Before and after the convocation of the Third Plenary Session of the Eleventh Central Committee, the Party led and supported the large-scale debate about whether practice is the sole criterion for testing truth. The nationwide debate smashed the traditional personality cult on Chairman Mao Zedong and shattered the argument of the "two
whatevers" , the notion pursued by then Party Chairman Hua Guofeng after the death of Chairman Mao. The erroneous notion included that whatever policy decisions Mao had made must be firmly upheld and whatever instructions he had given must be followed unswervingly. The statement first appeared in an editorial entitled "Study the Documents Carefully and Grasp the Key Link", which was published simultaneously in the People's Daily, the Liberation Army Daily and later in the monthly journal
Hongqi, or the Red Flag. The debate upheld again the ideological principles of emancipating the mind and seeking truth from facts and brought order out of chaos.
|The Third Plenary Session of the Eleventh Central Committee decisively discarded the slogan "Take class struggle as the key link" , the "Left" political line which had become unsuitable in a socialist society, and made the strategic decision to concentrate instead on socialist modernization. The Party made efforts to set things right and started the all-round reform, which took economic development as the central task. In addition, it decided to open up to the outside world. Meanwhile, to counter the erroneous ideological trends during the process of setting wrong things right, the Party took a clear-cut stand for sticking to the socialist road, the People's democratic dictatorship, the leadership by the Communist Party, and Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought. The basic line of "one central task and two basic points" , the shortened form of making economic development as the central task while adhering to the Four Cardinal Principles and persevering in reform and the open policy, were shaped, which decided the basis of the Party's basic principles at a new stage.
The implementation of the correct ideological and political lines must be ensured by a correct organizational line. The historic turn required the strengthening of organizational building. The Party urged to make all ranks of cadres more revolutionary, younger, better educated and more competent professionally. It abolished the de facto system of life tenure in leading Party and government posts and enabled new cadres to succeed the old ones in the central leading organs of the Party.
The CPC examined a large number of cases in the history of the Party in which the charges made against people had been false or exaggerated, or which had been dealt with incorrectly, and redressed the injustices that had been done. The Sixth Plenary Session of the Eleventh Central Committee held from June 27 to 29, 1981, examined and approved the "Resolution on Certain Questions in the History of Our Party since the Founding of the People's Republic of China" . In this resolution the central committee made a scientific summation of the major events in the history of the Party over the 32 years since the founding of the People's Republic of China. They categorically negated the value of the "Cultural Revolution" and of the theory of "continuing the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat" . But they also affirmed the importance of Mao Zedong's historical role and systematically expounded Mao Zedong Thought. With the development of domestic and international situation, it proved the courage and high vision of the CPC Central Committee to make such decisions.
After basically finishing bringing order out of chaos, the CPC held the Twelfth National Congress in September 1982. It pointed out to "integrate the universal truth of Marxism with the concrete realities of China, blaze a path of our own and build a socialism with Chinese characteristics" . It also set the strategic objective of quadrupling the gross annual value of China's industrial and agricultural output by the end of 20th century and then achieved modernizations by the middle of the next century.
Meeting requirements of the new period, the Third Plenary Session of the Twelfth CPC Central Committee, held in Beijing on October 20, 1984, adopted the "Decision on Reform of the Economic Structure" . The decision stated that the basic task of the reform was to completely change the old structure that has stunted the development of the productive forces and to establish a vigorous socialist structure of a specifically Chinese character. It rejected the traditional concept that a planned economy is in direct opposition to a commodity economy and declared that China would have a planned market economy based on public ownership. This decision was a programmatic document designed to serve as a guide to the overall reform of the economic structure and a further development of Marxist political economics. The CPC Central Committee later launched the reform of the system for managing science and technology and the reform of the education structure. They also laid down the principles and objective for reform of the political structure.