A Decisive Turning Point
Comrades and friends!
With widespread popular support, our Party smashed at one stroke the Jiang Qing counter-revolutionary clique in October 1976. This saved the revolution and our socialist state and ushered in a new period of historical development. The Third Plenary Session of the 11th Central Committee held in December 1978 marked a decisive turning point in the post-1949 history of our Party.
The tremendous significance of this plenary session lies in the fact that it really started to correct matters in an all-round, determined and well-considered way by relying on the masses. Since then, right through the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Plenary Sessions, our Party has been working hard with concentrated energy and attention and under difficult and complex conditions, and has adopted and implemented step by step a series of major policy decisions in ideological, political and organizational matters and all aspects of socialist construction, thus correcting the erroneous "Left" orientation. Moreover, in the light of the new historical conditions, our Party has gradually charted a correct course for socialist modernization that is suited to China's conditions.
The most striking change of all is the shift of the focus of work of the whole Party and nation after the liquidation and repudiation of the Lin Biao and Jiang Qing counter-revolutionary cliques. The leading organs from the central down to local levels are now concentrating their energy and attention on socialist modernization. Now that liquidation of the long prevalent "Left" deviationist guiding ideology is under way, our socialist economic and cultural construction has been shifted to a course of development that takes into account the basic conditions of the country and the limits of our ability, proceeds step by step, and seeks practical results and steady advance. With the implementation of the Party's policies, the introduction of the system of production responsibilities and the development of a diversified economy, an excellent situation has developed in the vast rural areas in particular, a dynamic and progressive situation seldom seen since the founding of the People's Republic.
In socio-political relations, our Party has resolutely and appropriately solved many important issues which had been wrongly handled over a long period of time, eliminated a number of major factors detrimental to stability and unity and put an end to the social unrest and upheaval fomented in the "cultural revolution." We are now striving to foster socialist democracy, improve the socialist legal system and reform and perfect the socialist political system. This gives a powerful impetus to the consolidation and development of a political situation of stability, unity and liveliness.
Through organizational consolidation and rectification of the style of work, tangible progress has been made in the normalization of Party life, the development of inner-Party democracy and the strengthening of the Party's ties with the masses. The Party's prestige, grievously damaged during the "cultural revolution," is gradually being restored.
To ensure the proper implementation of the principle of emancipating the mind, our Party has reiterated that it is necessary to uphold the four fundamental principles of the socialist road, the people's democratic dictatorship (i.e., the dictatorship of the proletariat), the Communist Party's leadership, and Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought. These principles constitute the common political basis for the unity of the whole Party and the unity of the entire people and provide the fundamental guarantee for the success of socialist modernization.
The great change which began with the Third Plenary Session of the Party's 11th Central Committee and our correct line and policies fulfil the common aspirations of the people and the Party. Speaking of the general orientation and major policy decisions taken since the session, many comrades have said, "They suit us fine." These words reflect the thoughts and feelings of the masses and of the majority of cadres. They explain why the change is so dynamic and irresistible.
Needless to say, many difficulties confront us. We have yet to finish the process of correction, and in various fields many problems remain to be resolved. Our material resources, expertise and experience are far from adequate for the achievement of the four modernizations. The people's living standards are still very low and many pressing problems demand solution. We have yet to introduce further improvements in the Party's leadership and style of work. It is wrong to take these difficulties lightly. Only by taking them into full account will we be invincible. The road before us is still long and tortuous. It is like climbing Mount Taishan; when we have reached the Half-Way Gate to Heaven, we find that the three Eighteen Bends lie ahead of us, demanding herculean efforts. Until we have negotiated these bends, however, we won't be able to reach the South Gate to Heaven. Still climbing, we will find it relatively easy to mount the Peak of the Jade Emperor, our destination, and only then can we claim to have accomplished the splendid cause of socialist modernization. Once at the South Gate to Heaven, we shall be in a position to appreciate the great Tang Dynasty poet Du Fu's well-known lines, "Viewed from the topmost summit, all mountains around are dwarfed." The hardships that once towered like "mountains" will then look small and we will be able to negotiate the obstacles on the way to the "topmost summit" more or less easily. In the course of our long journey, we will certainly be able to conquer the Eighteen Bends, reach the South Gate to Heaven and then ascend the Peak of the Jade Emperor. Once there, we shall push towards new summits.