Speech when Receiving the Capital Martial Law Army Troop-Level or Higher Cadres

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Deng Xiaoping

9 June 1989

Comrades, you’ve worked hard!

First and foremost, I express my deepest condolences with the PLA officers and men, Armed Police officers and men, Public Security and Police comrades who have given up their life heroically in this struggle! I express my intimate sympathies with the thousands of PLA officers and men, Armed Police officers and men, Public Security and Police comrades who have been wounded in this struggle! I extend intimate regards to the LA officers and men, Armed Police officers and men, Public Security and Police comrades who have participated in this struggle!

I suggest that everyone stands up in tribute to the fallen martyrs!

I’d like to take this opportunity to say a few things.

This disturbance had to come sooner or later. This was decided by the international microclimate and the microclimate inside China itself, it absolutely had to come, not because of the fact that the will of the people is shifting, but it merely was an issue of sooner, bigger or smaller. That it came now is relatively advantageous for us. The most advantageous is that we have a large batch of old comrades living and in good health, they have weathered many storms, they understand the relationship of harm and benefit between things, they support the adoption of firm actions against the turmoil. Although some comrades did not understand this for a while, in the end, they will understand this, and will support this decision of the Centre.

The “People’s Daily” op-ed of 26 April described the nature of the problem as turmoil. The two characters composing the word “turmoil” are appropriate, some people opposed the use of these two characters, and what they wanted to change were also these two characters. Practice proves that this judgement was correct. Afterwards, that the state of affairs further developed into a counterrevolutionary riot was also inevitable. We have a batch of old comrades who are still living and in good health, including in the military, and we have a batch of backbones from all eras who participated in the revolution who are still around, because of this, when matters erupted now, it was relatively easy to deal with them. The main difficulty in dealing with this incident was that we have never run into this sort of situation, where a small pinch of evildoers have mingled among such great masses of young students and bystanders, for a while, the front could not be distinguished clearly, making it difficult to take on many of the actions that we should adopt. If we did not have the support of so many of our Party’s old comrades, it would even have been difficult to determine the nature of this incident. Some comrades do not understand the nature of the problems, and believed that this was purely issue of approaching the masses, in fact, the adversary was not just some masses who confuse right and wrong, there were also a batch of rebel factions and large amounts of social scum. They want to overthrow our country and overthrow our Party, this is the essence of the problem. A lack of understanding of this basic issue means that the essence is not clear. I believe that through doing work earnestly, we will be able to obtain the endorsement of the absolute majority of cadres within the Party for this determination and handling it.

Once matters erupted, it was very clear. They had two main basic slogans, one was overthrowing the Communist Party, another was that the Socialist system must be toppled. Their objective was to establish a completely Western-dependent bourgeois republic. The people demand action against corruption, we naturally accept this. if those people having ulterior motives raise the so-called slogan of anti-corruption, we must also accept this as a good word. Naturally, this slogan serves only as a prop for them, and the core for them is overthrowing the Communist Party and toppling the Socialist system.

During the suppression of this riot, so many of our comrades have been wounded, and even sacrificed themselves, their arms have also been stolen, why is this? It is also because good people and bad people have become confused, resulting in the fact that it was difficult to take on some drastic measures that should have been adopted. Dealing with this incident was a grim political trial for our Army, practice proves that our Liberation Army has passed the examination, if tanks had been used to press their way through, it might have created an ignorance of right and wrong around the entire country. Therefore, I must thank the PLA officers and men that they used this attitude to deal with the riots and incidents. Even though the losses makes one feel heartbroken, the may win the people, and make people not clearly knowing right and wrong change their viewpoint. Let everyone see, what kind of people the PLA actually are, have they not washed Tiananmen with blood, and in the end, whose blood was it? This issue is clear, and it made us seize the initiative. Although the sacrifice of many comrades has made people extremely heartbroken, but objectively analysing the process of the incident people cannot but recognize that the PLA is an army made up of the sons and brothers of the people. This also helps in letting the people understand the methods that we have adopted in this struggle, in the future, if the PLA meets with problems and adopts measures, it will gain the support of the people. Here, it is convenient to say that in the future, we cannot let the people take away weapons. In short, this is a test, and the examination has been passed. Although there aren’t many old comrades in the army anymore, and the soldiers are mostly babies of 18, 19 or 20 years old, they are still the true sons and brothers of the people. In the front of mortal danger, they haven’t forgotten the people, they haven’t forgotten the lessons of the people, have not forgotten the interests of the country, and have not flinched in the face of death. They went to die fervently, met their deaths like heroes, they are fully worthy. When I say that they passed the test, it means that the army are still the sons and brothers of the people, they qualify for this characterization. This army still has the tradition of our old red army. What they underwent was truly a political pass, and pass of life and death, it was not easy! This demonstrates that the sons and brothers of the people truly are the iron and steel Great Wall of the Party and the country. This demonstrates that, regardless of however great the damage we sustain is, and no matter how it is renewed and updated, this Army of ours will eternally be an army under the leadership of the Party, will forever be the protector of the country, will forever be the protector of Socialism, and will forever be the protector of the People’s interest, they are the most loveable people! At the same time, we will never forget this: our enemies are so fierce and savage, they deserve not a percept of an apology.

This incident’s eruption merits our thinking, and stimulates us to soberly consider matters for a while, and think about the future. Perhaps, this bad thing may bring us to stabilize and improve our pace in reform and opening up, even to the point that it may increase in speed, it may make us correct or mistakes more rapidly, make us develop our strong points better. Today, I could not discuss this at length, I only raise this point.

The first question: are the line, principles and policies formulated at the 3rd Plenum of the 11th Party congress, including the “trilogy” of our development strategy, correct or not? Is it so that, because this turmoil happened, problems occurred with the correctness of the line, principles and policies that we formulated? Are our objectives “leftist” objectives? Do we still need to continue using them as the objectives of our struggle in the future? These great questions must be clearly and affirmatively answered. Our first and repeated objective has been completed; our second and repeated objective will be completed according to plan within twenty years; another fifty years into the future, we must reach the level of a middle-developed country, a growth rate of two-odd per cent will suffice. This is our strategic objective. To this end, I think that what we made was not a “leftist” judgement, and what we formulated was not an overly extreme objective. Because of this, the answer to the first question should be said to be that the strategic objectives that we formulated can, at least, not be said to have failed now. After sixty-one years, a country of 1.5 billion people will achieve middle-developed country levels, this is an extraordinary matter. Realizing such an objective should be achievable. We cannot say that this strategic objective is mistaken because this incident occurred.

The second question: is the Party’s summary at the 13th Congress of “one centre, two basic points” correct? The two basic points, being the Four Cardinal Principles and reform and opening up, are they mistaken? I have continuously been thinking over this question recently. We have not made mistakes. There are no mistakes in the Four Cardinal Principles themselves, if it is said that there are mistakes, it is that we have insufficiently consistently persisted in the Four Cardinal Principles, and have not made them into a basic ideology to educate the people, educate students and teach the whole body of cadres and Communist Party members. The nature of this incident is the opposition between bourgeois liberalization and the Four Cardinal Principles. The Four Cardinal Principles, ideological and political work, opposing bourgeois liberalization, opposing spiritual pollution, it isn’t that we haven’t talked about it, but we have lacked consistency, we haven’t acted, and we have even talked very little about it. The mistake does not lie with the Four Cardinal Principles themselves, but the mistakes lies in the fact that we have not sufficiently consistently persisted in them, and that education, ideological and political work have been too poor. On New Year’s Day of 1980, I spoke at the CPPCC, and talked about the “Four Guarantees”. One item among them was called “the creative spirit in arduous struggle”. Arduous struggle is our tradition, education on hard work and plain living must be grasped in the future, we must consistently grasp it for sixty to seventy years. The more our country develops, the more we grasp arduous creation. Advocating an arduous creative sprit also helps with overcoming the phenomenon of corruption. Since founding the nation, we have always put the emphasis on arduous creation, in later days, when matters became a bit better, we advocated high consumption, consequently, the phenomenon of waste spread in all areas, adding to this a weakening in ideological and political work, the fact that the legal system is not complete, the phenomena of violation of law and discipline, corruption, etc., they all came out. I said to foreigners that the biggest mistake of the decade was education, here, I mainly talk about ideological and political education, I don’t purely talk about schools and young students, we also lack education for the people. There is little education concerning arduous creation, concerning what kind of country China is, and what kind of country we must change it into. This is a very big mistake of ours.

Is this basic point of reform and opening up mistaken? It is not a mistake. Without reform and opening up, how could there be a today? In this decade, people’s living standards have seen a relatively large rise, it should be said that when we came onto the stage, even though currency inflation and other problems occurred, the results of a decade of reform and opening up must be fully appraised. Naturally, during reform and opening up, it is inevitable that there will be many bad influences from the West that come in, we have never insufficiently estimated this. When establishing the special economic zones in the beginning of the Eighties, I talked with comrades in Guangdong about how we must grasp with two hands, with one hand, we must grasp reform and opening up, and with the other hand, we must strictly grasp attacking economic crime, including grasping ideological and political work. This is dialectical thinking. But when looking back today, it has emerged that efforts were clearly insufficient, one hand was relatively strong, the other hand relatively soft. A strong hand and a soft hand are not balanced, and do not cooperate well. Talking about this point may have some advantages to our formulation of principles and policies in the future. Furthermore, we must continue to persist in the coordination and integration of the planned economy and the market, this cannot change. In real work, during the period of adjustment, we may strengthen either the planning side a bit, or let the market adjust matters a bit more at another time, flexibly managing matters. In the future, we will still integrate the planned economy with market adjustment. The important thing is that we must absolutely may not make China into a closed country. The method of implementing closed policies is not beneficial to us in the slightest, even information does not circulate. Now, I do not talk about the importance of information, but it is, in fact, very important. If the people doing management don’t have information, it is as if their nose is blocked, and their eyes and ears don’t work. Again, we can absolutely not return to the ways of the past, and kill the economy. I put forward this suggestion, and request the Standing Committee to research it. This is also a relatively pressing matter, and an issue that must be fully engaged.

This is a summary of our past ten years. All our basic slogans, from development strategy to principles and policies, including reform and opening up, are correct. To say that this is not enough, means that we have not reformed and opened up sufficiently. The difficulties that we meet during reform are greater in number than the difficulties met during opening up. In the area of political structural reform, there is one point that can be confirmed, which is that we must persist in implementing the People’s Congress system, and we cannot adopt a US-style tripartite separation of power structure. In fact, Western countries also not all implement the system of a tripartite separation of powers. The US scold us for suppressing the students, but in their dealing with domestic campus uprisings and riots, did they also not send the police and the military, did they also not arrest people and shed blood? They suppress students and the people, and we have suppressed a counterrevolutionary riot. Which qualifications do they have to criticize us! In the future, when dealing with this sort of issues, we must pay attention to the fact that we must not allow a riot to spread once it emerges.

What will we do in the future? I say that we must continue to implement the line, principles and policies that we formulated in the past, and unwaveringly continue to implement them. Apart from a few cases where language must be changed, the basic line, basic principles and basic policies do not change. This issue has already been put forward, everyone is requested to earnestly ponder over this. As for some methods, such as investment orientation, funding use orientation, etc., I endorse strengthening primary industries and agriculture. The primary industries are nothing other than the raw and semi finished materials sectors, transportation, energy, etc., we must strengthen investment in these areas, we must persist in rather owing debt and continue to strengthen them over the next ten to twenty years. This is also opening up, in this area, we must be a bit more courageous, there cannot be too big mistakes. Make a bit more electricity, lay a bit more railroads, roads, and shipping, and we will be able do many things. In steel, foreigners have judged that we will need 120 million tonnes in the future, now, we are close to 60 million tonnes, are still down by half. If change occurs in the basis for enterprises now, and we will add 20 million tonnes, we can import less steel. Borrow a bit of foreign capital and use it in these areas, this is also called reform and opening up. The problem at the moment isn’t whether or not the policy of reform and opening up is correct or not, and whether to do it or not, but it is how to do it, which areas are opened up and which areas are closed.

We must unwaveringly persist the lines, principles and policies formulated since the 3rd Plenum of the 11th Party Congress, we must earnestly summarize experiences, the correct ones must be continuously maintained, mistakes must be corrected, what is insufficient must be given a bit more vigour. In short, we must summarize the present and look to the future.

Using this opportunity, this is what I want to say.




















One thought on “Speech when Receiving the Capital Martial Law Army Troop-Level or Higher Cadres

    […] Read the complete speech here: Speech when Receiving the Capital Martial Law Army Troop-Level or Higher Cadres […]

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