Table of Contents
Part 7, Deng Xiaoping Theory. It considers Paragraph 5 of the General Program.
Paragraph 4 considered Mao Zedong Thought as a necessary bridge between European theory and its transposition within the Chinese context, one that brings Marxism-Leninism forward from out of Europe into Asia, and places that forward evolution within the historical constraints of its time.It expressed the Leninist foundations of Chinese constitutional theory within notions of collective development and its role in establishing the socialist path toward which Mao Zedong Thought points, but which it does not in itself constitute.
Paragraph 5 introduces the next stage in the development of Chinese constitutional and political Theory--Deng Xiaoping Theory. If Mao Zedong Thought provided a bridge from revolutionary to governing vanguard party, Deng Xiaoping theory provides the principles through which socialist modernization can be realized.
 After the Third Plenary Session of the Eleventh Party Central Committee, the Chinese Communists, with Comrade Deng Xiaoping as their chief representative, analyzed their experience, both positive and negative, gained since the founding of the People's Republic, emancipated their minds, sought truth from facts, shifted the focus of the work of the whole Party onto economic development and carried out reform and opening to the outside world, ushering in a new era of development in the cause of socialism, gradually formulating the line, principles and policies concerning the building of socialism with Chinese characteristics and expounding the basic questions concerning the building, consolidation and development of socialism in China, and thus creating Deng Xiaoping Theory. Deng Xiaoping Theory is the outcome of the integration of the basic tenets of Marxism-Leninism with the practice of contemporary China and the features of the times, a continuation and development of Mao Zedong Thought under new historical conditions; it represents a new stage of development of Marxism in China, it is Marxism of contemporary China and it is the crystallized, collective wisdom of the Communist Party of China. It is guiding the socialist modernization of China from victory to victory.
 十一届三中全会以来，以邓小平同志为主要代表的中国共产党人，总结建国以来正反两方面的经验，解放思想，实事求是，实现全党工作中心向经济建设的转移，实行改革开放，开辟了社会主义事业发展的新时期，逐步形成了建设中国特色社会主义的路线、方针、政策，阐明了在中国建设社会主义、巩固和发展社会主义 的基本问题，创立了邓小平理论。邓小平理论是马克思列宁主义的基本原理同当代中国实践和时代特征相结合的产物，是毛泽东思想在新的历史条件下的继承和发 展，是马克思主义在中国发展的新阶段，是当代中国的马克思主义，是中国共产党集体智慧的结晶，引导着我国社会主义现代化事业不断前进。Paragraph 5 strengthens the Leninist connection between the refinement and evolution of theory and its necessary origins in the collective efforts of the CCP. There is a parallel repetition here between paragraphs 4 and 5. In the former it was Mao Zedong that served as the chief representative of Chinese communists. In paragraph 5, Deng Xiaoping serves in that role. But the resulting theory that bears the name of the chief representative is understood as the reflection of the collective wisdom of the CCP rather than of the genius of one man. But representation is multilayered here. The communists are not represented merely by one leader. Instead, they are represented through an elaborated representational institutional architecture that marks the maturation of the organization of the party in power. And like Mao Zedong Thought "it is the crystallized, collective wisdom of the Communist Party of China."
But Deng Xaioping Theory also represents a substantial change in direction from Mao Zedong Thought, one made necessary by the changing context in which theory must be applied ("shifted the focus of the work of the whole Party onto economic development and carried out reform and opening to the outside world"). This evolution of the CCP line profoundly important, to be sure, and well known. But perhaps equally important, and less well appreciated in the West, are the legitimating mechanics of collective decision making on which these changes in Party line are based. The necessary mechanics includes a historical analysis ("analyzed their experience, both positive and negative, gained since the founding of the People's Republic"), freed from the passions of cliques or personality cults ("emancipated their minds, sought truth from facts").
Indeed, the notion of emancipating minds is here identified as the core mechanics for the appropriate approach to ideological development and application within CCP constitutional theory. Emancipating the mind underlines the central importance of the rejection of rigidity in either ideology or in the approach to ideology to the reality within which the political work of the CCP must be undertaken. In "Emancipate the Mind, Seek Truth From Facts and Unite as One in Looking to the Future," Dec. 12, 1978, Deng Xiaoping noted:
When everything has to be done by the book, when thinking turns rigid and blind faith is the fashion, it is impossible for a party or a nation to make progress. Its life will cease and that party or nation will perish. Comrade Mao Zedong said this time and again during the rectification movements. Only if we emancipate our minds, seek truth from facts, proceed from reality in everything and integrate theory with practice, can we carry out our socialist modernization programme smoothly, and only then can our Party further develop Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought.
Indeed, emancipating the mind can be understood as a short hand for avoiding the errors of text worship and fact blindness in the development of theory. It suggests that no text is sacred, that no textual reading is eternal and that such rigidity effectively eviscerates text by shifting emphasis from issues of theory to issues of faction.
When people's minds aren't yet emancipated and their thinking remains rigid, curious phenomena emerge.The notion of emancipation of mind is tied to that of seeking truth from facts, and both are central to the crystallization of the core principle of Chinese constitutional and political theory--that the substantive elements of core constitutional theory are both grounded in historical foundations and driven by the primary objectives of the vanguard party, the establishment of a communist society. From this core operational principle, all theory, and all decisions that are translated as the CCP's line must be understood and constrained by the context in which they are made and the historical conditions from out of which they develop. That also suggests a strong dynamic element. The CCP to remain true to its basic goals must change with the times, and adjust its line to meet new conditions constrained only by the lessons of the past, and the layering of core principle that represents the constant building up of an objectives based constitutional theory. All theory and each application of the CCP line must be viewed scientifically and in historical perspective as "a stage in the course of China's socialist development" ("Emancipate the Mind, Seek Truth From Facts and Unite as One in Looking to the Future," supra). Together this forms the core of the procedural element of Deng Xiaoping theory.
Once people's thinking becomes rigid, they will increasingly act according to fixed notions. To cite some examples, strengthening Party leadership is interpreted as the Party's monopolizing and interfering in everything. Exercising centralized leadership is interpreted as erasing distinctions between the Party and the government, so that the former replaces the latter. And maintaining unified leadership by the Central Committee is interpreted as ``doing everything according to unified standards''. We are opposed to ``home-grown policies'' that violate the fundamental principles of those laid down by the Central Committee, but there are also ``home-grown policies'' that are truly grounded in reality and supported by the masses. Yet such correct policies are still often denounced for their ``not conforming to the unified standards''.
People whose thinking has become rigid tend to veer with the wind. They are not guided by Party spirit and Party principles, but go along with whatever has the backing of the authorities and adjust their words and actions according to whichever way the wind is blowing. They think that they will thus avoid mistakes. In fact, however, veering with the wind is in itself a grave mistake, a contravention of the Party spirit which all Communists should cherish. It is true that people who think independently and dare to speak out and act can't avoid making mistakes, but their mistakes are out in the open and are therefore more easily rectified.
Once people's thinking becomes rigid, book worship, divorced from reality, becomes a grave malady. Those who suffer from it dare not say a word or take a step that isn't mentioned in books, documents or the speeches of leaders: everything has to be copied. Thus responsibility to the higher authorities is set in opposition to responsibility to the people.
Our drive for the four modernizations will get nowhere unless rigid thinking is broken down and the minds of cadres and of the masses are completely emancipated. "Emancipate the Mind, Seek Truth From Facts and Unite as One in Looking to the Future,"
These critical principles form the essential core of Deng Xiaoping Theory. And the application of that theory to a scientific study of the conditions of China toward the end of the 1970s in historical perspective produced the great shift in the focus of the CCP "ushering in a new era of development in the cause of socialism, gradually formulating the line, principles and policies concerning the building of socialism with Chinese characteristics and expounding the basic questions concerning the building, consolidation and development of socialism in China." This shift which forms the core substantive element of Deng Xiaoping theory. The substantive core element consists of a renewed focus on economic development, opening up and reform. The object is to complete the movement from New Democracy to socialism by elaborating and applying the principles of socialist modernization. This shift is understood as a natural development grounded in existing theory, now further developed in light of changing conditions (outcome of the integration of the basic tenets of Marxism-Leninism with the practice of contemporary China and the features of the times, a continuation and development of Mao Zedong Thought under new historical conditions" ). This stage is the "Marxism of contemporary China."
Dong Xiaoping Theory, then, can be understood as the interweaving of three distinct elements: orientational, procedural and substantive.
The orientational element touches on the basic approach to the CCP's work as a vanguard Leninist organization responsible to and representative of the people. It confirms the dynamic element of theory and its connection to the context in which it is to be applied and form out of which it is to be developed ("building, consolidation and development of socialism"). Deng Xiaoping Theory is about motion and change; it is a warning against ossificaiton and rigidity---the bureaucratism that is fatal to Leninist organization and of special concern in the specific context of China ("it is essential to overcome the evils of bureaucracy. Our present economic management is marked by overstaffing, organizational overlapping, complicated procedures and extremely low efficiency. Everything is often drowned in empty political talk."("Emancipate the Mind, Seek Truth From Facts and Unite as One in Looking to the Future," supra)). But it is as well about fidelity--fidelity to the core objective of the theory, and Party--the building of a communist society. Everything else may be subject to change and must be understood as mutable and changeable. The ultimate goal may not. This is the pole star to which all theory, practice and organization must be oriented. And thus the interlinking of this paragraph to the fundamentals of paragraph 1 of the General Program.
The procedural element touches on the CCP's working style. It confirms a focus on self criticism, on the integration of fact and theory sensitive to changes in historical conditions "and the features of the times." The key elements of the CCP's working style are quite specifically described: "analyzed their experience, both positive and negative, gained since the founding of the People's Republic, emancipated their minds, sought truth from facts." Those three elements--(1) analysis of experiences stripped of political, factional or ideological blinders; (2) emancipation of the mind; and (3) seeking truth from facts. These process elements, this consolidation of the specifics of the CCP's working style also evidence that style in action, drawing from the accumulated wisdom of foundational theory and practice, refined and applied to current circumstance. That formula, then, does not itself ossify working style to a specific set of mechanics, of forms of action, but is itself quite adaptable to changes in historical conditions. The CCP's working style is itself an expression of that working style's adaptability and dynamism.
The substantive element touches on the CCP's fundamental responsibility to the people, state and nation. If the CCP's working style rejects ossification, rigidity in theory, and bureaucratism, then that process must produce changes to reflect correctly changing historical circumstances. And changing historical circumstances are absolutely necessary as a sign that the CCP has adopted the right path. This is a core application of the central insight of Paragraph 1of the General Program It is in this light that the shift from rigidity, textualism, and the errors of cults of personality and unconstrained discretion in the service of party and not people can be understood. "Economic development and carried out reform and opening to the outside world" are the concrete expression of the refocusing of CCP direction towards "building of socialism with Chinese characteristics and expounding the basic questions concerning the building, consolidation and development of socialism in China" from out of the structures of traditional class struggle that marked the revolutionary period. The great insight in this paragraph, though, is not in the identification of economic development and opening up, but in the notion that economic development and opening up, that socialist modernization itself, is a dynamic process that will continue to require adjustment to changing circumstances through a combination of dynamic theory building and principled but flexible representational and institutional leadership. That building of socialism with Chinese characteristics will be grounded on what is now understood as socialist modernization, to which the General Program will turn in succeeding paragraphs, and to which we will return in due course.