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 "We Also Have a Pair of Hands and Do Not Want To Lead an Idle Life in the City!"

Source: Peking Review, No. 52, December 27, 1968
Transcribed for www.wengewang.org

  "Renmin Ribao" Editor's Note: Some of the city people in Huining County in Kansu Province who were long divorced from labour, including a group of educated young people, have gone to the socialist countryside group after group and settled there. This is a new practice which it is worth making great efforts to encourage. They say: "We also have a pair of hands and do not want to lead an idle life in the city!" This is quite right!
  Chairman Mao has recently taught us once again: It is very necessary for educated young people to go to the countryside to be re-educated by the poor and lower-middle peasants. Cadres and other people in the cities should be persuaded to send their sons and daughters who have finished junior or senior middle school, college or university to the countryside. Let us mobilize. Comrades throughout the countryside should welcome them. We hope that the masses of educated youth and city people divorced from labour will enthusiastically respond to this great call of Chairman Mao's and go to the frontline in agricultural production!
GUIDED by the proletarian revolutionary line of our great leader Chairman Mao, a portion of the city people in Huining County who were long divorced from labour have gone to the frontline in agricultural production in successive groups and settled in the countryside. They are determined to temper themselves into working people who have a socialist consciousness. Between mid July and mid December, 191 of the 688 families of town dwellers in the entire county, totalling 995 people, have settled permanently in the production teams of 13 people's communes.
  Tempered in the struggles of the great proletarian cultural revolution, town dwellers long divorced from labour have greatly raised their socialist consciousness. They have come to understand that taking no part in productive labour puts burdens on the state and is not conducive to the nation's socialist construction, nor to reducing the differences between town and countryside, nor to remoulding their own thinking and that of their children. After the founding of the revolutionary committee at the end of last April, some town residents (including a part of the cadres' dependents) one after another applied to the revolutionary committee to settle in the countryside. One educated youth, Wang Ching-yi. in his application to the revolutionary committee, wrote: "I am a young man. I have nothing to do in the town while there is a great need for manpower in the countryside. I am determined to go to the countryside to take part in labour so as to remould my ideology and help build a new socialist countryside."
  The revolutionary committee firmly supported the revolutionary requests of the masses. It actively helped the neighbourhood committees organize 115 Mao Tse-tung's thought study classes, which were attended by over 2,700 people. They studied the "three constantly read articles," brilliant works by our great leader Chairman Mao, and his series of great teachings such as "Build up our country through diligence and frugality," "In agriculture, learn from Tachai," and others. They sternly criticized and repudiated the criminal plots of the renegade, traitor and scab Liu Shao-chi and his agents to perpetuate the separation of the city from the countryside. Through their studies, they arrived at a clear understanding that town dwellers divorced from productive labour settling in the countryside and taking part in agricultural production was a long-term measure of fundamental importance in preventing and opposing revisionism and the correct path for gradually reducing the differences between town and countryside, They pledged themselves to follow Chairman Mao's teachings and go to the countryside to contribute) to socialist construction.
  Grandmother Wang Hsiu-lan is over 50 yearn old. Only she and her daughter-in-law are at home, while her son who is a worker is somewhere else. After studying Chairman Mao's great teachings in a Mao Tse-tung's thought study class, she was determined to go to the countryside. She said: "The poor and lower-middle peasants work in the villages and contribute their efforts to socialist construction. We were also born with two hands. Why should we stay in the city and live in idleness, depending on others for our livelihood?" A cadre's wife who once lived in the countryside said with deep feeling: "When I was in the village and worked in the fields and studied with commune members, I was happy and had deep feelings for the poor and lower-middle peasants. After I joined my husband in the town, I began to lead a life of idleness. At first I was uneasy about it and unaccustomed to such a life. But I gradually lost this feeling. I became lazy and my thinking backward. My feelings for the poor and lower-middle peasants began to fade. I was unwilling to attend meetings or to study. Now I understand that this is back-sliding and the beginning of going revisionist." She expressed her firm determination to go back to the countryside to pick up farm tools and take part in farm work again.
  The county revolutionary committee made careful and timely arrangements to promptly meet the revolutionary request of the city residents to go to the rural areas. On the basis of the number of applications, the committee took part in working out details with the communes and decided on the number of households going to each commune. Each commune then worked out with its production teams the arrangements for daily life such as housing and other matters. When the town people moved, the county revolutionary committee sent special personnel with trucks to take them to where they were to reside and to see that they were properly settled. Satisfied after they had been established in the countryside, all the town dwellers soon wrote letters and sent messages of thanks to the revolutionary committee.
  The masses of poor and lower-middle peasants warmly welcomed those who came to establish themselves in the countryside. Before the latter arrived, the poor and lower-middle peasants of many communes and production teams had evacuated rooms, built earthen beds and laid in stores of food grain and firewood for them. Some communes and production teams sent people with carts several kilometres to welcome the town people when they heard they were coming. The poor and lower-middle peasants said that it was in line with Chairman Mao's teachings for cadres to go down to do manual labour and for town dwellers to settle in the countryside. We poor and lower-middle peasants, they declared, follow Chairman Mao's teachings most closely and we welcome the cadres and town people most warmly. As soon as the city people entered the villages, the poor and lower-middle peasants enthusiastically helped them clean their rooms and put things in order, brought them water and vegetables and asked after.them. They also told them the history of class struggle in the villages and the great changes since liberation. Some poor peasants recounted the miserable histories of their families and described how ruthlessly the landlord class oppressed and exploited them before liberation. This gave the newcomers a profound class education. When Grandmother Wang Hsiu-lan got to the village, she was deeply moved by the poor and lower-middle peasants' warm hospitality. She immediately joined them in their work. Her daughter-in-law did not know how to do farm work and the commune members patiently taught her.
  With the enthusiastic help of the poor and lower-middle peasants, these city people have steadily raised their socialist consciousness and increased their knowledge of agricultural production. They joined the poor and lower-middle peasants in running study classes, carrying on revolutionary mass criticism and repudiation and fighting self and repudiating revisionism, and worked together in the fields. Their ideology and feelings have undergone tremendous changes. One of them spoke with deep feeling: "When I lived in town, I was divorced from labour for a long time, and got into the bad habit of seeking comfort and disliking manual work. I took care not to get my shoes dirty when I went walking, and not to get my hands dirty when I did something. Now that I work in the fields with the poor and lower-middle peasants and live in the same village, I see that they have the deepest feelings for Chairman Mao and hate the class enemies most bitterly. They really are the good example for us to follow!"
  Educated by the poor and lower-middle peasants and helped by them, these city people have shown great initiative in study and labour and have taken an active part in the revolution, thereby winning the commune members' approval.
  In the village only a few months, Kao Yu-lan, who settled in the Chenchuan production team of the Tugao commune's Chenyuan brigade, has already been commended as a pace-setter by the commune members because she gave a good account of herself in various respects. An educated youth, Wang Yung-shu, and her family settled in the Shangchu production team of the Hongwan brigade in the same commune. She enthusiastically helped the poor and lower-middle peasants study Chairman Mao's writings to the satisfaction of the commune members, and she has been invited to be an instructor in the team's studies.

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