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An Interview with Deng Xiaoping

The following is an interview given by Deng Xiaoping to the Italian Oriana Fallaci on August 21 and 23, 1980. I have included Deng’s original Chinese language version at the bottom. The English translation credit goes to People’s Daily of China. It gives very good insight to Deng.

Oriana Fallaci: Will Chairman Mao’s portrait above Tiananmen Gate be kept there?

Deng Xiaoping: It will, forever. In the past there were too many portraits of Chairman Mao. They were hung everywhere. That was not proper and it didn’t really show respect for Chairman Mao. It’s true that he made mistakes in a certain period, but he was after all a principal founder of the Chinese Communist Party and the People’s Republic of China. In evaluating his merits and mistakes, we hold that his mistakes were only secondary. What he did for the Chinese people can never be erased. In our hearts we Chinese will always cherish him as a founder of our Party and our state.

Question: We Westerners find a lot of things hard to understand. The Gang of Four are blamed for all the faults. I’m told that when the Chinese talk about the Gang of Four, many of them hold up five fingers.

Answer: We must make a clear distinction between the nature of Chairman Mao’s mistakes and the crimes of Lin Biao and the Gang of Four. For most of his life, Chairman Mao did very good things. Many times he saved the Party and the state from crisis. Without him the Chinese people would, at the very least, have spent much more time groping in the dark. Chairman Mao’s greatest contribution was that he applied the principles of Marxism-Leninism to the concrete practice of the Chinese revolution, pointing the way to victory. It should be said that before the sixties or the late fifties many of his ideas brought us victories, and the fundamental principles he advanced were quite correct. He creatively applied Marxism-Leninism to every aspect of the Chinese revolution, and he had creative views on philosophy, political science, military science, literature and art, and so on. Unfortunately, in the evening of his life, particularly during the “Cultural Revolution”, he made mistakes — and they were not minor ones — which brought many misfortunes upon our Party, our state and our people. As you know, during the Yan’an days our Party summed up Chairman Mao’s thinking in various fields as Mao Zedong Thought, and we made it our guiding ideology. We won great victories for the revolution precisely because we adhered to Mao Zedong Thought. Of course, Mao Zedong Thought was not created by Comrade Mao alone — other revolutionaries of the older generation played a part in forming and developing it — but primarily it embodies Comrade Mao’s thinking. Nevertheless, victory made him less prudent, so that in his later years some unsound features and unsound ideas, chiefly “Left” ones, began to emerge. In quite a number of instances he went counter to his own ideas, counter to the fine and correct propositions he had previously put forward, and counter to the style of work he himself had advocated. At this time he increasingly lost touch with reality. He didn’t maintain a good style of work. He did not consistently practise democratic centralism and the mass line, for instance, and he failed to institutionalize them during his lifetime. This was not the fault of Comrade Mao Zedong alone. Other revolutionaries of the older generation, including me, should also be held responsible. Some abnormalities appeared in the political life of our Party and state — patriarchal ways or styles of work developed, and glorification of the individual was rife; political life in general wasn’t too healthy. Eventually these things led to the “Cultural Revolution”, which was a mistake.

Question: You mentioned that in his last years, Chairman Mao was in poor health. But at the time of Liu Shaoqi’s arrest and his subsequent death in prison Mao’s health wasn’t so bad. And there are other mistakes to be accounted for. Wasn’t the Great Leap Forward a mistake? Wasn’t copying the Soviet model a mistake? And what did Chairman Mao really want with the “Cultural Revolution”?

Answer: Mistakes began to occur in the late fifties — the Great Leap Forward, for instance. But that wasn’t solely Chairman Mao’s fault either. The people around him got carried away too. We acted in direct contravention of objective laws, attempting to boost the economy all at once. As our subjective wishes went against objective laws, losses were inevitable. Still, it is Chairman Mao who should be held primarily responsible for the Great Leap Forward. But it didn’t take him long — just a few months — to recognize his mistake, and he did so before the rest of us and proposed corrections. And in 1962, when because of some other factors those corrections had not been fully carried out, he made a self-criticism. But the lessons were not fully drawn, and as a result the “Cultural Revolution” erupted. So far as Chairman Mao’s own hopes were concerned, he initiated the “Cultural Revolution” in order to avert the restoration of capitalism, but he had made an erroneous assessment of China’s actual situation. In the first place, the targets of the revolution were wrongly defined, which led to the effort to ferret out “capitalist roaders in power in the Party”. Blows were dealt at leading cadres at all levels who had made contributions to the revolution and had practical experience, including Comrade Liu Shaoqi. In the last couple of years before Chairman Mao’s death he said that the “Cultural Revolution” had been wrong on two counts: one was “overthrowing all”, and the other was waging a “full-scale civil war”. These two counts alone show that the “Cultural Revolution” cannot be called correct. Chairman Mao’s mistake was a political mistake, and not a small one. On the other hand, it was taken advantage of by the two counter-revolutionary cliques headed by Lin Biao and the Gang of Four, who schemed to usurp power. Therefore, we should draw a line between Chairman Mao’s mistakes and the crimes of Lin Biao and the Gang of Four.

Question: But we all know that it was Chairman Mao himself who chose Lin Biao as his successor, much in the same way as an emperor chooses his heir.

Answer: This is what I’ve just referred to as an incorrect way of doing things. For a leader to pick his own successor is a feudal practice. It is an illustration of the imperfections in our institutions which I referred to a moment ago.

Question: To what extent will Chairman Mao be involved when you hold your next Party congress?

Answer: We will make an objective assessment of Chairman Mao’s contributions and his mistakes. We will reaffirm that his contributions are primary and his mistakes secondary. We will adopt a realistic approach towards the mistakes he made late in life. We will continue to adhere to Mao Zedong Thought, which represents the correct part of Chairman Mao’s life. Not only did Mao Zedong Thought lead us to victory in the revolution in the past; it is — and will continue to be — a treasured possession of the Chinese Communist Party and of our country. That is why we will forever keep Chairman Mao’s portrait on Tiananmen Gate as a symbol of our country, and we will always remember him as a founder of our Party and state. Moreover, we will adhere to Mao Zedong Thought. We will not do to Chairman Mao what Khrushchev did to Stalin.

Question: Do you mean to say that the name of Chairman Mao will inevitably come up when the Gang of Four is brought to trial as well as when you have your next Party congress?

Answer: His name will be mentioned. Not only at the next Party congress but also on other occasions. But the trial of the Gang of Four will not detract from Chairman Mao’s prestige. Of course, he was responsible for putting them in their positions. Nevertheless, the crimes the Gang of Four themselves committed are more than sufficient to justify whatever sentences may be passed on them.

Question: I have heard that Chairman Mao frequently complained that you didn’t listen to him enough, and that he didn’t like you. Is it true?

Answer: Yes, Chairman Mao did say I didn’t listen to him. But this wasn’t directed only at me. It happened to other leaders as well. It reflects some unhealthy ideas in his twilight years, that is, patriarchal ways which are feudal in nature. He did not readily listen to differing opinions. We can’t say that all his criticisms were wrong. But neither was he ready to listen to many correct opinions put forward not only by me but by other comrades. Democratic centralism was impaired, and so was collective leadership. Otherwise, it would be hard to explain how the “Cultural Revolution” broke out.

Question: There was one personage in China who always went unscathed, and that was Premier Zhou Enlai. How do you explain this fact?

Answer: Premier Zhou was a man who worked hard and uncomplainingly all his life. He worked 12 hours a day, and sometimes 16 hours or more, throughout his life. We got to know each other quite early, that is, when we were in France on a work-study programme during the 1920s. I have always looked upon him as my elder brother. We took the revolutionary road at about the same time. He was much respected by his comrades and all the people. Fortunately he survived during the “Cultural Revolution” when we were knocked down. He was in an extremely difficult position then, and he said and did many things that he would have wished not to. But the people forgave him because, had he not done and said those things, he himself would not have been able to survive and play the neutralizing role he did, which reduced losses. He succeeded in protecting quite a number of people.

Question: I don’t see how terrible things like the “Cultural Revolution” can be avoided or prevented from recurring.

Answer: This issue has to be addressed by tackling the problems in our institutions. Some of those we established in the past were, in fact, tainted by feudalism, as manifested in such things as the personality cult, the patriarchal ways or styles of work, and the life tenure of cadres in leading posts. We are now looking into ways to prevent such things from recurring and are preparing to start with the restructuring of our institutions. Our country has a history of thousands of years of feudalism and is still lacking in socialist democracy and socialist legality. We are now working earnestly to cultivate socialist democracy and socialist legality. Only in this way can we solve the problem.

Question: Are you sure that things will proceed more smoothly from now on? Can you attain the goal you have set yourselves? I hear that the so-called Maoists are still around. By “Maoists” I mean those who backed the “Cultural Revolution”.

Answer: The influence of the Gang of Four should not be underrated, but it should be noted that 97 or 98 per cent of the population hate them intensely for their crimes. This was shown by the mass movement against the Gang of Four which erupted at Tiananmen Square on April 5, 1976, when the Gang were still riding high, Chairman Mao was critically ill and Premier Zhou had passed away. Since the Gang’s overthrow [in 1976], and particularly in the past two years, the will and demands of the people have been given expression in the Third, Fourth and Fifth Plenary Sessions of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party. We are considering ways of resolving our problems by improving our institutions. Many issues have already been raised now. Particular emphasis is being laid on working single-mindedly for the four modernizations, and this is winning the hearts of the people. They want political stability and unity. They are fed up with large-scale movements. Such movements invariably ended up hurting a number — and not a small number — of people. Incessant movements make it practically impossible to concentrate on national construction. Therefore, we can say for sure that given the correctness of our present course, the people will support us and such phenomena as the “Cultural Revolution” will not happen again.

Question: The Gang of Four could only have been arrested after the death of Chairman Mao. Who engineered their arrest? Who initiated the idea?

Answer: It was collective effort. First of all, I think, it had a mass base laid by the April 5th Movement [of 1976]. The term “Gang of Four” was coined by Chairman Mao a couple of years before his death. We waged struggles against the Gang for two years, in 1974 and 1975. By then people clearly saw them for what they were. Although Chairman Mao had designated his successor, the Gang of Four refused to accept this. After Chairman Mao’s death, the Gang took the opportunity to try and get all power into their own hands, and the situation demanded action from us. They were rampant at that time, trying to overthrow the new leadership. Under these circumstances, the great majority of the comrades of the Political Bureau were agreed that measures had to be taken to deal with the Gang. The efforts of one of two individuals would not have sufficed for this purpose.

It should be pointed out that some of the things done after the arrest of the Gang of Four were inconsistent with Chairman Mao’s wishes, for instance, the construction of the Chairman Mao Memorial Hall. He had proposed in the fifties that we should all be cremated when we died and that only our ashes be kept, that no remains should be preserved and no tombs built. Chairman Mao was the first to sign his name, and we all followed suit. Nearly all senior cadres at the central level and across the country signed. We still have that book of signatures. What was done in the matter after the smashing of the Gang of Four was prompted by the desire to achieve a relative stability.

Question: Does this mean that the Chairman Mao Memorial Hall will soon be demolished?

Answer: I am not in favour of changing it. Now that it is there, it would not be appropriate to remove it. It wasn’t appropriate to build it in the first place, but to change it would give rise to all kinds of talk. Many people are now speculating whether we will demolish the Memorial Hall. We have no such idea.

Question: It is said that you are giving up the post of Vice-Premier.

Answer: I will not be the only one to resign. All other comrades of the older generation are giving up their concurrent posts. Chairman Hua Guofeng will no longer serve concurrently as Premier of the State Council. The Central Committee of the Party has recommended Comrade Zhao Ziyang as candidate for that post. If we old comrades remain at our posts, newcomers will be inhibited in their work. We face the problem of gradually reducing the average age of leaders at all levels. We have to take the lead.

There were previously no relevant rules. In fact, however, there was life tenure in leading posts. This does not facilitate the renewal of leadership or the promotion of younger people. It is an institutional defect which was not evident in the sixties because we were then in the prime of life. This issue involves not just individuals but all the relevant institutions. It has an even greater bearing on our general policy and on whether our four modernizations can be achieved. Therefore, we say it would be better for us old comrades to take an enlightened attitude and set an example in this respect.

Question: I have seen other portraits in China. At Tiananmen I’ve seen portraits of Marx, Engels and Lenin and particularly of Stalin. Do you intend to keep them there?

Answer: Before the “Cultural Revolution” they were put up only on important holidays. The practice was changed during the “Cultural Revolution”, when they were displayed permanently. Now we are going back to the former way.

Question: The four modernizations will bring foreign capital into China, and this will inevitably give rise to private investment. Won’t this lead to a miniaturized capitalism?

Answer: In the final analysis, the general principle for our economic development is still that formulated by Chairman Mao, that is, to rely mainly on our own efforts with external assistance subsidiary. No matter to what degree we open up to the outside world and admit foreign capital, its relative magnitude will be small and it can’t affect our system of socialist public ownership of the means of production. Absorbing foreign capital and technology and even allowing foreigners to construct plants in China can only play a complementary role to our effort to develop the productive forces in a socialist society. Of course, this will bring some decadent capitalist influences into China. We are aware of this possibility; it’s nothing to be afraid of.

Question: Does it mean that not all in capitalism is so bad?

Answer: It depends on how you define capitalism. Any capitalism is superior to feudalism. And we cannot say that everything developed in capitalist countries is of a capitalist nature. For instance, technology, science — even advanced production management is also a sort of science — will be useful in any society or country. We intend to acquire advanced technology, science and management skills to serve our socialist production. And these things as such have no class character.

Question: I remember that several years ago, when talking about private plots in rural areas, you acknowledged that man needs some personal interest to produce. Doesn’t this mean to put in discussion communism itself?

Answer: According to Marx, socialism is the first stage of communism and it covers a very long historical period in which we must practise the principle “to each according to his work” and combine the interests of the state, the collective and the individual, for only thus can we arouse people’s enthusiasm for labour and develop socialist production. At the higher stage of communism, when the productive forces will be greatly developed and the principle “from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs” will be practised, personal interests will be acknowledged still more and more personal needs will be satisfied.

Question: You mentioned that there are others who made contributions to Mao Zedong Thought. Who were they?

Answer: Other revolutionaries of the older generation, for example Premier Zhou Enlai, Comrades Liu Shaoqi and Zhu De — and many others. Many senior cadres are creative and original in their thinking.

Question: Why did you leave your own name out?

Answer: I am quite insignificant. Of course, I too have done some work. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be counted as a revolutionary.

Question: What we did not understand was: If the Gang of Four was, as you said, a minority with all the country against them, how could it happen that they were holding the whole country, including the veteran leaders? Was it because one of the four was the wife of Mao Zedong and the ties between Mao Zedong and her were so profound that no one dared to touch her?

Answer: This was one of the factors. As I’ve said, Chairman Mao made mistakes, one of which was using the Gang, letting them come to power. Also, the Gang had their own factional set-up and they built a clique of some size — particularly they made use of ignorant young people as a front, so they had a fair-sized base.

Question: Was Mao Zedong blinded by her so that he wouldn’t see what she was doing? And was she an adventuress like the Empress Dowager Yehonala?

Answer: Jiang Qing did evil things by flaunting the banner of Chairman Mao. But Chairman Mao and Jiang Qing lived separately for years.

Question: We didn’t know that.

Answer: Jiang Qing did what she did by flaunting the banner of Chairman Mao, but he failed to intervene effectively. For this he should be held responsible. Jiang Qing is rotten through and through. Whatever sentence is passed on the Gang of Four won’t be excessive. They brought harm to millions upon millions of people.

Question: How would you assess Jiang Qing? What score would you give her?

Answer: Below zero. A thousand points below zero.

Question: How would you assess yourself?

Answer: I would be quite content if I myself could be rated fifty-fifty in merits and demerits. But one thing I can say for myself: I have had a clear conscience all my life. Please mark my words: I have made quite a few mistakes, and I have my own share of responsibility for some of the mistakes made by Comrade Mao Zedong. But it can be said that I made my mistake with good intentions. There is nobody who doesn’t make mistakes. We should not lay all past mistakes on Chairman Mao. So we must be very objective in assessing him. His contributions were primary, his mistakes secondary. We will inherit the many good things in Chairman Mao’s thinking while at the same time explaining clearly the mistakes he made.

(Excerpts concerning domestic issues taken from the Chinese transcript of a two-part interview.)

奥琳埃娜·法拉奇(以下简称“奥”):“明天是您的生日,我首先祝贺您生日快乐!”
邓小平(以下简称“邓”):我的生日?明天是我的生日吗?
奥:是的,邓先生。我是从您的传记里得知的。
邓:好吧,如果您这样说,那就算是。我从来不知道我的生日是哪一天。而且,如果明天是我的生日,您也不应该祝贺我:那就意味着我已经76岁了。76岁的人已是江河日下了!
奥:邓先生,我父亲也76岁了。但是,如果我对他说76岁的人已是江河日下,他会扇我几记耳光的。
邓:他干得好!不过您不会这样对您父亲说的,对吗?
奥:天安门上的毛主席像,是否要永远保留下去?
邓:永远要保留下去。过去毛主席像挂得太多,到处都挂,并不是一件严肃的事情,也并不能表明对毛主席的尊重。尽管毛主席过去有段时间也犯了错误,但他终究是中国共产党、中华人民共和国的主要缔造者。拿他的功和过来说,错误毕竟是第二位的。他为中国人民做的事情是不能抹杀的。从我们中国人民的感情来说,我们永远把他作为我们党和国家的缔造者来纪念。
奥:对西方人来说,我们有很多问题不理解。中国人民在讲起“四人帮”时,把很多错误都归咎于“四人帮”,说的是“四人帮”,但他们伸出的却是五个手指。
邓:毛主席的错误和林彪、“四人帮”问题的性质是不同的。毛主席一生中大部分时间是做了非常好的事情的,他多次从危机中把党和国家挽救过来。没有毛主席,至少我们中国人民还要在黑暗中摸索更长的时间。毛主席最伟大的功绩是把马列主义的原理同中国革命的实际结合起来,指出了中国夺取革命胜利的道路。应该说,在六十年代以前或五十年代后期以前,他的许多思想给我们带来了胜利,他提出的一些根本的原理是非常正确的。他创造性地把马列主义运用到中国革命的各个方面,包括哲学、政治、军事、文艺和其他领域,都有创造性的见解。但是很不幸,他在一生的后期,特别在“文化大革命”中是犯了错误的,而且错误不小,给我们党、国家和人民带来许多不幸。你知道,我们党在延安时期,把毛主席各方面的思想概括为毛泽东思想,把它作为我们党的指导思想。正是因为我们遵循毛泽东思想,才取得了革命的伟大胜利。当然,毛泽东思想不是毛泽东同志一个人的创造,包括老一辈革命家都参与了毛泽东思想的建立和发展。主要是毛泽东同志的思想。但是,由于胜利,他不够谨慎了,在他晚年有些不健康的因素、不健康的思想逐渐露头,主要是一些“左”的思想。有相当部分违背了他原来的思想,违背了他原来十分好的正确主张,包括他的工作作风。这时,他接触实际少了。他在生前没有把过去良好的作风,比如说民主集中制、群众路线,很好地贯彻下去,没有制定也没有形成良好的制度。这不仅是毛泽东同志本人的缺点,我们这些老一辈的革命家,包括我,也是有责任的。我们党的政治生活、国家的政治生活有些不正常了,家长制或家长作风发展起来了,颂扬个人的东西多了,整个政治生活不那么健康,以至最后导致了“文化大革命”。“文化大革命”是错误的。
奥:你说在后一段时期毛主席身体不好,但刘少奇被捕入狱以及死在狱中时,毛主席身体并不坏。过去还有其他错误,大跃进难道不是错误?照搬苏联的模式难道不是错误?对过去这段错误要追溯至何时?毛主席发动“文化大革命”到底想干什么?
邓:错误是从五十年代后期开始的。比如说,大跃进是不正确的。这个责任不仅仅是毛主席一个人的,我们这些人脑子都发热了。完全违背客观规律,企图一下子把经济搞上去。主观愿望违背客观规律,肯定要受损失。但大跃进本身的主要责任还是毛主席的。当时,经过几个月的时间,毛主席首先很快地发觉了这些错误,提出改正这些错误。由于其他因素,这个改正没有贯彻下去。一九六二年,毛主席对这些问题进行了自我批评。但毕竟对这些教训总结不够,导致爆发了“文化大革命”。搞“文化大革命”,就毛主席本身的愿望来说,是出于避免资本主义复辟的考虑,但对中国本身的实际情况作了错误的估计。首先把革命的对象搞错了,导致了抓所谓“党内走资本主义道路的当权派”。这样打击了原来在革命中有建树的、有实际经验的各级领导干部,其中包括刘少奇同志在内。毛主席在去世前一两年讲过,文化大革命有两个错误,一个是“打倒一切”,一个是“全面内战”。只就这两点讲,就已经不能说“文化大革命”是正确的。毛主席犯的是政治错误,这个错误不算小。另一方面,错误被林彪、“四人帮”这两个反革命集团利用了。他们的目的就是阴谋夺权。所以要区别毛主席的错误同林彪、“四人帮”的罪行。
奥:但我们大家都知道,是毛主席选择了林彪,就像西方的国王选择继承人那样,选择了林彪。
邓:这就是我刚才说的不正确的做法。一个领导人,自己选择自己的接班人,是沿用了一种封建主义的做法。刚才我说我们制度不健全,其中也包括这个在内。
奥:你们对“四人帮”进行审判的时候,以及你们开下一届党代会时,在何种程度上会牵涉到毛主席?
邓:我们要对毛主席一生的功过作客观的评价。我们将肯定毛主席的功绩是第一位的,他的错误是第二位的。我们要实事求是地讲毛主席后期的错误。我们还要继续坚持毛泽东思想。毛泽东思想是毛主席一生中正确的部分。毛泽东思想不仅过去引导我们取得革命的胜利,现在和将来还应该是中国党和国家的宝贵财富。所以,我们不但要把毛主席的像永远挂在天安门前,作为我们国家的象征,要把毛主席作为我们党和国家的缔造者来纪念,而且还要坚持毛泽东思想。我们不会像赫鲁晓夫对待斯大林那样对待毛主席。
奥:这是否意味着在审判“四人帮”和开下一届党代会时,毛主席的名字不可避免地会提到?
邓:是会提到的。不光在党代会,在其他场合也要提到。但是审判“四人帮”不会影响毛主席。当然,用“四人帮”,毛主席是有责任的。但“四人帮”自己犯的罪行,怎么判他们都够了。
奥:据说,毛主席经常抱怨你不太听他的话,不喜欢你,这是否是真的?
邓:毛主席说我不听他的话是有过的。但也不是只指我一个人,对其他领导人也有这样的情况。这也反映毛主席后期有些不健康的思想,就是说,有家长制这些封建主义性质的东西。他不容易听进不同的意见。毛主席批评的事不能说都是不对的。但有不少正确的意见,不仅是我的,其他同志的在内,他不大听得进了。民主集中制被破坏了,集体领导被破坏了。否则,就不能理解为什么会爆发“文化大革命”。
奥:在中国有这么一个人,他在任何时候都没有被碰到过,这就是周恩来总理。这个情况如何解释?
邓:周总理是一生勤勤恳恳、任劳任怨工作的人。他一天的工作时间总超过十二小时,有时在十六小时以上,一生如此。我们认识很早,在法国勤工俭学时就住在一起。对我来说他始终是一个兄长。我们差不多同时期走上了革命的道路。他是同志们和人民很尊敬的人。“文化大革命”时,我们这些人都下去了,幸好保住了他。在“文化大革命”中,他所处的地位十分困难,也说了好多违心的话,做了好多违心的事。但人民原谅他。因为他不做这些事,不说这些话,他自己也保不住,也不能在其中起中和作用,起减少损失的作用。他保护了相当一批人。
奥:我看不出怎样才能避免或防止再发生诸如“文化大革命”这样可怕的事情。
邓:这要从制度方面解决问题。我们过去的一些制度,实际上受了封建主义的影响,包括个人迷信、家长制或家长作风,甚至包括干部职务终身制。我们现在正在研究避免重复这种现象,准备从改革制度着手。我们这个国家有几千年封建社会的历史,缺乏社会主义的民主和社会主义的法制。现在我们要认真建立社会主义的民主制度和社会主义法制。只有这样,才能解决问题。
奥:你是否能肯定,今后事情的发展更为顺利?你们是否能够达到你们的目的?因为我听说,所谓“毛主义分子”仍然存在。我说的“毛主义分子”是指“文化大革命”的支持者。
邓:不能低估“四人帮”的影响。但要看到,百分之九十七、九十八的广大人民对“四人帮”的罪行是痛恨的。这表现在“四人帮”横行、毛主席病重、周总理去世时,一九七六年四月五日天安门广场爆发的反抗“四人帮”的群众运动。粉碎“四人帮”以后,特别是最近两年,我们党的三中全会、四中全会、五中全会体现了人民的意志和人民的要求。我们正在考虑从制度上解决问题。已经提出了许多问题,特别是强调要一心一意搞四化建设,这是得人心的。人民需要一个安定团结的政治局面,对大规模的运动厌烦了。凡是这样的运动都要伤害一批人,而且不是小量的。经常搞运动,实际上就安不下心来搞建设。所以我们可以确信,只要我们现在走的路子是对的,人民是拥护的,像“文化大革命”那样的情况就不会重复。
奥:很显然,只有在毛主席逝世以后才能逮捕“四人帮”,到底是谁组织的,是谁提出把“四人帮”抓起来的?
邓:这是集体的力量。我认为首先有四五运动的群众基础。“四人帮”这个词是毛主席在逝世前一两年提出来的。一九七四年、一九七五年,我们同“四人帮”进行了两年的斗争。“四人帮”的面貌,人们已看得很清楚。尽管毛主席指定了接班人,但“四人帮”是不服的。毛主席去世以后,“四人帮”利用这个时机拼命抢权,形势逼人。“四人帮”那时很厉害,要打倒新的领导。在这样的情况下,政治局大多数同志一致的意见是要对付“四人帮”。要干这件事,一个人、两个人的力量是办不到的。
粉碎“四人帮”后,建毛主席纪念堂,应该说,那是违反毛主席自己的意愿的。五十年代,毛主席提议所有的人身后都火化,只留骨灰,不留遗体,并且不建坟墓。毛主席是第一个签名的。我们都签了名。中央的高级干部、全国的高级干部差不多都签了名。现在签名册还在。粉碎“四人帮”以后做的这些事,都是从为了求得比较稳定这么一个思想考虑的。
奥:那末毛主席纪念堂不久是否将要拆掉?
邓:我不赞成把它改掉。已经有了的把它改变,就不见得妥当。建是不妥当的,如果改变,人们就要议论纷纷。现在世界上都在猜测我们要毁掉纪念堂。我们没有这个想法。
奥:为什么你想辞去副总理职务?
邓:不但我辞职,我们老一代的都不兼职了。华国锋主席也不兼国务院总理的职务了,党中央委员会推荐赵紫阳同志为候选人。我们这些老同志摆在那里,他们也不好工作。我们存在一个领导层需要逐渐年轻化的问题。我们需要带个头。
过去没有规定,但实际上存在领导职务终身制。这不利于领导层更新,不利于年轻人上来,这是我们制度上的缺陷。这个缺陷在六十年代还看不出来,那时我们还年轻。这不是一个人的问题,是整个制度的问题,更多地是关系到我们的方针、四个现代化能否实现的问题。所以我们说,老同志带个头,开明一点好。
奥:我看到中国有其他的画像。在天安门我看到有马、恩、列,特别还有斯大林的画像。这些像,你们是否还要保留?
邓:要保留。“文化大革命”以前,只在重要的节日才挂出来。“文化大革命”期间才改变了做法,经常挂起。现在我们恢复过去的做法。
奥:四个现代化将使外国资本进入中国,这样不可避免地引起私人投资问题。这是否会在中国形成小资本主义?
邓:归根到底,我们的建设方针还是毛主席过去制定的自力更生为主、争取外援为辅的方针。不管怎样开放,不管外资进来多少,它占的份额还是很小的,影响不了我们社会主义的公有制。吸收外国资金、外国技术,甚至包括外国在中国建厂,可以作为我们发展社会主义社会生产力的补充。当然,会带来一些资本主义的腐朽的东西。我们意识到了这个问题,但这不可怕。
奥:那末,你是否认为资本主义并不是都是坏的?
邓:要弄清什么是资本主义。资本主义要比封建主义优越。有些东西并不能说是资本主义的。比如说,技术问题是科学,生产管理是科学,在任何社会,对任何国家都是有用的。我们学习先进的技术、先进的科学、先进的管理来为社会主义服务,而这些东西本身并没有阶级性。
奥:我记得几年前,你谈到农村自留地时说过,人是需要一些个人利益来从事生产的,这是否意味着共产主义本身也要讨论呢?
邓:按照马克思说的,社会主义是共产主义第一阶段,这是一个很长的历史阶段,必须实行按劳分配,必须把国家、集体和个人利益结合起来,才能调动积极性,才能发展社会主义的生产。共产主义的高级阶段,生产力高度发达,实行各尽所能,按需分配,将更多地承认个人利益、满足个人需要。
奥:你谈到还有其他人对毛泽东思想作出了贡献,这些人是谁?
邓:老一辈的革命家。比如说,周恩来总理、刘少奇同志、朱德同志等等,还有其他许多人都作了贡献。很多老干部都有创造,有见解。
奥:你为什么不提自己的名字?
邓:我算不了什么。当然我总是做了点事情的,革命者还能不做事?
奥:你说“四人帮”是少数,全国很多人反对他们。他们这些少数人怎么可以控制中国,甚至整老一辈的革命家?是否他们当中有一个是毛主席的夫人,他们的关系太好,你们不敢动她?
邓:有这个因素。我说过,毛主席是犯了错误的,其中包括起用他们。但应该说,他们也是有一帮的,特别是利用一些年轻人没有知识,拉帮结派,有相当的基础。
奥:是否毛主席对江青的错误视而不见?江青是否像慈禧一样的人?
邓:江青本人是打着毛主席的旗帜干坏事的。但毛主席和江青已分居多年。
奥:我们不知道。
邓:江青打着毛主席的旗帜搞,毛主席干预不力,这点,毛主席是有责任的。江青坏透了。怎么给“四人帮”定罪都不过分。“四人帮”伤害了成千上万的人。
奥:对江青你觉得应该怎么评价,给她打多少分?
邓:零分以下。
奥:你对自己怎么评价?
邓:我自己能够对半开就不错了。但有一点可以讲,我一生问心无愧。你一定要记下我的话,我是犯了不少错误的,包括毛泽东同志犯的有些错误,我也有份,只是可以说,也是好心犯的错误。不犯错误的人没有。不能把过去的错误都算成是毛主席一个人的。所以我们对毛主席的评价要非常客观,第一他是有功的,第二才是过。毛主席的许多好的思想,我们要继承下来,他的错误也要讲清楚。

  1. N.M.Cheung
    August 1st, 2015 at 05:11 | #1

    It’s timely and refreshing to reread this interview, as it very much pertains to China today. It clarified my doubts about preserving Mao’s body, about feudalism/patriarchy on the question of personality cult, and the Mao’s place in history.

  2. August 4th, 2015 at 15:59 | #2

    Another part that is very relevant in today’s Taiwan and HK.

    “Particular emphasis is being laid on working single-mindedly for the four modernizations, and this is winning the hearts of the people. They want political stability and unity. They are fed up with large-scale movements. Such movements invariably ended up hurting a number — and not a small number — of people. Incessant movements make it practically impossible to concentrate on national construction. Therefore, we can say for sure that given the correctness of our present course, the people will support us and such phenomena as the “Cultural Revolution” will not happen again.”

    “Also, the Gang had their own factional set-up and they built a clique of some size — particularly they made use of ignorant young people as a front, so they had a fair-sized base.”

  3. danielxu
    August 4th, 2015 at 17:42 | #3

    Thank you for the article. The interview was profound and insightful. Not political platitude but honest and fair assessment from Deng. He saw the pitfall of Glasnost and that way rescued China from another turmoil. He could retire then and got Nobel peace prize… like Gorbachev and Obama…haha.

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