Speeches at the Hangchow Conference

Proletarians of all countries, unite!
There is one goal, the conquest of power!

SPEECHES AT THE HANGCHOW CONFERENCE

Chairman Mao Tse-tung
03.-04.01.1958

Reproduced by
The Red Flag

SPEECHES AT THE HANGCHOW CONFERENCE

1. THE SPEECH OF THE 3RD OF JANUARY, 1958

Rightists are oppositionists; those on the Right-of-Center also oppose us; the Centrists are doubters. But the masses at large and the Leftists among the bourgeoisie and bourgeois intellectuals support us.

With regard to the treatment of the bourgeoisie, many countries wonder whether China has turned Right, in a way unlike the October Revolution. Because instead of doing away with the capitalists, we are transforming them away. In reality, in the end we will transform away the bourgeoisie: How can that be branded Rightist? It‘s still the October Revolution. If we do everything like the Soviet Union after the October Revolution, there will be no cloth, no grain (without cloth you can‘t exchange for grain), no coal mines, no electricity, no nothing. They lacked experience, while we gained a lot while running our support basis. We have left bureaucratic capital (the system of production) intact, even more so in the case of the national bourgeoisie. But there‘s change within non-change. Countrywide, there are 700,000 households of capitalists and several millions of bourgeois intellectuals; without them we can‘t run newspapers, engage in science or operate factories. Some people say you‘ve turned „Right“. Such a „Right“ is necessary, we must transform them slowly. The correct handling of contradictions among the people is precisely the implementation of this policy. Some are half enemy, half friend; others are 1/3 or more enemy.

We‘ve spent seven years and 1,200,000,000 people‘s currence to harness the Huai River. This amount for harnessing the Huai is worthwhile even if we give it a 30% discount (there are some quality problems). Our estimate in the original plan was low; later we incurred cost overruns. Criticizing Right-conservatism is very comforting; the more one criticizes, the happier one is. The enthusiasm of more than 10,000,000 people in Kansu is very high; it‘s worth studying.

The „12 Articles“ must be grasped; from now on, we‘ll compare and appraise:

  • First, water conservancy.
  • Second, fertilizer.
  • Third, soil.
  • Fourth, planting (of fine varieties of food products).
  • Fifth, system changes, like double cropping, changing from late to early planting, changing from dry to paddy rice.
  • Sixth, eliminating plant diseases and pests. (100,000,000 catties of grain were lost in Chekiang to insect pests; then in one summer all the insects were wiped out. Japan has no marxism but is already free of insect pests. We have marxism.)
  • Seventh, mechanization (new farm tools: two-wheeled, double-shared plows, water pumps, and so on).
  • Eighth, livestock.
  • Ninth, side-line occupations.
  • Tenth, making things green, afforestation.
  • Eleventh, eliminating the „Four Pests“.1
  • Twelth, curing disease and practicing hygiene.

The „40 Articles“2 will be revised in the third, fourth or fifth year of the 2nd Five-Year Plan; then we‘ll criticize our Right-deviation with pleasure. In 1956 the value of industrial production increased by 31%; without the leaps and bounds of 1956, we wouldn‘t have been able to fulfill the 1st Five-Year Plan (1953-57). We‘ll make comparisons in March this year, again in the summer, then again when we hold the Party Congress in October.3 Provinces should be compared with provinces, counties with counties and APCs with APCs. If everyone agrees, we‘ll discuss how to do it again. Everyone should go visit other provinces; if you go visit but don‘t get out and about, then if you lose by comparison, it serves you right. It‘s well worthwhile to make a trip to Kansu.

We must plan thoroughly, check up a few times a year, compare and appraise at the end of the year; hold a few meetings, hold small meetings, making sure we‘ve got the prefecture and county secretaries on board. Meetings of prefectual Party secretaries should be held once every two months, each time for no longer than five days; the county committees should go to the prefectural committees to hold meetings (it‘s more interesting to have several prefectural Party committees holding a conference jointly). Large-scale „extraordinary sessions“ should be held only once or twice a year. We must pay some attention to this once every two months; otherwise, a year will fly by just like that. The comparison and appraisal of the provinces can be done at Central Committee meetings.

I myself talk with people four times a year. I travel a bit everywhere, each time for two or three days, visiting five or six units.

There should be „40 Articles“ for industry, as well. Science, culture and education should have them, too. First let a few people draw up some suggestions, then others will have their input and we‘ll get somewhere.

Countrywide, we should establish several conomic coordinating regions4; some provinces can have overlapping jurisdictions. We should identify temples rather than deities. There should be this tradition: As long as there is a temple, no matter who‘s in charge, we‘ll let them take the lead; as long as they can make a go of it, that‘ll be fine. Sha Wen-han and Yang Si-yi are something else.5

There is a report from the Hupeh provincial Party committee on directors personally running experimental fields; the Central Committee has approved it and passed in on. Have you read it? It‘s very important. We must make widespread experiments.

On the problems of accumulation and consumption. Exactly how large should accumulation be? Some suggest 45%, some 50%, some 55%. The best is half and half. Depending on the year‘s harvest, and on the area, we should make several types of regulations. Distributing 60% of the harvest is not the normal rule; it‘s used when there is a drop in production. We must be industrious and thrifty in managing our country; individual consumption should be kept down; we must oppose extravagance at weddings and funerals. Every province should put up a proclamation banning gambling. Weddings and funerals should all be kept simple. Make your own wine at home; it‘s not good to ban that completely. Don‘t forbid firecrackers, for they have the effect of inspiring enthusiasm.

Politics and professional work should be combined; this again is the problem of red and expert. Politics is called red (for us it‘s red, for the United States it‘s white). Red and expert are the unity of opposites. The two are not the same; they differ. One has to do with the spirit, the other with material things. Some responsible comrades in professional departments seldom mention politics when they talk; it shows they normally don‘t talk much about politics. They‘re too busy; once they start talking, it‘s always about professional work. It could be worse in the case of those in charge of professional work in the provinces. We must definitely criticize any tendency to lack interest in politics; at the same time, we must oppose empty-headed politicians. It‘s good to understand something about professional work; otherwise you‘ll be red in name but not in reality. If you don‘t understand agriculture, you‘ll be no good at directing agriculture. Get involved in running experimental fields, and the problem of red and expert will be solved. One type is the empty-headed politician who doesn‘t understand any professional work; the other type is the economist or other technocrat who has lost their bearings; neither is good. Analyze a bit. But when you criticize others, examine yourself first. You yourself are a little empty-headed, and you don‘t know much about it either. Last year, the Premier looked into the problems of wages and welfare. I‘ve visited an industrial exhibition in Peking; seeing once is not enough. I still need to see more.

Rectification should be carried out thoroughly; it should not be left half finished. What Shanghai calls the third type of person knows only how to be an official; we must wipe out bureaucratic airs. Shanghai suggests we must have enthusiasm: very good. The Chekiang Daily‘s editorial „Promoters or Regressers“ should be reprinted in the People‘s Daily.

Rectification should combat waste; it shouldn‘t take too long; a few days will do. Rectification and reform should be combined. Make it a special topic for blooming; after blooming, everyone will be alert. Every member of a family should promote this through education and should be industrious and thrifty in managing households.

When should the plan be handed in? Provinces, prefectures, counties and APCs should all be engaged in it. Start with a rough outline on how to economize; the assignment should be finished in six months.

2. THE SPEECH OF THE 4TH OF JANUARY, 1958

Everyone should take a look at Li Ta‘s article in No. 5 of Philosophical Research and Feng Yu-lan‘s in No. 6. Formal logic is the science of the stage of quantitative change; it‘s a component of dialectics. Quantitative change and qualitative change form a unity of opposites. Everything has its relative regularity. Making a plan or a resolution, each has its relative balance. After everything is set, there is still change. Balance, consolidation, unity — all are temporary, while imbalance and contradiction are absolute. Everyone who attends conferences thinks of the break-up time; the longer the conference lasts, the more you want it to be over.

Formal logic is very like elementary mathematics; dialectical logic is like advanced mathematics. This idea is worth studying. Cut the circumference into tens of thousands of pieces and it‘ll become a square. Circles and squares are a unity of opposites.

The modes of thinking comprise concepts, judgment and inference. Formal logic is the study of the mode of thinking. Formal logic contains quite a few incorrect major premises. Therefore, it cannot arrive at a correct judgment; but from the perspective of formal logic that judgment is not at all incorrect. Formal logic is concerned only with quantity and not with content. Content is the business of various departments of science.

I talked about the two „12 Articles“ yesterday; no I‘ll make some additional remarks.

First, we need to grasp firmly all the „12 Articles“ on water, fertilizer, soil and so on, to achieve the proper balance. To have water and not fertilizer or to have manure and no water will not work; they‘re interrelated. After ten years (or perhaps even longer), electrification will be adopted in agriculture, in plowing. Livestock farming is related to manure collection; it‘s also a source of energy, meat and industrial raw materials. Eliminating the „Four Pests“ concerns labor power; it improves physical strength and unleashes the spirit.

Second, we must firmly grasp the „12 Articles“ on industry, handicrafts and agriculture.

Third, combat waste. According to reports from Shanghai, the Meilin Canned Food factory wasted 450,000 yuan in four years, amounting to half its capital. Eight years of this and you could build an identical factory from its wastage. This is a widespread problem. If every factory, school, governmental organ and APC would practice thrift, much material could be saved. Everything must have its proof; without proof people will not believe. One report is enough. It‘s enough to dissect one sparrow; it‘s not necessary to dissect all that many.

In rectification, ten days should be used exclusively to combat waste (from starting blooming to reform, ten or 15 days should be enough). We can save billions of yuan.

Fourth, the ratio between consumption and accumulation should be seriously studied. The ratios include 45%, 50%, 55% and 60% and so on. All the various ways of division should be studied. It should be grasped by the spring or there will be no time for it. This is a major problem. If we don‘t handle it well, the workers and peasants will be dissatisfied. In 1954 we collected 96,000,000,000 catties of grain, thus offending hundreds of millions of peasants. This year we will collect 85,000,000,000 catties, a target temporarily set for three years. I am inclined toward the ratio of 50%, depending on whether the harvest is poor or a bumper one. Combining this with industrious and thrifty domestic management, we can make a go of it. Weddings and funerals and other celebrations should all be kept simple.

Fifth, we should run experimental fields. The report of the Hupeh provincial Party committee on experimental fields is a good report.

XXX interjects: „Because of the editorial note appended by the People‘s Daily, the report of the Chekiang provincial committee is getting public attention.“)

From now on no book of translations can be published without a preface. The 1st edition should have a preface; the revised 2nd edition should also have a preface. The Communist Manifesto has any number of prefaces. How should we view today the many things from the 17th and 18th centuries? This, too, is the combination of theory and Chinese reality; it is a very important matter.

Sixth, red and expert, politics and professional work, are a unity of opposites. Both aspects should be criticized. Being concerned only with politics without familiarity with professional work is not good. Politics together with professional work are precisely red and expert. To require all those who engage in politics also to be experts presents difficulties, but they should specialize a little in the main parts of their work. The experimental fields under the Hupeh provincial Party committee seem very effective. Yet they haven‘t been running them very long.

Seventh, wipe out bureaucratic style. That‘s what Shanghai has proposed. Don‘t act like an official; wipe out the bureaucratic style altogether, and be on the same plane as the common people.

Eight, hand in plans on time.

Ninth, eliminate the „Four Pests“. Begin a patriotic health campaign with the elimination of the „Four Pests“ as its center. Have a thorough checkup once every week. „Five years depends on three years; three years depends on the first.“ This is well said.

Tenth, making things green, afforestation. We must master it this year, make a plan and do it in a big way. I have heard that a tree of over three chang in height absorbs and diffuses in one day more than one ton of watter. Will this affect underground water?

Eleventh, during the 2nd Five-Year Plan, the value of the output of local industries in the provinces should surpass the value of agricultural production (including the industries which have been decentralized to local management). There should be equilibrium in the whole country; there cannot be anarchism.

Twelth, methods of holding meetings. There should be large, medium and small meetings. „Extraordinary meetings“ (for each province) (such as Party congresses) once or twice a year. Medium-sized meetings should be a few dozen to 200-300 people (such as county committee secretaries‘ conferences); small-sized ones are like prefectural secretariat conferences. Go down and attend their conferences to understand them. „Extraordinary meetings“ should discuss politics. Professional meetings should also discuss politics.

Thirteenth, provincial Party secretaries and members of the provincial Party committees should take turns getting out of their offices. Tour around for four months a year. Go everywhere. Use two methods: you can view flowers from horseback or get off your horse and look at the flowers. Staying at a place to talk only for three or four hours, or staying a week or two, either is fine. There is no need to stay at one place for three or four months.

Fourteenth, within our ranks, don‘t do any entertaining. Don‘t ask others to treat you at a restaurant; don‘t give welcome and send-off parties; don‘t specialize in giving dance parties; and don‘t take people to the theater. Whoever goes to greet a guest at the airport, this person who is being greeted will be punished. This is one way of wiping out bureaucratic practices.

Fifteenth, on the two types of contradictions. One is contradictions between the enemy and ourselves. The other is contradictions among the people. There are two types of contradictions among the people. One has the character of class struggle. The other has the character of contradictions among the working class, the laboring people, between the advanced and the backward. Contradictions among the people divide into two types. One is the contradiction between the proletariat on the one hand and the bourgeoisie and small bourgeoisie on the other — this is a class contradiction. There are also contradictions among the laboring people — this is the contradiction among the laboring people. Some of these contradictions have the character of class struggle, such as wife-beating, even going so far as wife-killing because of the influence of feudal ideas. Or, for instance, liberalism, individualism (which is bourgeois and small-bourgeois ideology), absolute egalitarianism (a small-bourgeois ideology) all reflect problems of the private ownership system. Others of these contradictions belong to the realm of problems between the advanced and the backward. This is a problem of cognition, the inability to see through problems. For example, the agricultural collectivization high tide — I couldn‘t see quite clearly when we held our conference in Peking. After the conference I went down to Shantung and other places only to find great changes in the situation there. Only then did I feel certain about writing the preface6. This was a contradiction between the advanced and the backward — the inability clearly to size up the situation. Some people obstinately refuse to try to increase output, asserting that the conditions for increase don‘t exist. When we launched rectification, the Rightists suddenly jumped up. After a few editorials, by June and July things had settled down. There are many things that cannot be completely predicted.

The main and the quantitatively greatest contradictions: Class struggle is the main contradiction; it aims at overthrowing something. The Constitution stipulates three transformations. In reality there are two transformations — transforming the bourgeoisie and transforming the small bourgeoisie. Class contradiction is the main contradiction of the transitional period. If it is carried out well, all will be over in another XXX years. XXX years plus eight years makes XXX years. It won‘t take XXX years. If we have a rectification like this every year, we‘ll get rid of bourgeois ideology. The quantitatively greatest contradiction is between the advanced and the backward. The contradiction with the vast number of Centrists is a class contradiction. Among the upper-middle peasants 40% endorse the APCs, 40% are not so enthusiastic and 20% want to withdraw from the APCs. But they don‘t really want to withdraw from the APCs, because those who are determined to do so are in the minority. About 5% are probably Rightists, but they are still laboring people. Don‘t categorize them as Rightists; capture and release them seven times to win them over.7

The causes that produce contradictions among the people:

  • The influence of bourgeois and small-bourgeois ideology on the laboring people. Individualism, liberalism, absolute egalitarianism and bureaucratism (now attributable to the bourgeoisie) are all the influence of bourgeois and small-bourgeois ideology.
  • Subjectivism as a cause. When we can‘t aim accurately, can‘t estimate adequately, that is Rightist. We must regularly alert ourselves to advance in accordance with the situation.
  • Directorship as a cause. If directorship is a bit better, the advanced will be in the majority and the backward in the minority. You can direct in this manner or in that manner (for instance, Pingyang and Huangyan, two counties in Chekiang, are different).

You need to dissect only one sparrow to understand the overall climate. How to exercise directorship merits study. A certain Liu Chuan-you of Shouchang county in Shantung goes deeply among the masses to direct them. In Western Shantung there was no tradition of raising pigs, now every household raises two pigs, which also helps improve the soil. In Chekiang the oil plant and the winery in Tonglu competed on their output under identical conditions. Such reports on laggards pressing forward to catch up with the advanced are good. The short commentary by Wang Pu in the People‘s Daily is well written, containing dialectics (for both, see the People‘s Daily of 03.01). We should propagandize theory; talk about dialectics; talk about materialism, such as the superstructure and the economic basis, relations of production and productive forces, which are the basic content of historical materialism.

Turn problems over in your mind often, talk them over with a few comrades together, talk them over with your secretaries on a basis of equality, see what their viewpoints are, seek out a few Party secretaries to discuss things with, not as decisions already taken, but as brainstorming. To think over a few problems within a certain period of time, to talk them over, is a very important method. Don‘t call conferences before using your brain, before thinking things over. Some things mature gradually.

Sixteenth, let‘s talk about the theory of uninterrupted revolution. The uninterrupted revolution I am talking about is not the same as Trotsky spoke of. They are two different theories of uninterrupted revolution. The steps of our revolution are:

  • Overthrowing the enemy and seizing power. This was accomplished in 1949.
  • The land revolution, which was basically completed in the three years between 1950 and 1952.
  • Another land revolution, a socialist one, now I‘m talking about collectivizing the main means of production. By 1955, this was also basically completed. Some leftover work remained in 1956. These three things followed closely upon one another — two were resolved in three years, striking while the iron was hot. This was strategic: the intervals cannot be too long; there cannot be any loss of momentum. We can‘t go and establish a „new democratic order“; for if we do, we‘ll just have to spend more energy tearing it down again. Poland and Hungary „interrupted“ the „momentum“ of the time and bourgeois ideology took root. The next push for uninterrupted revolution did not go well, for middle peasants and those even better off didn‘t want to go in for collectivization. Bulgaria is a bit better — 30% is cooperativized.
  • The socialist revolution on the ideological and political fronts — the rectification campaign. This time it can be finished in the first half of this year. But we‘ll have to do it again in the first half of next year.
  • There is still the technological revolution.

Steps 1 to 4 are all in the sphere of the economic basis and the superstructure. Land reform is the destruction of the feudal system of ownership. It has to do with the relations of production. The technological revolution has to do with the productive forces, management methods and operation. This must be done in the 2nd Five-Year Plan. Steps 1, 2 and 3 are over. The revolution on the ideological and political fronts persists. A person can go moldy again after a year or two. The emphasis, however, will be on the technological revolution. Great numbers of technicians must be produced; we must encourage people to learn from those good at technology. In factories and villages there are elementary technicians. The directors of Hungan county were originally empty-headed politicians. Later they became both red and expert. In industry, follow the direction of Tonglu county, linking experiments with technological revolution and combining politicians with technicians.

Beginning in 1958, we should emphasize the technological revolution while continuing to finish the ideological and political revolution. Emphasize doing the technological revolution well. When Stalin raised the slogan that cadres are decisive in everything, he also put forward the slogan of technological revolution.

To emphasize doing a good job in the technological revolution doesn‘t mean here that there is no need to engage in politics. Politics and technology cannot be separated. Ideology and politics take command, and politics is the guarantee of professional work.

The withering away of classes will be complete in another XXX years. After that, there will still be ideological and political struggle (or call it revolution) between people, but of a different nature. It won‘t be class relations, it will be a contradiction between the advanced and backward among the laboring people. The nature of the struggle at that time will also be twofold: one will be the influence of bourgeois ideology on the laboring people; the other will be subjectivism — caused by consciousness or caused by directorship. Those who understand the art of marxist directorship will be better than those who don‘t. The „theory of the nonexistence of conflict“ is metaphysics. Why did the Moscow Declaration include a paragraph on dialectics? Because it applies to the past, the present and the future. In the future, when the whole world is unified, there will still be two factions scrambling for power, because they do not hold the same opinions. Putting out various newspapers, putting on various shows, each side will try to win over the masses. There will be ideological contests. Superstructure and ideology will still exist then. So long as there are contradictions between relations of production and productive forces, and between the superstructure and the economic basis, there will be three kinds of people: the Left, Center and Right. If the superstructure is in the hands of those who are stubborn and backward, there won‘t be any big contending and blooming. If mistakes are not corrected, there will be conflict. Even without armies, it is still possible to fight with fists and clubs. At that time, there will be no classes. If things are managed well, there will be no antagonism; if they are not handled well, there will be antagonism. Two lines, one progressive and one backward, are mutually exclusive and antagonistic. After XXX years, the function of State power in domestic affairs will gradually cease to exist; all will have become laboring people. Even now, as far as the laboring people are concerned, that power is already basically nonexistent. Only persuasion can be used against the laboring people, not suppression. State power cannot be used on the laboring people; using that power is suppression. It may appear to be very „Left“, but in fact it‘s very Right, the style of the Kuomintang. It‘s absolutely necessary to dispel bureaucratic airs. To put on an awe-inspiring air in front of the enemy is correct, but it simply won‘t work with the people.

Seventeenth, politicians must understand some professional work. In agriculture, run experimental fields; in industry, run trial production. Make comparisons; comparisons are a unity of opposites. There is an imbalance between enterprise and enterprise, between workshop and workshop within an enterprise, between circle and circle, between individual and individual. Imbalance exists not only in social laws but also in the laws of the Universe. Just as soon as equilibrium is reached, it is immediately disrupted. No sooner is there equilibrium than there‘s disequilibrium. If you want to criticize and appraise under broadly similar conditions, comparisons can be made between the backward and the advanced; it‘s not impossible.

Politicians should always understand some professional work. There should be comparison in technology, and in politics, too. Combine technology and politics, and see which one does better.

Everyone look at a few articles (the Liberation Army Daily story of the launching by Shanghai‘s Meilin factory of contending and blooming on opposition to waste, the report in the 03.01 People‘s Daily on the factories in Tonglu comparing output rates and Wang Pu‘s commentary). One affair reflects on the affairs of the whole country, and so everyone must consider other people‘s good jobs as their own. In practicing socialism, no matter where the problem occurs, we should make it our own.

As for the Rightists among the students, 80% may remain in school to continue studying. We should strengthen our ideological work with them, we should keep interacting with students, gradually transforming them. If they do some good deeds, they should be praised. Of course, there are also some bogus activists.

Don‘t think that, following this rectification, everyone will take the Yellow River as a boundary, as if the boundary could be markd that clearly.


1„Four Pests“ — Rats, sparrows, flies and mosquitoes. In 1960, bed bugs were substituted for sparrows when it was realized that the extermination of these birds had permitted insect pests to flourish.

2„40 Articles“ — The 12-Year Agricultural Programme containing 40 articles, which was launched in January 1956 and revived in the autumn of 1957.

3The 2nd Session of the 8th National Congress of the Communist Party of China was held in May, 1958.

4These regions were established on the 1st of June, 1958.

5Sha Wen-han and Yang Si-yi were senior members of the Chekiang provincial Party who had been purged as Rightists the previous month.

6See Mao Tse-tung: Preface and Editorial Notes to „Socialist Upsurge in China‘s Countryside“, 1955.

7Chu-keh Liang in the 3rd Century A.D. captured and released an adversary seven times until he gained his rival‘s voluntary submission.