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10.- The relationship between China and other countries|
We have put forward the slogan of learning from other countries. I think
that this slogan is correct. There is one kind of national leader who
neither dares nor wishes to put forward this slogan. We must have the
courage to reject such an upstage attitude.
We must learn the good points of all countries and all nationalities.
Every nationality has its good points, otherwise how could it exist, how
could it develop?
To recognize that every nationality has its good points is not to deny
that it has weaknesses and shortcomings. Strengths and weaknesses, good
points and bad, it will have both.
Our branch secretaries and company and platoon commanders all know -it
is written in their little notebooks- that in summarizing experiences
there are always two points: one is the strengths, the other the
weaknesses. Today's meeting is no exception to this. We all know that
there are two sides to things. Why, then, should we only mention one
side, the strengths, and omit the weaknesses? A state of affairs with
only one side could not exist. For 10,000 years to come there will
always be two sides. Each age has its two sides. The present age has its
two sides. Each individual has two sides. In short, there are always two
sides, not just one. If we say there is only one side, it means that we
only know about one side and we are ignorant of the other.
We propose learning the good things of other countries, not the bad. In
the past some of us were unclear about this and also learned the bad
things. They were as pleased as Punch with what they had learned, but
meanwhile the people from whom they had learned these useless things had
already discarded them. So they came a cropper like Sun Wu-k'ung.
Some people never analyse anything. They simply follow the prevailing
wind. Today the north wind is blowing, so they join the north wind
school. Tomorrow there is a west wind, so they join the west wind
school. The day after tomorrow the north wind blows again, so they
switch back to the north wind school. They haven't a single opinion of
their own. They are absolutists, going from one extreme to another. We
must not be like this, we must not copy things blindly, but we should
learn analytically and critically. We should not become one-sided and
copy everything which comes from abroad, and introduce it
We used to be sectarian on this question in the past, and we have
conducted a long struggle against this sectarianism. But sectarianism is
still to be found both in the academic world and in the economic world.
We should continue our work of criticizing it.
We put the problem in this way: the study of universal truth must be
combined with Chinese reality. Our theory is made up of the universal
truth of Marxism-Leninism combined with the concrete reality of China.
We must be able to think independently.
We openly put forward the slogan of learning from foreign countries,
learning all their advanced and superior things, and continuing to learn
from them for ever. We openly acknowledge the weaknesses of our own
nation, and the strengths of others.
If we are to learn from foreign countries, we must conscientiously learn
foreign languages, if possible several.
I consider that China has two weaknesses, and at the same time, two
First, in the past we were a colony and semi-colony. We suffered the
oppression of imperialism. Our industry was not developed and our
scientific and technical level was low. Apart from our large territory,
rich resources, large population and long history, we were inferior to
others in many respects. So we were not prone to be stuck up or
conceited. On the contrary, we have been slaves far too long and felt
inferior to others in every respect -too much so. We could not hold up
our heads in the presence of foreigners. We were like Chia Kuei in the
opera THE FA-MEN TEMPLE. When people asked him to sit down, he said he
was used to standing and would not sit. Some real effort is needed on
this problem, to raise the self-confidence of our people. We must do as
Mencius says: "When speaking to the mighty, look on them with contempt."
 We must develop the spirit which we had during the "Resist America,
Aid Korea" campaign, of looking with contempt on the imperialists. Our
policy is that we should study all the good points of foreign countries,
their politics, their economics, their science and technology, and their
literature and art.
Second, our revolution came late. Although the 1911 Revolution, which
overthrew the emperor, came before the Russian revolution, yet we then
had no proletarian party and the revolution failed. The victory of the
People's revolution in 1949 came over thirty years later than the Soviet
October revolution. So it is not our place to be proud. And although our
revolution is one step ahead of those of a number of colonial countries,
we should resist the temptation to be proud of that too.
These two points are weaknesses, but also strong points too. As I have
already said, we are very poor and have not much knowledge. We are first
"poor" and second "blank". By "poor" I mean that we have not much
industry and our agriculture is not so very advanced either. By "blank"
I mean that we are like a sheet of blank paper, since our educational
and scientific level is not high. Those who are poor want change; only
they want to have a revolution, want to burst their bonds, and seek to
become strong. A blank sheet of paper is good for writing on. I am, of
course, speaking in general terms. The labouring people of our country
are rich in wisdom, and we also have a pretty good bunch of scientists.
I am not saying we have no knowledge at all.
Being first "poor" and second "blank" prevent us from being stuck up.
Even if in future our industry and agriculture develop rapidly, and our
scientific and educational level is greatly raised, we must still
preserve our modest and cautious attitude and not be stuck up. We must
still learn from others. We must study for 10,000 years. What is wrong
I have altogether discussed ten points. In sum, we must mobilize all
positive factors -direct and indirect factors, direct and indirect
positive factors- and strive to build a great socialist state. We must
strive further to strengthen and consolidate the socialist camp, to win
victory for the international communist movement!