Hu Fuming Author of Mind-Opening Guangming Daily Commentary “Practice is the Sole Criterion for Testing Truth”

Nice interview with Hu Fuming, lead drafter of the historic 1978 Guangming Ribao commentary “Practice is the Sole Criterion for Testing Truth” pointing out Mao and Party aren’t necessarily always right. What an heretical thought! One could go to jail for less back then. 

Just posted yesterday on the website of the Discipline and Inspection Commission of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the PRC National Supervisory Commission.

Hu Fuming, born in July 1935 in Wuxi, Jiangsu Province, was the main author of the 1978 “Guangming Daily” special commentator’s article “Practice is the sole criterion for testing truth.” As an ordinary scholar in the philosophy department of Nanjing University, his article struck a responsive chord in Chinese society of a strength that had never been seen before. It started the process of emancipation from ideological fetters.

In the social history exhibition hall of the Guangming Daily, there are seven drafts of the newspaper article “Practice is the sole criterion for testing truth.” Today, the newspaper has yellowed, but the traces of the red edit circles are still clear.

[Photo – see article below]

Seven drafts of the newspaper article “Practice is the Only Standard for Testing Truth” (Photo courtesy of Guangming Daily)

This commentator article that kicked off China’s ideological liberation and opened the way for reform and opening up came to over 6,200 Chinese characters. It was published on the front page of the Guangming Daily on May 11, 1978. Forty years have passed since then.

Hu Fuming, the main author of the article, is 83 years old, but still sticks to his principle of “practice before speaking” and insists on studying and reading newspapers every day. “People’s Daily” and”Yangtze Evening News” are neatly arranged at the corner of his desk next to a well-worn copy of “Selections from Marx and Engels”. Hu Fuming said, “As long are you are living, you can still think, and so one just goes on thinking.” Just as he had 40 years ago.

Reporter: “When did you start to get concerned about where the country is going?”

Hu Fuming: “It was subtle. I didn’t see it all at once. During the Great Leap Forward and the People’s Commune Movement, I became suspicious. Five or six hundred pounds of rice is already a high yield for one mu of afield. How could it produce thousands of pounds? Or tens of thousands of pounds of rice? This was just nonsense, a deception, fakery. I decided that the Chinese Communist Party had strayed from the ideological precept of seeking truth from facts.”

“Put everything you have into it”

In 1977, the whole of China was thrilled at the smashing the “Gang of Four”. The whole country wanted to restore order and redress unjust, false and wrongly decided cases. Nonetheless, the “leftist”thinking was still mainstream. In February, the central government proposed “two things”, that is, “Every decision made by Chairman Mao will firmly uphold; we will always follow all the instructions of Chairman Mao.”

So what about the “Cultural Revolution” initiated by Chairman Mao? Can’t you reject it?

Hu Fuming, a 42-year-old teacher of the Department of Philosophy at Nanjing University, published four articles in the journal of Nanjing University on “On Zhang Chunqiao’s “On the Comprehensive Dictatorship of the Bourgeoisie” and “Struggling for the Construction of a Modern Socialist Power”. .

Hu Fuming: “The purpose of my article was to push our Party towards bring order out of chaos and to redress unjust, false and wrongly decided cases. As a theoretical worker, what could I do? The only weapon I had was the pen. To apply the truth in Marxist books to solve our current problems, that was the only weapon I had.”

Reporter: “This was your only weapon at the time, but it is also dangerous.”

Hu Fuming: “Of course it was dangerous. But I thought that our Party and people had awakened. China has reached a great turning point in its history.”

[End of translated extract]

Article from the Fangzheng Publishing Co. dated November 29, 2018 and published on the website of the Central Discipline and Inspection Commission of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the PRC Inspection Commission. 


来源:中国方正出版社 发布时间:2018-11-29 16:20 分享








































About 高大伟 David Cowhig

Retired now, translated Liao Yiwu's 2019 "Bullets and Opium", and studying some things. Worked 25 years as a US State Department Foreign Service Officer including ten years at US Embassy Beijing and US Consulate General Chengdu and four years as a China Analyst in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research. Before State I translated Japanese and Chinese scientific and technical books and articles into English freelance for six years. Before that I taught English at Tunghai University in Taiwan for three years. And before that I worked two summers on Norwegian farms, milking cows and feeding chickens.
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