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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 one of the serious shortcomings in the structure of economic management in our country is the over-concentration of authority, and it is necessary boldly to shift it under guidance from the leadership to lower levels so that the local authorities and industrial and agricultural enterprises will have greater power of decision in management under the guidance of unified state planning; big efforts should be made to simplify bodies at various levels charged with economic administration and transfer most of their functions to such enterprises as specialized companies or complexes; it is necessary to act firmly in line with economic law, attach importance to the role of the law of value, consciously combine ideological and political work with economic methods and give full play to the enthusiasm of cadres and workers for production; it is necessary, under the centralized leadership of the Party, to tackle conscientiously the failure to make a distinction between the Party, the government and the enterprise and to put a stop to the substitution of Party for government and the substitution of government for enterprise administration, to institute a division of responsibilities among different levels, types of work and individuals, increase the authority and responsibility of administrative bodies and managerial personnel, reduce the number of meetings and amount of paper work to raise work efficiency, and conscientiously adopt the practices of examination, reward and punishment, promotion and demotion. These measures will bring into full play the initiative, enthusiasm and creativeness of four levels, the central departments, the local authorities, the enterprises and the workers, and invigorate all branches and links of the socialist economy.

The session discussed in detail questions in agriculture, and agreed to distribute to the provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions for discussion and trial use the Decisions of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China on Some Questions Concerning the Acceleration of Agricultural Development (Draft) and the Regulations on the Work in the Rural People's Communes (Draft for Trial Use).

The plenary session holds that the whole Party should concentrate its main energy and efforts on advancing agriculture as fast as possible because agriculture, the foundation of the national economy, has been seriously damaged in recent years and remains very weak on the whole. The rapid development of the national economy as a whole and the steady improvement in the living standards of the people of the whole country depends on the vigorous restoration and speeding up of farm production, on resolutely and fully implementing the policy of simultaneous development of farming, forestry, animal husbandry, side-occupations and fisheries, the policy of taking grain as the key link and ensuring an all-round development, the policy of adaptation to local conditions and appropriate concentration of certain crops in certain areas, and gradual modernization of farm work. This requires first of all releasing the socialist enthusiasm of our country's several hundred million peasants, paying full attention to their material well-being economically and giving effective protection to their democratic rights politically. Taking this as the guideline, the plenary session set forth a series of policies and economic measures aimed at raising present agricultural production. The most important are as follows: The right of ownership by the people's communes, production brigades and production teams and their power of decision must be protected effectively by the laws of the state; it is not permitted to commandeer the manpower, funds, products and material of any production team; the economic organizations at various levels of the people's commune must conscientiously implement the socialist principle of "to each according to his work," work out payment in accordance with the amount and quality of work done, and overcome equalitarianism; small plots of land for private use by commune members, their domestic side-occupations, and village fairs are necessary adjuncts of the socialist economy, and must not be interfered with; the people's communes must resolutely implement the system of three levels of ownership with the production team as the basic accounting unit, and this should remain unchanged. Organizations at various levels of the people's commune must firmly carry out democratic management and election of cadres and make public their accounts. The session holds that, for a fairly long period to come, the national figures for the agricultural tax and the state purchase of grain will continue to be based on the five-year quotas 1971-75 and that grain purchase must never be excessive. To reduce the disparity in prices between industrial and agricultural products, the plenery session suggests that the State Council make a decision to raise the grain purchase price by 20 per cent, starting in 1979 when the summer grain is marketed, and the price for the amount purchased above the quota by an additional 50 per cent, and also raise the purchase price for cotton, oil-bearing and sugar crops, animal by-products, aquatic and forestry products and other farm and side-line products step by step, depending on the concrete conditions. The factory price and the market price of farm machinery, chemical fertilizer, insecticides, plastics and other manufactured goods for farm use will be cut by 10 to 15 per cent in 1979 and 1980 on the basis of reduced cost of production, and these benefits will in general be passed on to the peasants. After the purchase price of farm produce is raised, the urban workers must be guaranteed against a fall in their living standards. The market price of all food grain will remain unchanged, and the selling price of other farm products needed for daily life must also be kept stable; if some prices have to be raised, appropriate subsidies will be given to the consumers. The plenary session also discussed the strengthening of education in agricultural science, the drafting of regional programmes for developing agriculture, forestry and animal husbandry, the establishment of modern farming, forestry, livestock-breeding and fishing centres, the active expansion of rural industry and side-occupations run by people's communes and production brigades and other important questions, and decided upon relevant measures.

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