Mao Tse-tung

Opening Address at the Eighth National Congress of the Communist Party of China

[Foreign Languages Press, Peking 1956]


I now declare the Eighth National Congress of the Communist Party of China open. (A long standing ovation)

During the eleven years since the Seventh National Congress of our Party, many comrades and friends both here in our country and throughout the world have given their lives fighting heroically and working tirelessly for the cause of communism and the emancipation of mankind. Let us for ever honour their memory. (All rose to their feet in silent tribute)

The task of this congress is to sum up the experience gained since the Seventh Congress, to unite the whole Party and to unite with all those forces at home and abroad that can be united with to build a great, socialist China. (Applause)

In the eleven years since the Seventh Congress we have, in this great country with its vast territory, huge population and complex conditions, completed the bourgeois-democratic revolution and we have also gained a decisive victory in the socialist revolution. It has been proved in practice in these two revolutions that the line followed by the Central Committee of the Party from the Seventh Congress up to the present time is correct and that our Party is a great Marxist-Leninist party which has attained political maturity. (Applause)

Our Party is now more united, more consolidated than at anytime in the past. (Applause) It has become the core uniting the people throughout the country for socialist construction. (Applause)

We have achieved great successes in every field of work. We have done our work correctly, but we have also made some mistakes. At this congress we must sum up the main experience in our work, including both successes and mistakes, so that we can popularize our successful experience and draw lessons from our mistakes.

So far as internal conditions are concerned, our victories are due to the fact that we have relied on the worker-peasant alliance led by the working class and that we have extensively united all the forces that can be united. Great and heavy tasks lie ahead of us in carrying on the great work of construction. Although there are over 10 million members in our Party, they still constitute a very small minority of the country's population. In the various organs of state and in public affairs a lot of work has to be done by non-Party people. It is impossible to get the work well done unless we are good at relying on the masses and co-operating with non-Party people. While continuing to strengthen the unity of the Party, we should also continue to strengthen unity among all our nationalities, democratic classes, democratic parties, and people's organizations, and consolidate and expand the people's democratic united front. We must take determined action to get rid of any unhealthy manifestations in any part of our work that are detrimental to the unity between the Party and the people.

Internationally, our victories are due to the support of the camp of peace, democracy and socialism headed by the Soviet Union (Applause) and the profound sympathy of peace-loving people throughout the world.  (Applause)

At present, developments in the international situation have become even more favourable to the work of construction in our country. We and all the socialist countries want peace; the peoples of all the countries of the world want peace. The only ones who crave for war and do not want peace are certain monopoly-capitalist circles in a handful of imperialist countries which look to aggression for their profits. As a result of the unceasing efforts of the peaceloving countries and peoples, there has been a trend towards relaxation of tension in the international situation. (Applause)

To achieve a lasting peace in the world, we must further develop our friendship and co-operation with the fraternal countries in the camp of socialism (Applause) and strengthen our solidarity with all peace-loving countries. (Applause) We must endeavour to establish normal diplomatic relations on the basis of mutual respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty, and equality and mutual benefit, with all countries willing to live together with us in peace. We must give active support to the national independence and liberation movement in countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America as well as to the peace movement and righteous struggles in all countries throughout the world. (Applause) We firmly support the entirely lawful action of the Government of Egypt in taking back the Suez Canal Company, and resolutely oppose any attempt to encroach on the sovereignty of Egypt and start armed Intervention against that country. (Applause) We must completely frustrate the schemes of imperialism to create tension and prepare for war. (Prolonged applause)

The victories of the revolution and construction in our country are victories of Marxism-Leninism. Close integration of Marxist-Leninist theory with the practice of the Chinese revolution is the ideological principle consistently followed by our Party. For many years, especially since the campaign in 1942 to rectify the style of work in the Party, we have done much to strengthen Marxist-Leninist education within the Party. Compared with the time before this campaign, our Party has raised its level of Marxist-Leninist theory by another step. But we still have serious shortcomings. Among many of our comrades there still are standpoints and styles of work which are contrary to Marxism-Leninism, namely, subjectivism in their way of thinking, bureaucracy in their way of work, and sectarianism in organizational questions. Such standpoints and such styles of work alienate us from the masses, cut us off from reality and harm unity both within and without the Party. They obstruct the advance of our cause and the progress of our comrades. Such serious shortcomings in our ranks must be vigorously corrected by strengthening ideological education in the Party. (Applause)

After the October Revolution, Lenin put forward the task of study, and again study, before the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Our Soviet comrades and the Soviet people have acted according to this behest of Lenin. The time has not been long, but their achievements have been most glorious. (Prolonged applause) At its 20th congress held not long ago, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union formulated many correct policies and criticized shortcomings which were found in the Party. It can be confidently asserted that very great developments will follow on this in its work. (Prolonged applause)

The tasks confronting us today are in general similar to those confronting the Soviet Union in the early period following its foundation. In transforming China from a backward, agricultural country into an advanced, industrialized one, we are confronted with many strenuous tasks and our experience is far from being adequate. So we must be good at studying. We must be good at learning from our forerunner, the Soviet Union, (Applause) from the People's Democracies, (Applause) from the fraternal parties in other parts of the world (Applause) as well as from the peoples the world over. (Applause) We must never adopt a conceited attitude of great-nation chauvinism and become arrogant and complacent because of the victory of the revolution and some successes in the construction of the country. Every nation, big or small, has its own strong and weak points. Even if we had achieved extremely great successes, there is no reason whatsoever to feel conceited and complacent. Humility helps one to make progress whereas conceit makes one lag behind. This is a truth we must always bear in mind. (Applause)

Comrades, you and I all believe that the strength of the liberated Chinese people is inexhaustible. Besides, we have the assistance of our great ally the Soviet Union and the other fraternal countries (Applause) and we have also the support of all the fraternal parties (Applause) and all sympathizers throughout the world. (Applause) We have no feeling of standing isolated. Thus we shall assuredly be able to build our country step by step into a great socialist industrialized state. (Applause) Our congress will give a great impetus to the cause of construction in our country. (Applause)

We have among us today delegates from the Communist Parties, Workers' Parties, Parties of Labour and People's Revolutionary Parties of more than fifty countries. (Prolonged applause) They are all Marxist-Leninists and share a common language with us. (Applause) Inspired by the spirit of noble friendship, they have undertaken long journeys to come to our country to take part in this congress of our Party. This is a great encouragement and support to us. (Applause) We extend our warm welcome to them. (A long standing ovation)

We also have with us today representatives from the democratic parties in our country and democrats without party affiliations. (Applause) They are our close friends, working together with us. (Applause) They have always given us much help. (Applause) We extend our warm welcome to them. (A prolonged standing ovation)

Original Transcription by the Workers Party of New Zealand
original Formatting by maoist Documentation Project
HTML by Marxists Internet Archive, 2008

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