The Present Circumstances and Tasks (Excerpts)

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This was the first major speech that Deng Xiaoping gave after becoming paramount leader of China late in 1979. It outlined his policy objective for the next decade, and clarified his vision on a number of major issues related to economic and political reform. Here, the excerpts related to criticism, art and public communication are collected.

16 January 1980

 

Communist Party members, Party Cadres and especially high-level cadres, must have a firm position and clearly show their colours in this struggle against all sorts of criminals. It is absolutely not permitted to propagate whatever freedom of expression or publication, and freedom of association and to form organizations that includes anti-revolutionaries; it is absolutely not permitted that any person gets into contact with these people with their back towards the party. What is said here, refers to that sort of relationship with an attitude of embracing and sympathizing with them, as for relationships that only occur for some comrades’ work, naturally does not fall under this. That sort of relationship with an attitude of embracing and sympathizing with them, certainly exists. For example, there are some secret magazines that are printed so prettily, where does the paper come from? Which print shop printed it? These people certainly do not have printing shops. Are their not Communist Party members within the print ships printing these things? Among those supporting the activities of these people, there are some that are Communist Party members, and there are even not a few cadres. It must be made clear with these Party members that their position is extremely mistaken and extremely dangerous, if they do not immediately and thoroughly rectify, they must be given Party discipline punishment. Generally speaking, on the problem of struggling with anti-revolutionaries, saboteurs and all sorts of criminals, the attitude of all levels’ Party organizations, up to every branch, must be extremely firm, there cannot be any vacillation, or vague and woolly expressions.

 

[…]

 

In order to realize stability and consolidation, comrades in propaganda, education, theoretical and literature and art departments, must jointly make efforts from all aspects. There is no doubt that work in these aspects has been done well, and that it may have an extremely large function in guaranteeing, safeguarding and developing a stable and unified political picture. But if there have been large deviations, they may also foment the development of factors leading to social instability. We hope that newspapers and periodicals conduct even more ideological and theoretical explanation of the necessity of stability and unity, that is to say, they must forcefully propagate the superiority of Socialism, propagate the huge achievements and limitless prospects of a Socialist China, and propagate that fighting for the future of a Socialist China is the most sublime fate and honour at this time. In short, we must make our Party’s newspapers and periodicals become ideological centres for the entire country’s stability and unity. Newspapers, radio and television must all make stimulating stability and unity, and raising the Socialist awareness of youth into a constant and basic task for themselves. Newspapers, radio and television have made great achievements in the last three years, and generally speaking are good, but there also some insufficient points. Comrades working in these departments must also regularly and attentively listen to different opinions coming from all sides, analyse and improve their own work. The literature and art world has just held a literary representative meeting, we say that we must not flagrantly interfere with what to write and how to write it, this would be making the duties of literature and art workers and the requirements concerning their own work heavier. We persist in the policy of the “Two Hundreds” and the “Three Noes”, and do not continuously raise slogans like culture is subordinate to politics, because this slogan easily becomes a theoretical basis to flagrantly interfere with literature and art, and a long period of practice has proven that it harms more than it benefits literature and art development. But, this is naturally not to say that literature and art may deviate from politics. Literature and art cannot be separated from politics. No progressive and revolutionary literature and art worker cannot consider the social influence of their works, and cannot consider the interest of the people, the interest of the country, and the interest of the Party. Fostering new Socialist people is politics. New Socialist people naturally must strive to go and realize the interest of the people, defend the honour of the Socialist motherland, and heroically devote themselves to the future of the Socialist motherland. Literature and art work has a very large influence on the ideological tendencies of the people and especially youth, and has a very large influence on social stability and unity. We must kindly hope that all comrades in the literature and art world, as well as comrades engaging in education, news, theoretical work and other ideological work, all regularly and consciously emphasise the larger picture, and untiringly fight to raise the Socialist awareness of the people and the youth.

 

Requiring stability and unity, can this not obstruct letting a hundred flowers bloom? It cannot. We must forever persist in the principle of letting a hundred flowers bloom and a hundred schools contend. But this is not to say that it is permitted for a hundred flowers blooming and a hundred schools contending to not benefit the larger picture of stability and unity. If we say that letting a hundred flowers bloom and a hundred schools content is permitted to ignore stability and unity, then this principle is misunderstood and abused. What we implement is Socialist democracy, it is not capitalist democracy. Therefore, our persisting in stability and unity, and persisting in the Four Cardinal Principles is completely consistent with persisting in the principle of the “Two Hundred”. There are people that say that the 3rd Plenum was releasing, and the Four Cardinal Principles are taking back. This is a complete distortion. Communist Party members absolutely are not able to condone this sort of distortion, and must persist in opposing this sort of distortion. The Four Cardinal Principles require first and foremost to persist in Socialism, how are we able to not persist in Socialism? If we do not persist in Socialism, which stability and unity will there be, and which Socialist Four Modernizations will there be? That the 3rd Plenum requires stability and unity, is to require the conduct of Socialist modernization construction on a stable and united basis. This is the greatest interest of the people in the entire country. The “Two Hundreds” policy naturally must serve this greatest interest, and cannot oppose this greatest interest.

 

Our persisting in the development of democracy and the legal system, is a resolute principle of our Party. But realizing democracy and the legal system, is the same as realizing the Four Modernizations, the method of a “great leap forward cannot be used”, and the method of “freely airing views” cannot be used. That is to say, we absolutely must be measured, and have leadership. Otherwise, it can only foment turmoil, it can only obstruct the Four Modernizations, and it can also only obstruct democracy and the legal system. The “Four Large Freedoms”, meaning speaking out freely, airing views fully, large character posters and large mass debates, are contained in the Constitution. Now, summarizing historical experience, it cannot but be acknowledged that this method of the “Four Large Freedoms”, when considered in their entirety, have never engendered a positive function. We should let the masses have full rights and opportunities to let them express their criticism over the leadership’s responsibilities and their constructive suggestions, but these methods of “airing views freely” clearly is not adapted to achieve this objective. because of this, the Party Centre is preparing to submit a request to the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress and the National People’s Congress to consider to cancel the article in the Constitution concerning the “Four large Freedoms”, on the basis of long-term practice, and on the basis of the opinion of the absolute majority of cadres and the masses.

 

[…]

 

In order to persist in and improve the Party’s leadership, we must strengthen Party discipline. In the period of the Cultural Revolution, Party discipline became lax, and by today, has still not completely recovered, this is also a major reason for why the Party cannot give rein to its due function. Because discipline was correspondingly lax, many Party members were allowed to go their own way, and were permitted to not implement or not completely implement their duties to the Party line, principles and policies, the Party’s decisions and the Party’s regulations. If a party permits that its party members express discourse freely, and operate freely and completely according to their individual decisions, this Party naturally will not be able to have unified ideals, and will not be able to have fighting strength, and it will be impossible to implement Party duties smoothly. Therefore, we must persist in and improve Party leadership, must strictly safeguard Party discipline, and hugely strengthen discipline. Individuals must submit to the organization, the minority must submit to the majority, lower levels must submit to higher levels, and the entire Party must submit to the Centre. We must strictly implement these matters. Otherwise, we will not be able to become a fighting collective, and will also not be capable to be the vanguard.

 

Here, I want to say that in these matters, the most important is that the entire Party must submit to the Centre. When the Centre made mistakes, these were rectified by the Centre itself long ago, and no person is permitted to use this as an excuse to resist the leadership of the Centre. Only when the entire Party strictly submits to the Centre, will the Party be able to lead the entire body of Party members and the people of the entire country in realizing the great task and fight of realizing modernization. Any person, if they gravely destroy this matter, must be subject to strict disciplinary punishment by all levels’ Party organizations and all levels’ discipline inspection committees, because this is where the highest interest of the Party is found, and is also where the highest interest of the people of the entire country is found. We must persist in carrying forward Party democracy and guarantee Party democracy. Where Party members have opinions concerning Party decisions, they may express them through the organizations, they may maintain their own opinions, and they may also directly raise their own opinions with the Centre through the organization. Starting from the Centre, all levels’ Party organizations must earnestly consider these opinions. But, things decided by the Centre, or things decided by Party organizations, as long as they have not been changed, must be submitted to, and opinions must be expressed according to the party decision, it is not permitted to disseminate opinions of no trusting, not being satisfied with or opposing the Party Centre’s line, principles and policies. Party newspapers and Party periodicals must certainly unconditionally propagate the Party’s stance. Party members naturally have the right to criticize shortcomings and mistakes in Party work, but this sort of criticism should be constructive criticism and should raise positive improvement opinions. Is this not to say that some question here or there may be discussed? They may be discussed, but, within which scope they are discussed and in which way they are discussed, must conform to Party principles, and obey Party decisions. Otherwise, if everyone does what they please, and does not implement the Central principles, policies and decisions in their actions, the Party will become lax, there will be no unity, and it will be impossible to have fighting power. Because of this, we must firmly eliminate anarchist ideological trends that have been brought into the Party by the “Gang of Four” as well as bourgeois liberalist ideological trends of every shade and description that newly emerge within the Party. Only if we determinedly guarantee the unity and fighting strength of the Party, will it be possible to complete all our tasks that we put forward today.

 

目前的形势和任务

 

共产党员,党的干部,尤其是高级干部,在这场反对各种犯罪分子的斗争中必须立场坚定,旗帜鲜明。绝不允许宣传什么包括反革命分子在内的言论出版自由、集会结社自由;绝不允许任何人背着党同这些人发生联系。这里所说的,是指对他们抱同情态度的那种联系,至于有的同志是为做他们的工作才去发生的联系,当然不在此列。对他们抱同情态度的那种联系,的确是有的。举例说,有些秘密刊物印得那么漂亮,哪儿来的纸?哪个印刷厂印的?他们那些人总没有印刷厂吧。印这些东西的印刷厂里边有没有共产党员?支持那些人活动的有一些就是共产党员,甚至于还是不小的干部。对这些党员要讲清楚,他们的立场是非常错误、非常危险的,如果不立即彻底改正,就必须受到党的纪律处分。总之,在对反革命分子、破坏分子和各种犯罪分子作斗争的问题上,各级党组织直到每个支部的态度都要十分坚定,不能有任何游移不定、含糊不清的表现。

 

[…]

 

为了实现安定固结,宣传、教育、理论、文艺部门的同志们,要从各方面来共同努力。毫无疑问,这些方面的工作搞好了,可以在保障、维护和发展安定团结的政治局面方面起非常大的作用。但是如果出了大的偏差,也可以助长不安定因素的发展。我们希望报刊上对安定团结的必要性进行更多的思想理论上的解释,这就是说,要大力宣传社会主义的优越性,宣传马克思列宁主义、毛泽东思想的正确性,宣传党的领导、党和人民群众团结一致的威力,宣传社会主义中国的巨大成就和无限前途,宣传为社会主义中国的前途而奋斗是当代青年的最崇高的使命和荣誉。总之,要使我们党的报刊成为全国安定团结的思想上的中心。报刊、广播,电视都要把促进安定团结,提高青年的社会主义觉悟,作为自己的一项经常性的、基本的任务。报刊、广播、电视三年来都有很大的成绩,总的来说是好的,但是也有不足之处。在这些部门工作的同志,也需要经常倾听来自各方面的不同意见,分析和改进自己的工作。文艺界刚开了文代会,我们讲,对写什么,怎么写,不要横加干涉,这就加重了文艺工作者的责任和对自已工作的要求。我们坚持“双百”方针和“三不主义”,不继续提文艺从属于政治这样的口号,因为这个口号容易成为对文艺横加干涉的理论根据,长期的实践证明它对文艺的发展利少害多。但是,这当然不是说文艺可以脱离政治。文艺是不可能脱离政治的。任何进步的、革命的文艺工作者都不能不考虑作品的社会影响,不能不考虑人民的利益、国家的利益、党的利益。培养社会主义新人就是政治。社会主义新人当然要努力去实现人民的利益,捍卫社会主义祖国的荣誉,为社会主义祖国的前途而英勇献身。文艺工作对人民特别是青年的思想倾向有很大影响,对社会的安定团结有很大影响。我们衷心地希望,文艺界所有的同志,以及从事教育、新闻、理论工作和其他意识形态工作的同志,都经常地、自觉地以大局为重,为提高人民和青年的社会主义觉悟奋斗不懈。

 

要求安定团结,是不是会妨碍百花齐放呢?不会。我们要永远坚持百花齐放、百家争鸣的方针。但是,这不是说百花齐放、百家争鸣可以不利于安定团结的大局。如果说百花齐放、百家争鸣可以不顾安定团结,那就是对于这个方针的误解和滥用。我们实行的是社会主义民主,不是资本主义民主。所以,我们坚持安定团结,坚持四项基本原则,同坚持“双百”方针,是完全一致的。有人说,三中全会是放,四项基本原则是收。这完全是歪曲。共产党员决不能够容忍这种歪曲,而且必须坚决反对这种歪曲。四项基本原则首先要求坚持社会主义,难道我们能够不坚持社会主义吗?不坚持社会主义,还有什么安定团结,还有什么社会主义的四个现代化?三中全会就要求安定团结,就要求在安定团结的基础上进行社会主义现代化建设。这是全国人民的最大利益。“双百”方针当然要为这个最大利益服务,而决不能反对这个最大利益。

 

我们坚持发展民主和法制,这是我们党的坚定不移的方针。但是实现民主和法制,同实现四个现代化一样,不能用“大跃进”的做法,不能用“大鸣大放”的做法。就是说,一定要有步骤,有领导。否则,只能助长动乱,只能妨碍四个现代化,也只能妨碍民主和法制。“四大”,即大鸣、大放、大字报、大辩论,这是载在宪法上的。现在把历史的经验总结一下,不能不承认,这个“四大”的做法,作为一个整体来看,从来没有产生积极的作用。应该让群众有充分的权利和机会,表达他们对领导的负责的批评和积极的建议,但是“大鸣大放”这些做法显然不适宜于达到这个目的。因此,完法有关“四大”的条文,根据长期实践,根据大多数干部和群众的意见,党中央准备提请人大常委会和全国人大审议,把它取消。

 

[…]

 

为了坚持和改善党的领导,必须加强党的纪律。文化大革命期间,党的纪律废弛了,至今还没有完全恢复,这也是党不能发挥应有作用的一个重要原因。由于纪律相当废弛,许多党员可以自行其是,对党的路线、方针、政策,党的决定,党规定的任务,可以不执行或不完全执行。一个党如果允许它的党员完全按个人的意愿自由发表言论,自由行动,这个党当然就不可能有统一的意志,不可能有战斗力,党的任务就不可能顺利实现。所以,要坚持和改善党的领导,必须严格地维护党的纪律,极大地加强纪律性。个人必须服从组织,少数必须服从多数,下级必须服从上级,全党必须服从中央。必须严格执行这几条。否则,形成不了一个战斗的集体,也就没有资格当先锋队。

 

这里我要说,这几条里面,最重要的就是全党服从中央。中央犯过错误,这早已由中央自己纠正了,任何人都不允许以此为借口来抵制中央的领导。只有全党严格服从中央,党才能够领导全体党员和全国人民为实现现代化的伟大任务而战斗。任何人如果严重破坏这一条,各级党组织和各级纪律检查委员会就必须对他严格执行纪律处分,因为这是党的最高利益所在,也是全国人民的最高利益所在。我们要坚决发扬党的民主,保障党的民主。党员对于党的决定有意见,可以通过组织发表,可以保留自已的意见,可以通过组织也可以直接向中央提出自己的意见。从中央起,各级党组织都要认真考虑这些意见。但是,中央决定了的东西,党的组织决定了的东西,在没有改变以前,必须服从,必须按照党的决定发表意见,不允许对党中央的路线、方针、政策任意散布不信任、不满和反对的意见。党报党刊一定要无条件地宣传党的主张。对党的工作中的缺点和错误,党员当然有权利进行批评,但是这种批评应该是建设性的批评,应该提出积极的改进意见。现在不是讲什么这样那样的问题可以讨论吗?可以讨论,但是,在什么范围讨论,用什么形式讨论,要合乎党的原则,遵守党的决定。否则,如果人人自行其是,不在行动上执行中央的方针政策和决定,党就要涣散,就不可能统一,不可能有战斗力。因此,必须坚决肃清由“四人帮”带到党内来的无政府主义思潮以及在党内新出现的形形色色的资产阶级自由主义思潮。只有坚决保证党的统一和战斗力,才能完成我们今天所提出的各项任务。

One thought on “The Present Circumstances and Tasks (Excerpts)

    “In order to re… | Ethos Enquiry said:
    August 28, 2013 at 3:39 pm

    […] “The Present Circumstances and Tasks” made on the 16 January 1980. In the words of the China Copyright and Media blog, “It outlined his policy objective for the next decade, and clarified his vision on a […]

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