Red Book. Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-tung
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Quotations from Chairman Mao, better known in the West as The Little Red Book, was published by the Government of the People's Republic of China from April 1964 until approximately 1976. As its title implies, it is a collection of quotations excerpted from Mao Zedong's past speeches and publications. The book's alternative title The Little Red Book was coined by the West for its pocket-sized edition, which was specifically printed and sold to facilitate easy carrying. The closest equivalent in Chinese is simplified Chinese: 红宝书; traditional Chinese: 紅寶書; pinyin: hóng bǎoshū, literally "The Red Treasured Book", which was a term popular during the Cultural Revolution.
The most printed book written in the twentieth century, Quotations had an estimated 5 to 6.5 billion copies printed during Mao's attempt to transform Chinese society. The book's phenomenal popularity may be due to the fact that it was essentially an unofficial requirement for every Chinese citizen to own, to read, and to carry it at all times during the later half of Mao's rule, especially during the Cultural Revolution. Chinese citizens caught not carrying the book were usually beaten by the Red Guards.
During the Cultural Revolution, studying the book was not only required in schools but was also a standard practice in the workplace as well. All units, in the industrial, commercial, agricultural, civil service, and military sectors, organized group sessions for the entire workforce to study the book during working hours. Quotes from Mao were either bold-faced or highlighted in red, and almost all writing, including scientific essays, had to quote Mao.
To defend against the theory that it would be counter-productive, it was argued that understanding Mao's quotes could definitely bring about enlightenment to the work unit, resulting in production improvement to offset the time lost.
During the 1960s, the book was the single most visible icon in mainland China, even more visible than the image of the Chairman himself. In posters and pictures created by CPC's propaganda artists, nearly every painted character, except Mao himself, either smiling or looking determined, was always seen with a copy of the book in his or her hand.
After the end of the Cultural Revolution in 1976 and the rise of Deng Xiaoping in 1978, the importance of the book waned considerably, and the glorification of Mao's quotations was considered to be left deviationism and a cult of personality. The original books now became a collector's item and some editions are highly sought after.
Mao's quotations are categorized into 33 chapters in the book. Its topics mainly deal with Mao's ideology, known in the West as Maoism and officially as "Mao Zedong Thought".
unite with their peoples and strive to coexist peacefully with those countries, do business with them and prevent any possible war, but under no circumstances should we harbour any unrealistic notions about them. On the Correct Handling of Contradictions Among the People (February 27 , 1957 ), 1 st pocket ed., p. 75 . [Selected Works, Vol. V, p. 421 .] We desire peace. However, if imperialism insists on fighting a war, we will have no alternative but to take the firm resolution to fight to the
self-criticism and linked with the masses of the people; an army under the leadership of such a Party; a united front of all revolutionary classes and all revolutionary groups under the leadership of such a Party — these are the three main weapons with which we have defeated the enemy. “On the People’s Democratic Dictatorship” (June 30 , 1949 ), Selected Works, Vol. IV, p. 422 . We must have faith in the masses and we must have faith in the Party. These are two cardinal principles. If we doubt
their cocks and the barking of their dogs are within hearing of each other”. The result is that they lack a common language. Ibid., p. 378 . Ask your subordinates about matters you don’t understand or don’t know, and do not lightly express your approval or disapproval. . . . We should never pretend to know what we don’t know, we should “not feel ashamed to ask and learn from people below” and we should listen carefully to the views of the cadres at the lower levels. Be a pupil before you become
severe ideological and political struggle from the very beginning. No cooperative can be established without going through such a struggle. Before a brand-new social system can be built on the site of the old, the site must be swept clean. Invariably, remnants of old ideas reflecting the old system remain in people’s minds for a long time, and they do not easily give way. After a co-operative is established, it must go through many more struggles before it can be consolidated. Even then, the
exists, because domestic reaction still exists, because classes still exist in our country. Our present task is to strengthen the people’s state apparatus — mainly the people’s army, the people’s police and the people’s courts — in order to consolidate national defence and protect the people’s interests. “On the People’s Democratic Dictatorship” (June 30 , 1949 ), Selected Works, Vol. IV, p. 418 . Our state is a people’s democratic dictatorship led by the working class and based 37 on the