The Fifth Plenum of the 11th CPC Central Committee
Communique of the Fifth Plenary Session of the 11th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China
(Adopted on February 29, 1980)
THE 11th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China held its fifth plenary session in Beijing from February 23 to 29, 1980. Two hundred and one Members and 118 Alternate Members of the Central Committee were present. Thirty-seven leading comrades from localities and departments attended as observers. Chairman Hua Guofeng and Vice-Chairmen Ye Jianying, Deng Xiaoping, Li Xiannian and Chen Yun of the C.P.C. Central Committee attended and made important speeches. Comrade Hua Guofeng presided.
Most of the items on the agenda of the fifth plenary session were related to the strengthening and improvement of Party leadership to keep pace with the development of socialist modernization. They included: 1) discussion and approval of a resolution on the convocation of the Party's 12th National Congress; 2) election of additional members to the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee, and discussion and approval of a resolution on establishment of the Secretariat of the Central Committee; 3) discussion and approval of the Guiding Principles for Inner-Party Political Life; and 4) discussion of the draft of the revised Constitution of the Communist Party of China.
The plenary session states that since the 11th Party Congress, and'particularly following the Third Plenary Session of the 11th Central Committee, there have been important changes and developments in the domestic and international situation. As a result of the Party's shifting the stress of its work, the socialist modernization programme has started on a course of sound development. The Party's political, ideological and organizational lines formulated at the third and fourth plenary sessions of the Party Central Committee have become very popular among the people; the counter-revolutionary crimes of Lin Biao, the gang of four and company, the ultra-Left line they pursued and their organizational and ideological remnants have been further exposed and criticized; large numbers of frame-ups and false and wrong cases left over from history have been redressed .and the Party's policies have been carried out in all parts of the country. On this basis, the whole Party, the whole army and the people of the whole country have rallied closely round the Party Central Committee and have been working hard for the great cause of the four modernizations and for implementing the policy of readjusting, restructuring, consolidating and improving the national economy. As a result, reports of victory have been streaming in from all fronts, including agriculture, industry, finance and trade, education, science, culture, politics and law, national defence and foreign affairs, and a situation characterized by stability, unity and liveliness is developing. These facts show that the lines, principles and policies of the Party Central Committee are correct and that our country has basically changed from a situation of. chaos resulting from the ten-year rampage by Lin Biao and the gang of four to a situation of advance in a guided and orderly manner with clear orientation and objectives, with conditions for victory and with confidence. This is the tremendous victory our Party has achieved after overcoming immense difficulties. The plenary session points out: The great practice of the people of all our nationalities in their advance towards the four modernizations has now put before our Party a series of important issues which demand prompt and speedy solution. These include working out a long-term programme for development of the national economy, as well as an economic structure and a plan and structure for education that are suited to the needs of this development. In view of the rapid changes in the domestic situation, a series of important issues in the political life of the state and in Party life and a number of important ideological and theoretical problems need to be solved so as to facilitate the development and consolidation of the political situation of stability, unity and liveliness and the smooth advance of the modernization programme. The solution of these urgent problems requires that the Central Committee convene the 12th National Congress of the Party before the due date. The plenary session unanimously adopted a decision to this effect. The specific date for the congress will be decided by the Political Bureau of the Central Committee.
The plenary session holds that in order to strengthen Party leadership over socialist modernization, leading Party bodies at all levels must exert themselves to put in leadership posts those comrades who unswervingly carry out the Party's line, can find their bearings independently in work and are in the prime of life.
This is in line with the arduous work required for modernization and will also ensure long-term continuity of the Party's line, principles and policies and long-term stability of the collective leadership of the Party. After full discussion, the plenary session decided to increase the number of members on the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Party Central Committee and elected Comrades Hu Yao-bang and Zhao Ziyang to the Standing Committee. After full discussion, the plenary session decided to restore the system instituted by the Eighth Party Congress and which had been proved essential and effective in the following decade, namely, the Secretariat of the Central Committee as the day-to-day working body under the leadership of the Political Bureau and its Standing Committee. It elected Comrade Hu Yaobang General Secretary of the Central Committee and Comrades (names listed in the order of the number of strokes in the surnames) Wan Li, Wang Renzhong, Fang Yi, Gu Mu, Song Renqiong, Yu Qiuli, Yang Dezhi, Hu Qiaomu, Hu Yaobang, Yao Yilin and Peng Chong Members of the Secretariat.
The plenary session states that the addition of members to the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau and the establishment of the Secretariat are an important decision by the Party, showing that the great cause of socialism and communism pioneered by Comrade Mao Zedong and other proletarian revolutionaries of the older generation is full of vitality and has large numbers of talented successors. The strengthening of the leading bodies of the Party Central Committee will play a positive role in promoting the development and consolidation of the political situation of stability, unity and liveliness throughout the country and the smooth progress of socialist modernization.
The plenary session discussed the draft of the revised Constitution of the Communist Party of China. After revision in accordance with opinions raised at the session, this document is soon to be issued to the whole Party for wide discussion. It will be revised further in the light of comments raised during those discussions before it is submitted to the Party's 12th National Congress for examination and approval. The draft of the revised Party Constitution sets out strict requirements for Party members and at the same time contains fairly satisfactory provisions regarding democratic centralism within the Party. Summing up historical experience and taking into account the needs of the period of socialist modernization, the draft includes a number of new provisions on the Party's cadre system, including an end to the practice of being a lifelong cadre.
The plenary session discussed and unanimously approved the Guiding Principles for Inner-Party Political Life. This document consists of 12 points. The draft was adopted in principle by the Political Bureau of the Central Committee in February 1979 and opinions on it were solicited throughout the Party after March of last year. It underwent revision several times before the Political Bureau adopted it once again and submitted it to the fifth plenary session for discussion. The plenary session holds that the 12-point document-which sums up our Party's experience and lessons over the past several decades in handling inner-Party relations, especially the experience and lessons gained in the struggle against Lin Biao and the gang of four during the ten-year Cultural Revolution - is a concrete and indispensable supplement to the Party Constitution and has great significance in promoting positive factors in the Party, overcoming negative ones and giving full scope to the vanguard, exemplary role of Party members. The plenary session decided that these guiding principles be made public after the session and be implemented by the whole Party. It urges that, in the course of implementing these guiding principles and along with the discussion on the draft of the revised Party Constitution, there be ideological and political education within the Party on adhering to the Party's political and ideological lines, strengthening Party unity and reinforcing democratic centralism and the sense of organization and discipline in the Party. Party organizations at all levels and all Party members must conscientiously examine their work and conduct in the light of the guiding principles, adding to their achievements and overcoming their shortcomings; whatever is contrary to the guiding principles must be corrected promptly and in earnest, and there must be a radical change in the situation in which individual Party organizations and some Party members continue to engage in factionalist activities and do what they like in disregard of organizational principle and discipline. The plenary session reiterates that the Party can unify its thinking and action and ensure the smooth development of socialist modernization under the leadership of the Central Committee provided that it adheres to the principle that the individual Party member is subordinate to the Party organization, the minority is subordinate to the majority, the lower level is subordinate to the higher level and the entire Party is subordinate to the Central Committee.
Another major item on the agenda of the fifth plenary session was the rehabilitation of Comrade Liu Shaoqi. The plenary session holds that Comrade Liu Shaoqi, former Vice-Chairman of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, Chairman of the People's Republic of China, and a great Marxist and proletarian revolutionary, was loyal to the Party and the people at all times over the past decades, devoted all his energy to the revolutionary cause of the proletariat and made indelible contributions to China's new-democratic revolution and its socialist revolution and construction. Because the appraisal of the situation in the Party and the country on the eve of the Cultural Revolution was contrary to fact, an entirely wrong and groundless inference was made, asserting that there was within the Party a counter-revolutionary revisionist line and then that there was a so-called bourgeois headquarters headed by Comrade Liu Shaoqi. Seizing upon this to serve their counter-revolutionary purpose of usurping supreme Party and state leadership and subverting the dictatorship of the proletariat, Lin Biao, the gang of four and company concocted false evidence and deliberately subjected Comrade Liu Shaoqi to political frame-up and physical persecution, and they overthrew a large number of leading Party, government and army cadres on the false charge of being Liu Shaoqi's agents. This brought extremely grave consequences. This biggest frame-up our Party has ever known in its history must be completely overturned. The Central Commission for Inspecting Discipline submitted a detailed and accurate report to the Central Committee on its re-examination of the case following almost a year's thorough investigation and study and repeated checking of the materials related to the accusations made against Comrade Liu Shaoqi by the 12th Plenary Session of the Eighth Central Committee of the Party held in October 1968. The Political Bureau of the Central Committee unanimously approved this report on the reexamination and, on the basis of the report, drew up a draft resolution rehabilitating Comrade Liu Shaoqi. This plenary session, after serious and earnest discussion, unanimously adopted the resolution and decided to remove the labels "renegade, traitor and scab" which the 12th Plenary Session of the Eighth Central Committee of the Party imposed on Comrade Liu Shaoqi, to cancel the erroneous resolution expelling him "from the Party once and for all and dismissing him from all posts both inside and outside the Party," to cancel the original report on the examination and clear the name of Comrade Liu Shaoqi as a great Marxist and proletarian revolutionary and one of the principal leaders of the Party and the state; to hold a memorial meeting at an appropriate time for Comrade Liu Shaoqi; to leave it to the departments concerned to redress the frame-ups and false and wrong cases arising from the issue of Comrade Liu Shaoqi; and, in the spirit of unity and looking ahead, to transmit the resolution of the plenary session to all Party members and the people throughout the country so as to clear away the effects flowing from the past incorrect decision on Comrade Liu Shaoqi's case and encourage all Party comrades and the rest of the Chinese people to work confidently, devotedly and with one mind for the realization of the splendid cause of the four modernizations.
The fifth plenary session solemnly proclaims to the whole Party and to the people throughout the country: The action to rehabilitate Comrade Liu Shaoqi demonstrates that the Communist Party of China is a serious, earnest, open and aboveboard Marxist revolutionary Party that seeks truth from facts and corrects its mistakes whenever they are found. It demonstrates that the Party's determination to restore the true qualities of Mao Zedong Thought is not an empty slogan but an unswerving principled position that pervades all the activities of the Party. The counter-revolutionary conspirators Lin Biao, the gang of four and company used this grave and grievous mistake made by the Party during the Cultural Revolution, bringing disastrous consequences without precedent in the Party's history. Following the downfall of the gang of four, the Party Central Committee exposed and criticized the counterrevolutionary crimes of Lin Biao and the gang of four, corrected the grave mistakes committed during the Cultural Revolution and, at the same time, redressed one by one a series of framed-up, false and wrong cases created by Lin Biao, the gang of four and company. The fifth plenary session rehabilitates Comrade Liu Shao-qi not only for his own sake, but in order that the Party and the people will for ever remember this bitter lesson and make every effort to safeguard, consolidate and perfect socialist democracy and the socialist legal system, so that frame-ups such as befell Comrade Liu Shaoqi and many other comrades inside and outside the Party shall never happen again and that our Party and country will never change colour.
In accordance with the views of the broad masses inside and outside the Party, the fifth plenary session decided to approve the requests to resign made by Comrades Wang Dongxing, Ji Dengkui, Wu De and Chen Xilian and decided to remove and propose to remove them from their leading Party and state posts.
The rehabilitation of Comrade Liu Shaoqi and the serious but appropriate handling of the cases of comrades who made grave mistakes reflect the wishes of all Party comrades and the people throughout the country. The plenary session asks Party organizations at all levels to take active and conscientious measures in the same spirit to continue to settle similar issues that await solution or full solution and to educate the Party members and the masses in the need to unite closely, strengthen their sense of organization and discipline and work with diligence and devotion for the great future of socialist modernization under the leadership of the Party Central Committee.
The plenary session holds that it is our Party's unswerving policy to carry forward socialist democracy and perfect the socialist legal system and to guarantee that the masses have the full right and opportunity to express their views on state affairs and raise suggestions to and criticize Party and government leaders. But experience shows that the practices of "speaking out freely, airing views fully, holding great debates and writing big-character posters" are not a good way to achieve this. These practices, taken as a whole, never played a positive role in safeguarding the people's democratic rights but, on the contrary, hampered the people in the normal exercise of their democratic rights. To help eliminate factors causing instability, the plenary session decides to propose to the National People's Congress that the stipulation in Article 45 of the Constitution of the People's Republic of China that citizens "have the right to 'speak out freely, air their views fully, hold great debates and write big-character posters' " be deleted .
The Fifth Plenary Session of the 11th Central Committee is an important meeting following the Third and Fourth Plenary Sessions of the 11th Central Committee. The keynote of the session is the upholding and improving of Party leadership and the enhancing of the Party's fighting capacity, which constitute the most important guarantees for a smooth advance in socialist modernization. The session did not take up economic work as a topic since the 1980 national economic plan had already been worked out at a national planning conference held between November and December last year under the leadership of the Party Central Committee and the State Council and, following Comrade Deng Xiaoping's report on the current situation and tasks on January 16 of this year, Comrade Li Xiannian made a report on current economic problems on February 10. The central task now facing the nation's economic front is to strive to fulfil or overfulfil this year's national economic plan in line with the policies formulated by the Party Central Committee. It is clear that the Party will have extremely arduous tasks on all fronts in 1980. Their completion will play an enormous role in successfully convening the 12th National Party Congress. The Fifth Plenary Session of the 11th Central Committee calls on the whole Party, along with the people throughout the country, to rally closely round the Party Central Committee, and make great concerted efforts to greet the convening of the Party's 12th National Congress with outstanding achievements on every front.
This refers to the practice of "exposing" and "criticizing" others by writing big-character posters without any scruple, which reached its climax in the years of the Cultural Revolution, but it does not refer to the freedom of speech enjoyed by Chinese citizens. If this proposal is adopted, Article 45 of the Constitution will still read: "Citizens enjoy freedom of speech, correspondence, the press, assembly, association, procession, demonstration and the freedom to strike." - Tr.
(NO. 10 MARCH 10, 1980)