Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung
February 13, 1964
[SOURCE: Long Live Mao Tse-tung Thought, a Red Guard Publication.]
CHAIRMAN MAO: Today is the Spring Festival, and we are holding a forum to discuss both foreign and domestic problems ... Do you think our state is likely to collapse or not? Imperialism and revisionism, in concert, have struck right up to our borders, do [you] democratic personages fear the atom bomb? If the atom bomb should explode, we would simply find ourselves back in Yenan. The whole Shen-Kan-Ning Border Area had a population of 1.5 millions, and in the city of Yenan there were 30,000. People cannot reply publicly unless they are first attacked. There was a time when the Kuomintang was cleverer than usual, and did not denounce us publicly. They put out a document using the method of restraining ‘alien’ parties, of restraining the Communist Party. Do you know about that?
CHANG SHIH-CHAO: I don’t know about it.
CHAIRMAN MAO: You people aren’t very well informed. In January 1941, the Kuomintang launched the South Anhwei Incident, in which we lost more than 17,000 men. After this, they staged several more anti-communist high tides, and thus taught [our] Party a lesson. Chiang Kai-shek is no good, every time he had a chance he tried to regiment us. After the end of the anti-Japanese war, Chiang talked about peace, and invited me to go to Chungking for negotiations, but he also gave underhand orders. During the negotiations, he carried out a campaign against our Party and annihilated the three divisions of Kao Shu-hsün..
XXX: Kao has already joined the Party. People can change.
K’ANG SHENG: The Hsüan T’ung emperor has come to present his New Year’s greetings (at the Political Consultative Conference).
CHAIRMAN MAO: We must unite very well with the Hsüan T’ung emperor. Both Kuang Hsü and Hsüan T’ung used to be our bosses. Hsüan T’ung’s monthly salary of a little over a hundred yüan is too small — this man is an emperor.
CHANG SHIH-CHAO: Hsüan Tung’s uncle, Tsai-t’ao, is in wretched straits.
CHAIRMAN MAO: This fellow Tsai-t’ao is a high military official. He was a student in France. I know him, though not intimately. Would it be all right to aid him through you, so that he can eat a bit better? After all, he is our guest. We should improve his standard of living.
It’s no fun being a running dog. Nehru is in bad shape, imperialism and revisionism have robbed him blind. Revisionism is being rebuffed everywhere. It was rebuffed in Romania, it is not listened to in Poland. In Cuba they listen to half and reject half; they listen to half because they can’t do otherwise, since they don’t produce oil or weapons. Imperialism is having a hard time, too. Japan is opposing the United States, and it’s not only the Japanese Communist Party and the Japanese people that are opposing the United States — the big capitalists are doing so too. Not long ago, the Kita-iron works rejected an American inspection. De Gaulle’s opposition to the United States is also in response to the demands of the capitalists. They are also behind his establishment of diplomatic relations with China. China opposes the United States; formerly in Peking there was Shen Ch’ung, the whole country opposed US imperialism. The Khrushchevite revisionists abuse us as dogmatists, pseudo-revolutionaries — they really curse us. Not long ago, a letter from the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union to the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party put forward four points: (1) An end to open polemics; (2) The return of the [Soviet] experts [to China]; (3) Talks on the Sino-Soviet border; (4) The expansion of commerce. We can have talks about the border; they will begin on 25 February. We can do a little business, but we can’t do too much, for Soviet products are heavy, crude, high-priced, and they always keep something back.
K’ANG SHENG: The quality is inferior.
CHAIRMAN MAO: They are first crude, second expensive, third inferior, and fourth they keep something back, so it’s not so good to deal with them as with the French bourgeoisie, who still have some notion of business ethics.
In the past there have been mistakes in our work. The first was issuing blind commands, the second was excessive requisitioning; these have now been corrected. Now we have gone to the opposite extreme; we have gone from issuing blind commands to no commands, and as a result we are not doing our utmost. So we must emulate the Liberation Army, we must emulate the Petroleum Ministry’s Tach’ing. In the Tach’ing oilfields they have invested more than--and in the space of three years they have built up an oilfield producing--tons, and a processing plant for--tons of oil. The investment has been small, the time has been short, the successes have been great, and the many writings on this subject are worth having a look at. All ministries should learn from the Petroleum Ministry, learn from the Liberation Army, and get some good experience so as to be a combat brigade in relation to the enemy, and a work brigade in relation to ourselves. University students should also learn from the Liberation Army. They should make full use of their successes, set up models for emulation, praise them extensively, and at the same time criticize mistakes. Praise should be the main thing, and criticism should be supplementary. Among those working for our cause, there are many good people, and many good models, which should be praised.
Last year in Hopei there were great natural disasters. In the south there was a drought; originally the harvest was good, but there were heavy rains causing the loss of 20,000 million chin [approximately 12 million metric tons] of grain, nevertheless last year the total production rose by more than 10,000 million chin, and this year we want to do even better. At present we are learning from the Liberation Army, we are learning from the Petroleum Ministry, we are learning from models in the cities, the villages, the factories and the schools, we are overcoming mistakes in our work, and endeavouring to do our work somewhat better this year.
At this forum today, we have discussed international problems, but our basic concern is with internal problems. If we don’t deal effectively with our internal problems, there’s no good talking about international affairs. At present, there are some countries that want to establish relations with our country such as the Congo. The Congo of Lumumba launched a guerrilla war, but they have no modern weapons at all — only things like Kuan Kung’s Black Dragon Crescent Sword, and Chang Fei’s eighteen-foot spear.
XXX: There are also Huang Chung’s arrows.
CHAIRMAN MAO: It is nothing but the weapons of Kuan, Chang, Chao, Ma and Huang -- they have no modern weapons. In the past, we didn’t have any either. After the Nanchang Uprising, we lost two divisions; then Chu Te, Ch’en I, and Lin Piao led the remnant up the Chingkangshan. I didn’t know how to fight myself. In 1918 I worked in the library of Peking University; I was paid eight dollars a month, and got along without worrying about clothing, food, or lodging. Chang Shih-chao didn’t want to be an official for Yüan Shih-k’ai, so he let him be President of Peking University, he went to Peking University to run a journal. Old Huang, are you a constitutionalist?
HUANG YEN-P’EI: I am a revolutionary, not a constitutionalist, I participated in the T’ung Meng Hui.
CHANG SHIH-CHAO: He’s a revolutionary.
CHAIRMAN MAO: Old Ch’en, you belonged to the Research Clique; Chang Shih-chao participated in the Second Revolution, and in 1925 he was a minister. Now all of you are marching together with us, participating in socialist construction in the new China. When I say we hope to do our work somewhat better this year, this is not merely the Central Committee’s hope, it is also your hope. Hsü Te-heng, are you in charge of an industrial ministry?
XXX: There is great hope for his ministry.
CHAIRMAN MAO: Old Huang, your family seems to include every possible party and faction — the Democratic League, the Association for Promoting Democracy, the Communist Youth League. The poem by your son Huang Wan-ii, entitled ‘Greetings to the Bridegroom’, is very well written. I admire it. There is a member of the September Third Society who also writes good poems. I admire him too. You don’t know your ten-odd children very well, you are like Kuo Tzu-i.
All Ministries should learn from the Liberation Army, set up a political department, and strengthen their political work. They must encourage achievement, set up model workers for emulation, praise them extensively, and at the same time criticize mistakes. Praise should be the main thing, and criticism should be supplementary. Among those working for our cause there are many good people and good things, there are many good models which we must praise.
Today I want to talk to you about the problem of education. Progress has been made in industry, and I think that there should be same changes in education too. The present state of affairs won’t do. In my opinion the line and orientation [fang-chen] in education are correct, but the methods are wrong, and must be changed. Present here today are comrades from the Central Committee, comrades from within the Party, comrades from outside the Party, comrades from the Academy of Sciences. Comrade XXX will now give a talk.
XXX: At present, an urgent problem in the domain of education is that of the educational system, i.e., the fact that the prescribed length of studies is excessive. At present, children begin school at the age of seven, and spend six years in primary school, six years in middle school, and in some cases six years at university, generally five, thus making in all seventeen or eighteen years. They graduate from university only at the age of twenty-four or twenty-five, and afterwards they engage in manual labour for a year, and then undergo a further period of one year’s on-the-job training, so that they finally emerge [from the whole process] when they are already twenty-six or twenty-seven. This is two or three years longer than it takes in the Soviet Union. In the Soviet Union, primary and middle school last for ten years, and the university for four or five, so that at twenty-three or twenty-four they take up a post and begin work. In the study of the humanities, there is no great problem about students growing too old. In the case of the natural sciences they manifestly [remain at their studies] too long. This is particularly the case with the science of atomic energy, with the most advanced sciences, the students are too old when they graduate. On the basis of the experience of all countries of the world, it is possible to make a contribution to the natural sciences by the time one reaches the age of twenty-four or twenty-five. For example, in the United States and in the Soviet Union, those who have some achievements to their credit in the natural sciences, in the field of atomic energy, are commonly all twenty-four or twenty-five. At that age, the brain functions most effectively, but at that age our students are still at university, and have not taken up a post and begun work. They start working only at twenty-six or twenty-seven; this is not advantageous to the development of the sciences. The prescribed course length is exceedingly great, we mast give some thought to the system of educati! on.
CHAIRMAN MAO: The period of schooling should be shortened somewhat.
XXX: Recently Comrade XX had an idea: there should be five years of primary school and four years of middle school, so that students would graduate from middle school at sixteen. If there were six years of primary school, they would graduate from middle school at seventeen. The problem is that the facilities for higher education are inadequate; each year, the universities take only 120,000 or 130,000 students, or 150,000 at the outside. The others could begin work at sixteen. They could receive two years of vocational training after graduating from middle school, and then at eighteen they could go to work in the factories or the villages; in this way, they would be more in touch [with reality]. Or they could attend two years of preparatory courses, thus establishing links with the university, and begin work at twenty-four or twenty-five. In a word, studies must be shortened somewhat. At present, the Central Committee has set up a small group [hsiao-tsu] under the leadership of Comrade XX, especially to study the question of the educational system.
If we adopt this suggestion for improving our national education, then students could graduate in general at fifteen or sixteen. There is, however, one problem — that of military service. They would be too young for this, but they could undergo preliminary training.
CHAIRMAN MAO: That’s not important; those who are not old enough for military service can also experience military life. Not only male students, but also female students can undergo military service. We can form a red women’s detachment. Girls of sixteen or seventeen can also experience six months to a year of military life, and at seventeen they can also serve as soldiers.
XXX: Thus, the problem of schools teaching literary subjects is not so great. The problems with faculties of science and engineering are somewhat greater. The universities have preparatory courses of one or two years; after graduating from middle school, students can either go on to the university preparatory courses, or enter a vocational school, and after two years’ training they can go on to work in a factory or in the countryside at eighteen, thus they will be relatively in touch [with reality]. If they study engineering, they will also be relatively in touch, when they graduate at twenty-three or twenty-four they can take up a post and begin work.
CHAIRMAN MAO: At present, there is too much studying going on, and this is exceedingly harmful. There are too many subjects at present, and the burden is too heavy, it puts middle school and university students in a constant state of tension. Cases of short sight are constantly multiplying among primacy and middle-school students. This can’t be allowed to go on unchanged.
XXX: The subjects covered by the syllabus are too many and too complicated. Many old teachers have remained at their posts. The students are not able to bear it; they are tense in the extreme, and they have no extra-curricular activities, and no time for extra-curricular reading.
CHAIRMAN MAO: The syllabus should be chopped in half. The students should have time for recreation, swimming, playing ball, and reading freely outside their course work. Confucius only professed the six arts -- rites, music, archery, chariot-driving, poetry and history -- but he produced four sages: Yen Hui, Tseng-tzu, Tzu Lu and Mencius. It won’t do for students just to read books all day, and not to go in for cultural pursuits, physical education, and swimming, not to be able to run around, or to read things outside their courses, etc.
XXX: The students are extremely tense. When I’m at home the children say, what’s the point in getting top marks in everything?
CHAIRMAN MAO: Throughout history, very few of those who came first in the imperial examination have achieved great fame. The celebrated T’ang dynasty poets Li Po and Tu Fu were neither chin-shih nor han-lin. Han Yü and Liu Tsungyilan were only chin-shih of the second rank. Wang Shih-fu, Kuan Han-ch’ing, Lo Kuan-chung, P’u Sung-ling, Ts’ao Hsueh-ch’in were none of them chin-shih or han-lin. P’u Sung-ling was a hsiu-ts’ai who had received promotion, he wanted to rise to the next higher rank, but he was not a chü-jen. None of those who became chin-shih or han-lin wore successful. Only two of the emperors of the Ming dynasty did well, T’ai-tsu and Ch’eng-tsu. One was illiterate, and the other only knew a few characters. Afterwards, in contrast, in the Chia-ch’ing reign, when the intellectuals had power, things were in a bad state, the country was in disorder. Han Wu Ti and Li Hou-chu were highly cultivated, and ruined the country. It is evident that to read too many books is harmful. Liu Hsui was an academician, whereas Liu Pang was a country bumpkin.
XXX: There is too much on the syllabus, and there are too many exercises to hand in, the students cannot reflect independently. The present method of examination ....
CHAIRMAN MAO: Our present method of conducting examinations is a method for dealing with the enemy, not a method for dealing with the people. It is a method of surprise attack, asking oblique or strange questions. This is still the same method as the old eight-legged essay. I do not approve of this. It should be changed completely. I am in favour of publishing the questions in advance and letting the students study them and answer them with the aid of books. For instance, if one sets twenty questions on the Dream of the Red Chamber, and some students answer half of them and answer them well, and some of the answers are very good and contain creative ideas, then one can give them 100 per cent. If some other students answer all twenty questions and answer them correctly, but answer them simply by reciting from their textbooks and lectures, without any creative ideas, they should be given 50 or 60 per cent. At examinations whispering into each other’s ears and taking other people’s places ought to be allowed. If your answer is good and I copy it, then mine should be counted as good. Whispering in other people’s ears and taking examinations in other people’s names used to be done secretly. Let it now be done openly. If I can’t do something and you write down the answer, which I then copy, this is all right. Let’s give it a try. We must do things in a lively fashion, not in a lifeless fashion. There are teachers who ramble on and on when they lecture; they should let their students doze off. If your lecture is no good, why insist on others listening to you? Rather than keeping your eyes open and listening to boring lectures, it is better to get some refreshing sleep. You don’t have to listen to nonsense, you can rest your brain instead.
XXX: If we shorten the period of schooling, there will be time for engaging in labour, or for military service. We can also consider having the outstanding students skip a grade, we don’t have to keep them eternally in the same place. In the same grade as my child there is a classmate who was originally an outstanding student; afterwards, he skipped a grade, and he is still an outstanding student. Thus we see that it is possible to skip grades. Ask Comrade XX to organize a small group to conduct a thorough study of this problem of the school system.
CHAIRMAN MAO: Let both XX and XXX participate in this small group. At present we are doing things in too lifeless a manner. There is too much on the syllabus, and examinations are conducted in too rigid a manner. I cannot approve this. The present method of education ruins talent and ruins youth. I do not approve of reading so many books. The method of examination is a method for dealing with the enemy, it is most harmful, and should be stopped.
XXX: At present, the head of the Department of Education has just called a meeting, at which two questions are being considered: one is that the students’ burden is too heavy, and there is homework in every subject: the second is that there are three pedagogical systems, those of Confucius, the Soviets, and Dewey.
CHAIRMAN MAO: Confucius wasn’t really like that. We have cast aside the mainstream of Confucianism. He had only the six subjects: rites, music, archery, chariot-driving, ‘shu’ and mathematics. (Chairman Mao asked XXX whether ‘shu’ meant calligraphy or history.)
XXX: It means calligraphy.
CHAIRMAN MAO: It means history. As in the Shu Ching or the Han Shu.
XXX: At present, middle-school students take continuing their studies as their sole aim. After graduating, they are not willing to engage in labour; this is a very big question, and we must solve it. We must put into practice the union of education and productive labour; in addition, we must also walk on two legs. Last year there was flooding in Hopei, and the Department of Education was under great strain. Many buildings collapsed, and they had to set up simple schools as best they could. As a result, the number of primary- and middle-school pupils actually increased.
CHAIRMAN MAO: The flood engulfed dogmatism. We must get rid of dogmas, both foreign and indigenous.
XXX: Other places have carried out a regularization, and introduced teaching all in one class, rather than separately according to subject. The number of students has declined, and the number of poor and lower-middle peasants has declined, very many poor and lower-middle peasants do not continue their schooling. In Hopei Province they have some good experience. In Hsin-hui hsien in Kwangtung Province, they have investigated ten-odd agricultural middle schools, and ordinary middle schools. In an ordinary middle school, the state spends 120 yuan per year on each student, whereas in an agricultural middle school they spend only 6.80 yüan a year on each student. There is no problem at all about the graduates of an agricultural middle school filling a job, whereas if a graduate of an ordinary middle school does not succeed in the university entrance examinations, there is a great deal of difficulty about placing him in employment. Thus, primary and middle schools should all walk on two legs. At the same time, we must pay attention to improving quality. Previously, everything was done according to Soviet methods, but in 1958 we struck a blow at this, and more provision was made for labour, but then study was neglected in turn, but now that things have been further altered it is all right. It is the same with literature and art, the level is relatively high now, but if there had not been 1958, we would not have attained our present level.
CHAIRMAN MAO: We must drive actors, poets, dramatists and writers out of the cities, and pack them all off to the countryside. They should all periodically go down in batches to the villages and to the factories. We must not let writers stay in the government offices; they will never get anything written if they do not go down. Whoever does not go down will get no dinner; only when they go down will they be fed.
XXX: At present, there are a little over two per cent bad elements among the primary- and middle-school teachers, and there are also notoriously bad elements among the primary and middle-school students.
CHAIRMAN MAO: That doesn’t matter, they can change jobs.
XXX: At present, the worst students go to normal school, the good students go into engineering. Henceforth, we might think about not taking graduates of higher middle school directly into normal school or faculties of letters, but accepting only higher middle-school graduates who have engaged in labour for a year or two. The students of the natural sciences should also go down. They have some experience at the XX School in Harbin; they send the teachers down for a year or two. Those who were not so good originally are all pretty good when they come back from labour, they become part of the core.
CHAIRMAN MAO: They must go down. At present, there are some people who do not attach much importance to going to work in the countryside. In the Ming dynasty, Li Shih-chen went hither and thither, and climbed the mountains to gather herbs. Tsu Ch’ung-chih never went to middle school or university. Confucius was from a poor peasant family, he herded sheep, and never attended middle school or university either. He was a musician, he did all sorts of things. When someone had a death in the family, he would be invited to play at the funeral. He may also have been an accountant. He could play the ch’in and drive a chariot, ride a horse and shoot with bow and arrow. ‘Yü’ means to drive a chariot; it is like being the chauffeur of an automobile. He produced seventy-two sages, such as Yen Hui and Tseng-tzu, and he had 3,000 disciples. In his youth, he came from the masses, and understood something of the suffering of the masses. Later he became an official in the state of Lu, though not a terribly high official. The population of Lu was over a million, and for a long time people looked down on him. When he travelled around to different countries, people cursed him. This person liked to talk frankly, and said he had not experienced misery, and could not bear insults. Later, Tzu Lu acted as Confucius’ bodyguard, and did not allow people to speak ill of Confucius, but would beat anyone who opened his mouth. From this time forward, no more unpleasant sounds entered his ears, and the masses did not dare approach him. We must not cast aside the tradition of Confucius. Our general policy is correct, but our methods are wrong. There are quite a few problems regarding the present school system, curriculum, methods of teaching, and examination methods, and all this must be changed. They! are all exceedingly destructive of people.
XXX: We can get by with five years of primary school.
CHAIRMAN MAO: Primary-school teaching should not go on too long, either. Gorky had only two years of primary school; his learning was all self-taught. Franklin of America was originally a newspaper seller, yet he discovered electricity. Watt was a worker, yet he invented the steam-engine. Both in ancient and modern times, in China and abroad, many scientists trained themselves in the course of practice.
XX: When the school system has been reformed in the future, students will be able to take up a post when they reach the age of twenty-three or twenty-four. Seven is a rather late age for beginning school, we can bring it forward to six. There is a problem with buildings, but if primary school is changed to five years we can dispense with some. Then four years of middle school, and one or two years of a preparatory course at university. In view of the different nature of the various courses at university, we can diversify, and take in 140,000 or 150,000 students each year for a one or two-year preparatory course.
XXX: Before entering university, they can take off a period and go to work in a factory or in a village.
CHAIRMAN MAO: They can also go to the army for training.
XX: This is all right as regards literary subjects, but in physics there is the problem of the use of mathematics, and if they work for two years they might forget it.
XX: In the Soviet Union they work for two years after graduating from middle school, and then enter the faculties of physics and chemistry, they don’t take them directly.
XX: Except for some special schools, the universities are divided into three course-lengths: six years, especially for medicine, five years for engineering, and four years for literary subjects. In most cases of university courses, four years is sufficient. In the future, the system should be diversified, there should be different course-lengths. In the cities, there should be two kinds of middle schools, one leading to university, and the other where students graduate in two years, after which they enter specialized training.
CHAIRMAN MAO: That’s right, we must diversify.
XX: The main problem with the curriculum is a lack of centralization, and there are also those problems we studied in the past, many subjects are studied several times, every semester there are eight or nine subjects to study, there are many examinations, and this creates great tension.
CHAIRMAN MAO: Nowadays, first, there are too many classes; second, there are too many books. The pressure is too great. There are some subjects which it is not necessary to examine. For example, it is not necessary to examine the little logic and grammar which is learned in middle school. Real understanding must be acquired gradually through experience at work. It is enough to know what logic and grammar are.
XX: At present it’s all cramming, mechanical memorizing and reciting.
XXX: There are two schools of thought nowadays. One school advocates teaching subjects thoroughly, while the other advocates teaching them in outline, teaching how to go about mastering subjects, though teaching somewhat less. At present many schools follow the first pattern, but isn’t it true that this won’t work. By advocating doing things in this way, they petrify thought.
CHAIRMAN MAO: This is scholasticism. The annotations to the Four Books and the Five Classics are exceedingly scholastic, and nowadays they have all become completely indigestible. Scholasticism must inevitably die out. For example, in the study of the classics very many commentaries were written, but now they have disappeared. I think that students trained by this method, no matter whether it be in China, in America or in the Soviet Union, will all disappear, will all move towards their opposites. The same applies to the Buddhist classics, of which there are so many. The version of the Diamond Sutra edited by Hsüan-tsang of the T’ang dynasty was comparatively simplified, only a thousand-odd words, and it still exists. Another version, edited by Kumarajiva, was too long, and has died out. Won’t the Five Classics and the Thirteen Classics also come to the end of the road? They have been very copiously annotated, and as a result nobody reads them. In the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries they indulged in scholastic philosophy; only in the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries did [the world] enter the age of enlightenment and the Renaissance take place. We shouldn’t read too many books. We should read Marxist books, but not too many of them either. It will be enough to read a dozen or so. If we read too many, we can move towards our opposites, become bookworms, dogmatists, revisionists. In the writings of Confucius, there is nothing about agriculture. Because of this, the limbs of his students were not accustomed to toil, and they could not distinguish between the five grains. We must do something about this.
XXX: There is another question, which is a political question, that of the students’ nourishment, which must be improved. Each student eats food costing 12.5 yuan every month. We should spend another 40 million yuan.
CHAIRMAN MAO: It is all right to spend another 40 million yüan.
XXX: We should increase it by 2 to 4 yüan.
CHAIRMAN MAO: If you read too many books, they petrify your mind in the end. Emperor Wu of the Liang dynasty did pretty well in his early years, but afterwards he read many books, and didn’t make out so well any more. He died of hunger in T’ai Ch’eng.
[1.] Spring Festival is new years day in the Chinese Lunar Calendar.
[2.] The term “democratic parties” often referred to in CPC literature, especially in united front work, refers specially to a small group of political parties that were made up largely of members of the national bourgeoisie, the petty bourgeoisie, and patriotic “democratic personages.” (These were distinguished from “democratic personages with no party affiliations.”) These political parties were not considered to be proletarian in class identity or inherently inclined toward the socialist revolution. However, they had been developed in the period of the New Democratic Revolution, and to varying degrees of intensity, were aligned with the CPC in the struggle to bring about the socialist transformation of China, and to consolidate China’s interests vis-a-vis imperialist encroachment. The institutions of 1949 and 1954 provided for the participation of ‘democratic personages’, not affiliated with any party, in the political life of the country. The most famous of these was Sung Ch’ing-ling, Sun Yat-sen’s widow. Some of the non-communists present at the forum of February 1964 belonged to this category, others were representatives of the minor parties.
[3.] The Shensi-Kansu-Ningsia Border Region was the revolutionary base area which was gradually built up after 1931 through revolutionary guerrilla war in northern Shensi. When the Central Red Army arrived in northern Shensi after the Long March, it became the central base area of the revolution and the seat of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party. It was named the Shensi-Kansu Ningsia Border Region after the formation of the Anti-Japanese National United Front in 1937, and it included twenty-three counties along the common borders of the three provinces.
[4.] The “Measures for Restricting the Activities of Alien Parties” were secretly issued by the central authorities of the Kuomintang in 1939. They imposed severe restrictions on communist and all other progressive ideas, speech and action with the aim of disrupting all the anti-Japanese organizations of the people. They also stipulated that in places where in the opinion of the Kuomintang, “Communists were most active”, the “Law of collective responsibility and collective punishment” was to be enforced and an “information network”, or counter-revolutionary secret service, was to be generally established within the Pao-chia organizations. Pao and chia were then the basic administrative units of the Kuomintang’s fascist regime. Ten households formed a chia and ten chia a pao.
[5.] Chang Shih-chao (1881-1973) had been active in the revolutionary movement as a journalist from the early years of the twentieth century. He was evidently one of the non-party ‘democratic personages’ Mao was addressing in his opening remarks.
[6.] On October 30, 1945 Kao Shu-hsun, Deputy Commander of the Kuomintang’s 11th War Zone, revolted at the civil war front in Hantan, southern Hopei Province, and came over to our side with one corps and one column. This had a great influence throughout the country. In order to intensify the work of dividing and disintegrating the Kuomintang troops and arousing them to revolt, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China decided to start a propaganda campaign calling upon other Kuomintang officers and men to follow the example of Kao Shu-hsun and his troops, refuse to attack the Liberated Areas, sabotage the civil war at the front, fraternize with the people’s Liberation Army, rise in revolt and come over to the side of the people. This was known as the Kao Shu-hsun movement. The Kuomintang thereupon turned on Kao and smashed his forces.
[7.] Both the Kuang Hsu emperor (reigned 1875-1908) and his successor the Hsuan Tung emperor had occupied the throne during Mao’s lifetime.
[8.] Tsai-t’ao was in control of the imperial guards at the time of the 1911 revolution. He was regarded, during the last years of the dynasty, as one of the more liberal minded among the imperial clansmen.
[9.] On 24 December 1946, Shen Ch’ung, a girl student at Peiping University, was raped by an American Marine. This incident led to widespread anti-American demonstrations by students in many Chinese cities, and to demands for the immediate withdrawal of all US Military forces.
[10.] In 1964, Mao was to launch the slogan, ‘In industry learn from Tach’ing, in agriculture learn from Tachai’, and since that time both of these have generally been regarded as ‘Maoist’ models. Here Mao credits the Petroleum Ministry with the achievements of the Tach’ing oil-fields in Heilungkiang Province.
[11.] Kuan Yu (also known as Kuan Kung, the God of War) and Chang Fei were the two principal companions-in-arms of Liu Pei, the founder of the Shu Han Dynasty, during the period d the Three Kingdoms in the third century A.D. In the Romance of the Three Kingdoms, the celebrated novel they are described as wielding the weapons referred to here. Huang Chung, Chao [Yun], and Ma [Su] were the remaining three of Liu Pei’s ‘five tiger generals’. Although Liu Pei, like his two rivals, claimed to be the rightful ruler of the whole empire, the territory actually controlled by him was primarily that of the Kingdom of Shu, centering on present-day Szechuan, where Mao and his comrades were meeting.
[12.] Nanchang, capital of Kiangsi Province, was the scene of the famous uprising on August 1, 1927 led by the Communist Party of China in order to combat the counter-revolution of Chiang Kai- Shek and Wang Ching-wei and to continue the revolution of 1924- 27. More than thirty thousand troops took part in the uprising which was led by comrades Chou En-iai, Chu Teh, Ho Lung and Yell Ting. The insurrectionary army withdrew from Nanchang on August 5 as planned, but suffered a defeat when approaching Chaochow and Swatow in Kwangtung Province. Led by Comrades Chu Teh and Chen Yi, part of the troops later fought their way to the Chingkang Mountains and joined forces with the First Division of the First Workers’ and Peasants Revolutionary Army under Comrade Mao Tse-tung.
[13.] Yuan Shih-kai was the head of the Northern warlords in the last years of the Ching Dynasty. After the Ching Dynasty was overthrown by the Revolution of 1911, he usurped the presidency of the Republic and organized the first government of the Northern Warlords, which represented the big landlord and big comprador classes. He did this by relying on counter-revolutionary armed force and on the support of the imperialists and by taking advantage of the conciliationist character of the bourgeoisie, which was then leading the revolution. In 1915 he wanted to make himself emperor and, to gain the support of the Japanese imperialists accepted the Twenty one demands with which Japan aimed at obtaining exclusive control of all China. In December of the same year an uprising against his assumption of the throne took place in Yunnan Province and promptly won nation-wide response and support. Yuan Shih-kai died in Peking in June 1916.
[14.] Huang Yen-p’ei, an advocate of American-style vocational education, had been a leading figure in the Democratic League during the civil war of 1944-9, and was Minister of Light Industry from 1949 to 1954. In 1964, he was Chairman of the China Democratic National Construction Association, as well as being a member of the Standing Committee of the Democratic League.
[15.] In 1894, Dr. Sun Yat-sen formed a small revolutionary organization in Honolulu called the Hsing Chung Hui (Society for China’s Regeneration). With the support of the secret societies among the people, he staged two armed insurrections in Kwangtung Province against the Ching government after its defeat in the Sino-Japanese war in 1895, one at Canton in 1895 and the other at Huichow in 1900.
Tung Meng Hui, or the Chinese Revolutionary League (a united front organization of the bourgeoisie, the petty bourgeoisie, and a section of the landed gentry opposed to the Ching government), was formed in 1905 through the merging of the Hsing Chung Hui and two other groups, the Hua Hsing Hui (Society for China’s Regeneration) and the Kuang Fu Hui (Society for Breaking the Foreign Yoke). It put forward a programme of bourgeois revolution advocating “the expulsion of the Tartars (Manchus), the recovery of China, the establishment of a republic and the equalization of landownership”. In the period of the Chinese Revolutionary League, Dr. Sun Yat-sen, allying himself with the secret societies and a part of the New Army of the Ching government, launched a number of armed insurrections against the Ching regime, notably those at Pinghsiang (Kiangsi Province), Liuyang and Liling (Human Province) in 1906, at Huangkang Chaochow and Chinchow (Kwangtung Province), and at Chennankuan (Kwangsi Province) in 1907, at Hokou (Yunnan Province), in 1908 and at Canton in 1911. The last was followed in the same yea by the Wuchnag Uprising which resulted in the overthrow of the Ching Dynasty.
[16.] Old Ch’en’ is apparently Ch’en Shu-t’ung, Chairman of the All China Federation of Industry and Commerce since 1953. Both ‘Old Huang’ and ‘Old Ch’en’ were thus ‘democratic personages’, who had worked with the new regime since 1949.
[17.] The ‘Second Revolution, was the attempt, in 1913, by forces under the leadership of Ts’ai Ao, to overthrow Yuan Shih-k’ai and halt the movement away from genuine republicanism towards a restoration of the monarchy. On the other hand, the government of which Chang Shih-chao was minister in 1925 was that of the warlord-dominated regime in Peking, Mao deliberately mentions these two contrasting episodes in Chang Shih-chao’s life in order to evoke the wide variety of experience through which his generation has passed in its search for an answer to China’s problems.
[18.] Hsu Te-heng (1895- ) was a student leader during the May Fourth Movement. He has been Chairman of the Chiu-san (September third) Society, referred to below by Mao, since its foundation in 1945. (The Society, named for the date of Japanese surrender, is one of the minor parties participating in the united front). The ‘industrial ministry’ about which Mao asks here in the Ministry of Aquatic Products, which Hsu had headed since 1956.
[19.] The Association for Promoting Democracy was another of the minor parties, founded originally in Shanghai in 1945, which included mainly intellectuals in its ranks.
[20.] Kuo Tzu-i (697-781), a celebrated general of the T’ang Dynasty, had eight sons and seven sons-in-law; his grandchildren and great-grandchildren are reported to have been so numerous that he could not recognize them, and had to be content with bowing when they came to pay their respects.
[21.] Chin-shih, a successful candidate at the highest (‘metropolitan’, followed by ‘palace’) examinations, according to the system of examinations adopted by China’s autocractic dynasties. It was a method used by the feudal ruling class for selecting personnel to govern the people and also for enticing the intellectuals. The system, dating from the 7th century, persisted into the early 20th century. Han-lin, a member of the Han-lin Academy, which became from Ming times the preserve of those who had achieved special distinction in the palace examinations.
[22.] Han Yu (768-824) and Liu Tsung-ynan (773-819) were friends as well as contemporaries, distinguished poets and essayists who both experienced periods of banishment in the course of their official careers. Han Yu especially is regarded as one of the greatest prose writers in the history of China, as a student in Changsha, Mao was taught to take him as a model in writing essays.
[23.] Wang Shih-fu and Kuan Han-ch’ing were celebrated dramatists of the Yuan dynasty, who flourished towards the end of the thirteenth century. Wang is the author of the Story of the Western Chamber.
[24.] Lo Kuan-chung (14th century A.D.), was the author of the Romance of the Three Kingdoms, the historical novel. P’u Sung-ling (b. 1622) is known for a celebrated collection of tales of the supernatural.
[25.] Hsiu-ts’ai, literality ‘cultivated talent’, popular name for a successful candidate at the lowest or prefectural examinations, more correctly known as a shen-yuan or ‘licentiate’. Though he ‘received promotion’ by imperial favour to the rank of senior licentiate, he failed to pass the next higher stage in the examination system proper, the provincial examination, and therefore did not obtain the corresponding title of chu-jen (‘selected man’), or the opportunity to sit the metropolitan examination.
[26.] Ming Tai-tsu, the founder of the dynasty, reigned from 1368 to 1399; Ch’eng-tsu, the third emperor of the dynasty, reigned from 1403 to 1425. The Chia-ch’ing reign extended from 1522 to 1567.
[27.] Han Wu Ti, the ‘Martial Emperor’ of the Han dynasty, reigned 140-86 B.C.
[28.] Liu Hsiu (4 B.C-A.D. 57) overthrew the usurper Wang Mang in A.D. 25 and founded the Later Han (or Eastern Han) dynasty. Liu Pang (247-195 B.C.), founded the original Han dynasty in 206 B.C.
[29.] The character read shu may be either a noun, meaning book or written document (in this case, a book of history) or a verb meaning to write, especially in the sense of writing out in a fine hand. Normally, in Confucius’ list of six subjects or arts, it is taken to mean calligraphy.
[30.] The Shu Ching (‘Historical Classic’) is one of the ‘Thirteen Classics’, together with the Confucian Analects, the Book of Odes, etc. The Han Shu is the standard history of the Han dynasty.
[31.] ‘Walking on two legs’ was one of the principal slogans of the Great Leap Forward of 1958-9. It was used primarily with reference to economic development, to characterize a policy combining large scale modern technology and the use of small-scale, indigenous methods. Here it is used to suggest a similar approach to education, combing schools (mainly in the cities) with modern equipment and an elaborate curriculum, with simpler and more basic schools adapted to the needs and possibilities in the countryside.
[32.] XXX, whoever he is offers only a rather half-hearted defence of the ‘Great Leap’ policies: the downgrading of expertise, he argues, though useful as a corrective to the Soviet-style technocratic attitudes prevalent earlier, went much too far, and would have led to unfortunate results if the pendulum had not swung back again. His emphasis contracts sharply with that of comrade Mao Tse-tung in the next paragraph.
[33.] Li Shih-chen (1518-98) was the author of the Pen’ts’ao kang mu (Index of Roots and Herbs), a treatise listing more than 1,000 plants useful for medicinal purposes.
[34.] A mathematician of the tenth century.
[35.] A stringed instrument similar to a lute; skill in playing it was part of the general culture expected of the literati.
[36.] On his return to China in 645, after a pilgrimage of sixteen years to India, whence he brought back a quantity of Buddhist scriptures, the monk Huan-tsang (602-64) presided over the translation of no less than 1,338 chapters in the course of the remaining years of his fife.
[37.] Kumarajiva (350-413), a Buddhist scholar who had studied in Kashmir, was brought to the imperial capital of Ch’ang-an in 401, and placed in charge of the translation of Buddhist scriptures. These versions, the best of their time, were later superseded by the ‘new translations’ of Hsuan-tsang and his successors, not because of their length but because they were insufficiently precise.
[38.] Obviously the figure of 40 million yuan refers to the total annual bill for subsistence, while the figure of 2 to 4 yuan indicates the corresponding increase in the monthly amount per student. According to the best available estimates, there were, at this time, approximately three quarters of a million students in Chinese institutions of higher education. Thus the two figures are roughly consistent.
[39.] Hsiao Yen (464-549) occupied Nanking in 501 and was proclaimed the first emperor of the Liang dynasty in the following year. A student of Buddhism and lover of books, he was unable to implement his good intentions by reforming the administration. When T’ai Ch’eng fell to a rebellious ally in 549, he was allowed, to die of hunger and despair in a monastery to which he had retired.
Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung