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 SERVE THE PEOPLE

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MAO TSE-TUNG

September 8, 1944

Source: Peking Review, No. 36, September 6, 1968
Transcribed for www.wengewang.org

   Our Communist Party and the Eighth Route and New Fourth Armies led by our Party are battalions of the revolution. These battalions of ours are wholly dedicated to the liberation of the people and work entirely in the people's interests. Comrade Chang Szu-teh was in the ranks of these battalions.
   All men must die, but death can vary in its significance. The ancient Chinese writer Szuma Chien said, "Though death befalls all men alike, it may be weightier than Mount Tai or lighter than a feather." To die for the people is weightier than Mount Tai, but to work for the fascists and die for the exploiters and oppressors is lighter than a feather. Comrade Chang Szu-teh died for the people, and his death is indeed weightier than Mount Tai.
   If we have shortcomings, we are not afraid to have them pointed out and criticized, because we serve the people. Anyone, no matter who, may point out our shortcomings. If he is right, we will correct them. If what he proposes will benefit the people, we will act upon it. The idea of "better troops and simpler administration" was put forward by Mr. Li Ting-ming, who is not a Communist. He made a good suggestion which is of benefit to the people, and we have adopted it. If, in the interests of the people, we persist in doing what is right and correct what is wrong, our ranks will surely thrive.
   We hail from all corners of the country and have joined together for a common revolutionary objective. And we need the vast majority of the people with us on the road to this objective. Today, we already lead base areas with a population of 91 million, but this is not enough; to liberate the whole nation more are needed. In times of difficulty we must not lose sight of our achievements, must see the bright future and must pluck up our courage. The Chinese people are suffering; it is our duty to save them and we must exert ourselves in struggle. Wherever there is struggle there is sacrifice, and death is a common occurrence. But we have the interests of the people and the sufferings of the great majority at heart, and when we die for the people it is a worthy death. Nevertheless, we should do our best to avoid unnecessary sacrifices. Our cadres must show concern for every soldier, and all people in the revolutionary ranks must care for each other, must love and help each other.
   From now on, when anyone in our ranks who has done some useful work dies, be he soldier or cook, we should have a funeral ceremony and a memorial meeting in his honour. This should become the rule. And it should be introduced among the people as well. When someone dies in a village, let a memorial meeting be held. In this way we express our mourning for the dead and unite all the people.
  
  
  
  
  
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 Serve the People is the speech delivered by our great leader Chairman Mao on September 8, 1944, at a memorial meeting for Comrade Chang Szu-teh held by departments directly under the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China. This brilliant work and two other of his great works — In Memory of Norman Bethune and The Foolish Old Man Who Removed the Mountains — are called the "three constantly read articles." They hove become the fundamental required course for every revolutionary to foster the proletarian world outlook and are a powerful ideological weapon for destroying self-interest and fostering devotion to the public interest and for remoulding people's minds. For over twenty years, the great thought contained in the "three constantly read articles" has played an immeasurably great role in changing the outlook of people, rearing new communist-minded people and advancing the people's revolutionary cause.
     To mark the 24th anniversary of the publication of Serve the People, we reprint this celebrated work of Chairman Mao's. In addition, we are publishing in instalments, beginning this issue, an article entitled "Comrade Chang Szu-teh As I Remember Him" (see p. 18) which gives factual details of how Comrade Chang Szu-teh served the people wholeheartedly. — PR. Ed.
  
  
  

 
 
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