The Relevance of the Western Left

Henry C.K. Liu hliu at
Fri Feb 16 22:32:57 MST 2001

                                        Deng Xiaoping

Source: Beijing Domestic Television Service, June 27, 1989; FBIS, June
27, pp. 8-10.

["Text" of speech delivered by Deng Xiaoping while receiving cadres of
the martial law
units in the capital at and above the army [corps?] level on June 9 --
read by announcer;
from the "News" program.]

Comrades, you have been working very hard. First, I express my profound
condolences to
the commanders and fighters of the People's Liberation Army [PLA],
commanders and
fighters of the armed police force, and public security officers and men
who died a heroic
death; my cordial sympathy to the several thousand commanders and
fighters of the PLA,
commanders and fighters of the armed police force, and public security
officers and men
who were injured in this struggle; and cordial regards to all commanders
and fighters of the
PLA, commanders and fighters of the armed police force, and public
security officers and
men who took part in this struggle. I propose that we all rise and stand
in silent tribute to the

I would like to take this opportunity to say a few words.

This storm was bound to come sooner or later. This is determined by the
major international
climate and China's own minor climate. It was bound to happen and is
independent of man's
will. It was just a matter of time and scale. It is more to our
advantage that this happened
today. What is most advantageous to us is that we have a large group of
veteran comrades
who are still alive. They have experienced many storms and they know
what is at stake. They
support the use of resolute action to counter the rebellion. Although
some comrades may
not understand this for a while, they will eventually understand this
and support the decision
of the Central Committee.

The April 26 Renmin ribao editorial ascertained the nature of the
problem as that of turmoil.
The word turmoil is appropriate. This is the very word to which some
people object and
which they want to change. What has happened shows that this judgment
was correct. It was
also inevitable that the situation would further develop into a

We still have a group of veteran comrades who are alive. We also have
core cadres who
took part in the revolution at various times, and in the army as well.
Therefore, the fact that
the incident broke out today has made it easier to handle.

The main difficulty in handling this incident has been that we have
never experienced such a
situation before, where a handful of bad people mixed with so many young
students and
onlookers. For a while we could not distinguish them, and as a result,
it was difficult for us
to be certain of the correct action that we should take. If we had not
had the support of so
many veteran party comrades, it would have been difficult even to
ascertain the nature of the

Some comrades do not understand the nature of the problem. They think it
is simply a
question of how to treat the masses. Actually, what we face is not
simply ordinary people
who are unable to distinguish between right and wrong. We also face a
rebellious clique and
a large number of the dregs of society, who want to topple our country
and overthrow our
party. This is the essence of the problem. Failing to understand this
fundamental issue means
failing to understand the nature of the incident. I believe that after
serious work, we can win
the support of the overwhelming majority of comrades within the party
concerning the
nature of the incident and its handling.

The incident became very clear as soon as it broke out. They have two
main slogans: One is
to topple the Communist Party, and the other is to overthrow the
socialist system. Their goal
is to establish a totally Western-dependent bourgeois republic. The
people want to combat
corruption. This, of course, we accept. We should also take the
so-called anticorruption
slogans raised by people with ulterior motives as good advice and accept
them accordingly.
Of course, these slogans are just a front: The heart of these slogans is
to topple the
Communist Party and overthrow the socialist system.

In the course of quelling this rebellion, many of our comrades were
injured or even
sacrificed their lives. Their weapons were also taken from them. Why was
this? It also was
because bad people mingled with the good, which made it difficult to
take the drastic
measures we should take.

Handling this matter amounted to a very severe political test for our
army, and what
happened shows that our PLA passed muster. If we had used tanks to roll
across [bodies?], it
would have created a confusion of fact and fiction across the country.
That is why I have to
thank the PLA commanders and fighters for using this attitude to deal
with the rebellion.
Even though the losses are regrettable, this has enabled us to win over
the people and made
it possible for those people who can't tell right from wrong to change
their viewpoint. This
has made it possible for everyone to see for themselves what kind of
people the PLA are,
whether there was bloodbath at Tiananmen, and who were the people who
shed blood.

Once this question is cleared up, we can seize the initiative. Although
it is very saddening to
have sacrificed so many comrades, if the course of the incident is
analyzed objectively,
people cannot but recognize that the PLA are the sons and brothers of
the people. This will
also help the people to understand the measures we used in the course of
the struggle. In the
future, the PLA will have the people's support for whatever measures it
takes to deal with
whatever problem it faces. I would like to add here that in the future
we must never again let
people take away our weapons.

All in all, this was a test, and we passed. Even though there are not
very many senior
comrades in the army and the fighters are mostly children of 18 or 19
years of age -- or a
little more than 20 years old -- they are still genuine soldiers of the
people. In the face of
danger to their lives, they did not forget the people, the teachings of
the party, and the
interests of the country. They were resolute in the face of death. It's
not an exaggeration to
say that they sacrificed themselves like heroes and died martyrs'

When I talked about passing muster, I was referring to the fact that the
army is still the
People's Army and that it is qualified to be so characterized. This army
still maintains the
traditions of our old Red Army. What they crossed this time was in the
true sense of the
expression a political barrier, a threshold of life and death. This was
not easy. This shows
that the People's Army is truly a great wall of iron and steel of the
party and state. This
shows that no matter how heavy our losses, the army, under the
leadership of the party, will
always remain the defender of the country, the defender of socialism,
and the defender of the
public interest. They are a most lovable people. At the same time, we
should never forget
how cruel our enemies are. We should have not one bit of forgiveness for

The fact that this incident broke out as it did is very worthy of our
pondering. It prompts us
cool-headedly to consider the past and the future. Perhaps this bad
thing will enable us to go
ahead with reform and the open policy at a steadier and better -- even a
faster -- pace, more
speedily correct our mistakes, and better develop our strong points.
Today I cannot elaborate
here. I only want to raise a point.

The first question is: Are the line, principles and policies adopted by
the third plenary
session of the Eleventh CPC Central Committee, including our three-step
strategy, correct? Is it the case that because of this rebellion the
correctness of the line,
principles, and policies we have laid down will be called into question?
Are our goals leftist
ones? Should we continue to use them as the goals for our struggle in
the future? We must
have clear and definite answers to these important questions.

We have already accomplished our first goal, doubling the GNP. We plan
to take twelve
years to attain our second goal of again doubling the GNP. In the next
fifty years we hope to
reach the level of a moderately developed nation. A 2 to 2.9 percent
annual growth rate is
sufficient. This is our strategic goal.

Concerning this, I think that what we have arrived at is not a "leftist"
judgment. Nor have we
laid down an overly ambitious goal. That is why, in answering the first
question, we cannot
say that, at least up to now, we have failed in the strategic goals we
laid down. After
sixty-one years, a country with 1.5 billion people will have reached the
level of a moderately
developed nation. This would be an unbeatable achievement. We should be
able to realize
this goal. It cannot be said that our strategic goal is wrong because
this happened.

The second question is: Is the general conclusion of the Thirteenth
Party Congress of one
center, two basic points correct? Are the two basic points -- upholding
the four cardinal
principles and persisting in the open policy and reforms -- wrong?

In recent days, I have pondered these two points. No, we have not been
wrong. There is
nothing wrong with the four cardinal principles. If there is anything
amiss, it is that these
principles have not been thoroughly implemented: They have not been used
as the basic
concept to educate the people, educate the students, and educate all the
cadres and
Communist Party members.

The nature of the current incident is basically the confrontation
between the four cardinal
principles and bourgeois liberalization. It is not that we have not
talked about such things as
the four cardinal principles, work on political concepts, opposition to
liberalization, and opposition to spiritual pollution. What we have not
had is continuity in
these talks, and there has been no action -- or even that there has been
hardly any talk.

What is wrong does not lie in the four cardinal principles themselves,
but in wavering in
upholding these principles, and in very poor work in persisting with
political work and

In my CPPCC talk on New Year's Day in 1980, I talked about four
guarantees, one of which
was the enterprising spirit in hard struggle and plain living. Hard
struggle and plain living
are our traditions. From now on we should firmly grasp education in
plain living, and we
should grasp it for the next sixty to seventy years. The more developed
our country becomes,
the more important it is to grasp the enterprising spirit in plain
living. Promoting the
enterprising spirit in plain living will also be helpful toward
overcoming corruption.

After the founding of the People's Republic, we promoted the
enterprising spirit in plain
living. Later on, when life became a little better, we promoted spending
more, leading to
waste everywhere. This, together with lapses in theoretical work and an
incomplete legal
system, resulted in breaches of the law and corruption.

I once told foreigners that our worst omission of the past ten years was
in education. What I
meant was political education, and this does not apply to schools and
young students alone,
but to the masses as a whole. We have not said much about plain living
and enterprising
spirit, about the country China is now and how it is going to turn out.
This has been our
biggest omission.

Is our basic concept of reform and openness wrong? No. Without reform
and openness, how
could we have what we have today? There has been a fairly good rise in
the people's
standard of living in the past ten years, and it may be said that we
have moved one stage
further. The positive results of ten years of reforms and opening to the
outside world must
be properly assessed, even though such issues as inflation emerged.
Naturally, in carrying
out our reform and opening our country to the outside world, bad
influences from the West
are bound to enter our country, but we have never underestimated such

In the early 1980s, when we established special economic zones, I told
our Guangdong
comrades that they should conduct a two-pronged policy: On the one hand,
they should
persevere in reforms and openness, and the other they should severely
deal with economic
crimes, including conducting ideological-political work. This is the
doctrine that everything
has two aspects.

However, looking back today, it appears that there were obvious
inadequacies. On the one
hand, we have been fairly tough, but on the other we have been fairly
soft. As a result, there
hasn't been proper coordination. Being reminded of these inadequacies
would help us
formulate future policies. Furthermore, we must continue to persist in
integrating a planned
economy with a market economy. There cannot be any change in this
policy. In practical
work we can place more emphasis on planning in the adjustment period. At
other times,
there can be a little more market regulation, so as to allow more
flexibility. The future
policy should still be an integration of a planned economy and a market

What is important is that we should never change China into a closed
country. There is not
[now?] even a good flow of information. Nowadays, do we not talk about
the importance of
information? Certainly, it is important. If one who is involved in
management doesn't have
information, he is no better than a man whose nose is blocked and whose
ears and eyes are
shut. We should never again go back to the old days of trampling the
economy to death. I put
forward this proposal for the Standing Committee's consideration. This
is also a fairly
urgent problem, a problem we'll have to deal with sooner or later.

This is the summation of our work in the past decade: Our basic
proposals, ranging from
our development strategy to principles and policies, including reform
and opening to the
outside world, are correct. If there is any inadequacy to talk about,
then I should say our
reforms and openness have not proceeded well enough.

The problems we face in the course of reform are far greater than those
we encounter in
opening our country to the outside world. In reform of the political
system, we can affirm
one point: We will persist in implementing the system of people's
congresses rather than the
American system of the separation of three powers. In fact, not all
Western countries have
adopted the American system of the separation of three powers.

America has criticized us for suppressing students. In handling its
internal student strikes
and unrest, didn't America mobilize police and troops, arrest people,
and shed blood? They
are suppressing students and the people, but we are quelling a
rebellion. What qualifications do they have to criticize us? From now
on, we should pay
attention when handling such problems. As soon as a trend emerges, we
should not allow it
to spread.

What do we do from now on? I would say that we should continue to
implement the basic
line, principles, and policies we have already formulated. We will
continue to implement
them unswervingly. Except where there is a need to alter a word or
phrase here and there,
there should be no change in the basic line and basic principles and
policies. Now that I have
raised this question, I would like you all to consider it thoroughly.

As to how to implement these policies, such as in the areas of
 investment, the manipulation
of capital, and so on, I am in favor of putting the emphasis on basic
industry and agriculture.
Basic industry includes the raw material industry, transportation, and
energy. There should
be more investment in this area, and we should persist in this for ten
to twenty years, even if
it involves debts. In a way, this is also openness. We need to be bold
in this respect. There
cannot be serious mistakes. We should work for more electricity, more
railway lines, more
public roads, and more shipping. There's a lot we can do. As for steel,
foreigners think we'll
need some 120 million metric tons in the future. We are now capable of
producing about 60
million metric tons, about half that amount. If we were to improve our
existing facilities
and increase production by 20 million metric tons, we would reduce the
amount of steel we
need to import. Obtaining foreign loans to improve this area is also an
aspect of reform and
openness. The question now confronting us is not whether or not the
reform and open
policies are correct or whether we should continue with these policies.
The question is how
to carry out these policies: Where do we go and which area should we
concentrate on?

We must resolutely implement the series of line, principles, and
policies formulated since
the third plenary session of the Eleventh CPC Central Committee. We
conscientiously sum up our experiences, persevere with what is correct,
correct what is
wrong, and do a bit more where we have lagged behind. In short, we
should sum up the
experiences of the present and look forward to the future.

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