CHINA WILL TOLERATE NO DISTURBANCES
March 4, 1989
The key to our success in modernization, the reform and the opening to the outside is stability. I have told President Bush that in China the overriding need is for stability. We must counter any forces that threaten stability, not yielding to them or even making any concessions. We should not be concerned about what foreigners say; let them say what they please. They’ll only abuse us for being unenlightened. We have been berated for so many years! But have we been toppled by their criticisms? Anyway, the affairs of Chinese should be handled by the Chinese themselves. China cannot afford any disorder: we should explain that plainly and repeatedly. If we don’t, we shall appear to be in the wrong. We have to send out a signal that China will tolerate no disturbances.
When we size up the situation, we should bear in mind that the workers, peasants and intellectuals and the great majority of students support the reform. Tell our comrades to keep calm when problems arise.
Taiwan’s concentrated attack on the Four Cardinal Principles shows precisely that we cannot discard them. Without them, China would be in turmoil.
Of course, we should be careful about the means we use to control the situation. In particular, we should lose no time in drawing up laws and statutes, including ones to regulate assembly, association, demonstration, and the press and publishing. Anything that violates the law must be suppressed. China cannot allow people to demonstrate whenever they please, because if there were a demonstration 365 days a year, nothing could be accomplished, and no foreign investment would come into the country. Tightening our control in this area will not deter foreign businessmen from investing in China; on the contrary, it will reassure them. We should make it clear at home and abroad that the purpose of tightening control is to maintain stability and to facilitate the reform, the opening to the outside and the drive for modernization.
Over the last ten years our greatest mistake has been our failure in education. We haven’t paid enough attention to the political and ideological education of young people and to the expansion of education. Intellectuals have not been given enough pay and other benefits. We have to solve these problems.
(Excerpt from a talk with leading members of the CPC Central Committee.)