Skip to main content

China After the 13th Congress

  • Stuart R. Schram

It is almost exactly a decade since the process of change in China initiated by Deng Xiaoping and his political and ideological supporters began to gather momentum. Formally speaking, the decisive break point was, of course, the holding of the Third Plenum in December 1978, but by the spring of that year the confrontation between the “Whateverists” and the supporters of the “practice criterion” had become open and acute.

Hide All

1. The most influential article on this topic was that by Shaozhi, Su and Lanrui, Feng, “Wuchanjieji qude zhengquan hou de shehui fazhan jieduan wenti” (“The problem of stages in socialist development after the proletariat has taken power”), Jingji yanjiu (Economic Research), No. 5 (1979), pp. 1419.

2. The new formulation was laid down in par. 33 of the “Resolution on Certain Questions in the History of our Party since the Founding of the People's Republic of China” of 27 June 1981, in Resolution on CPC History (1949–81) (Beijing: Foreign Languages Press, 1981), p. 74.

3. Ziyang, Zhao, “Advance along the road of socialism with Chinese characteristics,” Beijing Review, No. 45 (1987), p. IV (inset).

4. Ibid. p. XXI.

5. See my article “‘Economics in command?’ Ideology and policy since the Third Plenum, 1978–1984,” The China Quarterly, No. 99 (09 1984), pp. 417–61, and the continuation of this for the period 1984–1986 in “Ideology and policy in China in the era of reform, 1978–1986,” Copenhagen Papers, No. 1 (1987), pp. 730.

6. Xiaoping, Deng, “Clear away obstacles and adhere to the policies of reform and of opening to the outside world” (talk of 13 January with Noboru Takeshita), Fundamental Issues in Present-Day China (Beijing: Foreign Languages Press, 1987), pp. 168–69.

7. Xiaoping, Deng, “We shall draw on historical experience and guard against erroneous tendencies” (remarks of 30 04 1987 to Alfonso Guerra), ibid. pp. 183–84.

8. “Ba fandui zichanjieji ziyouhua de douzheng yinxiang shenru” (“Let the struggle against bourgeois liberalization penetrate deeply”), Renmin ribao (People's Daily), 17 05 1987.

9. Xiaoping, Deng, “We must continue to build socialism and eliminate poverty” (remarks of 26 April 1987 to Lubomir Strougal), Fundamental Issues in Present-Day China, pp. 176–78. For the original Chinese text, see Deng Xiaoping tongzhi zhongyao tanhua, 1987 nian 2 yue-7 yue (Comrade Deng Xiaoping's Important Talks from February to July 1987) (Beijing: Renmin chubanshe, 1987), pp. 2024. (Some of the materials in this slim volume are translated at the end of Fundamental Issues in Present-Day China; others are not.)

10. The full text of Zhao's speech was published in Renmin ribao, 10 07 1987; a summary in translation appears in Beijing Review, No. 29 (20 07 1987), pp. 3435.

11. Deng Xiaoping tongzhi zhongyao tanhua, 1987 nian 2 yue-7 yue, pp. 1718. (The official Chinese text translated here differs in some details from earlier versions.)

12. Xiaoping, Deng, “We shall speed up reform,” Fundamental Issues in Present-Day China, pp. 192–93 and 195–96.

13. For a translation, see Beijing Review, No. 4 (1987), pp. 1418.

14. Beijing Review, No. 45 (1987), p. XXVI (inset).

15. Ibid. pp. III–IV. (Translation corrected on the basis of the Chinese text.)

16. Ibid. pp. VI, XV (inset).

17. For a particularly flagrant and notorious example of such behaviour, see “Economics in command?”, pp. 450–51, regarding the affair of the Institute of Mechanics of the Chinese Academy of Science.

18. Ibid. p. XXI.

19. Lilun dongtai (Theoretical Developments), No. 744/45, 30 10 and 10 11 1987.

20. Renmin ribao, 1 01 1988.

21. China Daily, 15 01 1988, p. 4.

22. Renmin ribao, 6 and 23 02 1988. The editorial of the 23rd was entitled “Guanjian yao anzhao jiazhi guilii banshi” (“The crux of the matter is to deal with affairs according to the law of value”).

23. Renmin ribao, 26 12 1987.

24. Ziyang, Zhao, “Jin yibu jiefang sixiang, jin yibu jiefang shengchanli” (“Take a step forward in liberating thought, take a step forward in liberating the productive forces”), Renmin ribao, 7 02 1988.

25. Beijing Review, No. 45 (1987), p. VI (inset).

26. Yuzhi, Gong, “Yige zhongxin, liangge jibendian” (“One central task, and two buie points”), Renmin ribao, 11 01 1988.

27. Beijing Review, No. 45 (1987), p. XXVI (inset).

28. Ibid. p. XXV.

29. Selected Works, Vol. II, p. 358. For a discussion of Mao's debt to Lenin and Stalin, and a brief summary of his theory of “New Democracy,” see my chapter in Volume 13 of the Cambridge History of China, pp. 852–60.

30. Ibid. pp. 329–31. There are a number of changes in these two important texts as published in Vol. II of the Selected Works in 1952, particularly as regards the leading role of the Chinese Communist Party, and the assessment of the attitude of the various classes making up Chinese society. Some of these (including one in the paragraph quoted above beginning “Every Communist ought to know”) are indicated in the extracts from “The Chinese Revolution and the Chinese Communist Party” included in Schram, S., The Political Thought of Mao Tse-tung, 2nd edit. (New York: Praeger, 1969), pp. 229–34 and 262–64, and in those from “On New Democracy” in Schram, S. and d'Encausse, H. Carrere, Marxism and Asia (London: Allen Lane the Penguin Press, 1969), pp. 251–58. (For a complete and systematic presentation of all the variants, it is necessary to have recourse to the Mao Zedong ji, 2nd edit., Vol. 7 (Tokyo: Sōsōsha, 1983), pp. 93132 and 143202.) The passages quoted above have not, however, been significantly modified either in the stress on the inevitability of capitalist development, or in the indication of the length of the “democratic” phase.

31. See Schram, , The Political Thought, p. 232.

32. Selected Works, Vol. 5, pp. 9394.

33. This line of reflection was suggested to me by a conversation of January 1988 with Guangyuan. This does not, of course, mean that Professor Yu would necessarily agree with the way I have presented the matter-still less that he has any responsibility whatsoever for any of the other views expressed in this article.

34. For the text of the Plan, see Renmin ribao, 15 04 1986.

35. For the most recent account of my own views on this question, see Schram, S.,; “Party leader or true ruler? Foundations and significance of Mao Zedong's personal power,” in Schram, S. (ed.), Foundations and Limits of State Power in China (London: SOAS; and Hong Kong: Chinese University Press, 1987), pp. 203256. See also Teiwes, Frederick' extremely thoughtful and stimulating study, Leadership, Legitimacy, and Conflict in China. From a Charismatic Mao to the Politics of Succession (Armonk, N.Y.: M.E. Sharpe, 1984).

36. Mao Zedong Zhou Enlai Liu Shaoqi Zhu De ji xianren dang he guojia zhuyao lingdaoren zhuanlue (Brief Biographies of Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai, Liu Shaoqi, Zhu De, and Important Party and State Leaders Currently in Office) ([Beijing]: Zhonggong zhongyang wenxian yanjiushi, September 1984), pp. 2528.

37. Renmin ribao, 29 01 1988.

38. Renmin ribao, 10 07 1987.

39. Beijing Review, No. 45 (1987), pp. III, XV (inset).

40. Beijing Review, No. 45 (1987), p. XVI, XX (inset).

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

The China Quarterly
  • ISSN: 0305-7410
  • EISSN: 1468-2648
  • URL: /core/journals/china-quarterly
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed