(19 June 1961)
At this time, there is a sort of bad atmosphere, which is that the democratic work style is insufficient. We originally required to liberate thoughts, get rid of superstition, dare to think, dare to speak and dare to act. Now, there are a good many people who do not dare to think, do not dare to speak and do not dare to act. Thinking generally is still being thought, the main matter is not daring to speak and not daring to act, where we are short the two characters of “daring”. Why can matters be thus? Chairman Mao put forward daring to think, daring to speak and daring to act at the Nanning Conference in 1958, and furthermore put forward officially at the 2nd Plenum of the 8th Party Congress, that daring to think, daring to speak and daring to act must be integrated with a spirit of seeking truth, and must be established on the basis of scientific predictions. But in fact, this is not something that everyone can achieve. The fact that thoughts, words and acts are somewhat partial is hard to avoid, this is not something critical, as long as freedom of criticism is permitted, this may be corrected. How can only permitting one person to speak and not permitting everyone to speak, not become “a hall of one voice”? Where does the “hall of one voice” come from? It is related to leadership, therefore, we must create a sort of democratic atmosphere. I first and foremost state, everyone is permitted to consider, discuss, criticize, deny or acknowledge my speech of today. A “hall of one voice”, in one sentence means being correct one hundred per cent, this sort of reality does not exist under heaven. People not only must speak out their incorrect words when making mistakes, and even when they are correct, there may be some words worded not appropriately, or a bit extreme, this is why criticism must be permitted. One person must not write a certificate of guarantee over his own words. If I may offer the comrades writers a word of advice, you must also not attempt to finish in one go. Great politicians and artists are all extremely strict concerning the revision work of their own works. Chairman Mao often says that the works of Marx and Lenin have been meticulously revised. Chairman Mao himself is also like this, many of the things he wrote have been changed repeatedly. Therefore, we must create a sort of atmosphere in which everyone is permitted to discuss and deliberate the opinions that we express.
The speech that I gave in 1959 concerning the principle of literature and art work walking on two legs, looking from the level of today, is also not certainly completely correct, in it, there may also be places of excess or insufficiency. What makes me sad is that it cannot get reactions after it has been presented, it enters into “limbo”, this causes people to unavoidable have some emptions. This time, you are required to talk a bit, and I will talk a bit. There are impressions in the heart, and to speak them out would be fast. But it is impossible to explain everything correctly, some issues can be deliberated or criticized, and they are mainly to lead the comrades into joint discussion. If we want to create a democratic atmosphere, and we want to change the work style of literary and artistic circles, we must first and foremost change the work style of cadres; to change the work style of cadres, we must first and foremost change the work style of leading cadres; to change the work style of leading cadres, we must start the changes from the few of us. We often engage with the friends in literary and artistic circles, if it is not permitted to doubt or deliberate the opinions we express, what is there still to research or deliberate, then? Our speeches are also not officially approved by the Party. And it is also permitted to raise opinions even if they concern things that have already been researched and passed by the Party. It is permitted to discuss and it is permitted to raise opinions about the things that are officially passed by the Central Work Conference, and to revise them, why could my individual opinion not be discussed or revised? We must create an atmosphere, in which everyone stands on the socialist viewpoint to inquire into questions, in order to do literary and artistic work well, and implement literary and artistic policies well. Each has something to say in these areas, why could this not be discussed? You will have made notes of my speech of today and taken them back, I hope you will talk about it, and send opinions. But if the opinions you send are all of the sort of “complete agreement”, “complete support” “correct instructions”, I will not look at them. This is not to say you lie, but it is because reading this is senseless. If you have different readings, and have questions to put forward for deliberation, write them down and send them.
A democratic work style must start from ourselves, criticism must be permitted, the expression of different opinions must be permitted. For example, my speech of today, there are only two days of time to consider it, this is not mature. Naturally, in the speech, there are some passages concerning the Party’s principles and policies, and concerning the issue of class struggle, but not a little has been prepared on the basis of the issues that you have reflected. If I could compare this speech to a human body, it is only an embryo, and is even not a full-term embryo, whether or not it can grow into an adult, I do not yet know now. If you put forward opinions, my speech at a next occasion will be made a little better. We must study Chairman Mao. Chairman Mao always must repeatedly speak about one issue many times, we often hear him repeatedly talk about one issue, and every time, there are new developments. He hopes we put forward opinions, absorbs our opinions and conducts revision. This sort of work style of Chairman Mao, of persisting in the truth and revising mistakes merits our study. When we study Chairman Mao, we must study this sort of work style of his. We must permit other persons to raise different opinions in our work, before we are able to establish a good work style. In short, we must permit there being different opinions on the basis of different situations, only this is Socialist freedom, only this is being free from anxiety, and realizes that sort of political situation that Chairman Mao talked about that is both centralized and democratic, has both discipline and freedom, has both unified wills and individual freedom from anxiety, vivacity and vigour. I hope through this conference, we will be able to concentrate a sort of air like this, and achieve this sort of result.
Three years ago, we originally required the liberation of thoughts, daring to think, daring to speak and daring to act, but the result is that thoughts have been fettered instead. In fact, people also still think, it is just that they don’t dare to speak and don’t dare to act. People aren’t rocks, how can there be a reason for thinking? Now, we must make the people speak out and act out all matters their think about. A few years ago, there was a sort of method: when other people’s words were spoken, they would be given frames, their mistakes would be seized upon, their roots would be dug out , be given a hat to wear and bludgeoned. First and foremost is having a frame, people must be made to act as they say, and should not do what they don’t agree with. Once there is a subjective frame, it can be used to seize on someone’s mistakes, all starts from someone’s subjectivism, one-sidedness and metaphysics, it does not undergo investigation, someone subjectively considers something to be “rightist”, and concludes that it is “rightist”. Believing that “Tachi and Her Fathers” is “sentimentalist”, first setting down this frame, is where the trouble starts, and where the bourgeois sentimentalism of the writer must be opposed. Thanks to the comrades in Shanghai, you have suggested us to watch “Tachi and Her Fathers”, I have watched it, I have read both the novel and watched the film, this is a good work. But there is a framing fixed within this, in the novel, it is written that the old Han man finds his daughter and wants his daughter back, some people would say this is a “theory of human nature”. Comrade Zhao Dan and Comrade Huang Zongying shed tears when watching the film, I also nearly cried when I watched the film yesterday, but I have not cried. Why have I not cried? Because the skill of the actors makes you want to cry but unable to cry, and restrict your emotions. For example, the daughter wants to leave the old Yi man, we are stirred and want to cry, but the person on the screen actually doesn’t turn her body, and uses her hands to cover their face, so as not to let the audience see she is crying. That ideological fetters have arrived at this sort of level, makes us want to cry, but in reality, she does not let use cry, but proletarian emotions are not like this! I have heard that the actor was on constant tenterhooks, only when some comrades said it was good, did she feel relieved. Actors do not dare to set their hands free in that place. This is not to criticize Comrade Wang Jiayi, but to say that there is a frame here, “Father and daughter coming together and crying is a theory of human nature”, and because of that, the actors do not let them cry when dealing with this. Everything is enmeshed with the “theory of human nature, this is not good. In fact, the problems concerning the theory of human nature have been resolved twenty years ago. Chairman Mao says in his “Talks at the Yan’an Conference on Literature and Art” that there is no abstract human nature, in a class society, there is only the human nature that carries a class nature. But now, there still are people who find frames there, and frame everything inside one frame, where what people say or do does not fit within there frame, they give people hats, “theory of human nature”, “the love of humankind”, “sentimentalism” and many others are put on people’s heads. First it is seizing on shortcomings, and once shortcomings are seized, hats are put on heads on the basis of ideology or politics, they are bludgeoned organizationally, and these matters all start from subjective frames, start from definitions, that sort of definition is mistaken, and does not at all suit Marxism-Leninism. There is also digging for roots. First, linking to history. Regardless of whatever someone said, it must be examined in connection with history, what caused someone to act like this? Second, there is linking with the household, and digging out class roots. Where we believe motivation and result are uniform, we cannot but ask whether effects can only be inferred from motivation. To get to the root of matters, it is permitted to link to history, but the most important is that we should look at performance today; linking to household and class background or social relationships is also permitted, but we should mainly look at the person. History and class backgrounds may be made into related research, because we come from the old society, the old society caused us to carry some old things on our bodies, there are problems, this must be acknowledged, but we cannot link them wantonly, and mainly should judge people on their conduct of the present, and their individual conduct. First, determining a frame, using the frame to cover something, and following on to seize on shortcomings, dig for roots, put on hats and bludgeon, is not good.
Marxism has frames. We do not generally oppose frames, what we have is a large frame. We want to transform the entire society, construct Socialism and Communism, this frame should be very large! We also want to transform nature, how large a frame is this as well! The proletarian worldview is the most scientific and most magnificent worldview, take all sorts of worldviews from the past and compare them, they are all paltry by far! Only we are able to transform the entire society and the entire world, and herald the future. What we have is the most magnificent frame. Changing this magnificent frame into metaphysical and subjective small frames is mistaken. We also do not generally oppose seizing on mistakes, we want to seize on large mistakes, and grasp that sort of large mistake of reactionary politics, and that sort of mistakes of “three thousand yards of white hair”. For example, in 1957, bourgeois rightists savagely attacked, opposed the Party and Socialism, “black clouds bore down on all cities, threatening to overwhelm them”, and consequently, these mistakes were seized upon for a counterattack. It is also not that roots must not be dug up, this has already been analysed above, there shall be related research concerning history and class background, but the most important shall still be to look at the individual and look at the present. putting on hats, if people truly are rightists, they must be given hats to wear, but they must not be given out disorderly. The problem of the present is that hats have been handed out disorderly, and that a mistake of one sentence, a mistake in one sort of thought or even all sorts of statements and thoughts that were permitted at first, permitting a hundred flowers to bloom and a hundred schools to contend, were seen as poisonous weeds and heresy, that is not correct. Bludgeoning must be handled even more cautiously. Even if someone is mistaken, as long as he is willing to change, he must be permitted to change, when he does not manage to change in a given time, it is still necessary to wait, he cannot wilfully be expelled from Party membership, that is an incautious way. We still must “first observe and then help”! therefore, we do not advocate that the proletariat does not need frames, does not seize on mistakes, does not link to class background or history, not to give hats that should be given out, or not to punish those that should be punished. This is not what I mean. What I am saying is that this sort of mistaken and inappropriate things have become a sort of atmosphere at the moment, and have become “five sons passing the imperial examination”, this sort of atmosphere is not good. Now, we must reverse this sort of atmosphere, but when reversing it, the issues of the kind of the large frame and the large shortcomings cannot be repudiated. For example, class background and history shall be explained, so that everyone knows. Everyone must help themselves correct mistakes, only relying on individuals to think about mistaken things will make them not easy to give up, we must rely on the assistance of the masses. Therefore, these large principles should still be persisted in. Only if these bad and faulty tendencies are eradicated, can the correct wind be established, and can a sort of political situation that is both centralized and democratic, has both discipline and freedom, has both unified wills and individual freedom from anxiety, vivacity and vigour be created. I hope that this conference will be able to achieve this sort of result, change begins first from us leaders, who advocate this sort of correct atmosphere.
The above are opening remarks, they are the introduction, next, I will talk about six issues, and if there is time, in the end, I will also speak a little about some opinions concerning drama.
I, The issue of material production and spiritual production
Some rules of material production are equally applicable to spiritual production. Doing matters in excess may also cause damage in spiritual production, and the damage may even be larger. I said once, in 1959, we cannot always urge writers, and let them hastily write drafts. Naturally, some drafts must be hastened, for example newspaper editorials, in order to suit the rapidly changing international struggle circumstances, these must be hastened, so as to coordinate with the struggle. But we also have a tradition, that if something is not written well, we would rather have it appear in newspapers a day later, so that it can be improved. Therefore, foreigners often say that we express opinions later. Even in the area of the international struggle, matters may be done like this, why could we not act like this in terms of domestic spiritual production? Making quota, determining plans, guaranteeing completion, urging people and urging them again, these are worrying matters for spiritual production. I have said, I have made a mistake in the area of literature and art work, which is that I encouraged the large-scale filming of artistic documentaries. Artistic documentaries may be produced, but encouraging them in excess will also not do. We put forward to produce eighty in 1958, the result was that next, 103 were made, among which there were a number made badly and roughly, which wasted labour and occupied material, naturally, a number of good ones were produced as well. In short, requiring too many, goes against the dialectical integration of more, faster, better and more frugally. More, faster, better and more frugally means we must compute the general ledger and count the large accounts, requests cannot come from every single person. For example, Comrade Zhang Shuihua, your habit when shooting films is to make them a little slower, a little slower shall be permitted, we must not require very fast production. Or another example is writing poetry, among our leaders, Comrade Chen Yi likes to write poems, and writes them very rapidly, he is a prolific writer and a quick wit. Chairman Mao is different, he must foster something until it is very mature before he writes it down, he writes very little, but it is bold and magnificent, full of poetic quality. Naturally, Comrade Chen Yi’s poems are also very poetic. We cannot require Chairman Mao to write one poem in one day, and we must also not intervene with Comrade Chen Yi, and let him write less. Spiritual production cannot be required to standardize. But when we add the entire country’s spiritual production together, our Socialist culture is still rich and varied. Chinese painting, such as the painting exhibition “A New Look of Mountains and Rivers” that display’s Jiangsu’s Chinese painters, is very rich. We do not approve of saying that only Jiangsu’s Chinese painting is good, even though I am from Jiangsu. We should say that there is good Chinese painting in all regions of the entire nation. Spiritual production cannot be limited in time or limited in quantity. We must make a combined calculation for the entire country, and must concentrate forces, in order to produce even better things. The issues in this area should be made clear. Overly high quota and overly strict requirements, may sometimes fetter the production of spiritual products instead.
Some comrades point out that the problem of restitution exists both in spiritual and material matters, I support this opinion. Naturally, how to restitute matters requires research by all departments. For example, someone’s opinion is correct, if you say he is wrong, and criticise him, that someone’s mood will be very anxious, should there not be some thorough discussion? Another example, the issue of contribution of manuscript fees, if someone originally has obtained manuscript fees according to the provided standards, but you however provide that he must contribute some tens of per cents, this provision has not only not undergone approval, but furthermore, even if it would have been approved, it would not necessarily have been appropriate. For example, in the countryside, some of the grain in the hands of peasants may be used for storage in communes and production teams, and a part of it may also be sold, but the income from sales should be divided among the peasants according to work points, this is their income from labour. Naturally, there must also be some differential treatment, if work time has been used in writing something, influencing the quality of work itself, there must be some difference. Income from writing after-hours cannot be taken over gratuitously. It is said that some people say, whose manuscript fees is returned to the public in the end cannot be made clear, and restitution is difficult. This sort of talk is the talk of leaders, and it is looking for excuses to no longer have to thing about restitution. In fact, there are numbers in people’s hearts. Therefore, restitution should still happen, how much should be restituted may be publicly discussed. Another example, where writers’ houses have been transferred, why should these not be restituted to the person in question?
Literature and art departments also have problems of adjustment, consolidation, substantiation and improvement. In the past, they made too much, which did not conform with the spirit of consolidation and improvement. Culture and education teams were enlarged, their undertaking expanded, and there were problems in the areas of education and culture, and the policy of adjustment, consolidation, substantiation and improvement should be implemented similarly. We require Central culture and education departments to come up with a plan, submit it to local comrades for discussion, and for restraint. It is said that some localities and some sides are unwilling to retreat. As I see it, we must still start from the real situation, we must differentiate circumstances, some are the masses’ hobbies and volunteer work, some are the requirements of leaders. If the masses, for their own hobby, are willing to preserve a traveling theatre troupe, and everyone takes a share in supporting a theatre troupe, that tours between communise for performances, this sort of theatre troupe may be maintained. We permit collective ownership, why should theatre troupes all have to be owned by the whole people? Naturally, collectively-owned theatre troupes should prevent the resurgence of old forces, and the head of the troupe and other directors should not be permitted to take high salaries. Theatre troupe work is spiritual labour, and it should be so that main actors and people with truly high artistic levels work more and gain more. We must permit them to cooperate with cooperative theatre troupes, and the local Party Committee and administrative culture department is to guide this. This is one variety, which is based on the masses needs and serves the masses. Another variety is that all Central ministries, district and county leading organs, absolutely want to have a theatrical group, to serve a small number of people, here, interference is necessary, and their preservation is not permitted. Maintaining this sort of theatre troupe is engaging in cadre privilege. Troupes are to mainly serve the masses, although they are also permitted to conduct these internal performances, but there should be a limit. Cultural departments shall, under the guidance of Party Committee Propaganda Departments, formulate a plan, in which the number of people removed from material production to engage in spiritual production cannot be to large. As for after-hours affairs, that are run by the masses themselves, these do not influence production and work, and should be permitted. Our dissemination of culture still mainly relies on after-hours activities for its realization.
In short, some shortcomings have arisen in our work over the last three years, adjustment, consolidation, substantiation and improvement are necessary, the area of spiritual production is no exception, and must be similarly planned.
II, The issue of class struggle and the united front
Let me explain the complications of class struggle in the stages of Socialist revolution and Socialist construction. The Party already put forward at the 2nd Plenum of the 7th Party Congress that a struggle between two roads exists in Socialist revolution and Socialist construction. After the Liberation, through the “three antis” and “five antis”, this point has been proven. In the period after collectivization, we entered Socialism with the sound of gongs and drums, our onset was fierce and broad, and it may be thought that our transformation of the old society achieved great results, but that class struggle has been somewhat overlooked in terms of extent. Chairman Mao foresaw this issue, and issued the speech “On the Ten Great Relationships” in 1956, in which he talked about issues such as revolution and counterrevolution, the united front, etc.; in 1957, he furthermore issued the speech “Concerning Correctly Dealing with the Issue of Contradictions Among the People”, which elaborated this even more clearly. Sure enough, as Chairman Mao expected, rightists attacked savagely, proving that in the stages of Socialist revolution and Socialist construction, the area of class struggle may have reduced in size, but sometimes class struggle can still be very fierce. Class enemies may attack savagely at times where we are in difficulties, display flaws and have weaknesses. But we cannot because of class struggle overlook the united front, or without having analysed the bourgeoisie, vacillate in our dealing with the issue of contradictions among the people, or be biased somewhat.
There are political and ideological class struggles, and there still is the aspect of the power of customs from the old society.
Matters falling under a political nature, are regarding Socialism with hostility, and wanting to seize the opportunity to restore the old order, we must firmly oppose this, as we did the savage rightist attack. Last year, in a few regions in the countryside, counterrevolutionaries usurped leading power, and schemed to restore the old order; or they waited for their opportunity to strike, sometimes hidden, sometimes openly, sometimes they conceal activities, and then savagely restored the old order to a certain stage. Naturally, this only happened in a small number of regions. Because of the consolidation of the people’s regime in the entire country, they were unable to provoke large matters. This sort of class struggle is a contradiction between the enemy and us, we must be on our guard, and will be taken in when we slacken vigilance. This sort of issue exists in any aspect in the entire country, but is extremely small in number. We must stand on the people’s viewpoint and be on guard at all times, especially at times where we have difficulties or flaws, we must pay even more attention.
Ideological struggle is a long-term task, concerning the issues of ideology and work style, literature and art workers engaged in spiritual production must pay special attention. Eliminating old influences and work styles is a long term matter. We come from an old society, have been educated in old schools, the youth of today may also be influenced by the remnants of old ideologies in the household or society, therefore old ideologies and old work styles exist to a greater or smaller extent in people’s brains. Ideology is the forerunner, but truly eliminating the remnants of old ideologies, is only possible after completely finishing a new basis. Ideological issues and issues of world views must transform slowly, this cannot be hurried, this is all the more so with people engaged in natural science work. Take doctors as an example, I have met doctors like this, who are first-rate in skill, and serve Socialism, but there is a God in their brains, but this does not impede them to serve Socialism. Old people in our homes also believe in ghosts and gods, and they still may be a Socialist citizen! This is something that can be permitted to exist, and there is no way to coerce matters. Some old people cannot change for the rest of their lives, and will take their superstitious ideologies into their coffin, but while they are still alive, they may still serve Socialism. Ideology influences their work style, because when believing in God, it is necessary to go to church, or to pray silently while eating, some comrades also can’t bear the sight of this, denounce them, and create unnecessary tensions and troubles in society. Naturally, being a teacher or a writer, using this to go and educate the youth or put it in a stage play influencing the youth, is not good. But requiring them to thoroughly reform is not easy. Taking ourselves as an example, do we understand dialectical materialism that well? Is there absolutely no old thing that remains in our thoughts? This is hard to say, and we must also incessantly transform. The flaws and mistakes that I talked about earlier, are they not all caused by idealism and metaphysics? But can you say that our Party is not a Marxist Party and that our cadres are not Marxists? People always have flaws. Our Party is a magnificent, glorious and correct Party, but from my individual position, I am still not a mature and complete Marxist. Communist Party members may still be like this, how can they blame common non-Party friends? When oneself is a bit more modest, and helps others, matters will be easier to handle. Ideological transformation is a long-term matter, how can being reborn from the old society into the new society result in a complete transformation all at once?
The force of habit refers the force of feudal and bourgeois habits brought from the old society, that have been made into habits since childhood, and where it is not believed that they are incorrect. For example, wherever our leading comrades go, the masses are blocked, to make way for us, if you want to treat people equally, this will not do, and some people absolutely want to treat you with privilege. I also no not oppose necessary vigilance, but originally we sat together, why must we be separated? I look upon this as being one sort of force of habit, which is feudal, and sometimes unconsciously comes out. The force of habit is manifold in China, for example coming together to beat people in the countryside, is a sort of force of habit. This has been brought from the old society, now, there still are people who use this sort of method to deal with the masses. In plays, there are still those who are hit with sticks. “Fifteen Strings of Cash is very good, and the bamboo stick beating has been put behind the scenes. Concerning counterrevolutionaries, Chairman Mao has consistently stressed his opposition to torture. Opposing the revolution requires that someone is educated, all the more is this so among the people! But the force of habit often is unconscious, and we still want to beat people. Recently, I came to know that many plays have been banned, this issue can also be seen according to the force of habit, for example “Qin Xianglian”, some people believe this can also not be performed, what kind of reasoning is that! It criticizes Chen Shimei’s killing his wife and his son, his acts are very vicious, why can it not be performed? What relationship does this have with remarriage after divorce? This is exactly the influence of feudal thinking. Many plays always condemn the woman in man-woman relationships, and pardon the man. I believe this is incorrect. At this tome, we have not yet dropped the social custom that the male sex should be at the centre! We must not believe that there are no feudal thoughts among cadres, is this not feudal thinking? Speaking about reason, everyone will agree that, as soon as concrete matters are encountered, the force of habit has come. We must not believe that our generation may eliminate it, by the 21st century, perhaps, new habits will have been created, but in this century, we must not look to completely eliminate the force of old habits. This involves the issue of class struggle. Sometimes, we say something inappropriate, or say things wrongly in jest, this is a frequent matter. If we take all these situations to be grave political problems and struggle against them, people will not be able to live. Therefore, we must differentiate what is a political problem, what is an ideological problem and what is the force of habit, we struggle against everything without distinguishing the nature of the problem. Some hatters have already become habits, and a long time will be necessary before this can be changed. As long as new atmospheres have not yet been established, the force of old habits cannot go away. In short, we must concretely analyse class struggle, and must not mux up vigilance against a counterrevolution with ideological transformation among the people. If not, we will not be able to form that sort of political situation talked about by Chairman Mao, which is both centralized and democratic, has both discipline and freedom, has both unified wills and individual freedom from anxiety, vivacity and vigour.
Ideological transformation is a long-term task. The transformation talked about here, starts from unity, and will achieve new unity on a new basis. We must not fear to hear this word, transformation. Transformation includes a transformation of non-Marxist ideologies and the force of habit. If a Communist Party member thinks that he is done transforming, and does not need further transformation, he is not a good Communist Party member. I often say that there is no end to transformation, it goes on until death, and at that time, it also cannot be said whether transformation has been sufficient, only that it is a bit better than now. Transformation is a good thing, it is not a bad thing, it is to facilitate unity, and to struggle with counterrevolutionaries. Apart from class enemies, the people in the entire country are to create a great unity. As for whether or not there are forces of idealism and old habits in thinking, that is a question among the people, these people are inside our unity. Socialist societies exist in the period of transition from capitalism to Communism, this is a correspondingly long period, some people, however, reckon that it only requires four years and eighty days. Counting from 1949, there are just thirteen years. As I see it, a few times thirteen years are also not enough, perhaps it will be even longer, it is not easy to “tell this fortune” now. The objective of ideological transformation is to make our undertaking develop even better, to do literary and artistic work even better, and to unite literary and artistic workers, it is not a matter of “five sons passing the imperial examination”, or to make everybody very nervous. Conducting this work requires a gentle breeze and soft rain. Chairman Mao says: all ideological transformation and study must be as a gentle breeze and soft rain, adopt the form of meetings of people with experience and wisdom for informal discussion. This conference will discuss many problems, from the leaders to literature and art troupes, and to the policy of “adjustment, consolidation, substantiation and improvement”. These problems are not matters that can be completely resolved in one conference, after everyone goes back, further information discussion must take place, we cannot be impatient, we cannot again have a new frame, we must work on the long-term, we must be patient, before we can be in a good mood and happy.
On the one hand, we must conduct class struggle, on the other hand, we must consolidate the united front. The unity and cooperation of the Party and the democratic parties and democratic persons is the united front. It is not only so during the period of democratic revolution, it is also so during the period of Socialist revolution and Socialist construction. Comrade Li Weihan has publishes an article concerning this aspect, and I will not say more about it here. For a while, it was like as if it was felt that it was permitted to no longer talk about those problems concerning intellectuals from 1956, this is not so, those principles still exist, it is just that because we were busy over the last three years, there has been some oversight in this area, and we have talked less about it. Now, after having undergone anti-rightism, and having gained the experiences of the three years of the Great Leap Forward, both sides understand each other better. The three years of the Great Leap Forward have successful experiences, and also have difficult experiences, we must become even more united and even more confident, the united front should be even more broadened, and even more deepened, and it should not be reduced or made fainter. This point must be affirmed. If we want to cause our economy and culture to develop even better, we must on the one hand raise vigilance concerning domestic and foreign class enemies both at home and abroad politically, and must even more broaden and strengthen internal unity on the other hand.
III, The issue of whom to serve
Whom to serve is a political norm, any literature and art has an issue of whom to serve. Chairman Mao put forward that literature and art serves workers, peasants and soldiers, this is exactly out political norm. Serving workers, peasants and soldiers, serving the labouring people, and serving the popular masses under the proletariat dictatorship regime, these are only the political norms for literature and art. Political norms are not equal to everything, there are also artistic norms, and there still is a question of how to serve. Service is using literature and art to serve, and must happen through the form of literature and art. The forms of literature and art are varied and diverse, and cannot be framed. Literature and art must serve workers, peasants and soldiers, and serve proletarian politics, this is affirmed, as for the form of expression, this can be varied. Literature and art forms at least include, as Comrade Zhou Yang said in his report, literature, drama, music, fine arts, dance film, quyi, photography and others, their divisions are endless, for example, there are many genres within quyi. Literature and art serve politics, and must pass through a form, only by thinking in terms of symbols can thoughts be expressed. Regardless of whether it is musical language, or pictorial language, they must all be expressed through forms and models, without forms, literature and art do not exist per se, nothing of itself will be left, what is there still to speak of to serve politics? Slogans and catchphrases are not literature and art. For example, my speech of today, can only be called informal discussion, it cannot be called art. Since matters are this, literature and art must serve the people well, and must undergo practice, and be tested among the masses. Whether your form can stand or not, whether the people love to see and hear it or not, is not something for which approval from leaders counts. Whether artworks are good or bad must be answered by the masses, and is not something to be answered by leaders; but at present, leaders’ decisions exceed approval by the masses. Naturally, if there are political mistakes or anti-Socialism, we must speak out, it cannot be allowed to spread freely, but these things, in the end, are few in number. I saw some material from Sichuan. A Vice-Minister in the Ministry of Culture went to Sichuan and said: Sichuan is backward. This offended the Sichuanese. At that time, a Comrade answered: whether it is backward or not must be answered and decided by the seven million people in Sichuan. As I see it, this Comrade is very brave, and answered well! If the people love to see or hear something, and you do not like it, where do you rank? Shanghaiers love dialect storytelling, Huai opera and Shaoxing opera, what would you as a Beijinger go and approve? Leaders may have fondnesses, some people like seeing a play, some people like looking at pictures, some people like antiques, what is the matter with this? If we look at a play and say it is good, that does not necessarily mean it is good, our words are unreliable, everyone has his own likes, how can they become norms? Art is approved by the people. As long as the people like something, it has value; if it is not against the Party or against Socialism, it is permitted to exist, and there is no authority to ban it. Artists must face the people, and should not only face leaders. Does this advocate opposing the leaders? It does not. Leaders have the power to raise opinions in politics, and must assume political command, but political command mainly is to see whether something is a fragrant flower or a poisonous weed, and whether or not it opposed the Party and opposes Socialism, political acuity must be put under this heading. As for the artistic side, we understand very little.
We understand very little, and our right to speak is very little, we must not interfere excessively. The present comrades are all leading persons, I hope you interfere a little less, this naturally does not mean you must not take up responsibility. First, you must take up responsibility; second, you must interfere a little less. Taking up responsibility main refers to politics, your must not let poisonous weeds alone, or leave revisionism alone. But you must absolutely distinguish them clearly, and must not say everything is revisionism. Some people ask me: are the educational function and the entertainment function of literature and art unified? It is a dialectical unification. The masses watching plays or watching films is for them to gain entertainment and relaxation from it, your typified imagery and performance has education residing within it, and residing within entertainment. Naturally, there must be diversification, we cannot always wage war. Comrade Zhu De said, we have waged a lifetime of war, I’d like to see some films not about war. If we let the people see films about waging war every day, the people will not like to see them, and will want to see Hong Kong films, this only illustrates that the work of the Film Bureau has not been done well; conversely, if there would not be a single film about war, the youth would be let to lose their militancy, this is also not good. How many modern films there are, and how many historical films there are, must generally be in proportion. As for themes, a free choice may be completely permitted. In old times, there was no Socialism, but there were the fine traditions of the Chinese people, the people created many ideal persons for themselves, such as Wu Song, Mu Guiying, etc., there were also not a few myths, all of these may be written about. We must have a proportion, this sort of proportion must also be somewhat different in different regions and different genres. Some genres are only suitable to perform emotional dramas, and war dramas can only be performed occasionally, for example Shaoxing opera troupes are all female comrades, performing “Dream of the Red Chamber” is very comfortable, performing “Chasing Fish” is also possible, performing acrobatic fighting dramas such as “Sizhou Town” will be difficult. Shaoxing opera has been developed by the “Didu troupes”, and afterwards, some things from the Shaoxing troupes were absorbed. Originally, there were male performers or all performers were male, which afterwards changed into female performers, new, although it is permitted for men and women to share the stage, it is also permitted to only have female actors. Because of different genres, we must do what is suited to the time and the place, and when arranging theatre programmes, we must consider the needs of the masses. Another example, film, which films are suitable to be watched in the countryside or factories must be handled differently, but there should always be some enlivenment of life, on the one hand, they must extol the glory of work, on the other hand they must also have some emotional or light things. As for the youth, they must be told about the thick and thin of the revolution, and that Socialism is heard-earned, plays displaying the difficulties and hardships of the revolutionary struggle must be performed often, to ensure that they must not forget it. In creating themes, there must be an overall balance, the Ministry of culture must do more work in this area, but it may absolutely not resort to coercion and commands or excessively interfere. I have heard comrades from Shanghai say that there are some writers who are not at all familiar with the leading work of Party Committees, which insistently demand them to go and write about the leadership of Party Committees, the result is that they are told every day about how important the command of the Party Committee is, and they still cannot write it down, it would be better to let them write other things and give rein to their strong points. Originally, it was to be so that each displays what he excels in, letting a hundred flowers bloom, and the result has been that one bloom flowers alone, a political frame has been taken, and everyone has been fettered. Comrade Chen Yun’s opinion concerning quyi is reasonable. His health is very weak, he is very tired, and requires a different life environment to rest, he listens to dialect storytelling, so as to do even more work for the Party. Dialect storytelling also has an educational function, and is very characteristic artistically, a person can perform many roles, and perform in many areas. In the past, I did not understand dialect storytelling, and now I feel it is even better than northern drum ballads, naturally all has something to recommend it. But I still want to hear northern quyi, because listening to the Suzhou pronunciation in dialect storytelling is relatively strenuous, therefore, I am not as enthusiastic as Comrade Chen Yun. We cannot absolutely require Comrade Chen Yun and myself to be the same, we can also not say because of that that I do not praise dialect storytelling, each takes what he needs! When the masses watch plays or watch films, each takes what he needs! Another example, I like to read prose and short stories, I don’t have time to read novels. Sometimes, I’d like to watch a play or a film that does not cost mental effort, by way of relaxation, but this won’t work, I still must think, I still must raise opinions, in fact, this is superfluous, and in the future, I must be a bit liberated, anyhow, there are many experts! After we have seen a play, are we not affected? We are also affected. “Tachi and Her Fathers”, I both read the novel and watched the film, each has its merits. The novel is relatively rough, it displays the nature of the Yi people, but it is a bit rough. The processing of the film is better than the novel, but afterwards, I did not dare to cry when I should cry, I felt fettered, probably because of a fear of “sentimentalism”. Our proletariat has the nature of the proletariat, why are there misgivings? There is a sort of pressure. “A theory of human nature”, “the love of humankind”, “humanitarianism”, “utilitarianism”, have all been messed up. These questions have already been answered by Chairman Mao in his Yan’an talks on literature and art. We do not generally oppose utilitarianism, we stress the utilitarianism, human nature of the proletariat, friendly affection and humanitarianism. Our method at the moment, is not to look at problems front the standpoint of the proletariat and the viewpoint of class, but to use the standpoint of idealism to look at problems. If we replace literature and art with politics, there will be no more literature and art, what will there still be worth seeing!
In addition, when doing cultural work, the economic basis must be researched. It is as Comrade Zhou Yang says, ideology goes first, but a high wave of cultural construction must follow a high economic wave. The development of the cultural undertaking cannot be boundless. In the cultural undertaking, there are too many higher vocational schools, they exceed economic development levels, and this may influence the basis and production. To say this serves production may result in the opposite to the objective, and becomes production serving culture, having culture for culture’s sake, and in the end, this will exterminate culture. Dissemination and improvement, for dissemination, we must launch mass after-hours activities, and improve matters on this basis. Now, we have done things in excess, the cultural undertaking has been done in excess, teams are too large, and occupy productive forces, influencing production, therefore, the front must be shortened, and the principle of the four words of “adjustment, consolidation, substantiation and improvement” implemented, only then will it be possible to serve Socialist construction, serve workers, peasants and soldiers, and serve the politics of the proletariat even better.
IV, The issue of literary and artistic rules
Literature and art are the same as industrial and agricultural production, they have objective development rules. Naturally, literature and art are spiritual production, they are the products of brains, they bring more complexity and are harder to grasp. Comrade Zhou Yang says that the characteristics of literature and art are that they reflect life through thinking in images. Chairman Mao said, literary and artistic works reflect life and shall be higher, stronger, more concentrated, more model, and more ideal than normal real life, therefore, it must be more universal. For revolutionary literature and art, all sorts of characters should be created on the basis of real life, to help the masses promote historical progress, and realise the objective of serving politics. I believe at this time, the following problems still exist in this area, which require resolution:
1. The problem of quantity and quality. In recent years, literature and art works have been produced in great numbers of quantity, but quality is not high. Literature and art teams have been expanded, but levels are not high. The same play has been studied and performed everywhere, the path if very narrow. The same theme is written about everywhere, and this is mostly similar with small differences. Using the same language to extol the same thing reduces quality. Although, at present, the quantity of literature and art is still removed from universality, at present, the main matter is not continuing to develop quantity, but it is that we must improve quality. Improving quality is a painstaking work, and it cannot be required to take place to hastily. Successful works are not works that everyone can create, and also do not come by every day. Excellent writers and excellent works where not in great number in the feudal society and the capitalist society. Naturally, we must exceed them; but we can also not “have everyone write poems, and have everyone paint paintings”, or produce a Guo Moruo in every county. This sort of slogan is incorrect. Quantity and quality develop dialectically, quantity always exceeds quality, good works are always few in number. But now, there are too few things of high quality. Literature and art requires the dialectical integration of ideology and artistry, creating good works requires even more preparation. “Socialism Is Better” is a good song, but the lyrics are too simple. There was a song at the time of the revolution, which was called “Overthrow the Great Powers”, the masses loved to sing it. In total, it had only eight lines of text: “Overthrow the great powers, overthrow the great powers, get rid of warlords, get rid of warlords; the national revolution is successful, the national revolution is successful, let’s sing together, let’s sing together.” This is even more simple, it is equal to a slogan. But that was written in 1924. Now, after 37 years, still being this simple is not good. The lyricist of “Socialism is Better” doesn’t have to be nervous, I don’t blame writers here; this is because the requirements of the leadership were too hasty, and therefore it could only be hurriedly written and improvised. Now, “The Waters of Lake Hong, Waves Strike Waves” is even more welcomed by the masses, because it both has a revolutionary content, and is emotional, its quality is relatively good. This is the criticism of the masses and the choice of the masses. Now, writers should be permitted to take a bit more time to write, and should not be urged to hasten overmuch. Theatre troupes also must not perform that many times, so as to enable performers to strike a balance between work and rest.
2. The problem of raw materials and processing. The common real life must always undergo processing before it can become a work of art. After writers have grasped the raw material, it must undergo processing, before it can be written into a work. Now, this aspect of processing shall be emphasized more, and because of this, it must be given a bit more time. If this play “Female General Yang Men” can be processed by Comrade Mei Lanfang, it may perhaps become even better.
3. The problem of ideology and profession. Ideology is very important, it is guidance, and ideological study must be strengthened. You are “engineers of the soul”, ideology must always be a bit higher. If ideological levels are not raised, works cannot be written well. But apart from raising ideological levels, the profession must also be mastered, otherwise, how could ideology be expressed? Only understanding politics and not mastering the profession means that things that are written will inevitably be slogans, and cannot move people. Only understanding politics and not mastering a profession, means other work may be done, for example propaganda work, but someone like this cannot become an artist. Naturally, propaganda work also requires brightness and vivacity. The profession must be mastered, not having basic training will not do. As an artist, someone must have experience and talent, and must have very good self-cultivation, this includes training, otherwise, this person cannot become an artist, and cannot become a commentator. My speech of today can only be an informal discussion, and cannot be counted as a comment. Because of this, it is absolutely necessary to accumulate experience and ability, it is necessary to practice incessantly, and to be tested by the masses in practice. When our art troupes go abroad, the people are extremely envious of the State attention and fostering that our artists receive. Our country’s artists have a broad development space, this is the superiority of the Socialist system. We accept people’s praise, and want to improve even more, want to develop upwards even more, therefore, we must respect experience and ability, and must respect skill. Now, we do not dare to talk about experience and ability, we do not dare to talk about skill, as soon as some people talk about skill, it is being said to be bourgeois ideology, this is clearly mistaken.
Related to this, in red and expert, theory and history, culture and knowledge, we cannot only do one thing and neglect the other. These problems have already been talked about by Comrade Zhou Yang at the planning conference for the compilation of humanities textbooks in higher education institutes. Now, this slogan of “white roaders” is in fashion. This slogan has not been put forward by us.
Comrade Nie Rongzhen absolutely wanted me to talk again about this problem. What does “white” mean? As long as a person serves Socialism with single-minded devotion on Socialist soil, although he has studied little about politics, cannot be counted as “white”. Only raising a white flag and opposing Socialism is “white”. For example, there is a surgeon, who performs operations very well, and heals patients very well, it is only that he is not very progressive politically, isn’t saying he is a “white roader” because of this, absurd? Another example, there is someone who serves Socialism with single-minded devotion, but who understands a little less politically, but has developed a guided missile in two years, which is a great contribution to the country; another person, who talks politics every day, and has worked for five years without making a guided missile. Which person would you vote fore in support? I vote to support the first person. The second person may as well be requested to become a political in structure, he cannot work in the guided missile department, he can only “make trouble” in the guided missile department. Chairman Mao has said: we do not generally oppose utilitarianism, we must stress the utilitarianism of the proletariat. Among these two people, the first person is beneficial to us, and is beneficial to the victory of Socialism in the entire world. Not stressing revolutionary utilitarianism, and prattling about politics is not good. Naturally, I approve of studying politics, but the profession must be mastered, the time necessary to gain professional mastery cannot be occupied.
4, The problem of criticism and discussion. Other persons must be permitted to criticize literary and artistic works, to have the freedom to publish works, the freedom of criticism is also necessary; similarly, to have the freedom to criticize, the freedom to discuss is also necessary. No matter which aspect cannot dominate literary circles. We advocate criticism, and also advocate letting a hundred schools contend and free discussion. As long as there is contention in the great frame of Socialism, you say good, I say bad, is all permitted. Merely permitting criticism and not permitting discussion may cause people to say being a critic is easy.
V, The issue of inheritance and creation
Chairman Mao says, we shall stress the present and slight the pas. We believe that a generation has surpassed a generation. The development of history is always that the present is better than the past, but the past always has some good things that merit being inherited. Therefore, Chairman Mao wants us to inherit excellent cultural heritage, and critically absorb all beneficial things it contains, “drop its dregs, absorb what is best”, ensure it is carried forward, that one generation surpasses a generation, and carry it forward even more when we have reached a Communist society.
In Sino-foreign relations, we are Chinese, and should always give first place to our own things, but we can also not be anti-foreign and take a closed0door line, if we would do that, it would be the doctrine of going “back to the ancients”. Good foreign things must also be absorbed, and they must be made to dissolve in the culture of our nation. Our nation has always been good at absorbing excellent culture from other nations. We have absorbed Indian culture and Korean, Vietnamese, Mongolian and Japanese culture, we have also absorbed Western European culture. But if we want to “give first place to ourselves”, we must first and foremost concern ourselves with the tings of our nation. Studying foreign things must be to dissolve them, not to harden them. “The Small Swords Society” is a good play, when it was performed in Shanghai, the “bow dance” it contains did not have the sort of ballet movements of a female standing on top of the body of a man, these were added when it was performed in Beijing. In fact, during the era of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom, how could there have been such a movement? It does not conform to the historical background of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom. “Lotus Lantern” is also like this. How can ancient Chinese myths be performed like that? Perhaps, they have found out some things through textual research as a basis. Some instrumental music is also like this, and always must have some Western tones, this does not sound harmonic. In this area, I may be a little conservative. I advocate that we should first be concerned about the things of this nation, and when absorbing foreign things, dissolve them, we must make them fuse together with our nation’s culture unconsciously. This sort of fusion is a chemical combination, it is not a physical blending, and it does not mean welding Chinese things and foreign things together.
Regardless of whether it is studying ancient things or studying foreign things, all of this must be for the sake of the creation of today, and they must always be dissolved in our creation. Literature and art must have a spirit of original creation. Perhaps letting a workman tread on the legs of a man the “bow dance” in “The Small Swords Society”, is a sort of creation, this can be disputed. I believe that, when attracting and dissolving ancient or foreign things into creation, attention should be paid to the background of the times. When writing about ancient themes, it is impossible for women to stand on the body of men, when writing about modern life matters are a bit different. It is said that the Anhui “Flower Drum Lantern” is a woman standing on the shoulders of a man. But I remember, when I was young, I saw the masses dance this dance, and they were men dressed as women, in the past, women were basically not permitted to stand on the shoulders of men. Naturally, you may contradict me. When I talk about this, a part of it is in order to prepare to give rise to discussion.
VI, The issue of leadership
Over the last three years, we have obtained great achievements. This is the main thing. Flaws and mistakes are only a part. How can we correct these flaws and mistakes? The central question lies in leadership, lies in education, lies in going deeply into the masses, to summarize everything in one sentence, we must practice, investigate and research. The work methodology of Chairman Mao is to investigate and to research. Those conducting investigation and research are leaders, leaders must have a spirit of self-criticism, and are not to criticize downwards at all levels.
Recently, I heard something that Comrade Zhou Yang said that was pleasing to the ear. The said, the united front work must not only be done by the United Front Department, it should also be done by the Propaganda Department. This is very true. Originally, the Propaganda Department should solicit widely, and its doors were open widely, but now, persons from outside the Party do not go into the Central Propaganda Department, it can be seen that the doors are not that wide open. United front work is not only work of the United Front Department it is also the work of the entire Party, not only the Ministry of Culture and the Central Propaganda Department must do it, the Organization Department must also do it, many departments must do it. Every year, Chairman Mao will find Zhang Xinglao to talk about education work. I will also do work with Pu Yi. Since he has been released, we must always let him do some work, and give rein to his function. Transforming the last Emperor, is the superiority of the Socialist system! Otherwise, why would we have released him?
The correction of flaws and mistakes must start with leaders, first and foremost, leaders must self-criticize, and must take up a but more responsibility, problems always are related to higher levels. I hope that when you go back, you will also do this. Literary and art troupe leaders must also self-criticize. In this way, it will be possible to remove burdens, only if the frames are large, and there are no small ones, will it no longer be possible to wantonly seize on shortcomings, for roots to be wantonly dug out, for hats to be wantonly put on hats, and to wantonly be bludgeoned. It will be possible to ensure that the broad literature and art workers have peace of mind, are daring and energetic, which makes Socialist literature and art flourish even more.
Only having self-criticism will still not do, it is also necessary to go deeply into the masses. Only by going deeply into the masses, will it be possible whether or not one’s own opinions are correct or not. What to do? We must implement investigation and research. I still want to say something else, we must conduct self-criticism, but you can also not block information. You cannot believe this is my work, you shouldn’t bother – “How can one let another sleep alongside one’s bed?” It will be impossible to cooperate! Any problem made known to the public has benefits. In this way, it will be possible to gain everyone’s help, what is the problem with that? Naturally, investigation and research cannot cause a disaster, there should be preparation in advance, outlines should be written well; you must also bring food yourself, pay attention to economize. Investigation and research must seek truth from facts, and cannot be done wantonly. The achievements of other people should be affirmed. Appropriate estimations should be made of problems. The situations of all regions and all departments may be somewhat different, in some places, the entire leadership is mistaken, in some places, there will be a few that are wrong, in some places, it is very good, truth must be sought from facts, and matters must be dealt with differently.
Why is all of this then? It is for the sake of educating cadres. Chairman Mao said, we have been busy constructing over the past eleven years, we have not paid sufficient attention to educating cadres. That I say this much today, is also for the purpose of explaining these issues clearly. We must create a sort of atmosphere to ensure that everyone dares to speak. As long as it is beneficial to Socialism, even though thoughts are not identical, matters must be spoken out. Say all you know, speak freely; the speaker is not to be blamed, the listener should be warned; if you have mistakes, correct them, if you don’t, make greater efforts. Only in this way, may our cadres gain education, may healthy atmosphere may be created, and will Socialist literature and art see even better development, and may the universe of activities become extremely vast.
VII, The issue of drama
Finally, I’d also like to talk a little about drama.
There was progress in the theatre in recent years, but it is weak in comparison to other areas. What is the reason for this? It is because basic rules are not acknowledged, basic training is not conducted, as if performing plays is very easy, and it is fine as long as you can talk. Drama is a sort of comprehensive art, it includes a script, performance, settings, lighting, props, etc. But among these, the most important is the artistry of language, drama must move people through language. Comrades in dramatic circles require me to persuade Chairman Mao, and request Chairman Mao to watch drama. I say, when you perform drama in a way that does not resemble the speech of normal people, Chairman Mao will come and watch it.
Drama actors must not only be able to talk, but they must also be able to sing and act, because of this, the content of basic training is substantial. But now, basic training is not stressed very much, and the basic rules of dramatic art are overlooked. Dramatic troupes’ performers have a weighty task, they perform about 365 times per year, which makes everyone very tired, and there is no time to study the art, causing drama to be unable to be accepted by people. Performing drama requires different accomplishments, it requires some skill in music, chess, calligraphy and painting, and it is necessary to become a versatile person. Performing “Thunderstorm”, if one is not well acquainted with life in the feudal society, this is acted out as a household in the capitalist society, which does not resemble it at all.
Not grasping rules in any art, not conducting basic training, not grasping skill, will not do. As I see it, art should be practiced diligently, although this is brought up about the theatre, it should be applied in all art departments. Basic training must be conducted, and this requires time. The Ministry of Culture shall have a plan in this regard, and decide upon an appropriate proportion.
Since the Liberation, we have fostered many talents, but from the point of view of development, it is still insufficient. Yang Qiuling has been named “Little Mei Lanfang” in Hong Kong, but in fact, she is still very far removed from Mei Lanfang. If we do not give her time to strengthen training, she will fall down in a few years. When we foster talent, we cannot let someone rise up and someone fall down. When the State fosters talents, it is also necessary to talk about “costs”, naturally this is not to say we must make an economic calculation, but that we must pay attention to this issue.
We must grasp basic rules to strengthen basic training. This is the first point.
Second, performing stage plays must be in a way of having no-one in the eyes and having someone in the hart. There must be both no-one and someone. When actors on the stage see the hundreds or thousands of pairs of eyes at the bottom of the stage, they will have some fear and trepidation, and will naturally not play the play well. Because of this, they must have “no-one in the eyes”. Now, the audience seats in theatres are dark, this is so as not to let the actors see the audience. But this often also engenders another sort of bias: there is also no longer an audience in the heart of actors. If actors speak on the stage with their backs to the audience, we will not hear anything with our ears upright. They have basically forgotten that their speech is for the audience to hear, and the play is for the audience to see. Therefore, actors must have someone in their hearts.
Third, the stage must both be disdained and given attention. What I call disdain, means we must dare to play all roles, play both good people and bad people. People of older age playing children is also permitted. In “In the Name of the Revolution”, the female comrades playing the two children Wa Xia and Bie Jia are of age, and they play them very well. But only disdain will not do, there must also be attention. Even though the stage is small, at the bottom of it, there are still hundreds and thousands of people watching you, and the masses will make out any slight oversight. Therefore, strategic distain and tactical importance must be unified, in the way Chairman Mao said.
Fourth, performers themselves must ensure they are lifelike when objective, and earnest when subjective. Completely changing into a role, in the way that Stanislavsky said, is impossible. It is only possible to achieve likeness to life. But subjective matters must be performed earnestly, when playing Wu Song, it must resemble Wu Sung, playing Cao Cao must resemble Cao Cao. It should be both alike and not alike, and the dialectics of both unified.
In short, all sorts of objects have their objective rules, art is the same. We must earnestly research these and explore these, many experiences must be earnestly summarized. I hope that after this conference, everyone will research these rules, but we must also not set up a lot of frames.
These things that I have said today are not necessarily correct, I just set up a target to let everyone take aim, I set up a live target, to let everyone come and attack.