"The World and Japan" Database (Project Leader: TANAKA Akihiko)
Database of Japanese Politics and International Relations
National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS); Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia (IASA), The University of Tokyo

[Title] Deng Xiaoping's Southern Tour Speech

[Date] January 18, 1992
[Source] Modern International Relations: Basic Documents, Volume 1, Kajima Institute of International Peace, pp.513-523.
[Full text]


I was here in Guangdong in 1984. At that time rural reform had been under way for several years, and we were just beginning to introduce urban reform and to establish special economic zones. Eight years have

passed since then. This time, during my trip here, I have found that the rapid growth in the Shenzhen and Zhuhai special economic zones and some other areas has exceeded my expectations. After what I have seen, I am even more confident.

Revolution means the emancipation of the productive forces, and so does reform. The overthrow of the reactionary rule of imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat-capitalism helped release the productive forces of the Chinese people. This was revolution, so revolution means the emancipation of the productive forces. After the basic socialist system has been established, it is necessary to fundamentally change the economic structure that has hampered the development of the productive forces and to establish a vigorous socialist economic structure that will promote their development. This is reform, so reform

also means the emancipation of the productive forces. In the past, we only stressed expansion of the productive forces under socialism, without mentioning the need to liberate them through reform. That conception was incomplete. Both the liberation and the expansion of the productive forces are essential.

In upholding the line, principles and policies formulated since the Third Plenary Session of the Eleventh Central Committee of the CPC, it is essential to adhere to the principle of "one central task and two basic points". If we did not adhere to socialism, implement the policies of reform and opening to the outside world, develop the economy and raise living standards, we would find ourselves in a blind alley. We should adhere to the basic line for a hundred years, with no vacillation. That is the only way to win the trust and support of the people.



We should be bolder than before in conducting reform and opening to the outside and have the courage to experiment. We must not act like women with hound feet. Once we are sure that something should be done, we should dare to experiment and break a new path. That is the important lesson to be learned from Shenzhen. If we don't have the pioneering spirit, if we're afraid to take risks, if we have no energy and drive, we cannot break a new path, a good path, or accomplish anything new. Who dares claim that he is 100 per cent sure of success and that he is taking no risks? No one can ever be 100 per cent sure at the outset that what he is doing is correct. I've never been that sure. Every year leaders should review what they have done, continuing those measures that have proved correct, acting promptly to change those that have proved wrong and tackling new problems as soon as they are identified.

It will probably take another thirty years for us to develop a more mature and well-defined system in every field. The principles and policies to be applied under each system will also be more firmly established. We are constantly accumulating more experience in building a Chinese-style socialism. Judging from the local press, the provinces have gained considerable experience, each proceeding in light of its own particular features. That's good. Creativity is just what we want.

The reason some people hesitate to carry out the reform and the open policy and dare not break new ground is, in essence, that they're afraid it would mean introducing too many elements of capitalism and, indeed,

taking the capitalist road. The crux of the matter is whether the road is capitalist or socialist. The chief criterion for making that judgement should be whether it promotes the growth of the productive forces in a socialist society, increases the overall strength of the socialist state and raises living standards.


The proportion of planning to market forces is not the essential difference between socialism and capitalism, A planned economy is not equivalent to socialism, because there is planning under capitalism too: a market economy is not capitalism, because there are markets under socialism too. Planning and market forces are both means of controlling

economic activity. The essence of socialism is liberation and development of the productive forces, elimination of exploitation and polarization, and the ultimate achievement of prosperity for all.


To take the road to socialism is to realize common prosperity step by step. Our plan is as follows: where conditions permit, some areas may develop faster than others those that develop faster can help promote the progress of those that lag behind, until all become prosperous. If the rich keep getting richer and the poor poorer, polarization will emerge. The socialist system must and can avoid polarization. One way is for the areas that become prosperous first to support the poor ones by paying more taxes or turning in more profits to the state.


It was our policy to permit people to do that, which was much better than coercing them. In carrying out the line, principles and policies adopted since the Third Plenary Session of the Eleventh Central Committee, we did not resort to compulsion or mass movements. People were allowed to follow the line on a voluntary basis. doing as much or as little as they wished. In this way, others gradually followed suit. It was my idea to discourage contention, so as to have more time for action. Once disputes begin, they complicate matters and waste a lot of time. As a result, nothing is accomplished. Don't argue: try bold experiments and blaze new trails. That's the way it was with rural reform, and that's the way it should be with urban reform.



If we are to seize opportunities to promote China's all-round development, it is crucial to expand the economy. The economies of some of our neighbouring countries and regions are growing faster than ours. If our economy stagnates or develops only slowly, the people will make comparisons and ask why. Therefore, those areas that are in a position to develop should not be obstructed. Where local conditions permit, development should proceed as fast as possible. There is nothing to worry about so long as we stress efficiency and quality and develop an export-oriented economy. Slow growth equals stagnation and even retrogression. We must grasp opportunities: the present offers an excellent one. The only thing I worry about is that we may lose opportunities. If we don't seize them, they will slip through our fingers as time speeds by.


Attention must be paid to stable and proportionate development, but stable and proportionate are relative terms, not absolute. Development is the absolute principle. We must be clear about this question. If we fail to analyse it properly and to understand it correctly, we shall become overcautious, not daring to emancipate our minds and act freely. Consequently. we shall lose opportunities. Like a boat sailing against the current, we must forge ahead or be swept down-stream,

The experience of other countries shows that some of them--Japan. South Korea and parts of Southeast Asia, for example--have gone through one or more periods of rapid development. Since we have the necessary domestic conditions and a favourable international environment, and since under the socialist system we have the advantage of being able to concentrate our forces on a major task. it is now both possible and necessary for us to bring about, in the prolonged process of modernization, several periods of rapid growth with good economic returns. We must have this ambition.

Rapid development of the economy can only be based on science, technology and education. I have said that science and technology are a primary productive force.


I have said that intellectuals are part of the working class. Veteran and middle-aged scientists are important, and so are young ones. We hope all those who are studying abroad will come back. All overseas students

may return and enjoy proper arrangements for their life and work, regardless of their previous political attitudes. This policy will not change.




Throughout the process of reform and opening, we must combat corruption. Cadres and Party members should consider it of prime importance to build a clean government. But we still have to rely on the law, which provides a firm guarantee. In short, so long as we develop our productive forces, maintain a reasonable economic growth rate, promote reform and opening and, at the same time, crack down on crime, we shall be able to build a socialist society with advanced ethical standards.

Throughout the process of reform and opening, we must also adhere to the Four Cardinal Principles. At the Sixth Plenary Session of the Twelfth Central Committee I said that the struggle against bourgeois liberalization must be conducted for twenty years. Now it seems it will take longer, The rampant spread of bourgeois liberalization may have grave consequences. It has taken the special economic zones more than ten years to reach the present stage. They can collapse overnight. Collapse is easy, but construction is difficult. If we don't nip bourgeois liberalization in the bud, we may find ourselves in trouble.

One of the basic concepts of Marxism is that the socialist system must be defended by the dictatorship of the proletariat. Marx once said the theory of class struggle was not his discovery. His real discovery was the theory of the dictatorship of the proletariat. History has proved that a new, rising class that has just taken power is generally speaking, weaker than the opposing classes. It must therefore resort to dictatorship to consolidate its power. Democracy is practised within the

ranks of the people and dictatorship over the enemy. This is the people's democratic dictatorship. It is right to consolidate the people's power by employing the force of the people's democratic dictatorship. There is nothing wrong in that. We have been building socialism for only a few decades and are still in the primary stage. It will take a very long historical period to consolidate and develop the socialist system, and it will require

persistent struggle by many generations, a dozen or even several dozens. We can never rest on our oars.


The implementation of the correct political line must be ensured by a correct organizational line. In a sense, whether we can manage our domestic affairs well, whether we can keep to the socialist road and adhere to reform and the open policy, whether we can develop the economy more rapidly and whether we can maintain long-term peace and stability will all be determined by people. The imperialists are pushing for peaceful evolution towards capitalism in China, placing their hopes on the generations that will come after us. Comrade Jiang Zemin and his peers can be regarded as the third generation, and there will be a fourth and a fifth. Hostile forces realize that so long as we of the older

generation are still alive and carry weight, no change is possible. But after we are dead and gone, who will ensure that there is no peaceful evolution? So we must educate the army, persons working in the organs of dictatorship, the Communist Party members and the people, including the youth. If any problem arises in China, it will arise from inside the Communist Party. We must keep clear heads. We must pay attention to training people. selecting and promoting to positions of leadership persons who have both ability and political integrity. in accordance with the principle that they should be revolutionary, young. well educated and professionally competent. This is of vital importance to ensure that the Party's basic line is followed for a hundred years and to maintain long-term peace and stability. It is crucial for the future of China.

This is a pressing problem that has not yet been solved satisfactorily, and I hope it will be. I began to think about it when I resumed work after the "cultural revolution". When we found that it was impossible for our generation to ensure long-term peace and stability, we tried hard to find a third generation to succeed us and recommended a few persons. But that didn't solve the problem. Two persons who were chosen failed, and not with regard to economic issues they stumbled over the question of

opposing bourgeois liberalization. That was something we could not tolerate. In late May 1989 I said that we should boldly choose for the new leadership persons who were generally recognized as adhering to the line of reform and opening up and who had some achievements in that respect to their credit. This would convince the people that we were

wholeheartedly committed to that line. The masses judge from practice. When they come to the conclusion that socialism is good and that reform and the open policy are good, our cause will flourish forever.



I am convinced that more and more people will come to believe in Marxism, because it is a science. Using historical materialism, it has uncovered the laws governing the development of human society. Feudal society replaced slave society, capitalism supplanted feudalism, and, after a long time, socialism will necessarily supersede capitalism.

This is an irreversible general trend of historical development, but the road has many twists and turns. Over the several centuries that it took for capitalism to replace feudalism, how many times were monarchies restored! So, in a sense, temporary restorations are usual and can hardly be avoided. Some countries have suffered major setbacks, and socialism appears to have been weakened. But the people have been tempered by the setbacks and have drawn lessons from them, and that will make socialism develop in a healthier direction. So don't panic, don't think that Marxism has disappeared, that it's not useful any more and that it has been defeated. Nothing of the sort!