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Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung


December 30, 1948

[This New Year message for 1949 was written by Comrade Mao Tse-tung for the Hsinhua News Agency.]

The Chinese people will win final victory in the great War of Liberation. Even our enemy no longer doubts the outcome.

The war has followed a tortuous course. When the reactionary Kuomintang government started the counter-revolutionary war, it had approximately three and a half times as many troops as the People's Liberation Army; the equipment, manpower and material resources of its army were far superior to those of the People's Liberation Army; it had modern industries and modern means of communication, which the People's Liberation Army lacked; it had received large-scale military and economic aid from U.S. imperialism and had made long preparations. Therefore, during the first year of the war (July 1946 -- June 1947) the Kuomintang was on the offensive and the People's Liberation Army on the defensive. In 1946 in the Northeast, the Kuomintang occupied Shenyang, Szepingkai, Changchun, Kirin, Antung and other cities and most of Liaoning, Liaopei and Antung Provinces; [1] south of the Yellow River, it occupied the cities of Huaiyin and Hotse and most of the Hupeh-Honan-Anhwei, Kiangsu-Anhwei, Honan-Anhwei-Kiangsu and Southwestern Shantung Liberated Areas; and north of the Great Wall, it occupied the cities of Chengteh, Chining and Changchiakou and most of Jehol, Suiyuan and Chahar Provinces. The Kuomintang blustered and swaggered like a conquering hero. The People's Liberation Army adopted the correct strategy, which had as its main objective to wipe out the Kuomintang's effective strength rather than to hold territory, and in each month destroyed an average of some eight brigades of the Kuomintang regular troops (the equivalent of eight present-day divisions). As a result, the Kuomintang was finally compelled to abandon its plan for the over-all offensive and by the first half of 1947 it had to limit the major targets of its attack to the two wings of the southern front, i.e., Shantung and northern Shensi. In the second year (July 1947 -- June 1948) a fundamental change took place in the war. Having wiped out large numbers of Kuomintang regulars, the People's Liberation Army went over from the defensive to the offensive on the southern and northern fronts, while the Kuomintang had to turn from the offensive to the defensive. The People's Liberation Army not only recovered most of the territories lost in northeastern China, Shantung and northern Shensi but also extended the battle front into the Kuomintang areas north of the Yangtse and Weishui Rivers. Moreover, in the course of attacking and capturing Shihchiachuang, Yuncheng, Szepingkai, Loyang, Yichuan, Paoki, Weihsien, Linfen and Kaifeng, our army mastered the tactics of storming heavily fortified points. [2] The People's Liberation Army formed its own artillery and engineer corps. Don't forget that the People's Liberation Army had neither aircraft nor tanks, but once it had formed an artillery and an engineer corps superior to those of the Kuomintang army, the defensive system of the Kuomintang, with all its aircraft and tanks, appeared negligible by contrast. The People's Liberation Army was already able to conduct not only mobile warfare but positional warfare as well. In the first half of the third year of the war (July-December 1948), another fundamental change has occurred. The People's Liberation Army, so long outnumbered, has gained numerical superiority. It has been able not only to capture the Kuomintang's heavily fortified cities but also to surround and destroy strong formations of Kuomintang crack troops, a hundred thousand or several hundred thousand at a time. The rate at which the People's Liberation Army is wiping out Kuomintang troops has become much faster. Look at the statistics on the number of Kuomintang regular units of battalion level and above which we have destroyed (including enemy troops who have revolted and come over to our side). In the first year, 97 brigades, including 46 brigades entirely wiped out; in the second year, 94 brigades, including 50 brigades entirely wiped out; and in the first half of the third year, according to incomplete figures, 147 divisions, including 111 divisions entirely wiped out.[3] In these six months, the number of enemy divisions entirely wiped out was 15 more than the grand total for the previous two years. The enemy front as a whole has completely crumbled. The enemy troops in the Northeast have been entirely wiped out, those in northern China will soon be entirely wiped out, and in eastern China and the Central Plains only a few enemy forces are left. The annihilation of the Kuomintang's main forces north of the Yangtse River greatly facilitates the forthcoming crossing of the Yangtse by the People's Liberation Army and its southward drive to liberate all China. Simultaneously with victory on the military front, the Chinese people have scored tremendous victories on the political and economic fronts. For this reason public opinion the world over, including the entire imperialist press, no longer disputes the certainty of the country-wide victory of the Chinese People's War of Liberation.

The enemy will not perish of himself. Neither the Chinese reactionaries nor the aggressive forces of U.S. imperialism in China will step down from the stage of history of their own accord. Precisely because they realize that the country-wide victory of the Chinese People's War of Liberation can no longer be prevented by purely military struggle, they are placing more and more importance each day on political struggle. On the one hand, the Chinese reactionaries and the U.S. aggressors are using the existing Kuomintang government for their "peace" plot; on the other hand, they are scheming to use certain persons who have connections both with them and with the revolutionary camp, inciting and instigating these persons to work artfully, strive to infiltrate the revolutionary camp and form a so-called opposition faction within it. The purpose is to preserve the reactionary forces and undermine the revolutionary forces. According to reliable information, the U.S. government has decided on this scheme and begun to carry it out in China. The U.S. government has changed its policy of simply backing the Kuomintang's counter-revolutionary war to a policy embracing two forms of struggle:

1. Organizing the remnants of the Kuomintang's armed forces and the so-called local forces to continue to resist the People's Liberation Army south of the Yangtse River and in the remote border provinces, and
2. Organizing an opposition faction within the revolutionary camp to strive with might and main to halt the revolution where it is or, if it must advance, to moderate it and prevent it from encroaching too far on the interests of the imperialists and their running dogs.
The British and French imperialists support this U.S. policy. Many people do not yet see this situation clearly, but it probably will not be long before they do.

The question now facing the Chinese people, all democratic parties and all people's organizations is whether to carry the revolution through to the end or to abandon it half-way. If the revolution is to be carried through to the end, we must use the revolutionary method to wipe out all the forces of reaction resolutely, thoroughly, wholly and completely; we must unswervingly persist in overthrowing imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat-capitalism; and we must overthrow the reactionary rule of the Kuomintang on a country-wide scale and set up a republic that is a people's democratic dictatorship under the leadership of the proletariat and with the worker-peasant alliance as its main body. In this way, the Chinese nation will completely throw off the oppressor; the country will be transformed from a semi-colony into a genuinely independent state; the Chinese people will be fully emancipated, overthrowing once and for all both feudal oppression and oppression by bureaucrat-capital (Chinese monopoly capital) and will thus achieve unity, democracy and peace, create the prerequisites for transforming China from an agricultural into an industrial country and make it possible for her to develop from a society with exploitation of man by man into a socialist society. If the revolution is abandoned half-way, it will mean going against the will of the people, bowing to the will of the foreign aggressors and Chinese reactionaries and giving the Kuomintang a chance to heal its wounds, so that one day it may pounce suddenly to strangle the revolution and again plunge the whole country into darkness. That is how clearly and sharply the question is now posed. Which of these two roads to choose? Every democratic party, every people's organization in China must consider this question, must choose its road and clarify its stand. Whether China's democratic parties and people's organizations can sincerely co-operate without parting company half-way depends on whether they are agreed on this question and take unanimous action to overthrow the common enemy of the Chinese people. What is needed here is unanimity and co-operation, not the setting up of any "opposition faction" or the pursuit of any "middle road".[4]

In the long period of more than twenty years from the counterrevolutionary coup d'état of April 12, 1927 [5] to this day, have the Chinese reactionaries headed by Chiang Kai-shek and his ilk not given proof enough that they are a gang of blood-stained executioners, who slaughter people without blinking? Have they not given proof enough that they are a band of professional traitors and the running dogs of imperialism? Think it over, everybody! How magnanimous the Chinese people have been towards this gang of bandits in the hope of achieving internal peace with them, since the Sian Incident of December 1936, since the Chungking negotiations of October 1945 and since the Political Consultative Conference of January 1946! But has all this goodwill changed their class nature by one jot or little? In their history not a single one of these bandits can be separated from U.S. imperialism. Relying on U.S. imperialism, they have plunged 475 million of our compatriots into a huge civil war of unprecedented brutality and slaughtered millions upon millions of men and women, young and old, with bombers, fighter planes, guns, tanks, rocket-launchers, automatic rifles, gasoline bombs, gas projectiles and other weapons, all supplied by U.S. imperialism. And relying on these criminals, U.S. imperialism on its part has seized China's sovereign rights over her own territory, waters and air space, seized inland navigation rights and special commercial privileges, seized special privileges in China's domestic and foreign affairs and even seized the privilege of killing people, beating them up, driving cars over them and raping women, all with impunity. Can it be said that the Chinese people, who have been compelled to fight such a long and bloody war, should still show affection and tenderness towards these most vicious enemies and should not completely destroy or expel them? Only by completely destroying the Chinese reactionaries and expelling the aggressive forces of U.S. imperialism can China gain independence, democracy and peace. Isn't this truth clear enough by now?

What deserves attention is that all of a sudden the enemies of the Chinese people are doing their best to assume a harmless and even a pitiable look (readers, please remember that in the future they will try to look pitiable again). Didn't Sun Fo, who has now become president of the Kuomintang's Executive Yuan, state in June last year that a "settlement will finally come, provided militarily we fight to the end"? But this time, the moment he took office he talked glibly about an "honourable peace" and said that "the Government has been striving for peace and only resorted to fighting because peace could not be realized, but the ultimate objective of fighting is still to restore peace". Immediately afterwards, on December 21, a United Press dispatch from Shanghai predicted that Sun Fo's statement would meet with widespread approval in U.S. official quarters and among the Kuomintang liberals. At present, U.S. officials have not only become deeply interested in "peace" in China but also repeatedly assert that ever since the Moscow Conference of Foreign Ministers of the Soviet Union, the United States and Britain in December 1945, the United States has adhered to a "policy of non-interference in China's internal affairs". How are we to deal with these worthies from the "Land of Gentlemen"? Here, it is fitting to quote an ancient Greek fable. One winter's day, a farmhand found a snake frozen by the cold. Moved by compassion, he picked it up and put it in his bosom. The snake was revived by the warmth, its natural instincts returned, and it gave its benefactor a fatal bite. The dying farmhand said, "I've got what I deserve for taking pity on an evil creature."[6] Venomous snakes, foreign and Chinese, hope that the Chinese people will die like the farmhand, that like him the Chinese Communist Party and all Chinese revolutionary democrats will be kind-hearted to them. But the Chinese people, the Chinese Communist Party and the genuine revolutionary democrats of China have heard the labourer's dying words and will well remember them. Moreover, the serpents infesting most of China, big or small, black or white, baring their poisonous fangs or assuming the guise of beautiful girls, are not yet frozen by the cold, although they already sense the threat of winter.

The Chinese people will never take pity on snake-like scoundrels, and they honestly believe that no one is their true friend who guilefully says that pity should be shown these scoundrels and says that anything else would be out of keeping with China's traditions, fall short of greatness, etc. Why should one take pity on snake-like scoundrels? What worker, what peasant, what soldier, says that such scoundrels should be pitied? True, there are "Kuomintang liberals" or non-Kuomintang "liberals" who advise the Chinese people to accept the "peace" offered by the United States and the Kuomintang, that is, to enshrine and worship the remnants of imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat-capitalism so that these treasures shall not become extinct on earth. But they are decidedly not workers, peasants or soldiers, nor are they the friends of workers, peasants and soldiers.

We hold that the Chinese people's revolutionary camp must be expanded and must embrace all who are willing to join the revolutionary cause at the present stage. The Chinese people's revolution needs a main force and also needs allies, for an army without allies cannot defeat the enemy. The Chinese people, now at the high tide of revolution, need friends and they should remember their friends and not forget them. In China there are undoubtedly many friends faithful to the people's revolutionary cause, who try to protect the people's interests and are opposed to protecting the enemy's interests, and undoubtedly none of these friends should be forgotten or cold-shouldered. Also, we hold that we must consolidate the Chinese people's revolutionary camp and not allow bad elements to sneak in or wrong views to prevail. Besides keeping their friends in mind, the Chinese people, now at the high tide of revolution, should also keep their enemies and the friends of their enemies firmly in mind. As we said above, since the enemy is cunningly using the method of "peace" and the method of sneaking into the revolutionary camp to preserve and strengthen his position, whereas the fundamental interests of the people demand that all reactionary forces be destroyed thoroughly and that the aggressive forces of U.S. imperialism be driven out of China, those who advise the people to take pity on the enemy and preserve the forces of reaction are not friends of the people, but friends of the enemy.

The raging tide of China's revolution is forcing all social strata to decide their attitude. A new change is taking place in the balance of class forces in China. Multitudes of people are breaking away from Kuomintang influence and control and coming over to the revolutionary camp; and the Chinese reactionaries have fallen into hopeless straits, isolated and abandoned. As the People's War of Liberation draws closer and closer to final victory, all the revolutionary people and all friends of the people will unite more solidly and, led by the Communist Party of China, resolutely demand the complete destruction of the reactionary forces and the thoroughgoing development of the revolutionary forces until a people's democratic republic on a countrywide scale is founded and a peace based on unity and democracy is achieved. The U.S. imperialists, the Chinese reactionaries and their friends, on the contrary, are incapable of uniting solidly and will indulge in endless squabbles, mutual abuse, recrimination and betrayal. On one point, however, they will co-operate -- in striving by every means to undermine the revolutionary forces and preserve the reactionary forces. They will use every means, open and secret, direct and indirect. But it can definitely be stated that their political intrigues will meet with the same defeats as their military attacks. Having had plenty of experience, the Chinese people and their general staff, the Communist Party of China, are certain to smash the enemy's political intrigues, just as they have shattered his military attacks, and to carry the great People's War of Liberation through to the end.

In 1949, the Chinese People's Liberation Army will advance south of the Yangtse River and will win even greater victories than in 1948.

In 1949, on the economic front we shall achieve even greater successes than in 1948. Our agricultural and industrial production will rise to a higher level than before, and rail and highway traffic will be completely restored. In their operations the main formations of the People's Liberation Army will discard certain survivals of guerrilla habits and reach a higher level of regularization.

In 1949, the Political Consultative Conference, with no reactionaries participating and having as its aim the fulfilment of the tasks of the people's revolution, will be convened, the People's Republic of China will be proclaimed, and the Central Government of the Republic will be established. This government will be a democratic coalition government under the leadership of the Communist Party of China, with the participation of appropriate persons representing the democratic parties and people's organizations.

These are the main concrete tasks which the Chinese people, the Communist Party of China and all the democratic parties and people's organizations in China should strive to fulfil in 1949. We shall brave all difficulties and unite as one to fulfil these tasks.

In our struggle we shall overthrow once and for all the feudal oppression of thousands of years and the imperialist oppression of a hundred years. The year 1949 will be a year of tremendous importance. We should redouble our efforts.


1. Following the Japanese surrender in 1945, the Kuomintang government divided the three northeastern provinces of Liaoning, Kirin and Heilungkiang into nine provinces, Liaoning, Liaopei, Antung, Kirin, Hokiang, Sungkiang, Heilungkiang, Nunkiang and Hsingan. In 1949 our Northeast Administrative Commission redivided the area into five provinces, Liaotung, Liaohsi, Kirin, Heilungkiang and Sungkiang. Together with Jehol, these provinces were then referred to as the six northeastern provinces. In 1954 the Central People's Government Council merged the two provinces of Liaotung and Liaohsi into the one province of Liaoning and the two provinces of Sungkiang and Heilungkiang into the one province of Heilungkiang, while Kirin remained unchanged. In 1955 Jehol Province was abolished and the area previously under its jurisdiction was divided and incorporated into the provinces of Hopei and Liaoning and the Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region.

2. The dates of the taking of these key points were: Shihchiachuang, November 12, 1947; Yuncheng, December 28, 1947; Szepingkai, March 13, 1948; Loyang, first on March 14, 1948, and again on April 5, 1948; Yichuan, March 3, 1948; Paoki, April 26, 1948; Weihsien, April 27, 1948; Linfen, May 17, 1948; and Kaifeng, June 22, 1948. All these cities were fortified with many groups of blockhouses, and some had high, thick city walls; also, they all had auxiliary defence works, including multiple lines of trenches, barbed-wire entanglements and abatis. Our army at the time had neither planes nor tanks, and little or no artillery. In attacking and taking these cities, our army learned a complete set of tactics for taking strong fortifications. These tactics were:

(1) successive demolition -- using explosives to demolish the enemy's different defence installations in succession;
(2) tunnel operations -- secretly digging tunnels to and under the enemy's blockhouses or city walls, then blowing them up with explosives and following up with fierce attacks;
(3) approach trench operations -- digging trenches towards the enemy's fortifications, then approaching under cover to make sudden attacks;
(4) explosive package projectors -- shooting packages of explosives from missile-projectors or mortars to destroy the enemy's defences;
(5) "sharp knife" tactics -- concentrating manpower and firepower to effect a breakthrough and to cut up the enemy forces.

3. The brigades mentioned here were those designated as brigades after the reorganization of the Kuomintang army, while the divisions were pre-reorganization divisions (which were practically the same as the reorganized brigades).

4. The "middle road" was also called the "third road". See "The Present Situation and Our Tasks", Note 9, p. 176 of this volume.

5. See "The Situation and Our Policy After the Victory in the War of Resistance Against Japan", Note 8, p. 23 of this volume.

6. "Evil for Good" in Aesop's Fables.

Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung