Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung
September 9, 1959
[SOURCE: Long Live Mao Zedong Thought, a Red Guard Publication.]
This document is to be printed and distributed to party organizations at all levels from the Central Committee down to branch headquarters and also to all comrades attending the Peking conference on military and foreign affairs.
I warmly welcome Comrade P’eng Te-huai’s letter, believing that his stand and viewpoint are correct and his attitude is sincere. If he thoroughly changes and makes no more major vacillations (minor vacillations are inevitable), he will “instantly become a Buddha,” or rather a Marxist. I recommend that all comrades of our party welcome the attitude shown by P’eng Te-huai in this letter. Let us severely criticize the mistakes he has made and at the same time welcome every improvement he has made. We should take this two-sided attitude to help an old comrade who has been with us for 31 years. We should take the same attitude toward all other comrades who have made mistakes but have indicated their intention to amend. We are confident that this policy will be able to influence people and that under certain circumstances people will change, except for certain individuals. I believe that Comrade P’eng Te-huai’s suggestion concerning the assignment of work to him in the coming period is basically right. It is a good idea to study for a few years. However, a man advanced in age is not fit for physical labor. It is all right for him to go to factories and rural areas to observe and investigate and to do research work for a period of time every year. The Central Committee will discuss this matter with Comrade P’eng Te-huai and make a proper decision.
9 September 1959
The Eighth Plenary Session of the Eighth Central Committee and the expanded meeting of the Military Commission have thoroughly disclosed and criticized my mistakes and have eliminated the peril of dissension within the party. It gives me the last opportunity to correct my mistakes. I sincerely thank you and other comrades for your patience in educating and helping me. The party’s systematic and historical criticism of my mistakes was absolutely necessary. Only by such criticism could I be made to truly realize the extreme danger of my mistakes and thus make it possible to eliminate the bad influence of my mistakes within and without the party. I now fully realize that my bourgeois world outlook and methodology were deep rooted, and my individualism was most serious. I now also realize what big price the party and the people have paid in cultivating me, and that if I had not been exposed and criticized in time, what danger there would be! In the past because of my bourgeois stand, I considered all your well-intentioned and sincere criticisms as blows at me. For this reason in each struggle against the erroneous line I did not receive any education nor any enlightenment. My serious errors were not corrected. I have been unworthy of your teaching and patience with me for the past 30 years. I am filled with indescribable shame and remorse. I have been ungrateful to the party, the people and you. Henceforth I must make a serious effort to thoroughly reflect upon my mistakes and study the theories of Marxism-Leninism in order to reform my own thought and make sure that I won’t again do anything detrimental to the party and the people in my old age. I therefore petition the Central Committee to consider permitting me to study after the adjournment of the expanded meeting of the Military Commission or to go to a people’s commune in Peking where I may learn and labor so that in the collective life of the working class I may get physical training and thought reform. Whether my proposal is prop! er or not I petition you to consider and favor me with a reply.
Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung