Mao Zedong

Chairman of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China
(Redirected from Mao Tse-Tung)
Let a hundred flowers bloom; let a hundred schools of thoughts contend.
Liberalism is extremely harmful in a revolutionary collective. It is a corrosive which eats away unity, undermines cohesion causes apathy and creates dissension. It robs the revolutionary ranks of compact organization and strict discipline, prevents policies from being carried through and alienates the Party organization from the masses which the Party leads. It is an extremely bad tendency.
All erroneous ideas, all poisonous weeds, all ghosts and monsters, must be subjected to criticism; in no circumstance should they be allowed to spread unchecked. However, the criticism should be fully reasoned, analytical and convincing, and not rough, bureaucratic, metaphysical or dogmatic.
All reactionaries are paper tigers.
Politics is war without bloodshed, while war is politics with bloodshed.
One cannot advance without mistakes... It is necessary to make mistakes. The party cannot be educated without learning from mistakes.
Our principle is that the Party commands the gun, and the gun must never be allowed to command the Party.

Mao Zedong (or Mao Tse-tung in Wade-Giles; Simplified Chinese: 毛泽东; Traditional Chinese: 毛澤東; December 26, 1893September 9, 1976) was the Chairman of the Communist Party of China from 1943 until his death. He was also a founder of the People's Republic of China.



  • The "Cabinet meeting" of the Chinese government is really quick in yielding. Even the fart of foreigners can be taken as "fragrance." The Cabinet meeting lifts the cotton export ban because foreigners want cotton; it orders "all provinces to stop collecting the cigarette tax" because foreigners want to import cigarettes. Let the 400 million compatriots again think it over: Isn't it correct to say that the Chinese government is the bookkeeper of foreigners?


Children are the masters of the new society.
  • When we look at a thing, we must examine its essence and treat its appearance merely as an usher at the threshold, and once we cross the threshold, we must grasp the essence of the thing; this is the only reliable and scientific method of analysis.
    • “A Single Spark Can Start a Prairie Fire” (January 5, 1930)
  • Children are the masters of the new society.
    • Decree Regarding Marriage (January 28, 1931)
  • In approaching a problem a Marxist should see the whole as well as the parts. A frog in a well says, “The sky is no bigger than the mouth of the well.” That is untrue, for the sky is not just the size of the mouth of the well. If it said, “A part of the sky is the size of the mouth of a well”, that would be true, for it tallies with the facts.
    • “On Tactics Against Japanese Imperialism” (December 27, 1935)
  • We the Chinese nation have the spirit to fight the enemy to the last drop of our blood, the determination to recover our lost territory by our own efforts, and the ability to stand on our own feet in the family of nations.
    • “On Tactics Against Japanese Imperialism” (December 27, 1935)
  • 江山如此多娇,引无数英雄竞折腰。惜秦皇汉武,略输文采;唐宗宋祖,稍逊风骚。一代天骄,成吉思汗,只识弯弓射大雕。俱往矣,数风流人物,还看今朝。
    • The country is so beautiful, where so many heroes had devoted their lives into it. Sorry that the Qin Emperor or the Han Wu Emperor lacks a sense for literacy; while the founders of the Tang and Song dynasties came short in style. The great man, Genghis Khan, only knew how to shoot eagles with an arrow. The past is past. To see real heroes, look around you.
    • Qinyuanchun ["Snow"] (沁园春•雪) (1936; first published in late 1945). Variant translation of the last stanza: "All are past and gone! / For truly great men / Look to this age alone."
  • 我们需要的是热烈而镇定的情绪,紧张而有秩序的工作。
    • He later wrote the similar quote "When guerrillas engage a stronger enemy, they withdraw when he advances; harass him when he stops; strike him when he is weary; pursue him when he withdraws." On Guerrilla Warfare (1937), Chapter 1 - "What Is Guerrilla Warfare?"
  • I knew the Classics, but disliked them. What I enjoyed were the romances of Old China, and especially stories of rebellions. I read the Yo Fei Chuan, Shui Hu Chuan, Fan T'ang, San Kuo, and Hsi Yu Chi, while still very young, and despite the vigilance of my old teacher, who hated these outlawed books and called them wicked. I used to read them in school, covering them up with a Classic when the teacher walked past. So also did most of my schoolmates. We learned many of the stories almost by heart, and discussed and re-discussed them many times. We knew more of them than the old men of the village, who also loved them and used to exchange stories with us. I believe that perhaps I was much influenced by such books, read at an impressionable age.
    • In Edgar Snow's Red Star Over China (1937)
  • Many people think it impossible for guerrillas to exist for long in the enemy's rear. Such a belief reveals lack of comprehension of the relationship that should exist between the people and the troops. The former may be likened to water the latter to the fish who inhabit it. How may it be said that these two cannot exist together?
    • On Guerrilla Warfare (1937), Chapter 6 - "The Political Problems of Guerilla Warfare"
    • This is usually aphorized as "The people are the sea that the revolutionary swims in," or an equivalent.
  • Politics is war without bloodshed, while war is politics with bloodshed.
    • On Protracted War, May 1938, from 'Mao's Selected Works, Vol. II', Section 64 pg. 153
  • Marxism comprises many principles, but in the final analysis they can all be brought back to a single sentence: it is right to rebel.
    • Speech marking the 60th birthday of Stalin (20 December 1939), later revised as "It is right to rebel against reactionaries."


  • What is knowledge? Ever since class society came into being the world has had only two kinds of knowledge, knowledge of the struggle of production and knowledge of the class struggle. Natural science and social science are the crystallization of these two kinds of knowledge, and philosophy is the generalization and summation of the knowledge of nature.
    • "Rectify the Party's Style of Work" (1942)
  • All relatively complete knowledge is formed in two stages: the first stage is perceptual knowledge, the second is rational knowledge, the latter being the development of the former to a higher stage.
    • "Rectify the Party's Style of Work" (1942)
  • Our comrades must understand that we study Marxism-Leninism not for display, nor because there is any mystery about it, but solely because it is the science which leads the revolutionary cause of the proletariat to victory.
    • "Rectify the Party's Style of Work" (1942)
  • Who are the honest people? Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin are honest, men of science are honest. Which are the dishonest people? Trotsky, Bukharin, Chen Tu-hsiu, and Chang Kuo-tao are extremely dishonest; and those who assert "independence" out of personal or sectional interest are dishonest too.
    • "Rectify the Party's Style of Work" (1942)
  • We must build a centralized, unified Party and make a clean sweep of all unprincipled factional struggles. We must combat individualism and sectarianism so as to enable our whole Party to march in step and fight for one common goal.
    • "Rectify the Party's Style of Work" (1942)
  • Why must there be a revolutionary party? There must be a revolutionary party because the world contains enemies who oppress the people and the people want to throw off enemy oppression. In the era of capitalism and imperialism, just such a revolutionary party as the Communist Party is needed. Without such a party it is simply impossible for the people to throw off enemy oppression. We are Communists, we want to lead the people in overthrowing the enemy, and so we must keep our ranks in good order, we must march in step, our troops must be picked troops and our weapons good weapons. Without these conditions the enemy cannot be overthrown.
    • "Rectify the Party's Style of Work" (1942)
  • Subjectivism, sectarianism and stereotyped Party writing are no longer the dominant styles, but merely gusts of contrary wind, ill winds from the air-raid tunnels.
    • "Rectify the Party's Style of Work" (1942)
  • The atom bomb is a paper tiger which the U.S. reactionaries use to scare people. it looks terrible but in fact it isn't. Of course, the atom bomb is a weapon of mass slaughter, but the outcome of a war is decided by the people--not by one of two new types of weapon.
    • "Talk with the American Correspondent Anna Louise Strong"(August 1946)
  • "You are dictatorial." My dear sirs, you are right, that is just what we are. All the experience the Chinese people have accumulated through several decades teaches us to enforce the people's democratic dictatorship, that is, to deprive the reactionaries of the right to speak and let the people alone have that right.
  • "You are dictatorial." My dear sirs, you are right, that is just what we are. All the experience the Chinese people have accumulated through several decades teaches us to enforce the people's democratic dictatorship, that is to deprive the reactionaries of the right to speak and let the people alone have that rights.
    • "On the People's Democratic Dictatorship" (1949)
  • Democracy is practiced within the ranks of the people, who enjoy the rights of freedom of speech, assembly, association and so on. The right to vote belongs only to the people, not to the reactionaries. The combination of these two aspects, democracy for the people and dictatorship over the reactionaries, is the people's democratic dictatorship.
    • "On the People's Democratic Dictatorship" (1949)
  • The people's state protects the people. Only when the people have such a state can they educate and remould themselves by democratic methods on a country-wide scale, with everyone taking part, and shake off the influence of domestic and foreign reactionaries...rid themselves of the bad habits and ideas acquired in the old society, not allow themselves to be led astray by the reactionaries, and continue to advance- to advance towards a socialist and communist society.
    • "On the People's Democratic Dictatorship" (1949)
  • As for members of the reactionary classes and individuals so long as they do not rebel, sabotage or create trouble after their political power has been overthrown, land and work will be given to them as well in order to allow them to live and remould themselves through labour into new people. If they are not willing to work, the people's state will compel them to work. Propaganda and educational work will be done among them too and will be done, moreover, with as much care and thoroughness as among the captured army officers in the past.
    • "On the People's Democratic Dictatorship" (1949)


Ours is a people's democratic dictatorship, led by the working class and based on the worker-peasant alliance.
Don't make a fuss about a world war. At most, people die. ... Half the population wiped out – this happened quite a few times in Chinese history. ... It's best if half the population is left, next best one-third.
Deaths have benefits. They can fertilise the ground.
  • Stalin made mistakes. He made mistakes towards us, for example, in 1927. He made mistakes towards the Yugoslavs too. One cannot advance without mistakes... It is necessary to make mistakes. The party cannot be educated without learning from mistakes. This has great significance.
    • Said to Enver Hoxha, on his visit to China in 1956, as quoted in Hoxha's (1986) The Artful Albanian, (Chatto & Windus, London), ISBN 0701129700
  • There are a lot of things we can learn from the Soviet Union. Naturally, we should learn from its advanced and not its backward experience. The slogan we have advocated all along is to draw on the advanced Soviet experience. Who told you to pick up its backward experience? Some people are so undiscriminating that they say a Russian fart is fragrant. That too is subjectivism. The Russians themselves say it stinks. Therefore, we should be analytical.
  • 百花齐放,百家争鸣 (Simplified Chinese), 百花齊放,百家爭鳴 (Traditional Chinese), bǎihuāqífàng, bǎijiāzhēngmíng (Pinyin)
    • "Let a hundred flowers bloom; let a hundred schools of thought contend" is the policy for promoting progress in the arts and the sciences and a flourishing socialist culture in our land.
    • Slogan used at the start of the Hundred Flowers Campaign of open criticism of the communist government that began in late 1956 and ended in July 1957.
  • Ours is a people's democratic dictatorship, led by the working class and based on the worker-peasant alliance.
    • On the Correct Handling of Contradiction (1957)
  • Criticisms from democratic personages can be of only two kinds, those that are wrong and those that are not. Criticisms that are not wrong can help remedy our shortcomings while wrong ones must be refuted. As for such types as Liang Shu-ming, Peng Yi-hu and Chang Nai-chi, if they want to fart, let them. That will be to our advantage, for everybody can judge whether the smell is good or foul, and through discussion the majority can be won over and these types isolated.
  • Don't make a fuss about a world war. At most, people die. ... Half the population wiped out – this happened quite a few times in Chinese history. ... It's best if half the population is left, next best one-third.
    • Speech to the Communist Party congress (17 May 1958), quoted in Jung Chang and Jon Halliday, Mao: The Unknown Story (2005), p. 458
  • [Death] is indeed to be rejoiced over. ... We believe in dialectics, and so we can't not be in favour of death.
    • Speech to the Communist Party congress (20 May 1958), quoted in Jung Chang and Jon Halliday, Mao: The Unknown Story (2005), p. 457
  • Deaths have benefits. They can fertilise the ground.
    • Remarks to top Communist officials (9 December 1958), quoted in Jung Chang and Jon Halliday, Mao: The Unknown Story (2005), p. 457
  • 假如办十件事,九件是坏的,都登在报上,一定灭亡。那我就走,到农村去,率领农民推翻政府,你解放军不跟我走,我就找红军去。【在庐山会议上的讲话(1959年7月23日)】
    • If we did ten things, nine were bad and got disclosed by the newspapers, we will be over. Then I will go, to the countryside, lead the peasant and revolt. If the Liberation Army do not follow me, I will get the Red Army. (July 23, 1959)
    • Speech at the Lushan Conference (23 July 1959)
  • The chaos caused was on a grand scale and I take responsibility. Comrades, you must all analyse your own responsibility. If you have to ***, ***! If you have to fart, fart! You will feel much better for it.


Maybe you're afraid of sinking. Don't think about it. If you don't think about it, you won't sink. If you do, you will.
  • The more books you read, the more stupid you become.
    • Speech (26 June 1965), quoted in Jung Chang and Jon Halliday, Mao: The Unknown Story (2005), p. 507
  • Maybe you're afraid of sinking. Don't think about it. If you don't think about it, you won't sink. If you do, you will.
  • (論國民黨) 有很多的頑固分子,他們是頑固專門學校畢業的。他們今天頑固,明天頑固,後天還是頑固。什麼叫頑固?固者硬也,頑者,今天、明天、後天都不進步之謂也。這樣的人,就叫做頑固分子。要使這樣的頑固分子聽我們的話,不是一件容易的事情。
    • (Referring to the Kuomintang) There are many stubborn elements, graduates in the speciality schools of stubbornness. They are stubborn today, they will be stubborn tomorrow, and they will be stubborn the day after tomorrow. What is stubbornness (wan gu)? "Gu" is to be stiff. "Wan" is to not progress: not today, nor tomorrow, nor the day after tomorrow. People like that are called the "stubborn elements". It is not an easy thing to make the stubborn elements listen to our words.
    • Mao, 1967, as quoted by Jing Huang in The Role of Government Propaganda in the Educational System during the Cultural Revolution in China.
  • Racial discrimination in the United States is a product of the colonialist and imperialist system. The contradiction between the Black masses in the United States and the U.S. ruling circles is a class contradiction. Only by overthrowing the reactionary rule of the U.S. monopoly capitalist class and destroying the colonialist and imperialist system can the Black people in the United States win complete emancipation. The Black masses and the masses of white working people in the United States have common interests and common objectives to struggle for. Therefore, the Afro-American struggle is winning sympathy and support from increasing numbers of white working people and progressives in the United States. The struggle of the Black people in the United States is bound to merge with the American workers’ movement, and this will eventually end the criminal rule of the U.S. monopoly capitalist class.


  • All the rest of the world uses the word "electricity." They've borrowed the word from English. But we Chinese have our own word for it!
    • Quoted in Khrushchev Remembers (1970), p. 474


  • My closest friend and brother – this world is lucky to have a great personality as Kim Il Sung. This causes my boundless happiness. The fate of the world revolution and the international communist movement are on your shoulders, Comrade Kim Il Sung. I wish you long life and good health.
  • 我这个人是被许多人恨的,特别是彭德怀同志,他是恨死了我的;不恨死了,也有若干恨。我跟彭德怀同志的政策是这样的:『人不犯我,我不犯人;人若犯我,我必犯人。』过去跟我兄弟也是这样。
    • 庐山会议实录
    • I am hated by many, especially comrade Peng Dehuai, his hatred is so intense that he wished me dead. My policy with Peng Dehuai is such: You don't touch me, I don't touch you; You touch me, I touch you. Even though we were once like brothers, it doesn't change a thing.
  • 哪里有压迫,哪里就有反抗。
    • Where there is oppression, there is revolt.

Changsha (1925)Edit

I ask, on this bondless land
Who rules over man's destiny?
  • Alone I stand in the autumn cold
    On the tip of Orange Island,
    Xiang flowing northward;
    I see a thousand hills crimsoned through
    By their serried woods deep-dyed,
    And a hundred barges vying
    Over crystal blue waters.
    Eagles cleave the air,
    Fish glide under the shallow water;
    Under freezing skies a million creatures contend in freedom.
    Brooding over this immensity,
    I ask, on this bondless land
    Who rules over man's destiny?

Yellow Crane Tower (1927)Edit

  • Wide, wide flow the nine streams through the land, Dark, dark threads the line from south to north. Blurred in the thick haze of the misty rain Tortoise and Snake hold the great river locked. The yellow crane is gone, who knows whither? Only this tower remains a haunt for visitors. I pledge my wine to the surging torrent, The tide of my heart swells with the waves.

On Practice (1937)Edit

  • In class society, everyone lives as a member of a particular class, and every kind of thinking, without exception, is stamped with the brand of a class.
  • If a man wants to succeed in his work, that is, to achieve the anticipated results, he must bring his ideas into correspondence with the laws of the objective external world; if they do not correspond, he will fail in his practice. After he fails, he draws his lessons, corrects his ideas to make them correspond to the laws of the external world, and can thus turn failure into success; this is what is meant by “failure is the mother of success” and “a fall into the pit, a gain in your wit.
  • The Marxist philosophy of dialectical materialism has two outstanding characteristics. One is its class nature: it openly avows that dialectical materialism is in the service of the proletariat. The other is its practicality: it emphasizes the dependence of theory on practice, emphasizes that theory is based on practice and in turn serves practice.
  • Whoever wants to know a thing has no way of doing so except by coming into contact with it, that is, by living (practicing) in its environment. ... If you want knowledge, you must take part in the practice of changing reality. If you want to know the taste of a pear, you must change the pear by eating it yourself.... If you want to know the theory and methods of revolution, you must take part in revolution. All genuine knowledge originates in direct experience.
  • Only those who are subjective, one-sided and superficial in their approach to problems will smugly issue orders or directives the moment they arrive on the scene, without considering the circumstances, without viewing things in their totality (their history and their present state as a whole) and without getting to the essence of things (their nature and the internal relations between one thing and another). Such people are bound to trip and fall.
  • Knowledge begins with practice, and theoretical knowledge, which is acquired through practice, must then return to practice. The active function of knowledge manifests itself not only in the active leap from perceptual to rational knowledge, but - and this is more important - it must manifest itself in the leap from rational knowledge to revolutionary practice.
  • If we have a correct theory but merely prate about it, pigeonhole it and do not put it into practice, then that theory, however good, is of no significance.
  • Marxist philosophy holds that the most important problem does not lie in understanding the laws of the objective world and thus being able to explain it, but in applying the knowledge of these laws actively to change the world.
  • Discover the truth through practice, and again through practice verify and develop the truth. Start from perceptual knowledge and actively develop it into rational knowledge; then start from rational knowledge and actively guide revolutionary practice to change both the subjective and the objective world. Practice, knowledge, again practice, and again knowledge. This form repeats itself in endless cycles, and with each cycle the content of practice and knowledge rises to a higher level. Such is the whole of the dialectical-materialist theory of knowledge, and such is the dialectical-materialist theory of the unity of knowing and doing.
    • Concluding Paragraph

Combat Liberalism (1937)Edit

  • Liberalism is extremely harmful in a revolutionary collective. It is a corrosive which eats away unity, undermines cohesion causes apathy and creates dissension. It robs the revolutionary ranks of compact organization and strict discipline, prevents policies from being carried through and alienates the Party organization from the masses which the Party leads. It is an extremely bad tendency.
  • People who are liberals look upon the principles of Marxism as abstract dogma. They approve of Marxism, but are not prepared to practice it or to practice it in full; they are not prepared to replace their liberalism by Marxism. These people have their Marxism, but they have their liberalism as well - they talk Marxism but practice liberalism; they apply Marxism to others but liberalism to themselves. They keep both kind of goods in stock and find a use for each. This is how the minds of certain people work.
  • All loyal, honest, active and upright Communists must unite to oppose the liberal tendencies shown by certain people among us, and set them on the right path. This is one of the tasks on our ideological front.

On Contradiction (1937)Edit

Opposition and struggle between ideas of different kinds constantly occur within the Party; this is a reflection within the Party of contradictions between classes and between the new and the old in society. If there were no contradictions in the Party and no ideological struggles to resolve them, the Party's life would come to an end.
  • The fundamental cause of the development of a thing is not external but internal; it lies in the contradictoriness within the thing. This internal contradiction exists in every single thing, hence its motion and development. Contradictoriness within a thing is the fundamental cause of its development, while its interrelations and interactions with other things are secondary causes.
  • Changes in society are due chiefly to the development of the internal contradictions in society, that is, the contradiction between the productive forces and the relations of production, the contradiction between classes and the contradiction between the old and the new; it is the development of these contradictions that pushes society forward and gives the impetus for the suppression of the old society by the new.
  • It [materialist dialectics] holds that external causes are the condition of change and internal causes are the basis of change, and that external causes become operative through internal causes. In a suitable temperature an egg changes into a chicken, but no temperature can change a stone into a chicken, because each has a different basis.
  • Opposition and struggle between ideas of different kinds constantly occur within the Party; this is a reflection within the Party of contradictions between classes and between the new and the old in society. If there were no contradictions in the Party and no ideological struggles to resolve them, the Party's life would come to an end.
  • If in any process there are a number of contradictions, one of them must be the principal contradiction playing the leading and decisive role, while the rest occupy a secondary and subordinate position. Therefore, in studying any complex process in which there are two or more contradictions, we must devote every effort to finding its principal contradiction. Once this principal contradiction is grasped, all problems can be readily solved.
  • Of the two contradictory aspects, one must be principal and the other secondary. The principal aspect is the one playing the leading role in the contradiction. The nature of a thing is determined mainly by the principal aspect of a contradiction, the aspect that has gained the dominant position. But this situation is not static; the principal and the non-principal aspects of a contradiction transform themselves into each other and the nature of the thing changes accordingly.
  • While we recognize that in the general development of history the material determines the mental and social being determines social consciousness, we also - and indeed must - recognize the reaction of mental on material things, of social consciousness on social being and of the superstructure on the economic base. This does not go against materialism; on the contrary, it avoids mechanical materialism and firmly upholds dialectical materialism.
  • Contradiction and struggle are universal and absolute, but the methods of resolving contradictions, that is, the forms of struggle, differ according to the differences in the nature of the contradictions. Some contradictions are characterized by open antagonism and others are not. In accordance with the concrete development of things, some contradictions, which were originally non-antagonistic, develop into antagonistic ones, while others which were originally antagonistic develop into non-antagonistic ones.
  • Revolutions and revolutionary wars are inevitable in class society, and without them it is impossible to accomplish any leap in social development and to overthrow the reactionary ruling classes and therefore impossible for the people to win political power.
  • All contradictory things are interconnected; not only do they coexist in a single entity in given conditions, but in other given conditions, they also transform themselves into each other. This is the full meaning of the identity of opposites. This is what Lenin meant when he discussed "how they happen to be (how they become) identical--under what conditions they are identical, transforming themselves into one another".
    • Selected Readings from the Works of Mao Tse-Tung, pp. 121
  • Qualitatively different contradictions can only be resolved by qualitatively different methods.
  • As regards the sequence in the movement of man's knowledge, there is always a gradual growth from the knowledge of individual and particular things to the knowledge of things in general. Only after man knows the particular essence of many different things can he proceed to generalization and know the common essence of things.
  • Opposition and struggle between ideas of different kinds constantly occur within the Party; this is a reflection within the Party of contradictions between classes and between the new and the old in society. If there were no contradictions in the Party and no ideological struggles to resolve them, the Party's life would come to an end.
  • Every difference in men's concepts should be regarded as reflecting an objective contradiction. Objective contradictions are reflected in subjective thinking, and this process constitutes the contradictory movement of concepts, pushes forward the development of thought, and ceaselessly solves problems in man's thinking.
  • Before it explodes, a bomb is a single entity in which opposites coexist in given conditions. The explosion takes place only when a new condition, ignition, is present. An analogous situation arises in all those natural phenomena which finally assume the form of open conflict to resolve old contradictions and produce new things.
  • Our agrarian revolution has been a process in which the landlord class owning the land is transformed into a class that has lost its land, while the peasants who once lost their land are transformed into small holders who have acquired land, and it will be such a process once again. In given conditions having and not having, acquiring and losing, are interconnected; there is identity of the two sides. Under socialism, private peasant ownership is transformed into the public ownership of socialist agriculture; this has already taken place in the Soviet Union, as it will take place everywhere else. There is a bridge leading from private property to public property, which in philosophy is called identity, or transformation into each other, or interpenetration.
  • The fact is that no contradictory aspect can exist in isolation. Without its opposite aspect, each loses the condition for its existence
  • As already mentioned, so long as classes exist, contradictions between correct and incorrect ideas in the Communist Party are reflections within the Party of class contradictions. At first, with regard to certain issues, such contradictions may not manifest themselves as antagonistic. But with the development of the class struggle, they may grow and become antagonistic. The history of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union shows us that the contradictions between the correct thinking of Lenin and Stalin and the fallacious thinking of Trotsky, Bukharin and others did not at first manifest themselves in an antagonistic form, but that later they did develop into antagonism.

Role of the Chinese Communist Party (October 1938)Edit

  • It is only firmly maintaining the national united front that the difficulties can be overcome, the enemy defeated, and a new China built. This is beyond all doubt. At the same time, every party and group in the united front must preserve its ideological, political and organizational independence; this holds good for the Kuomintang, the Communist Party, or any other party or group.
    • The Selected Readings of Mao Tse-Tung, pp. 144
  • Can a Communist, who is an internationalist, at the same time be a patriot? We hold that he not only can be but must be.
    • ibid, pp. 139
  • Our concern should extend to non-Party cadres as well as to Party cadres. There are many capable people outside the Party whom we must not ignore. The duty of every Communist is to rid himself of aloofness and arrogance and to work well with non-Party cadres, give them sincere help, have a warm, comradely attitude towards them and enlist their initiative in the great cause of resisting Japan and reconstructing the nation.
    • ibid. pp. 147

On Protracted Warfare (1938)Edit

  • Weapons are an important factor in war, but not the decisive factor; it is people, not things that are decisive. The contest of strength is not only a contest of military and economic power, but also a contest of human power and morale. People necessarily wield military and economic power.
  • History shows that wars are divided into two kinds, just and unjust. All wars that are progressive are just, and all wars that impede progress are unjust. We Communists oppose all unjust wars that impede progress, but we do not oppose progressive, just wars. Not only do we Communists not oppose just wars; we actively participate in them. As for unjust wars, World War I is an instance in which both sides fought for imperialist interests; therefore, the Communists of the whole world firmly opposed that war. The way to oppose a war of this kind is to do everything possible to prevent it before it breaks out and, once it breaks out, to oppose war with war, to oppose unjust war with just war, whenever possible.
  • In seeking victory, those who direct a war cannot overstep the limitations imposed by the objective conditions. Within these limitations, however, they can and must play a dynamic role in striving for victory. The stage of action for commanders in a war must be built upon objective possibilities, but on that stage they can direct the performance of many a drama, full of sound and color, power and grandeur.
  • Without preparedness, superiority is not real superiority and there can be no initiative either. Having grasped this point, a force that is inferior but prepared can often defeat a superior enemy by surprise attack.
  • The army must become one with the people so that they see it as their own army. Such an army will be invincible....
  • A proper measure of democracy should be put into effect in the army, chiefly by abolishing the feudal practice of bullying and beating and by having officers and men share weal and woe. Once this is done, unity will be achieved between officers and men, the combat effectiveness of the army will be greatly increased, and there will be no doubt of our ability to sustain the long, cruel war.
  • Without preparedness superiority is not real superiority and there can be no initiative either. Having grasped this point, a force which is inferior but prepared, can often defeat a superior enemy by surprise attack.
  • "War is the continuation of politics." In this sense war is politics and war itself is a political action; since ancient times there has never been a war that did not have a political character... But war has its own particular characteristics and in this sense it cannot be equated with politics in general. "War is the continuation of politics by other means."When politics develops to a certain stage beyond which it cannot proceed by usual means, ware breaks out to sweep the obstacles from the way. When the obstacle is removed and our political aim attained the war will stop. But if the obstacle is not completely swept away, the war will have to continue till the aim is fully accomplished.... It can therefore be said the politics is war without bloodshed while war is politics with bloodshed.
  • Revolutionary war is an anti-toxin which not only eliminates the enemy's poison but also purges us of our own filth. Every just, revolutionary war is endowed with tremendous power and can transform many things or clear the way for their transformations. The Sino-Japanese war will transform both China and Japan; provided China perseveres in the War of Resistance and in the united front, the old Japan will surely be transformed into a new Japan and the old China into a new China, and people and everything else in both China and Japan will be transformed during and after the war.
  • The richest source of power to wage war lies in the masses of the people. It is mainly because of the unorganized state of the Chinese masses that Japan dares to bully us. When this defect is remedied, the the Japanese aggressor, like a mad bull crashing into a ring of flames, will be surrounded by hundreds of millions of our people standing upright, the mere sound of their voices will strike terror into him, and he will be burned to death.

On New Democracy (1940)Edit

  • I am a layman in matters of culture; I would like to study them, but have only just begun to do so.
    • Whither China?
  • For many years we Communists have struggled for a cultural revolution as well as for a political and economic revolution, and our aim is to build a new society and a new state for the Chinese nation. That new society and new state will have not only a new politics and a new economy but a new culture. In other words, not only do we want to change a China that is politically oppressed and economically exploited into a China that is politically free and economically prosperous, we also want to change the China which is being kept ignorant and backward under the sway of the old culture into an enlightened and progressive China under the sway of a new culture. In short, we want to build a new China. Our aim in the cultural sphere is to build a new Chinese national culture.
    • We Want to Build a New China
  • Communism is at once a complete system of proletarian ideology and a new social system. It is different from any other ideological and social system, and is the most complete, progressive revolutionary and rational system in human history. The ideological and social system of feudalism has a place only in the museum of history. The ideological and social system of capitalism has also resembles "a dying person who is sinking fast, like the sun setting beyond the western hills", and will soon be relegated to the museum. The communist ideological and social system alone is full of youth and vitality, sweeping the world with the momentum of an avalanche and the force of a thunderbolt.
  • Being a bourgeoisie in a colonial and semi-colonial country and oppressed by imperialism, the Chinese national bourgeoisie retains a certain revolutionary quality at certain periods and to a certain degree--even in the era of imperialism--in its opposition to the foreign imperialists and the domestic governments of bureaucrats and warlords (instances of opposition to the latter can be found in the periods of the Revolution of 1911 and the Northern Expedition), and it may ally itself with the proletariat and the petty bourgeoisie against such enemies as it is ready to oppose. In this respect the Chinese bourgeoisie differs from the bourgeoisie of old tsarist Russia. Since tsarist Russia was a military-feudal imperialism which carried on aggression against other countries, the Russian bourgeoisie was entirely lacking in revolutionary quality. There, the task of the proletariat was to oppose the bourgeoisie, not to unite with it. But China's national bourgeoisie has a revolutionary quality at certain periods and to a certain degree, because China is a colonial and semi-colonial country which is a victim of aggression. Here, the task of the proletariat is to form a united front with the national bourgeoisie against imperialism and the bureaucrat and warlord governments without overlooking its revolutionary quality.
  • At the same time, however, being a bourgeois class in a colonial and semi-colonial country and so being extremely flabby economically and politically, the Chinese national bourgeoisie also has another quality, namely, a proneness to conciliation with the enemies of the revolution.
  • This new-democratic republic will be different from the old European-American form of capitalist republic under bourgeois dictatorship, which is the old democratic form and already out of date. On the other hand, it will also be different from the socialist republic of the Soviet type under the dictatorship of the proletariat which is already flourishing in the U.S.S.R., and which, moreover, will be established in all the capitalist countries and will undoubtedly become the dominant form of state and governmental structure in all the industrially advanced countries. However, for a certain historical period, this form is not suitable for the revolutions in the colonial and semi-colonial countries. During this period, therefore, a third form of state must be adopted in the revolutions of all colonial and semi-colonial countries, namely, the new-democratic republic. This form suits a certain historical period and is therefore transitional; nevertheless, it is a form which is necessary and cannot be dispensed with.
  • The state system, a joint dictatorship of all the revolutionary classes and the system of government, democratic centralism--these constitute the politics of New Democracy, the republic of New Democracy, the republic of the anti-Japanese united front, the republic of the new Three People's Principles with their Three Great Policies' the Republic of China in reality as well as in name. Today we have a Republic of China in name but not in reality, and our present task is to create the reality that will fit the name.
  • Enterprises, such as banks, railways and airlines, whether Chinese-owned or foreign-owned, which are either monopolistic in character or too big for private management, shall be operated and administered by the state, so that private capital cannot dominate the livelihood of the people: this is the main principle of the regulation of capital.
    • The Economy of New Democracy
  • In the new-democratic republic under the leadership of the proletariat, the state enterprises will be of a socialist character and will constitute the leading force in the whole national economy, but the republic will neither confiscate capitalist private property in general nor forbid the development of such capitalist production as does not "dominate the livelihood of the people", for China's economy is still very backward.
    • The Economy of New Democracy

On Coalition Government (1945)Edit

  • Beyond all doubt, the urgent need is to unite representatives of all political parties and groups and of people without any party affiliation and establish a provisional democratic coalition government for the purpose of instituting democratic reforms, surmounting the present crisis, mobilizing and unifying all the anti-Japanese forces in the country to fight in effective co-ordination with the allied countries for the defeat of the Japanese aggressors, and thus enabling the Chinese people to liberate themselves from the latter's clutches. After that it will be necessary to convene a national assembly on a broad democratic basis and set up a formally constituted democratic government, which will also be in the nature of a coalition and will have a still wider representation of people from all parties and groups or without any party affiliation, and which will lead the liberated people of the whole country in building an independent, free, democratic, united, prosperous and powerful new China. In short, we must take the line of unity and democracy, defeat the aggressors and build a new China.
  • In the twenty-four years since its birth in 1921, the Communist Party of China has gone through three great struggles--the Northern Expedition, the Agrarian Revolutionary War and the War of Resistance Against Japan which is still going on. From its very beginning our Party has based itself on the theory of Marxism-Leninism, for Marxism-Leninism is the crystallization of the most correct and most revolutionary scientific thought of the world proletariat. When the universal truth of Marxism-Leninism began to be integrated with the concrete practice of the Chinese revolution, the Chinese revolution took on an entirely new complexion and the entire historical stage of New Democracy emerged. Armed with Marxist-Leninist theory, the Communist Party of China has brought a new style of work to the Chinese people, a style of work which essentially entails integrating theory with practice, forging close links with the masses and practicing self-criticism.
  • This army is powerful because all its members have a discipline based on political consciousness; they have come together and they fight not for the private interests of a few individuals or a narrow clique, but for the interests of the broad masses and of the whole nation. The sole purpose of this army is to stand firmly with the Chinese people and to serve them whole-heartedly.
  • Under the leadership of their democratic governments, all the anti-Japanese people in the Liberated Areas of China are called upon to join organizations of workers, peasants, youth and women, and cultural, professional and other organizations, which will wholeheartedly perform various tasks in support of the armed forces. Those tasks are not limited to rallying the people to join the army, transporting grain for it, caring for soldiers' families and helping the troops in meeting their material needs. They also include mobilizing the guerrilla units, militia and self-defence corps to make widespread raids and lay land mines against the enemy, gather intelligence about him, comb out traitors and spies, transport and protect the wounded and take direct part in the army's operations.
  • Only by waging such a people's war can we defeat the national enemy. The Kuomintang has failed precisely because of its desperate opposition to a people's war.
  • What then do we propose? We propose the establishment, after the thorough defeat of the Japanese aggressors, of a state system which we call New Democracy, namely, a united-front democratic alliance based on the overwhelming majority of the people, under the leadership of the working class.
  • In accordance with Dr. Sun's principles and the experience of the Chinese revolution, China's national economy at the present stage should be composed of the state sector, the private sector and the co-operative sector. But the state here must certainly not be one "privately owned by the few", but a new-democratic state "shared by all the common people" under the leadership of the proletariat.
  • The culture of New Democracy should likewise be "shared by all the common people", that is, it should be a national, scientific and mass culture, and must under no circumstances be a culture "privately owned by the few".
  • The state structure of New Democracy should be based on democratic centralism, with the people's congresses at various levels determining the major policies and electing the government. It is at once democratic and centralised, i.e. centralised on the basis of democracy and democratic under centralised guidance.
    • Mao Tse-tung: An Anthology of his Writings (1954), pp. 156
  • The new-democratic politics we advocate consists in the overthrow of foreign oppression and feudal and fascist oppression within the country and the setting up of a political system, not of the democracy of the old type but of the united front of all democratic classes.
    • ibid, pp. 157

On the Correct Handling of Contradictions Among the PeopleEdit

  • The unification of our country, the unity of our people and the unity of our various nationalities - these are the basic guarantees of the sure triumph of our cause.
  • Two types of social contradictions - those between ourselves and the enemy and those among the people themselves confront us. The two are totally different in their nature.
  • The contradictions between the enemy and us are antagonistic contradictions. Within the ranks of the people, the contradictions among the working people are non-antagonistic, while those between the exploited and the exploiting classes have a non-antagonistic aspect in addition to an antagonistic aspect.
  • The organs of state must practice democratic centralism, they must rely on the masses and their personnel must serve the people.
  • Within the ranks of the people, democracy is correlative with centralism and freedom with discipline. They are the two opposites of a single entity, contradictory as well as united, and we should not one-sidedly emphasize one to the denial of the other. Within the ranks of the people, we cannot do without freedom, nor can we do without discipline; we cannot do without democracy, nor can we do without centralism. This unity of democracy and centralism, of freedom and discipline, constitutes our democratic centralism. Under this system, the people enjoy extensive democracy and freedom, but at the same time they have to keep within the bounds of socialist discipline.
  • This democratic method of resolving contradictions among the people was epitomized in 1942 in the formula “unity, criticism, unity”. To elaborate, it means starting from the desire for unity, resolving contradictions through criticism or struggle and arriving at a new unity on a new basis. In our experience this is the correct method of resolving contradictions among the people.
  • In ordinary circumstances, contradictions among the people are not antagonistic. However, if they are not handled properly, or if we relax our vigilance and lower our guard, antagonism may arise. In a socialist country, a development of this kind is usually only a localized and temporary phenomenon. The reason is that the system of exploitation of man by man has been abolished and the interests of the people are the same.
  • The minority nationalities in our country number more than thirty million. Although they constitute only 6 per cent of the total population, they inhabit extensive regions which comprise 50 to 60 per cent of China's total area. It is thus imperative to foster good relation between the Han people and the minority nationalities. The key to this question lies in overcoming Han chauvinism. At the same time, efforts should also be made to overcome local-nationality chauvinism, wherever it exists among the minority nationalities. Both Han chauvinism and local-nationality chauvinism are harmful to the unity of the nationalities; they represent one kind of contradiction among the people which should be resolved.
  • What is correct invariably develops in the course of struggle with what is wrong. The true, the good and the beautiful always exist by contrast with the false, the evil and the ugly, and grow in struggle with them. As soon as something erroneous is rejected and a particular truth accepted by mankind, new truths begin to struggle with new errors. Such struggles will never end. This is the law of development of truth and, naturally, of Marxism.
  • Marxists should not be afraid of criticism from any quarter. Quite the contrary, they need to temper and develop themselves and win new positions in the teeth of criticism and in the storm and stress of struggle. Fighting against wrong ideas is like being vaccinated -- a man develops greater immunity from disease as a result of vaccination. Plants raised in hothouses are unlikely to be hardy. Carrying out the policy of letting a hundred flowers blossom and a hundred schools of thought contend will not weaken, but strengthen, the leading position of Marxism in the ideological field.
  • What should our policy be towards non-Marxist ideas? As far as unmistakable counter-revolutionaries and saboteurs of the socialist cause are concerned, the matter is easy, we simply deprive them of their freedom of speech. But incorrect ideas among the people are quite a different matter. Will it do to ban such ideas and deny them any opportunity for expression? Certainly not. It is not only futile but very harmful to use crude methods in dealing with ideological questions among the people, with questions about man's mental world. You may ban the expression of wrong ideas, but the ideas will still be there. On the other hand, if correct ideas are pampered in hothouses and never exposed to the elements and immunized against disease, they will not win out against erroneous ones. Therefore, it is only by employing the method of discussion, criticism and reasoning that we can really foster correct ideas and overcome wrong ones, and that we can really settle issues.
  • Literally the two slogans -- let a hundred flowers blossom and let a hundred schools of thought contend -- have no class character; the proletariat can turn them to account, and so can the bourgeoisie or others. Different classes, strata and social groups each have their own views on what are fragrant flowers and what are poisonous weeds. Then, from the point of view of the masses, what should be the criteria today for distinguishing fragrant flowers from poisonous weeds? In their political activities, how should our people judge whether a person's words and deeds are right or wrong? On the basis of the principles of our Constitution, the will of the overwhelming majority of our people and the common political positions which have been proclaimed on various occasions by our political parties, we consider that, broadly speaking, the criteria should be as follows:
  • Communists must use the democratic method of persuasion and education when working among the laboring people and must on no account resort to commandism or coercion. The Chinese Communist Party faithfully adheres to this Marxist-Leninist principle.
  • Marxist philosophy holds that the law of the unity of opposites is the fundamental law of the universe. This law operates universally, whether in the natural world, in human society, or in man's thinking. Between the opposites in a contradiction there is at once unity and struggle, and it is this that impels things to move and change. Contradictions exist everywhere, but they differ in accordance with the different nature of different things. In any given phenomenon or thing, the unity of opposites is conditional, temporary and transitory, and hence relative, whereas the struggle of opposites is absolute.
  • New things always have to experience difficulties and setbacks as they grow. It is sheer fantasy to imagine that the cause of socialism is all plain sailing and easy success, without difficulties and setbacks or the exertion of tremendous efforts.
  • Our educational policy must enable everyone who receives an education to develop morally, intellectually and physically and become a worker with both socialist consciousness and culture.
  • By over-all planning, we mean planning which takes into consideration the interests of the 600 million people of our country. In drawing up plans, handling affairs or thinking over problems, we must proceed from the fact that China has a population of 600 million people, and we must never forget this fact.
  • Letting a hundred flowers blossom and a hundred schools of thought contend is the policy for promoting the progress of the arts and the sciences and a flourishing socialist culture in our land. Different forms and styles in art should develop freely and different schools in science should contend freely. We think that it is harmful to the growth of art and science if administrative measures are used to impose one particular style of art or school of thought and to ban another. Questions of right and wrong in the arts and sciences should be settled through free discussion in artistic and scientific circles and through practical work in these fields. They should not be settled in summary fashion.
  • What is needed is scientific analysis and convincing argument. Dogmatic criticism settles nothing. We are against poisonous weeds of all kinds, but we must carefully distinguish between what is really a poisonous weed and what is really a fragrant flower. Together with the masses of the people, we must learn to differentiate carefully between the two and to use correct methods to fight the poisonous weeds.
    • VII: On "Let a Hundred Flowers Blossom Let a Hundred Schools of Thought Content" and "Long Term Coexistence and Mutual Supervision"
  • Throughout history new and correct ideas have often failed at the outset to win recognition from the majority of people and have to develop by twists and turns in struggle. Often correct and good things have first been regarded not as fragrant flowers but poisonous weeds.
    • VII: On "Let a Hundred Flowers Blossom Let a Hundred Schools of Thought Content" and "Long Term Coexistence and Mutual Supervision"
  • We must learn to look at problems all-sidedly, seeing the reverse as well as the obverse side of things. In given conditions, a bad thing can lead to good results and a good thing to bad results.
  • Now, there are two different attitudes towards learning from others. One is the dogmatic attitude of transplanting everything, whether or not it is suited to our conditions. This is no good. The other attitude is to use our heads and learn those things that suit our conditions, that is, to absorb whatever experience is useful to us. That is the attitude we should adopt.
  • A dangerous tendency has shown itself of late among many of our personnel -- an unwillingness to share weal and woe with the masses, a concern for personal fame and gain. This is very bad. One way of overcoming it is to streamline our organizations in the course of our campaign to increase production and practice economy, and to transfer cadres to lower levels so that a considerable number will return to productive work. We must see to it that all our cadres and all our people constantly bear in mind that ours is a large socialist country but an economically backward and poor one, and that this is a very big contradiction. To make China prosperous and strong needs several decades of hard struggle, which means, among other things, pursuing the policy of building up our country through diligence and thrift, that is, practicing strict economy and fighting waste.

The Foolish Old Man Who Removed the Mountains (1945)Edit

  • There is an ancient Chinese fable called "The Foolish Old Man Who Removed the Mountains". It tells of an old man who lived in northern China long, long ago and was known as the Foolish Old Man of North Mountain. His house faced south and beyond his doorway stood the two great peaks, Taihang and Wangwu, obstructing the way. He called his sons, and hoe in hand they began to dig up these mountains with great determination. Another graybeard, known as the Wise Old Man, saw them and said derisively, "How silly of you to do this! It is quite impossible for you few to dig up those two huge mountains." The Foolish Old Man replied, "When I die, my sons will carry on; when they die, there will be my grandsons, and then their sons and grandsons, and so on to infinity. High as they are, the mountains cannot grow any higher and with every bit we dig, they will be that much lower. Why can't we clear them away?" Having refuted the Wise Old Man's wrong view, he went on digging every day, unshaken in his conviction. God was moved by this, and he sent down two angels, who carried the mountains away on their backs. Today, two big mountains lie like a dead weight on the Chinese people. One is imperialism, the other is feudalism. The Chinese Communist Party has long made up its mind to dig them up. We must persevere and work unceasingly, and we, too, will touch God's heart. Our God is none other than the masses of the Chinese people. If they stand up and dig together with us, why can't these two mountains be cleared away?

On Coalition Government (1945)Edit

  • We Communists never conceal our political views. Definitely and beyond all doubt, our future or maximum programme is to carry China forward to socialism and communism. Both the name of our Party and our Marxist world outlook unequivocally point to this supreme ideal of the future, a future of incomparable brightness and splendor.
  • The people, and the people alone, are the motive force in the making of world history.
  • Our congress should call upon the whole party to be vigilant and to see that no comrade at any post is divorced from the asses. It should teach every comrade to love the people and listen attentively to the voice of the masses; to identify himself with the masses wherever he goes and, instead of standing above them, to immerse himself among them; and, according to their present level, to awaken them or raise their political consciousness and help them gradually to organize themselves voluntarily and to set going all essential struggles permitted by the internal and external circumstances of the given time and place.
  • This army has built up a system of political work which essential for the people's war and is aimed at promoting unity in its own ranks, unity with the friendly armies and unity with the people and at disintegrating the enemy forces and ensuring victory in battle.
  • Ideological education is the key link to be grasped in uniting the whole Party for great political struggles. Unless this is done, the Party cannot accomplish any of its political tasks.
  • Every comrade must be helped to understand that has long as we rely on the people, believe firmly in the inexhaustible creative power of the masses and hence trust and identify ourselves with them, we can surmount any difficulty, and no enemy can crush us while we can crush any enemy.
  • The army in the Liberated Areas must support the government and cherish the people, while the democratic governments must lead the people in the work of supporting the army and giving preferential treatment to the families of soldiers fighting Japan. In this way relations between the army and the people will become still better.
  • Our point of departure is to serve the people whole-heartedly and never for a moment divorce ourselves from the masses, to proceed inall cases from the interests of the people and not from one's self-interest or from the interests of a small group, and to identify our responsibility to the people with out responsibility to the leading organs of the Party.
  • Thousands upon thousands of martyrs have heroically laid down their lives for the people; let us hold their banner high and march ahead along the path crimson with their blood!
  • This army has an indomitable spirit and is determined to vanquish all enemies and never to yield. No matter what the difficulties and hardships, so long as a single man remains, he will fight on.
  • Anyone who sees only the bright side but not the difficulties cannot fight effectively for the accomplishment of the Party's tasks.
  • We shall solidly unite all the forces of our Party on democratic centralist principles of organization and discipline. We shall unite with any comrade if he abides by the Party's Programme, Constitution, and decisions.
  • Every comrade must be brought to understand that the supreme test of the words and deeds of a Communist is whether they conform with the highest interests and enjoy the support of the overwhelming majority of the people.
  • Communists must at all times stand up for the truth, because truth is in the interests of the people and Communists must be ready at all times to correct their mistakes, because mistakes are against the interests of the people.
  • Protect the interests of the youth, women and children--provide assistance to young students who cannot afford to continue their studies, help the youth and women to organize in order to participate on a equal footing in all work useful to the war effort and to social progress, ensure freedom of marriage and equality as between men and women, and give young people and children a useful education.

Quotations from Chairman Mao Zedong (The Little Red Book)Edit

Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.
  • 凡是敵人反對的,我們就要擁護;凡是敵人擁護的,我們就要反對。 (Fánshì dírén fǎnduì de, wǒmen jiù yào yǒnghù; fánshì dírén yǒnghù de, wǒmen jiù yào fǎnduì.)
    • We should support whatever our enemies oppose and oppose whatever our enemies support.
    • If the enemy opposes, we must support it; if the enemy supports it, we must oppose it.
    • Chapter 2, originally published in Interview with Three Correspondents from the Central News Agency, the Sao Tang Pao and the Hsin Min Pao (September 16, 1939), Selected Works, Vol. II, p. 272.
  • 谁是我们的敌人?谁是我们的朋友?这个问题是革命的首要问题. (Shéi shì wǒmen de dírén? Shéi shì wǒmen de péngyǒu? Zhège wèntí shì gémìng de shǒuyào wèntí.)
    • Who are our enemies? Who are our friends? This is a question of the first importance for the revolution.
    • Chapter 2, originally published in Analysis of the Classes in Chinese Society (March 1926), Selected Works, Vol. I, p. 1.
  • 革命不是請客吃飯,不是做文章,不是繪畫繡花,不能那樣雅致,那樣從容不迫,文質彬彬,那樣溫良恭儉讓。革命是暴動,是一個階級推翻一個階級的暴烈的行動。
  • A revolution is not a dinner party, or writing an essay, or painting a picture, or doing embroidery. It cannot be so refined, so leisurely and gentle, so temperate, kind, courteous, restrained and magnanimous. A revolution is an insurrection, an act of violence by which one class overthrows another.
  • 枪杆子里面出政权
    • Every Communist must grasp the truth: Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.
    • Chapter 5, originally published in Problems of War and Strategy (November 6, 1938), Selected Works, Vol. II, p. 224.
  • 一切反动派都是纸老虎。看起来反动派的样子是可怕的,但是实际上并没有什么了不起的力量。从长远的观点看问题,真正强大的力量不是属于反动派,而是属于人民。
    • All reactionaries are paper tigers. In appearance, the reactionaries are terrifying, but in reality they are not so powerful. From a long-term point of view, it is not the reactionaries but the people who are really powerful.
    • Chapter 6, originally published in Talk with the American Correspondent Anna Louise Strong (August 1946), Selected Works, Vol. IV, p. 100.
The revolutionary war is a war of the masses; it can be waged only by mobilizing the masses and relying on them.
  • 美国垄断资本集团如果坚持推行它的侵略政策和战争政策,势必有一天要被全世界人民处以刑。其他美国帮凶也将是这样。
    • If the U.S. monopoly capitalist groups persist in pushing their policies of aggression and war, the day is bound to come when they will be hanged by the people of the whole world. The same fate awaits the accomplices of the United States.
    • Chapter 6, originally published in Speech at the Supreme State Conference (September 8, 1958).
  • 革命战争是群众的战争,只有动员群众才能进行战争,只有依靠群众才能进行战争。(Gémìng zhànzhēng shì qúnzhòng de zhànzhēng, zhǐyǒu dòngyuán qúnzhòng cáinéng jìnxíng zhànzhēng, zhǐyǒu yīkào qúnzhòng cáinéng jìnxíng zhànzhēng.)
    • The revolutionary war is a war of the masses; it can be waged only by mobilizing the masses and relying on them.
    • Chapter 8, originally published in Be Concerned with the Well-Being of the Masses, Pay Attention to Methods of Work (January 27, 1934), Selected Works, Vol. I. p. 147.
  • 没有一个人民的军队,便没有人民的一切。
    • Without a People's army, the people have nothing.
    • Chapter 9, originally published in On Coalition Government (April 24, 1945), Selected Works, Vol. III, pp. 296-97.
  • 我们的原则是党指挥枪,而决不容许枪指挥党。
    • Our principle is that the Party commands the gun, and the gun must never be allowed to command the Party.
    • Chapter 9, originally published in the Problems of War and Strategy (November 6, 1938), Selected Works, Vol. II, p. 224.
  • Recently there has been a falling off in ideological and political work among students and intellectuals, and some unhealthy tendencies have appeared. Some people seem to think that there is no longer any need to concern oneself with politics or with the future of the motherland and the ideals of mankind. It seems as if Marxism was once all the rage but is currently not so much in fashion. To counter these tendencies, we must strengthen our ideological and political work. Both students and intellectuals should study hard. In addition to the study of their specialized subjects, they must make progress both ideologically and politically, which means that they should study Marxism, current events and politics. Not to have a correct political point of view is like having no soul [...] All departments and organizations should shoulder their responsibilities in ideological and political work. This applies to the Communist Party, the Youth League, government departments in charge of this work, and especially to heads of educational institutions and teachers.
    • Chapter 12; originally published in "On the Correct Handling of Contradictions Among the People" (27 February 1957), 1st pocket ed., pp. 43-44
  • 下定决心,不怕牺牲,排除万难,去争取胜利。
    • Be resolute, fear no sacrifice and surmount every difficulty to win victory.
    • Chapter 19; originally published in The Foolish Old Man Who Removed the Mountains (June 11, 1945), Selected Works, Vol. III, p. 321.
  • 革命的集体组织中的自由主义是十分有害的。它是一种腐蚀剂,使团结涣散,关系松懈,工作消极,意见分歧。它使革命队伍失掉严密的组织和纪律,政策不能贯彻到底,党的组织和党所领导的群众发生隔离。这是一种严重的恶劣倾向。
    • Liberalism is extremely harmful in a revolutionary collective. It is a corrosive which eats away unity, undermines cohesion, causes apathy and creates dissension. It robs the revolutionary ranks of compact organization and strict discipline, prevents policies from being carried through and alienates the Party organizations from the masses which the Party leads. It is an extremely bad tendency.
    • Chapter 24, originally published in "Combat Liberalism" (7 September 1937), Selected Works, Vol. II, pp. 31-32
  • 要使文艺很好地成为整个革命机器的一个组成部分,作为团结人民、教育人民、打击敌人、消灭敌人的有力的武器,帮助人民同心同德地和敌人作斗争。
    • [Our purpose is] to ensure that literature and art fit well into the whole revolutionary machine as a component part, that they operate as powerful weapons for uniting and educating the people and for attacking and destroying the enemy, and that they help the people fight the enemy with one heart and one mind.
    • Chapter 32, originally published in Talks at the Yenan Forum on Literature and Art (May 1942), Selected Works, Vol. III, p. 84.
  • In the ideological field, the question of who will win in the struggle between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie has not been really settled yet. We still have to wage a protracted struggle against bourgeois and petty bourgeois ideology. It is wrong not to understand this and to give up ideological struggle. All erroneous ideas, all poisonous weeds, all ghosts and monsters, must be subjected to criticism; in no circumstance should they be allowed to spread unchecked. However, the criticism should be fully reasoned, analytical and convincing, and not rough, bureaucratic, metaphysical or dogmatic.
    • Speech at the Chinese Communist Party’s National Conference on Propaganda Work (March 12, 1957), 1st pocket edition, pp. 26-27

Directives Regarding the Cultural Revolution (1966-1972)Edit

  • The masses, the army, and the cadres are the three pillars on which we rely.
    • 1967
  • It is difficult to avoid mistakes, the point is to correct them honestly. Too many people have been arrested in Szechwan and many mass organizations are branded as reactionary. All these are wrong, but they have been quickly rectified.
    • 1967
  • Trust and rely on the masses; trust and rely on the PLA; trust and rely on the majority of the cadres.
    • 1967
  • The victory or defeat of the revolution can be determined only over a long period of time. If it is badly handled, there is always the danger of a capitalist restoration. All members of the party and all the people of our country must not think that after one, two, three, or four great cultural revolutions there will be peace and quiet. They must always be on the alert and must never relax their vigilance.
    • 1967
  • Guard against revisionism, particularly the emergence of revisionism at the party Centre.
    • 1967

Who are our enemies and who are our friends? This is the first and foremost question of a revolution and it is also the first and foremost question of the great Cultural Revolution.

    • 1967
  • Protect the left-wing; support the left-wing, form and enlarge left wing units.
  • Do not stop half way and do not ever go backward. There is no way behind you.
  • Trust the majority of the cadres and the masses. This is essential.
  • We, the communists, do not want official positions; we want revolution. We must have a thoroughly revolutionary spirit and must be with the masses every hour, every minute. As long as we are with the masses, we shall always be victorious.

Directives on the Cultural Revolution (1966-1972)Edit

  • It is to the advantage of despots to keep people ignorant; it is to our advantage to make them intelligent. We must lead all of them gradually away from ignorance.
  • Wind will not cease even if trees want to rest.
  • Without destruction there can be no construction; without blockage there can be no flow; without stoppage there can be no movement.
  • No need to be afraid of tidal waves; human society has been evolved out of ‘tidal waves’.
  • You should pay attention to state affairs and carry the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution through to the end!
  • This is a movement on a vast scale. It has indeed mobilized the masses. It is of very great significance to the revolutionization of the thinking of the people throughout the country.
  • A communist must never stay aloof from or above the masses like a bureaucrat. He ought to be like an ordinary worker in the presence of the masses, join them, and become one of them.
  • In any revolution, its internal causes are fundamental and its external ones are supplementary.
  • A revolution depends on an inner core. This, the bourgeois faction in authority and the faction in authority which has committed mistakes know best; [their] peripheral organizations merely add fuel to the fire.
  • Young people should be permitted to make mistakes. As long as their general orientation is correct, let them make minor mistakes. I believe that they can correct themselves in practical work.
  • The basic contradiction the great proletarian Cultural Revolution is trying to resolve is the one between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, between the proletarian and bourgeois roads. The main point of the movement is to struggle against the capitalist roaders in authority in the party.
  • The peoples of the world must have courage, dare to fight, and fear no hardships. When the ones in front fall, the others behind must follow up. In this way, the world will belong to the people and all the demons will be eliminated.
  • Democracy sometimes looks like an end in itself, but in fact it is merely a means to an end.
  • The revolutionary red guards and revolutionary student organizations must form a grand alliance. As long as they are revolutionary mass organizations, they must form a great alliance according to revolutionary principles.
  • The basic ideological programme of the great proletarian Cultural Revolution is ‘to combat selfishness and criticize revisionism.’
  • The Cultural Revolution can only be the emancipation of the masses by the masses.
    • Nov. 11, 1967
  • Except in the deserts, at every place of human habitation there is the left, the centre, and the right. This will continue to be so 10,000 years hence.
    • April 22, 1968
  • It is absolutely necessary for educated young people to go to the countryside to be re-educated by the poor and lower-middle peasants. Cadres and other city people should be persuaded to send their sons and daughters who have finished junior or senior middle school, college, or university to the countryside. Let us mobilize. Comrades throughout the countryside should welcome them.
    • Dec. 22, 1968


  • 天下大乱,形势大好。
    • There is great chaos under heaven; the situation is excellent.
    • See e.g. Nigel Holden, Snejina Michailova, Susanne Tietze (editors). The Routledge Companion to Cross-Cultural Management. Routledge 2015.
  • "The food of the true revolutionary is the red pepper, And he who cannot endure red peppers is also unable to fight." - Otto Braun memoirs
  • People who try to commit suicide — don't attempt to save them! . . . China is such a populous nation, it is not as if we cannot do without a few people.


  • It's always darkest before it's totally black.
    • This is a humorous misattribution that US Senator John McCain has sometimes used since at least January 2000, but there is no indication that Mao actually ever made such a comment, which is a joke referencing the common English proverb "It's always darkest before the dawn." It has also been humorously misattributed to Franklin D. Roosevelt. The quote may be derived from the US television show The A-Team, in which it was uttered in a 1983 episode ("The Rabbit Who Ate Las Vegas") by protagonist John "Hannibal" Smith. A similar quotation is attributed to actor Paul Newman in 2003.

Quotes about Mao ZedongEdit

Had Mao died in 1956, his achievements would have been immortal. Had he died in 1966, he would still have been a great man but flawed. But he died in 1976. Alas, what can one say? ~ Chen Yun
Mao Zedong! Amazing man! Imagine him and his followers wandering through China day and night, fighting for their goal. What an effort. He has also written beautiful prose and excellent poems. ~ Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden
For Mao Zedong was both the Lenin and the Stalin of the Chinese Revolution, both the revolutionary founder and the post-revolutionary tyrant. ~ Maurice Meisner
  • Had Mao died in 1956, his achievements would have been immortal. Had he died in 1966, he would still have been a great man but flawed. But he died in 1976. Alas, what can one say?
  • I should remind you that Chairman Mao dedicated most of his life to China, that he saved the party and the revolution in their most critical moments, that, in short, his contribution was so great that, without him, the Chinese people would have had a much harder time finding the right path out of the darkness. We also shouldn’t forget that it was Chairman Mao who combined the teachings of Marx and Lenin with the realities of Chinese history—that it was he who applied those principles, creatively, not only to politics but to philosophy, art, literature, and military strategy. Yes, before the 1960s—or, better, up until the late 1950s—some of Chairman Mao’s ideas were, for the most part, correct. Furthermore, many of his principles brought us victory and allowed us to gain power. Then, unfortunately, in the last few years of his life, he committed many grave errors—the Cultural Revolution, above all. And much disgrace was brought upon the party, the country, the people.
  • I suppose some people will say on balance Mao did more good than harm.
  • One never left a meeting with him feeling indifferent... He spoke slowly and quietly, weighing each word. He never said anything foolish. There was something sad in him, and he often behaved strangely. Once he arrived unexpect­edly and he told me that Buddhism was a good religion; that though he was a prince, Buddha had done much to improve the lot of the poor. Then, as suddenly as he had arrived, he left. He was always very affectionate with me. [Oriana Fallaci: You’re unable to see him as an enemy, isn’t that true, Holiness?] Yes. Speaking as a Buddhist, I cannot accept the word enemy. ... Mao Tse-tung is neither cunning nor diplomatic. I told him what his generals were doing in Tibet, and he understood. Perhaps he couldn’t stop them. Or perhaps he has changed. I am unable to reconcile the Mao Tse-tung I knew with the Mao Tse-tung of today. He must be in the grip of some madness or some infirmity. The cultural revolution, for example. The name is lovely, but there is no substance: it’s the dementia of an old man. I cannot see him in this dementia.
    • Dalai Lama, quoted in : Oriana Fallaci. (2011). Interview with the Dalai Lama, in : Interviews with history and conversations with power. New York: Rizzoli.
  • As late as 1947, Mao insisted that his program corresponded to that of Sun. Until December of that year, Mao insisted that his ‘new democracy’ would protect the ‘bourgeoisie’ and ‘their industry and commerce.’ Because of China’s backwardness, he would continue to support capitalist development and ensure that both public and private, capital and labor, interests would benefit from the revolution.
    • A. James Gregor, Phoenix: Fascism in Our Time, New Brunswick: NJ, Transaction Publishers, 2001, p. 191, footnote 19
  • Mao Zedong! Amazing man! Imagine him and his followers wandering through China day and night, fighting for their goal. What an effort. He has also written beautiful prose and excellent poems.
    • Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden in Damernas Värld 34/1972 answering the question "which man has made the most influence on you?" Translated from Swedish.
  • He [Chairman Mao] appears to me as a father and he himself considered me as a son. [We had] very good relations. The only problem was that on many occasions, when official dinners were held, Chairman Mao always used to bring me to his side. So, then as Chinese tradition, Chairman Mao himself would use his chopsticks to put some food in my plate. So, in a way it was a great honour, but in a way I feel little fear...he coughing too much, a chain smoker, so I might get some germs [laughing].
  • Even Mao's casual remark, "Sweet potato tastes good, I like it," became a slogan seen everywhere in the countryside.
    • Shaorong Huang, "Political Slogans as Leverage in Conflict and Conflict Management during China's Cultural Revolution Movement," in Chinese Conflict Management and Resolution, ed. Guo-Ming Chen and Ringo Ma (Greenwood Publishing Group, 2002), 242.
  • [Mao] has played politics with Asian cunning. … [and] has always been a master at concealing his true intention. … I was always on my guard with him.
    • Nikita Khrushchev, as quoted in A. Doak Barnett (1977) China and the major powers in East Asia, page 352
  • For Mao Zedong was both the Lenin and the Stalin of the Chinese Revolution, both the revolutionary founder and the post-revolutionary tyrant.
    • Maurice Meisner, Mao Zedong: A Political and Intellectual Portrait (2006), p. 192
  • Whatever the price of the Chinese Revolution, it has obviously succeeded, not only in producing more efficient and dedicated administration, but also in fostering a high morale and cummunity propose... The social experiment in China under Chairman Mao's leadership is one of the most important and successful in human history.
  • We spoke at length and We really liked Mao Zedong. A lot. He gave Us a very good impression, as Paul VI did. He is a good and very serious leader, and his people have done well to embrace him.

See alsoEdit

Social and political philosophy
Philosophers AmbedkarArendtAristotleAugustineAurobindoAquinasAronAverroesAzurmendiBadiouBakuninBaudrillardBaumanBenthamBerlinBurkeJudith ButlerCamusChanakyaChomskyCiceroComteConfuciusDe BeauvoirDebordDu BoisDurkheimEmersonEngelsFanonFoucaultFourierFranklinGandhiGentileGramsciGrotiusHabermasHan FeiHayekHegelHeideggerHobbesHumeIrigarayJeffersonKantKierkegaardKirkKropotkinLaoziLeibnizLeninLockeLuxemburgMachiavelliMaistreMalebrancheMaoMarcuseMaritainMarxMenciusMichelsMillMisesMontesquieuMoziMuhammadNegriNiebuhrNietzscheNozickOakeshottOrtegaPaineParetoPlatoPolanyiPopperRadhakrishnanRandRawlsRenanRothbardRousseauRoyceRussellSadeSantayanaSartreSchmittSearleSkinnerSmithSocratesSombartSpencerSpinozaStirnerStraussSunSun TzuTaineTaylorThucydidesThoreauTocquevilleVivekanandaVoltaireWalzerWeberŽižek
Social theories AnarchismAuthoritarianismCollectivismCommunismConfucianismConservatismFascismIndividualismLiberalismLibertarianismRepublicanismSocial constructionismSocialismUtilitarianism
Concepts Civil disobedienceJusticeLawPeacePropertyRevolutionRightsSocial contractSocietyTyrannyWar
Forms of rule AristocracyBureaucracyDemocracyMeritocracyPlutocracyTechnocracy

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General Secretaries and Chairmen of the Communist Party of China
Party Chairmen Mao Zedong · Hua Guofeng · Hu Yaobang
General Secretaries Chen Duxiu · Xiang Zhongfa · Bo Gu · Zhang Wentian · Hu Yaobang · Zhao Ziyang · Jiang Zemin · Hu Jintao · Xi Jinping
  1. "Big bad wolf". The Economist. 31 August 2006. Retrieved on 28 July 2015.