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Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung

Speech At The Conference Of Heads Of
Delegations To The Second Session
Of The 8th Party Congress

May 18 1958

Let us write the brief biographies of all types of scientific and technological inventors in the past 300 years, giving their age, origin and background and see whether they were all without much education. Each occupation and profession should undertake the biographies of those in its own field.

Scientist Hua Lo-keng was a middle school student.

Tsiol’kovsky who succeeded in making the man-made satellite in the Soviet Union was an unknown middle school teacher. He was mainly a mathematics teacher and the satellite was his sideline. Gradually he became an expert.

Naturally the U.S. also has inventors, but it is not Dulles. Just who they are is unknown.

Education and age are not prerequisites for a person to be an inventor. As long as he had the correct direction and the courage to dream, he can become an inventor at age 20 or 30. Too much education will not help.

The whole world couldn’t find a way to control the white ant, but a young student in Kwangtung who only attended junior middle school found a way.

K’a Ho (Ho Shih of the Ho-shih Jade) of the Kingdom of Ch’u in ancient China found an uncut jade in Chat Mountain. He offered it to King Li and got his left shin cut off. He then offered it to King Wu and got his right shin cut off. When King Wen ascended the throne, he carried the uncut jade to the bottom of Ching mountain and had it cut by a lapidiary before the jade was appreciated. It was the same piece of jade referred to in the saying “returning the jade intact to Chao.”

Watt was a worker.

Franklin was a shepherd.

The three-way alliance, the leadership, technicians and old peasants (old workers) are required in cultivating experimental farms.

In general, what I want to prove by my information is one point: Isn’t it true that the lowly are the most intelligent and the elite the most ignorant when it comes to robbing the cocky high level intellectuals of their capital? There should be less servility and more self-respect. The workers, peasants, old cadres and low level intellectuals should be encouraged in their self-confidence and creativity.

I once asked some people: Are we in heaven? Are we considered gods? Are we foreigners? They answered in the negative. They were superstitious.

In my speeches, I discussed; 1) breaking down superstition, 2) international and domestic situations and 3) disasters.

Generally speaking, the international situation is bright, but war is also possible.

The domestic situation is the issue of the relationship with the 500 million peasants. The peasants are our allies. If they are not rallied, there will be no politics; if no attention is given to their problems, mistakes will occur. With them as our allies, we will win. Lenin also stressed the workers’ and peasants’ democratic dictatorship — arousing the consciousness of the rural semi-proletariat to take part in uninterrupted revolution. Some people felt that, since it took 80 years to develop capitalism, socialism could only be introduced when the workers became more numerous and the peasants conscious of themselves. But practice proved that it did not require several decades to advance from democratic revolution to socialism. The Soviet Union’s February Revolution proved Lenin was correct.

China is even more different. We have several decades of experience in the democratic revolutionary base. After the liberation, the peasants’ morale was high. The rural semi-proletariat numbered 350 million. A considerable number of people in China’s Communist Party do not understand the importance of the peasant issue and that is where mistakes will occur. Those who do not believe in greater, faster, better and more economical results primarily have no confidence in the 40 articles in agriculture. They do not believe that agriculture can be developed relatively fast.

Why do we talk about the 10 major relationships? They constitute the basic viewpoint. It is for the purpose of comparison with the Soviet Union. Besides the Soviet method, is it possible to find another method which is even faster and better than the Soviet Union and the European nations? The road of China’s industrialization includes the simultaneous promotion of the large, medium and small [enterprises] and of industry and agriculture. We do not say that we are competing with the Soviet Union, but actually we are vying with the teacher. We have two parents: the Kuomintang society and the October Revolution. We follow Lenin in the mass line and the class struggle. We want to eliminate the bourgeoisie thoroughly including its ideology, but without confiscating the property and destroying the people of the bourgeoisie. Stalin did not promote the mass line. He played favoritism and was too excessive in the class struggle.

The domestic situation is mainly the issue of the peasantry.

Irrigation, fertilizer, soil improvement, seeds, close planting and deep plowing  —  the method of Chang-ko County is a model.

I feel that heavy industry, metallurgy, machinery, coal, chemistry, and foreign trade should be discussed. I would rather delay the closing of the meeting for one day.

Of the 26 provinces, municipalities, and regions, 13 of them have problems. There is confusion in the political and legal systems and in the literary and art circles throughout the country. Two types of people cause the problems: rightists and right opportunists. Those making the mistake of the line will be permitted to participate in the revolution. As for P’an Han-nien[1], Ku Ta-ts’un, and Feng Pai-chu, it is better not to discipline them at this meeting. It is correct to propose disciplining, but not disciplining is also right.

Several documents should be printed, including the statements of Wang Ming and K’u Hsi-ning and the letters of a branch secretary in Tientsin and the party committee secretary of Nanking University (to the Chairman).

The branch secretary of Tientsin was very good. He did not give in. As not very many people were informed in the past, whether to let loose or not, it was impossible to keep pace at that time. A branch in Tsinghua University deteriorated. It is a rare opportunity for a party purge.

The annotations to Socialist Upsurge in China’s Countryside should be printed. It is correct to say that the ownership system has been basically solved, but the mutual relationship between the political and ideological fronts have not yet been solved. It was a little too optimistic to predict that the socialist revolution had gained a basic victory. I did not expect such a big revolution. As for China’s bourgeoisie, I predict there will still be struggles, long term struggles, to eliminate the deep-rooted influence of the bourgeoisie and its intellectuals. A socialist revolution involving a battle on the political and ideological fronts is inevitable; another one is necessary after a basic solution to the ownership system has been found. This time, I did not expect the revolution will be fundamentally over in a few months, nor did I expect that the rectification would be implemented ahead of schedule. The rectification was forced on us by circumstances, and the struggle against the bourgeoisie was inevitable. But the resistance against “adventurism” also accelerated the rightists’ attack. I consciously used the rightists to carry out the rectification. Turn it loose first before thinking of a method; struggle a few rounds and see. The Tsingtao Conference printed some material. A student of Hua-tung normal college was very firm, asking “What will happen if the Communist Party collapses?”

The above is about the peasant issue. Urban population is 15 percent of the total and rural population 85 percent. Some of the comrades have spent several decades in the rural areas but they remain untouched by the peasants’ feelings and cannot understand them. When one cannot understand the masses, one will not see the good things. Have the likes of P’an Han-nien never worked in the rural areas? If so, they have not been influenced. The workers number 12 million, or 40 million if the family members are included; therefore, their number is far smaller than the peasants. The well-to-do peasants who do not follow us number several ten millions. After the great leap forward, possibly 50 percent of them will be against socialism and 20 percent will maintain their [present] position.

What are your opinions on the election?

It is not good to be without horns on the head, but too many is not good either. A cow should have two horns, four would be too many. If we elect a group of alternate committee members, there will be a balance; to have a few more alternates is no problem.

Among the workers, peasants, and soldiers, there are several hundred million peasants. The “Trotsky factions”[2] has always scoffed at us for peasant-ism, and imperialism calls ours a peasant revolution. China’s working class cannot sit firm without the peasants. Since Lenin also stressed the peasant problem, did he also advocate peasant-ism? I asked our European comrades; What about you? In Europe, besides the farm workers, conflict between the landowner peasants (many with their own farm machinery) and socialism is great. In my conversations with the comrades of South America and India the issue of rallying the peasants was also discussed. I asked them to study a rural village, clarify the class relations, and analyze matter in minute detail. Being backward has its advantages.

The great leap forward should not be pushed too urgently. The students of red and expert schools dozed off in class. This won’t do at all. The two “encirclement and suppression” campaigns in Kiangsu involved five battles in two sleepless weeks, but it was only a short-term surprise attack. We must not push too hard.

How are the cooperative areas? It is the negation of a negation.

After one day’s rest at the conclusion of the congress, there will be two days of meetings, attended by one delegate from each province and a certain number from the Central Committee.

A meeting will be held again on 5 August. You have two whole months to handle your work in industry, commerce, culture- education, and military matters. Fall farm production must be prepared and arranged now.

The whole people including five-year old children must be mobilized to eliminate the four pests.

All the provinces where there are problems in the party must issue a statement. The statement will be discussed if there is time, or printed if there is no time. The statements at this meeting will be collected and printed for our own comment and comparison. There are many good and rich experiences.

The commerce work of Hsin-hui County, Kwangtung, is well handled. An on-the-spot meeting should be held there.

Ch’ang-ko County should be emulated in deep plowing. If it cannot be done once a year, it certainly can be done once three, four, or five years. The production increase is 100 percent.

We are not afraid of a population of 800 million or one billion. American reporters say that, after 100 years, the Chinese population will constitute 50 percent of the world population. By that time, our cultural level will be high. When all the people are college educated, they will naturally practice birth control. China’s topography is good, with oceans in the east and mountains in the west.

China has its own language. The pronunciation of the words “communism” and “imperialism” is basically the same in Russian and English, but ours is completely different. Ever since Ch’in-Shih-huang, the Chinese people have never respected the foreigners, calling them barbarians. By the end of the Ch’ing Dynasty, when the foreigners attacked and entered China, the Chinese were frightened, became slaves and felt inferior. Arrogant before, now we are too humble. Let us have the negation of a negation.

With 11 million tons of steel next year and 17 million tons the year after, the world will be shaken. If we can reach 40 million tons in five years, we may possibly catch up with Great Britain in seven years. Add another eight years and we will catch up with the U.S.

The Central Committee holds four meetings a year, with one party congress. The provinces hold six meetings, with two big check-ups on the results and four small-scale meetings.

When I see the peasants concealing production, I am very happy. If you have more, I also have more. What the peasants have is equivalent to ours.

The task of reforestation should be undertaken in local areas. Bamboo must be extensively developed. Bamboo is not native to the North. We don’t know when it will grow there.



[1.] Pan Han-nien, a former Comintern representative, was vice Mayor of Shanghai from 1949 until 1955.

[2.] Originally an anti-Leninist faction in the Russian working-class movement, the Trotskyite group later degenerated into a downright counter-revolutionary gang. In his report to the plenary session of the Central Committee of the C.P.S.U. (B.) in 1937, Comrade Stalin explained the course this group of renegades had run as follows:

In the past, seven or eight years ago, Trotskyism was one of such political trends in the working class, an anti-Leninist trend, it is true and therefore profoundly mistaken, but nevertheless a political trend. . . . Present-day Trotskyism is not a political trend in the working class, but a gang without principle and without ideas, of wreckers and diversionists, intelligence service agents, spies, murderers, a gang of sworn enemies of the working class, working in the pay of the intelligence services of foreign states.

After the of the Chinese revolution in 1927, a small number of Trotskyites appeared in China, too. Ganging up with Chen Tu-hsiu and other renegades, they formed a small counter-revolutionary clique in 1929 and spread such counter-revolutionary propaganda as that the Kuomintang had already completed the bourgeois-democratic revolution and they became a dirty imperialist and Kuomintang instrument against the people. The Chinese Trotskyites shamelessly joined the Kuomintang secret service. After the September 18th Incident, to fulfil the order given by the criminal renegade Trotsky “not to impede the occupation of China by imperial Japan”, they began collaborating with Japanese secret agents, received subsidies from them and engaged in all kinds of activities facilitating Japanese aggression.

Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung