P.L.A. Conference on Political Work
The P.L.A. puts Mao Tse-tung’s thought in command of everything.
It stands ready at any time to smash U.S. imperialist aggression.
[This unsigned article is reprinted from Peking Review, #4, Jan. 21,
1966, pp. 5-6.]
THE General Political Department of the Chinese People’s Liberation
Army concluded its conference on political work in the army on January 18 in Peking.
During its twenty days of meetings the conference made a serious
study of the important instructions given by the Central Committee of the Communist Party and
Chairman Mao Tse-tung on building up the army and on its political work; there were discussions on
implementation of the five-point principle1 advanced by Comrade Lin Piao
to keep on putting politics first; the experience gained in political work in the past two years was
summed up and arrangements for political work in 1966 were decided upon.
The conference called on all commanders and fighters of the P.L.A.
to rally closely around the Central Committee of the Party and Chairman Mao Tse-tung, to hold still
higher the great red banner of Mao Tse-tung’s thought, to continue to put politics first and
resolutely apply the five-point principle in this connection, and to heighten combat-readiness and
be prepared at all times to smash U.S. imperialist aggression.
All those attending the conference were received by the Party and
state leaders Chou En-lai, Chu Teh, Teng Hsiao-ping and Peng Chen. Comrades Chou En-lai, Teng
Hsiao-ping and Peng Chen gave important reports at the conference on the present domestic and
international situation and present tasks.
Hsiao Hua, Director of the P.L.A. General Political Department,
presided over the conference and delivered a report on the implementation of the five-point principle
of putting politics first. Yang Cheng-wu, Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the P.L.A., spoke at
The conference agreed that there was a new mass upsurge in the
creative study and application of Mao Tse-tung’s works throughout the army since Comrade Lin Piao’s
instructions on putting politics first were implemented. It was noted that the broad masses of
cadres and fighters showed a deeper class feeling towards Mao Tse-tung’s thinking and greater
political consciousness in remoulding their ideology and directing their activities in accordance
with the guidance given by Chairman Mao Tse-tung. Great numbers of fine people like Lei Feng and
Wang Chieh had come forward, and they had good deeds to their credit. There were new developments
in the campaign to produce outstanding companies. There were remarkable achievements in fighting,
training and the fulfilment of various other tasks.
The consensus at the conference was that the principle of putting
politics first formulated by Comrade Lin Piao conforms with what Chairman Mao Tse-tung has always
taught us; it was put forward in accordance with the historical experience of the Chinese people’s
armed forces and the present situation, in accordance with the laws of development and the economic
basis of socialist society, and with the fact that classes and class struggle still exist in
socialist society. This principle is the foundation on which to strengthen the revolutionization
and modernization of the army, to make good preparations for the smashing of the U.S. imperialist
war of aggression and to combat and prevent the rise of modern revisionism, and ensure that the
army never degenerates. Comrade Lin Piao’s five-point principle which calls for putting politics
first not only serves as the general principle and task for all army work in 1966 but is the
guiding policy in army building for all the years to come.
“Putting politics first” means putting Mao Tse-tung’s thinking
first, said the conference. It means regarding Chairman Mao Tse-tung’s works as the highest
instructions on all aspects of the work of the whole army, and putting Mao Tse-tung’s thinking in
command of everything. Chairman Mao Tse-tung’s instructions are the criterion for all work. All
his instructions must be resolutely supported and carried out, even if their accomplishment
involves “climbing a mountain of swords and crossing an ocean of flames.” Whatever runs counter to
his instructions must be rejected and firmly opposed.
The conference called for the creative study and application of
Chairman Mao Tse-tung’s works and, in particular, for the utmost effort in applying them. Whether
Mao Tse-tung’s thinking has been really mastered must be judged above all by its application after
study. In assessing anyone, hear what he says and see what he does, with emphasis, on the latter.
It is incumbent not only on the soldiers and cadres at grass-root levels, but even more on the
senior cadres, to read Chairman Mao Tse-tung’s works, follow his teachings, act in accordance with
his instructions and be a good soldier of Chairman Mao Tse-tung. One must make the study of
Chairman Mao’s works and the remoulding of one’s ideology a life-time endeavour if one is to
devote one’s life to the revolution.
The conference decided that in order to put politics first and
resolutely carry out the five-point principle, the whole army must hold still higher,the great red
banner of Mao Tse-tung’s thought, and stimulate a new upsurge in the creative study and application
of Mao Tse-tung’s works on an even wider scale and in still greater depth.
Consistent adherence to the mass line and the continued practice
of democracy in political, military and economic affairs were stressed at the conference. The
instructions of Chairman Mao Tse-tung, the principles and policies of the Central Committee of the
Communist Party and the directives issued by the Party’s Military Commission and Comrade Lin Piao
must be made known directly to the broad masses of cadres and fighters and translated into the
conscious action of the masses.
It was important to encourage all cadres and fighters to do
political and ideological work, including the political, military and other cadres, declared the
conference. Ideological work must penetrate the heart and mind of every fighter. Army units should
do their administrative and educational work by means of political work and by the method of
persuasion and education.
The conference stressed that the decisive factor in putting
politics first was Party leadership. The Principle that military affairs should be run by the whole
Party must be adhered to. The system of dual leadership by the military command and the local Party
committee under the unified leadership of the Party’s Central Committee must be resolutely enforced.
The army must come under the absolute leadership of the Party and the supervision of the masses in
order to ensure that the line, principles and policies of the Party are resolutely implemented in
The conference pointed out that Chairman Mao Tse-tung’s ideas on
Party building must be follewed in order to strengthen the work of building the Party organization
in the army, and strengthen collective leadership by the Party committees. Democratic centralism
must be adhered to and there must be a vigorous inner-Party life, criticism and self-criticism, and
democracy, so that military work will be done well by concerted efforts.
The conference particularly emphasized that it was necessary to
keep firmly in mind Chairman Mao Tse-tung’s teaching that “modesty makes one progress, whereas
conceit makes one lag behind” and be modest, prudent, and honest in word and deed at all times.
The conference called on all members of the army to sharpen their
vigilance a hundred-fold and work earnestly to increase their combat-readiness.
It noted that U.S. imperialism was now shifting the focus of its
strategy to Asia. It was frenziedly enlarging its war of aggression in Vietnam and directing the
spearhead of its aggression against China. At the same time the modern revisionists were working
even more shamelessly in the service of U.S. imperialism, thereby aggravating the danger of war.
The conference declared: “All members of the army must know that
the root cause of war will remain until imperialism is overthrown and capitalism is eliminated. U.S.
imperialism has obstinately set itself against the Chinese people, and against the people of all
countries. It has always wanted to impose war on the Chinese people and have a contest of strength
with us. Therefore, to increase our combat-readiness is not a temporary measure but a long-term
“We will not only defend our motherland and be ready at any moment
to smash aggression by U.S. imperialism. We will also resolutely support and help the people of
other countries in their struggle against U.S. imperialism. This is our bounden internationalist
“We must make full preparations against the war of aggression
which U.S. imperialism may launch at an early date, on a large scale, with nuclear or other weapons,
and on several fronts. All our work must be put on a footing of readiness to fight.”
In conclusion the conference declared: “We are convinced that we
will be invincible provided we put politics first, maintain an atmosphere of keen study of Mao
Tse-tung’s thought and foster a high level of proletarian consciousness, high morale, solid unity
and deep hatred for the enemy, and a spirit of revolutionary heroism, the spirit of daring to make
revolution and daring to struggle, fearing neither war nor sacrifice.”
Should U.S. imperialism dare to attack China, “our army, like a
steel hammer, will crush anything it hits. Armed with the thinking of Mao Tse-tung, closely linked
with the people throughout the country, and closely linked with the people throughout the world, we
shall be more than a match for such a thing as U.S. imperialism, and final victory will certainly
1 Comrade Lin Piao’s five-point principle guiding the work of the P.L.A.
in 1966 is: 1) creatively study and apply Chairman Mao’s works and, in particular,
make the utmost effort to apply them; regard Chairman Mao’s works as the highest
instructions on all aspects of the work of the army; 2) persist in giving first
place to man as between man and weapons, in giving first place to political work
as between political and other work, in giving first place to ideological work
as between ideological and routine tasks in political work, and, in ideological
work, in giving first place to living ideas as between ideas in books and living
ideas. And, in particular, make the greatest effort to grasp living ideas;
3) leading cadres must go to the basic units and give energetic leadership in
the campaign to produce outstanding companies and ensure that the basic units do
their work effectively, and, at the same time, that a good style of leadership
by the cadres is fostered; 4) boldly promote really good commanders and fighters
to key posts of responsibility; 5) train hard and master the finest techniques
and close-range and night fighting tactics. —Ed.
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