid down new policies for the land reform in the new Liberated Areas. The reform was to be divided into two stages: in the first stage neutralize the rich peasants and concentrate the blows on the landlords, primarily the big landlords; in the second stage, while distributing the land of the landlords, also distribute the land rented out by rich peasants and their surplus land, but continue to treat the rich peasants differently from the landlords (see “ Essential Points in Land Reform in the New Liberated Areas”, pp. 201-02 of SW Vol. IV). After the founding of the People’s Republic of China, the Central People’s Government in June 1950 promulgated the Land Reform Law, which provided that in the land reform only the land rented out by the rich peasants should partly or wholly be requisitioned, while the rest of their land and property was to be protected. In the subseque! nt stage of socialist revolution, the rich peasant economy disappeared as the movement for agricultural co-operation deepened and the rural economy developed.

[13.] K’ang Sheng (1993-) was born in Chuch’eng, Shantung, under the name Chang Shao-ch’ing (his other aliases including Chang Wen and Chao Yung). While studying at the middle school of Shanghai University, he joined the Communist Youth League (1920) and the later the CPC when he became a student at the university. He took part in the three uprisings in Shanghai just before the capture of the city by the National Revolutionary Army in 1927. Thereafter, it is reported, he and Ku Shun-chang created the special service branch of the CPC. He was the head of the Organization Department of the party before his departure for Moscow in 1932, whence he went to Germany. In 1937 he went back to China with Wang Ming to become a member of the Politburo and helped Mao in the latter’s Rectification Campaign of 1942-4. After 1949, he worked in Shantung and in 1956 he was demoted to an alternate member of Politburo. He visited Romania in 1960, Moscow in 1962 and 1964, and Albania in 1966. In mid-1966 he was elected to the standing committee of the Politburo.

[14.] Li Hsien-nien (c. 1907-) Minister of Finance, Vice-Premier, Politburo member.

[15.] A most famous poet of China’s literary golden age, during the Tang dynasty.

[16.] See note 26 of p. 144 of this volume.

[17.] A reference to Tsing Hua University on the western outskirt of Peking.

[18.] See note 1 on p 209 of this volume.

[19.] Ch’in Shih Huang Ti (Qin Shi Huangdi), the first emperor, was a king of the state of Ch’in who, between 230 and 221 B.C., conquered the neighbouring states and unified China. Under his rule, a feudal system was established, weights and measures and coinage were standardized. The legalist philosophy was the philosophical basis of the Ch’in. The first emperor is remembered for his burning of all non-utilitarian, “subversive” literature in 213 B.C.

[20.] The ‘three-eight style’ of the PLA: three phrases, correct political orientation; plain, hard-working style; flexible strategy and tactics. Eight characters: unity, alertness, earnestness, and liveliness.

The ‘four firsts’ are: in man’s relationship with his weapons, man comes first; in all activities, political activities come first; in political work, ideological work comes first; in ideological work, creative study comes first.

Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung