Mao Tse Tung
Quotations from Mao Tse Tung

17. Serving the People


We should be modest and prudent, guard against arrogance and rashness, and serve the Chinese people heart and soul....

"China's Two Possible Destinies" (April 23, 1945), Selected Works, Vol. III p. 253.

Our point of departure is to serve the people whole-heartedly and never for a moment divorce ourselves from the masses, to proceed in all cases from the interests of the people and not from one's self-interest or from the interests of a small group, and to identify our responsibility to the people with our responsibility to the leading organs of the Party.

"On Coalition Government" (April 24, 1945), Selected Works, Vol. III, p. 315.*

The organs of state must practice democratic centralism, they must rely on the masses and their personnel must serve the people.

On the Correct Handling of Contradictions Among the People (February 27, 1957), 1st pocket ed., p. 8.*

Comrade Bethune's spirit, his utter devotion to others without any thought of self, was shown in his boundless sense of responsibility in his work and his boundless warm-heartedness towards all comrades and the people. Every Communist must learn from him. We must all learn the spirit of absolute selflessness from him. With this spirit everyone can be very useful to the people. A man's ability may be great or small, but if he has this spirit, he is already nobleminded and pure, a man of moral integrity and above vulgar interests, a man who is of value to the people.

"In Memory of Norman Bethune" (December 21, 1939), Selected Works, Vol. II, pp. 337-38. *

Our Communist Party and the Eighth Route and New Fourth Armies led by our Party are battalions of the revolution. These battalions of ours are wholly dedicated to the liberation of the people and work entirely in the people's interests.

"Serve the People" (September 8, 1944), Selected Works, Vol. III, p. 227

All our cadres, whatever their rank, are servants of the people, and whatever we do is to serve the people. How then can we be reluctant to discard any of our bad traits?

"The Tasks for 1945" (December 15, 1944).

Our duty is to hold ourselves responsible to the people. Every word, every act and every policy must conform to the people's interests, and if mistakes occur, they must be corrected - that is what being responsible to the people means.

"The Situation and Our Policy After the Victory in the War of Resistance Against Japan" (August 13, 1945), Selected Works, Vol. IV, p. 16.

Wherever there is struggle there is sacrifice, and death is a common occurrence. But we have the interests of the people and the sufferings of the great majority at heart, and when we die for the people it is a worthy death. Nevertheless, we should do our best to avoid unnecessary sacrifices.

"Serve the People" (September 8, 1944), Selected Works, Vol. III, p. 228.

All men must die, but death can vary in its significance. The ancient Chinese writer Szuma Chien said, "Though death befalls all men alike, it may be weightier than Mount Tai or lighter than a feather." To die for the people is weightier than Mount Tai, but to work for the fascists and die for the exploiters and oppressors is lighter than a feather.

Ibid. p. 227.*


Chapter 18: Patriotism and Internationalism