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Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung


December 1,1939

[This was a decision drafted by Comrade Mao Tse-tung for the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party.]

1. In the long and ruthless war of national liberation, in the great struggle to build a new China, the Communist Party must be good at winning intellectuals, for only in this way will it be able to organize great strength for the War of Resistance, organize the millions of peasants, develop the revolutionary cultural movement and expand the revolutionary united front. Without the participation of the intellectuals victory in the revolution is impossible.

2. Our Party and our army have made considerable efforts to recruit intellectuals during the last three years, and many revolutionary intellectuals have been absorbed into the Party, the army, the organs of government, the cultural movement and the mass movement, thus broadening the united front; this is a major achievement. But many of the army cadres are not yet alive to the importance of the intellectuals, they still regard them with some apprehension and are even inclined to discriminate against them or shut them out. Many of our training institutes are still hesitant about enrolling young students in large numbers. Many of our local Party branches are still reluctant to let intellectuals join. All this is due to failure to understand the importance of the intellectuals for the revolutionary cause, the difference between intellectuals in colonial and semi-colonial countries and those in capitalist countries and the difference between intellectuals who serve the landlords and the bourgeoisie and those who serve the working class and the peasantry, as well as the seriousness of the situation in which the bourgeois political parties are desperately contending with us for the intellectuals and in which the Japanese imperialists are also trying in every possible way to buy over Chinese intellectuals or corrupt their minds; in particular, it is due to the failure to understand the favourable factor that our Party and our army have already developed a hard core of well-tested cadres and are thus capable of leading the intellectuals.

3. From now on attention should therefore be paid to the following:

(a) All Party organizations in the war areas and all army units led by the Party should recruit large numbers of intellectuals into our army, training institutes and organs of government. We should use various ways and means to recruit all intellectuals who are willing to fight Japan and who are fairly loyal, hard-working and able to endure hardship; we should give them political education and help them to temper themselves in war and work and to serve the army, the government and the masses; and, taking each case on its merits, we should admit into the Party those who measure up to the requirements of Party membership. As for those who do not qualify or do not wish to join the Party, we should have good working relations with them and give them guidance in their work with us.

(b) In applying the policy of recruiting intellectuals in large numbers, we must undoubtedly take great care to prevent the infiltration of those elements sent in by the enemy and the bourgeois political parties and to keep out other disloyal elements. We must be very strict about keeping out such elements. Those who have already sneaked into our Party, army or government organs must be firmly but discriminatingly combed out on the basis of conclusive evidence. But we must not on that account suspect reasonably loyal intellectuals, and we must be strictly on guard against the false accusation of innocent people by counter-revolutionaries.

(c) We should assign appropriate work to all intellectuals who are reasonably loyal and useful, and we should earnestly give them political education and guidance so that in the long course of the struggle they gradually overcome their weaknesses, revolutionize their outlook, identify themselves with the masses, and merge with the older Party members and cadres and the worker and peasant members of the Party.

(d) The necessity of admitting intellectuals into our work should be brought home to those cadres, and especially to certain cadres in the main forces of our army, who are opposed to their admission. At the same time, we should work effectively to encourage worker and peasant cadres to study hard and raise their cultural level. Thus worker and peasant cadres will at the same time become intellectuals, while the intellectuals will at the same time become workers and peasants.

(e) In the main the principles stated above are also applicable in the Kuomintang areas and in the Japanese-occupied areas, except that, on admitting intellectuals into the Party, more attention must be paid to their degree of loyalty, so as to ensure still tighter Party organization in those areas. We should maintain suitable contact with the huge numbers of non-Party intellectuals who sympathize with us and organize them in the great struggle for resistance to Japan and for democracy, and in the cultural movement and the work of the united front.

4. All our Party comrades must understand that a correct policy towards the intellectuals is an important prerequisite for victory in the revolution. There must be no repetition of the incorrect attitude towards intellectuals which Party organizations in many localities and army units adopted during the Agrarian Revolution; the proletariat cannot produce intellectuals of its own without the help of the existing intellectuals. The Central Committee hopes that the Party committees at all levels and all Party comrades will give this matter their serious attention.


1. The term "intellectuals" refers to all those who have had middle school or higher education and those with similar educational levels. They include university and middle school teachers and staff members, university and middle school students, primary school teachers, professionals, engineers and technicians, among whom the university and middle school students occupy an important position.

Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung