The task of combating bureaucracy, commandism and violations of the law and of discipline were important tasks that Mao thought should be made important. Special attention to this task should be made by leaders at all level. When Mao speaks of the “three evils”, it is bureaucracy, commandism and violations of the law and of discipline that he is referring to.
At this point Mao felt that corruption and waste had been taken care of at all four levels of government. These were central, the greater administrative area, the provincial and municipal, and the prefectural. The one kind of bureaucracy which had mostly been overcome was the division between leading cadres and those working under them. The kind of bureaucracy that had not been solved was that some leading cadres were ignorant of the hardships that workers faced.
People at all levels were ignorant of the conditions face by their subordinates. Also cadres at the county, district and township levels were bad people guilty of commandism and violations of the law and of discipline. Many had knowledge that bad things were being done but looked the other way without feeling bad about doing so. Mao said that some were even unaware of the seriousness of the matter which led to them doing nothing to correct them.
Mao made it known that letters had been written by the masses to leaders at all levels of government. These letters asked for help solving problems, but also contained accusations against certain cadres whose lawless behaviour requires immediate attention.
Mao said that for the Party and government, bureaucracy and commandism was a big problem not only at the moment but for a long time to come. He expressed that this was not a revolutionary way of functioning, that it had its roots in the anti-popular style of leadership.
“As far as the role and methods of leadership of our Party and government organizations are concerned, it means failure to make clear the policy limits and the proper style of work when giving assignments, in other words, failure to give the cadres at the middle and lower levels receiving assignments thorough instructions on these matters.”
There was a failure to make a proper examination of cadres at various levels, most particularly at the county, district and township levels.
“Therefore, in 1953 starting with the handling of letters from the masses, please make an investigation into bureaucracy, commandism and violations of the law and of discipline and wage a resolute struggle against them in co-ordination with Party consolidation, Party building and other spheres of work.”