China's Cultural Revolution, 1966-1969: Not a Dinner Party

By Michael Schoenhals | Go to book overview

1 "Just a Few Words"

Mao Zedong

Source: Translation of "Zai Zhongyang gongzuo huiyi shang de jianghua" (Talk at the Central Work Conference) ( October 25, 1966) in Stuart R. Schram, ed., Mao Tse-tung Unrehearsed: Talks and Letters 1956-1971 (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1974), pp. 270-74. Reprinted with permission.

I have just a few words to say about two matters.

For the past seventeen years there is one thing which in my opinion we haven't done well. Out of concern for state security and in view of the lessons of Stalin in the Soviet Union, we set up a first and second line.1 I have been in the second line, other comrades in the first line. Now we can see that wasn't so good; as a result our forces were dispersed. When we entered the cities we could not centralize our efforts, and there were quite a few independent kingdoms. Hence the Eleventh Plenum carried out changes. This is one matter. I am in the second line, I do not take charge of day-to-day work. Many things are left to other people so that other people's prestige is built up, and when I go to see God there won't be such a big upheaval in the State. Everybody was in agreement with this idea of mine. It seems that there are some things which the comrades in the first line have not managed too well. There are some things I should have kept a grip on which I did not. So I am responsible, we cannot just blame them. Why do I say that I bear some responsibility?

First, it was I who proposed that the Standing Committee be divided into two lines and that a secretariat be set up. Everyone agreed with this.2 Moreover I put too much trust in others. It was at the time of the

____________________
1
There are a few minor discrepancies between the translated text and the excerpts quoted in Wang Nianyi, Da dongluan de niandai (Years of Great Turmoil) ( Zhengzhou: Henan renmin chubanshe, 1988), pp. 113-14. Here Wang has "in view of how Malenkov was no longer able to fend for himself once Stalin had died and how revisionism appeared as a result, we set up a first and second line."
2
This sentence is missing in all other sources consulted, including Wang Nianyi.

-5-

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