May 23, 1969 CONGRESSIONAL RECORD- SENATE 13609
[From the Washington Evening Star,
Apr. 30, 1969]
NEW CHARTER A PAEAN TO MAO
(By Donald Kirk)
HONG KONG.-The new constitution of the Chinese Communist party epitomizes thevast changes that have shaken Ohina since the previous constitution was adopted 13 years ago.
"The Communist party of China takes Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tse-tung thought as the theoretical basis guiding its thinking," proclaims the constitution adopted this month in Peking by the 9th Congress of the party. "Mao Tsetung's thought ls MarxismLeninism of the era in which imperialism is heading for total collapse and socialism is advancing to worldwide victory."
Never before the 9th Cngress, analysts here said, had "Mao Tse-tung's thought" been elevated to the level of "MarxismLeninism,"embodying the most sacred dog- mas of the Communist movement.
ALL HONOR TO MAO
The new constitution, in fact, appears to be a paean to Mao, the "great helmsman" who has guided his troubled country through three years of turmoil optimistically described as "the Great Cultural Revolution."
It is not really a legal document, but a series of slogans and catchwords aimed at uniting and galvanizing the populace behind Chairman Mao.
The constitution contrasts completely with its predecessor, whose 60 articles set forth literal rules for guiding the party and did not mention Mao.
Indeed the 1956 constitution opposed the kind of personality worship 1n which Mao has immersed himself throughout the "cultural revolution."
DRAFTED BY MAO'S FOES
The reason for the neglect of Mao in the old constitution was that the 8th Party Congress which adopted it was dominated by the men who later merged as Mao's most bitter foes, former Chief of State Liu Shao-chi and the ex-party secretary, Teng Hstao-peng.
In 1956, one of the best years for China economically, the country was definitely headed on a pragmatic if not "revisionist" course. Mao was not prepared 13 years ago to re- taliate directly against Liu, but he revealed his own penchant for radical idealism by launching the "great leap forward" in 1958.
After the "leap" proved a failure, Mao began to turn on Liu and eventually mustered the support that enabled him not only to oust the chief of state, but also to produce a constitution that defied his own figure.
THEORY, PRACTICE HELD LINKED
"Comrade Mao Tse-Tung has integrated the universal truth of Marxism-Leninism With the concrete practice of revolution," says the new constitution, reflecting the purges that eliminated not only Liu and Teng but also two-thirds of the party central committee produced by the 8th Congress as well as thousands of other "power-holders" 1n all
phases of national life. · Perhaps the single most unusual feature of the new constitution is that it attempts to insure the continuity of the ideals of Mao by proclaiming his own handpicked successor, Lin Piao, who, it says, "has consistently held high the great Red banner of Mao Tsetung's thought and has most loyally and resolutely carried out and defended Comrade Mao Tse-tung's proletarian revolutionary line."
Even while formalizing as law the unprecedented adulation for Mao, however, the constitution also indicates some of the problems now besetting the country. While calling for"unified discipline" in the party, for instance,it also states that "party members have the right to criticize party organizations and leading members at all levels and make proposals to them up to and including the central committee and the chairman of the central committee."
COULD CREATE CONFUSION
Analysts here believe these provisions are designed to give the top leadership of the party more authority on a local level. At the same time, the effect of the provisions could be to create more nationwide confusion and lack of discipline.
In any case, the constitution, for all its brave slogans, is a vaguely worded document designed, perhaps, to please as many of China's diverse elements as possible.
In this respect it may reflect the bitterness created by the "cultural revolution and the desire for moderation and unity."
The constitution, in fact, probably represents the same kind of compromising that has enabled the army to gain more control than ever before on the new central committee and politburo.
Although it would seem to give the party more scope than ever, it carefully calls on politburo leaders to set up "a number of necessary organs, which are compact and efficient," to "attend to the day-to-day work of the party, the government and the army in a centralized way."
The mention of party, government, and army on the same level suggests an attempt at integrating overlapping functions of these organizations and perhaps even reducing the party's power.
The army almost certainly would be the only organization capable of enforcing this kind of reform. Thus the constitution, although it might at first appear to represent an overwhelming personal triumph for Mao, carries in it the seeds for still more changes.
This time, however, the military leaders in power hope to effect the changes in an atmosphere of moderation and efficiency all in the name, of course, of Chairman Mao Tse-Tung.
Topic: North Korea
Donald Kirk, based in Washington, first visited Seoul in 1972 as Far East correspondent for the Chicago Tribune and has covered major events in Korea from the assassination of President Park Chung Hee in 1979 and the Kwangju revolt in 1980 to every presidential election since adoption of the “democracy constitution” in 1987. He has visited North Korea nine times.
From 1988 to 1994, he focused on business, economics and labor, writing Korean Dynasty: Hyundai and Chung Ju Yung, a critical study of Hyundai, Korea’s largest chaebol, and its founder. Back again in Seoul, he wrote Korean Crisis: Unraveling of the Miracle in the IMF Era, published in 2000. After that, he worked on Korea Betrayed: Kim Dae Jung and Sunshine, published in hardcover in 2009 and again in paperback in 2011.
After reporting from Indonesia in “The Year of Living Dangerously,” 1965-1966, Don based in Saigon and Hong Kong during the Vietnam War. He produced two books from that period, Wider War: The Struggle for Cambodia, Thailand and Laos, 1971, and Tell it to the Dead, published in 1975, after the fall of the U.S.-backed regimes in Indochina, and again, updated and enlarged, in 1996. Two of his articles, "Who Wants To Be the Last American Killed in Vietnam?" (The New York Times Magazine, August 1971), and "I watched them saw him 3 days" (Chicago Tribune, July 1974), the story of a Khmer Rouge execution, appear in Reporting Vietnam: American Journalism 1969-1975, Library of America, NY.
Don has been a reporter beginning in school and college and then in Chicago and New York before moving on to Asia. Returning to the U.S. in 1982 after covering the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, Don spent eight years at USA Today as an editor and correspondent in Washington and abroad from the paper’s start-up through the 1990-1991 Gulf War, which he witnessed from Baghdad. Don revisited Baghdad for several months in 2004, writing magazine articles and filing for CBS. In Seoul, he continues to focus on the looming crisis on the Korean peninsula.
Awards and Grants
In the 1960s and 1970s, Don wrote from Southeast Asia for The New York Times Magazine, The New Leader and The Reporter, among others, winning George Polk, Overseas Press Club and Edward Scott Beck awards and three OPC citations for articles in The New York Times Magazine from Japan, Vietnam and Indonesia. With the Chicago Sun-Times in the early '60s, he received the Chicago Newspaper Guild’s page-one award for a first-person account of a holdup.
Don spent most of 2013 as a Fulbright-Nehru senior research scholar, affiliated with the School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. (That was half a century after he first went to India as a junior Fulbright scholar in 1962.) He spent a month in Islamabad in early 2015 in the Fulbright regional specialist program.
Over the years he's been a Ford fellow, advanced international reporting, Columbia, 1964-1965; Edward R. Murrow fellow, Council on Foreign Relations, 1974-1975, at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School; visiting fellow, Southeast Asia program, Cornell, 1986-1988, and Fulbright senior scholar, Manila, 1995-1996, researching Looted: the Philippines After the Bases, 1998. A graduate of Princeton, he holds a master’s in international relations from the University of Chicago and the honorary degree of doctor of letters for "scholarly attainments and distinguished service" from the University of Maryland University College.
©DON KIRK PHOTOS
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