persist in maintaining close ties with the masses, they will naturally find it hard to excuse our shortcomings. Although the system of military ranks and other systems have been instituted, those with higher rank should still be at one with their subordinates and the cadres with the soldiers, and subordinates should still be allowed to criticize their superiors and soldiers to criticize cadres. For instance, a Party conference can be convened to provide an opportunity to make criticisms. During the movement against the "three evils", Comrade Chen Yi put it aptly when he said, "It was all right for us to issue orders for so many years, wouldn't it be all right now to let our subordinates criticize us for a while, say for a week?" What he meant was that it ought to be all right. I agree with him, let our subordinates have one week to criticize us. Before the criticisms begin, make some preparations, then give some sort of report and say something about your own shortcomings, which probably won't amount to more than one, two, three, or four points. Then let the comrades speak, adding some points and making criticisms. The masses are fair-minded, they won't write off our record. Company and platoon commanders should also offer their men an opportunity to make criticisms, and it would be best to do so once a year by holding criticism meetings for several days in a row. In the past we practised democracy of this kind in the army, and with good results. Don't let the close relations between the higher and lower levels, between officers and men, between the army and the people and between the armed forces and the local authorities be impaired as a result of the adoption of the system of military ranks and other systems. It goes without saying that the higher levels should maintain close relations with the lower
levels and that these should be comradely. Cadres should forge close ties with soldiers and be integrated with them. The armed forces should likewise maintain close relations with the people and with the local Party and government organizations.
Our comrades should take note: Don't live on the power of your office, your high position or seniority. Speaking of seniority, we have been making revolution for many years, and while this record of ours does count, still we must not live on it. True, you are a veteran who has worked for several decades. For all that, when you do something foolish and talk nonsense, the people won't excuse you. No matter how many your good deeds in the past and no matter how high your post, if today you are not doing a good job, not solving problems correctly and thus harming the people's interests, they won't forgive you. Therefore our comrades should rely not on seniority but on being correct in solving problems. What counts here is correctness, not seniority. Since you cannot rely on your seniority, you might as well forget about it, as if you had never been an official at all, that is, you must stop putting on the airs of an overlord, of a bureaucrat, you must put aside your airs and go among the people and among your subordinates. This is a point our cadres, and particularly our old cadres, must keep in mind. Generally speaking, new cadres are not so burdened, are less encumbered. Old cadres should treat new cadres on an equal footing. In many ways old cadres are not as good as new cadres and should learn from them.
Lin Chung Flees at Night is a scene in the Kunchu opera The Story of a Sword composed in the Ming Dynasty. The Kunchu opera originated in Kunshan, Kiangsu.
The system of military ranks was initiated in September 1955 and abolished in May 1965.