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. 

 http://www.ccdi.gov.cn/yaowen/201811/t20181129_184178.html

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. 

胡福明:最好的文章是能在历史上留下印记的文章

来源:中国方正出版社 发布时间:2018-11-29 16:20 分享

  胡福明,1935年7月出生于江苏无锡,是1978年《光明日报》特约评论员文章《实践是检验真理的唯一标准》的主要作者。作为南京大学哲学系的一名普通学者,他的文章引发了空前共鸣,开启了一个时代思想解放的闸门。

  在光明日报社的社史展厅内,珍藏着《实践是检验真理的唯一标准》一文的7张报纸改样。如今报纸已经泛黄,但上面被红笔圈圈改改过的痕迹依然清晰。

《实践是检验真理的唯一标准》的7张报纸改样(光明日报社供图)

  这篇拉开了中国思想解放和改革开放序幕的评论员文章,全文6200多字,发表于1978年5月11日《光明日报》头版,至今40年整。

  文章的主要作者胡福明已83岁高龄,却依旧秉承着“先实践再发言”的原则,每天坚持学习、读报。《人民日报》《扬子晚报》整齐地摞在书桌一角,旁边的《马克思恩格斯选集》也早已被翻烂。胡福明说,“只要活着还能思考,就会一直思考下去”,一如40年前那样。

  记者:“您是什么时候开始关心‘国家要往何处走’这个问题的?”

  胡福明:“这个是潜移默化的过程,不是一下子明白的。大跃进、人民公社运动时,我产生了怀疑。一亩地打五六百斤稻子已经是高产了,怎么可能一亩地产出几千斤、几万斤的稻子?这是胡说,是骗人的,假的。我认为党已经离开了实事求是的思想作风。”

  “把浑身能量都放进去了”

  1977年,整个中国沉浸在粉碎“四人帮”的喜悦中,全国上下渴望拨乱反正、平反冤假错案。然而“左倾”思想依旧占据主流,2月中央提出“两个凡是”,即“凡是毛主席作出的决策,我们都坚决维护;凡是毛主席的指示,我们都始终不渝地遵循”。

  那么毛主席发动的“文革”呢?也不能否定?

  时年42岁的南京大学哲学系教师胡福明为此先后在南大学报上发表了《评张春桥的〈论对资产阶级的全面专政〉》《为建设现代化的社会主义强国而奋斗》等4篇文章。

  胡福明:“我写文章的目的就是要推动我们党拨乱反正,平反冤假错案。作为一个理论工作者,我能做什么呢?我唯一能用的就是这支笔。用马克思主义书本上的道理,去解决当前面临的问题,我能使用的只有这个武器。”

  记者:“这是您当时唯一的武器,但这样做也是危险的。”

  胡福明:“当然是危险的。但是我觉得我们党、人民已经觉醒了,中国已经到了一个伟大历史的转折关头。”  

  “两个凡是”是全面拨乱反正的主要障碍,必须从根本上打破。但胡福明认为,“不能简单地批它,必须提出一个马克思主义的基础观点和它对立。只要守住马克思主义阵地,就能驳倒它”。1977年夏天,胡福明在医院陪护妻子的过程中,完成了文章《实践是检验真理的标准》的写作。

杨西光在光明日报社期间的办公桌(光明日报社供图)

  记者:“您是花了最大力气去准备和写作这篇文章?”

  胡福明:“对,可以说是把浑身能量都放进去了。晚上我去陪护妻子,就在走廊里拿几张凳子,在楼灯下面把《马克思恩格斯选集》四卷、《列宁选集》四卷、《毛泽东选集》四卷一批一批带过去,靠着灯光查关于真理标准的语录。查出来几十条,然后在凳子上搞提纲。趴在凳子上、坐在地上,就这么干了大概十四五天吧。”

  文章写好后,胡福明把它寄给了《光明日报》。“考虑到影响问题,我要寄给全国性的报刊。这时我想到了王强华,他是《光明日报》哲学组组长。我们有过一面之交,我就寄给了《光明日报》。”当时的胡福明肯定不会想到,他的这个小小的举动将会带给中国怎样的影响。

  一个人的勇气变成了一群人的执着

  从文章寄到北京开始,一个人的勇气就变成了一群人的执着。除了王强华,《光明日报》总编辑杨西光、理论部主任马沛文以及中央党校理论研究室的孙长江,都加入到稿件的研究和修改中。胡福明本人后来也到了北京,在报社住了20多天。一篇6200多字的文章,前前后后,定稿历时8个月。

1978年4月13日晚谈实践检验问题的讨论记录(光明日报社供图)

  记者:“杨西光调整了一下标题?”

  胡福明:“对,调整标题增加了‘唯一’两个字。毛主席说,只有实践才是检验真理的标准。这当然是一个很好的发挥。”

  记者:“他还调了一下作者?”

  胡福明:“杨西光说,你不是我们特约评论员,你是自己投稿投来的。但是从现在开始,我就聘请你为《光明日报》的特约评论员。”

  1978年5月11日,署名为“本报特约评论员”的文章《实践是检验真理的唯一标准》在《光明日报》头版发表。平静的神州大地仿佛响起了一声惊雷,全国范围内开始了轰轰烈烈的真理标准大讨论,思想解放的号角就此吹响。1978年12月13日,在十一届三中全会前的中共中央工作会议闭幕会上,邓小平同志作了《解放思想,实事求是,团结一致向前看》的著名讲话:

  “……实事求是,是无产阶级世界观的基础,是马克思主义的思想基础。过去我们搞革命所取得的一切胜利,是靠实事求是;现在我们要实现四个现代化,同样要靠实事求是……”

  最好的文章是能在历史上留下印记的文章

  改革开放40年,一代代领导人不断解放思想、开拓创新,为中国经济社会发展开启了一扇扇“智慧之门”。胡福明说,发展中国特色社会主义,就是由一系列的解放思想、一系列的实践探索、一系列的总结积累构成的。

 记者:“这是您作为一个学者很骄傲的事情么?”

  胡福明:“我觉得是我应该做的事情。解释真理、修正错误,这是一个学者应该做的。解放思想、实事求是,这是一个理论工作者、一个党的工作者必须坚持的。”

  记者:“当时如果不是您写出来,也早晚有人会写出这篇文章吗?”

  胡福明:“对,早晚会有人写。”

  记者:“这篇文章从学术水平上来讲,我认为,是最高的吗?”

  胡福明:“文章水平高的标准是什么?社会科学领域最好的文章,就是能在历史上留下印记的文章。”

  记者:“解决现实问题的文章。”

  胡福明:“没错!”

北京大学南京校友会赠送给胡福明的书法作品

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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