Mao Zedong: ‘Three Rules and Eight Points’ (1947)


In October 1947 Mao Zedong published a brief memorandum titled ‘On the Reissue of Three Rules and Eight Points for Attention’, which reminded the Red Army of their obligations towards civilians:


“Instruction of the General-Headquarters of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army

Our Army’s Three Main Rules of Discipline and Eight Points for Attention have been practised for many years, but their contents vary slightly in army units in different areas. They have now been unified and are hereby reissued. It is expected that you will take this version as the standard one for thorough education and strict enforcement. As to other matters needing attention, the high command of the armed forces in different areas may lay down additional points in accordance with specific conditions and order their enforcement.

The Three Main Rules of Discipline are as follows:

1. Obey orders in all your actions.

2. Don’t take a single needle or piece of thread from the masses.

3. Turn in everything captured.

The Eight Points for Attention are as follows:

1. Speak politely.

2. Pay fairly for what you buy.

3. Return everything you borrow.

4. Pay for anything you damage.

5. Don’t hit or swear at people.

6. Don’t damage crops.

7. Don’t take liberties with women.

8. Don’t ill treat captives.”