A WORLD TO WIN    #24   (1998)


Decisions of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party on Woman-work at Present in the Countryside of the Liberated Areas (1948)

After keeping up the fight against the Japanese for eight years the Chinese people finally defeated Japanese imperialism. Now they have been fighting the People’s Liberation War for two and a half years and have won unpre­cedentedly great victories. The reactionary Kuomintang regime can basically be defeated in about another year. These victories were gained by relying on the Party’s correct leadership, the fighting skill of the People’s Liberation Army, and the bitter struggles of the ordinary people. Women, who form half the population, have played a big role and have become an in­dispensable force for defeating the enemy and building a new China. Woman-work has been especially successful since February 1943, when the Central Committee issued ‘Decisions of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party on the present orientation of woman-work in all the anti-Japanese base areas’. This gave a clear direction to woman-work in the liberated areas, and where it was put into practice there were noticeable changes in the work. Ordinary village women of the liberated areas were further mobilised and organised to work in handicrafts, supplementary enterprises, and agriculture, and to contribute to the war effort with all their strength. In land reform all the liberated areas mobilised even more women to take an active part in the sharing out of land and the struggle to eliminate feudalism. In the districts where land reform is already complete there has been a fundamental change in class relations in the villages, land has been distributed to both men and women, young and old, and quite a few women have become district or village representatives, and have even been elected village heads, deputy heads, or cadres above the village level. Women have become much more aware and enthusiastic, and consequently there has been a fundamental change in their political and economic position and in their position in the family and in society, opening the way to complete liberation.

...The whole party, all cadres engaged in woman-work, and women activists must understand that under the New Democratic Gov­ernment, all the laws of the old society which constrained or mistreated women and forced them into a humiliating position of obedience have ceased to exist. The new laws guaranteeing absolute equality of the sexes in the economy, in politics, and in society have been formulated or basically formulated in the first period of New Democratic power. The question is whether these laws can truly be realised. The attitude of valuing men and despising women handed down from the old society, all kinds of constraining feudal customs, especially the economic dependence of women on men and the handicaps of not excelling at all sorts of labour, and even despising it, have obstructed the rapid realisation by women of the rights already granted to them in law. So if women’s rights are to be properly realised, the work must be done.

...As the land reform is completed, all problems connected with women should be solved in accordance with the correct policies of the local government and the directives for dealing with problems left over from land reform, so as to confirm and increase women’s enthusiasm for production. There must be government orders to guarantee women’s rights to land. When the family is taken as a unit for issuing land deeds, a note must be made on the deeds that the men and the women have equal rights to land. Every member of the family has democratic rights in the disposal of possessions. When necessary, land deeds for women can be issued separately. At the same time there should be a considerable period of publicity and education for all peasants so that both men and women fully understand the importance of protecting women’s rights to land.

...Step by step we must purposefully eliminate the feudal thought, constraints, and customs which prevent women’s participation in political, cultural and economic activities (of which the most important is production). It should not be thought that once women take part in production all the remnants of feudalism in society which still constrain them will just naturally disappear and there will be no need to do any more work. This way of just letting things drift ignores the special interests of women and is erroneous. In the course of production, at all mass meetings and in the mass organisations, all peasants should be given constant ideological education on the equality of the sexes; feudal thought, constraints, and customs must be criticised, and it should be pointed out that all the feudal customs constraining women must be eliminated. The small number of backward elements who want to preserve old feudal customs and who constantly oppress women must be suitably struggled against where necessary. But it must be understood that this sort of struggle is an ideological struggle amongst the peasants and should be radically different from the class struggle against feudal landlords...

... In accordance with what is necessary to the development of the present revolutionary situation, a large group of party and non-party women cadres must be boldly educated and fully utilised and pushed forward to take up posts of every sort and reinforce the cadres in women’s organisations at every level. The same work should be allocated and the same training and educational opportunities given to men and women cadres of equal ability without discrimination. Moreover, taking into account the special position of women cadres, greater attention should be given to raising their political, theoretical, and cultural levels and their ability at work. In order to assist with their special difficulties, crêches and nurseries should be set up and mutual-aid groups of women cadres should be organised to care for children. This will not only lighten the burden of the women cadres, it will also be a start in the nursery care of children by society. The education of the new, labouring women cadres in the villages, especially those who have already held posts before, should be improved. They should be given patient training and steady encouragement with special attention to increasing the number of Party members. In the new liberated areas, pay special attention to training local women cadres. All levels of Party schools and training classes set up by the government should take in women cadres as students according to a plan. Party organisations and propaganda departments at all levels should include the teaching and training of women cadres in their work. And the women cadres themselves under the leadership and guidance of the Party ought to work with purpose and enthusiasm, plunging really deeply into their work and becoming more unified and more efficient. They should study theory, politics, and general knowledge, and knowledge and skills connected with production industriously, and should initiate criticism and self-criticism, overcome their handicaps as women, resolutely seek to progress and strengthen their ideal of serving the people. This is the basic condition for turning oneself into a cadre valuable to the Party.

... The Party ought further to correct the feudal ideology which values men and despises women that still survives both inside and outside the Party, and to correct the negative idea of cutting woman-work off from all other work, and the mistaken tendency to do woman-work in an isolated, detached way. At all levels Party organisations should intensify their study of Marxism-Leninism and the thought of Mao Tse-tung and put it into practice more in the way they do woman-work. They should cultivate a complete mass outlook and get a correct grasp of the policy on the women’s movement and should overcome lawlessness and anarchy in woman-work. Those who do woman-work should seek truth from reality more often, go right down amongst the masses, plunge into tough work, serve ordinary women with all their hearts and wills and lead the women’s movement forward.