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The history of mankind is one of continuous development from the realm of necessity to the realm of freedom. This process is never-ending. In any society in which classes exist class struggle will never end. In classless society the struggle between the new and the old and between truth and falsehood will never end. In the fields of the struggle for production and scientific experiment, mankind makes constant progress and nature undergoes constant change, they never remain at the same level. Therefore, man has constantly to sum up experience and go on discovering, inventing, creating and advancing. Ideas of stagnation, pessimism, inertia and complacency are all wrong. They are wrong because they agree neither with the historical facts of social development over the past million years, nor with the historical facts of nature so far known to us (i.e., nature as revealed in the history of celestial bodies, the earth, life, and other natural phenomena).

Quoted in "Premier Chou Enlai's Report on the Work of the Government to the First Session of the Third National People's Congress of the People's Republic of China" (December 21-22, 1964).

Natural science is one of man's weapons in his fight for freedom. For the purpose of attaining freedom in society, man must use social science to understand and change society and carry out social revolution. For the purpose of attaining freedom in the world of nature, man must use natural science to understand, conquer and change nature and thus attain freedom from nature.

Speech at the inaugural meeting of the Natural Science Research Society of the Border Region (February 5, 1940).

The Marxist philosophy of dialectical materialism has two outstanding characteristics. One is its class nature: it openly avows that dialectical materialism is in the service of the proletariat. The other is its practicality: it emphasizes the dependence of theory on practice, emphasizes that theory is based on practice and in turn serves practice.

"On Practice" (July 1937), Selected Works,  Vol. I, p. 297.

Marxist philosophy holds that the most important problem does not lie in understanding the laws of the objective world and thus being able to explain it, but in applying the knowledge of these laws actively to change the world.

Ibid.,  p. 304.

Where do correct ideas come from? Do they drop from the skies? No. Are they innate in the mind? No. They come from social practice, and from it alone; they come from three kinds of social practice, the struggle for production, the class struggle and scientific experiment.

Where Do Correct Ideas Come from?  (May 1963), 1st pocket ed., p. 1.

It is man's social being that determines his thinking. Once the correct ideas characteristic of the advanced class are grasped by the masses, these ideas turn into a material force which changes society and changes the world.


In their social practice, men engage in various kinds of struggle and gain rich experience, both from their successes and from their failures. Countless phenomena of the objective external world are reflected in a man's brain through his five sense organs - the organs of sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch. At first, knowledge is perceptual. The leap to conceptual knowledge, i e., to ideas, occurs when sufficient perceptual knowledge is accumulated. This is one process in cognition. It is the first stage in the whole process of cognition, the stage leading from objective matter to subjective consciousness, from existence to ideas. Whether or not one's consciousness or ideas (including theories, policies, plans or measures) do correctly reflect the laws of the objective external world is not yet proved at this stage, in which it is not yet possible to ascertain whether they are correct or not. Then comes the second stage in the process of cognition, the stage leading from consciousness back to matter, from ideas back to existence, in which the knowledge gained in the hrst stage is applied in social practice to ascertain whether the theories, policies, plans or measures meet with the anticipated success. Generally speaking, those that succeed are correct and those that fail are incorrect, and this is especially true of man's struggle with nature. In social struggle, the forces representing the advanced class sometimes suffer defeat not because their ideas are incorrect but because, in the balance of forces engaged in struggle, they are not as powerful for the time being as the forces of reaction; they are therefore temporarily defeated, but they are bound to triumph sooner or later. Man's knowledge makes another leap through the test of practice. This leap is more important than the previous one. For it is this leap alone that can prove the correctness or incorrectness of the first leap in cognition, i.e., of the ideas, theories, policies, plans or measures formulated in the course of reflecting the objective external world. There is no other way of testing truth.

Ibid.,  pp. 1-3.*

Often, correct knowledge can be arrived at only after many repetitions of the process leading from matter to consciousness and then back to matter, that is, leading from practice to knowledge and then back to practice. Such is the Marxist theory of knowledge, the dialectical materialist theory of knowledge.

Ibid.,  P. 3.*

Whoever wants to know a thing has no way of doing so except by coming into contact with it, that is, by living (practising) in its environment. ... If you want knowledge, you must take part in the practice of changing reality. If you want to know the taste of a pear, you must change the pear by eating it yourself.... If you want to know the theory and methods of revolution, you must take part in revolution. All genuine knowledge originates in direct experience.

"On Practice" (July 1937), Selected Works,  Vol. I, pp. 299-300.

Knowledge begins with practice, and theoretical knowledge which is acquired through practice must then return to practice. The active function of knowledge manifests itself not only in the active leap from perceptual to rational knowledge, but - and this is more important - it must manifest itself in the leap from rational knowledge to revolutionary practice.

Ibid.,  p. 304.*

It is well known that when you do anything, unless you understand its actual circumstances, its nature and its relations to other things, you will not know the laws governing it, or know how to do it, or be able to do it well.

"Problems of Strategy in China's Revolutionary War" (December 1936), Selected Works,  Vol. I, p. 179.

If a man wants to succeed in his work, that is, to achieve the anticipated results, he must bring his ideas into correspondence with the laws of the objective external world; if they do not correspond, he will fail in his practice. After he fails, he draws his lessons, corrects his ideas to make them correspond to the laws of the external world, and can thus turn failure into success; this is what is meant by "failure is the mother of success" and "a fall into the pit, a gain in your wit".

"On Practice" (July 1937), Selected Works,  Vol. I, pp. 296-97.

We are Marxists, and Marxism teaches that in our approach to a problem we should start from objective facts, not from abstract definitions, and that we should derive our guiding principles, policies and measures from an analysis of these facts.

"Talks at the Yenan Forum on Literature and Art" (May 1942), Selected Works,  Vol. III, p. 74.

The most fundamental method of work which all Communists must firmly bear in mind is to determine our working policies according to actual conditions. When we study the causes of the mistakes we have made, we find that they all arose because we departed from the actual situation at a given time and place and were subjective in determining our working policies.

"Speech at a Conference of Cadres in the Shansi-Suiyuan Liberated Area" (April 1, 1948), Selected Works,  Vol. IV, pp. 229-30.*

Idealism and metaphysics are the easiest things in the world, because people can talk as much nonsense as they like without basing it on objective reality or having it tested against reality. Materialism and dialectics, on the other hand, need effort. They must be based on and tested by objective reality. Unless one makes the effort one is liable to slip into idealism and metaphysics.

Introductory note to "Material on the Hu Feng Counter-Revolutionary Clique" (May 1955).

When we look at a thing, we must examine its essence and treat its appearance merely as an usher at the threshold, and once we cross the threshold, we must grasp the essence of the thing; this is the only rcliable and scientific method of analysis.

"A Single Spark Can Start a Prairie Fire" (January 5, 1930), Selected Works,  Vol. I, p. 119.

The fundamental cause of the development of a thing is not external but internal; it lies in the contradictoriness within the thing. This internal contradiction exists in every single thing, hence its motion and development. Contradictoriness within a thing is the fundamental cause of its development, while its interrelations and interactions with other things are secondary causes.

"On Contradiction" (August 1937), Selected Works,  Vol. I, p. 313.

It [materialist dialectics] holds that external causes are the condition of change and internal causes are the basis of change, and that external causes become operative through internal causes. In a suitable temperature an egg changes into a chicken, but no temperature can change a stone into a chicken, because each has a different basis.

Ibid.,  p. 314.

Marxist philosophy holds that the law of the unity of opposites is the fundamental law of the universe. This law operates universally, whether in the natural world, in human society, or in man's thinking. Between the opposites in a contradiction there is at once unity and struggle, and it is this that impels things to move and change. Contradictions exist everywhere, but they differ in accordance with the different nature of different things. In any given phenomenon or thing, the unity of opposites is conditional, temporary and transitory, and hence relative, whereas the struggle of opposites is absolute.

On the Correct Handling of Contradictions Among the People  (February 27, 1957), 1st pocket ed., p. 18.

The analytical method is dialectical. By analysis, we mean analysing the contradictions in things. And sound analysis is impossible without intimate knowledge of life and without real understanding of the pertinent contradictions.

Speech at the Chinese Communist Party's National Conference on Propaganda Work  (March 12, 1957), l5t pocket ed., p. 20.

Concrete analysis of concrete conditions, Lenin said, is "the most essential thing in Marxism, the living soul of Marxism". Lacking an analytical approach, many of our comrades do not want to go deeply into complex matters, to analyse and study them over and over again, but like to draw simple conclusions which are either absolutely affirmative or absolutely negative.... From now on we should remedy this state of affairs.

"Our Study and the Current Situation" (April 12, 1944), Selected Works,  Vol. III, p. 165.

The way these comrades look at problems is wrong. They do not look at the essential or main aspects but emphasize the non-essential or minor ones. It should be pointed out that these non-essential or minor aspects must not be overlooked and must be dealt with one by one. But they should not be taken as the essential or main aspects, or we will lose our bearings.

On the Question of Agricultural Co-operation  (July 31, 1955), 3rd ed., pp. 17-18.

In this world, things are complicated and are decided by many factors. We should look at problems from different aspects, not from just one.

"On the Chungking Negotiations'' (October 17, 1945), Selected Works,  Vol. IV, p. 54.

Only those who are subjective, one-sided and superficial in their approach to problems will smugly issue orders or directives the moment they arrive on the scene, without considering the circumstances, without viewing things in their totality (their history and their present state as a whole) and without getting to the essence of things (their nature and the internal relations between one thing and another). Such people are bound to trip and fall.

"On Practice" (July 1937), Selected Works,  Vol. I, p. 302.

In studying a problem, we must shun subjectivity, one-sidedness and superficiality. To be subjective means not to look at problems objectively, that is, not to use the materialist viewpoint in looking at problems. I have discussed this in my essay "On Practice". To be one-sided means not to look at problems all-sidedly.... Or it may be called seeing the part but not the whole, seeing the trees but not the forest. That way it is impossible to find the method for resolving a contradiction, it is impossible to accomplish the tasks of the revolution, to carry out assignments well or to develop inner-Party ideological struggle correctly. When Sun Wu Tzu said in discussing military science, "Know the enemy and know yourself, and you can fight a hundred battles with no danger of defeat", he was referring to the two sides in a battle. Wei Cheng of the Tang Dynasty also understood the error of one-sidedness when he said, "Listen to both sides and you will be enlightened, heed only one side and you will be benighted." But our comrades often look at problems one-sidedly, and so they often run into snags. ... Lenin said:

... in order really to know an object we must embrace, study, all its sides, all connections and "mediations". We shall never achieve this completely, but the demand for all-sidedness is a safeguard against mistakes and rigidity.

We should remember his words. To be superficial means to consider neither the characteristics of a contradiction in its totality nor the characteristics of each of its aspects; it means to deny the necessity for probing deeply into a thing and minutely studying the characteristics of its contradiction, but instead merely to look from afar and, after glimpsing the rough outline, immediately to try to resolve the contradiction (to answer a question, settle a dispute, handle work, or direct a military operation). This way of doing things is bound to lead to trouble. ...To be one-sided and superficial is at the same time to be subjective. For all objective things are actually interconnected and are governed by inner laws, but, instead of undertaking the task of reflecting things as they really are, some people only look at things one-sidedly or superficially and know neither their interconnections nor their inner laws, and so their method is subjectivist.

"On Contradiction" (August 1937), Selected Works,  Vol. I, pp. 323-24.*

One-sidedness means thinking in terms of absolutes, that is, a metaphysical approach to problems. In the appraisal of our work, it is one-sided to regard everything either as all positive or as all negative. ... To regard everything as positive is to see only the good and not the bad, and to tolerate only praise and no criticism. To talk as though our work is good in every respect is at variance with the facts. It is not true that everything is good; there are still shortcomings and mistakes. But neither is it true that everything is bad, and that, too, is at variance with the facts. Here analysis is necessary. To negate everything is to think, without having made any analysis, that nothing has been done well and that the great work of socialist construction, the great struggle in which hundreds of millions of people are participating, is a complete mess with nothing in it worth commending. Although there is a difference between the many people who hold such views and those who are hostile to the socialist system, these views are very mistaken and harmful and can only dishearten people. It is wrong to appraise our work either from the viewpoint that everything is positive, or from the viewpoint that everything is negative.

Speech at the Chinese Communist Party's National Conference on Propaganda Work  (March 12, 1957), 1st pocket ed., pp. 16-17.*

In approaching a problem a Marxist should see the whole as well as the parts. A frog in a well says, "The sky is no bigger than the mouth of the well." That is untrue, for the sky is not just the size of the mouth of the well. If it said, "A part of the sky is the size of the mouth of a well", that would be true, for it tallies with the facts.

"On Tactics Against Japanese Imperialism" (December 27, 1935), Selected Works,  Vol. I, p. 159.

We must learn to look at problems allsidedly, seeing the reverse as well as the obverse side of things. In given conditions, a bad thing can lead to good results and a good thing to bad results.

On the Correct Handling of Contradictions Among the People  (February 27, 1957), 1st pocket ed., pp. 66-67.*

While we recognize that in the general development of history the material determines the mental and social being determines social consciousness, we also - and indeed must - recognize the reaction of mental on material things, of social consciousness on social being and of the superstructure on the economic base. This does not go against materialism; on the contrary, it avoids mechanical materialism and firmly upholds dialectical materialism.

"On Contradiction" (August 1937), Selected Works,  Vol. I, p. 336.*

In seeking victory, those who direct a war cannot overstep the limitations imposed by the objective conditions; within these limitations, however, they can and must play a dynamic role in striving for victory. The stage of action for commanders in a war must be built upon objective possibilities, but on that stage they can direct the performance of many a drama, full of sound and colour, power and grandeur.

"On Protracted War" (May 1938), Selected Works,  Vol. II, p. 152.

People must adapt their thinking to the changed conditions. Of course no one should go off into wild flights of fancy, or make plans of action unwarranted by the objective situation, or stretch for the impossible. The problem today, however, is that Rightist conservative thinking is still causing mischief in many spheres and preventing the work in these spheres from keeping pace with the development of the objective situation. The present problem is that many people consider it impossible to accomplish things which could be accomplished if they exerted themselves.

Preface to The Socialist Upsurge in China's Countryside  (December 27, 1955), Chinese ed., Vol. I.

We should always use our brains and think everything over carefully. A common saying goes, "Knit your brows and you will hit upon a stratagem." In other words much thinking yields wisdom. In order to get rid of the blindness which exists to a serious extent in our Party, we must encourage our comrades to think, to learn the method of analysis and to cultivate the habit of analysis.

"Our Study and the Current Situation" (April 12, 1944), Selected Works,  Vol. III, pp. 174-75.*

If in any process thete arc a number of contradictions, one of them must be the principal contradiction playing the leading and decisive role, while the rest occupy a secondary and subordinate position. Therefore, in studying any complex process in which there are two or more contradictions, we must devote every effort to finding its principal contradiction. Once this principal contradiction is grasped, all problems can be readily solved.

"On Contradiction" (August 1937), Selected Works,  Vol. I, p. 332.*

Of the two contradictory aspects, one must be principal and the other secondary. The principal aspect is the one playing the leading role in the contradiction. The nature of a thing is determined mainly by the principal aspect of a contradiction, the aspect which has gained the dominant position.

But this situation is not static; the principal and the non-principal aspects of a contradiction transform themselves into each other and the nature of the thing changes accordingly.

Ibid.,  p. 333.

It is not enough to set tasks, we must also solve the problem of the methods for carrying them out. If our task is to cross a river, we cannot cross it without a bridge or a boat. Unless the bridge or boat problem is solved, it is idle to speak of crossing the river. Unless the problem of method is solved, talk ahout the task is useless.

"Be Concerned with the Well-Being of the Masses, Pay Attention to Methods of Work" (January 27, 1934), Selected Works,  Vol. I, p. 150.

In any task, if no general and widespread call is issued, the broad masses cannot be mobilized for action. But if persons in leading positions confine themselves to a general call - if they do not personally, in some of the organizations, go deeply and concretely into the work called for, make a break-through at some single point, gain experience and use this experience for guiding other units - then they will have no way of testing the correctness or of enriching the content of their general call, and there is the danger that nothing may come of it.

"Some Questions Concerning Methods of Leadership" (June 1, 1943), Selected Works,  Vol. III, p. 117.

No one in a leading position is competent to give general guidance to all the units unless he derives concrete experience from particular individuals and events in particular subordinate units. This method must be promoted everywhere so that leading cadres at all levels learn to apply it.

Ibid.,  p. 118.

In any given place, there cannot be a number of central tasks at the same time. At any one time there can be only one central task, supplemented by other tasks of a second or third order of importance. Consequently, the person with over-all responsibility in the locality must take into account the history and circumstances of the struggle there and put the different tasks in their proper order; he should not act upon each instruction as it comes from the higher organization without any planning of his own, and thereby create a multitudc of "central tasks" and a state of confusion and disorder. Nor should a higher organization simultaneously assign many tasks to a lower organization without indicating their relative importance and urgency or without specifying which is central, for that will lead to confusion in the steps to be taken by the lower organizations in their work and thus no definite results will be achieved. It is part of the art of leadership to take the whole situation into account and plan accordingly in the light of the historical conditions and existing circumstances of each locality, decide correctly on the centre of gravity and the sequence of the work for each period, steadfastly carry through the decision, and make sure that definite results are achieved.

Ibid., p. 121.

It [a regional or sub-regional bureau of the Central Committee of the Party] should constantly have a grip on the progress of the work, exchange experience and correct mistakes; it should not wait several months, half a year or a year before holding summing-up meetings for a general check-up and a general correction of mistakes. Waiting leads to great loss, while correcting mistakes as soon as they occur reduces loss.

"On the Policy Concerning Industry and Commerce" (February 27, 1948), Selected Works,  Vol. IV, p. 204.

Don't wait until problems pile up and cause a lot of trouble before trying to solve them. Leaders must march ahead of the movement, not lag behind it.

Introductory note to "Contract on a Seasonal Basis" (I955), The Socialist Upsurge in China's Countryside,  Chinese ed., Vol. III.

What we need is an enthusiastic but calm state of mind and intense but orderly work.

"Problems of Strategy in China's Revolutionary War" (December 1936), Selected Works,  Vol. I, p. 211.


Everyone engaged in practical work must investigate conditions at the lower levels. Such investigation is especially necessary for those who know theory but do not know the actual conditions, for otherwise they will not be able to link theory with practice. Although my assertion, "No investigation no right to speak", has been ridiculed as "narrow empiricism", to this day I do not regret having made it; far from regretting it, I still insist that without investigation there cannot possibly be any right to speak. There are many people who "the moment they alight from the official carriage" make a hullabaloo, spout opinions, criticize this and condemn that; but, in fact, ten out of ten of them will meet with failure. For such views or criticisms, which are not based on thorough investigation, are nothing but ignorant twaddle. Countless times our Party suffered at the hands of these "imperial envoys", who rushed here, there and everywhere. Stalin rightly says that "theory becomes purposeless if it is not connected with revolutionary practice". And he rightly adds that "practice gropes in the dark if its path is not illumined by revolutionary theory". Nobody should be labelled a "narrow empiricist" except the "practical man" who gropes in the dark and lacks perspective and foresight.

"Preface and Postscript to Rural Surveys"  (March and April 1941), Selected Works,  Vol. III, p. 13.*

To take such an attitude is to seek truth from facts. "Facts" are all the things that exist objectively, "truth" means their internal relations, that is, the laws governing them, and "to seek" means to study. We should proceed from the actual conditions inside and outside the country, the province, county or district, and derive from them, as our guide to action, laws which are inherent in them and not imaginary, that is, we should find the internal relations of the events occurring around us. And in order to do that we must rely not on subjective imagination, not on momentary enthusiasm, not on lifeless books, but on facts that exist objectively; we must appropriate the material in detail and, guided by the general principles of Marxism-Leninism, draw correct conclusions from it.

"Reform Our Study" (May 1941), Selected Works,  Vol. III, pp. 22-23.

To behave like "a blindfolded man catching sparrows", or "a blind man groping for fish", to be crude and careless, to indulge in verbiage, to rest content with a smattering of knowledge - such is the extremely bad style of work that still exists among many comrades in our Party, a style utterly opposed to the fundamental spirit of Marxism-Leninism. Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin have taught us that it is necessary to study conditions conscientiously and to proceed from objective reality and not from subjective wishes; but many of our comrades act in direct violation of this truth.

Ibid.  p. 18.

You can't solve a problem? Well, get down and investigate the present facts and its past history! When you have investigated the problem thoroughly, you will know how to solve it. Conclusions invariably come after investigation, and not before. Only a blockhead cudgels his brains on his own, or together with a group, to "find a solution" or "evolve an idea" without making any investigation. It must be stressed that this cannot possibly lead to any effective solution or any good idea.

Oppose Book Worship  (May 1930), 1st pocket ed., p. 2.

Investigation may be likened to the long months of pregnancy, and solving a problem to the day of birth. To investigate a problem is, indeed, to solve it.

Ibid.,  p. 3.

[With the Marxist-Leninist attitude,] a person applies the theory and method of Marxism-Leninism to the systematic and thorough investigation and study of the environment. He does not work by enthusiasm alone but, as Stalin says, combines revolutionary sweep with practicalness.

"Reform Our Study" (May 1941), Selected Works,  Vol. III, p. 22.

The only way to know conditions is to make social investigations, to investigate the conditions of each social class in real life. For those charged with directing work, the basic method for knowing conditions is to concentrate on a few cities and villages according to a plan and, using the fundamental viewpoint of Marxism, i.e., the method of class analysis, make a number of thorough investigations.

"Preface and Postscript to Rural Surveys"  (March and April 1941), Selected Works,  Vol. III, p. 11.*

A fact-finding meeting need not be large; from three to five or seven or eight people are enough. Ample time must be allowed and an outline for the investigation must be prepared; furthermore, one must personally ask questions, take notes and have discussions with those at the meeting. Therefore one certainly cannot make an investigation, or do it well, without zeal, a determination to direct one's eyes downward and a thirst for knowledge, and without shedding the ugly mantle of pretentiousness and becoming a willing pupil.

Ibid.,  p. 12.

A commander's correct dispositions stem from his correct decisions, his correct decisions stem from his correct judgements, and his correct judgements stem from a thorough and necessary reconnaissance and from pondering on and piecing together the data of various kinds gathered through reconnaissance. He applies all possible and necessary methods of reconnaissance, and ponders on the information gathered about the enemy's situation, discarding the dross and selecting the essential, eliminating the false and retaining the true, proceeding from the one to the other and from the outside to the inside; then, he takes the conditions on his own side into account, and makes a study of both sides and their interrelations, thereby forming his judgements, making up his mind and working out his plans. Such is the complete process of knowing a situation which a military man goes through before he formulates a strategic plan, a campaign plan or a battle plan.

"Problems of Strategy in China's Revolutionary War" (December 1936), Selected Works,  Vol. I. p. 188.


Even if we achieve gigantic successes in our work, there is no reason whatsoever to feel conceited and arrogant. Modesty helps one to go forward, whereas conceit makes one lag behind. This is a truth we must always bear in mind.

"Opening Address at the Eighth National Congress of the Communist Party of China" (September 15, 1956).

With victory, certain moods may grow within the Party - arrogance, the airs of a self-styled hero, inertia and unwillingness to make progress, love of pleasure and distaste for continued hard living. With victory, the people will be grateful to us and the bourgeoisie will come forward to flatter us. It has been proved that the enemy cannot conquer us by force of arms. However, the flattery of the bourgeoisie may conquer the weak-willed in our ranks. There may be some Communists, who were not conquered by enemies with guns and were worthy of the name of heroes for standing up to these enemies, but who cannot withstand sugar-coated bullets; they will be defeated by sugar-coated bullets. We must guard against such a situation.

"Report to the Second Plenary Session of the Seventh Central Committee of the Communist Party of China" (March 5, 1949), Selected Works,  Vol. IV, p. 374.

Many things may become baggage, may become encumbrances if we cling to them blindly and uncriticaliy. Let us take some illustrations. Having made mistakes, you may feel that, come what may, you are saddled with them and so become dispirited; if you have not made mistakes, you may feel that you are free from error and so become conceited. Lack of achievement in work may breed pessimism and depression, while achievement may breed pride and arrogance. A comrade with a short record of struggle may shirk responsibility on this account, while a veteran may become opinionated because of his long record of struggle. Worker and peasant comrades, because of pride in their class origin, may look down upon intellectuals, while intellectuals, because they have a certain amount of knowledge, may look down upon worker and peasant comrades. Any specialized skill may be capitalized on and so may lead to arrogance and contempt of others. Even one's age may become ground for conceit. The young, because they are bright and capable, may look down upon the old; and the old, because they are rich in experience, may look down upon the young. All such things become encumbrances or baggage if there is no critical awareness.

"Our Study and the Current Situation" (April 12, 1944), Selected Works,  Vol. III, p. 173.*

Some comrades in the army have become arrogant and high-handed in their behaviour towards the soldiers, the people, the government and the Party, always blaming the comrades doing local work but never themselyes, always seeing their own achievements but never their own shortcomings, and always welcoming flattery but never criticism.... the army must endeavour to eradicate these faults.

"Get Organized!" (November 29, 1943), Selected Works,  Vol. III, p. 159.*

Hard work is like a load placed before us, challenging us to shoulder it. Some loads are light, some heavy. Some people prefer the light to the heavy; they pick the light and shove the heavy on to others. That is not a good attitude. Some comrades are diiferent; they leave ease and comfort to others and take the heavy loads themselves; they are the first to bear hardships the last to enjoy comforts. They are good comrades. We should all learn from their communist spirit.

"On the Chungking Negotiations" (October 17, 1945), Selected Works,  Vol. IV, p. 58.*

There are not a few people who are irresponsible in their work, preferring the light to the heavy, shoving the heavy loads on to others and choosing the easy ones for themselves. At every turn they think of themselves before others. When they make some small contribution, they swell with pride and brag about it for fear that others will not know. They feel no warmth towards comrades and the people but are cold, indifferent and apathetic. In fact such people are not Communists, or at least cannot be counted as true Communists.

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

Those who assert this kind of "independence" are usually wedded to the doctrine of "me first" and are generally wrong on the question of the relationship between the individual and the Party. Although in words they profess respect for the Party, in practice they put themselves first and the Party second. What are these people after? They are after fame and position and want to be in the limelight. Whenever they are put in charge of a branch of work, they assert their "independence". With this aim, they draw some people in, push others out and resort to boasting, flattery and touting among-the comrades, thus importing the vulgar style of the bourgeois political parties into the Communist Party. It is their dishonesty that causes them to come to grief. I believe we should do things honestly, for without an honest attitude it is absolutely impossible to accomplish anything in this world.

"Rectify the Party's Style of Work" (February 1, 1942), Selected Works,  Vol. III, p. 44.

They [Communists] must grasp the principle of subordinating the needs of the part to the needs of the whole. If a proposal appears feasible for a partial situation but not for the situation as a whole, then the part must give way to the whole. Conversely, if the proposal is not feasible for the part but is feasible in the light of the situation as a whole, again the part must give way to the whole. This is what is meant by considering the situation as a whole.

"The Role of the Chinese Communist Party in the National War" (October 1938), Selected Works,  Vol. II, p. 201.

Pleasure-seeking. In the Red Army there are also quite a few people whose individualism finds expression in pleasureseeking. They always hope that their unit will march into big cities. They want to go there not to work but to enjoy themselves. The last thing they want is to work in the Red areas where life is hard.

"On Correcting Mistaken Ideas in the Party" (December 1929), Selected Works,  Vol. I, p. 113.

We must oppose the tendency towards selfish departmentalism by which the interests of one's own unit are looked after to the exclusion of those of others. Whoever is indifferent to the difficulties of others, refuses to transfer cadres to other units on request, or releases only the inferior ones, "using the neighbour's field as an outlet for his overflow", and does not give the slightest consideration to other departments, localities or people - such a person is a selfish departmentalist who has entirely lost the spirit of communism. Lack of consideration for the whole and complete indifference to other departments, localities and people are characteristics of a selfish departmentalist. We must intensify our efforts to educate such persons and to make them understand that selfish departmentalism is a sectarian tendency which will become very dangerous, if allowed to develop.

"Rectify the Party's Style of Work" (February 1, 1942), Selected Works,  Vol. III, p. 46.

Liberalism manifests itself in various ways.

To let things slide for the sake of peace and friendship when a person has clearly gone wrong, and refrain from principled argument because he is an old acquaintance, a fellow townsman, a schoolmate, a close friend, a loved one, an old colleague or old subordinate. Or to touch on the matter lightly instead of going into it thoroughly, so as to keep on good terms. The result is that both the organization and the individual are harmed. This is one type of liberalism.

To indulge in irresponsible criticism in private instead of actively putting forward one's suggestions to the organization. To say nothing to people to their faces but to gossip behind their backs, or to say nothing at a meeting but to gossip afterwards. To show no regard at all for the principles of collective life but to follow one's own inclination. This is a second type.

To let things drift if they do not affect one personally; to say as little as possible while knowing perfectly well what is wrong, to be worldly wise and play safe and seek only to avoid blame. This is a third type.

Not to obey orders but to give pride of place to one's own opinions. To demand special consideration from the organization but to reject its discipline. This is a fourth type.

To indulge in personal attacks, pick quarrels, vent personal spite or seek revenge instead of entering into an argument and struggling against incorrect views for the sake of unity or progress or getting the work done properly. This is a fifth type.

To hear incorrect views without rebutting them and even to hear counter-revolutionary remarks without reporting them, but instead to take them calmly as if nothing had happened. This is a sixth type.

To be among the masses and fail to conduct propaganda and agitation or speak at meetings or conduct investigations and inquiries among them, and instead to be indifferent to them and show no concern for their well-being, forgetting that one is a CoMmunist and behaving as if one were an ordinary non-Communist. This is a seventh type.

To see someone harming the interests of the masses and yet not feel indignant, or dissuade or stop him or reason with him, but to allow him to continue. This is an eighth type.

To work half-heartedly without a definite plan or direction; to work perfunctorily and muddle along - "So long as one remains a monk, one goes on tolling the bell." This is a ninth type.

To regard oneself as having rendered great service to the revolution, to pride oneself on being a veteran, to disdain minor assignments while being quite unequal to major tasks, to be slipshod in work and slack in study. This is a tenth type.

To be aware of one's own mistakes and yet make no attempt to correct them, taking a liberal attitude towards oneself. This is an eleventh type.

"Combat Liberalism" (September 7, 1937), Selected Works,  Vol. II, pp. 31-32.

Liberalism is extreme]y harmful in a revolutionary collective. It is a corrosive which eats away unity, undermines cohesion, causes apathy and creates dissension. It robs the revolutionary ranks of compact organization and strict discipline, prevents policies from being carried through and alienates the Party organizations from the masses which the Party leads. It is an extremely bad tendency.

Ibid.,  p. 32.

People who are liberals look upon the principles of Marxism as abstract dogma. They approve of Marxism, but are not prepared to practise it or to practise it in full; they are not prepared to replace their liberalism by Marxism. These people have their Marxism, but they have their liberalism as well - they talk Marxism but practise liberalism; they apply Marxism to others but liberalism to themselves. They keep both kinds of goods in stock and find a use for each. This is how the minds of certain people work.

Ibid.,  pp. 32-33

The people's state protects the people. Only when the people have such a state can they educate and remould themselves by democratic methods on a country-wide scale, with everyone taking part, and shake off the influence of domestic and foreign reactionaries (which is still very strong, will survive for a long time and cannot be quickly destroyed), rid themselves of the bad habits and ideas acquired in the old society, not allow themselves to be led astray by the reactionaries, and continue to advance - to advance towards a socialist and communist society.

"On the People's Democratic Dictatorship" (June 30, 1949). Selected Works,  Vol. IV, p. 418.*

It is not hard for one to do a bit of good. What is hard is to do good all one's life and never do anything bad, to act consistently in the interests of the broad masses, the young people and the revolution, and to engage in arduous struggle for decades on end. That is the hardest thing of all!

"Message of Greetings on the 60th Birthday of Comrade Wu Yu-chang" (January 15, 1940).


The unification of our country, the unity of our people and the unity of our various nationalities - these are the basic guarantees of the sure triumph of our cause.

On the Correct Handling of Contradictions Among the People  (February 27, 1957). 1st pocket ed., pp. 1-2.

It is only through the unity of the Communist Party that the unity of the whole class and the whole nation can be achieved, and it is only through the unity of the whole class and the whole nation that the enemy can be defeated and the national and democratic revolution accomplished.

"Win the Masses in Their Millions for the Anti-Japanese National United Front" (May 7, 1937), Selected Works,  Vol. I, p. 292.*

We shall solidly unite all the forces of our Party on democratic centralist principles of organization and discipline. We shall unite with any comrade if he abides by the Party's Programme, Constitution and decisions.

"On Coalition Government" (April 24, 1945), Selected Works,  Vol. III, p. 317.*

This democratic method of resolving contradictions among the people was epitomized in 1942 in the formula "unity, criticism, unity". To elaborate, it means starting from the desire for unity, resolving contradictions through criticism or struggle and arriving at a new unity on a new basis. In our experience this is the correct method of resolving contradictions among the people.

On the Correct Handling of Contradictions Among the People  (February 27, 1957), 1st pocket ed., p. 12.

This [our] army has achieved remarkable unity in its own ranks and with those outside its ranks. Internally, there is unity between ofEicers and men, between the higher and lower ranks, and between military work, political work and rear service work; and externally, there is unity between Ihe army and the people, between the army and government organizations, and between our army and the friendly armies. It is imperative to overcome anything that impairs this unity.

"On Coalition Government" (April 24, 1945), Selected Works,  Vol. III, p. 264.*


Within the ranks of the people, democracy is correlative with centralism and freedom with discipline. They are the two opposites of a single entity, contradictory as well as united, and we should not one-sidedly emphasize one to the denial of the other. Within the ranks of the people, we cannot do without freedom, nor can we do without discipline; we cannot do without democracy, nor can we do without centralism. This unity of democracy and centralism, of freedom and discipline, constitutes our democratic centralism. Under this system, the people enjoy extensive democracy and freedom, but at the same time they have to keep within the bounds of socialist discipline.

On the Correct Handling of Contradictions Among the People  (February 27, 1957), 1st pocket ed., pp. 10-11.

We must affirm anew the discipline of the Party, namely:

(1) the individual is subordinate to the organization;

(2) the minority is subordinate to the majority;

(3) the lower level is subordinate to the higher level; and

(4) the entire membership is subordinate to the Central Committee.

Whoever violates these articles of discipline disrupts Party unity.

"The Role of the Chinese Communist Party in the National War" (October 1938), Selected Works,  Vol. II, pp. 203-04.*

One requirement of Party discipline is that the minority should submit to the majority. If the view of the minority has been rejected, it must support the decision passed by the majority. If necessary, it can bring up the matter for reconsideration at the next meeting, but apart from that it must not act against the decision in any way.

"On Correcting Mistaken Ideas in the Party" (December 1929), Selected Works,  Vol. I, p. 110.

The Three Main Rules of Discipline are as follows:

(1) Obey orders in all your actions.

(2) Do not take a single needle

piece of thread from the masses.

(3) Turn in everything captured.

The Eight Points for Attention are as follows:

(1) Speak politely.

(2) Pay fairly for what you buy.

(3) Return everything you borrow.

(4) Pay for anything you damage.

(5) Do not hit or swear at people.

(6) Do not damage crops.

(7) Do not take liberties with women.

(8) Do not ill-treat captives.

"On the Reissue of the Three Main Rules of Discipline and the Eight Points for Attention - Instruction of the General Headquarters of the Chinese People's Liberation Army" (October 10, 1947), Selected Military Writings,  2nd ed., p. 343.

They [all officers and soldiers of our army] must heighten their sense of discipline and resolutely carry out orders, carry out our policy, carry out the Three Main Rules of Discipline and the Eight Points for Attention - with army and people united, army and government united, officers and soldiers united, and the whole army united - and permit no breach of discipline.

"Manifesto of the Chinese People's Liberation Army" (October 1947), Selected Military Writings,  2nd ed., p. 340.


The Communist Party does not fear criticism because we are Marxists, the truth is on our side, and the basic masses, the workers and peasants, are on our side.

Speech at the Chinese Communist Party's National Conference on Propaganda Work  (March 12, 1957), 1st pocket ed., p. 14.

Thoroughgoing materialists are fearless; we hope that all our fellow fighters will courageously shoulder their responsibilities and overcome all difficulties, fearing no setbacks or gibes, nor hesitating to criticize us Communists and give us their suggestions. "He who is not afraid of death by a thousand cuts dares to unhorse the emperor" - this is the indomitable spirit needed in our struggle to build socialism and communism.

Ibid.,  p. 16.

We have the Marxist-Leninist weapon of criticism and self-criticism. We can get tid of a bad style and keep the good.

"Report to the Second Plenary Session of the Seventh Central Committee of the Communist Party of China" (March 5, 1949), Selected Works,  Vol. IV, p. 374.

Conscientious practice of self-criticism is still another hallmark distinguishing our Party from all other political parties. As we say, dust will accumulate if a room is not cleaned regularly, our faces will get dirty if they are not washed regularly. Our comrades' minds and our Party's work may also collect dust, and also need sweeping and washing. The proverb "Running water is never stale and a door-hinge is never worm-eaten" means that constant motion prevents the inroads of germs and other organisms. To check up regularly on our work and in the process develop a democratic style of work, to fear neither criticism nor self-criticism, and to apply such good popular Chinese maxims as "Say all you know and say it without reserve", "Blame not the speaker but be warned by his words" and "Correct mistakes if you have committed them and guard against them if you have not" - this is the only effective way to prevent all kinds of political dust and germs from contaminating the minds of our comrades and the body of our Party.

"On Coalition Government" (April 24, 1945), Selected Works,  Vol. III, pp. 316-17.

Opposition and struggle between ideas of different kinds constantly occur within the Party; this is a reflection within the Party of contradictions between classes and between the new and the old in society. If there were no contradictions in the Party and no ideological struggles to resolve them, the Party's life would corne to an end.

"On Contradiction" (August 1937), Selected Works,  Vol. I, p. 317.

We stand for active ideological struggle because it is the weapon for ensuring unity within the Party and the revolutionary organizations in the interest of our fight. Every Communist and revolutionary should take up this weapon.

But liberalism rejects ideological struggle and stands for unprincipled peace, thus giving rise to a decadent, philistine attitude and bringing about political degeneration in certain units and individuals in the Party and the revolutionary organizations.

"Combat Liberalism" (September 7, 1937), Selected Works,  Vol. II, p. 31.

In opposing subjectivism, sectarianism and stereotyped Party writing we must have in mind two purposes: hrst, "learn from past mistakes to avoid future ones", and second, "cure the sickness to save the patient". The mistakes of the past must be exposed without sparing anyone's sensibilities; it is necessary to analyse and criticize what was bad in the past with a scientific attitude so that work in the future will be done more carefully and done better. This is what is meant by "learn from past mistakes to avoid future ones". But our aim in exposing errors and criticizing shortcomings, like that of a doctor curing a sickness, is solely to save the patient and not to doctor him to death. A person with appendicitis is saved when the surgeon removes his appendix. So long as a person who has made mistakes does not hide his sickness for fear of treatment or persist in his mistakes until he is beyond cure, so long as he honestly and sincerely wishes to be cured and to mend his ways, we should welcome him and cure his sickness so that he can become a good comrade. We can never succeed if we just let ourselves go and lash out at him. In treating an ideological or a political malady, one must never be rough and rash but must adopt the approach of "curing the sickness to save the patient", which is the only correct and effective method.

"Rectify the Party's Style of Work" (February 1, 1942), Selected Works,  Vol. III, p. 50.*

Another point that should be mentioned in connection with inner-Party criticism is that some comrades ignore the major issues and conhne their attention to minor points when they make their criticism. They do not understand that the main task of criticism is to point out political and organizational mistakes. As to personal shortcomings, unless they are related to political and organizational mistakes, there is no need to be overcritical or the comrades concerned will be at a loss as to what to do. Moreover, once such criticism develops, there is the great danger that within the Party attention will be concentrated exclusively on minor faults, and everyone will become timid and overcautious and forget the Party's political tasks.

"On Correcting Mistaken Ideas in the Party" (December 1929), Selected Works,  Vol. I, pp. 111-12.*

In inner-Party criticism, guard against subjectivism, arbitrariness and the vulgarization of criticism; statements should be based on facts and criticism should stress the political side.

Ibid.,  p. 112.*

Inner-Party criticism is a weapon for strengthening the Party organization and increasing its hghting capacity. In the Party organization of the Red Army, however, criticism is not always of this character, and sometimes turns into personal attack. As a result, it damages the Party organization as well as individuals. This is a manifestation of petty-bourgeois individualism. The method of correction is to help Party members understand that the purpose of criticism is to increase the Party's fighting capacity in order to achieve victory in the class struggle and that it should not be used as a means of personal attack.

Ibid.,  p. 110.

If we have shortcomings, we are not afraid to have them pointed out and criticized, because we serve the people. Anyone, no matter who, may point out our shortcomings. If he is right, we will correct them. If what he proposes will benefit the people, we will act upon it.

"Serve the People" (September 8, 1941), Selected Works,  Vol. III, P. 227.

As we Chinese Communists, who base all our actions on the highest interests of the broadest masses of the Chinese people and who are fully convinced of the justice of our cause, never balk at any personal sacrifice and are ready at all times to give our lives for the cause, can we be reluctant to discard any idea, viewpoint, opinion or method which is not suited to the needs of the people? Can we be willing to allow political dust and germs to dirty our clean faces or eat into our healthy organisms? Countless revolutionary martyrs have laid down their lives in the interests of the people, and our hearts are filled with pain as we the living think of them - can there be any personal interest, then, that we would not sacrifice or any error that we would not discard?

"On Coalition Government" (April 24, 1945), Selected Works,  Vol. III, p. 317.*

We must not become complacent over any success. We should check our complacency and constantly criticize our shortcomings, just as we should wash our faces or sweep the floor every day to remove the dirt and keep them clean.

"Get Organized!" (November 29, 1943), Selected Works,  Vol. III. p. 160.*

As for criticism, do it in good time; don't get into the habit of criticizing only after the event.

On the Question of Agricultural Co-operation  (July 31, 1955), 3rd ed., p. 25.

Taught by mistakes and setbacks, we have become wiser and handle our affairs better. It is hard for any political party or person to avoid mistakes, but we should make as few as possible. Once a mistake is made, we should correct it, and the more quickly and thoroughly the better.

"On the People's Democratic Dictatorship" (June 30, 1949), Selected Works,  Vol. IV, p. 422.


A Communist should have largeness of mind and he should be staunch and active, looking upon the interests of the revolution as his very life and subordinating his personal interests to those of the revolution; always and everywhere he should adhere to principle and wage a tireless struggle against all incorrect ideas and actions, so as to consolidate the collective life of the Party and strengthen the ties between the Party and the masses; he should be more concerned about the Party and the masses than about any individual, and more concerned about others than about himself. Only thus can he be considered a Communist.

"Combat Liberalism" (September 7, 1937), Selected Works,  Vol. II, p. 33.*

Every comrade must be brought to understand that the supreme test of the words and deeds of a Communist is whether they conform with the highest interests and enjoy the support of the overwhelming majority of the people.

"On Coalition Government" (April 24, 1945), Selected Works,  Vol. III, p. 316.*

At no time and in no circumstances should a Communist place his personal interests first; he should subordinate them to the interests of the nation and of the masses. Hence, selfishness, slacking, corruption, seeking the limelight, and so on, are most contemptible, while selflessness, working with all one's energy, whole-hearted devotion to public duty, and quiet hard work will command respect.

"The Role of the Chinese Communist Party in the National War" (October 1938), Selected Works,  Vol. II, p. 198.

Communists must be ready at all times to stand up for the truth, because truth is in the interests of the people; Communists must be ready at all times to correct their mistakes, because mistakes are against the interests of the people.

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

Communists must always go into the whys and wherefores of anything, use their own heads and carefully think over whether or not it corresponds to reality and is really well founded; on no account should they follow blindly and encourage slavishness.

"Rectify the Party's Style of Work" (February 1, 1942), Selected Works,  Vol. III, pp. 49-50.

We should encourage comrades to take the interests of the whole into account. Every Party member, every branch of work, every statement and every action must proceed from the interests of the whole Party;

it is absolutely impermissible to violate this principle.

Ibid.,  p. 44.

Communists should set an example in being practical as well as far-sighted. For only by being practical can they fulfil the appointed tasks, and only far-sightedness can prevent them from losing their bearings in the march forward.

"The Role of the Chinese Communist Party in the National War" (October 1938), Selected Works,  Vol. II, p. 198.

Communists should be the most farsighted, the most self-sacrificing, the most resolute, and the least prejudiced in sizing up situations, and should rely on the majority of the masses and win their support.

"The Tasks of the Chinese Communist Party in the Period of Resistance to Japan" (May 3, 1937), Selected Works,  Vol. I, p. 274.*

Communists should set an example in study; at all times they should be pupils of the masses as well as their teachers.

"The Role of the Chinese Communist Party in the National War" (October 1938), Selected Works,  Vol. II, p. 198.*

Every Communist working in the mass movements should be a friend of the masses and not a boss over them, an indefatigable teacher and not a bureaucratic politician.


Communists must never separate themselves from the majority of the people or neglect them by leading only a few progressive contingents in an isolated and rash advance, but must take care to forge close links between the progressive elements and the broad masses. This is what is meant by thinking in terms of the majority.

Ibid.,  p. 201.*

We Communists are like seeds and the people are like the soil. Wherever we go, we must unite with the people, take root and blossom among them.

"On the Chungking Negotiations" (October 17, 1945), Selected Works,  Vol. IV, p. 58.

We Communists must be able to integrate ourselves with the masses in all things. If our Party members spend their whole lives sitting indoors and never go out to face the world and brave the storm, what good will they be to the Chinese people? None at all, and we do not need such people as Party members. We Communists ought to face the world and brave the storm the great world of mass struggle and the mighty storm of mass struggle.

"Get Organized!" (November 29, 1943), Selected Works,  Vol. III, p. 158.

The exemplary vanguard role of the Communists is of vital importance. Communists in the Eighth Route and New Fourth Armies should set an example in fighting bravely, carrying out orders, observing discipline, doing political work and fostering internal unity and solidarity.

"The Role of the Chinese Communist Party in the National War" (October 1938), Selected Works,  Vol. II, p. 197.*

A Communist must never be opinionated or domineering, thinking that he is good in everything while others are good in nothing; he must never shut himself up in his little room, or brag and boast and lord it over others.

"Speech at the Assembly of Representatives of the Shensi-Kansu-Ningsia Border Region" (November 21, 1941), Selected Works,  Vol. III, p. 33.*

Communists must listen attentively to the views of people outside the Party and let them have their say. If what they say is right, we ought to welcome it, and we should learn from their strong points; if it is wrong, we should let them finish what they are saying and then patiently explain things to them.


The attitude of Communists towards any person who has made mistakes in his work should be one of persuasion in order to help him change and start afresh and not one of exclusion, unless he is incorrigible.

"The Role of the Chinese Communist Party in the National War" (October 1938), Selected Works,  Vol. II, p. 198.

As for people who are politically backward, Communists should not slight or despise them, but should befriend them, unite with them, convince them and encourage them to go forward.



In order to guarantee that our Party and country do not change their colour, we must not only have a correct line and correct policies but must train and bring up millions of successors who will carry on the cause of proletarian revolution.

In the final analysis, the question of training successors for the revolutionary cause of the proletariat is one of whether or not there will be people who can carry on the Marxist-Leninist revolutionary cause started by the older generation of proletarian revolutionaries, whether or not the leadership of our Party and state will remain in the hands of proletarian revolutionaries, whether or not our descendants will continue to march along the correct road laid down by Marxism-Leninism, or, in other words, whether or not we can successfully prevent the emergence of Khrushchov's revisionism in China. In short, it is an extremely important question, a matter of life and death for our Party and our country. It is a question of fundamental importance to the proletarian revolutionary cause for a hundred, a thousand, nay ten thousand years. Basing themselves on the changes in the Soviet Union, the imperialist prophets are pinning their hopes of "peaceful evolution" on the third or fourth generation of the Chinese Party. We must shatter these imperialist prophecies. From our highest organizations down to the grass-roots, we must everywhere give constant attention to the training and upbringing of successors to the revolutionary cause.

What are the requirements for worthy successors to the revolutionary cause of the proletariat?

They must be genuine Marxist-Leninists and not revisionists like Khrushchov wearing the cloak of Marxism-Leninism.

They must be revolutionaries who wholeheartedly serve the overwhelming majority of the people of China and the whole world, and must not be like Khrushchov who serves both the interests of the handful of members of the privileged bourgeois stratum in his own country and those of foreign imperialism and reaction.

They must be proletarian statesmen capable of uniting and working together with the overwhelming majority. Not only must they unite with those who agree with them, they must also be good at uniting with those who disagree and even with those who formerly opposed them and have since been proved wrong in practice. But they must especially watch out for careerists and conspirators like Khrushchov and prevent such bad elements from usurping the leadership of the Party and the state at any level.

They must be models in applying the Party's democratic centralism, must master the method of leadership based on the principle of "from the masses, to the masses", and must cultivate a democratic style and be good at listening to the masses. They must not be despotic like Khrushchov and violate the Party's democratic centralism, make surprise attacks on comrades or act arbitrarily and dictatorially.

They must be modest and prudent and guard against arrogance and impetuosity; they must be imbued with the spirit of selfcriticism and have the courage to correct mistakes and shortcomings in their work. They must never cover up their errors like Khrushchov, and claim all the credit for themselves and shift all the blame on others.

Successors to the revolutionary cause of the proletariat come forward in mass struggles and are tempered in the great storms of revolution. It is essential to test and judge cadres and choose and train successors in the long course of mass struggle.

Quoted in On Khrushchov's Phoney Communism and Its Histotical Lessons for the World  (July 14,1964), pp. 72-74.*

Our Party organizations must be extended all over the country and we must purposefully train tens of thousands of cadres and hundreds of first-rate mass leaders. They must be cadres and leaders versed in Marxism-Leninism, politically far-sighted, competent in work, full of the spirit of selfsacrifice, capable of tackling problems on their own, steadfast in the midst of difficulties and loyal and devoted in serving the nation, the class and the Party. It is on these cadres and leaders that the Party relies for its links with the membership and the masses, and it is by relying on their firm leadership of the masses that the Party can succeed in defeating the enemy. Such cadres and leaders must be free from selfishness, from individualistic heroism, ostentation, sloth, passivity, and arrogant sectarianism, and they must be selfless national and class heroes; such are the qualities and the style of work demanded of the members, cadres and leaders of our Party.

"Win the Masses in Their Millions for the Anti-Japanese National United Front" (May 7, 1937), Selected Works,  Vol. I, p. 291.*

Cadres are a decisive factor, once the political line is determined. Therefore, it is our hghting task to train large numbers of new cadres in a planned way.

"The Role of the Chinese Communist Party in the National War" (October 1938), Selected Works,  Vol. II, p. 202.

The criterion the Communist Party should apply in its cadres policy is whether or not a cadre is resolute in carrying out the Party line, keeps to Party discipline, has close ties with the masses, has the ability to hnd his bearings independently, and is active, hardworking and unselfish. This is what "appointing people on their merit" means.


It is necessary to maintain the system of cadre participation in collective productive labour. The cadrcs of our Party and state are ordinary workers and not overlords sitting on the backs of the people. By taking part in collective productive labour, the cadres maintain extensive, constant and close ties with the working people. This is a major measure of fundamental importance for a socialist system; it helps to overcome bureaucracy and to prevent revisionism and dogmatism.

Quoted in On Khrushchov's Phoney Communism and Its Historical Lessons for the World  (July 14, 1964), pp. 68-69.*

We must know how to judge cadres. We must not confine our judgement to a short period or a single incident in a cadre's life, but should consider his life and work as a whole. This is the principal method of judging cadres.

"The Role of the Chinese Communist Party in the National War" (October 1938), Selected Works,  Vol. II, p. 202.

We must, know how to use cadres well. In the final analysis, leadership involves two main responsibilities: to work out ideas, and to use cadres well. Such things as drawing up plans, making decisions, and giving orders and directives, are all in the category of "working out ideas". To put the ideas into practice, we must weld the cadres together and encourage them to go into action; this comes into the category of "using the cadres well".


We must know how to take good care of cadres. There are several ways of doing so.

First, give them guidance. This means allowing them a free hand in their work so that they have the courage to assume responsibility and, at the same time, giving them timely instructions so that, guided by the Party's political line, they are able to make full use of their initiative.

Second, raise their level. This means educating them by giving them the opportunity to study so that they can enhance their theoretical understanding and their working ability.

Third, check up on their work, and help them sum up their experience, carry forward their achievements and correct their mistakes. To assign work without checking up and to take notice only when serious mistakes are made - that is not the way to take care of cadres.

Fourth, in general, use the method of persuasion with cadres who have made mistakes, and help them correct their mistakes. The method of struggle should be confined to those who make serious mistakes and nevertheless refuse to accept guidance. Here patience is essential. It is wrong lightly to label people "opportunists" or lightly to begin "waging struggles" against them.

Fifth, help them with their difficulties. When cadres are in difficulty as a result of illness, straitened means or domestic or other troubles, we must be sure to give them as much care as possible.

This is how to take good care of cadres.

Ibid.,  p. 203.

A leading group that is genuinely united and is linked with the masses can gradually be formed only in the process of mass struggle, and not in isolation from it. In the process of a great struggle, the composition of the leading group in most cases should not and cannot remain entirely unchanged throughout the initial, middle and final stages; the activists who come forward in the course of the struggle must constantly be promoted to replace those original members of the leading group who are inferior by comparison or who have degenerated.

"Some Questions Concerning Methods of Leadership" (June 1, 1943), Selected Works,  Vol. III, p. 118.*

If our Party does not have a great many new cadres working in unity and cooperation with the old cadres, our cause will come to a stop. All old cadres, therefore, should welcome the new ones with the utmost enthusiasm and show them the warmest solicitude. True, new cadres have their shortcomings. They have not been long in the revolution and lack experience, and unavoidably some have brought with them vestiges of the unwholesome ideology of the old society, remnants of the ideology of petty-bourgeois individualism. But such shortcomings can be gradually eliminated through education and tempering in the revolution. The strong point of the new cadres, as Stalin has said, is that they are acutely sensitive to what is new and are therefore enthusiastic and active to a high degree - the very qualities which some of the old cadres lack. Cadres, new and old, should respect each other, learn from each other and overcome their own shortcomings by learning from each other's strong points, so as to unite as one in the common cause and guard against sectarian tendencies.

"Rectify the Party's Style of Work" (February 1, 1942), Selected Works,  Vol. III, p. 47.

Our concern should extend to non-Party cadres as well as to Party cadres. There are many capable people outside the Party whom we must not ignore. The duty of every Communist is to rid himself of aloofness and arrogance and to work well with non-Party cadres, give them sincere help, have a warm, comradely attitude towards them and enlist their initiative in the great cause of resisting Japan and reconstructing the nation.

"The Role of the Chinese Communist Party in the National War" (October 1938), Selected Works,  Vol. II, p. 202.


The world is yours, as well as ours, but in the last analysis, it is yours. You young people, full of vigour and vitality, are in the bloom of life, like the sun at eight or nine in the morning. Our hope is placed on you.


The world belongs to you. China's future belongs to you.

Talk at a meeting with Chinese students and trainees in Moscow (November 17, 1957).

We must help all our young people to understand that ours is still a very poor country, that we cannot change this situation radically in a short time, and that only through the united efforts of our younger generation and all our people, working with their own hands, can China be made strong and prosperous within a period of several decades. The establishment of our socialist system has opened the road leading to the ideal society of the future, but to translate this ideal into reality needs hard work.

On the Correct Handling of Contradictions Among the People  (February 27, 1957), 1st pocket ed., pp. 44-45.

Because of their lack of political and social experience, quite a number of young people are unable to see the contrast between the old China and the new, and it is not easy for them thoroughly to comprehend the hardships our people went through in the struggle to free themselves from the oppression of the imperialists and Kuomintang reactionaries, or the long period of arduous work needed before a happy socialist society can be established. That is why we must constantly carry on lively and effective political education among the masses and should always tell them the truth about the difficulties that crop up and discuss with them how to surmount these difficulties.

Ibid.,  p. 63.

The young people are the most active and vital force in society. They are the most eager to learn and the least conservative in their thinking. This is especially so in the era of socialism. We hope that the local Party organizations in various places will help and work with the Youth League organizations and go into the question of bringing into full play the energy of our youth in particular. The Party organizations should not treat them in the same way as everybody else and ignore their special characteristics. Of course, the young people should learn from the old and other adults, and should strive as much as possible to engage in all sorts of useful activities with their agreement.

Introductory note to "A Youth Shock Brigade of the No. 9 Agricultural Producers' Co-operative in Hsinping Township, Chungshan County" (1955), The Socialist Upsurge in China's Countryside,  Chinese ed., Vol. III.

How should we judge whether a youth is a revolutionary? How can we tell? There can only be one criterion, namely, whether or not he is willing to integrate himself with the broad masses of workers and peasants and does so in practice. If he is willing to do so and actually does so, he is a revolutionary; otherwise he is a nonrevolutionary or a counter-revolutionary. If today he integrates himself with the masses of workers and peasants, then today he is a revolutionary; if tomorrow he ceases to do so or turns round to oppress the common people, then he becomes a nonrevolutionary or a counter-revolutionary.

"The Orientation of the Youth Movement" (May 4, 1939), Selected Works,  Vol. II, p. 246.

The intellectuals often tend to be subjective and individualistic, impractical in their thinking and irresolute in action until they have thrown themselves heart and soul into mass revolutionary struggles, or made up their minds to serve the interests of the masses and become one with them. Hence although the mass of revolutionary intellectuals in China can play a vanguard role or serve as a link with the masses, not all of them will remain revolutionaries to the end. Some will drop out of the revolutionary ranks at critical moments and become passive, while a few may even become enemies of the revolution. The intellectuals can overcome their shortcomings only in mass struggles over a long period.

"The Chinese Revolution and the Chinese Communist Party" (December 1939), Selected Works,  Vol. II, p. 322.*

Apart from continuing to act in co-ordination with the Party in its central task, the Youth League should do its own work to suit the special characteristics of youth. New China must care for her youth and show concern for the growth of the younger generation. Young people have to study and work, but they are at the age of physical growth. Therefore, full attention must be paid both to their work and study and to their recreation, sport and rest.

Talk at the reception for the Presidium of the Second National Congress of the Youth League (June 30, 1953).


A man in China is usually subjected to the domination of three systems of authority [political authority, clan authority and religious authority].... As for women, in addition to being dominated by these three systems of authority, they are also dominated by the men (the authority of the husband). These four authorities - political, clan, religious and masculine - are the embodiment of the whole feudal-patriarchal ideology and system, and are the four thick ropes binding the Chinese people, particularly the peasants. How the peasants have overthrown the political authority of the landlords in the countryside has been described above. The political authority of the landlords is the backbone of all the other systems of authority. With that overturned, the clan authority, the religious authority and the authority of the husband all begin to totter.... As to the authority of the husband, this has always been weaker among the poor peasants because, out of economic necessity, their womenfolk have to do more manual labour than the women of the richer classes and therefore have more say and greater power of decision in family matters. With the increasing bankruptcy of the rural economy in recent years, the basis for men's domination over women has already been undermined. With the rise of the peasant movement, the women in many places have now begun to organize rural women's associations; the opportunity has come for them to lift up their heads, and the authority of the husband is getting shakier every day. In a word, the whole feudal-patriarchal ideology and system is tottering with the growth of the peasants' power.

"Report on an Investigation of the Peasant Movement in Hunan" (March 1927), Selected Works,  Vol. I, pp. 44-46.*

Unite and take part in production and political activity to improve the economic and political status of women.

Inscription for the magazine, Women of New China,  printed in its first issue, July 20, 1949.

Protect the interests of the youth, women and children - provide assistance to young students who cannot afford to continue their studies, help the youth and women to organize in order to participate on an equal footing in all work useful to the war effort and to social progress, ensure freedom of marriage and equality as between men and women, and give young people and children a useful education....

"On Coalition Government" (April 24, 1945), Selected Works,  Vol. III, p. 288.*

[In agricultural production] our fundamental task is to adjust the use of labour power in an organized way and to encourage women to do farm work.

"Our Economic Policy" (January 23, 1934), Selected Works,  Vo1. I, p. 142.*

In order to build a great socialist society it is of the utmost importance to arouse the broad masses of women to join in productive activity. Men and women must reccive equal pay for equal work in production. Genuine equality between the sexes can only be realized in the process of the socialist transformation of society as a whole.

Introductory note to "Women Have Gone to the Labour Front" (1955), The Socialist Upsurge in China's Countryside,  Chinese ed., Vol. I.

With the completion of agricultural cooperation, many co-operatives are finding themselves short of labour. It has become necessary to arouse the great mass of women who did not work in the fields before to take their place on the labour front.... China's women are a vast reserve of labour power. This reserve should be tapped in the struggle to build a great socialist country.

Introductory note to "Solving the Labour Shortage by Arousing the Women to Join in Production" (1955), The Socialist Upsurge in China's Countryside,  Chinese ed., Vol. II.

Enable every woman who can work to take her place on the labour front, under the principle of equal pay for equal work. This should be done as quickly as possible.

Introductory note to "On Widening the Scope of Women's Work in the Agricultural Co-operative Movement" (1955), The Socialist Upsurge in China's Countryside,  Chinese ed., Vol. I.


In the world today all culture, all literature and art belong to definite classes and are geared to definite political lines. There is in fact no such thing as art for art's sake, art that stands above classes, art that is detached from or independent of politics. Proletarian literature and art are part of the whole proletarian revolutionary cause; they are, as Lenin said, cogs and wheels in the whole revolutionary machine.

"Talks at the Yenan Forum on Literature and Art" (May 1942), Selected Works,  Vol. III, p. 86.*

Revolutionary culture is a powerful revolutionary weapon for the broad masses of the people. It prepares the ground ideologically before the revolution comes and is an important, indeed essential, fighting front in the general revolutionary front during the revolution.

"On New Democracy" (January 1940), Selected Works,  Vol. II, p. 382.

All our literature and art are for the masses of the people, and in the first place for the workers, peasants and soldiers; they are created for the workers, peasants and soldiers and are for their use.

"Talks at the Yenan Forum on Literature and Art" (May 1942), Selected Works,  Vol. III, p. 84.*

Our literary and art workers must accomplish this task and shift their stand; they must gradually move their feet over to the side of the workers, peasants and soldiers, to the side of the proletariat, through the process of going into their very midst and into the thick of practical struggles and through the process of studying Marxism and society. Only in this way can we have a literature and art that are truly for the workers, peasants and soldiers, a truly proletarian literature and art.

Ibid.,  p. 78.

[Our purpose is] to ensure that literature and art fit well into the whole revolutionary machine as a component part, that they operate as powerful weapons for uniting and educating the people and for attacking and destroying the enemy, and that they help the people fight the enemy with one heart and one mind.

Ibid.,  p. 70.

In literary and art criticism there are two criteria, the political and the artistic....

There is the political criterion and there is the artistic criterion; what is the relationship between the two? Politics cannot be equated with art, nor can a general world outlook be equated with a method of artistic creation and criticism. We deny not onlv that there is an abstract and absolutely unchangeable political criterion, but also that there is an abstract and absolutely unchangeable artistic criterion; each class in every class society has its own political and artistic criteria. But all classes in all class societies invariably put the political criterion first and the artistic criterion second.... What we demand is the unity of politics and art, the unity of content and form, the unity of revolutionary political content and the highest possible perfection of artistic form. Works of art which lack artistic quality have no force, however progressive they are politically. Therefore, we oppose both works of art with a wrong political viewpoint and the tendency towards the "poster and slogan style" which is correct in political viewpoint but lacking in artistic power. On questions of literature and art we must carry on a struggle on two fronts.

Ibid.,  pp. 88-90.*

Letting a hundred flowers blossom and a hundred schools of thought contend is the policy for promoting the progress of the arts and the sciences and a flourishing socialist culture in our land. Different forms and styles in art should develop freely and different schools in science should contend freely. We think that it is harmful to the growth of art and science if administrative measures are used to impose one particular style of art or school of thought and to ban another. Questions of right and wrong in the arts and sciences should be settled through free discussion in artistic and scientific circles and through practical work in these fields. They should not be settled in summary fashion.

On the Correct Handling of Contradictions Among the People  (February 27, 1957), 1st pocket ed., pp. 49-50.

An army without culture is a dull-witted army, and a dull-witted army cannot defeat the enemy.

"The United Front in Cultural Work" (October 30, 1944), Selected Works,  Vol. III, p. 235.


In transforming a backward agricultural China into an advanced industrialized country, we are confronted with arduous tasks and our experience is far from adequate. So we must be good at learning.

"Opening Address at the Eighth National Congress of the Communist Party of China" (September 15, 1956).

Conditions are changing all the time, and to adapt one's thinking to the new conditions, one must study. Even those who have a better grasp of Marxism and are comparatively firm in their proletarian stand have to go on studying, have to absorb what is new and study new problems.

Speech at the Chinese Communist Party's National Conference on Propaganda Work  (March 12, 1957), 1st pocket ed., p. 8.*

We can learn what we did not know. We are not only good at destroying the old world, we are also good at building the new.

"Report to the Second Plenary Session of the Seventh Central Committee of the Communist Party of China" (March 5, 1949), Selected Works,  Vol. IV, p. 374.

Now, there are two different attitudes towards learning from others. One is the dogmatic attitude of transplanting everything, whether or not it is suited to our conditions. This is no good. The other attitude is to use our heads and learn those things which suit our conditions, that is, to absorb whatever experience is useful to us. That is the attitude we should adopt.

On the Correct Handling of Contradictions Among the People  (February 27, 1957), 1st pocket ed., p. 75.

The theory of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin is universally applicable. We should regard it not as a dogma, but as a guide to action. Studying it is not merely a matter of learning terms and phrases but of learning Marxism-Leninism as the science of revolution. It is not just a matter of understanding the general laws derived by Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin from their extensive study of real life and revolutionary experience, but of studying their standpoint and method in examining and solving problems.

"The Role of the Chinese Communist Party in the National War" (October 1938), Selected Works,  Vol. II, pp. 208-09.

If we have a correct theory but merely prate about it, pigeonhole it and do not put it into practice, then that theory, however good, is of no significance.

"On Practice" (July 1937), Selected Works,  Vol. I, p. 304.

It is necessary to master Marxist theory and apply it, master it for the sole purpose of applying it. If you can apply the Marxist-Leninist viewpoint in elucidating one or two practical problems, you should be commended and credited with some achievement. The more problems you elucidate and the more comprehensively and profoundly you do so, the greater will be your achievement.

"Rectify the Party's Style of Work" (February 1, 1942), Selected Works,  Vol. III, p. 38.

How is Marxist-Leninist theory to be linked with the practice of the Chinese revolution? To use a common expression, it is by "shooting the arrow at the target". As the arrow is to the target, so is Marxism-Leninism to the Chinese revolution. Some comrades, however, are "shooting without a target", shooting at random, and such people are liable to harm the revolution.

Ibid.,  p. 42.

Those experienced in work must take up the study of theory and must read seriously; only then will they be able to systematize and synthesize their experience and raise it to the level of theory, only then will they not mistake their partial experience for universal truth and not commit empiricist errors.


Reading is learning, but applying is also learning and the more important kind of learning at that. Our chief method is to learn warfare through warfare. A person who has had no opportunity to go to school can also learn warfare - he can learn through fighting in war. A revolutionary war is a mass undertaking; it is often not a matter of first learning and then doing, but of doing and then learning, for doing is itself learning.

"Problems of Strategy in China's Revolutionary War" (December 1936), Selected Works,  Vol. I, pp. 189-90.

There is a gap between the ordinary civilian and the soldier, but it is no Great Wall, and it can be quickly closed, and the way to close it is to take part in revolution, in war. By saying that it is not easy to learn and to apply, we mean that it is hard to learn thoroughly and to apply skilfully. By saying that civilians can very quickly become soldiers, we mean that it is not difficult to cross the threshold. To put the two statements together, we may cite the Chinese adage, "Nothing in the world is difficult for one who sets his mind to it." To cross the threshold is not difficult, and mastery, too, is possible provided one sets one's mind to the task and is good at learning.

Ibid.,  p. 190.

We must learn to do economic work from all who know how, no matter who they are. We must esteem them as teachers, learning from them respectfully and conscientiously. We must not pretend to know when we do not know.

"On the People's Democratic Dictatorship" (June 30, 1949), Selected Works,  Vol. IV, p. 423.

Knowledge is a matter of science, and no dishonesty or conceit whatsoever is permissible. What is required is definitely the reverse - honesty and modesty.

"On Practice" (July 1937), Selected Works,  Vol. I, p. 300.

Complacency is the enemy of study. We cannot really learn anything until we rid ourselves of complacency. Our attitude towards ourselves should be "to be insatiable in learning" and towards others "to be tireless in teaching".

"The Role of the Chinese Communist Party in the National War" (October 1938), Selected Works,  Vol. II, p. 210.

Some people have read a few Marxist books and think themselves quite learned but what they have read has not penetrated, has not struck root in their minds, so that they do not know how to use it and their class feelings remain as of old. Others are very conceited and having learned some book-phrases, think themselves terrific and are very cocky; but whenever a storm blows up, they take a stand very different from that of the workers and the majority of the peasants. They waver while the latter stand firm, they equivocate while the latter are forthright.

Speech at the Chinese Communist Party's National Conference on Propaganda Work  (March 12, 1957), 1st pocket ed., pp. 7-8.

In order to have a real grasp of Marxism, one must learn it not only from books, but mainly through class struggle, through practical work and close contact with the masses of workers and peasants. When in addition to reading some Marxist books our intellectuals have gained some understanding through close contact with the masses of workers and peasants and through their own practical work, we will all be speaking the same language, not only the common language of patriotism and the common language of the socialist system, but probably even the common language of the communist world outlook. If that happens, all of us will certainly work much better.

Ibid.,  p. 12.