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Important CPC Plenums
Special> The Third Plenary Session of the 17th CPC Central Committee> Beijing Review Archives> Important CPC Plenums
UPDATED: October 10, 2008 NO.52, 1978
Communique of the Third Plenary Session of the 11th CPC Central Committee

The session points out that our country has achieved new and important successes in developing the international united front against hegemonism and in developing friendly relations with countries in all parts of the world. The visits made by our state leaders this year to Korea, Romania, Yugoslavia, Kampuchea, Iran, Burma Nepal, the Philippines, Bangladesh, Japan, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore and many other countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europe, the conclusion of the China-Japan Peace and Friendship Treaty and the completion of the negotiations for the normalization of relations between China and the United States are important contributions to peace in Asia and the world as a whole. But the grave danger of war still exists. We must strengthen our national defence, and be prepared to repulse at any moment aggressors from any direction. The plenary session holds that the normalization of relations between China and the United States further places before us the prospect of the return of our sacred territory Taiwan to the embrace of our motherland and the accomplishment of the great cause of reunification. The plenary session expresses welcome to Taiwan compatriots, compatriots in Hongkong and Macao and overseas Chinese, as patriots belonging to one family, to continue making joint and positive contributions to the reunification and construction of their motherland.

In the early years after the founding of the People's Republic, especially after the socialist transformation was in the main completed, Comrade Mao Tsetung instructed the whole Party time and again to shift the focus of our work to the field of the economy and technical revolution. Under the leadership of Comrade Mao Tsetung and Comrade Chou En-lai, our Party did a great deal for socialist modernization and scored important achievements. But the work was later interrupted and sabotaged by Lin Piao and the "gang of four." Besides, we had some shortcomings and mistakes in our leading work because we lacked experience in socialist construction, and this also hampered the transition in the focus of our Party's work. Since the nationwide mass movement to expose and criticize Lin Piao and the "gang of four" has fundamentally come to a successful conclusion, though in a small number of places and departments the movement is less developed, still needs some time to catch up and so cannot end simultaneously, on the whole there is every condition needed for that transition. Therefore the plenary session unanimously endorsed the policy decision put forward by Comrade Hua Kuo-feng on behalf of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee that, to meet the developments at home and abroad, now is an appropriate time to take the decision to close the large-scale nationwide mass movement to expose and criticize Lin Piao and the "gang of four" and to shift the emphasis of our Party's work and the attention of the people of the whole country to socialist modernization. This is of major significance for fulfilment of the three-year and eight-year programmes for the development of the national economy and the outline for 23 years, for the modernization of agriculture, industry, national defence and science and technology and for the consolidation of the dictatorship of the proletariat in our country. The general task put forward by our Party for the new period reflects the demands of history and the people's aspirations and represents their fundamental interests. Whether or not we can carry this general task to completion, speed socialist modernization and on the basis of a rapid growth in production improve the people's living standards significantly and strengthen national defence - this is a major issue which is of paramount concern to all our people and of great significance to the cause of world peace and progress. Carrying out the four modernizations requires great growth in the productive forces, which in turn requires diverse changes in those aspects of the relations of production and the superstructure not in harmony with the growth of the productive forces, and requires changes in all methods of management, actions and thinking which stand in the way of such growth. Socialist modernization is therefore a profound and extensive revolution. There is still in our country today a small handful of counter-revolutionary elements and criminals who hate our socialist modernization and try to undermine it. We must not relax our class struggle against them, nor can we weaken the dictatorship of the proletariat. But as Comrade Mao Tsetung pointed out, the large-scale turbulent class struggles of a mass character have in the main come to an end. Class struggle in socialist society should be carried out on the principle of strictly differentiating the two different types of contradictions and correctly handling them in accordance with the procedures prescribed by the Constitution and the law. It is impermissible to confuse the two different types of contradictions and damage the political stability and unity required for socialist modernization. The plenary session calls on the whole Party, the whole army and the people of all our nationalities to work with one heart and one mind, enhance political stability and unity, mobilize themselves immediately to go all out, pool their wisdom and efforts and carry out the new Long March to make China a modern, powerful socialist country before the end of this century.


In preparing for the great task of socialist modernization, the session reviewed the experience and lessons of economic construction since the founding of the People's Republic. The session holds that the fundamental policy put forth in the report On the Ten Major Relationships which Comrade Mao Tsetung made in 1956, summing up China's experience in economic construction, is an objective reflection of economic law and also an important guarantee for the political stability of society. This report still is significant for guidance today. It has been shown in practice that whenever we maintain the society's necessary political stability and work according to objective economic law, our national economy advances steadily and at a high speed; otherwise, our national economy develops slowly or even stagnates and falls back. While we have achieved political stability and unity and are restoring and adhering to the economic policies that proved effective over a long time, we are now, in the light of the new historical conditions and practical experience, adopting a number of major new economic measures, conscientiously transforming the system and methods of economic management, actively expanding economic co-operation on terms of equality and mutual benefit with other countries on the basis of self-reliance, striving to adopt the world's advanced technologies and equipment and greatly strengthening scientific and educational work to meet the needs of modernization. Therefore, there can be no doubt that our country's economic construction is bound to advance rapidly and steadily once again.

The plenary session discussed arrangements for the national economic plans for 1979 and 1980 and approved them in principle, and proposed that the State Council submit them after revisions to the Second Session of the National People's Congress to be held next year for discussion and adoption. The session feels that these arrangements are both forward-looking and feasible. The session points out that the restoration and development of our national economy since the downfall of the "gang of four" has been very rapid, and that there have been marked increases in total industrial and agricultural output value and revenue in 1978. But it has to be noted that due to sabotage by Lin Piao and the "gang of four" over a long period there are still quite a few problems in the national economy, some major imbalances have not been completely changed and some disorder in production, construction, circulation and distribution has not been fully eliminated. A series of problems left hanging for years as regards the people's livelihood in town and country must be appropriately solved. We must conscientiously solve these problems step by step in the next few years and effectively achieve a comprehensive balance, so as to lay a solid foundation for rapid development. We must make concentrated efforts within the limits of our capabilities to carry out capital construction actively and steadily and not rush things, wasting manpower and material.

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