A FEW days ago, when two leading comrades of the General Office of the Party Central Committee came to see me, I told them that the "two-whatever" policy  will not do. In accordance with this doctrine, my rehabilitation is unjustifiable, and it is likewise unjustifiable to affirm that the activities of the broad masses of people at Tian An Men Square in 1976 were "reasonable" . For us to apply what Comrade Mao Zedong said on one particular question to another, to apply what he said in one particular place to another, to apply what he said at one particular time to another, or to apply what he said under one particular condition to another - all this certainly will not work! Comrade Mao Zedong himself said on several occasions that some of his own statements were wrong. He said that no one can avoid making mistakes so long as he works, and that Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin all made mistakes, for otherwise why did they often revise their manuscripts time and again? The reason they did so was precisely that some of their original viewpoints were not completely correct, not so perfect or not so accurate. Comrade Mao Zedong also said that he himself had made mistakes too, that there has never been a person whose statements are all correct or who is absolutely correct all the time. He said that if one is given an assessment of 70 per cent for achievements and 30 per cent for mistakes, that will be quite all right; and that he himself would be very glad and satisfied if future generations could give him such a "70-30 evaluation" after his death. This is an important theoretical question, a question of whether or not we can persevere in historical materialism. One should approach this question in the way advocated by Comrade Mao Zedong if one is a thoroughgoing materialist. Marx and Engels did not put forward any "whatever" doctrine, nor did Lenin and Stalin, nor did Comrade Mao Zedong himself . I told the two leading comrades of the Central Committee's General Office that, in my letter to the Central Committee of April 10 this year, I proposed that "from generation to generation, we guide our whole Party, whole army and the people of the whole country with the accurate and comprehensive Mao Zedong Thought, so as to push forward victoriously the cause of the Party and socialism and the cause of the international communist movement." It was after lengthy consideration that I made this proposal. Mao Zedong Thought is an ideological system. Comrade Luo Ronghuan  and I waged struggles against Lin Biao, criticizing him for vulgarizing Mao Zedong Thought instead of regarding it as a system. When we say we should hold aloft our banner, we mean precisely that we should study and apply this ideological system of Mao Zedong Thought.
Excerpts from a talk with two other central leading comrades. Here is an unofficial translation.
The "two-whatever" policy refers to the statement that "we will resolutely uphold whatever policy decisions Chairman Mao made, and unswervingly follow whatever instructions Chairman Mao gave," a statement contained in the joint editorial, entitled "Study the Documents Well and Grasp the Key Link," of Renmin Ribao, the journal Hongqi and Jiefangjun Bao on February 7, 1977.
This is a criticism of Hua Guofeng, then Chairman of the CPC Central Committee, for his mistake of sticking to the "two-whatever" policy in his speech at the central working conference of March 1977. In 1975, Deng Xiaoping, with the support of Mao Zedong, took charge of the work of the Party Central Committee and began straightening things out in the various fields, thus bringing about a marked turn for the better in the domestic situation. But, Mao Zedong, who could not bear to accept Deng Xiaoping's systematic correction of the mistakes of the "cultural revolution," launched late that year the so-called movement "to criticize Deng Xiaoping and counter the Right deviationist trend to reverse correct verdicts." In January 1976, Zhou Enlai passed away. Around the Qingming (Clear and Bright) Festival, April 4 of the same year, mass movements broke out in Beijing and many other cities to mourn for the late Zhou Enlai, oppose the gang of four and show disapproval of the criticism of Deng Xiaoping. The gang of four did their utmost to suppress the revolutionary activities of the masses. On April 5, large numbers of people took action in protest at Tian An Men Square in Beijing. At the time, the Political Bureau of the Party Central Committee and Mao Zedong made a wrong assessment of the Tian An Men Incident, regarding it as counterrevolutionary, and dismissed Deng Xiaoping from all his posts inside and outside the Party. After the smashing of the gang of four, the masses of people, inside and outside the Party, strongly demanded that Deng Xiaoping be rehabilitated and that the assessment of the Tian An Men Incident be reversed. Hua Guofeng stuck to the "two-whatever" policy in his speech at the central working conference of March 1977, stating that "the movement 'to criticize Deng Xiaoping and counter the Right deviationist trend to reverse correct verdicts' was carried out according to the great leader Chairman Mao's decision, and the criticism was indispensable," and that "there were indeed a handful of counter-revolutionaries" who "fabricated the counter-revolutionary Tian An Men Incident." However, he had to say that it was necessary to "let Comrade Deng Xiaoping come out to work at an opportune moment," and that "it was reasonable that the masses went to Tian An Men Square during the Qingming Festival to mourn for the late Premier Zhou." Here, Deng Xiaoping pointed out the inconsistencies in Hua Guofeng's speech and criticized the mistake of the "two-whatever" policy. In July 1977, the Third Plenary Session of the 10th Party Central Committee adopted a resolution, restoring Deng Xiaoping to all his posts inside and outside the Party. In December 1978, the Third Plenary Session of the 11th Party Central Committee criticized the mistake of the "two-whatever" policy, decided to cancel the erroneous documents issued by the Central Committee on the movement to "counter the Right deviationist trend to reverse correct verdicts" and on the Tian An Men Incident, and solemnly announced the rehabilitation of Deng Xiaoping and the reversal of the assessment of the Tian An Men Incident.
This sentence means that none of them - Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin and Mao Zedong - said that whatever he said or did was absolutely correct and could never be altered.
Luo Ronghuan (1902-63), native of Heng-shan, Hunan Province, was at the time Member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Director of the General Political Department of the Chinese People's Liberation Army.
(Beijing Review No.33, 1983)
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