Develop Socialist Democracy, Complete the Socialist Rule of Law

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Peng Zhen
22 July 1982

I have come to attend this meeting, in order to congratulate the establishment of the Law Society of China. Old Yang (Comrade Yang Xiufeng) wants me to speak, what should I speak about?

I, I hope that the Law Society, as Old Yang said, persists in the Four Cardinal Principles and contributes to the development of Socialist democracy as well as the completion of the Socialist legal system.

Persisting in the Four Cardinal Principles is not a problem in words, but in fact, not everyone understands matters in a consistent way. Are the Four Cardinal Principles only a theory, are they only one of the “hundred schools contending”? They are not, the Four Cardinal principles have been put forward by the CCP Central Committee, but they are no baseless imaginings, they are the summary of the experiences of our country in the 20th Century, they are the basic principles that our country’s history has summarized itself, and a are a truth tested in social practice. I won’t talk about faraway things, since the 20th Century, China has seen at least four great, earth-shattering events. The first was the Xinhai Revolution, led by Sun Yat-sen, which overthrew the feudal imperial system and established the Republic of China. But the fruits of the revolution were usurped by reactionary forces. The second event was the overthrow of the three large mountains [Note: imperialism, feudalism and bureaucratic capitalism] that pushed down the heads of the Chinese people, and the establishment of the People’s Republic of China. Who led this event to completion? The bourgeoisie? The enlightened gentry? Or some other hero? None of those. It was under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party with Comrade Mao Zedong at the head, it was the working class that led the people in the entire country to obtain this. The third was the abolition of the exploiting system. In the early days after the foundation of the nation, bureaucratic capital was confiscated, which disposed of 80% of capitalism. Through land reform, the feudal exploiting system was abolished. The Three Great Socialist Transformations of the ownership of the means of production abolished the exploiting system in which people ate people for millennia. The fourth event was the establishment of an independent, relatively complete and Socialist industrial basis and national economic structure. Before liberation, our country was agricultural, it was a place where raw materials were produced for colonialist and imperialist countries, and a sales market for capitalist goods. At that time, it couldn’t even produce on car, it only produced 200.000 tonnes of oil and only 40-something million tonnes of coal, it could not produce accurate, large machine tools, just this was the industrial basis at that time. Regardless of how many complications we underwent in just over thirty years, now we not only can produce cars and aircraft, we have also produced guided missiles and nuclear weapons. Now, our annual production of oil is 100 million tonnes, 600 million tonnes of coal, and more than 2,8 million machine tools of a relatively complete variety, this is not a little in comparison with various countries worldwide. The fruit of our more than thirty years of arduous struggle is that we now have a firm industrial basis with which we can equip ourselves. This great event is not some proposition of an academic school, but an iron fact. The facts are most convincing and most persuasive. History and practice demonstrate that we must persist in the Four Cardinal Principles. If it would not persist in the Four Cardinal Principles, where would China go? By persisting in the Four Cardinal Principles, our path will be promising and firm, the further we march, the wider it will become, regardless of whichever difficulty we encounter, we will certainly be able to overcome it, and will certainly be able to realize the Four Modernization of Socialism.

Old Yang said that we must contribute to carrying Socialist democracy forward and completing the Socialist legal system. Carrying Socialist democracy forward naturally does not mean capitalist democracy; completing the Socialist legal system naturally does not mean building a capitalist legal system; and it certainly is not that legalist stuff. Legalism and Confucianism are all feudal. What we must have is a Chinese Socialist legal system. What is Socialism? The abolition of the feudal system, the establishment of the Socialist public ownership system, the implementation of allocation according to labour, the implementation of the planned economy and the construction of a Socialist spiritual civilization. The abolition of the exploiting system is a fundamental symbol. Naturally, economic crimes still take place in our country, there still is covert exploitation, smuggling, corruption bribe-taking and all sorts of economic crimes are in essence covert forms of exploitation, but our country’s exploiting system has been abolished. In our country, smuggling, corruption and taking bribes are criminal acts in our country, they are not economic systems.

The main work of the Law Society is persisting in the Four Cardinal Principles, and contributing to the development of Socialist democracy and the completion of the Socialist legal system.

II, Theory must link up with reality. What good are social science and legal scholarship if they don’t link up with reality? As long as personal hobbies are harmless for the people, anything can be researched. But the research work of the Law Society must link up with reality? What is linking up with reality? It means starting from the real situation of China, summarizing our own experiences and lessons, and finding the development rules of China’s own society. At the same time, these must also be used in reality.

Is research work now linked to reality? Not necessarily. Some of it starts from Greece or Rome, some starts from viewpoints from the European Renaissance era and the Enlightenment era, starts from books, or starts from concepts. Every country as a national ruling ideology, every person has his own individual ideas, but there is only one objective reality. Social practice is the sole criterion to test truth. Start from reality, use reality to test matters, and it will be easy to distinguish whether individual ideas are correct or not. In this way, there are objective standards, if everyone starts from reality, and everyone uses social practice as a test, it will be easy to unite the thoughts of legal circles.

III, We must draw beneficial experiences and lessons from the past, the present, China and the outside world, this is very important. China is a large country, Yelang thought too highly of itself, it is not good for large countries to think too highly of themselves. In the early days after the foundation of the nation, all of imperialism blockaded our country, what should be done? Closing the doors and cleaning the house, the vestiges of the Three Great Enemies were swept away. It was in that period that we also researched the experiences of various countries worldwide. When the Constitution was formulated in 1954, the Constitutions of all countries worldwide were researched. Now, the situation has changed, we have established diplomatic relations and mutual contacts with more than 120 countries and regions. Research and legal scholarship must absorb the beneficial experiences of the past, the present, China and the outside world. We must not believe that in the millennia when China was a feudal society, there was nothing in legal scholarship. Our ancient laws bring rich experiences, there are many laws from the Spring and Autumn periods and the Warring states era to the Ming and the Qing, but these are merely feudal experiences, they must be researched, their dregs discarded and their useful quintessence absorbed. What good is researching laws from China’s past or foreign countries? Does that mean running after them? It does not. We must “use the past for the present” and “use the foreign for China”, we must serve China’s Socialist democracy and Socialist legal system. What is good for Chinese Socialism is to be absorbed, the dregs and poison must be discarded and criticized. This is different from pragmatism, we have the Four Cardinal Principles as a symbol of the objective laws of historical development. The Law Society must research old, new, Chinese and foreign laws, regardless of whether they are progressive, centrist or reactionary, regardless of whether they stem from slave owners, feudalism, or capitalism, they must all be researched, their useful essence must be selected, and their dregs and poison discarded.

IV, What is legal scholarship? It is the superstructure. It is decided by the economic base, and conversely serves the economic base. Society develops, the economic base develops, and law must develop in their wake. A capitalist society has become a Socialist society, law must also develop following this change. But legal scholarship has its own independent structure and its own logic. Legislation must start from reality, but must also have its own legal system, there can be no mutual contradictions from front to back and from left to right. It cannot be the case that we should rashly draft some law because of a brainwave that there should be some law.

These two seem to be two things. If both would not be consistent, what should be done? In this regard, I’m afraid that the thoughts of legal circles are not completely consistent. Is it law that should submit to reality, or reality that should submit to the law? Who is the mother, who is the child? Reality is the mother. Reality creates law, law and legal theory are the child. Law has its own independent structure, and it has its own logic, but it must start from social reality and be tested through social practice. If law is not suited to reality and the needs of Social development, it must be studied and revised. Legal revision drafts start from reality, this is the summary of more than thirty years of positive and negative experiences in our country, it has also absorbed the experiences of other countries, but also has its own system and logic, these cannot be mutually contradictory. Are matters to be understood in this way? The comrades are requested to consider this.
发展社会主义民主,健全社会主义法制

彭真

1982年7月22日

我来参加会,是为了祝贺中国法学会的成立。杨老(杨秀峰同志)要我讲话,讲什么?

一、希望法学会按杨老讲的,坚持四项基本原则,为发展社会主义民主、健全社会主义法制做出贡献。

坚持四项基本原则,说起来没问题,实际上并不是大家认识都一致的。四项基本原则是不是只是一种学说,只是“百家争鸣”中一家的主张?不是。四项基本原则是中共中央提出的,但它不是凭空的设想,而是我国二十世纪以来历史经验的总结,是我国历史自己总结出来的基本原则,是社会实践检验过的真理。远的不说,二十世纪以来,中国至少发生了四件翻天覆地的大事。第一件,孙中山先生领导辛亥革命,推翻了封建帝制,建立了中华民国。但是,革命成果被反动势力篡夺了。第二件,推翻了压在中国人民头上的三座大山,建立了中华人民共和国。这件事是什么人领导完成的?是资产阶级?开明士绅?还是其他什么英雄?都不是。是在以毛泽东同志为首的中国共产党领导下,是工人阶级领导全国人民取得的。第三件,废除了剥削制度。建国初期,没收了官僚资本,解决了资本主义中的80%。经过土地改革,消灭了封建剥削制度。后来进行生产资料所有制的社会主义三大改造,废除了几千年人吃人的剥削制度。第四件,建立起独立的、比较完整的、社会主义的工业基础和国民经济体系。解放前,我国是农业国,是供应殖民主义、帝国主义国家原料的产地和资本主义商品的销售市场。当时,一辆汽车也不能造,石油只有20多万吨、煤只有四千几百万吨,不能制造精密、大型机床,这就是当时的工业基础。三十几年来,不管我们经过多少曲折,现在不但可以制造汽车、飞机,而且生产了导弹、原子弹。现在年产石油1亿吨、煤6亿吨,有品种比较齐全的280多万台机床,与世界各国比,不算少。这说明什么呢?三十几年来我们艰苦奋斗的结果,有了可以自己装备自己的坚实的工业基础。这几件大事,不是那个学派的什么主张,而是铁的事实。事实最雄辩,最有说服力。历史实践证明,必须坚持四项基本原则。不坚持这四项基本原则,中国向哪里去?!坚持四项基本原则,我们的道路就会是光明的、坚定的,越走越宽广,不管遇到什么困难都一定能克服,就一定能实现社会主义的四个现代化。

杨老说,要对发扬社会主义民主、健全社会主义法制作出贡献。发扬社会主义民主,当然不是资本主义民主;健全社会主义法制,当然不是搞资本主义法制;更不是法家那一套。法家、儒家都是封建的。我们要的是中国的社会主义法制。什么是社会主义?废除剥削制度,建立社会主义公有制,实行按劳分配,实行计划经济,建设社会主义精神文明。废除剥削制度是根本的标志。当然,我国还有经济犯罪,还有变相剥削,走私贩私、贪污受贿和各种经济犯罪实质上都是变相剥削,但在我国剥削制度已经废除了。走私贩私、贪污受贿等,在我们的国家是犯罪行为,不是经济制度。

法学会的工作主要的就是坚持四项基本原则,为发展社会主义民主、健全社会主义法制作出贡献。

二、理论必须联系实际。社会科学和法学不联系实际干什么?个人爱好,只要对人民无害,研究什么都可以。但是,法学会的研究工作应当联系实际。什么是联系实际?就是从中国的实际情况出发,总结自己的经验教训,找出中国自己社会的发展规律。同时,又反过来用于实际。

现在的研究工作是不是都联系实际呢?不见得。有的从希腊、罗马出发,从欧洲的文艺复兴时期和启蒙时期的观点出发,从书本出发,从概念出发。每个国家有每个国家的统治的意识形态,每个人有每个人的想法,但客观实际只有一个。社会实践是检验真理的唯一标准。从实际出发,用实践检验,就容易辨别个人的想法对不对。这样,就有了客观的标准,大家从实际出发,大家用社会实践检验,法学界的思想就容易统一。

三、要吸收古今中外的有益的经验教训,这一点很重要。中国是大国,夜郎不要自大,大国自大也不好。建国初期,所有帝国主义都对我国封锁,怎么办?关起门来打扫屋子,把三大敌人的残余打扫干净。就是在那个时期,我们也研究世界各国的经验。1954年制定宪法时,就研究了世界各国的宪法。现在情况变了,我们同120多国家和地区建立了外交关系,互相往来。研究法学必须吸收古今中外的有益的经验。不要以为中国几千年封建社会,法学上没什么东西。我国古代法有丰富的经验,从春秋战国到明、清,法很多,不过是封建的经验,要加以研究,去其糟粕,吸收有用的精华。研究中国过去的、外国的法干什么?是跟着它跑?不是。要“古为今用”、“洋为中用”,要为中国社会主义民主、社会主义法制服务。对中国社会主义有益的就吸收,对糟粕、毒素要抛弃,要批判。这和实用主义不同,我们有四项基本原则,以历史发展的客观规律为标准。法学会要研究古今中外的法律,不管进步的、中间的、反动的,不管是奴隶主的、封建的、还是资本主义的,都要研究,取其有用的精华,去其糟粕和毒素。

四、法学是什么?是上层建筑。它是由经济基础决定的,又要反过来为经济基础服务。社会发展了,经济基础发展了,法要随着发展。资本主义社会进入社会主义社会,法也要随着变化发展。但法学又有自己独立的体系,自己的逻辑。立法要从实际出发,但也要有自己法的体系,前后、左右不能自相矛盾。不能灵机一动想搞什么法就草率地搞什么法。

这两者好象是两个东西。如果两者不一致怎么办?对此,法学界的思想恐怕也并不完全一致。是法服从实际情况,还是实际情况服从法?谁是母亲,谁是子女?实际是母亲。实际产生法律。法律、法理是儿子。法要有自己的独立的体系,有自己的逻辑,但要从社会实际出发,受社会实践检验。如果法与实际和社会主义发展需要不适应了,就要研究修改。宪法修改草案就是从实际来的,是我国三十几年来正反两方面经验的总结,也吸收了外国的经验,但又有自己的体系和逻辑,不能互相矛盾。是否这样认识?请同志们考虑。

今天,我在中国法学会成立大会上抛一块砖,希望引出你们的玉来。

 

 

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