The Situation of the Great Cultural Revolution
September 5, 1967 — Conference of Representatives of Anhwei Province, Peking, China
Greetings to you all, comrades!
(Loud shouting: Long live Chairman Mao! A long, long life to him!)
I have come rather hurriedly, and I have no idea of what is going on here. Old K’ang [K’ang Sheng] just dragged me here. Nor have I prepared for the few words which I shall say here. If what I am going to say is right, you may use it for reference; if not, you may criticize me. You may even bombard me or burn me!
I want to talk about the current situation. On the question of situation, there are some different views among us. We think that taking the nation as a whole, the situation of the great cultural revolution is excellent. If, however, the present situation is viewed in isolation, then of course it appears to be quite serious in certain areas and individual places. Actually, this is not so. Taking the country as a whole and from the historical point of view, isn’t the situation this year greatly different from that at this time of the previous year?
At this time last year, the small handful of top Party capitalist readers in authority and their jackals in the localities still had considerable strength and were able to carry out activities. What about now? They have been paralyzed. Some of them have been struck down by the revolutionary young fighters. Paralysis itself is a good thing because the capitalist readers in authority can move no longer. That is why revolutionary committees have been set up in some localities.
What is being done at present? The Central Committee is tackling the problems province by province, and city by city in the case of those large cities. Hasn’t this been done in Anhwei too? Now we have invited you comrades to come, so that both sides of you can sit down to solve the problems. This is also a good situation. Take your Anhwei for example. The situation there is quite different from last year, isn’t it? The small handful headed by Li Pao-hua has been dragged out, and even such bad characters as Liu Hsiu-shan and such traitors as Ch’eng —. I forget his name (A representative from Hofei said: Ch’eng Ming-yuan! Hasn’t Ch’eng Ming-yuan also been exposed in broad daylight?)
(Members of the Good Faction cheered for a long time: Long live Chairman Mao!)
Comrades, Liu Hsiu-shan is a bad man, and I have long known about it. It is not true that I know about it just now. I have evidence to prove that he is a bad guy pulling the string from behind. It is quite possible that some people have fallen into the trap. Now we must pay attention to this and must not put the good people and the bad together. We are faced with a question. Liu Hsiu-shan has been all along in hiding in Peking, but now it is not known where he has gone. (Some representatives: He is in Hofei exercising direct command) Comrades, whatever the case, and in spite of the fact that you had quarrels and fights before, you are now sitting down together for talks. Isn’t this an excellent situation? (The Good Faction: An excellent situation) (Comrade Chiang Ch’ing turned to the Fart Faction*) Why is there no answer from comrades on this side? Do you approve of it?
(The Fart Faction: An excellent situation.)
Looking back, from last year up to the present, tremendous changes have taken place. The campaign for mass criticism and repudiation of the top Party capitalist roader in authority is now gradually unfolding in the whole country, and fire is being opened against him on all fronts. It is necessary to pull him down, discredit him, and criticize him thoroughly and penetratingly. To do this, as I have said on many occasions previously, we must make it known to every household that we must criticize him more severely than we did Trotsky of the Soviet Union at that time in order to prevent China from changing color. This is because he has held power for a very long time, is a double-dealer, and has a whole set of cadre lines to protect his erroneous line.
But the moment Chairman Mao gave his order for the great proletarian cultural revolution, the young fighters went to the battleground and dragged these fellows out. To be sure, comrades may say: “Comrade Chiang Ch’ing has said it well, but in our place the struggle is quite severe.” Our struggle, too, is rather severe, although we do not use force. Nevertheless, I have let it be known that if some people insist on having a violent struggle with me, I will surely defend myself and strike back. (Loud shouting: Learn from Comrade Chiang Ch’ing, and salute her!) Learn from you comrades, and salute to you all!
Comrades, I am not in favor of armed struggle, and you must not think that I like it, because I am firmly opposed to it. I resolutely support Chairman Mao’s call for “peaceful struggle, not armed struggle.” What I mean is: when the class enemies attack us, how can we afford not to have an inch of iron in our hands? This is the situation I have in mind, but at present we need not have that kind of armed struggle.
Armed struggle always hurts some people and damages, State property. Why, then, should we be prodigal sons And such a problem as this must be clearly explained. This “attack by words and defend by force” must not be deprived of its class content; it must not be viewed in isolation from definite circumstances and conditions. It would be bad if, on your return, you stir up fights by wearing fighter’s caps and raising spears. (Old K’ang interrupted: Not spears. We now have the machine guns.) After firing a round of ammunition, a machine gun will have to be reloaded. On the whole, I feel that the situation is excellent. It has tempered the younger generation and the young fighters. It has also tempered the revolutionary cadres as well as men of the older generation like old K’ang!
(Old K’ang interrupted —You people are tempering me every day.)
Comrades, don’t think that the question of Anhwei is exceptionally complicated. I, for one, do not think so. Each question has its own pecularities. The present condition of Anhwei is much better than it was last year. And the situation now is better than it was a moment ago. It is wonderful that we have been able to sit down and talk, instead of fighting things out This is a favorable situation; it is a good beginning.. Now in various provinces the case is generally like this: Talks are being held through arrangements made by the Central Committee, and although there have been reversals in some individual places reversals are a normal phenomenon. Besides, there are imbalances in the situation, but imbalances are also a normal phenomenon.
On the whole the situation is satisfactory and is developing in a favorable situation. This calls for the following several conditions: Leadership by the Party Central Committee headed by Chairman Mao, which is the most important; the presence of the PLA as the pillar of the proletarian dictatorship to defend the great proletarian cultural revolution; and the gradual establishment of local revolutionary committees to promote revolutionary grand alliance and revolutionary “three-in-one combination” before we can carry out struggle-criticism-transformation and coordinate it with the nationwide mass criticism.
How do things stand at present in this connection? First, there are the Party capitalist roaders in authority, in addition to the landlords, rich peasants, counter-revolutionaries, wicked people and Rightists, in addition to US spies, Soviet spies, Japanese spies, and Kuomintang spies — all of them are bent on destroying us. With so many black hands hidden behind their backs, it is not easy for you to discern them. Appearing either as ultra-“Leftists” or as Rightists, they are set to undermine the Party Central Committee headed by Chairman Mao. This shall never be permitted and those who do so are doomed to failure.
Comrades, come to think of it: Do you permit this? (The audience: No, we don’t!) At present, let us take Peking as an example. There is a bad thing, and I call it a bad thing because it is a counter-revolutionary organization, called the “May 16” Corps.- Numerically it is not a large organization, and superficially the majority of its members are young people, who are actually the hoodwinked. The minority consists of bourgeois elements who nurse deepseated hatred for us and who make use of the ideological instability of the young people. Those who really pull strings behind the scene are very bad indeed.
What about Anhwei? There are also some people who oppose the Central Committee and its Nine-Point, Five-Point and other decisions. They have failed to carry them out. They have refused to carry them out. If things were done according to the Nine-Point Decision reversals would not have taken place, and when reversals occurred, they would be a good thing. Now that you have come we welcome you. The “May 16” assumes an ultra-“Leftist” appearance; it centers its opposition on the Premier. Actually, it has collected black material to denounce every one of us, and it may throw it out in public at any time.
(Old K’ang interrupted: Did you people of Anhwei send any person to collect material concerning the Cultural Revolution Group of the Central Committee? The representatives replied: Yes. He was Liu Hsiu-shan. Old K’ang asked again: To be fair, you of the good group had also sent someone to collect material, as the Fart Faction had done. Liu Hsiu-shan had sent someone to collect material, and so had you of the two groups.)
We are not afraid of either group. With a clear conscience, what should we be afraid of? Go ahead and find the material you want! You people just eat and do nothing, so now you have chosen this thing instead of the revolution. Do what you like. I am not afraid. They had collected black material against me in the past, but only now have I discovered this. A case-study group while in Shanghai went to collect the material, saying that Comrade Ch’i Pen-yu had said the material concerned me. They had no choice but to bring out the material. When this material was brought back, I did not ask any questions. You see, a large trunk of it! Recently it has been found that in some places the so-called “special parties” have been set up. The setting up of these special parties is a tactic of the clowns, who cannot see the light. (Comrade Yao Wen-yuan interrupted: Clowns.) Clowns. From the right side they stirred up the gust of wind in February this year in opposition to the great proletarian revolution; while at present those who stir up the “Leftist” wind to oppose the Central Committee oppose the Premier as ultra-“Leftists.”
The “May 16” is a very typical counter-revolutionary organization, and we must raise our vigilance against it. US-Chiang spies, Soviet revisionist spies as well as the landlords, rich peasants, counter-revolutionaries, wicked elements and Rightists will never act honestly but will try all possible means to wage a death-bed struggle. This requires that we raise our vigilance, discern them, and do propaganda among the masses, awaken the masses, and isolate these bad people. They are only a minority who cannot see the light. This is to say that we oppose people who oppose the leadership group of the Party Central Committee headed by Chairman Mao either from the Left, the extreme Left or from the Right side. I advise you comrades to be more alert on this question.
Now we come to the second question — the army. Sometime earlier, there was this wrong slogan: Seize a “small handful in the army.” As a result, “a small handful in the army” was seized everywhere and even the weapons of our regular troops were seized.
Comrades, come to think of it: Without the People’s Liberation Army, is it possible for us to sit in the People’s Great Hall holding a conference? (The audience: No.) If our field army were thrown into confusion and if trouble occurred, could we tolerate such a situation? (The audience: No.) Let us not fall into the trap. The slogan is wrong. Because the Party, the government and the army are all under the leadership of the Party. We can only talk about dragging out the handful of Party capitalist roaders in authority and nothing else. Were we to do otherwise, that would be unscientific, and the result would be that we got the wrong people everywhere, and almost all military districts would be raided, both good and bad. Even if some comrades, a minority of comrades, some individual comrades in our army committed serious errors, they need not be dealt with in such a way.
The Chinese People’s Liberation Army is an army personally created by Chairman Mao and under the direct command of Vice Chairman Lin Piao. It may be asked: Is there such an army in other part of the world? (The audience: No. Loud shouting: Learn from the PLA and salute to it.) Everywhere we seized their guns, beat them up, and scolded them. But they did not strike back, nor did they argue. Is there such an army in other part of the world? (Answer: No.)Now we must not fall into others’ trap and drag out the small handful in the army everywhere and indiscriminately. I have talked with the young fighters of Peking about this question. Last year you went out to kindle the fire of the revolution and exchange revolutionary experience. But by going out again now, you will only do a disservice. You said that you were unable to drag ott the small handful in the army and that you needed our help in doing this. In some places, this has been done. This is a wrong assessment of the situation, and the result of the fact that you have fallen into a trap set by others.
Young people are active of course. Struggle-criticism-transformation may be difficult, but if we ask you to sit down to read document and examine the data and then exercise your minds, that would be even more difficult and very arduous. Carrying out physical activities and even armed struggle are what the young people particularly like, and you too are fond of travelling from place to place. I heard that a rebel group in Wuhan — I do not know its name
(Old K’ang interrupted: the Steel Second Headquarters).
The moment it regained its strength, its members went from place to place in the whole country.
Therefore you must pay attention to this: When you go to a place, you may not understand the conditions there, and so you are liable to make mistakes there. It is for this reason that you must believe in the local masses and must not do the things which they should do themselves, just as we cannot make revolution on your behalf. All we can do is to consult with you and assist you.
The slogan of seizing the small handful in the army is wrong, and it has produced a series of undesirable consequences. Now this gust of wind has probably been checked.
You will ask: Does Comrade Chiang Ch’ing mean that the comrades in the army have made no mistakes. I do not mean this. Comrades in the army who have mistakes and shortcomings should be given a chance to criticize themselves. Even among ourselves, some veteran cadres have made mistakes, said the wrong words, and done the wrong things. I also often make mistakes myself.
On the battlefields they are very brave and very reliable! Being unable to keep pace with the developments in the great cultural revolution, they have made some mistakes and said or done some wrong things. But if they want to mend their ways and criticize themselves, they should be allowed to do so, as we should observe Chairman Mao’s instruction that “we must take warning from past mistakes in order to avoid future ones and cure the sickness in order to save the patient.” I have not studied the condition of Anhwei before and I do not know much about it now. I heard that when X X army returned, they did not welcome it.
(Old K’ang interrupted: Good Faction of Hofei and Huainan raided the headquarters of the 34th Division. I wonder if you know about the condition of Hofei. The present attitude which you have adopted should be criticized. T’ao Tsai-feng and Liang Shou-fu are quite wrong.) (The Good Faction of Huainan interrupted: The 34th Division is Linyen X X X X. This was disclosed by the peasants. It doesn’t belong to Huainan.)
Whatever the way you see it, it is not good for the field army to be raided, and a precedent must not be set! Even the ammunition has been seized.
At this moment the two groups of Huainan started quarrelling with each other.)
Do you quarrel with me or with each other? Our field army is good. Our army is good. You see, the broad masses of commanders and fighters were formerly poor and lower-middle peasants and workers. They have resolutely executed the proletarian revolutionary line of the Party Central Committee headed by Chairman Mao, and they did not involve themselves in the cultural revolution but did so only later. After getting themselves thus involved, they did not at first get at the truth and so it was inevitable that they should have made some mistakes. Just put yourselves in their positions, and ask yourselves if you would make the same mistakes? I think you would — and quite easily. But I mean mistakes of a general nature, not mistakes of line or of principle: You cannot treat the army in such a way. When you seized their guns, some fighters wept. They knew that you were going to seize their guns, but they could not open fire, because they and you were all revolutionary masses.
At the front line of national defense, a strict order has been issued — an order which has already been approved by the Central Committee. If I were a garrison fighter, I would certainly fight back if someone seized my gun. Of course, opening fire is not good, but I have my own idea. If I were a garrison fighter and you came to take my gun, how could I know that you were a good or a bad man?
To be sure, guns are being seized on a nationwide scale. The greater part of the guns of the militiamen belonged to the conservative groups so that some of these guns were not seized but were surrendered. Only a small number of Leftists have guns.
(The representatives started arguing with one another).
Comrades, if my idea can play a good role, we should create the good conditions for its implementation. We must become revolutionaries of Mao Tse-tung’s thought and not members of Chang’s group or Li’s group. The factional mentality is a petty bourgeois trait; it is the mountain-stronghold mentality, departmentalism, anarchism, anarchism in its grave form.
(Yao Wen-yuan interrupted: We must properly study Wen-hui Daily’s editorial “The Proletarian Party Character and the Petty Bourgeois Factional Character.”)
If both sides of you make self-criticism, there will be no quarrels. It is good that both sides of you make self-criticism. When you oppose me, I go to your place to make self-criticism, and then you also make self-criticism. Later you too will feel ashamed. In this way we shall sit down and talk and seek agreement for the major issues while preserving differences over minor issues. The agreement over major issues refers to the revolution, to the great proletarian cultural revolution. Whether you stand on the side of the proletarian revolutionary line headed by Chairman Mao or on the side of the line taken by the capitalist roaders is a question of big right and big wrong. Under the premise of this big principle, if you are all struggling against the top Party person in authority taking the capitalist road, is there any reason for being unable to unite and for not uniting? if we judge from your factional character, I think that, you work for yourselves and not for the revolution, the people and the proletariat.
If you are really proletarian revolutionaries, you must first show the spirit of self-criticism. You must make exacting demands on yourselves and on your own group and not on others. If you quarrel, fight, wage armed struggle, and seize weapons, you cannot keep your heads sober and cannot distinguish between the right and the wrong. The right can be distinguished easily from the wrong. In Anhwei, that depends on whether you struggle against the small handful of capitalist roaders headed by Li Pao-hua and against the top Party capitalist roader in the whole country. If we all follow this premise, we shall have agreement on the major issues; herein lies the criterion. Some different practices and views may exist.
In our group there are also views which are by no means identical. Sometimes old K’ang and I do not see eye to eye. But we are able to unite under the big premise and unify our views.
(Old K’ang interrupted: You must correct yourselves, and oppose yourselves.)
While it is easy to revolutionize others, it is difficult to revolutionize oneself. This is because in one’s mind there is the dark side as well as the bright side. The dark side represents the petty bourgeois and bourgeois things. If one does not get rid of these things, one will certainly drop out from the ranks and head for the opposite. If in one’s mind one has self-interest, individualism, the small-group mentality, departmentalism and even anarchism, then one will not listen to any advice. And chaos will be created in our field army with its good organization, good discipline, good equipment and good political work.
You will not do this. Those who want to do this are a minority of bad people. To attain their aim, they sow dissension among you. You must not fall into the trap; you must be alert and calm and be good at distinguishing between enemies, ourselves and friends. Now, you even quarrel with friends sometimes, and sometimes willy-nilly you engage in fights for no cause. Don’t we want splits? Or don’t we want to form a revolutionary great alliance? Comrades, what is your answer?
(The Good Faction: The alliance is good, the great alliance is great.)
Comrade Chiang Ch’ing then turned to the Fart Faction: You are silent. Are you willing to form an alliance? (The Fart Faction answered: Willing.) It is only when we promote a great alliance and three-in-one combination and gradually establish revolutionary committees that we shall have people to lead us. The revolution cannot proceed without leaders!
Now the third question. It is necessary to set up gradually revolutionary committees and establish new leadership organs. At present, a gust of foul wind is blowing. Apart from being directed at the Party Central Committee headed by Chairman Mao and at the People’s Liberation Army, it is directed at the revolutionary committee — a new-born thing. It is inevitable that the revolutionary committee should have some shortcomings and mistakes, and it is inevitable that it is infiltrated into by some bad people. But it is after all a new-born product. It is born on the mass foundation. A wind is now being stirred up with the object of dissolving all revolutionary committees set up with the approval of the Central Committee. Isn’t this a provocative act by those who harbor ulterior motives?
Comrades, are you aware of this? (Answer: We are.) After you have gradually established revolutionary committees, you must also be alert against this. Naturally, there may be some reversals, but we should not be afraid of them. Therefore, I think that under the present excellent situation we should be alert against this: that some people are trying from the extreme “Left” or from the Right side to undermine the Party Central Committee headed by Chairman Mao, to undermine the People’s Liberation Army, and to undermine revolutionary committees. Behind them are not only the capitalist roaders in authority within the Party but also landlords, rich peasants, counter-revolutionaries, bad elements and Rightists as well as US-Chiang, Soviet revisionist and Japanese spies. We have data at hand and have caught them in large numbers.
This is the merit of the young fighters.
Are you aware of a traitorous clique?
(Answer: We are.)
Great spy cases have been uncovered; these could not be uncovered in the past. That is why the merits performed in the present great cultural revolution are really tremendous. Until now we had no knowledge of the traitorous clique which had been lying low for several decades, and the credit for this must go to the Red Guards. Of course, so far as Anhwei is concerned, for the dragging out of that small handful of capitalist roaders, the credit must go to you. You must be on the alert all the time, because some people are bent on destroying the Party Central Committee, the PLA and the revolutionary committees.
The Party Central I mean is the Party Central Committee headed by Chairman Mao. I want to remind you comrades that my opinions may not be necessarily perfectly all right, and you may criticize them. Now the Central Committee has adopted a document, and I shall read it to you here (Reading the CCP Central Committee’s “Sept. 5” Order.)
If we upset the operational system, what shall we do once trouble flares up? The imperialists are afraid of us; they are scared to death. The revisionists are also afraid of us; they are afraid of our great proletarian cultural revolution. Nevertheless, we must be on our guard! All proletarian revolutionaries, all Red Guard young fighters, all revolutionary masses, and all patriotic people must strictly follow and earnestly execute the Order. By doing so you will respond to our great leader Chairman Mao’s call for “supporting the army and cherishing the people,” love and support the PLA. This is the common duty of all revolutionary masses and all patriotic people.
Truly proletarian revolutionary comrades should set an example in this regard. All revolutionary mass organizations must correctly understand the extensive democracy under conditions of proletarian dictatorship. On this question I want to say a few words. Is there the same extensive democracy as we enjoy anywhere in the world? (The audience: No.). You may post big-character posters against anyone. This is something which cannot be done anywhere in the world, and which is unprecedented in history. This is the most extensive democracy, which is possible only under conditions of proletarian dictatorship. We must correctly understand the “four-no” directive observed by the PLA; we must raise our vigilance in the complicated and sharp class struggle, guard against being used by the class enemies, prevent the class enemies at home and abroad from sowing dissensions and fishing in troubled waters. We must strictly guard against sabotages by the US-Chiang, Soviet revisionist and Japanese spies and the landlords, rich peasants, counter-revolutionaries, wicked people and Rightists, who attempt to weaken the fighting power and ruin the reputation of the PLA.
We must not paint a dark picture of the PLA, for they are our boys, and we must protect their honor. (Continuing to read out the Central Committee’s Sept. 5 Order)
Do you know what has happened?
Military materials allotted for the support of Vietnam have been seized, and the ammunitions! (Yao Wen-yuan: Used for striking the US imperialists.) Those were ammunitions for striking the American imperialists! Later we issued an order to the effect that, no matter what group you belonged to, you must return the material you have seized, and if you do not return them, you will have to surrender your arms. They were so frightened that they returned the materials. Some people also seized foreign ships. In Peking a strange thing has happened: Some people went to the foreign embassies to make troubles and the office of the British Charge d’Affaires was burned down. We, of course, are determined to hit the American imperialists and reactionaries. But we must not make trouble at foreign embassies, and we must not go aboard foreign ships.
It would be childish for good people to do so; and when bad people do this, they want to ruin the reputation of the country.
(When she continued to read out and finished reading the Central Committee’s September 5 Order, she was greeted with thunderous applause.)
As I see it, everybody supports this order!
(Thunderous applause. Loud shouting of slogans: Learn from Comrade Chiang Ch’ing, and salute to her! Long live Chairman Mao! A long, long life to him).
Source: Great Preparatory Committee of People’s Automobiles, Red Flag, Municipal Communications and Transport Department, September 18, 1967
Also: CCP Documents of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, 1966-1967, (Hong Kong: Union Research Institute), 1968, pp. 520-534.
Also: Marxism.org — Jiang Qing Archives