Central Propaganda Department Report concerning Work Style Rectification in the Nationwide Cultural Circles and All Associations
(8 May 1964)
On 3 February of this year, the China Playwright Association organized an “Evening to Welcome the Spring” in the Consultative Conference auditorium, more than 2.000 drama workers from Beijing and other places attended. Although the evening contained some experience exchange and other beneficial activities, the most important was eat, drink, plays and music, a number of performance programmes were vulgar and low-level, and in poor taste. This matter did not occur very long after transmitting the Chairman’s instructions concerning literary and art work of 12 December last year and the speeches concerning literature and art of comrades Shaoqi, Xiaoping and Peng Zhen on 3 January this year, the nature of the mistake is therefore even more grave. Afterwards, the masses were extremely dissatisfied, and wrote to put forward opinions. Comrade Lu Dingyi conducted severe criticism against this, and put forward that a number of the people in the Association had become corrupt; all Association workers should be transferred downwards by turns to exercise and strengthen political study. Apart from immediately transmitting this to the Playwright Association Party Group and ordering them to inspect matters, we have convened Party Group members, general branch and branch secretaries for the Federation of Cultural Circles and all Associations, more than fifty in total, at the end of March, had three successive meetings and discussed matters. At the meetings, everyone consistently agreed with Comrade Lu Dingyi’s criticism, believing that the occurrence of this matter is not accidental, but is a reflection of the present class struggle in literary and artistic teams, and is the exposure of bourgeois ideologies and work styles among the Association leadership. Many comrades believe that the problems of this “Evening to Welcome the Spring” and the matters that have been exposed by it, also exist to different degrees in other associations. Because of this, everyone feels that it is necessary to conduct a one-time rectification of work styles and study among the cultural circles and all associations, to draw lessons and ensure bad things are changed into good things.
Those participation in the work style reform, are the whole body of cadres from ten work units: the Nationwide Federation of Cultural Circles, the Writers’ Association, the Playwrights’ Association, the Musicians’ Association, the Fine Artists’ Association, the Film Workers’ Association, the Quyi Workers’ Association, the Dance Workers Association, the Folk Literature and Art Research Association and the Photographic Association. Because this work style rectification has this “Evening to Welcome the Spring” as a negative example, and has the instructions of the Centre and the Chairman concerning literature and art work as weapons, and moreover, there is a widespread feeling in every work unit from studying Daqing and studying the Liberation Army that the difference still is very large, and because of the requirement of revolution, the gains have been relatively large. In a relatively concentrated time of 20 days, through mobilization within the Party, arousing the masses, and promoting democracy, the problems that have existed for many years in work and within organs have been exposed, and opinions to improve work aimed at these problems have been put forward. The Federation of Cultural Circles and all associations’ leading cadres have also done a self-criticism. Many comrades say that this work style rectification has truly “opened mouths, moved hearts, and has become ever more animated.” Through work style rectification, a new atmosphere has emerged in the Federation of Cultural Circles and all associations, organic work is also beginning to improve somewhat.
In this work style rectification, problems in two areas have been mainly investigated, one is the problem concerning implementing the Party’s literature and art line of serving workers, peasants and soldiers, and serving Socialism, another one is the problem of revolutionization. The focus has been put on inspecting leadership, raising leaders’ ideology, improving leaders’ work style, rectifying leading organs and strengthening the leading core. Hereby, the problems found out through the work style rectification and the measures to improve work in the future are reported as follows.
The main problems in implementing the Party’s literature and art orientation are:
I, The Party’s literature and art orientation has not been persistently implemented. There is a period, mainly before the 10th Plenum, in which the problems of a vague orientation and an unclear understanding of the circumstances of class struggle existed to different degrees in all work units. In the area of literature and art creation, writers and artists have not been vigorously organized to create works reflecting the Socialist era. Many works lack the spirit of the times, and cannot very well serve Socialist revolution and construction, they are also not suited to the economic basis of Socialism. The editorial departments of some associations’ periodicals lack enthusiasm concerning works reflecting the present real struggles, and publish very few of them; they have, nonetheless, published not a few things removed from the times, and that don’t have a lot of Socialism; they have even published a number of works that use the past to disparage the present, that air grievances and are anti-Socialist. The “Script” monthly did not publish the script “Seizing Power” that reflected rural class struggle, but enthusiastically published “Li Huiniang” and other ghost stories. The Music Publishing House published “200 Famous Foreign Songs” that propagate capitalist thoughts and feelings, and distributed 70.000 copies, which had a bad influence on the broad youth and students.
Second, in the area of literature and art theory and criticism, banners were not clear, militancy was not strong, what should be encouraged was not encouraged, what should be opposed was not opposed. There was a lack of deep research and powerful propaganda of Mao Zedong Thought. There was insufficient discovery and affirmation of good works. Little criticism was raised against bourgeois ideology tendencies, and even mistaken theories were propagated. At one creative meeting, the Writers’ Association did not encourage writers to create advanced characters and images of our times, but advocated that more should be written about “middle characters who are neither good nor bad, in reality, these are doubts about heroic characters among the masses. The “Drama Daily” on one occasion praised ghost plays and dramas propagating feudal morals on a large scale. The Musicians’ Association and the Dance Workers’ Association did, for a long time, not conduct powerful criticism against tendencies in the music and dance world of separation from the masses and blind idolatry of the West.
III, In the area of literature and art teams, their progressive side is often seen, but their backward side is not sufficiently reckoned with; the necessity of writers and artists going deep into life and integrating with workers, peasants and the masses has been overlooked; the long-term nature of the ideological transformation of literature and art workers has been overlooked; and no great attention has been given to work to foster newly-emerging forces. In recent years, the linkage between literature and art workers, and workers, peasants and soldiers has weakened, bourgeois individualism and bourgeois literature and art ideology have somewhat grown. The requirements towards Party member writers and artists are not strict; of non-Party member writers and artists, attention has only been paid to unity, attention has been paid to life treatment, but no attention has been paid to educating and assisting them politically. All those linked up with associations are mainly some old famous people, there is little linkage with young writers; in periodicals, works of new talents are published little, and newly emerging forces mature very slowly. The Writers’ Association General Assembly members’ average age is more than 45, there are very few people between 30 and 40 years, and there are almost no people younger than 30.
The main problems existing in in the area of organic work are:
I, The Party groups in the Federation of Cultural Circles and all associations are not perfect, ideology is not revolutionized, there is a lack of the work style of proletarian struggle, and offices are yamenized. Some leading cadres neither earnestly study Marxism-Leninism and the Party’s principles and policies, and do not go into the masses to conduct training, investigation and research; they are both removed from worker and peasant masses, and removed from literature and art teams, and also removed from the cadres in their own organs; they both do not grasp creation and do not grasp comment; they are busying themselves all day, being sluggish, do not grasp the focus point, are satisfied with the present situation, their work has no vitality. Some associations’ leading cores have not united for a long time, and stir up some unprincipled disputes (for example the Folk Literature and Art Research Association). Between all associations’ Party group members, there is a lack of criticism and self-criticism, and a strong leading core has not been formed. The Party groups of the Federation of Cultural Circles and all associations have not given high regard to political and ideological work, and have done little research on problems in these areas, they are not good at grasping living thoughts and are not good at the work of conducting themselves. Party and Youth League working cadres generally are relatively weak, Party and Youth League organizations’ function as struggle fortresses has not been given great rein, organizational life is insufficiently regular, some branches have not held meetings for a long time. Within organs, the political atmosphere is diluted.
II, Among work personnel, bourgeois ideology work styles are correspondingly grave. Individualist thinking is relatively widespread and prominent, not few people only think about doing their own creation for the whole day, pursue fame and seek gains, and only perform their work perfunctorily, they make do and that’s it. Their writing originally were not bad things, but they have started from pursuing individual fame and profit, have disregarded work, and do not care about managing their creations. There are a few members of the Party group in the Federation of Cultural Circles, who have not done work for years on end, but lived in the Western Hills and wrote things. Those below ape those below, causing many people to work uneasily, and wholeheartedly want to become a reputed authority by their writing. Some people are fussy about food, clothing and enjoyment for the whole day, a few people have corrupted lives. Organic discipline is slack, and there is freedom, carelessness and sloppiness. The phenomenon of coming to work late and leaving early is widespread, some people do not work well when they are at work, they drink tea, chat and muddle through the day. Even graver is that these unhealthy trends and evil practices are criticized little. Therefore, there are people who say: “Here, we also have ‘three sames’: it’s the same whether work is good or bad, it’s the same whether it is positive or negative, it’s the same whether tasks are completed or not completed.”
III, Some work units’ personnel is complex, and teams are impure. Some people are targets for patronage have been handed over by relevant departments that must be placed in a certain position, not a few persons’ historical situation is complex, there are also a number of people whose political background is unclear.
In short, the basic problems of all literature and art groups are that they have not implemented the Party’s literature and art line, teams are gravely impure, and leading cores are not perfect. Through inspection and discussion, everyone has raised understanding, felt that the problems are truly very grave, and that painful decisions must be made to earnestly improve work, change work styles, clean up organizations, and perfect leadership. Measures are the following:
I, Further clarifying the literature and art orientation, implementing the Party’s literature and art policies, and forcefully developing Socialist literature and art. At present, the emphasis is on grasping modern drama, reportage literature, revolutionary songs and other creations, to rapidly reflect the present struggle; at the same time, powerful measures are adopted to organize and assist writers and artists to live deeply among the masses for a long time, strive to create works that summarize the times relatively deeply, and create model characters for the Socialist times. Compile literature and art materials that are adapted to rural needs, to launch rural touring exhibitions, summarize and exchange the experiences of drama troupes, quyi teams and literature and art workers going into the mountains and the villages, and serving the countryside. Forcefully foster young writers and artists, make fostering newly emerging forces into the key to construct Socialist literature and art.
II, Improving literature and art periodicals, strengthening the militancy of periodicals, ensuring that periodicals truly become the strong battlefields for developing Socialist literature and art, propagating the Party’s literature and art principles and policies, propagating Mao Zedong Thought on literature and art and fostering young creative teams. Vigorously organize and publish literature and art works reflecting the Socialist times, and especially works by young writers; launch discussion on all sorts of academic problems, strengthen comment and recommendation work concerning excellent works; at the same time, conduct powerful criticism of revisionist literature, art and ideology, and other bourgeois literature, art and ideology. Strengthen comment teams.
III, Party organization members of the Federation of Cultural Circles and all associations, professional backbones and all cadres, are to be rotated to the countryside in phases, to participate in labour, participate in grass-roots work, participate in rural Socialist education activities or participate in rural cultural work teams, in order to transform thoughts and strengthen the relationship with the masses, and conduct investigation and research of the cultural lives of the masses. All work units are to decide to immediately draw out one third to half of their cadres to go down to the countryside, and ensure that going down to the countryside becomes a regular system.
IV, Organizing cadres to study Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought. Study Chairman Mao’s works, achieve linkage with reality, combine learning with application. Some associations have already set up small study groups for the works of Chairman Mao. Some associations are preparing to organize that their leading cadres are given a short time of leave and are able to choose to study the works of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin as provided by the Centre. Party organization members must regularly and earnestly read and research Central documents and instructions.
V, Reorganizing leading organs, completing leadership cores. All Party organizations must be adjusted and substantiated, unsuitable members shall be removed from their positions. Strengthen organs’ political and ideological work. The Federation of Cultural Circles system is to prepare for the establishment of branch Party Committees, to uniformly manage the Party work, ideological and political work of all associations. Prepare to transfer some cadres from the teams to substantiate the leading forces of the Federation of Cultural Circles and all associations. Promote a number of young and able cadres with good politics and work styles to go into leading organs. Clean up teams, progressively remove all unsuitable or idle personnel.
We believe that the Federation of Cultural Circles and all associations have done not a little work, and there are achievements; but the problems that exist are very grave. This work style adjustment relatively deeply investigates the afflictions and mistakes in work, ideology and work styles, it has had results, all measures that they have put forward are also good. But this is only the beginning of a transformation, for there to be deep change, it is still necessary to exert onerous efforts. Although we had some earlier sense of the problems existing in the Federation of Cultural Circles and all association, we have never adopted effective measures to resolve them. In the future, we must strengthen supervision and inspection of them, help them to earnestly improve work, and must ensure that the Federation of Cultural Circles and all association truly become revolutionary fighting work units, become the powerful assistants of the Party, and do not become troupes of freedom, carelessness and sloppiness.
Please provide instructions on the suitability of the above report.
Central Propaganda Department
8 May 1964