16 March 1957
All provincial (municipal) Committees and autonomous region Party Committees, the Liberation General Political Department, the Party Committees directly under the Central Committee and the Party Committees of State organs:
The Centre convened the Nationwide Propaganda Work Conference from 6 until 13 March 1957. This conference attracted the participation of about 160 science, education, literature, art, news, publishing and other cultural personalities from outside the Party (comprising about one fifth of the total number of participants). The Conference first and foremost listened to a recording of the report “Correctly Dealing with the Issue of Contradictions among the People” that Comrade Mao Zedong made at the Supreme State Conference. During the period of the conference, Comrade Mao Zedong organized six discussion sessions with several dozen representatives from inside and outside of the Party in the areas of propaganda, education, literature and art, press and publications, higher education and science, and gave a speech himself at the plenary session.
The victory in the democratic revolution and the Socialist revolution, and the victory of the undertaking of Socialist construction have caused great changes in the social essence and social appearance of our country. Millions of people have entered the reality of Socialism, which will inevitably trigger reaction in people’s ideologies. Now the large scale popular movement of class struggle has concluded, contradictions among the people begin to be revealed. Our country has about five million intellectuals, they work in education, literature, art, science, technology, news, publishing and other undertakings and in Party, government and military organs, they are a very important part of the people, they are the people educating the people, without them, it will be impossible to build Socialism. They can be divided into three parts: an extremely small number opposes Socialism, the reason why they oppose Socialism is because they are under the deep influence of the exploiting class; there is a small number of people (about ten per cent), both inside and outside of the Party, who do not only vigorously praise the Socialist system, but have also grasped the Communist worldview, they are Marxists, and are advanced personalities; the largest part, more than eighty per cent, are willing to accept the Socialist system, but their worldview is not yet completely Marxist. Among this above part of more than eighty per cent of the intellectuals, some are idealists, and oppose the Marxist worldview; some have a doubting attitude vis-a-vis the Marxist worldview; many know something about Marxism, and would like to study Marxism, but they are only willing to study Marxism-Leninism on a voluntary basis, and with the good-willed help of others, but they feel antipathy towards using rude attitudes to force study. This sort of situation of intellectuals will exist for a long time. All sorts of different intellectuals display different viewpoints, this is a very natural thing.
At a time where class struggle has basically concluded, the Party put forward the policy of “letting a hundred flowers bloom, and a hundred schools contend”. The objective of this policy is to use the method of persuasion, and use the method of free argumentation, and not to use rude methods, to conduct long-term, patient and meticulous Marxist propaganda towards intellectuals, stimulate our country’s literature, art and science to rapidly flourish under the guidance of Marxism. The Party understands that a strict difference must be made between the two sorts of different contradictions, the issue of the enemy and ourselves, and the issue of right and wrong. Contradictions among the people, and especially ideological issues, can only be based on “starting from the desire for unity, undergoing criticism or struggle, in order to reach unity on a new basis”. We must adopt correct methods to help intellectuals to study Marxism, and approach the working and peasant masses. We must ensure that within a long period (for example, fifteen years), more intellectuals in the entire country (for example, one third) are able to comprehend and grasp Marxism through learning and practice, and through engagement with working and peasant masses.
Now, in the relationship between the Party and intellectuals, some irregular attitudes exist. This cause for this sort of irregular attitudes is that two sorts of anti-Marxist-Leninist thinking exist within the Party, which are dogmaticism and right opportunism. Dogmaticism uses rude and not persuasive methods, it uses rebukes and not reasonable methods, it uses coercive and not voluntary methods, in treating intellectuals, in treating ideological issues and in treating issues of studying Marxism. Dogmatist comrades confirm all about our work in the past, they only look at achievements, and do not see flaws, they are proud and arrogant, fear criticism, are not enthusiastic about reasoning, and require the adoption of simple coercive methods towards different opinions. Many comrades in fact do not approve of or do not completely approve of “letting a hundred flowers bloom and a hundred schools contend” and the policy of “long-term coexistence and mutual supervision” of the democratic parties. Right opportunists deny all of our past work, they only see flaws and do not see achievements, thereby, they lose confidence, and describe the magnificent undertaking of the revolution and of construction as black all over. Right opportunists in fact are yes-men of the bourgeoisie. These two sorts of mistaken thinking and these two sorts of one-sided visions must be opposed inside and outside of the Party, and we must persist in the policies of “letting a hundred flowers bloom and a hundred schools contend” and “long-term coexistence and mutual supervision”.
One important experience from this Propaganda Work Conference is holding meetings with Party members and personalities from outside the Party together, this not only has benefits for the close unity of Party members with non-Party members, but also is beneficial to understanding the situation, hearing opinions, discussing and researching issues, implementing the Party principles and policies.
The Central Committee believes that this Conference has an important significance towards ideological work in the future, all localities must organize deep transmission and discussion. All provinces (municipalities) should equally convene propaganda work conferences, and attract the participation of personalities from education, literature, art, science, technology, news and publishing circles from outside the Party, just like this Propaganda Work Conference convened by the Central Committee, the meetings are to last about a week. Apart from issues derived from this Nationwide Propaganda Work Conference, newly emerging issues in propaganda work should be continuously collected and discussed. Furthermore, democracy shall be fully carried forward, and it is especially necessary to let personalities from outside the Party speak their heart’s content. The Centre believes that all provincial (municipal)Party Committee First Secretaries must lead ideological work themselves, and guide the conferences. This sort of propaganda work conference with joint participation from inside and outside of the Party, is to be organized once or twice every year at the Centre, in the provinces and in the municipalities. All provinces (municipalities) should attract as many country (city) Party Committee secretaries to listen to the transmitted report of the speech of Comrade Mao Zedong.
16 March 1957