Serve the People Heart and Soul
Serve the People Heart and Soul
Serve the People Heart and Soul
Source: Peking Review, No. 24, June 13, 1969
by Hsu Tao-yi
"The Advanced Health Section Which Wholeheartedly Serves the People” *
CHAIRMAN MAO teaches us: "This question of 'for whom?’ is fundamental; it is a question of principle." Being wholeheartedly devoted to the people or being concerned with oneself only is the basic distinction between the proletarian world outlook and the bourgeois world outlook. To serve the broad masses of the working people wholeheartedly or to serve a handful of persons belonging to the exploiting classes is the basic difference between Chairman Mao's proletarian revolutionary line and the counter-revolutionary revisionist line of the renegade, hidden traitor and scab Liu Shao-chi. Under the dictatorship of the proletariat, whether we can solve this question correctly involves the important question of whether we ourselves can continue making revolution.
For many years, in accordance with Chairman Mao's teaching, we have firmly grasped this fundamental question of "for whom" to impel ourselves forward in remoulding our bourgeois world outlook, raise our consciousness of the class struggle and of the struggle between the two lines and make wholeheartedly serving the people the starting-point of all our actions. We temper our loyalty to Chairman Mao in the practice of serving the people.
Amid the excellent situation in which Mao Tsetung Thought has been vigorously spread and popularized on an unprecedented scale in the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, our health section, which had done only common medical operations, guided by invincible Mao Tsetung Thought, removed a 45-kg. tumour from the abdomen of Chang Chiu-chu, a lower-middle peasant, in 1968. (This magazine carried two articles on this achievement in Nos. 24 and 33, 1968.—Ed.)
Approved by our great leader Chairman Mao and his close comrade-in-arms Vice-Chairman Lin Piao, the title of honour "The Advanced Health Section Which Wholeheartedly Serves the People" was conferred on our section by the Military Commission of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China. This shows Chairman Mao's greatest concern for us and gives us all the greatest education, inspiration and encouragement. From our own experience, we have come to know that all our achievements originate from great Mao Tsetung Thought and are attributed to our great leader Chairman Mao. To persist in using Mao Tsetung Thought to guide our actions, to serve the people wholeheartedly and to constantly struggle against all kinds of bourgeois ideology are the important factors enabling us to persist in making revolution and to win one victory after another.
During the war years, before the establishment of the new China, comrades in our section had stood up to the severe test of rescuing our comrades-in-arms and moving the wounded, braving gun-fire and at the risk of their lives. However, during the period of socialist revolution which found a new situation of sharp and complex class struggle, some comrades felt that "the old way" was no good. For some time in our section, the spirit of careful treatment of the masses was weakened, the number of our people going down deep into the army companies fell off, and instead, studying technique behind closed doers had become a common practice. Actually this meant that the enthusiasm for continuing the revolution was greatly reduced.
Having studied Chairman Mao's teaching that "the proletariat reeks lo transform the world according to its own world outlook, and so does the bourgeoisie,"
we felt that the bourgeois thinking of regarding technique as a means of seeking fame and gain was corrupting our militant collective. The Party branch asked us to examine our thinking and actions in the light of the question of "for whom," and as a result we acquired a correct motive and orientation in studying technique. It was in this process of pitting ourselves against bourgeois ideology that we gradually established the proletarian world outlook of serving the people wholeheartedly.
Struggle has its twists and turns. As the situation in the struggle between the two classes and the two lines oscillated, there were constant reversals in our thinking as regards the question of "for whom." When the counter-revolutionary revisionist Lo Jui-ching whipped up a wind of organizing large-scale demonstrations of and competitions in military skills in 1964, the practice of chasing after only medical technique again appeared in our section. The Party branch organized all the comrades to study and apply Chairman Mao's works in a living way and set off a big debate on for whom medical technique should be learnt and on serving whom. Chairman Mao teaches us: "It consists fundamentally of the problems of working for the masses and how to work for the masses." By examining our attitude in the light of this teaching of Chairman Mao's, we came to understand that there were two diametrically opposite roads concerning the question of raising the technical level. One was to make technique serve proletarian politics, to regard the raising of the technical level as a means of serving the people and to raise the technical level in the practice of serving the workers, peasants and soldiers. The other was to make technique serve bourgeois politics, to regard the raising of the technical level as a means of achieving personal aims and to place raising the technical level apart from the practice of serving the people. With the problem of which road to take in mind, we repeatedly studied "the three constantly read articles" and relentlessly criticized the bourgeois thinking of seeking personal fame and gain in the light of the great leader Chairman Mao's teaching of "utter devotion to others without any thought of self." Profoundly enlightened, we came to know that which road to take in raising the technical level involved the question of what kind of world outlook to uphold, and "for whom."
On the question of "for whom," every time we fought against self-interest, our consciousness of continuing the revolution and of serving the people wholeheartedly was enhanced. Through debates, every one of us became enthusiastic about going deep among the masses, down to the companies and to the countryside, wholeheartedly serving the rank-and-file fighters and poor and lower-middle peasants. Regarding us as their kith and kin, the poor and lower-middle peasants came to us whenever they were sick.
But this did not mean that the question of "for whom" was thoroughly resolved. When a poor-peasant commune member came for treatment he raised some objections about our work. One comrade grumbled: "We treated him, but he had objections. It's hard to handle." Some comrades were somewhat impatient with civilians who sought medical care. The Party branch considered this a manifestation of the fact that the question of "for whom" had not been completely solved. It organized us to discuss the question of what attitude we should take towards the civilians who came for treatment. We repeatedly studied Chairman Mao's teaching: "The army mast become one with the people so that they see it as their own army. Such an army will be invincible." All of us had the view: The fact that the people had come for treatment and criticized us shows that they regard us as soldiers of the people. This shows exactly that the army has become one with the people. We must welcome their criticisms and serve them better. Since that time, we have not only warm-heartedly treated civilians who came, but have constantly sent medical teams to the countryside to give mobile service and help the communes train their peasant-doctors, and did everything we could to create for the poor and lower-middle peasants suitable medical conditions in the countryside.
Our handling of Chang Chiu-chu's case in the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution made us understand more deeply that the question of "for whom" is the fundamental question in the struggle between the two lines. During the four years of her sickness, Chang Chiu-chu underwent many hardships and troubles in her search for treatment. However, the bourgeois "specialists," who did not care at all for a common lower-middle peasant commune member, arbitrarily diagnosed her sickness as an "incurable disease" after only very careless examinations and threw her out of the hospital. Only the size of a rice bowl upon discovering, her tumour grew as big as a cauldron. Whose crime was it? It was that of the renegade, hidden traitor and scab Liu Shao-chi who pushed the counter-revolutionary revisionist line in medical and health work over a long period. What we were confronted by was no ordinary case of curing a disease, but a fierce battle in the struggle between the two lines. Our section's Party branch ran a Mao Tsetung Thought study class to vigorously expose and criticize Liu Shao-chi's towering crimes. This aroused the comrades' deep hatred for Liu Shao-chi. Our opinion was: The scoundrel Liu Shao-chi didn't care whether the people live or die. But we do. We will cure those people whom the bourgeois "specialists" wouldn't! What the masses sent us was not just a patient, but also a yardstick to judge whether we served the people wholeheartedly and whether we were really loyal to Chairman Mao's revolutionary line. We should rely on Mao Tsetung Thought to cure Chang Chiu-chu, and by treating her disease show Chairman Mao's careful concern for the broad labouring masses. Guided by Mao Tsetung Thought, the operation was successful and finally saved her from a devilish disease and the clutches of the counter-revolutionary revisionist line. In this battle to save a life, we arrived at a deep understanding that, fundamentally, serving the people heart and soul is implementing Chairman Mao's revolutionary line and that love for the people is loyalty to Chairman Mao. Only by serving the people heart and soul can we carry on with our victorious march in continuing the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat.
Chairman Mao has taught us: "We should be modest and prudent, guard against arrogance and rashness, and serve the Chinese people heart and soul.”
Last July, just a day before our whole section was ready to go to Peking to attend the meeting at which the Military Commission of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party would confer the title of honour on us, one of our section's in-patient with abdominal tumour in the late stage was on the brink of death. If he was not operated on immediately, this devilish disease would take the life of a class brother. But the difficulty and danger in the operation would be greater than in Chang Chiu-chu's. Should we operate on him? Should we go ahead courageously or retreat because of the danger? This was a new test to see if we are boundlessly loyal to Chairman Mao and if we cherish infinite love for the people. The Party branch organized us to repeatedly study Chairman Mao's teachings "serve the people wholeheartedly" and "don't rest on your laurels, make new contributions." This made us understand that the honour due to be given us should be carried forward and developed in serving the people. In spite of difficulty and danger, we should seek out the last hope for our class brother. The comrades in the whole section once again took part in a battle to save a life with a really serious and earnest attitude. Danger appeared at every step in the operation. The tumour bled profusely. With a high sense of responsibility to the people, we swiftly took steps to remove the danger which occurred eight times and finally saved the life of a class brother. This battle filled us with the deep understanding that only if we have a high sense of responsibility can we serve the people wholly and entirely.
After receiving the honorary title, we felt deeply that the lofty honour bestowed by Chairman Mao had set a higher standard and demand on us to serve the people wholeheartedly. All the personnel in our section constantly cheeked our work and improved our service. For instance, some comrades found that they still had four different attitudes in medical work: while they attached importance to serious diseases, they paid less attention to minor ailments; they were more earnest in their daytime work than at night; they were more careful when there were fewer patients than when there were many; they showed more enthusiasm for patients coming from long distances than for those living nearby. Once again we studied Chairman Mao's brilliant work Serve the People in order to set strict demands on ourselves in line with "wholly" and "entirely" and change these four different attitudes into ones that showed no partiality. We once somewhat neglected the out-patients because of an operation on a patient who was in danger. One patient wrote, criticizing us for our lack of concern. When the comrades in the clinic got the letter, they immediately made a self-examination. In addition, the clinic head and an army doctor made a special trip of scores of li to his home to treat him and ask for his criticism.
We deepen our understanding of the meaning of serving the people through the living study and application of Mao Tsetung Thought in the storm of class struggle, in practical work and in our contact with the worker, peasant and soldier masses. We obtain the profound realization that the question of "for whom" is a fundamental question which we should remember all our lives. There is no end to serving the people. Persisting in serving the people heart and soul means persisting in making revolution. We must always grasp this question firmly and pay constant attention to study and practice so as to make our whole life one of serving the people wholeheartedly, a life for continuing the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat, a life which is boundlessly loyal to Chairman Mao.
* A health section of a P.L.A. unit renowned throughout China for its outstanding service to the working people. It won the title of honour "The Advanced Health Section Which Wholeheartedly Serves the People'' last year.
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