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Rectification

Over its long history, China has periodically resorted to rectification campaigns with the aim of curtailing some of the ills associated with bureaucracy, corruption, and public disillusionment. Such ‘rectification’ is part of a long tradition of persecuting those that do not toe the Party line. Under the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, the campaign began with its central phrase: "looking in the mirror, grooming oneself, cleaning oneself and seeking remedies." Necessary economic and political reforms, which are difficult to craft and implement in part because of corruption, would otherwise never stand a chance of success.

The campaign was preceded by new rules implemented last year to reduce pomp, ceremony and bureaucratic visits and meetings, so much so that some economists have worried about the possible negative impact on the economy, and at a time when encouraging domestic consumption is a priority. More recently, a five-year national moratorium against constructing new Party buildings was declared, among other measures. At the same time, the Party has stated that it wants to recruit more people with experience living and working at the grassroots level into positions of power. Taken together, the overall goal of these programs is to help maintain the "flesh and blood ties" between the Party and the people.

CPC General Secretary Xi Jinping has noted repeatedly, some elements within the Party today suffer from institutional and personal formalism, bureaucracy, and at times, extravagance and hedonism—all of which run counter to the Party's stated values and compromise its ability to govern effectively. Indeed, as has been well documented in both the popular press and official organs, there have been many cases of "degeneration, corruption and abuses of power" that, as Xi concludes, "have seriously damaged the Party's image and relationship with the masses."

China will launch a campaign in 2021 regarding its political and legal organs across the country to educate its personnel and rectify existing problems in these unit. Demanded by the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, this campaign is a new measure to conduct strict governance over the Party and the police, Chen Yixin, an official with the Commission for Political and Legal Affairs of the CPC Central Committee, said 08 July 2020. According to a decision made by the commission, a pilot campaign will be initiated from July to October this year, covering organs in five provinces. The education and rectification of all political and legal organs across the country are scheduled to be completed by the first quarter of 2022.

The Zunyi Meeting in 1935 built up the leadership of Comrade Mao Zedong's line within the Party. To eliminate the adverse influence of Wang Ming's line, the Party Central Committee headed by Comrade Mao Zedong, after much preparatory work over a long period, initiated a Party-wide rectification campaign from 1942 onward to combat subjectivism, sectarianism and stereotyped Party writing.

In Chinese Communist Party history, the rectification campaign of 1942 and the Enlarged Working Conference convened by the Party Central Committee in 1962 were models of full inner-Party democracy which ensured victory for the revolution and construction.

The speech on "Rectify the Party's Style fo Work" was delivered February 1, 1942 by Comrade Mao Tse-tung at the opening of the Party School of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China. "We are Communists, we want to lead the people in overthrowing the enemy, and so we must keep our ranks in good order, we must march in step, our troops must be picked troops and our weapons good weapons. Without these conditions the enemy cannot be overthrown.... . Subjectivism, sectarianism and stereotyped Party writing are no longer the dominant styles, but merely gusts of contrary wind, ill winds from the air-raid tunnels.... dogmatists can easily assume a Marxist guise to bluff, capture and make servitors of cadres of working-class and peasant origin who cannot easily see through them; they can also bluff and ensnare the naive youth.... the Communist Party not only needs democracy but needs centralization even more.... We must build a centralized, unified Party and make a clean sweep of all unprincipled factional struggles. We must combat individualism and sectarianism so as to enable our whole Party to march in step and fight for one common goal.... We must oppose the tendency towards selfish departmentalism by which the interests of one's own unit are looked after to the exclusion of those of others."

Deng Xiaoping's 10 November 1943 speech was carried in Rectification Weekly No. 2, published on December 4, 1943. "The rectification movement launched by the Party Central Committee and Comrade Mao Zedong last year has yielded substantial results across the country... the aim of rectification is to overcome non-proletarian, non-Marxist-Leninist ideology, still extant among our comrades, with proletarian, Marxist-Leninist ideology, so that our entire Party membership can have unified thinking and will, rallying more closely around the Central Committee headed by Mao Zedong and bringing the Chinese revolutionary cause to fruition. ... rectification is a policy measure formulated by Comrade Mao Zedong after he analysed the historical experience and lessons of the Party over the past 21 years, especially after he studied present conditions prevailing in the Party -- a policy measure for further Bolshevizing the Party to make it better armed and unified ideologically, in order to successfully lead the Chinese revolution to victory.... Since the Zunyi Meeting of January 1935, the Party, under the leadership of the Central Committee headed by Comrade Mao Zedong, has eradicated ``Left'' and Right opportunism within the Party, swept away subjectivism, sectarianism and stereotyped Party writing, and placed the Party's cause entirely under the guidance of Marxism-Leninism suited to Chinese conditions, that is, Mao Zedong Thought. Over the past nine years, not only has the Party made no mistakes, but it has moved ahead triumphantly. This is obvious to all."

The Resolution on Certain Questions in the History of Our Party adopted by the Seventh Plenary Session of the Party's Sixth Central Committee in 1945 has made an analysis of this. "In order to enforce their will, the exponents of the third 'Left' line invariably and indiscriminately branded all Party comrades who found the wrong line impracticable and who therefore expressed doubt, disagreement or dissatisfaction, or did not actively support the wrong line or firmly carry it out; they stigmatized these comrades with such labels as 'Right opportunism,' 'the rich peasant line,' 'the Luo Ming line,' 'the line of conciliation' and 'double-dealing,' waged 'ruthless struggles' against them and dealt them 'merciless blows,' and even conducted these 'inner-Party struggles' as if they were dealing with criminals and enemies."

A rectification movement was conducted within the Chinese Communist Party in 1950. On May 1 of that year, the Party Central Committee issued the ``Directive on Conducting a Rectification Movement Throughout the Party and Army'', pointing out that, following the nationwide victory, there was a great increase in Party members, many of whom were weak in ideology, whereas many veteran Party members had become arrogant and prone to authoritarianism. A small number of them had even become corrupt and degenerate and violated the law and rules of discipline. The entire Party membership were required to carry out a rectification movement in close conjunction with various other tasks, by adopting the following methods: studying selected documents, summing up work results, analysing the situation and conducting criticisms and self-criticisms, in order to rectify the Party membership's work style, in general, and that of the

The Democratic Reform campaign was used to instill Party ideology and to enforce conformity to Party dictates. An essential part of the campaign was the thamzing, or “struggle’ process, which was used to identify, isolate, and repress Tibetan opponents of Chinese control. “Struggle” in the Chinese Communists’ doctrine was meant as a cathartic process to allow the lower classes to identify and publicly humiliate and denounce their former upper class exploiters. The struggle sessions could often degenerate into beatings and even deaths and were often followed by the arrest and imprisonment of those accused.

On 15 May 1957, Comrade Mao Tsetung wrote "The rectification movement in the Communist Party is a struggle between two styles in a single entity. This is true of the Communist Party and also of the people as a whole. There are different kinds of people in the Communist Party. There are Marxists, who comprise the majority. They, too, have shortcomings but not serious ones. There are a number of people whose thinking errs on the side of dogmatism. Most of them are staunch and steadfast and devoted to the Party and the country, only their approach to problems shows a "Left" one-sidedness. After overcoming this one-sidedness, they will take a big step forward. There are also a number of people whose thinking errs on the side of revisionism or Right opportunism. They pose the bigger danger because their ideas are a reflection of bourgeois ideology inside the Party, and because they yearn for bourgeois liberalism, negate everything and are tied in a hundred and one ways to bourgeois intellectuals outside the Party....

"Are you going to "fix" people with a vengeance? It depends on how the Rightist gentlemen behave themselves. Poisonous weeds are to be uprooted, and this means uprooting the ideological poisonous weeds. To "fix" people is another matter. No one will be "fixed" unless he "grossly violates the law". Then what is meant by "gross violation of the law"? It means serious damage to the interests of the state and the people as a result of the evil-doer's wilful actions despite repeated warnings. As for people who commit ordinary errors, there is all the more reason to apply the principle of curing the sickness to save the patient."

To start a rectification campaign throughout the Party in 1957 and urge the masses to offer criticisms and suggestions were normal steps in developing socialist democracy. In the rectification campaign a handful of bourgeois Rightists seized the opportunity to advocate what they called "speaking out and airing views in a big way" and to mount a wild attack against the Party and the nascent socialist system in an attempt to replace the leadership of the Communist Party.

The “Anti-Rightist” campaign of 1957 was the result of the Chinese Communist Party following the will of Mao Zedong under the direction of Deng Xiaoping, who was the chairman of the working group set up to rectify the Party’s working spirit and oppose rightism among its central leadership. They managed to find 550,000 “rightists” from among China’s five million intellectuals.

From the end of 1958 to the early stage of the Lushan Meeting of the Political Bureau of the Party's Central Committee in July 1959, Comrade Mao Zedong and the Central Committee led the whole Party in energetically rectifying the errors which had already been recognized. However, in the later part of the meeting, he erred in initiating criticism of Comrade Peng Dehuai and then in launching a Party-wide struggle against "Right opportunism. " The resolution passed by the Eighth Plenary Session of the Eighth Central Committee of the Party concerning the so-called anti-Party group of Peng Dehuai, Huang Kecheng, Zhang Wentian and Zhou Xiaozhou was entirely wrong. Politically, this struggle gravely undermined inner-Party democracy from the central level down to the grassroots; economically, it cut short the process of the rectification of "Left" errors, thus prolonging their influence.

In the winter of 1960, the Central Committee of the Party and Comrade Mao Zedong set about rectifying the "Left" errors in rural work and decided on the principle of "readjustment, consolidation, filling out and raising standards" for the economy as a whole. A number of correct policies and resolute measures were worked out and put into effect with Comrades Liu Shaoqi, Zhou Enlai, Chen Yun and Deng Xiaoping in charge.

Deng was once more expelled from the Party leadership during the Cultural Revolution. But this had the effect of raising him in the estimation of ordinary people, rather than lowering him. After all, perhaps Deng Xiaoping would be the leader capable of reforming the Maoist system. Deng’s remedy at that time didn’t include reforms, however, but “rectification.” Rectification was aimed at [state-owned] enterprises and leading cadres, seeking to replace officials who didn’t follow the leadership, and in enforcing organizational discipline and an orderly system with firm resolve, and to meet, or exceed, government production targets.

Rectification was Deng’s forte. In the later stages of the Cultural Revolution, Mao set the “Gang of Four” to take charge of the revolution, while Deng Xiaoping was to take charge of production. Deng didn’t understand economics, but he used the methods of “rectification” to boost production figures.

A written interview with the Wall Street Journal ahead of Xi’s state visit to the United States on 22 September 2015, Xi Jingpitn said "Cracking down on corruption is what all countries must do and what their peoples wish to see done. The ultimate purpose of the CPC is to serve the people wholeheartedly. Our Party owes its governing status to the support of the people, so we must maintain strong flesh-and-blood ties with the people. The Party does not operate in a vacuum, so it has unavoidably found itself with problems of one kind or another. Corruption is one such persistent issue. The Party must be courageous enough to face up to the problem and go all out to correct it through self-purification and self-rectification. Our people hate corruption more than anything else, and we must act to allay their concerns. Therefore, we have decided to go after both the “tigers and flies,” namely, wrongdoers regardless of their rank."

One of the first steps in the ideological transformation and assimilation of Tibet was a redefinition of names, or what in ancient China was called a rectification of names. Chinese terminology is intended to inculcate the idea that Tibet and China are inseparable, or that Tibet belongs to China. It is meant to meld the concept of Tibet with that of China so that Tibet cannot be thought of without thinking of it as a part of China. It is meant to eliminate the concept of Tibet as a separate or independent national or political entity, or as a "country" in any way separate or separable from China. Nevertheless, the possessiveness revealed by the terminology contradicts China's purpose. The terminology "China's Tibet" identifies Tibet as a thing, an entity, or a polity, possessed by China. This entity has an identity that China wants to eradicate, but the possessiveness implied serves to emphasize that identity rather than obscure it.



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Page last modified: 01-08-2021 14:06:40 ZULU