Source: Peking Review, No. 36, 8 September 1959.
Party’s Call Becomes Nation’s Goal
All democratic parties have warmly endorsed the programme of action charted by the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party at its recent Lushan session. Li Chi-shen, Chairman of the Revolutionary Committee of the Kuomintang, said at a press interview that under the leadership of the Communist Party and Chairman Mao and abiding by the general line for socialist construction, China will continue the trend set by the unprecedented big leap forward in her economy in 1958. The situation at home and abroad favours industrial and agricultural expansion at this fast tempo. If we remain solidly united around the Communist Party and Chairman Mao and hold high the banner of the general line, Li Chi-shen said, we are sure to achieve still greater successes.
Shen Chun-ju. Chairman of the China Democratic League, Huang Yen-pei, Chairman of the China Democratic National Construction Association, and leaders of the other democratic parties spoke in a similar vein. They hailed the Communist Party’s recommendations and called on the members of their organizations to contribute their utmost to the current campaign for greater output and economy.
Throughout the country all sections of the population have been holding meetings to discuss and translate into action the Communique and Resolution of the Party (see Peking Review, No. 35, Sept. 1. 1959)—from organizations representing the women and youth to schools and research bodies, from writers and artists to officers and men of the People’s Liberation Army, from returned overseas Chinese to people of the national minorities, and, of course, industrial workers and commune members who are pushing the country’s output up and production costs down. People are proud of what has been achieved so far this year, but now with the call of the Party to realize the major targets of the Second Five-Year Plan (1958-1962) by the end Of 1959 everybody is determined to do still better in the remaining four months. The nation has adopted the Party’s call as its goal.
Marxists and Mass Movements
On September 1 a year ago, all Chinese newspapers published the decision of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party’s Central Committee to double China’s steel output from 5.35 million to 10.7 million tons. From that day onwards the whole nation turned to steel-making to help promote the rapid development of the national economy. In no time a mass steel-making movement was set in motion from one end of the country to the other. A short twelve months ago China’s metallurgical industry existed only in Liaoning, Heilungkiang, Hopei, Shansi, Hupeh and Szechuan Provinces and the two cities of Peking and Shanghai, but today big and small iron and steel works dot practically all the provinces and the hitherto sparsely developed areas inhabited by the national minorities. If there is any one factor which accounts for this phenomenal expansion, the credit must go to this mass movement.
This mass movement of millions engaged in steel-making is an expression of the Communist Party’s general line for socialist construction in action. It has been instrumental in speeding up China’s iron and steel production and the development of her other industries. Determined to rid the country of her legacy of poverty and backwardness as quickly as possible. China’s 650 million people have found this a sure way of achieving their goal. It was the sequel to the other mass movements during the big leap forward which did so much to transform China in 1958 — the mass movement for building water conservancy works, which more than doubled the entire irrigated area of the country, the mass movement to develop local industries, the mass movement to form people’s communes. How these movements should be evaluated, how the enthusiasm and energy of the masses should be welcomed and guided for their own benefits, in other words, what constitutes the correct approach of Marxists to all revolutionary movements emanating from the ranks of the people, is a question of prime importance.
The current number of Hongqi (Red Flag), the fortnightly organ of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party, carries a symposium on this question, entitled “What Attitude Should Marxists Take Towards Revolutionary Mass Movements?” In an editor’s note, Hongqi says: “The attitude towards mass movements has always been one of the fundamental questions at issue between Marxists and anti-Marxists; it is also a fundamental question as far as the building of socialism is concerned.” To help its readers understand the viewpoint held by classical Marxist writers on this question and to refute the slanders of right opportunists against mass movements, the magazine compiled relevant materials on the subject, part one comprising selections from the writings of Mao Tse-tung and part two from the works of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin.
Renmin Ribao and all the other national dailies have reproduced this symposium, because of the wide interest in pressing ahead with the rapid expansion of industry and agriculture through mass movements in keeping with the all-important policy of ‘’walking on two legs” reaffirmed in the Communist Party’s recent decisions.
Industry Ups Output Again
In industry, this mass movement is best reflected in the practical measures taken by the workers to carry forward the nationwide drive for increased production at lower costs, in response to the call of the Communist Party to fulfil the major goals set for the Second Five-Year Plan this year. Record outputs have been reported from various enterprises. Steel, coal, engineering, the light industries, etc. have all chalked up new gains and the figures show that the upswing is still rising, as reported elsewhere in this number.
Coal, which shares the spotlight with steel, has done particularly well in recent weeks. In the northeast China coal-centre of Fushun, for instance, output rose week by week in August, culminating with the announcement of the Party Communique and Resolution which evoked a tremendous spurt from the coal miners. In the five days ending August 30, average daily output shot up to 64,500 tons, which was 13,500 tons more than the average for the previous five days. The other three major coal-mining areas of Liaoning Province — Fuhsin, Penki and Pcipiao—have all acquitted themselves well, too. On the first of September all four overfulfilled their daily targets, topping the average daily output in August by 17.8 per cent. Other coal-rich provinces—Hopei, Heilungkiang, Shansi, and Honan—have all pledged to excel themselves by raising cither their September monthly quotas or raising their annual targets.
Knowing full well that the country can do with a lot more rolling stock, the workers in this industry turned out 2.114 freight cars in August, overfulfilling their August quota by 5.7 per cent. This is an increase of over 600 freight cars as compared with output in July. The August plan for the production of locomotives was also overfulfilled. Turning out something over 2,000 freight cars in a single month is a very creditable performance but workers in the rolling stock industry are determined to do still better to greet the forthcoming National Day on October 1.
Workers In the capital are also keeping up with the front runners. When the day’s output on the first of September was added up many factories were reported to have overfulfilled their production targets set for the day by quite a margin. The remarkable thing about this high output record is that it is being bettered week by week and often day by day and that feats of accelerated output are not monopolized by one factory or by one or two outstanding workers. The emulation drive that is going along with the campaign for greater output and economy, between factories, production brigades and workers is giving great impetus to the national production efforts. It helps the less developed ones catch up and make the maximum contribution to the national economy.
Rural Areas Drive Ahead
This spirit is sweeping the countryside too. When the news of the Party’s decisions reached the people’s communes the peasants held meetings and warmly supported the measures taken to ensure that the national economy makes a further leap forward in 1959. These meetings, held in the fields and village halls, have sparked a new upsurge in production.
Many communes are still waging the fight against the drought, which has lasted for months in central China; some are wrestling with the waterlogging caused by the sudden and concentrated downpours in the north; all are giving as much attention as they can to more effective field management of the land under autumn crops. Despite this heavy pressure of work facing them, the commune members have mapped out plans to raise production still further. Commune production brigades and teams are challenging each other to see who will reap a bigger harvest in the autumn.
At some of the communes dazibao (hand-written posters) on red, green and other bright coloured paper have made their appearance again. Some put up their dazibao to announce planned increases on output; some took the opportunity to repudiate right conservatism which tended to dampen the “leap-forward” spirit; and many are singing the praises of the people’s communes which have done so much for them in such a short time. In a word, the whole countryside is astir. The commune members are going all out for a rich harvest of food crops and cotton. The militant call of the Central Committee of the Communist Party is like an invigorating breeze blowing through the rural areas of China inspiring the peasants to greater heights of achievement.
To accomplish the production targets set for agriculture this year, not to speak of topping them, is no easy job. But the communes, consolidated and perfected as an organization in the recent checkup and strengthening campaign, are in a better position than ever. The cadres of the communes have acquired a good deal of experience running a large collective and making the best use of available manpower. The commune members themselves have come to know their organization belter and are keenly interested in making their commune a success. The area sown to autumn crops is bigger than last year and field management is better, more timely and thorough than in the past, thanks to more efficient disposition of the manpower on hand. All these are favourable conditions. Add to this the fact that the summer harvest this year was greater than last year’s despite the natural calamities. Now that the area planted to autumn crops is bigger, the experience of running the communes richer and the conditions for applying the 8-point Charter for Agriculture still more mature than before, there is every reason for the peasants lo expect a rich harvest later in the year.
North China’s Largest Reservoir
Last Tuesday the new Miyun Reservoir, wrhich is still under construction in the northeast of Peking, began to function.
It had checked the flood waters caused by the heaviest rainfall in a decade on the Chao and Pai Rivers, two of the most dangerous rivers in north China. With the torrents kept in check, some 4 million mu of farmland are now free from what was once a perennial threat of inundation.
The reservoir has attracted quite a number of visitors since the news was announced that it was put into commission although only partially completed. On Friday the diplomatic corps and a number of foreign correspondents in Peking went out to Miyun to see this multi-purpose water conservancy project, to which Beijing Ribao (Peking Daily) devoted its first and second pages on September 2. The diplomats and newspapermen visited the two main dams and took a boat ride on the reservoir.
The Miyun Reservoir lies in the county of the same name, in the northeastern part of the rural section of the Peking municipality. Covering an area of 200 square kilometres, which is 100 limes the size of the lake in the Summer Palace in Peking, the Miyun Reservoir will be the largest in north China. It will impound 60 times the amount of water that can be held by the famous Ming Tombs Reservoir. When complete, it will have a hydro-electric power station with a capacity of 60,000 kilowatts.
In normal limes a project of this size would take five years to build, but Miyun, a child of the great leap forward of 1958, began construction only a year ago. It is already more than half finished. Its two main dams and seventeen smaller ones are already high enough to control the flood waters brought about by the heavy rainfall in July and August. Some 190.000 members of the people’s communes nearby and 10.000 officers and men of the People’s Liberation Army and teachers and students of the engineering department of Tsinghua University, who are responsible for the designing, have been at work on the construction site. The whole project will be completed some time next year.
At a mammoth meeting celebrating the victory in damming the flood waters this year. Tan Chen-lin, member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party’s Central Committee and Vice-Premier, said that the success of the project signifies the triumph of the Party’s general line for socialist construction, of the big leap forward and of the people’s communes. It is a matter of rejoicing for the people of Peking and Hopei Province as a whole, and indeed for the whole country, he added.
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