Deng Xiaoping

Source: Beijing Domestic Television Service, June 27, 1989; FBIS, June 27, pp. 8-10.

["Text" of speech delivered by Deng Xiaoping while receiving cadres of the martial law units in the capital at and above the army [corps?] level on June 9 -- read by announcer; from the "News" program.]

Comrades, you have been working very hard. First, I express my profound condolences to the commanders and fighters of the People's Liberation Army [PLA], commanders and fighters of the armed police force, and public security officers and men who died a heroic death; my cordial sympathy to the several thousand commanders and fighters of the PLA, commanders and fighters of the armed police force, and public security officers and men who were injured in this struggle; and cordial regards to all commanders and fighters of the PLA, commanders and fighters of the armed police force, and public security officers and men who took part in this struggle. I propose that we all rise and stand in silent tribute to the martyrs.

I would like to take this opportunity to say a few words.

This storm was bound to come sooner or later. This is determined by the major international climate and China's own minor climate. It was bound to happen and is independent of man's will. It was just a matter of time and scale. It is more to our advantage that this happened today. What is most advantageous to us is that we have a large group of veteran comrades who are still alive. They have experienced many storms and they know what is at stake. They support the use of resolute action to counter the rebellion. Although some comrades may not understand this for a while, they will eventually understand this and support the decision of the Central Committee.

The April 26 Renmin ribao editorial ascertained the nature of the problem as that of turmoil. The word turmoil is appropriate. This is the very word to which some people object and which they want to change. What has happened shows that this judgment was correct. It was also inevitable that the situation would further develop into a counterrevolutionary rebellion.

We still have a group of veteran comrades who are alive. We also have core cadres who took part in the revolution at various times, and in the army as well. Therefore, the fact that the incident broke out today has made it easier to handle.

The main difficulty in handling this incident has been that we have never experienced such a situation before, where a handful of bad people mixed with so many young students and onlookers. For a while we could not distinguish them, and as a result, it was difficult for us to be certain of the correct action that we should take. If we had not had the support of so many veteran party comrades, it would have been difficult even to ascertain the nature of the incident.

Some comrades do not understand the nature of the problem. They think it is simply a question of how to treat the masses. Actually, what we face is not simply ordinary people who are unable to distinguish between right and wrong. We also face a rebellious clique and a large number of the dregs of society, who want to topple our country and overthrow our party. This is the essence of the problem. Failing to understand this fundamental issue means failing to understand the nature of the incident. I believe that after serious work, we can win the support of the overwhelming majority of comrades within the party concerning the nature of the incident and its handling.

The incident became very clear as soon as it broke out. They have two main slogans: One is to topple the Communist Party, and the other is to overthrow the socialist system. Their goal is to establish a totally Western-dependent bourgeois republic. The people want to combat corruption. This, of course, we accept. We should also take the so-called anticorruption slogans raised by people with ulterior motives as good advice and accept them accordingly. Of course, these slogans are just a front: The heart of these slogans is to topple the Communist Party and overthrow the socialist system.

In the course of quelling this rebellion, many of our comrades were injured or even sacrificed their lives. Their weapons were also taken from them. Why was this? It also was because bad people mingled with the good, which made it difficult to take the drastic measures we should take.

Handling this matter amounted to a very severe political test for our army, and what happened shows that our PLA passed muster. If we had used tanks to roll across [bodies?], it would have created a confusion of fact and fiction across the country. That is why I have to thank the PLA commanders and fighters for using this attitude to deal with the rebellion. Even though the losses are regrettable, this has enabled us to win over the people and made it possible for those people who can't tell right from wrong to change their viewpoint. This has made it possible for everyone to see for themselves what kind of people the PLA are, whether there was bloodbath at Tiananmen, and who were the people who shed blood.

Once this question is cleared up, we can seize the initiative. Although it is very saddening to have sacrificed so many comrades, if the course of the incident is analyzed objectively, people cannot but recognize that the PLA are the sons and brothers of the people. This will also help the people to understand the measures we used in the course of the struggle. In the future, the PLA will have the people's support for whatever measures it takes to deal with whatever problem it faces. I would like to add here that in the future we must never again let people take away our weapons.

All in all, this was a test, and we passed. Even though there are not very many senior comrades in the army and the fighters are mostly children of 18 or 19 years of age -- or a little more than 20 years old -- they are still genuine soldiers of the people. In the face of danger to their lives, they did not forget the people, the teachings of the party, and the interests of the country. They were resolute in the face of death. It's not an exaggeration to say that they sacrificed themselves like heroes and died martyrs' deaths.

When I talked about passing muster, I was referring to the fact that the army is still the People's Army and that it is qualified to be so characterized. This army still maintains the traditions of our old Red Army. What they crossed this time was in the true sense of the expression a political barrier, a threshold of life and death. This was not easy. This shows that the People's Army is truly a great wall of iron and steel of the party and state. This shows that no matter how heavy our losses, the army, under the leadership of the party, will always remain the defender of the country, the defender of socialism, and the defender of the public interest. They are a most lovable people. At the same time, we should never forget how cruel our enemies are. We should have not one bit of forgiveness for them.

The fact that this incident broke out as it did is very worthy of our pondering. It prompts us cool-headedly to consider the past and the future. Perhaps this bad thing will enable us to go ahead with reform and the open policy at a steadier and better -- even a faster -- pace, more speedily correct our mistakes, and better develop our strong points. Today I cannot elaborate here. I only want to raise a point.

The first question is: Are the line, principles and policies adopted by the third plenary session of the Eleventh CPC Central Committee, including our three-step development strategy, correct? Is it the case that because of this rebellion the correctness of the line, principles, and policies we have laid down will be called into question? Are our goals leftist ones? Should we continue to use them as the goals for our struggle in the future? We must have clear and definite answers to these important questions.

We have already accomplished our first goal, doubling the GNP. We plan to take twelve years to attain our second goal of again doubling the GNP. In the next fifty years we hope to reach the level of a moderately developed nation. A 2 to 2.9 percent annual growth rate is sufficient. This is our strategic goal.

Concerning this, I think that what we have arrived at is not a "leftist" judgment. Nor have we laid down an overly ambitious goal. That is why, in answering the first question, we cannot say that, at least up to now, we have failed in the strategic goals we laid down. After sixty-one years, a country with 1.5 billion people will have reached the level of a moderately developed nation. This would be an unbeatable achievement. We should be able to realize this goal. It cannot be said that our strategic goal is wrong because this happened.

The second question is: Is the general conclusion of the Thirteenth Party Congress of one center, two basic points correct? Are the two basic points -- upholding the four cardinal principles and persisting in the open policy and reforms -- wrong?

In recent days, I have pondered these two points. No, we have not been wrong. There is nothing wrong with the four cardinal principles. If there is anything amiss, it is that these principles have not been thoroughly implemented: They have not been used as the basic concept to educate the people, educate the students, and educate all the cadres and Communist Party members.

The nature of the current incident is basically the confrontation between the four cardinal principles and bourgeois liberalization. It is not that we have not talked about such things as the four cardinal principles, work on political concepts, opposition to bourgeois liberalization, and opposition to spiritual pollution. What we have not had is continuity in these talks, and there has been no action -- or even that there has been hardly any talk.

What is wrong does not lie in the four cardinal principles themselves, but in wavering in upholding these principles, and in very poor work in persisting with political work and education.

In my CPPCC talk on New Year's Day in 1980, I talked about four guarantees, one of which was the enterprising spirit in hard struggle and plain living. Hard struggle and plain living are our traditions. From now on we should firmly grasp education in plain living, and we should grasp it for the next sixty to seventy years. The more developed our country becomes, the more important it is to grasp the enterprising spirit in plain living. Promoting the enterprising spirit in plain living will also be helpful toward overcoming corruption.

After the founding of the People's Republic, we promoted the enterprising spirit in plain living. Later on, when life became a little better, we promoted spending more, leading to waste everywhere. This, together with lapses in theoretical work and an incomplete legal system, resulted in breaches of the law and corruption.

I once told foreigners that our worst omission of the past ten years was in education. What I meant was political education, and this does not apply to schools and young students alone, but to the masses as a whole. We have not said much about plain living and enterprising spirit, about the country China is now and how it is going to turn out. This has been our biggest omission.

Is our basic concept of reform and openness wrong? No. Without reform and openness, how could we have what we have today? There has been a fairly good rise in the people's standard of living in the past ten years, and it may be said that we have moved one stage further. The positive results of ten years of reforms and opening to the outside world must be properly assessed, even though such issues as inflation emerged. Naturally, in carrying out our reform and opening our country to the outside world, bad influences from the West are bound to enter our country, but we have never underestimated such influences.

In the early 1980s, when we established special economic zones, I told our Guangdong comrades that they should conduct a two-pronged policy: On the one hand, they should persevere in reforms and openness, and the other they should severely deal with economic crimes, including conducting ideological-political work. This is the doctrine that everything has two aspects.

However, looking back today, it appears that there were obvious inadequacies. On the one hand, we have been fairly tough, but on the other we have been fairly soft. As a result, there hasn't been proper coordination. Being reminded of these inadequacies would help us formulate future policies. Furthermore, we must continue to persist in integrating a planned economy with a market economy. There cannot be any change in this policy. In practical work we can place more emphasis on planning in the adjustment period. At other times, there can be a little more market regulation, so as to allow more flexibility. The future policy should still be an integration of a planned economy and a market economy.

What is important is that we should never change China into a closed country. There is not [now?] even a good flow of information. Nowadays, do we not talk about the importance of information? Certainly, it is important. If one who is involved in management doesn't have information, he is no better than a man whose nose is blocked and whose ears and eyes are shut. We should never again go back to the old days of trampling the economy to death. I put forward this proposal for the Standing Committee's consideration. This is also a fairly urgent problem, a problem we'll have to deal with sooner or later.

This is the summation of our work in the past decade: Our basic proposals, ranging from our development strategy to principles and policies, including reform and opening to the outside world, are correct. If there is any inadequacy to talk about, then I should say our reforms and openness have not proceeded well enough.

The problems we face in the course of reform are far greater than those we encounter in opening our country to the outside world. In reform of the political system, we can affirm one point: We will persist in implementing the system of people's congresses rather than the American system of the separation of three powers. In fact, not all Western countries have adopted the American system of the separation of three powers.

America has criticized us for suppressing students. In handling its internal student strikes and unrest, didn't America mobilize police and troops, arrest people, and shed blood? They are suppressing students and the people, but we are quelling a counterrevolutionary rebellion. What qualifications do they have to criticize us? From now on, we should pay attention when handling such problems. As soon as a trend emerges, we should not allow it to spread.

What do we do from now on? I would say that we should continue to implement the basic line, principles, and policies we have already formulated. We will continue to implement them unswervingly. Except where there is a need to alter a word or phrase here and there, there should be no change in the basic line and basic principles and policies. Now that I have raised this question, I would like you all to consider it thoroughly.

As to how to implement these policies, such as in the areas of investment, the manipulation of capital, and so on, I am in favor of putting the emphasis on basic industry and agriculture. Basic industry includes the raw material industry, transportation, and energy. There should be more investment in this area, and we should persist in this for ten to twenty years, even if it involves debts. In a way, this is also openness. We need to be bold in this respect. There cannot be serious mistakes. We should work for more electricity, more railway lines, more public roads, and more shipping. There's a lot we can do. As for steel, foreigners think we'll need some 120 million metric tons in the future. We are now capable of producing about 60 million metric tons, about half that amount. If we were to improve our existing facilities and increase production by 20 million metric tons, we would reduce the amount of steel we need to import. Obtaining foreign loans to improve this area is also an aspect of reform and openness. The question now confronting us is not whether or not the reform and open policies are correct or whether we should continue with these policies. The question is how to carry out these policies: Where do we go and which area should we concentrate on?

We must resolutely implement the series of line, principles, and policies formulated since the third plenary session of the Eleventh CPC Central Committee. We should conscientiously sum up our experiences, persevere with what is correct, correct what is wrong, and do a bit more where we have lagged behind. In short, we should sum up the experiences of the present and look forward to the future.

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