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Subject: UNITE! Info #17en: Mao Zedong in '52 on Tibet
From: rolf.martens@mailbox.swipnet.se (Rolf Martens)
Message-ID: <A3IK8.1822$t4.3254@nntpserver.swip.net>
Date: Mon, 03 Jun 2002 11:05:04 GMT

Mao Zedong in '52 on Tibet

From Rolf Martens, alt.politics.communism, 3 June 2002


In the course of some sharp exchanges recently on the Jefferson Village Virginia Marxism list, where I condemned the 1979-1988 flagrant aggression against Afghanistan by Soviet social-imperialism and certain people very heatedly *defended* that aggression - see Intro Note to UNITE Info #16en, of yesterday, 04.10.96 - there was advanced, by some of those defenders, the argument that social-imperialism had served as a civilizing influence in the course of that brutal aggression.

In order to show all how, under somewhat different circumstances, a *really* socialist power should and, in one case in real life did, deal with a region in which quite reactionary forces hold/held sway and perhaps have (respectively, had) a certain not inconsiderable support among the people of that region too, I here reproduce some excerpts from a directive by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, under the leadership of Chairman Mao Zedong, in 1952 on the then recently liberated Chinese province of Tibet, in which some feudal-type forces, not unlike the Islamic ruling circles of Afghanistan two-and-a-half decades later, still were in the main in military and political control.

There is of course a rather big difference between the two cases, in that Tibet since many centuries was part of China - as an autonomous province over which such central government as had existed during the preceeding decades had had practically no power at all - while Afghanistan was and is an independent coun- try, over which the Soviet Union has never had the least right to rule. But despite this, I hold that a comparison between the actions of the Soviet social-imperialists and those forces which supported and welcomed their invasion of the country, on the one hand, and those of the Chinese *genuine* communists, on the other, in the respective cases is of interest.

If you're out for aggression and expansion (respectively, for climbing into power as a superpower puppet), and are just *pre- tending*, as a pretext for this, to want to make the country more civilized and modern, you'll act quite differenly from what is the case if you're *sincerely* striving to do the latter. The actions advocated in the reproduced passages below, which were carried out in practice by the then Chinese government too, in relation to Tibet, should be compared to what, as all today know (though certain people who're even calling themselves Marxists pretend they've never heard of), the Soviet social-imperialists and their lackeys did in Afghanistan.

The below excerpts were originally made by me in January of this year and then sent, as part of a longer posting, to 'maus. politik', a (mainly) German-language newsgroup, in the course of a debate on Tibet occasioned by someone's repeating the old imperialist and social-imperialist lie that that province was *not* since a long time back part of China but had been invaded by the Chinese etc etc. They may serve as at least a partial refutation of that lie too.

Needless to say, those reactionary actions, also against the people of Tibet, which have been perpetrated by the later, revisionist regime in China under Deng Xiaoping (socialism was overthrown in that country in 1976-78), have nothing to do with the policies advocated and carried out by the earlier, socialist, government of China.

The crimes in Tibet by the Chinese revisionists today in fact are not so unlike some of those earlier perpetrated by the Soviet social-imperialists in Afghanistan. Will they be defended just as heatedly by those very Marxist persons whose hearts were broken when the latter crimes were pointed to and attacked by me as such? Probably not. And why? Because the Chinese revisionists, even if they command a very populous country, are *not* such a great pillar, such a *mainstay* (together with US imperialism) of reaction in the world, such a *protector of the interests of the bourgeoisie and of the labour aristocracy* as was Soviet social-imperialism. It was *this* quality which earned that - today more or less defeated - big power the *great* love of those phoneyMarxists. Those people always in reality were representatives of the bourgeoisie and of labour aristocracy.

Here's the policy advocated by Mao Zedong and the other leading Chinese communists in 1952 in relation to Tibet:

Excerpts (by RM, '96) from:


April 6, 1952

(in Selected Works of Mao Tsetung, Volume V, China, 1977):

They [our army units in Sinkiang] have now gained a firm foot- hold and won the warm support of the minority nationalities. They are carrying out the reduction of rent and interest and will proceed to agrarian reform this winter, and by then we can be sure of even greater support from the masses. Sinkiang is well connected with the heartland of the country by motor roads, and this is of great help in improving the material welfare of the minority nationalities.

As for Tibet, neither rent reduction nor agrarian reform can start for at least two or three years. While several hundred thousand Han people live in Sinkiang, there are hardly any in Tibet, where our army finds itself in a totally different minority nationality area. We depend solely on two basic policies to win over the masses and put ourselves in an invulnerable position. The first is strict budgeting coupled with production for the army's own needs, and thus the exertion of influence on the masses; this is the key link.

We must do our best and take proper steps to win over the Dalai and the majority of his top echelon and to isolate the handful of bad elements in order to achieve a gradual, bloodless transformation of the Tibetan economic and political system over a number of years; on the other hand, we must be prepared for the eventuality of the bad elements leading the Tibetan troops in rebellion and attacking us, so that in this contingency our army could still carry on and hold out in Tibet.

It all depends on strict budgeting and production for the army's own needs. Only with this fundamental policy as cornerstone can we achieve our aim. The second policy, which can and must be put into effect, is to establish trade relations with India and with the heartland of our country and to attain a general balance in supplies to and from Tibet so that the standard of living of the Tibetan people will in no way fall because of our army's presence but will improve through our efforts.

If we cannot solve the two problems of production and trade, we shall lose the material base for our presence, the bad elements will cash in and will not let a single day pass without inciting the backward elements among the people and the Tibetan troops to oppose us, and our policy of uniting with the many and isolating the few will become ineffective and fail.

It is our opinion that the Tibetan troops should not be reorganized at present, nor should formal military sub-areas or a military and administrative commission be established. For the time being, leave everything as it is, let this situation drag on, and do not take up these questions until our army is able to meet its own needs through production and wins the support of the masses a year or two from now. In the meantime there are two possibilities.

One is that our united front policy towards the upper stratum, a policy of uniting with the many and isolating the few, will take effect and that the Tibetan people will gradually draw closer to us, so the bad elements and the Tibetan troops will not dare to rebel. The other possibility is that the bad elements, thinking we are weak and can be bullied, may lead the Tibetan troops in rebellion and that our army will counterattack in self-defence and deal them telling blows. Either will be favourable to us.

As the top echelon in Tibet sees it, there is no sufficient reason now for implementing the Agreement (Note: This refers to the Agreement Between the Central People's Government and the Local Government of Tibet on Measures on the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet, May 23, 1951.) in its entirety or for reorganizing the Tibetan troops. But things will be different in a few years.

Apparently not only the two Silons (Note:..) but also the Dalai and most of his clique were reluctant to accept the Agreement and are unwilling to carry it out. As yet we don't have a material base for fully implementing the Agreement, nor do we have a base for this purpose in terms of support among the masses or in the upper stratum.

To force its implementation will do more harm than good. Since they are unwilling to put the Agreement into effect, well then, we can leave it for the time being and wait. The longer the delay, the stronger will be our position and the weaker theirs. Delay will not do us much harm; on the contrary, it may be to our advantage. Let them go on with their insensate atrocities against the people, while we on our part concentrate on good deeds - production, trade, road-building, medical services and united front work (unity with the majority and patient education) so as to win over the masses and bide our time before taking up the question of the full implementation of the Agreement. If they are not in favour of the setting up of primary schools, that can stop too.

The recent demonstration in Lhasa should be viewed not merely as the work of the two Silons and other bad elements but as a signal to us from the majority of the Dalai clique. Their petition is very tactful because it indicates not a wish for a break with us but only a wish for concessions from us. One of the terms gives the hint that the practice of the Ching Dynasty should be restored, in other words, that no Liberation Army units should be stationed in Tibet, but this is not what they are really after. They know full well that this is impossible; their attempt is to trade this term for other terms.

At present, in appearence we should take the offensive and should censure the demonstration and the petition for being unjustifiable (for undermining the Agreement), but in reality we should be prepared to make concessions and to go over to the offensive in the future (i.e. put the Agreement into force) when conditions are ripe.