Mao Zedong Thought Conspicuously Missing
SCMP reports: “The omission of Mao Zedong’s name from a recent Xinhua statement has triggered speculation as to whether the Communist Party’s 18th congress, which begins on November 8, will make a historic decision about how much emphasis to accord one of the party’s founding fathers, as the practical impact of Mao’s legacy on the party wanes.
“The statement, issued after the party’s 24-member Politburo met on Monday, made references to President Hu Jintao, his predecessor Jiang Zemin, and Deng Xiaoping, the architect of China’s transformational ‘reform and opening up’ policy, but did not mention Mao. The statement also said the congress would revise the party constitution to incorporate ‘significant’ theories.”
It was in reference to amendments to China’s Constitution. What was the exact wording in the statement where Mao Thought was missing?
The statement says, “The whole Party shall unswervingly uphold the great banner of socialism with Chinese characteristics, further implement the Scientific Outlook on Development under the guidance of Deng Xiaoping Theory and the important thought of Three Represents…” in which Mao Zedong Thought is conspicuously missing.
Mao Thought Has Long Been Omitted in CPC Jargon
However, this wording became conspicuous long ago when Hu Jintao said that in his 2010 New Year’s message on New Year Eve. His exact wording was, “In the upcoming new year, we will unswervingly uphold the great banner of socialism with Chinese characteristics, further implement the Scientific Outlook on Development under the guidance of Deng Xiaoping Theory and the important thought of Three Represents,…”
Note that some parts of the statement and Hu’s speech are identical.
In the CCP’s (Chinese Communist Party) and China’s constitutions, the guiding ideologies are Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory and the important thought of Three Represents. However, in Hu’s message, Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought are conspicuously missing.
Such omission was repeated in Hu’s speech at the tea party of the CPPCC National Committee the next day. Interestingly, it was soon repeated with identical wording in Politburo Standing Committee member Li Changchun’s speech at an important meeting of CCP’s propaganda leaders on January 4, 2010 and in the Communiqué of the 5th plenary session of the 17th CCP Central Discipline Inspection Commission on January 13, 2010. In Hu’s speech at the fifth symposium on work in Tibet on January 22, he also repeated what he said and regarded it as the guiding ideology in doing work in Tibet then and in the future.
The wording has been so frequently repeated by high officials and in CCP documents that it has already become a CCP jargon.
However, does such omission mean that the CCP is really going to dump Mao Zedong Thought?
It does not seem so, Chinese media, books, movies, TV series have remained filled with praises of Mao since then.
In fact, three months before Hu’s New Year message in mid September 2009, the slogan “Persist in regarding as our guidance Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory and the important thought of Three Represents and further, thoroughly implement the Scientific Outlook on Development” was the 5th of the 50 slogans for the 60th National Day celebration given by CCP and State Council authorities to the media.
SCMP says, “Analysts are divided on whether the omission was an indication that the party leadership had reached a consensus on Mao’s controversial theories.”
However it also says, “The party announced yesterday the planned naming of four halls in the Mausoleum of Mao Zedong in Tiananmen Square after revolutionary places related to Mao.
“The places are Jinggangshan and Yanan, which were Red Army headquarters; Shaoshan, Mao’s birthplace; and Zunyi, where Mao was appointed top leader of the Red Army.”
Other founders of the People’s Republic may have a share in the names “Jinggangshan” and “Yanan”, but “Shaoshan” and “Zunyi” exclusively belong to Mao.
That obviously gave us the message, that the Party will not dump Mao.
Why Such Omission then?
Most people outside China now believe that China is pursuing capitalism and that if the CCP wants continuity in China’s development, it has to give up Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong thought. But the CCP insists that it is pursuing socialism with Chinese characteristics though there is in China now nearly everything that is regarded by traditional Marxists and Leninists and Maoists as capitalist: private enterprises and share markets.
The CCP now attaches great importance to harmony. In the 50 60th National Day slogans, the word “harmony” appears 5 times. However, can Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought give the CCP guidance in harmony with Deng Xiaoping Theory and Three Represents?
Mao Zedong Thought Harmful to Reform and Had to Be Omitted
Mao Zedong Thought advocates class struggle, egalitarianism, cultural revolutions against capitalist-roaders and thorough denunciation of Confucianism. It is, therefore, diametrically opposed to the CCP’s Scientific Outlook on Development that pursues capitalism and Confucianist harmony. For a long time, conservatives in the CCP have used Mao Zedong Thought to oppose reform and opening up. How can CCP leaders justify the implementation of their Scientific Outlook on Development and pursuit of harmony if Mao Zedong Thought remains their guiding ideology?
The CCP has to discard Mao Zedong Thought but cannot do so because it believes that discarding Mao Zedong Thought will deprive it of the legitimacy of its monopoly of political power. What it can do now is but to omit it. Omission of Mao Zedong Thought in many of Hu’s speeches clearly indicates the CCP’s intention to discard it by omission. It would be awkward if Marxism-Leninism remains. People will suspect that Hu had some problems with Mao Zedong Thought which after all has not been removed from the CCP’s and state’s constitutions. As a result, Hu has to omit Marxism-Leninism along with Mao Zedong Thought.
Mao Zedong Thought, if not removed from the CCP’s and state’s constitutions, will remain a lurking peril for China and the world. It may be exploited by enemies of the reform to oppose the reform and bring chaos like the Cultural Revolution to the country. It may cause a Maoist CCP leader to be engaged in a cold or even world war against the West.
What about Marxism? Is It Also a Threat?
Marxism is the basis of the CCP’s ideology. Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory and Three Represents are all derived from Marxism. If the CCP has discarded Marxism, it can no longer call itself a communist party. The CCP still faithfully advocates Marxism now. In its media, it repeatedly urges its members to study Marxism.
Marx called on the proletariat (the working class) to carry out a revolution to overthrew capitalism and establish communism. Is this not a threat to the capitalist West? It is also a threat to the CCP’s current actual pursuit of capitalism. However, this is not a problem for the CCP or the West now.
Three Represents Makes Marxism Compatible with Capitalism
The first Represent, that the CCP represents the requirements of the development of the advanced productive force, touches the basic of the basics of the Marxist theory. According to Marxist economics, the most important factors are the productive force and production relations. The productive force keeps on developing and requires the production relations to suit it. If the production relations do not suit the requirements, it will hinder the development of the advanced productive force and should be replaced by more advanced production relations that suit the requirements.
The most fundamental Marxist principle for communists is, therefore, that communists should represent the requirements of the development of the advanced productive force. According to Marx, they, therefore, should carry out a revolution to put all means of production (enterprises) under public ownership as required by the development of the advanced productive force, so that the state can plan the production in accordance with the needs of the society.
However, Marx could not foresee that public ownership and planned economy were proved inefficient by the practice in the Soviet Union, China and other countries, and that in China the development of the advanced productive force requires China to dump communism and pursue capitalism now.
The new theory of the Three Represents enables the CCP to dump communism and pursue capitalism while remaining a Marxist party. As there is no definition of the requirements of the development of the advanced productive force, when capitalism is to be dumped in the future and creativism or supermodernism or whatever is required, the CCP can immediately dump capitalism so as to represent the new requirements. By so doing, will the CCP be able to maintain its rule forever?
Mao Zedong Thought Remains CCP’s Achilles’ Heel
Mao Zedong Thought is in diametrical conflict with Deng Xiaoping Theory and the Three Represents. It upholds the rule by workers and peasants and neglects academic education. It believes that three months’ medical training is enough for a doctor. The poor management of China’s economy by uneducated people in 1976 after Zhou Enlai’s death and Deng Xiaoping’s fall brought Chinese economy to the verge of collapse. Deng Xiaoping Theory and the Three Represents, however, advocate that CCP leaders should be well educated and place great emphasis on academic education. If Mao Zedong thought is still regarded as the guiding ideology in CCP’s and China’s Constitutions, and if Mao’s portrait still looks down on Tiananmen Square, certainly people who have not been sufficiently benefited by the reform may use Mao Zedong Thought to oppose reform, opening-up and the thought of Three Represents.
Worship of Mao Hot at Present
Mao has now been deified among quite a few workers and peasants. Over the past few years, sacrificial alters for worship of Mao become conspicuous in quite a few families. According to a survey in 2008, in 40 cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Wuhan, families who had Mao’s statutes or portraits for worship accounted for 11.5% of the total number of families there, exceeding by far those who worshipped Buddha, God of Wealth or local god of the land. For those who are indignant against the widening rich-poor gap and the uncertainty caused by the reform and opening-up in their lives, Mao comes back as a symbol in their minds that embodies justice, fairness, and equality between the rich and the poor. When corruption is rampant, people are especially indignant that rich people got much of their wealth by foul means instead of fair.
Bo Xilai exploited the surge of Maoism to launch his sing-red campaign and gained great popularity, but reformists regard it as a great threat. The power struggle that brought down the powerful conservatives represented by Bo was full of tricks and intrigues that I will write a book about.
People who think that China can maintain its tremendous growth rate, and finally surpass the United States, should not forget that Maoism is an insurmountable obstacle to reform and opening up. It may stop China’s growth at any time in the future if the CCP does not discard Mao Zedong Thought. The omission of Mao Zedong Thought is only the beginning.
However, I doubt whether Mao Thought will be removed from CCP Constitution this time as Xinhua statement only said “the congress would revise the party constitution to incorporate ‘significant’ theories” instead of removing something.
Certainly, we hope Mao Thought will be removed, but I do not think that the reformists are strong enough to do so now.
- Revised CCP constitution to downplay Mao Zedong: scholar (wantchinatimes.com)
- Dropping Mao references suggests China reforms (thehimalayantimes.com)
- China: Communist Party journal suggests it could learn from Singapore’s PAP (chinadailymail.com)