Congratulatory Speech at the 4th Representative Conference of China Literature and Art Workers

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(30 October 1979)

Deng Xiaoping

All representatives, all comrades:

Today, representatives of literators, dramatists, artists, musicians, perform artists, film workers and all other literature and art workers from all ethnicities in our country are happily gathered under one roof, to jointly summarize the basic experiences of literature and art work over the past three decades, carry forward achievements, overcome flaws, and discuss how to let the literature and art undertaking flourish in a new historical period, this is a matter of important historical significance. I represent the CCP Central Committee and the State Council in expressing warm congratulations to the Conference!

Among those participating in this Conference, there are older generation literators and artists who participated in the New Culture Movement of the “May Fourth” era; there are literators and artists who, after “May Fourth”, during the different stages of our country’s revolution, made contributions to the undertaking of liberating the people; there are literators and artists who grew up after the foundation of the nation; and there are literators and artists who emerged from the struggle with Lin Biao and the “Gang of Four”. Among those participating in this Conference, there are also literators and artists who are Taiwan compatriots, Hong Kong and Macau compatriots. This Conference symbolizes an unprecedented unity of nationwide literature and art workers.

In the 17 years before the Cultural Revolution, our basic literature and art line was correct, and the achievements of literature and art workers were striking. The so-called “black line dictatorship” was utter slander from Lin Biao and the “Gang of Four”. In the ten years when Lin Biao and the “Gang of Four” ran amok and brought chaos, a large batch of excellent works were banned, and the broad literature and art workers were framed and persecuted. During that period, many comrades and friends in the literature and art circles conducted resistance and struggle with awe-inspiring righteousness. In the struggle of the Party and the people to vanquish Lin Biao and the “Gang of Four”, literature and art workers made admirable and indelible contributions. Here, I would like to convey my warmest sympathies to everyone.

After smashing the “Gang of Four”, under the leadership of the Party Centre, literature and art circles began to and are currently implementing intellectual policies, a large batch of works that were loved by the people earlier meet the with the people again. Literature and art workers are free from anxiety, and their creative enthusiasm is surging. Within a short few years, through exposing and criticizing the crimes and fallacies of Lin Biao and the “Gang of Four”, many excellent novels, songs, plays, films, quyi, reportages as well as musical, dance, photographic and fine art works have already emerged. These works have had a positive function in smashing the mental shackles put up by Lin Biao and the “Gang of Four”, erasing their poisonous influence, liberating thoughts, inspiring spirits, encouraging the people to be of one heart and one mind, and advance towards the Four Modernizations. Looking back at three years of work, I believe that literature and art circles are one of the most successful areas. Literature and art workers should receive the trust, love and respect of the Party and the people. The severe test of struggle, wind and rain verifies that, generally speaking, our literature and art teams are good. With such literature and art teams, our Party and people feel extremely happy.

Representatives, comrades!

Our country has entered a new period of Socialist modernization construction. We must, at the same time as substantially raising social productive forces, reform and perfect Socialism’s economic structure and political structure, and develop a high-level Socialist democracy and a complete Socialist legal system. We must, at the same time as establishing a high-level material civilization, raise the scientific and cultural levels of the entire nation, develop a noble, rich and colourful cultural life and construct a high-level Socialist spiritual civilization.

Realizing the Four Modernizations with one heart and one mind is the central task overwhelming all other things for the people in the entire country, for a considerable length of time ahead, and it is the great cause of a millennium that determines the destiny of the Motherland. The masses and cadres on all fronts must all become promoters of liberating thoughts, promoters of stability and unity, promoters of safeguarding the unity of the motherland, and promoters for the realization of the Four Modernizations. Whether something is beneficial or harmful to realizing the Four Modernizations shall become the most fundamental standard for right and wrong in evaluating all work. Literature and art workers must cooperate with educational workers, theoretical workers, news workers, political workers and other related comrades, to conduct a long-term effective struggle with all ideologies and customs obstructing the Four Modernizations in the ideological area. They must criticize the influence of the conservative narrow-mindedness of the exploiting class and the bourgeoisie, criticize anarchism and extreme individualism, and overcome bureaucratism. They must restore and carry forward the revolutionary traditions of our Party and people, foster and establish excellent morals and customs, and make positive contributions to constructing a Socialist spiritual civilization with a high level of development.

In this nobler undertaking, the realm for literature and art development is extremely broad. In satisfying the people’s diverse spiritual life needs, in fostering new Socialist people, in raising the ideological, cultural and moral levels of the entire society, literature and art work bears an important responsibility that other departments cannot substitute.

Our literature and art belongs to the people. Our people are industrious and courageous, they are dauntless, wise and idealistic, they love the motherland, they love Socialism, they look at the whole picture and observe discipline. Over millennia, and especially in the half century after the May Fourth movement, they have been full of confidence, worked diligently in spite of difficulties, eliminated all obstructions, and wrote brilliant poems in our country’s history one after another. No strong enemy has overpowered them. No grave difficulty has hindered them. Literature and art creation must fully represent the excellent quality of our people, and praise the magnificent victories of the people in the revolution and construction, and in the struggles with all kinds of enemies and all kinds of difficulties.

Our literature and art shall spend even greater efforts and obtain even richer results in describing and fostering new Socialist people. It must mould the creators of the Four Modernizations, reflect the sort new image of the revolutionary ideals and scientific attitudes they have, the noble sentiments and creative ability they have, and the broad vision and spirit of seeking truth that they have. They must, through the image of these new people, stimulate the Socialist vigour of the broad masses, and push them to engage in historical creative activities to construct the Four Modernizations.

Our Socialist literature and art must, through artistic imageries that has flesh and blood, that is vivid and moving, truly reflect the wealth of social life, reflect the essence of people in all sorts of social relationships, display the requirements of advancing through the times and the tendencies of historical development, and strive to use Socialist ideology to educate the people, and give them a vigorous and enterprising spirit to go all out and make the country strong.

Our country’s history is long, its territory is vast, is population is massive, people from different ethnicities, different professions, different ages, different experiences and different levels of educations have diverse living habits, cultural traditions and artistic interests. Whether something is imposing or intricate, serious or humorous, emotional or philosophical, as long as it can make the people find education and enlightenment, gain entertainment and beautiful enjoyment, it shall find its own place in our literature and art garden. The outstanding achievements of heroic characters and the labour, struggle and vicissitudes of life of common people, the lives of contemporary people and the lives of the ancients, should all be reflected in literature and art. All progressive and excellent things from our country’s ancient and foreign literature and art works and performing arts should be learned from and studied.

We must continue to persist in the orientation put forward by Comrade Mao Zedong, that literature and art serves the broadest popular masses, and serves workers, peasants, soldiers first of all, persist in the principles of letting a hundred flowers bloom, push out the old and bring in the new, use foreign things for China’s purpose, use old things for the purpose of the present, advocate the free development of different forms and styles in artistic creation, and advocate the free discussion between different viewpoints and schools in artistic theory. Lenin said that in the literary undertaking, “it is absolutely necessary to guarantee a broad space for individual creativity and individual hobbies, and that there is a broad space for thoughts and fantasies, forms and content”. Revolving around the common objective of realizing the Four Modernizations, the path of literature and art must become ever broader, under the guidance of correct creation ideology, literature and art themes and forms of expression must become more rich and varied every day, and be audaciously innovated. We must prevent and overcome monotonous dullness, mechanical and standardized formulaic or conceptual tendencies.

With regards to the literature and art workers who are responsible to the people, they must unswervingly face the broad masses, keep improving artistically, avoid doing things roughly or badly, earnestly and seriously consider the social effect of their works, and strive to contribute the best spiritual nourishment to the people. In the past, Lin Biao and the “Gang of Four” used reactionary and corrupt exploiting class ideologies to corrupt people’s souls, poison the social atmosphere, and bring our revolutionary traditions and fine customs to meet with extremely great destruction. Our literature and art workers must, through their own creation, raise the spiritual outlook of the people, and continue to engage in persistent struggle with the evil influence of Lin Biao and the “Gang of Four”. With regards to mistaken tendencies coming from either the “left” or the right side, that always want to use all kinds of means to create turmoil, destroy the situation of stability and unity, and violate the interests and desires of the absolute majority of the people, we must maintain a sober mind; we must use literature and art creation, closely cooperate with other work in the ideological area, create a strong public opinion of a scale of the entire society, guide the popular masses to raise consciousness, understand the danger of these trends, unite, resist, denounce and oppose these mistaken tendencies.

Literature and art workers must strive to study Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought, and raise their own capacity to understand life, analyse life and penetrate through phenomena to grasp the essence of things. We hope that among literature and art workers, there are increasingly many comrades who become “engineers of the soul” worthy of that title. If they are to educate the people, they must first receive education themselves. If they are to bring nourishment to people, they must first receive nourishment themselves. Who will educate literature and art workers and give them nourishment? The Marxist answer can only be: the people. The people are the mothers of literature and art workers. The artistic lives of all progressive literature and art workers lie in their flesh-and-blood relationship with the people. Forgetting, neglecting or cutting off this relationship will mean that their artistic lives will whither. The people need art, but art needs the people even more. Consciously drawing themes, topics, plots, language, poetic sentiments and images from the people’s lives, and using the people’s rousing spirits to create history to nurture itself, are the basic ways by which our Socialist literature and art undertaking flourishes and grows. We are absolutely convinced that our literature and art workers will incessantly progress along this path.

Literature and art workers must also incessantly enrich and raise their own artistic expression ability. All literature and art workers shall earnestly study, absorb, digest and develop all good things from old, new, Chinese and foreign artistic skills, and create perfect artistic forms having the style of the nation and the characteristics of the times. Only literature and art workers who defy hardship, study and train hard, and dare to explore can scale the peak of art.

We heartily wish that literature and art teams become even more united and strong. Both specialist and after-hours literature and art workers, all Socialist and patriotic literature and art workers and all literature and art workers who safeguard the unity of the motherland must help each other and learn from each other even better, concentrate all of their energy on the creation of literature and art, research or comment. The ideological achievements and artistic achievements of literature and art works shall be evaluated by the people. Modestly listening the criticism from all sides, and receiving beneficial opinions often are drivers for artists to incessantly progress and incessantly improve. Within literature and art teams, between all kinds and all schools of literature and art workers, between the comrades engaging in creation and those engaging in literature and art criticism, between literators and artists, and the broad readers, comradely and friendly discussion must be advocated, and it must be advocated that facts are stated clearly, and reason is stressed. Criticism is permitted, countercriticism is permitted; we must persist in truth and correct mistakes.

The old generation of literature and art workers have an important responsibility in discovering and fostering young literature and art workers. Young literature and art workers are in their prime, their thinking is sharp, they are the future of our literature and art undertaking. They shall enthusiastically help and strictly demand matters of them, to ensure that they don’t become separated from real life, and are able to incessantly progress ideologically and artistically. Middle-age literature and art workers are the backbone forces of our literature and art teams, and must fully give rein to their function.

We must pay extreme regard to the fostering of literature and art talents. In a large country of more than 900 million people, outstanding literators and artists are, as a matter of fact, too few in number. This situation does not correspond with our times. We must not only start from ideology, but must also create the necessary conditions that benefit the emergence and growth of outstanding talents in work and institutional terms.

All levels’ Party Committees must lead literature and art work well. The Party’s leadership over literature and art work does not mean issuing orders and ordering people about, it does not require literature and art to be subordinate to temporary, concrete or direct political tasks, but it means helping literature and art workers in gaining conditions to incessantly let the literature and art undertaking flourish, raise literature and art levels, and create excellent literature and art works and performance art achievements that are worthy our magnificent people and our magnificent times, on the basis of the characteristics and development laws of literature and art. At present, we must focus on assisting literature and art workers to continue to liberate thoughts, smash the spiritual shackles created by Lin Biao and the “Gang of Four”, persist in the correct political orientation, and guarantee that literature and art workers can give full rein to their intelligence and talent from every angle, including material conditions. We advocate that leaders exchange opinions with literature and art workers on an equal level; Party members who are writers shall be exemplary models with their own creative achievements, unite and attract the broad literature and art workers to advance together. The yamen work style must be abandoned. Administrative decrees in the area of literature and art creation and literature and art criticism must be abolished. If we see these things as meaning persisting in the leadership of the Party, the result is that we will only match towards the negative side of things. We must persist in the ideological path of dialectical materialism, analyse both positive and negative experiences from the history of literature and art development over the last three decades, shake of all sorts of regulatory fetters, research new situations and resolve new problems on the basis of our country’s history and the characteristics of the new times. Those absurd methods of Lin Biao and the “Gang of Four” have destroyed the Party’s leadership over literature and art work, and strangled the vitality of literature and art. This sort of complex spiritual labour that literature and art are, fully requires that literators and artists give rein to their individual creative spirit. What to write and how to write it can only be resolved by literators and artists through exploration and taking steps in artistic practice. On this aspect, we must not flagrantly interfere.

All representatives, all comrades!

Comrade Mao Zedong pointed out earlier, when founding the nation: “following the arrival of a high tide of economic construction, it is unavoidable that a high tide of cultural construction must emerge”. Through difficult struggle and overcoming all sorts of difficulties, we have smashed the “Gang of Four” and eliminated the largest obstacle on the road ahead. Now, we can say full of confidence that the emergence of this situation is not far off; the conditions for the true realization of this Marxist policy of letting a hundred flowers bloom and a hundred schools contend, are also becoming more mature every day. The new stage of country’s literature and art’s vigorous flourishing and contending in beauty and clamour, will present the industry and labour of the broad cultural workers to our faces.

This Conference is the first grand meeting of literature and art workers nationwide in the new Long March. The comrades have brought their abundant achievements to this Conference. I am convinced that after the Conference, the Comrades certainly will be able to bring out ever more and ever better artistic achievements and present them to the Motherland and the people.

I sincerely wish the Conference all success!




One thought on “Congratulatory Speech at the 4th Representative Conference of China Literature and Art Workers

    Latest Updates | China Copyright and Media said:
    October 12, 2013 at 8:07 am

    […] Congratulatory Speech at the 4th Representative Conference of China Literature and Art Workers (Deng Xiaoping, 1979) […]

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