Wang Hung-wen, “On the Revision of the Party Constitution

Delivered at the Tenth National Congress of the Communist Party of China on August 24 and Adopted on August 28, 1973

On the Revision of the Party Constitution

By | 03/17/2023


As entrusted by the Central Committee of the Party, I will now give a brief explanation of the revision of our Party’s Constitution.

In accordance with the instructions of Chairman Mao and the Party’s Central Committee concerning the revision of the Party Constitution, a working conference of the Central Committee which was convened last May discussed the question of revising the Party Constitution adopted at the Ninth National Congress. After that conference, the Party committees of the provinces, the municipalities directly under the central authority, and the autonomous regions, the Party committees of the greater military commands and the Party organizations directly under the Central Committee all set up groups for the revision of the Party Constitution, extensively consulted the masses inside and outside the Party and formally submitted forty-one drafts to the Central Committee. At the same time, the masses inside and outside the Party in various places directly mailed in many suggestions for revision. The draft of the revised Constitution now submitted to the congress for discussion was drawn up according to Chairman Mao’s specific proposals for the revision and on the basis of serious study of all the drafts and suggestions sent in.

In the discussion on the revision, all Party comrades were of the view that since the Party’s Ninth National Congress, the whole Party, Army and people, guided by the line of that congress, which was formulated under the personal direction of Chairman Mao, have done the work of struggle-criticism-transformation in the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in a deep-going way, smashed the Lin Piao anti-Party clique and won great victories in all aspects of the domestic and international struggles. Practice over the past four years and more has fully proved that both the political line and organizational line of the Ninth Congress are correct. The Party Constitution adopted by the Ninth Congress upholds our Party’s consistent and fundamental principles, reflects the new experience of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution and has played a positive part in the political life of our whole Party, Army and people. The stipulations in the Party Constitution adopted by the Ninth Congress regarding the nature, guiding ideology, basic programme and basic line of our Party have been retained in the general programme of the present draft. Some adjustments have been made in the structure and content. There are not many changes in the articles. The number of words has been slightly reduced. The paragraph concerning Lin Piao in the general programme of the Party Constitution adopted by the Ninth Congress was completely deleted. This was the unanimous demand of the whole Party, Army and people. It was also the inevitable result of Lin Piao’s betrayal of the Party and the country and his own final rejection of the Party and people.

Compared with the Party Constitution adopted by the Ninth Congress, the present draft is mainly characterized by its richer content with regard to the experience of the struggle between the two lines. This was a common feature of all the drafts sent in. Under the leadership of Chairman Mao, our Party has been victorious in the ten major struggles between the two lines and accumulated rich experience of defeating Right and “Left” opportunist lines, which is most valuable to the whole Party. Chairman Mao says, “To lead the revolution to victory, a political party must depend on the correctness of its own political line and the solidity of its own organization.” All the comrades of our Party must pay close attention to the question of line, persist in continuing the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat, strengthen our Party building and ensure that the Party’s basic line for the historical period of socialism is carried through.

What has been added in the draft in this respect?

One. Concerning the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution is a great political revolution carried out under the conditions of socialism by the proletariat against the bourgeoisie and all other exploiting classes, and it is also a deepgoing Party consolidation movement. During the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution the whole Party, Army and people, under the leadership of Chairman Mao, have smashed the two bourgeois headquarters, the one headed by Liu Shao-chi and the other by Lin Piao, thus striking a hard blow at all domestic and international reactionary forces. The current Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution is absolutely necessary and most timely for consolidating the dictatorship of the proletariat, preventing capitalist restoration and building socialism. The draft fully affirms the great victories and the tremendous significance of this revolution and has the following statement explicitly written into it: “Revolutions like this will have to be carried out many times in the future.” Historical experience tells us that not only will the struggle between the two classes and the two roads in society at home inevitably find expression in our Party, but imperialism and social-imperialism abroad will inevitably recruit agents from within our Party in order to carry out aggression and subversion against us. In 1966 when the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution was just rising, Chairman Mao already pointed out, “Great disorder across the land leads to great order. And so once again every seven or eight years. Monsters and demons will jump out themselves. Determined by their own class nature, they are bound to jump out.” The living reality of class struggle has confirmed and will continue to confirm this objective law as revealed by Chairman Mao. We must heighten our vigilance and understand the protractedness and complexity of this struggle. In order to constantly consolidate the dictatorship of the proletariat and seize new victories for the socialist cause, it is necessary to deepen the socialist revolution in the ideological, political and economic spheres, to transform all those parts of the superstructure that do not conform to the socialist economic base and carry out many great political revolutions such as the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution.

Two. Adherence to the principles: “Practise Marxism, and not revisionism; unite, and don’t split; be open and aboveboard, and don’t intrigue and conspire.” Of these three principles — “the three dos and three don’ts” — put forward by Chairman Mao, the most fundamental is to practise Marxism and not revisionism. If one practises Marxism and wholeheartedly serves the interests of the vast majority of the people of China and the world, one is obliged to work for unity and be open and aboveboard; if one practises revisionism and exclusively serves the small number of exploiting class elements, one will inevitably go in for splits, intrigues and conspiracy. Revisionism is an international bourgeois ideological trend. Revisionists are agents whom the bourgeoisie, and imperialism, revisionism and reaction plant in our Party by means of sending them in or recruiting them from our ranks. Liu Shao-chi, Lin Piao and similar careerists, conspirators, double-dealers and absolutely unrepentant capitalist-roaders, though they manifested themselves in somewhat different ways, were all essentially the same; they were all chieftains in practising revisionism and thoroughly turned bourgeois ideologically, politically and in their way of life. They were rotten to the core! Chairman Mao says, “The rise to power of revisionism means the rise to power of the bourgeoisie.” This is absolutely true. The principles of “the three dos and three don’ts” have been entered into the general programme of the draft in accordance with suggestions sent in. In Point (1) under Article 3 concerning the requirements for Party members and in Point (1) under Article 12 concerning the tasks of the primary Party organizations, the words “criticize revisionism” have been added in accordance with the views expressed by the worker, peasant and soldier comrades at the forum held by the Peking Municipal Party Committee on the revision of the Party Constitution as well as suggestions from some provinces and municipalities. Revisionism remains the main danger today. To study Marxism and criticize revisionism is our long-term task for strengthening the building of our Party ideologically.

Three. We must have the revolutionary spirit of daring to go against the tide. Chairman Mao pointed out: Going against the tide is a Marxist-Leninist principle. During the discussions on the revision of the Party Constitution, many comrades, reviewing the Party’s history and their own experiences, held that this was most important in the twoline struggle within the Party. In the early period of the democratic revolution, there were several occasions when wrong lines held sway in our Party. In the later period of the democratic revolution and in the period of socialist revolution, when the correct line represented by Chairman Mao has been predominant, there have also been lessons in that certain wrong lines or wrong views were taken as correct for a time by many people and supported as such. The correct line represented by Chairman Mao has waged resolute struggles against those errors and won out. When confronted with issues that concern the line and the overall situation, a true Communist must act without any selfish considerations and dare to go against the tide, fearing neither removal from his post, expulsion from the Party, imprisonment, divorce nor guillotine.

Of course, in the face of an erroneous trend there is not only the question of whether one dares go against it but also that of whether one is able to distinguish it. Class struggle and the two-line struggle in the historical period of socialism are ex-tremely complex. When one tendency is covered by another, many comrades often fail to note it. Moreover, those who intrigue and conspire deliberately put up false fronts, which makes it all the more difficult to discern. Through discussion, many comrades have come to realize that according to the dialectic materialist point of view, all objective things are knowable. “The naked eye is not enough, we must have the aid of the telescope and the microscope. The Marxist method is our telescope and microscope in political and military matters.” So long as one diligently studies the works of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin and those of Chairman Mao, takes an active part in the actual struggle and works hard to remould one’s world outlook, one can constantly raise the ability to distinguish genuine from sham Marxism and differentiate between correct and wrong lines and views.

In waging struggle, we must study Chairman Mao’s theory concerning the struggle between the two lines and learn from his practice; we must not only be firm in principle, but also carry out correct policies, draw a clear distinction between the two types of contradictions of different nature, make sure to unite with the vast majority and observe Party discipline.

Four. We must train millions of successors for the cause of the proletarian revolution in the course of mass struggles. Chairman Mao said, “In order to guarantee that our Party and country do not change their colour, we must not only have a correct line and correct policies but must train and bring up millions of successors who will carry on the cause of proletarian revolution.” As stated above, those to be trained are not just one or two persons, but millions. Such a task cannot be fulfilled unless the whole Party attaches importance to it. In discussing the revision of the Party Constitution, many elder comrades expressed the strong desire that we must further improve the work of training successors, so that the cause of our proletarian revolution initiated by the Party under the leadership of Chairman Mao will be carried forward by an endless flow of successors. Many young comrades on their part warmly pledged to learn modestly from the strong points of veteran cadres who have been tempered through long years of revolutionary war and revolutionary struggle and have rich experience, to be strict with themselves and to do their best to carry on the revolution. Both veteran and new cadres expressed their determination to learn each other’s strong points and overcome their own shortcomings. In the light of the views expressed, a sentence about the necessity of training successors has been added to the general programme of the draft, and another sentence about the application of the principle of combining the old, the middle-aged and the young in leading bodies at all levels has been added to the articles. We must, in accordance with the five requirements Chairman Mao has laid down for successors to the cause of the proletarian revolution, lay stress on selecting outstanding persons from among the workers and poor and lower-middle peasants and placing them in leading posts at all levels. Attention must also be paid to training women cadres and minority nationality cadres.

Five. We must strengthen the Party’s cen-tralized leadership and promote the Party’s traditional style of work. The political party of the proletariat is the highest form of the organization of the proletariat, and the Party must exercise leadership in everything; this is an important Marxist principle. The draft has incorporated suggestions from various units on strengthening the Party’s centralized leadership. It is laid down in the articles that state organs, the People’s Liberation Army and revolutionary mass organizations “must all accept the centralized leadership of the Party.” Organizationally, the Party’s centralized leadership should be given expression in two respects: First, as regards the relationship between various organizations at the same level, of the seven sectors — industry, agriculture, commerce, culture and education, the Army, the government and the Party — it is the Party that exercises overall leadership; the Party is not parallel to the others and still less is it under the leadership of any other. Second, as regards the relationship between higher and lower levels, the lower level is subordinate to the higher level, and the entire Party is subordinate to the Central Committee. This has long been a rule in our Party and it must be adhered to. We must strengthen the Party’s centralized leadership, and a Party committee’s leadership must not be replaced by a “joint conference” of several sectors. But at the same time, it is necessary to give full play to the role of the revolutionary committees, the other sectors and organizations at all levels. The Party committee must practise democratic centralism and strengthen its collective leadership. It must unite people “from all corners of the country” and not practise mountain-stronghold sectionalism. It must “let all people have their say” and not “let one person alone have the say.” The most essential thing about the Party’s centralized leadership is leadership through a correct ideological and political line. Party committees at all levels must, on the basis of Chairman Mao’s revolutionary line, achieve unity in thinking, policy, plan, command and action.

The style of integrating theory with practice, maintaining close ties with the masses and practising criticism and self-criticism has been written into the general programme of the draft. Communists of the older generations are familiar with this fine tradition of our Party as cultivated by Chairman Mao; however, they still face the question of how to carry it forward under new historical conditions, whereas for the many new Party members, there is the question of learning, inheriting and carrying it forward. Chairman Mao often educates us with accounts of the Party’s activities in its years of bitter struggle, asking us to share the same lot, rough or smooth, with the broad masses. We must beware of the inroads of bourgeois ideology and the attacks by sugar-coated bullets; we must be modest and prudent, work hard and lead a plain life, resolutely oppose privilege and earnestly overcome all such unhealthy tendencies as “going in by the back door.”

Now, I would like to discuss with special emphasis the question of accepting criticism and supervision from the masses. Ours is a socialist country under the dictatorship of the proletariat. The working class, the poor and lower-middle peasants and the masses of working people are the masters of our country. They have the right to exercise revolutionary supervision over cadres of all ranks of our Party and state organs. This concept has taken deeper root throughout the Party, thanks to the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. However, there are still a small number of cadres, especially some leading cadres, who will not tolerate differing views of the masses inside or outside the Party. They even suppress criticism and retaliate, and it is quite serious in some individual cases. In handling problems among the people, Party discipline absolutely forbids such wrong practices as resorting to “suppression if unable to persuade, and arrest if unable to sup-press.” In the draft, the sentence that “it is absolutely impermissible to suppress criticism and to retaliate” has been added to the articles. We should approach this question from the high plane of two-line struggle to understand it, and resolutely fight against such violations of Party discipline. We must have faith in the masses, rely on them, constantly use the weapons of arousing the masses to air their views freely, write big-character posters and hold great debates and strive “to create a political situation in which there are both centralism and democracy, both discipline and freedom, both unity of will and personal ease of mind and liveliness, so as to facilitate our socialist revolution and socialist construction, make it easier to overcome difficulties, enable our country to build a modern industry and modern agriculture at a fairly rapid pace, consolidate our Party and state and make them better able to weather storm and stress.”

Six. It is our Party’s consistent principle to uphold proletarian internationalism. This time we have further included “Oppose great-power chauvinism” in the draft. We will forever stand together with the proletariat and the revolutionary people of the world to oppose imperialism, modern revisionism and all reaction, and at present to op-pose especially the hegemonism of the two super-powers — the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. The danger of a new world war still exists. We must, without fail, prepare well against any war of aggression and guard against surprise attack by imperialism and social-imperialism.

Chairman Mao says, “In our international relations, we Chinese people should get rid of great-power chauvinism resolutely, thoroughly, wholly and completely.” Our country has a large population, vast territory and abundant resources. We must make our country prosperous and strong and we are fully capable of doing it. However, we must persist in the principle of “never seek hegemony” and must never be a superpower under any circumstances. All Party comrades must firmly bear in mind Chairman Mao’s teachings that we must never be conceited, not even after a hundred years, and never be cocky, not even after the 21st century. At home, too, we must oppose every manifestation of “great-power” chauvinism, and further strengthen the revolutionary unity of the whole Party, the whole Army and the people of all the nationalities of the country to speed up our socialist revolution and socialist construction and strive to fulfil our due internationalist obligations.

Comrades! Ours is a great, glorious and correct Party. We are confident that the whole Party, acting according to the political line defined by the Tenth Congress and the new Party Constitution adopted by it, can surely build our Party into a stronger and more vigorous one. Let us, under the leadership of the Party’s Central Committee headed by Chairman Mao, unite to win still greater victories!

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