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How a debate 40 years ago paves way for China's modernization? [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2018-5-14 15:26:02 |Display all floors
This post was edited by Grace222 at 2018-5-14 15:27

Year 2018 marks the 40th anniversary of the start of China's reform and opening-up – a landmark policy that transformed a poor country into the world's second largest economy. This could not have happened without a nationwide debate.

The debate was ignited in May 1978 after the release of a commentary in some leading media publications of China. Entitled "practice is the sole criterion for testing truth," the article criticized the principle of the "two whatevers," which some members of the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC) clung to. Under that principle, whatever decisions made by late leader Mao Zedong (1893-1976) must be upheld and whatever instructions given by him must be followed.


It was less than two years after the death of Mao and the end of the devastating Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) when the article was published. Launched by Mao, the Cultural Revolution was one of the darkest periods in China's recent history, during which the nation concentrated on "class struggle" rather than economic development and many officials were wronged and persecuted, including Deng Xiaoping (1904-1997), a vice premier who was removed from office in April 1976. The influence of the Cultural Revolution was still strong in 1978. On the other hand, there was a strong call for reform to improve people's livelihood after years of "class struggle"; there was also a call among senior Party officials for Deng to "resume work."

However, if the principle of the "two whatevers" was still applied and dogmatism was not abandoned, it would not be possible to emancipate people's minds and shift the country's focus to modernization – it would also be very difficult for Deng to make a comeback. A theoretical and political debate became inevitable.

Written by Hu Fuming, a lecturer at Nanjing University, the article of "practice is the sole criterion for testing truth" was published with the support of reformists in the CPC leadership. It soon sparked fierce controversy across the country. Deng vigorously supported the argument in the article, stressing that seeking truth from facts was the quintessence of Mao Zedong Thought and calling for a correct understanding of the thought as an integral whole. He explained to Party officials that the "two whatevers" did not accord with Marxism because the most fundamental principle of Marxism was the integration of theory with practice.

The debated ended in the reformists' favor, laying theoretical and ideological foundation for the Third Plenary Session of the 11th CPC Central Committee in December 1978, which was remembered as one of the most important turning points of China.

"As a matter of fact, the debate on the criterion of truth was an issue of ideological lines and an issue of politics," Deng, reemerging as one of the top leaders of the CPC, said at a preparatory meeting for the session. "It was an issue concerning the future and destiny of our party and country."

The historic session became the beginning of China's reform and opening-up, of which Deng is viewed as the "chief architect."

Since then, the CPC has been making theoretical innovations in accordance with the practice of China's reform and opening-up as well as changing domestic and international situations. The emphasis on practice is essential for the Party to keep pace with the times and press ahead with reform.

Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee and president of China, announced that socialism with Chinese characteristics had entered a new era in his report to the 19th CPC National Congress last October.

"The era is the mother of thought; practice is the fount of theory," he said, urging the ruling party and the nation to "respond to the call of our times" and "uphold truth and correct errors."

In this new era, the principal contradiction facing Chinese society has become "the contradiction between unbalanced and inadequate development and the people’s ever-growing needs for a better life," according to Xi.

To achieve more balanced and adequate development nationwide, China has vowed to deepen reform and open its doors wider. Thus the spirit of the debate four decades ago, which encouraged practical efforts and the innovation of ideas, is still relevant in tackling today's challenges. (source: CGTN)


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Post time 2018-5-14 16:38:17 |Display all floors
Launched by Mao, the Cultural Revolution was one of the darkest periods in China's recent history


Source: CGTN

I'm curious how much this article (targeted at international audience via CGTN) differs from same article (if such exists) targeted at domestic audience via CCTV.

Perhaps Robert can give us a Chinese view?

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Post time 2018-5-14 17:10:39 |Display all floors
Jaaja Post time: 2018-5-14 00:38
Source: CGTN

I'm curious how much this article (targeted at international audience via CGTN) diff ...

The article worked on foreign audiences didn't it.
The truth is Mao paved the way to China becoming what it is today.
The Cultural Revolution was a success. It eradicated most of western backed saboteurs from China.
Then China could progress on its own without western meddling.
The Chinese always knew the communist party saved it from becoming just another western puppet
like Japan, South Korea, or the KMT in Taiwan.
The Great Leap Forward was key to China obtaining nuclear deterrence.
The Cultural Revolution was key to China ridding itself of western backed saboteurs from China.
If capitalism promotes innovation and creativity then why aren't scientists and artists the richest people in a capitalist nation?

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Post time 2018-5-14 17:16:53 |Display all floors
As far as calling the Cultural Revolution devastating, the Civil War in the USA could be called devastating too.
It depends on which angle you look at it from.
But the Civil War in the USA did what it was intended to do, end slavery.
If capitalism promotes innovation and creativity then why aren't scientists and artists the richest people in a capitalist nation?

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Post time 2018-5-14 18:07:19 |Display all floors
robert237 Post time: 2018-5-14 17:10
The article worked on foreign audiences didn't it.
The truth is Mao paved the way to China becomin ...
The article worked on foreign audiences didn't it.


That's what I would lke to know - knowing the difference of this (or similar) article from the same source to foreign and domestic audiences would answer this question. If there is no difference, that's very good.

If there is difference, then obviously China does care what foreign viewers think. Which is something that some individuals on this forum keep denying.

In my opinion the only substantial long-term result from both "cultural revolution" and the "great leap forward", that couldn't have been obtained even without, was that they cemented the authority of the party over the population.

It showed the citizens that no matter how bad policies the party devises or approves, there is no escaping them without leaving the country - which many did. Some events in post-Mao era served the same purpose.

Even the Chinese government (including Mao himself) criticized the "great leap forward" as failure and loss to the country, already in early 1960s.

China's program to develop nuclear weapons coincided with great leap forward, but they were barely linked in any ways.

Great leap forward did not give China nuclear weapons - Soviet Union did.

Perhaps the "great leap forward" demonstrated to Chinese leaders why they need nuclear weapons. Who knows when some western power would come to rescue the Chinese people from their leaders' failing policies.

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Post time 2018-5-14 19:29:00 |Display all floors
Jaaja Post time: 2018-5-14 02:07
That's what I would lke to know - knowing the difference of this (or similar) article from the s ...

You are ignorant beyond all belief.
The policies of the CPC brought China from a war torn backwater to the second biggest economy in the world.
You constantly speculate "what if" China had come under western control and imply that everything
would be puppy dogs and roses if China had become just another western puppet.
If you knew anything about Chinese history you'd know that the Great Leap Forward financed the
acquisition of technology from the Russians necessary to obtain nuclear deterrence. The Russians
didn't just hand the technology to China. They were at odds much of the time during that period
and Russia had no reason to simply give China the technology.
Ignorant westerner who learned only what was taught in western schools think of only backyard
iron smelters when they hear of the Great Leap Forward. China shipped a lot of pork and other
food stuffs to Russia to finance the creation of their own nuclear bomb.

And where was Mao quoted as calling the Great Leap Forward a failure and a loss to the country?
In western history books I suppose. Only fools believe everything they read, you included.

Finally, why should China care what the rest of the world thinks about?
It's a well know fact that the west has been on genocide campaign after genocide campaign for
the past 500 years while stealing the land and subjugating the people in three continents.
Who would trust or care about such a vicious and immoral lot?
This is why China worked so hard to obtain nuclear deterrence. The Russians didn't just hand it to them as you were lead to believe in western schools.
If capitalism promotes innovation and creativity then why aren't scientists and artists the richest people in a capitalist nation?

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Post time 2018-5-14 19:31:21 |Display all floors
Jaaja Post time: 2018-5-14 02:07
That's what I would lke to know - knowing the difference of this (or similar) article from the s ...

You are ignorant beyond all belief.
The policies of the CPC brought China from a war torn backwater to the second biggest economy in the world.
You constantly speculate "what if" China had come under western control and imply that everything
would be puppy dogs and roses if China had become just another western puppet.
If you knew anything about Chinese history you'd know that the Great Leap Forward financed the
acquisition of technology from the Russians necessary to obtain nuclear deterrence. The Russians
didn't just hand the technology to China. They were at odds much of the time during that period
and Russia had no reason to simply give China the technology.
Ignorant westerner who learned only what was taught in western schools think of only backyard
iron smelters when they hear of the Great Leap Forward. China shipped a lot of pork and other
food stuffs to Russia to finance the creation of their own nuclear bomb.

And where was Mao quoted as calling the Great Leap Forward a failure and a loss to the country?
In western history books I suppose. Only fools believe everything they read, you included.

Finally, why should China care what the rest of the world thinks about?
It's a well know fact that the west has been on genocide campaign after genocide campaign for
the past 500 years while stealing the land and subjugating the people in three continents.
Who would trust or care about such a vicious and immoral lot?
This is why China worked so hard to obtain nuclear deterrence. The Russians didn't just hand it to them as you were lead to believe in western schools.
If capitalism promotes innovation and creativity then why aren't scientists and artists the richest people in a capitalist nation?

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