Chinese Communism Subject Archive

Speech at the meeting in celebration of the
60th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China

Hu Yaobang

(July 1, 1981)

Comrades and Friends:

We are gathered here today to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China. At this moment, we are all deeply aware that our Party and state are in an important historical period, a period in which we are bringing order out of chaos, carrying on our cause and forging ahead.

To bring order out of chaos, carry on our cause and forge ahead, we must undo all the negative consequences of the “cultural revolution“, advance the great cause pioneered by the Party under the leadership of Comrade Mao Zedong and other proletarian revolutionaries of the older generation, and facilitate the Chinese people’s way to socialism and communism.

The Sixth Plenary Session of the Eleventh Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, which has just ended, adopted the Resolution on Certain Questions in the History of Our Party Since the Founding of the People’s Republic of China. The resolution reviews the Party’s sixty years of struggle, sums up the basic experience it has gained in the thirty-two years since the founding of the People’s Republic, makes a concrete and realistic evaluation of a whole train of crucial historical events, analyses what was right and what was wrong in the ideology behind these events and the subjective factors and social roots giving rise to them, evaluates Comrade Mao Zedong’s role in history and expounds Mao Zedong Thought scientifically, and indicates our way for, ward more clearly. The plenary session also took decisions on other important matters. History will prove that it too was a meeting of paramount importance for our Party—a new milestone for our Party and state in the course of bringing order out of chaos, carrying on our cause and forging ahead.

Looking back over the path our Party has traversed, we are keenly conscious of the fact that the Chinese revolution has not been smooth sailing. We can say that the sixty years since the founding of the Communist Party of China have been years of unflinching, heroic struggle for the liberation of the Chinese nation and the happiness of the Chinese people, years of ever closer integration, through repeated application, of the universal truth of Marxism-Leninism with the concrete practice of the Chinese revolution, and years when right prevailed over wrong and positive aspects prevailed over negative aspects in the Party. They have been years during which we marched on to a number of victories despite untold hardships and setbacks.

Why do we say that the history of the Chinese Communist Party is one of unflinching, heroic struggle for the liberation of the Chinese nation and the happiness of the Chinese people?

In modern Chinese history, between the Opium War of 1840-42 and the outbreak of the May 4th Movement of 1919, the Chinese people waged protracted, heroic struggles against imperialism and feudalism. The 1911 Revolution led by the great revolutionary Dr. Sun Yatsen overthrew the Qing Dynasty monarchy, thus bringing to an end more than 2,000 years of feudal autocracy. However, the way to China’s salvation was not discovered through any of these struggles. It was not until the Communist Party of China was born after the October Socialist Revolution in Russia and the May 4th Movement in China that new vistas were opened up for the Chinese revolution, as a result of the integration of Marxism-Leninism with the rising workers’ movement in China, and with the help of the international proletariat.

The enemy of the Chinese revolution was formidable and ferocious. But none of the hardships overwhelmed the Chinese people and the Communist Party of China. In a dauntless revolutionary spirit, our Party led the people in rising up to fight the enemy. We Communists and the people depended on each other for survival; we relied closely on the people, and the people had Jeep faith in us. Our Party steeled itself in the grim struggle and became the most advanced and most powerful leading force in the history of the Chinese revolution and built a new and well-trained people’s army. After twenty-eight years of arduous struggle in four great people’s revolutionary wars (the Northern Expedition, 1924-27, the Agrarian Revolutionary War, 1927-37, the War of Resistance Against Japan, 1937-45, and the War of Liberation, 1946-49), our Party led the people of all our nationalities in finally overthrowing in 1949 the reactionary rule of imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat-capitalism and winning the great victory of the new-democratic revolution, a victory which led to the founding of the People’s Republic of China, a state of the people’s democratic dictatorship.

After the founding of the People’s Republic, our Party led the entire people in sustained advance. We thwarted the threats, attempts at subversion, sabotage and armed provocations of the imperialists and hegemonists, and safeguarded the independence and security of our great motherland. Except for Taiwan Province and a few other islands, we have achieved and consolidated the unification of our country. We have achieved and strengthened the great unity of the Chinese people of all nationalities and of the workers, peasants and intellectuals throughout the country. We have formed and consolidated the broadest possible united front of all socialist workers, all patriots who support socialism and all other patriots who uphold the reunification of the mother-land—a united front led by the Chinese Communist Party in full co-operation with all the democratic parties. And we smoothly effected the decisive transition of our society from new democracy to socialism. Thanks to the arduous struggle of the whole Party and people, we in the main completed the socialist transformation of the private ownership of the means of production and embarked on large-scale, planned socialist economic construction. Thus, our economy and culture registered an advance unparalleled in Chinese history. However numerous the shortcomings and mistakes in our work and however imperfect some aspects of our social system, we have eliminated the system of exploitation and the exploiting classes and have established the socialist system. Hence, with nearly a quarter of the world’s population, China has entered upon a socialist state of society, a state of society new in the history of mankind. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, this is the most radical social change in Chinese history. It is a leap of the most far-reaching significance in the progress of mankind and a tremendous victory for and a further development of Marxism.

The change is indeed striking. In the eighty years between the Opium War and the birth of the Chinese Communist Party, the ceaseless struggles of the people had all failed despite their heroism, and their hopes and lofty aspirations were sadly frustrated. The picture has been altogether different in the sixty years since the birth of the Chinese Communist Party. A new epoch in Chinese history was ushered in. The Chinese people have taken their destiny into their own hands; they have stood up in the East. Never again will the Chinese nation be bullied and oppressed.

In celebrating the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party, we feel with deep emotion that the splendid fruits of the Chinese people’s revolution have been truly hard-won. They have been won by the Chinese people in sixty long years of hard struggle under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party. They have been nurtured by the blood of millions of Communists and non-Party revolutionaries who died before the firing squad, on the battlefield or at their posts.

Let us rise and pay our sincere tribute to the memory of all the revolutionary martyrs, all the revolutionary leaders and cadres, Communists and Communist Youth League members, veteran revolutionaries and young fighters, non-Party comrades-in-arms and foreign friends who laid down their lives for the Chinese people at different stages of the Chinese revolution over the past six decades.

Why do we say that the history of the Chinese Communist Party is one of ever closer integration, through repeated application, of the universal truth of Marxism-Leninism with the concrete practice of the Chinese revolution?

From the moment of its inception, our Party adopted Marxism-Leninism as its guiding ideology. However, the general principles of Marxism provide no ready-made recipe for revolution in a particular country, especially a big, oriental, semi-feudal and semi-colonial country like China. During its formative years, the 1920s and 1930s, our Party suffered again and again from the “infantile malady“ of turning Marxism into a dogma and deifying foreign experience—a malady which could not but leave the Chinese revolution groping in the dark and even lead it into a blind alley. Comrade Mao Zedong’s great contribution lies in the fact that, in the course of combating this erroneous tendency and in the struggles waged collectively by the Party and the people, he succeeded in integrating the universal truth of Marxism with the concrete practice of the Chinese revolution and in summing up freshly gained experiences. In this way Mao Zedong Thought took shape as the guiding scientific ideology conforming to Chinese conditions. It is this scientific ideology that has guided the sweeping advance of the Chinese revolution from one triumph to another.

Mao Zedong Thought, coming into being and developing in the course of the Chinese revolution, is the crystallization of the collective wisdom of our Party and a summing-up of the victories in the gigantic struggles of the Chinese people. Its theories on the new-democratic revolution, on the socialist revolution and socialist construction, on the strategy and tactics of revolutionary struggle, on the building of a revolutionary army, on military strategy, on ideological and political work, on cultural work, and on the building of the Party, as well as its theories concerning scientific modes of thought, work and leadership which will be even more important in guiding all our work in the future, have all added new and original ideas to the treasure-house of Marxism. As a theory and as the summing-up of experiences verified in practice, as the application and development of Marxism in China, Mao Zedong Thought has been and will remain the guiding ideology of our Party.

However, Comrade Mao Zedong had his shortcomings and mistakes just like many other outstanding figures in the forefront of the march of history. Chiefly in his later years, having been admired and loved for so long by the whole Party and people, he became over-confident and more and more divorced from reality and the masses and, in particular, from the Party’s collective leadership, and often rejected and even suppressed correct opinions that differed from his. Thus, he inevitably made mistakes, including the comprehensive, long drawn-out and gross blunder of initiating the “cultural revolution“; this was a tremendous misfortune for the Party and the people. Of course, it must be admitted that both before the “cultural revolution“ and at the time of its inception, the Party failed to prevent Comrade Mao Zedong’s erroneous tendency from growing more serious but, instead, accepted and approved of some of his wrong theses. We veterans who had been working together with him for a long time as his comrades-in-arms, or who had long been following him in revolutionary struggle as his disciples, are keenly aware of our own responsibility in this matter, and we are determined never to forget this lesson.

Although Comrade Mao Zedong made grave mistakes in his later years, it is clear that if we consider his life work as a whole, his contributions to the Chinese revolution far outweigh his errors. He had dedicated himself to the Chinese revolution since his youth and had fought for it all his life. He was one of the founders of our Party and the chief architect of the glorious Chinese People’s Liberation Army. At the most trying times in the Chinese revolution, he was the first to discover the correct road for the revolution, work out a correct over-all strategy and gradually formulate a whole set of correct theories and tactics, thus guiding the revolution from defeat to victory. After the founding of the People’s Re-public, under the leadership of the Party Central Committee and Comrade Mao Zedong, New China quickly consolidated its position and embarked on the great cause of socialism. Even in the last few years of his life, when his errors had become very serious, Comrade Mao Zedong still remained alert to the nation’s independence and security and had a correct grasp of the new developments in the world situation. He led the Party and people in standing up to all pressures from hegemonism and instituted a new pattern for our foreign relations. In the long years of struggle, all comrades in our Party drew wisdom and strength from Comrade Mao Zedong and Mao Zedong Thought which nurtured successive generations of our Party’s leaders and large numbers of its cadres and educated the whole Chinese people. Comrade Mao Zedong was a great Marxist, a great proletarian revolutionary, theorist and strategist, and the greatest national hero in Chinese history. He made major contributions to the cause of the liberation of the world’s oppressed nations and to the cause of human progress. His immense contributions are immortal.

While celebrating the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China, we deeply cherish the memory of Comrade Mao Zedong. We deeply cherish the memory of the great Marxists, Comrades Zhou Enlai, Liu Shaoqi and Zhu De, and the memory of Comrades Ren Bishi, Dong Biwu, Peng Dehuai, He Long, Chen Yi, Luo Ronghuan, Lin Boqu, Li Fuchun, Wang Jiaxiang, Zhang Wentian, Tao Zhu and others, all of whom were outstanding leaders of our Party and, together with Comrade Mao Zedong, made important contributions to the victorious Chinese revolution and to the formation and development of Mao Zedong Thought. We deeply cherish the memory of Comrades Li Dazhao, Qu Qiubai, Cai He-sen, Xiang Jingyu, Deng Zhongxia, Su Zhaozheng, Peng Pai, Chen Yannian, Yun Daiying, Zhao Shiyan, Zhang Tailei, Li Lisan and other prominent leaders of our Party in its formative years. We deeply cherish the memory of Comrades Fang Zhimin, Liu Zhidan, Huang Gonglue, Xu Jishen, Wei Baqun, Zhao Bosheng, Dong Zhentang, Duan Dechang, Yang Jingyu, Zuo Quan, Ye Ting and other outstanding commanders of the people’s army who early laid down their lives for the Party and the country. We deeply cherish the memory of Comrade Soong Ching Ling, a great contemporary woman fighter who fought together with us over a Bong period of time and became a member of the glorious Chinese Communist Party before her death, of Cai Yuanpei, the prominent Chinese intellectual forerunner, and of Lu Xun, the great standard-bearer of our proletarian revolutionary culture. We deeply cherish the memory of Liao Zhongkai, He Xiangning, Deng Yanda, Yang Xingfo, Shen Junru and other close non-Party comrades-in-arms of ours who consistently supported our Party. We deeply cherish the memory of Comrades Zou Taofen, Guo Moruo, Mao Dun and Li Siguang, Mr. Wen Yiduo and other distinguished fighters in the fields of science and culture. We deeply cherish the memory of Yang Hucheng, Tan Kah Kee, Zhang Zhizhong, Fu Zuoyi and other renowned patriots who made important contributions to the victorious Chinese people’s revolution. We deeply cherish the memory of Norman Bethune, Agnes Smedley, Anna Louise Strong, Dwarkanath S. Kotnis, Edgar Snow, Inejiro Asanuma, Kenzo Nakajima and other close friends of the Chinese people and eminent internationalist fighters.

Why do we say that the history of the Chinese Communist Party is also the history of the triumph of right over wrong and of the triumph of the Party’s positive aspects over its negative ones?

The revolutionary cause our Party has embarked up-on is a sacred cause involving the radical transformation of Chinese society, a completely new cause never undertaken by our forefathers. The enemy of the revolution was formidable and the social conditions under which the revolution took place were extremely complex. Therefore, it was only natural that we should make mistakes of one kind or another, and even grievous ones, in the course of our revolutionary struggles. The important thing is to be good at learning through practice once a mistake has been made, to wake up in good time and endeavour to correct it, to strive to avoid a blunder which is long-drawn-out and comprehensive in character, and to avoid repetition of the same grievous blunder.

Our Party was born and grew to maturity in the old society. At the high tide of the revolution, large numbers of revolutionaries joined our ranks. This boosted our strength, but a few careerists and opportunists, too, wormed their way into the Party. This could hardly be avoided. The point is that while transforming society, our Party must pay attention to remoulding itself, and be good at educating and remoulding those who have diverse non-proletarian ideas when they join our Party, and at recognizing careerists and conspirators for what they are, so as to be able to foil their schemes and conspiracies.

The greatness of the Party does not lie in any readiness to guarantee complete freedom from any negative phenomena but in its ability to overcome shortcomings and rectify errors and to defeat sabotage by all alien fortes. Let us look back: Isn’t this precisely how our Party has fought in the past? Its history contains the gross blunders of Chen Duxiu’s Right capitulationism and Wang Ming’s “Left“ dogmatism. There were also conspiracies to split the Party hatched by Zhang Guotao and by Gao Gang and Rao Shushi. There were even the Lin Biao and Jiang Qing counter-revolutionary cliques. However, none succeeded in destroying our Party. The extremely treacherous careerists and conspirators Lin Biao and Jiang Qing exploited the “cultural revolution“ to seize supreme power; they committed every conceivable crime against our nation and people, with the gravest consequences. Yet they were finally unmasked and swept into the garbage bin of history by the Party and the people. Isn’t this an incontrovertible historical fact? Instead of being destroyed by sabotage or crippled by reverses of one kind or another, our Party has emerged each time refreshed and reinvigorated from the struggle to overcome mistakes and prevail over what is negative. It is our Party that is invincible.

The past sixty years prove that our Party is indeed a proletarian party armed with Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought and a party wholeheartedly serving the people, entirely dedicated to their interests and with no particular interest of its own. It is truly a long-tested, party which has acquired rich experience, learned many lessons and is capable of leading the people in braving difficulties to win victory after victory in the revolution. The role of this great party as the force at the core of the Chinese people’s revolutionary cause and its leadership in this cause are the dictates of history and of the will and interests of the people of all our nationalities, dictates which no force on earth can change or shake.

Comrades and Friends!

With widespread popular support, our Party smashed at one stroke the Jiang Qing counter-revolutionary clique in October 1976. This saved the revolution and our socialist state and ushered in a new period of historical development. The Third Plenary Session of the Eleventh Central Committee held in December 1978 marked a decisive turning point in the post-1949 history of our Party.

The tremendous significance of this plenary session lies in the fact that it really started to correct matters in an all-round, determined and well-considered way by relying on the masses. Since then, right through the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Plenary Sessions, our Party has been working hard with concentrated energy and attention and under difficult and complex conditions, and has adopted and implemented step by step a series of major policy decisions in ideological, political and organizational matters and all aspects of socialist construction, thus correcting the erroneous “Left“ orientation. Moreover, in the light of the new historical conditions, our Party has gradually charted a correct course for socialist modernization that is suited to China’s conditions.

The most striking change of all is the shift of the focus of work of the whole Party and nation after the liquidation and repudiation of the Lin Biao and Jiang Qing counter-revolutionary cliques. The leading organs from the central down to local levels are now concentrating their energy and attention on socialist modernization. Now that liquidation of the long prevalent “Left“ deviationist guiding ideology is under way, our socialist economic and cultural construction has been shifted to a course of development that takes into account the basic conditions of the country and the limits of our ability, proceeds step by step, and seeks practical results and steady advance. With the implementation of the Party’s policies, the introduction of the system of production responsibilities and the development of a diversified economy, an excellent situation has developed in the vast rural areas in particular, a dynamic and progressive situation seldom seen since the founding of the People’s Republic.

In sociopolitical relations, our Party has resolutely and appropriately solved many important issues which had been wrongly handled over a long period of time, eliminated a number of major factors detrimental to stability and unity and put an end to the social unrest and upheaval fomented in the “cultural revolution“. We are now striving to foster socialist democracy, improve the socialist legal system and reform and perfect the socialist political system. This gives a powerful impetus to the consolidation and development of a political situation of stability, unity and liveliness.

Through organizational consolidation and rectification of the style of work, tangible progress has been made in the normalization of Party life, the development of inner-Party democracy and the strengthening of the Party’s ties with the masses. The Party’s prestige, grievously damaged during the “cultural revolution“, is gradually being restored.

To ensure the proper implementation of the principle of emancipating the mind, our Party has reiterated that it is necessary to uphold the four fundamental principles of adhering to the socialist road, the people’s democratic dictatorship (i.e., the dictatorship of the proletariat), the Communist Party’s leadership and Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought. These principles constitute the common political basis for the unity of the whole Party and the unity of the entire people and provide the fundamental guarantee for the success of socialist modernization.

The great change which began with the Third Plenary Session of the Party’s Eleventh Central Committee and our correct line and policies fulfil the common aspirations of the people and the Party. Speaking of the general orientation and major policy decisions taken since the Session, many comrades have said, “They suit us fine.“ These words reflect the thoughts and feelings of the masses and of the majority of cadres. They explain why the change is so dynamic and irresistible,

Needless to say, many difficulties confront us. We have yet to finish the process of correction, and in various fields many problems remain to be solved. Our material resources, expertise and experience are far from adequate for the achievement of the four modernizations. The people’s living standards are still very low and many pressing problems demand solution. We have yet to introduce further improvements in the Party’s leadership and style of work. It is wrong to take these difficulties lightly. Only by taking them into full account will we be invincible. The road before us is still long and tortuous. It is like climbing the Taishan Mountain; when we have reached the Half-Way Gate to Heaven, we find that the Three Eighteen Flights of Steps lie ahead of us, demanding herculean efforts. Until we have negotiated these Flights of Steps, however, we won’t be able to reach the South Gate to Heaven. Still climbing, we will find it relatively easy to mount the Peak of the Jade Emperor, our destination, and only then can we claim to have accomplished the splendid cause of socialist modernization. Once at the South Gate to Heaven, we shall be in a position to appreciate the great Tang Dynasty poet Du Fu’s well-known lines, “Viewed from the topmost summit, / All mountains around are dwarfed.“ The hardships that once towered like “mountains“ will then look small and we will be able to negotiate the obstacles on the way to the “topmost summit“ more or less easily. In the course of our long journey, we will certainly be able to conquer these Flights of Steps, reach the South Gate to Heaven and then ascend the Peak of the Jade Emperor. Once there, we shall push towards new summits.

Comrades and Friends!

The historical experience of the past sixty years can be summed up in one sentence: there must be a Marxist, revolutionary line and a proletarian party capable of formulating and upholding this line. Faced with the gigantic task of socialist modernization centring around economic construction in the new historical period, we are deeply aware that the key to the fulfilment of this task lies in our Party.

Now, the entire people has placed its hopes on our Party, and other peoples of the world are closely watching it. Whether or not we can steer the ship of the Chinese revolution onward through storm and stress in the new historical period, whether or not we can modernize our agriculture, industry, national defence and science and technology fairly smoothly, avoid suffering such serious setbacks and paying such huge price as in the past, and achieve results that will satisfy the people and win the praise of posterity, all depends on the efforts of all comrades in the Party in the next decade or two. We must not let our people down.

With higher political awareness, we must make our Party a solid core which is more mature politically, more unified ideologically and more consolidated organizationally, and more able to unite with all our nationalities and lead them in socialist modernization.

1. All members of the Party must work with selfless devotion for China’s socialist modernization and in the service of the people.

We Chinese Communists must always proceed from our basic standpoint with the objective of wholeheartedly serving the people. Serving the people in essence means that our Party must rally the masses round it and, by virtue of its correct guidelines and policies, its close ties with the masses, its members’ exemplary role and its propaganda and organizational work, help them to see where their fundamental interests lie and to get united to strive for them.

The people are the makers of history. Both the people’s revolution and the construction of socialism led by our Party are the people’s very own cause. At all times Party members comprise only a small minority of the population; so we must rely on the people in all our work, have faith in them, draw wisdom from them, set store by their creativeness and subject ourselves to their supervision. Otherwise, we will accomplish nothing, we will fail. Since victory was won in the revolution, the people have become the masters of the country and society. To organize and support them in fulfilling this role and building a new life under socialism is the very essence of the Party’s leadership over affairs of state.

For us Communists, serving the people means primarily dedication to the cause of communism and readiness to sacrifice ourselves for the interests of the people. In the years of war, many of our Party members were the first to charge at the enemy and the last to pull back; they remained staunch and unyielding in captivity, dying as martyrs; and they were invariably the first to hear hardships and the last to enjoy comforts. What an inspiration and encouragement they were to millions upon millions of our people! Today, in peacetime construction, and particularly after the decade of havoc of the “cultural revolution“, we need this revolutionary spirit even more. Although our Party’s fine style of work was corroded by the counter-revolutionary cliques of Lin Biao and Jiang Qing, there are still large numbers of fine Party members who have maintained and carried forward this revolutionary spirit, a spirit characterized by readiness to sacrifice one’s individual interests and even one’s own life, for the interests of the people. They have won high praise from the people, and they have earned it. It is utterly wrong to think and act as though the revolutionary spirit may be discarded in peacetime construction and Party members no longer need to share weal and woe with the masses whose interests they may subordinate to their own. That would be to debase our Party spirit.

The style of work of a party in power vitally affects its very existence. As Comrade Mao Zedong pointed out in 1942, “Once our Party’s style of work is put completely right, the people all over the country will learn from our example. Those outside the Party who have the same kind of bad style will, if they are good and honest people, learn from our example and correct their mistakes, and thus the whole nation will be influenced. So long as our Communist ranks are in good order and march in step, so long as our troops are picked troops and our weapons are good weapons, any enemy, however powerful, can be overthrown.“ Let us firmly resolve to strive to our utmost to restore and carry forward the fine style of work which our Party and Comrade Mao Zedong cultivated, and to lead the whole Chinese nation in building a high level of socialist civilization.

2. We must be good at carrying forward Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought in the light of the new historical conditions.

We have obtained great successes in revolution and construction in the past under the guidance of Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought. We will obtain new and greater successes in our long march into the future by relying on Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought for guidance. If we Communists have any family heirlooms to speak of, by far the most important one is Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought. It has always been our basic and unshakable principle to uphold Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought and persist in taking the tenets of Marxism as our guideline.

Marxism is the crystallization of scientific thinking on proletarian revolution; it is our most powerful weapon for understanding and transforming the objective world. Its tenets are truths that have been repeatedly verified in practice. However, it does not exhaust all the truths in the unending course of human history, nor can it possibly do so. For us revolutionaries, the theory of Marxism is a guide to action and by no means a rigid dogma to be followed unthinkingly. All revolutionaries true to Marxism have the responsibility to ensure that it does not become divorced from social life and does not stagnate, wither or ossify; they must enrich it with fresh revolutionary experiences so that it will remain full of vitality. Therefore, our fundamental approach to Marxism is that we should apply and advance Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought; such is our unshirkable historical duty as Chinese Communists. This is not easy of course. It requires us to make an arduous, lifelong effort to achieve a better integration of the tenets of Marxism with the concrete practice of China’s socialist modernization.

We must continue to apply ourselves to the study and investigation of the history of the Chinese revolution. -For the China of today has grown out of the China of yesterday, a China about which we know not too much, but too little. We should especially study present-day China because our efforts to create a radiant future must first of all be based on a comparatively correct under-standing of the present. And the trouble is that we don’t know much, in fact we still know very little, about Chinese realities today and the objective laws governing the building of socialism.

Our cause is an integral whole and has a single goal. Yet, ours is a vast country with extremely diverse conditions. Therefore our study and understanding of the over-all situation and of the situation in different regions must be closely co-ordinated. If we overlook the whole and disregard uniformity, we shall make the mistake of acting blindly and thoughtlessly and with no consideration for the whole in directing the work in specific regions. If we ignore the regions’ specific conditions in directing the work of the whole country, we shall make the mistake of being guided by our own conjectures and fancies which may have no relation to reality. We Chinese Communists should be revolutionaries who are at once far-sighted and realistic in our approach.

We lay stress on self-reliance and strive to solve our problems by our own efforts and treasure our own experience. But we must never be conceited and underrate the experience of others. We should through analysis absorb whatever is useful in others’ experience and lessons. We must therefore earnestly study and analyse the experience of other countries, other regions and other people while studying and summing up our own.

The integration of the universal truth of Marxism with Chinese reality is a long process of repeated cycles of practice, knowledge, again practice and again knowledge. In the new historical period, we should emancipate our minds and constantly identify and grapple with the new conditions and problems in our practice and thus equip ourselves with rich, varied, living, perceptual knowledge. At the same time, we must set our minds to work and learn more social and natural sciences and their methods in order to raise perceptual knowledge to the plane of rational knowledge, logical knowledge that is more or less systematic, and verify it again and again in practice. We must therefore study diligently, learn from specialists and heed differing views and opinions and, at the same time, delve deep into reality and carry out thorough, systematic investigation and study so as to successfully synthesize our direct and indirect experience.

So long as we proceed in study and work in accordance with this stand, viewpoint and method, we shall be able to put all our Party work on a scientific foundation, make discoveries and function creatively for socialist modernization, thus ensuring the triumphant advance of our great cause.

3. We must put democratic life in the Party on a sounder basis and strengthen Party organization and discipline.

One of the fundamental reasons why the grievous errors of the “cultural revolution“ remained unrectified for so long is that the regular political life of our Party, inner-Party democratic centralism and the collective leadership of the Central Committee in particular, had been disrupted. As a result, the personality cult, anarchism and ultra-individualism all prevailed. This afforded the Lin Biao and Jiang Qing counter-revolutionary cliques and other scoundrels an opportunity they exploited to the full. No comrade in the Party must ever forget this bitter lesson and we must all take warning from it.

We are historical materialists. We do not deny the significant role that outstanding individuals play in history or the significant role of outstanding leaders in a proletarian party. But at the same time we maintain that our Party must be placed under collective leadership to be exercised by those who combine ability with political integrity and who have emerged in the course of mass struggles, and that we must ban all forms of the personality cult. Party organizations should commend all comrades, irrespective of their rank or position, who have made special contributions and achieved outstanding results in their work, so as to encourage other Party members and people to learn from their example. But suck public commendation must be truthful and unvarnished.

Appropriate relationships should be established between the leaders and the led in our Party organizations at all levels. Comrades at a lower level must respect and obey the leadership of comrades at a higher level. They must not feign compliance while actually violating or resisting instructions from the higher level. On the other hand, comrades at a higher level must heed the opinions of their subordinates, respect their functions and powers and accept their supervision. Leaders should take part in inner-Party activities just like ordinary Party members, abide by Party rules and discipline and the law of the state, and maintain their ties with the rank-and-file and the masses in general; they must not put themselves in a special category just because they are in leading positions.

Decisions concerning important matters must be made after collective discussions by the appropriate Party committee, and no one individual is allowed to have the final say. All members of a Party committee must abide by its decisions. Party committees at all levels must practise a division of labour and responsibilities to be discharged under the collective leadership of the Party committee, with each member doing his share conscientiously and responsibly and in the best and most efficient way possible.

All Party members are entitled to criticize, at Party meetings, any individuals within the Party, including leading members of the Central Committee; retaliation is impermissible. Party organizations at all levels and all Party members should give full play to their initiative and dare to work independently and conscientiously in a spirit characterized by boldness in thinking and action. But no Party member is allowed to impair the Party’s interests and the common goal by turning the department or unit entrusted to him by the Party into his own independent kingdom.

Our Party’s fighting strength lies in its vitality and strict discipline. Now that we are committed to the socialist modernization of the country and our task is most challenging and difficult, we have still greater need to promote this fine Party tradition.

4. We must be good at keeping ourselves politically pure and healthy and under all circumstances maintain our revolutionary vigour as members of a party in power.

Ours is a large party with a membership of 39 million and it is a party in power. This can easily make some of our comrades feel conceited and succumb to bureaucratic practices. Confronted as we are with so many new things and new problems, we can hardly avoid making mistakes. Besides, class struggle continues to exist to a certain extent in our society, and the ideological influences of the exploiting and other non-proletarian classes still survive. These facts, combined as they are with the complexities of contemporary international relations, put us in daily contact with the undesirable phenomena of capitalism, feudalism and small production. The contradictions between proletarian and non-proletarian ideology and between correct and erroneous thinking within our Party demand that we make more effective use of the best weapon Communists have for remoulding themselves, namely, the practice of criticism and self-criticism.

Communists should take a clear-cut stand on questions of principle and should uphold truth. Every Party member should uphold the Party spirit and be unequivocal in his position on questions of right and wrong which involve the interests of the Party and the people and should show clearly what he is for and what he is against. The rotten and vulgar practice of trying to be on good terms with everybody at the expense of principle is incompatible with the proletarian character of our Party.

Our Party’s fine tradition of criticism and self-criticism, gravely undermined in previous years, is now being revived and carried forward, and some new and useful experience has been gained in this respect. In making either criticism or self-criticism, one should base oneself on facts and rectify existing mistakes without trying to hide or magnify them. Criticisms should be offered in a well-reasoned way and should be instructive so that they can help the comrades concerned raise their level of political consciousness; they must not be based on speculation or aimed at intimidating others. We should induce the comrades concerned voluntarily to examine themselves and correct their mistakes. In our criticisms we must not make far-fetched interpretations and unduly involve other comrades at a higher or lower level. So long as the comrades concerned have recognized their mistakes and are willing to correct them, we should encourage them to go on working boldly. Our main mistake in the past was to engage in excessive struggle that yielded results contrary to our expectations; people became reluctant to make self-criticism and were afraid to criticize others. We must change this unhealthy tendency.

We Communists need to practise criticism and self-criticism so that our Party will become more, not less, united and militant. Provided we fully revive and carry forward this fine tradition, our Party will undoubtedly continue to show inexhaustible vitality and will never show signs of decay.

5. We must select more cadres who combine ability and political integrity and who are in the prime of life and appoint them to leading posts at all levels.

Insofar as experience in struggle is concerned, it may be said that our Party’s cadres belong to three or four generations, which shows that ours is a long-standing and well-established cause. It is indeed fortunate that our leading cadres at all fronts are largely veterans who have been tempered in prolonged revolutionary struggle. If cadres can be called valuable Party assets, then these numerous senior comrades are indeed most valuable.

But the laws of nature cannot be changed and, after all, most of our senior comrades are physically not as strong and active as before. In order to make sure that there is an adequate number of successors to carry on our cause and guarantee continuity in our Party’s guidelines and policies, we must devote much of our energy from now on to the selection and training of thousands upon thousands of cadres who combine ability and political integrity and are in their prime and give these comrades the opportunity to take part in leadership in various fields so that they may be better and more effectively tempered through practice. It is now a pressing strategic task facing the whole Party to build up a large contingent of revolutionary, well-educated, professionally competent and younger cadres.

The older comrades have an especially significant role to play in fulfilling this strategic task. Comrades Ye Jianying, Deng Xiaoping, Chen Yun and Li Xiannian have said more than once that although the old comrades may be pardoned for other mistakes, they would be commiting an unforgivable historical error if they did not redouble their efforts to train younger successors. The old comrades should work personally with the organizational departments of the Party and the masses in the selection and training of younger cadres and eagerly and enthusiastically guide them to frontline posts of leadership. At the same time, they should free themselves from the onerous pressure of day-to-day work and advance their views and judgements on key and long-range problems. The Central Committee of the Party earnestly hopes that all veteran Party comrades will have the depth of insight and foresight to discharge this crucial historic responsibility to the best of their ability. Meanwhile, it hopes that Party organizations at all levels and all comrades in their prime who have been selected for higher posts will respect and take good care of our veterans and learn as much as possible from them.

At present, we are facing the major task of learning anew. It is the hope of the Central Committee of the Party that all Party comrades and the younger comrades in particular will brace up, strengthen their Party spirit, enhance their political consciousness, set stricter demands on themselves, diligently study Marxist-Leninist works and works by Mao Zedong and the history of the Party, our nation and the world, acquire more theoretical and practical knowledge, and learn more about management and technology as required by their own occupations and specific jobs. The results of our study will determine the quality of our leadership and work and will have a direct bearing on the progress of the socialist modernization of our country. Since we have successfully learned to destroy the old world, we can surely learn even more successfully how to build a new one.

6. We must forever uphold internationalism and cast in our lot with the proletariat and the people of the whole world.

We Chinese Communists have always integrated patriotism with internationalism.

We are patriots. We have invariably fought might and main for our national liberation, for the well-being of our people and the unification and prosperity of our motherland. We have never knuckled under to any pressure from any foreign power. We have never flinched in our determination to be independent and to rely on ourselves, no matter how formidable the difficulties we have faced. Our country is still relatively backward economically and culturally; but we have always maintained our national self-respect in the face of hegemonist threats of force and in our relations with all stronger and richer countries, and will not tolerate any servility in thought or deed. We are resolved to strive together with the people of the whole country, not least including those in Taiwan, for its return and for the sacred cause of the complete reunification of our motherland.

At the same time we are proletarian internationalists. We have always east in our own lot with the other peoples of the world in their just struggles and with the cause of human progress. Our struggles have throughout enjoyed the support of the other peoples of the world, and we on our part have always supported the struggles of the world’s oppressed nations and people for emancipation, the cause of world peace and the cause of human progress, and we have consistently opposed imperialism, hegemonism, colonialism and racism. Our cause of socialist modernization is at once patriotic and internationalist. Its success will be a tremendous contribution to the cause of world peace and human progress. We hereby wish solemnly to proclaim once again that the Communist Party of China will always live in friendship and cooperation and on an equal footing with all the political parties and organizations in the world which are dedicated to human progress and to national liberation and will learn from their useful experience, and that we will never interfere in the internal affairs of any foreign political party. Even when it becomes stronger and more prosperous, socialist China will belong to the third world and forever stand by the other peoples of the world, strive for world peace and friendly intercourse among peoples, abide faithfully by the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence, and continue to promote more economic, cultural, scientific and technological exchange and cooperation with other nations; it will never seek advantage at the expense of others or bully weaker nations and will never under any circumstances seek hegemony.

Comrades and Friends!

The decisions of the Sixth Plenary Session of the Eleventh Central Committee of the Party were adopted after ample and extensive exchanges of views and discussions both prior to and during the session. Its out-come fully testifies to our Party’s ability to safeguard and strengthen its unity on the basis of Marxist principles and to the fact that the political life of our Party has now become much healthier.

Some well-intentioned friends at home and abroad have been worried about our Party’s ability to achieve complete unity, while a handful of people harbouring evil designs placed their hopes on successfully sowing dissension so as to undermine the unity of our Party. Now, reality has given them a clear answer: No force on earth can break the Chinese Communist Party’s strong unity based on Marxist principles.

Comrades and Friends!

We, the proletariat, are the class which commands the future, and our Party has lofty ideals and aspirations. The best way for us to celebrate this grand festival, our Party’s birthday, is to learn from historical experience and thus unite and look forward, focusing our attention on problems awaiting solution.

Socialist modernization is a great revolution. We are undertaking this great revolution in a huge oriental nation left economically and culturally backward by ruthless imperialist oppression and plunder. The fact that China entered upon socialism before developed capitalist countries is due to its specific historical conditions, to the correct leadership exercised by our Party and the arduous struggles of the entire people. It represents a development of scientific socialism and is a credit to our Party and the Chinese people. On the other hand, our socialist cause is bound to meet many difficulties arising from our economic and cultural backwardness. This in turn calls for more strenuous and protracted struggle. We are still living under the threat of, aggression and sabotage from outside. Therefore, our whole Party, our whole army and our whole people must more actively apply their revolutionary spirit, heighten their revolutionary vigilance and steel their revolutionary will so as to win victory in this great revolution.

We have suffered severe setbacks in our advance, to socialism and paid heavily for our errors. However, these errors and setbacks have made us firmer, more experienced, more mindful of our actual conditions, more sober and more powerful. We have learned much from our reverses and mistakes and shall go on learning more. In this sense, our grievous errors and reverses are but fleeting phenomena. We must not overlook that we have a vast contingent of cadres steeled in struggle, that we have built up a substantial material base, that the whole Party, army and people fervently desire a prosperous motherland, and that we enjoy the superiority of our socialist system. All this and the fact that we now have correct ideological, political and organizational lines, constitute the decisive factor that will apply for a long time to come. There is no doubt whatsoever that our socialist cause and the hundreds of millions of Chinese people have a bright future.

The internal unity of the Party and the Party’s unity with the people are the essential condition for the triumph of our cause. While celebrating the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China, we wish to pay our sincere respects to the workers, peasants and intellectuals who are fighting valiantly on the different fronts, to the glorious People’s Liberation Army, the Great Wall of steel that defends our motherland, to the vast numbers of hard-working cadres, to our Party’s close aides, the Communist Youth League members who are full of vigour and vitality, and to our fellow-countrymen in Taiwan. Hong Kong and Macao and to Chinese citizens overseas! We wish to extend our heartfelt thanks to all the democratic parties and non-Party personages and friends of all circles who have cooperated with our Party and rendered invaluable support to the people’s revolution and to construction.

The unity of the Chinese people with the other peoples of the world is another essential condition for the triumph of our cause. In celebrating the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China, we wish to express our deep gratitude to all friendly countries which have entered into relations of equality and mutual assistance with us, and to all our foreign friends and comrades who have rendered our Party and people invaluable help.

Let all comrades in the Party and the people of all nationalities in our country unite as one under the great banner of Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought and work hard to make China a modern and powerful socialist country, a country which is prosperous, highly democratic and culturally advanced! Let us all strive for the supreme ideal of communism!