Reception for Propaganda Teams
September 14, 1968 — Reception for Representatives of the Beijing Workers Propaganda Team and the People’s Liberation Army Propaganda Team
My dear comrades! Salute to you, comrades! [I want to] learn from you, comrades!
I am an ordinary Communist, a little pupil of Chairman Mao, and a little pupil of the broad masses. I have to learn from my dear comrades.
Comrades, to do some good for the people is the duty of a Communist. If one has done something wrong, one must sincerely correct one’s mistakes. If something has been achieved, the achievement should be attributed to our great leader Chairman Mao, the Party Central, the Central Cultural Revolution Group, the broad masses of the revolutionary people, and the Red Guard little generals.
I am only a small screw. The working class has stepped onto the stage of struggle-criticism-transformation of the superstructure. In fact, the working class had already stepped onto the political stage in 1964 on the literary line. This was an epoch-making achievement in the international Communist movement as well as a tremendous contribution of our great leader Chairman Mao to Marxist-Leninism.
On September 5, the whole country had become red, for Revolutionary Committees had been established in 29 provinces, municipalities, and autonomous regions. This revolutionary experience proves the greatness of the contributions of this revolution. However, many comrades do not yet clearly understand the background of this Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution movement. It is our duty to introduce the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution to them so as to make them understand its historical background, the winding roads we have jogged along, and the mistakes we have committed.
This revolution should be traced back to the 10th Plenum of the 8th Central Committee in 1964. At that plenum, our great leader spoke on the problems of class, class contradiction, and class struggle. Why did he bring up these problems? It was because there were people opposing Chairman Mao’s proletarian revolutionary line.
At both the central work conference held in Peitaiho in August 1962 and the 10th Plenum of the 8th Central Committee, our great leader Chairman Mao reiterated that the socialist society lasts for a considerably long historical period. In this period, there still exist classes, class contradictions, class struggles, the struggle between the two roads of socialism and capitalism, and the danger of the restoration of capitalism.
Because of the nature of my work and because I was suffering from a grave ailment, my doctors advised me to take part in cultural activities to improve the balance of my sense of hearing and sense of sight. Thus, I came into contact with some literature and art. This took place around 1960. At that time, I found that what appeared on the stage and screen was lavish, foreign, and ancient. There were films from Hongkong, from U.S. imperialism, from Soviet revisionism, and from other capitalist nations. . . .
On the whole, they only propagated capitalism and feudalism instead of serving the workers, peasants, and soldiers. They portraited the workers, peasants, and soldiers incorrectly. It was in the summer of 1962, not knowing what kind of a man Liu Shao-ch’i was, that I ran to him and said: “This is throwing the axe after the helve.” In that same year, I talked to four ministers and vice ministers and asked them to serve the workers, peasants, and soldiers, to make known the heroic Chinese laboring people, working class, poor and lower-middle peasants, and People’s Liberation Army. But nobody wanted to listen to me. I asked them to at least allow the right to make comments but they again paid no attention. All news organs were under their control.
I went to Shanghai in the winter of 1962. Comrade Ko Ching-shih, who was then still alive, supported me. Under his support, I wrote an article denouncing the bad and counterrevolutionary theatrical works. In the next half year, I continued to demand the right to make comments. They did not agree. At that time, the Central Committee was holding meetings; I checked them by calling for Comrade Yao Wen-yuan. When I invited him, they were afraid of Yao Wen-yuan; they called him a “stick” [a goon]. I made the point that Comrade Yao Wen-yuan is a gold stick of the proletariat. Then unwillingly, they submitted a note and a commentary to the Chairman and me. The Chairman made several corrections. However, after receiving their articles, they changed some of the sharply critical parts. Moreover, they published them in the Kwangming Daily without sending them to the Chairman for another review. At that time, I realized it was not sufficient to write commentaries only; we had to participate in the practice of the arts. Thus, [I] chose some theatrical scripts and organized [the article] “On ‘Hai Jui’s Dismissal from office.’ ” It was very difficult to organize this article; it could not be done without the Chairman’s support and Comrade Ko Ching-shih’s concrete assistance. [This article] has been revised many times, and I personally have read it three times. Those counterrevolutionaries kept a close watch, and said “[We have] the article of ‘On Hai Jui’s Dismissal from Office’ on tape.” What they said was correct, because they were the counterrevolutionaries who had sneaked into our ranks! Wherever I went, they tailed me; they installed detectaphones. They spied on and controlled the Chairman, Vice Chairman Lin, the Premier and me! Comrades, that is the way it was!
To solve the problem of [stage] fighting in the Peking opera [e.g.?], the problem of soldiers, I went to Hainan in 1964 without telling anyone; I did not dare to tell anyone. On Hainan, I analyzed the actions of the soldiers in order to solve the problem of fighting. Then I went to Shanghai to see how that play was going on because I knew some people were trying to sabotage the emulation performance. They said our revolutionary modern theatrical works were just regular plays [spoken plays] with singing added. They were really ignorant! The Chinese opera has always been [spoken] drama with singing. They said our plays were tasteless as water. But what is wrong with water? Without water we would die of thirst. If we have water, we can make something else out of it. At the time when the emulation performance was going on, the Chairman approved an article by Yao Wen-yuan [recorder did not catch title] and passed it down for all comrades to study. However, those bourgeois power-holding lords thought that we had only had two and a half plays. What two and a half? “The Red Lantern,” “The Sha Family Beach,” and “The Surprise Attack of the White Tiger Regiment.” The last one was counted as only half a play. At this point, I should tell all the comrades: Our great leader Chairman Mao, Vice Chairman Lin, Premier Chou, Elder Kang, [a respectful address] Comrade Chen Po-ta, and the broad masses of people, the revolutionary literature and art workers are your supporters; they are resolved to follow the Chairman closely. These plays deal with the revolutionary three-in-one combination, the struggle-criticism-transformation, and the struggle of opposites. Those days were a hard time for me. It was at that time that Wang Kuang-mei, the big agent [of the reactionaries] and counterrevolutionary made the “Work Experience at Tao-yuan.” It was also at that time that the counterrevolutionary Liu Shao-ch’i made an open report to oppose our great leader Chairman Mao.
They continued to sabotage the 23 Articles on the rural areas of 1965. P’eng Chen put on the brakes. They brought about quite some restoration of capitalism in the countryside. Lo Jui-ching, the great counterrevolutionary, seized the military power.
In January and February of 1966, I found myself incapable of coping with the situation. I had to ask [the help of] the “holy gods” of the People’s Liberation Army and the proletariat. I personally submitted this to Vice Chairman Lin for his reference. Although they [the bad people] tried in many ways to deter and obstruct, it [the performance] was finally held under Vice Chairman Lin’s support. At the same time, they formulated something called the “February Outline.” In addition, a counterrevolutionary, Lin Mo-han, stole the minutes of our symposium. He changed some parts and claimed that it was his work. How shameless! The Drafting Committee for the Central Cultural Revolution Group was set up at that time. An enlarged meeting of the Politburo was held to draft the “May 16th Notice.” Meanwhile, Liu, Teng, and Tao of the Central Cultural Revolution Group planted nails [positioned agents] in the Drafting Committee. We did not know it then. At that time, Wang Li, Kwan Feng, and Chi Pen-yu had some connection with the counterrevolutionaries Wu Chuan-chi and Pan Tzu-nien. I was then just an ordinary Party worker guarding the pass. I advised them not to communicate with them [Wu and Pan], because I did not understand these men. I had not really heard of Wu Chuan-Chi; I knew there was a man called Pan Tzu-nien, but I did not know he was a big renegade. The struggle started at that time. Comrades, I was very tired then; I only worked half time but I kept a watch on the situation of the whole nation.
Chairman Mao proposed at the enlarged meeting of the Central Politburo that work groups not be sent. However, Liu Shao-ch’i and his clique still sent out work groups.
Comrades, I did a foolish thing: When I was in Shanghai, the “June 3 Incident” occurred in Nanking University.( ‘The “June 3 Incident” refers to a rally held by Kuang Ya¬rning, then president of Nanking University, to repudiate the Maoists.—Tr.) I made a suggestion to Chiang Wei-ch’ing that he call a mass rally to announce his support for the mass revolution. He did not accept my suggestion. I mistook him for a good man. Immediately after that, there were the “June 6 Incident” in Sian, and the “June 18 Incident” in Peking University.(The “June 18 Incident” refers to the Maoist resistance to the work groups’ struggle against Lu Ping, then president of Peking University.–Tr.) Nieh Yuan-tzu and some others published the first big-character poster; Tsinghua University opposed the work group of Wang Kuang-mei. They were commendable. At that time, the Red Guard little generals rushed into society; they destroyed the four olds, ignited the fire of roving solidarity, and set off the power of revolution. Their merits cannot be obliterated. This is a historical fact.
In 1967, there was the “January storm” power seizure. For in 1966 our great leader Chairman Mao made all possible efforts to save them but they refused to stand on Chairman Mao’s revolutionary line. Shanghai has 1,200,000 industrial workers and a glorious revolutionary tradition. Hence, the working class rose up to seize power. But then came a “February Adverse Current.” Many comrades did not understand this question. What is the “February Adverse Current”? After the January power seizure, the handful of counterrevolutionary revisionist elements who were not resigned to their failure [made a counterattack]. At a meeting of the Central Politburo, renegade Tan Chen-lin stood up and said that everything the Central Cultural Revolution Group had done was wrong, and that everything the Red Guard little generals had done was wrong! He said that he had followed the Chairman in pursuing revolution for 40 years, [but] he would not follow him any longer in the 41st year! Then he picked up his brief case and walked out of the meeting. In fact, he has never followed the Chairman in the course of revolution. We now know [this], and of course, we shall try to know more later on. That is, at that time Wang Li, Kuan Feng, Chi Pen-yu, Hsiao Hua, Yang Cheng-wu, Fu Chung-pi, and Yu Li-chin were colluding together. We did not know. We later found that they were in it with evil scoundrels like Wu Chuan-chi. I did ideological [“thought”] work many times, but each time I met with a refusal. I still patiently taught them, hoping that they would return [to the right path]. But they did not listen. They presented three men who influenced the masses—this involved the general situation. Hence we of the Central Cultural Revolution Group met to discuss it and adopted a policy separation. Chi Pen-yu was separated temporarily [from the group], but Wang and Kuan were not. In this way, the little generals became very much stimulated. In fact the Heaven Group and Earth Group were separated [differentiated?] by those scoundrels behind the scenes like Wang, Kuan, Chi, Hsiao Hua, Yang Cheng-wu, and Fu Chung-pi, and most of the little generals were hoodwinked. We criticized [Chi, etc. ] many times in July, August, and September last year, but they did not listen. They caused splits, making the masses struggle against masses. The enemies pulled the strings behind the scenes and then fled.
In the latter half of the last year, we held discussion meetings with the working [class] comrades and the literary and arts circles. In all the meetings, we talked about the problem of purifying the class ranks. We also talked many times about revolutionary great alliance and the revolutionary three-in-one combination. But some little generals who had been misled did not listen to our advice. Particularly on March 24 of this year, our Vice Chairman Lin came to this very place and told the comrades to drag out Yang Cheng-wu, a man of ambition, and Fu Chung-pi and Yu Li-chin, the big renegades. Before that time, Fu Chung-pi had arbitrarily led armed men, intruding into the offices of our Central Cultural Revolution Group to make arrests; I drove them away. There were still many other abnormal phenomena. Therefore, our great leader Chairman Mao and Vice Chairman Lin called a meeting for us. The meeting was held on March 24. On March 25, another meeting was held for Wen Yu-cheng, the new garrison commander, for they did not accept Comrade Wen Yu-cheng. Then on March 27, we held a mass rally of 100,000 persons in the Workers’ Stadium. After these three meetings, a large-scale armed struggle was launched on March 29. It was a great mistake, a great mistake for the little generals. The Heaven Group and the Earth Group were originally one group, and were split by them. The Earth Group stood in advance of the “February Adverse Current,” and boycotted the “February Adverse Current.” The Heaven Group moved a little behind. But in opposing Wang, Kuan, Chi, Yang, Yu, and Fu, the Heaven Group, headed by Nieh Yuan-tzu, was earlier. This is what I want to explain to you. However, what can hardly be clearly explained is that, on March 29 of this year there were big fights in Peking University and Tsinghua University. These were caused by the desperate enemies manipulating and controlling them from behind the scenes. This mistake they made was most serious, but we still should help them, educate them, and reform them. For, the books they read and the schools they attended were of the Liu-Teng counterrevolutionary revisionist education line. Their ideology basically or in part was bourgeois ideology, which must be reformed.
On July 27, at the command of our great leader Chairman Mao, the working class launched a struggle-criticism-transformation campaign in the superstructure. Those students would neither struggle, nor criticize, nor transform. [Instead, they] engaged in armed struggle, and divorced themselves from the masses at large and also the masses in their unit. Red Flag published the article “The Working Class Must Take the Lead in Everything.” From July 27 to September 5, workers’ Mao Tse-tung thought propaganda teams and P.L.A. Mao Tse-tung thought propaganda teams moved into most of the superstuctures in Peking to help them, to guide them politically, and to organize a revolutionary great alliance, revolutionary three-in-one combination, and struggle-criticism-transformation. They have stayed there, continuing to lead. As pointed out in the Red Flag’s editor’s note, a great change was in process in the period from July 25 to September 5; that is, our working-class ranks moved in, causing a very great change. We should see that change; that is, most of the intellectuals can unite with the workers, peasants, and soldiers, they are willing to follow Chairman Mao’s revolutionary lines, and they want to obey and accept the leadership of the working class. The working class, of course, exercises the leadership through its political party—the Communist Party.
For many years, Chairman Mao has repeatedly instructed us. We should unite with the absolute majority, with the more than 95 percent of the people of the whole country. After the editor’s note of the September 5 issue, our comrades should think about this question. After distinguishing right from wrong, we should consolidate more than 95 percent of the working class. The working class also fights! Do not think that you do not fight! You have fought enough, and have worked out the great alliance and revolutionary three-in-one combination before you moved into the schools. Otherwise, you would still have to fight. Consolidate over 95 percent of the poor and lower-middle peasants; consolidate over 95 percent of armed forces—the P.L.A. A handful of the bad elements has also sneaked into the armed forces. But their attempt to drag out the handful from the army was a mistake. This handful [they were talking about] was not Peng Chen, Ho Lung, Lo Jui-ching, and Yang Cheng-wu. Unite over 95 percent of the students. Unite over 95 percent of the teaching staff and workers [of the schools]. Unite over 95 percent of the cadres.
Source: Issues and Studies (Taipei), Vol. IX, No. 8 (May 1971).
Source: Marxism.org, Jiang Qing Archives