Liu Yunshan: Some Points of Understanding concerning Criticism and Self-Criticism

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Originally published by Xinhua on 9 September

Since the 18th Party Congress, General Secretary Xi Jinping has repeatedly stressed that we must persist in the fact that the Party manages the Party, and to govern the Party strictly, he clearly put forward that we must straiten intra-Party political life, and use the sharp weapon of criticism and self-criticism well. Under new historical conditions, the reason why criticism and self-criticism is prominently stressed, where its practical significance lies, and how to engage in criticism and self-criticism well, all merit our deep consideration. I’d like to use this opportunity to talk about some points of understanding, for the comrades’ reference.

I, Criticism and self-criticism is a fine tradition of our Party

Criticism and self-criticism are the concrete reflection of Marxist epistemology and practice, they are a fundamental principle of intra-Party political life in Marxist parties. Our Party is a Marxist party, and represents fundamental interests of the broadest people, it does not have any private interest of its own, it has never feared criticism and self-criticism, it dares to openly acknowledge and rectify its own flaws and mistakes, and is able to rely on its own strengths to resolve its own shortcomings where they exist. During a long time of practice, the work style of criticism and self-criticism that our Party fostered, has become, together with linking theory and practice and closely linking up with the masses, three great fine work styles that our Party must persist in from beginning to end. Linking theory and practice, closely linking up with the masses, criticism and self criticism have also become the most profound fine tradition of our Parties, and have become our Party’s most energetic “life factors”.

Looking back at the Party’s history, our Party has developed and grown strong through criticism and self-criticism. From the day of its birth, our Party has consciously engaged in criticism and self-criticism, and especially at a number of major historical junctures, it has always dared to take up this weapon to eliminate the influence of all sorts of mistaken ideologies, maintain the correct progressive orientation, and concentrate its mighty forces to advance. After the first GMD-CCP cooperation failed, the “Eight Great Meetings” began to explore the correct path of land reform and armed struggle on the basis of criticising intra-Party rightist mistakes, and only afterwards did the revolutionary high tide of the “red flag fluttering in the Western breeze” emerge. During the Jinggang mountains period, Comrade Mao Zedong conducted firm resistance against and criticism of “leftist” tendencies existing within the Party at that time, and against all sorts of unproletarian thoughts in the Red Army. During the Long March, the Zunyi conference, through serious ideological struggle, reversed the mistakes of “leftism”, which saved the Party at a critical juncture, saved the Red Army and saved the Chinese revolution. The Yan’an Rectification was an even more successful model of using the weapon of criticism and self-criticism, through strict criticism and self-criticism, the influence of subjectivism, factionalism, eight-legged Party writing and other harmful work styles was eliminated. The 7th Party Congress clearly made criticism and self-criticism into a basic method of intra-Party life, and made it into a behavioural norm that Party members and cadres must obey. Through the Yan’an Rectification and the 7th Party Congress, the entire Party became highly consistent ideologically, unprecedentedly united in terms of organization, and laid a firm basis for the magnificent victories in the War of Resistance against Japan and the War of Liberation in terms of politics, ideology, organization and work style.

After the foundation of the New China, our Party continued to persist in and develop the fine tradition of criticism and self-criticism. The Party Rectification Movements of the early Fifties, as well as the subsequent “Seven Thousand People Congress” etc., all used the weapon of criticism and self-criticism relatively well to resolve the ideological and work style problems within the Party at that time. At the 3rd Plenum of the 11th Party Congress, our Party resolutely brought order out of chaos, and again established liberating thoughts and seeking truth from facts as the ideological line, and recovered the fine work styles, including criticism and self criticism, it realized the regularization of intra-Party political life, and thereby started a new journey for the development of the Party’s undertaking. The Party Rectification in the Eighties and the subsequent “Three Stresses” education, the movement to maintain the advancedness of Communist Party members with realizing the important “Three Represents” thought as main content, and the movement to deeply study and practice the scientific development view all implemented the requirements of criticism and self-criticism, unified the thoughts of the entire Party on major theoretical and practical issues, and infused reform, opening up and Socialist modernization construction with a strong vitality.

More than ninety years of Party building experience fully indicate that, at whichever time where the work style of criticism and self-criticism was carried forward well, the wind in the Party was clear and the air proper, the Party’s creativity, cohesion and fighting force strengthened, and the Party’s undertaking developed and thrived. Conversely, at whichever time criticism and self-criticism were abandoned or distorted, flaws and mistakes became difficult to correct, and the Party’s undertaking was gravely harmed and marched a torturous road. It may be said that criticism and self-criticism are our Party’s powerful weapons to incessantly transform itself and upgrade itself, and are powerful weapons to strengthen the Party’s organization and move the development of the undertaking forward. Regardless of which changes occur in the historical position in which the Party finds itself, and whichever changes occur in the environment we face, this fine tradition of criticism and self-criticism cannot be forgotten, the scientific attitude of persisting in truth and rectifying mistakes cannot change, and the determination and courage for self-cleansing, self-perfection, self-renewal and self-improvement cannot be lost.

II, Criticism and self-criticism are important emblems of Party building

What is criticism and self-criticism? Briefly said, it is that Party organizations and Party members individually timely point out and deeply analyse the flaws and mistakes of comrades inside the Party, individual Party members and Party organizations, and conduct positive and healthy ideological struggle on matters of principle. Comrade Mao Zedong said that “whether or not there is earnest self-criticism, is one of the clear symbols of the difference between our Party and other parties”. With this weapon of criticism and self-criticism, we will be able to eradicate harmful work styles and maintain fine work styles. Engaging in criticism and self-criticism is for the sake of “guarding against political dirt and attacks by political microbes”, timely discovering and correcting flaws existing in ourselves, and stimulating the healthy development of the Party organization, and the healthy growing up of Party members and cadres, may be said to be an important emblem of the Party’s strengthening its self-building.

Criticism and self-criticism is the emblem of persisting in truth and correcting mistakes. It is impossible for any organization or individual not to make mistakes, the key is to be able to correct them when they are made, to timely discover mistakes and dare to correct mistakes. If mistakes are made and we are completely unaware ourselves, and do not permit others to point them out, we may march ever farther on the path of mistakes. The reason why our party is great is not because it never made mistakes, but it lies the consciousness of criticism and self-criticism that our Party has, and its ability to correct its own mistakes. Our Party has pursued the truth from beginning to end, it has persisted in what was correct and has corrected what was mistaken. The more the Party engages in positive and healthy criticism and self-criticism, the more it is able to persist in the truth, draw experiences and lessons from mistake, and continue to incessantly progress in the correct direction.

Criticism and self-criticism are the emblems of carrying forward intra-Party democracy and enhancing Party unity. Intra-Party democracy is the life of the Party. Creating democratic and equal comradely relations within the Party, a political atmosphere of democratic discussion and a structural environment of democratic supervision cannot be separated from positive and healthy criticism and self-criticism. Inside our Party, earnestly engaging in criticism and self-criticism, letting different opinions impact with each other and cross swords with each other benefits distinguishing right from wrong in matters of principle, to build consensus in the depths of ideology, and thereby to shape strong forces to move the undertaking and development forward with one heart and one mind. Abandoning criticism and self-criticism, either through “what I say, goes”, a “patriarchal system” or by trying to be on good terms with everyone where “you are good, I am good and everyone is good”, is not true democracy and is not true unity, and it lacks the reflection of the principle of the Party nature, in the end, it only will let us lose our drive to advance bravely and squander our audacity to innovate.

Criticism and self-criticism are the emblems of fulfilling the Party’s purpose and closely linking up with the masses. Serving the people wholeheartedly is the essential purpose of our Party, closely linking up with the masses is the source of strength of our Party. “Because we serve the people, therefore, if we have shortcomings, we do not fear others criticizing them and pointing them out. Regardless of who it is, it is fine whoever points them out to us. As long as what you say is correct, we will correct matters.” Persisting in the good and rectifying mistakes for the sake of the essential interests of the people is where the true essence of our Party’s persisting in criticism and self-criticism lies. Only by modestly listening to the masses’ critical opinions will we be able to formulate principles and policies on the basis of the masses’ expectations, will we be able to accept supervision from the masses even better, clarify successes and failures in governance, and compare these with the masses’ opinions to improve all work. Whether or not there is a spirit of criticism and self-criticism is an important test for the mass viewpoint and the mass sentiment of Party members and cadres.

Criticism and self-criticism are the emblems of implementing Party discipline and safeguarding the Party’s image. Party discipline relates to the Party’s work style and the Party’s image. Abiding by Party discipline relies both on the thoughts and consciousness of individual party members, and is also inseparable from the supervision and reminders from Party organizations, comrades inside the Party and the popular masses. Disaster is born from weakness, vigilance must be preventive. In the area of implementing Party rules and Party discipline, when a Party member or cadre discovers emerging problems of tendentiousness, if there  are people who “pull a sleeve” or give a reminder, it may be possible that these problems are nipped in the bud; when problems have become relatively grave, if there are people who give a loud shout or strike hard, it is possible that this will lead to a sudden awakening or danger may be reined in at the last moment. Facts have told us over and over again that engaging in criticism and self-criticism is a powerful guarantee to safeguard Party discipline and Party rules, abandoning criticism and self-criticism can only result in Party discipline loosening and slackening, and in harm to the image of the Party.

III, Launching criticism and self-criticism is a necessary requirement for persisting in governing the Party strictly under new circumstances, and preserving the Party’s advancedness and purity.

To govern the country, the Party must be governed first, and governing the Party must be strict. Generally speaking, our Party is firm and powerful, and Party member team situations are good, but the problem that they are not adapted or not suited to new circumstances, tasks and demands is extremely prominent, the “Four Great Tests” that the Party faces are long-term, complex and grim, the “Four Kinds of Danger” are sharply put in front of us, strengthening the Party’s self-building tasks are more pressing and more complex than at any time in the past. One important matter in implementing the demands that the Party must manage the Party and the Party must be governed strictly well, is that the fine work style of criticism and self criticism is carried forward, and implemented in the entire process and all aspects of Party building.

Developing a regular and healthy intra-Party life requires strict criticism and self-criticism. It should be recognized that at the moment, generally, intra-Party life is regular and healthy, but problems such as vulgarization of intra-Party life, the instrumentalization of comradely relationships, etc., exist as well. Some do not want to criticize and do not dare to criticize, they want to be “everybody’s friend”; some pursue a behavioural philosophy of “playing it safe and not offending others”, they only grow flowers and do not grow thorns; some do not open their moths in the face of major rights and wrings, they take a detour when running into contradictions, etc. If this develops for a long this, there is a risk that this “sharp weapon” of criticism and self-criticism will be lost, the “sharp weapon” will turn into a “blunt weapon”, the swords are sheathed, they are rusty and full of spots, and harmful tendencies will breed and propagate within the Party. The Party’s organization is one large crucible, Party members should be able to regularly receive education and guidance from the Party organization, receive criticism and assistance from comrades within the Party, and accept that their ideas are subject to ordeal, to remove filth from work styles. To preserve a regular and healthy intra-Party life, we must pick up this weapon of criticism and self-criticism, resist good people-ism and overcome vulgar tendencies.

Strictly managing Party member and cadre teams requires strict criticism and self-criticism. In strictly governing the Party, strictly governing officials is important. To strictly govern the Party, we must implement strict requirements, strict management and strict supervision of Party members and cadres, and strict criticism and self-criticism should have their proper place in the requirements of strictness. We lose through lenience and softness, and one important aspect of this is reflected in the management of Party members and cadres, where it can be clearly seen that problems are not timely pointed out, and symptoms of mistakes that have already been discovered are not criticized, in some cases, they are even wrapped up or covered over. When General Secretary Xi Jinping talked about the five standards for the “good cadre”, he especially stressed “daring to undertake matters”. Daring to undertake means persisting in principles, daring to criticize and daring to struggle with harmful phenomena. To eliminate harmful work styles within the Party, apart from punishing a small number of people who break discipline and the law according to the law, with regards to the absolute majority, we still mainly rely on regular and powerful criticism and effective supervision to timely warn us and prevent emerging and tendentious problems. Only in this way cane we nip evil in the bud and avoid that small mishaps become large problems, this is also a positive help and sincere concern towards Party members and cadres.

Strengthening the cohesion and fighting strength of Party organizations requires strict criticism and self-criticism. Our Party is a large Party, it has more than 85 million Party members and more than 4 million grass-roots Party organizations, on what does it rely to shape strong cohesion and fighting strength? It relies on unified wills and unified steps. Only if we persist in criticism and self-criticism, and timely correct all mistaken ideological understanding and harmful trends of action within Party organizations, can we guarantee that the Party is united as one ideologically, politically and in its actions. In reality, the problems that “the top has policies, the bottom has countermeasures”, decrees are not implemented and prohibitions are not executed still exist, things are talked about in one way, and take place in reality in another way, feigning compliance is also not an exceptional phenomenon. This urgently requires that we take up the weapon of criticism and self-criticism, promote that the entire Party even more firmly and consciously implements the Party’s basic theory, basic line, basic programme, basic experiences and basic requirements, to ensure that the cohesion and fighting strength of all levels’ Party organizations will be greatly increased.

Criticism and self-criticism are difficult to conduct in a number of areas, this has both historical causes and factual causes. From the point of history, the main factor is that in the past, criticism was overdone and radical in a number of political movements, and became mass criticism and mass struggle, which harmed many comrades and still engenders lingering fears in people’s hearts. From the point of factual matter, the main factor is that a number of comrades are hard pressed for favours, tire themselves for their relationships, and are deluded about interests, they lack the courage for criticism and self-criticism. It should be said that, at present, comrades in the entire Party increasingly understand the extreme importance of carrying forward criticism and self-criticism and understand the extreme danger of a lack of criticism and self criticism, everyone generally and enthusiastically looks forward to the carrying forward of this fine tradition of criticism and self-criticism. We must comply with the expectations of the comrades in the entire Party, guide actions according to circumstances, seize opportunities to act, strengthen ideological guidance, provide powerful drivers, and realistically restore the true qualities of the “sharp weapon” of criticism and self-criticism, to bring in a new vitality for Party building and the Party’s undertaking.

IV, Conducting criticism and self-criticism requires selfless courage, a correct attitude and scientific methods

Criticism and self-criticism are a rectification of mistaken thoughts and a correction of mistaken methods, they involve critics, those being criticized, those criticizing themselves, etc. To carry forward the fine tradition of criticism and self-criticism, courage is a precondition, attitudes and methods are very important as well. Only where there is courage can criticism and self-criticism be conducted; only if attitudes are correct and methods are scientific, can good results be achieved.

Conducting criticism and self-criticism must firmly start from a public spirit, and selfless and fearless courage must be established. Criticism and self-criticism means uncovering scars and stabbing at soft sports, without a drop of courage, this cannot be done. Comrade Deng Xiaoping once pointed out that: “we must ourselves have a spirit with a high level of revolutionary enthusiasm and responsibility towards the Party, only then can we be honest and straightforward, only then is there a spirit of “taking of trousers”, and only then can thoughts and work styles be restored”. From the point of facts, the reason why criticism and self-criticism are difficult is because the difficulty lies in misgivings and worries, there is a fear of losing face in self-criticism, a fear that criticizing higher levels will result in them making things hard, a fear that criticizing the same level may hurt friendship, and a fear that criticizing lower levels will result in a loss of votes, in fact, it is selfish considerations that cause trouble. When one is selfless at the bottom of one’s heart, heaven and earth are generous. We must persist in the supremacy of the Party’s undertaking and the supremacy of the people’s interests from beginning to end, establish the courage to dare to persist in principles, and maintain a mood of devotion to the public interest. With regard to the shortcomings and mistakes of oneself and others, those that should be reflected on must be reflected on, those that should be criticized must be criticized, when it is necessary to offend someone, someone must be offended, at the same time, we must have a magnanimous heart, listen to different opinions and tolerate sharp criticism.

To conduct criticism and self-criticism, we must seek truth from facts and ensure that criticism can stand tests. Seeking truth from facts is the most persuasive. Either when criticizing others or engaging in self-criticism, only if one seeks truth from facts, and acts appropriately, will it be possible to completely convince others. Comrade Mao Zedong said that intra-Party criticism must guard against subjective assertions, there must be proof for what one says, subjective criticism or gossip without evidence has often bred unprincipled disputes, destroying regular intra-Party life. When conducting criticism and self-criticism, we must persist in talking on the basis of facts, concretely analysing concrete issues, talking about one thing where there is one thing, talking about two things where there are two, talking about whichever problem is the problem, not exaggerating matters but not reducing them either, not nagging about details but also not overlooking issues of principle, we cannot confound black and white or mix up right or wrong, we can certainly not seize on others’ mistake, pin hats on them or bludgeon them. We must overcome the influence of subjective factors, take of our coloured glasses, abandon prejudice and bias, prevent against dealing with people and things on the basis of individual feelings, advantages or disadvantages, or personal closeness or relationships, to guarantee that criticism conforms to objective reality.

In conducting criticism and self-criticism, we must persist in helping others, and sincerely and wholeheartedly assisting comrades to improve together. Intra-Party criticism should be severe and earnest, at the same time, it should also be sincere and kind-hearted. Only if we persist in such an attitude, can we conduct correct criticism and self-criticism, and will this benefit the unity of comrades. Therefore, we still must persist in the principles of learning from past mistakes to avoid future ones and curing illnesses to save the patient from beginning to end, as our Party has always proposed. That is where absolute sincerity lies, which can make metal and stone crack. As long as we treat people sincerely, communicate thoughts earnestly and honestly, exchange opinions trustfully, give our concern, care and love to our comrades, let other people’s faces glow and their hearts feel warm, we will be ale to win the understanding and trust of the person being criticized. Therefore, we must pay attention to grasp methods for criticism well, integrate open criticism with incidental reminding, integrate stating facts with stressing rationales, both straiten requirements and not demand perfection, both point out problems and putting forward suggestions for correction, to truly achieve the objective of helping comrades, enhancing unity and stimulating work.

V, Persist in Party members and leading cadres taking the lead, shape a strong atmosphere that is beneficial to the conduct of criticism and self-criticism.

This fine tradition of criticism and self-criticism must be truly and incessantly carried forward under new circumstances, it must be carried forward broadly, deeply and lastingly within the entire Party, we must persist in leadership taking the lead and creating good intra-Party environments and social atmospheres, to shape a strong atmosphere that is beneficial to the conduct of criticism and self-criticism.

Persist in Party members and leading cadres acting as models, with number one leaders giving rein to a function of example and driver. Party members and leading cadres are the organizers and promoters of Party work, and are the examples and leaders of the Party nature and the Party’s work style. In intra-Party life, leading cadres set the example and march at the front, common Party members and cadres can follow closely. Especially whether or not number one leaders dare, want to and can engage in criticism and self-criticism has an important influence and driving function on the members of the ranks, Party members and cadres. At present, there really are a number of leading cadres whose work style is overbearing, who cannot listen to different opinions, they are “as tetchy as a tiger’s backside”. Because of this, whether or nit the fine tradition of criticism and self-criticism can be carried forward depends crucially on leading ranks and number one leaders. This requires all levels of our leading cadres take the lead in conducting criticism and self-criticism with a high consciousness of the Party spirit and a spirit of undertaking burdens, dare to conduct criticism of harmful phenomena, and at the same time dare to criticize themselves, frankly and honestly accept the criticism of other persons, and even sharp criticism. Facts prove that the more leading cadres are willing to accept criticism, the more people dare to criticize; the more magnanimously leading cadres are, the more understanding they win, and the more prestige they can receive.

Fully carry democracy forward, encourage different opinions to be exchanged equally. The Party Constitution clearly provides that every Party member, regardless of rank, must participate in the Party’s organizational life and accept supervision by intra-Party comrades, it is not permitted that there are any special Party members who do not participate in organizational life or accept supervision. Looking form reality,  in all places where Party members’ rights are implemented relatively fully, and the democratic atmosphere is relatively strong, criticism and self-criticism are conducted often very well, otherwise, it is difficult to conduct it. We must earnestly implement the provisions of the Party Constitution, implement the principles of democratic centralism, implement the rules guaranteeing the rights of Party members, fully carry intra-Party democracy forward, respect the subjective position of Party members, encourage them to speak true words, speak real words and speak from their heart, it is permitted that different opinions collide and dispute. Especially in relation to important questions and major policy decisions, we must let Party members fully express opinions, and strive to create a vivid and vigorous political landscape that is both centralized and democratic, has both discipline and freedom, which both unites determinations and ensures that individuals can be free of anxiety.

Earnestly implementing and perfecting corresponding structures provides a powerful guarantee to engage in criticism and self-criticism. Engaging in criticism and self-criticism requires both ideological consciousness and structural guarantees. It should be said that, in the area of intra-Party life, including engaging in criticism and self-criticism, we don’t lack institutional rules, for example the rules on Party member and leading cadre democratic life meetings, rules on democratic appraisal of Party members, rules on the periodical analysis of Party members’ Party nature, rules on heart-to-heart talks with Party members, for example rules on openness in Party affairs, rules on reporting intra-Party situations, rules on soliciting opinions in major policy making, etc. These have all provided institutional guarantees for Party members and cadres to understand intra-Party affairs, express opinions and engage in criticism, the crucial matter is that they must be executed and implemented well. At the same time, we must integrate new situations, and perfect institutional rules that benefit criticism and self-criticism. We must fully give rein to the guiding function of selection and appointment of people, we must support and encourage those Party members and cadres who persist in principles and are not afraid of offending others, and acclaim them; those who suppress criticism and retaliate, must be strictly dealt with.

VI, Realistically implement criticism and self-criticism in the mass line education and practice movement.

As soon as this education and practice movement begun, the Centre clearly put forward the necessity to reflect a spirit of rectifying work styles, the spirit of rectifying work styles is the spirit of criticism and self-criticism; it stressed the necessity to earnestly deal with the problem of the “Four Styles”, to perform a one-time large investigation, large overhaul and large clean-up of the evils in work styles and the filth in actions, in the end, it also is necessary to use this sharp weapon of criticism and self-criticism well. It may be said that, as to whether or not this education and practice movement can achieve the expected goals, or whether or not results that gain the satisfaction of the popular masses can be achieved, the importance lies in wither or not this reflects a spirit of work style rectification, guaranteeing that the education and practice movement is not empty, not vacuous, not biased and not a matter of going through the motions.

We must implement well the general requirement of “looking in the mirror, straitening clothes and hats, taking a wash, curing illnesses”. This general requirement of four phrases and twelve characters is a directional requirement for launching the education and practice movement, it is a methodological requirement as well, it is also a requirement of doing the activity well with which kind of work style and which kind of spiritual attitude, and naturally prominently reflects the requirement of launching criticism and self-criticism well. Looking in the mirror means that we must use the Party Constitution as a mirror, compare [ourselves] with Party discipline, the expectations of the people and advanced models, find differences and find insufficiencies. If there is no spirit of criticism and self-criticism, if we only look in the mirror after putting on make-up, we will not be able to see problems, we will not be able to see our real selves. Straightening clothes and hats means that we must, on the basis of looking in the mirror, dare to confront thoughts and souls, dare to face contradictions and problems, and achieve the result of nipping evil in the bud. If we leave criticism and self-criticism behind, clothes and hats may be insufficiently straight, and it would be difficult to touch upon substantial problems. Taking a wash means that we must rinse away the dust in our thoughts and actions, cleaning oneself means self-criticism, and reminding other people is criticism. If we do not truly clan ourselves, or replace washing ourselves with wiping our faces, we abandon criticism and self-criticism, and will not be able to achieve the result of having red faces, sweating and expelling poison. Curing illnesses means that we must find a diagnosis and consult the doctor, suit the medicine to the illness, we must provide assistance concerning existing problems, and must strictly investigate and prosecute those with grave problems. If we refuse to face a harsh illness, we lose criticism and self-criticism, and we will not be able to remove the root of the illness, or achieve the objective of curing illnesses and saving patients.

We must persist in engaging in activities with an open door. In the mass line education and practice activity, we must naturally listen to the opinions of the masses, persist in engaging in activities with open doors, and  open the doors wide to listen to opinions. This is the concrete reflection of implementing the requirements of criticism and self-criticism. If we engage in activities with closed doors, we do not listen to substantive criticism and opinions. Opening the doors to listen to opinions should mean truly opening doors, it cannot be falsely open doors, or opening only a crack, half openness and half concealment will not work either, we must strengthen transparency, ensure that this complete movement takes place under the supervision of the masses, and welcome the masses to nit-pick. This requires that our Party members and cadres, and especially leading cadres, are extremely open-minded, have the breadth of mind of a sea that receives the water from a hundred rivers, and have an attitude of opening the doors to receive instructions and readily accepting good advice. With a sincere attitude, it is also necessary to unblock channels and make it convenient for the masses to raise opinions, integrate face-to-face and back-to-back, let the masses have opportunities to directly raise opinions, and channels to raise opinions indirectly. We must open the doors wide to listen to the masses’ opinions, let this penetrate into the whole process of the education and practice movement, whether or not opinions have been heard sufficiently and correctly must be published towards the masses, whether problems have been inspected thoroughly or deeply must be fed back to the masses, on whether or not reform measures are solid and effective, the judgement of the masses must be accepted.

We must persist in putting ourselves forward. This is the touchstone to weigh whether or not the courage for criticism and self-criticism is there. How should we put ourselves forward? The key is that leading cadres must take the lead in establishing a consciousness of the problem, and put the problem forward together with themselves. They must link up with the reality of our own thinking, work and life, link up with their own experience of growing up and especially all sorts of displays in leading positions, put forward many of their own problems, and investigate many of their own shortcomings. They must deeply and concretely examine and put forward problems, and cannot use sweeping and abstract problems to replace concrete and real problems, they cannot use the problems of leadership ranks to replace the problems existing within them individually, they cannot use mistakes and problems in work to replace prominent “Four Work Styles” problems, and cannot use problems of formalism or bureaucratism to replace problems of hedonism or extravagant tendencies. In investigating and putting forward problems, they must also analyse the sources, because if the sources are not blocked, the wind will not cease. They must pay attention to go to the root in areas of ideals and convictions, purposes and mentalities, Party spirit cultivation and political discipline, ask whether or not their beliefs and convictions are firm, and wither or not their world view, view of life and value views, those master switches, are solid; [they must] ask themselves whether or not their mass standpoint is stable, whether their mass sentiment is deep, whether or not they are emphatic in formulating and implementing policies, reflect on matters from another position, and ensure that the Party is built for the people, and governance is for the sake of the people from beginning to end; [they must] ask themselves whether or not their Party spirit principles are strong, whether they preserve well their advancedness and purity, and whether or not they have undergone tests in the face of all sorts of temptations. Only in this way is it possible to overcome the “Four Work Styles” problems for the long run, and thereby practice their “golden and steel incorruptible body”.

We must do topical democratic life meetings well. The requirements of criticism and self-criticism must be implemented into the entire process of education and practice activities, but the crux is that they must be reflected in topical democratic life meetings. In a number of localities, departments and work units, democratic life meetings are out of tune and have become spoilt, they do not touch upon problems, or do not touch upon them deeply, they are perfunctory like smacking buttocks with a feather duster, some even change self-criticism into self-praise, and change mutual criticism into mutual flattery. The topical democratic life meetings in this education and practice movement are to be given utter attention by comrades in the entire Party, they must push ahead and launch new trends by criticism and self-criticism. To achieve such requirements, it is crucial that full preparation is made before the meetings. We must broadly and fully listen to opinions, concentrate the ingredients and original flavours of opinions from all sides, comb through them, and give feedback to every members of leading cadres, every comrade must earnestly reflect upon himself, and write comparative inspection materials. We must take up sufficient time to engage in heart-to-heart talks, both to talk about one’s own problems, and to dare to point out the problems on the other side, we must affirm results but must stress insufficiencies even more, we must talk about work but must talk about thoughts even more, all issues prepared to be put forward in meetings, must be talked through before meetings, and consensus built. At topical democratic life meetings, every Party member and leading cadre must, with a spirit of high responsibility towards the Party, towards the undertaking, towards comrades and towards themselves, engage in positive and healthy ideological struggle, dare to truly remove formidable obstacles, rake up faults and make defects public, prevent stressing face, or trying not to offend, or being on good terms with everyone. Especially number one leaders must inspect themselves, setting examples and with an attitude of emulating me, earnestly examine the prominent problems of themselves and their ranks in the area of work styles, be responsible for putting forward criticism towards the members of their ranks, and magnanimously and cherishingly accept the critical opinions of others. Between members of ranks, all must be said and speech must be frank, in discussing problems and raising opinions, purposes must be made clear and the key point must be aimed at, to prevent that “salutes” are fired to higher levels, “duds” are fired to the same level, and “blanks” are fired at oneself. In shirt, this topical democratic life meeting cannot be a meeting to extol and summarize work, but should, through vigorous criticism and self-criticism, touch the souls of leading cadres and let their thoughts improve, to truly achieve the objective of “unity-criticism-unity”.

This article is the second part of the speech that CCP Politburo Standing Committee Member, Central Committee Secretary and Central Party School Director Liu Yunshan made on 1 September 2013 a the opening of the 2013 autumn academic term of the Central Party School



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