- Category: History
- Created on Tuesday, 14 July 2009 11:21
- Written by Mao Zedong
The following is a transcript of one of Mao's conversations with his niece Wang Hai-Jung (December 21, 1970.) It deals with HOW revolutionaries should expose and isolate reactionaries -- and how they should deal with criticism from hostile forces. It touches directly on the question of whether to criminalize reactionary speech.
Hai-jung: Class struggle is very acute in our school. I hear that reactionary slogans have been found, some written in English on the blackboard of our English Department.
Chairman: What reactionary slogans have been written?
Hai-jung: I know only one. It is, 'Chiang wan sui.'
Chairman: How does it read in English?
Hai-jung: 'Long live Chiang.'
[i.e. a slogan, written in english, upholding Chiang Kai-Shek the leader of Nationalist Kuimintang Party that was overthrown by the communist revolution in 1949.]
Chairman: What else has been written?
Hai-jung: I don't know any others. I know only that one.
Chairman: Well, let this person write more and post them outdoors for all people to see. Does he kill people?
Hai-jung: I don't know if he kills people or not. If we find out who he is, we should dismiss him from school and send him away for labour reform.
Chairman: Well, so long as he doesn't kill people, we should not dismiss him, nor should we send him away for labour reform. Let him stay in school and continue to study. You people should hold a meeting and ask him to explain in what way Chiang Kai-shek is good and what good things he has done. On our part, you may tell why Chiang Kai-shek is not good.
Chairman: How many people are there in your school?
Hai-jung: About 3,000, including faculty and staff members.
Chairman: Among the 3,000 let us say there are seven or eight counter-revolutionaries.
Hai-jung: Even one would be bad. How could we tolerate seven or eight?
Chairman: You shouldn't be all stirred up by one slogan.
Hai-jung: Why should there be seven or eight counter-revolutionaries?
Chairman: When there are many, you can set up opposition. There can be teachers in opposition. Only they should not kill.
Hai-jung: Our school has realized the class line. Among the new students 70 per cent are workers and sons and daughters of poor and lower-middle farmers. Others are sons and daughters of cadres and heroic officers and men.
Chairman: How many sons and daughters of cadres are there in your class?
Hai-jung: In addition to myself, there are two, while others are the sons and daughters of workers and poor and lower-middle farmers. They do well. I learn much from them.
Chairman: Are they on good terms with you? Do they like you?
Hai-jung: I think our relationship is good. I find it easy to associate with them and they find the same with me.
Chairman: That's good.
Hai-jung: But there is the son of a cadre who doesn't do well. In class he doesn't listen attentively to the teacher's lecture and after class, he doesn't do homework. He likes to read fiction. Sometimes he dozes off in the dormitory and sometimes he doesn't attend the Saturday afternoon meeting. On Sunday he doesn't return to school on time. Sometimes on Sunday when our class and section hold a meeting, he doesn't show up. All of us have a bad impression of him.
Chairman: Do your teachers allow the students to take a nap or read fiction in class? We should let the students read fiction and take a nap in class, and we should look after their health. Teachers should lecture less and make the students read more. I believe the student you referred to will be very capable in the future since he had the courage to be absent from the Saturday meeting and not to return to school on time on Sunday. When you return to school, you may tell him that it is too early to return to school even at eight or nine in the evening, he may delay it until eleven or twelve. Whose fault is it that you should hold a meeting Sunday night?
Hai-jung: When I studied at the normal School, we usually had no meeting Sunday night. We were allowed to do whatever we liked that night. One day several cadres of the branch headquarters of the League (I was then a committee member of the branch headquarters) agreed to lead an organized life on Sunday night but many other League members did not favour the idea. Some of them even said to the political counsellor that Sunday was a free day and if any meeting was called at night, it would be inconvenient for us to go home. The political counsellor eventually bowed to their opinion and told us to change the date for the meeting.
Chairman: This political counsellor did the right thing.
Hai-jung: But now our school spends the whole Sunday night holding meetings -- class meetings, branch headquarters committee meetings or meetings of study groups for party lessons. According to my calculation, from the beginning of the current semester to date, there has not been one Sunday or Sunday night without any meetings.
Chairman: When you return to school, you should take the lead to rebel. Don't return to school on Sunday and don't attend any meetings on that day.
Hai-jung: But I won't dare. This is the school system. All students are required to return to school on time. If I don't people will say that I violate the school system.
Chairman: Don't care about the system. Just don't return to school. Just say you want to violate the school system.
Hai-jung: I cannot do that. If I do, I will be criticized.
Chairman: I don't think you will be very capable in the future. You are afraid of being accused of violating the school system, of criticism, of a bad record, of being expelled from school, of failing to get party membership. Why should you be afraid of so many things? The worst that can come to you is expulsion from school. The school should allow the students to rebel. Rebel when you return to school.
Hai-jung: People will say that as the Chairman's relative, I fail to follow his instructions and play a leading role in upsetting the school system. They will accuse me of arrogance and self-content, and of lack of organization and discipline.
Chairman: Look at you! You are afraid of being criticized for arrogance and self-content, and for lack of organization and discipline. Why should you be afraid? You can say that just because you are Chairman Mao's relative, you should follow his instructions to rebel. I think the student you mentioned will be more capable than you for he dared to violate the school system. I think you people are too metaphysical.