Speech at a Ceremony Commemorating the 80th Anniversary of the Victory of the Long March _ Qiushi Journal

Speech at a Ceremony Commemorating the 80th Anniversary of the Victory of the Long March

By: Xi JinpingFrom:English Edition of Qiushi Journal January-March 2017|Vol.9,No.1,Issue No.30 | Updated: 2017-Feb-27 16:20
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Comrades,

Today we are gathered here to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the victory of the Long March by the Chinese Workers’ and Peasants’ Red Army. 

The Long March took place at a dark time in Chinese history, a time when China had been reduced to a semi-colonial, semi-feudal country, when crisis lurked in all corners, and when the Japanese aggressors brutally invaded our lands. The reactionary Kuomintang (KMT), ignoring the peril of the nation, launched a series of large-scale “encirclement and eradication” campaigns in an attempt to wipe out the revolutionary bases of the Communist Party of China (CPC). This was a critical moment for the CPC and the Red Army, for China’s revolution, and for the Chinese nation.   

In the face of this life-or-death challenge, the first, second, and fourth front armies of the Red Army, accompanied by the 25th Red Army, carried out the great Long March, which lasted from October 1934 to October 1936. Under the leadership of the CPC, the Red Army displayed extraordinary wisdom and immense bravery. Surmounting all manner of adversities and enduring great sacrifices, it marched to a victory that stunned the world and went down in history. The victory of the Long March marked the total failure of the KMT’s attempts to annihilate the CPC and the Red Army. It marked the successful strategic retreat of the CPC and Red Army to northern China, where they carried national hope for resistance against Japanese aggression. It marked a great turning point for the CPC and China’s revolution, putting them on the path to victory. And it marked the beginning of a new advance by the CPC to liberate the Chinese people and achieve national independence.   

This was an earth-shaking revolutionary feat. It was a magnificent epic written by the CPC and Red Army, and a great milestone on the Chinese nation’s historic path to rejuvenation.    

On behalf of the CPC Central Committee, the State Council, and the Central Military Commission, as well as the entire Party, military, and people of all ethnic groups in China, I hereby pay my highest respects to Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai, Zhu De, and all the other veteran revolutionaries who led the Red Army to this great historical accomplishment; to the soldiers of the Red Army who fought bitterly during the Long March and who continued fighting in various parts of the country; to the people of all ethnic groups who aided the Red Army on its Long March, especially those in revolutionary bases; and to all those veterans of the Red Army who are still with us today.  

Now let us stand and observe a moment of silence for all the martyrs of the revolution who laid down their lives during the Long March and in revolutionary struggles across the country. 

Xi Jinping, Chairman of the Central Military Commission, delivers a speech at a grand ceremony to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the victory of the Long March, held at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on October 21, 2016. PHOTO BY XINHUA REPORTER JU PENG

Comrades,

Looking back at that bitter yet glorious period 80 years ago, we can appreciate even more profoundly that the Long March was an enormously significant event in the history of our Party, our country, and our military, one that has had a far-reaching influence on the history of the Chinese nation.  

– A great journey, the Long March was built on ideals and beliefs.

Lofty ideals and strong beliefs will forever be the political soul of Chinese Communists. From the day it was founded, the CPC established communism as its greatest ideal, and it has never ceased in its efforts to lead the Chinese people towards this great ideal. The CPC and Red Army experienced many setbacks, but they always fought on. They endured all manner of adversities, but these tests only made them stronger. This was because their great ideal and revolutionary beliefs always remained strong, and always burned brightly in their hearts.    

During the Long March, the heroic Red Army fought bitterly at the Xiangjiang River, made four crossings at the Chishui River, ingeniously crossed the Jinsha River, and fought their way across the Dadu River. It seized the Luding Bridge, fought ferociously at Dushu Town, captured Baozuo, and trekked through the Wumeng Mountains. Covering 12,500 kilometers of land across more than 10 provinces, the Red Army repelled more than 1 million enemy troops bent on pursuing it and blocking its path; conquered snow-capped mountain ranges and the thin air of high altitudes; and crossed desolate marshlands and grasslands with no signs of human life. As the Red Army’s main force carried out the Long March, the Red Army and guerilla units that stayed behind in base areas endured the most grueling of conditions to wage a guerilla fight with the support of local people. In the northwest, Red Army forces founded the Shaanxi-Gansu Revolutionary Base. Joining forces with the 25th Army, which had previously arrived in northern Shaanxi, they thwarted a large-scale “encirclement and eradication” attempt by the enemy, thus creating conditions for the CPC Central Committee to establish the base of China’s revolution in the northwest of  the country. Meanwhile, the Northeast Anti-Japanese United Army, CPC organizations that continued to operate in KMT-controlled areas, and various other forces under the leadership of the CPC also carried out their own bitter struggles, making an unforgettable contribution to the success of the Long March. 

The Long March was a triumph for the ideals and the beliefs of Chinese Communists. As the poem reads, “Their bones hardened by the wind and rain that penetrated their clothes; their will tempered by the wild greens that eased their hunger. Officers and soldiers endured the bitterness together, their revolutionary ideals rising above all else.” On that perilous trek through wind and rain, it was the lofty ideals and strong beliefs of the Red Army that spurred and guided them forward. For every 300 meters travelled by the First Front Red Army on its 12,500-kilometer trek, an average of one soldier laid down his life. The Long March was like a red ribbon, dyed red by the blood of countless Red Army soldiers. Hardships could maim them, death could take their life, but no force on this earth could shake Chinese Communists’ ideals and beliefs. 

The Long March owed its success to the heroism and revolutionary spirit of the Red Army, who overcame all enemies and conquered all difficulties instead to succumbing to them. The Long March proclaimed to all China, and the whole world, that the CPC and Red Army under its leadership were armed with Marxism and committed to the ideal of communism. The bitter, tortuous, and perilous experiences of the Long March tested the ideals and beliefs of Chinese Communists, proving to the world that these convictions could not be shattered.

– A great journey, the Long March was a test of truth.

Truth can only be tested and confirmed through practice. During the Long March, the Red Army was pursued and obstructed relentlessly by a brutal enemy, endured extremely harsh natural conditions, and even faced intense ideological conflict with erroneous thinking within the CPC. But rather than weakening the CPC and Red Army, the Long March actually made them stronger. This was because the CPC had found the right path for the Chinese revolution, and the right theory to navigate this path. 

During the Long March, the CPC Central Committee convened the Zunyi Meeting, a critical turning point in the history of the CPC. This meeting established Mao Zedong as the leader of the Red Army and the CPC Central Committee. It also began the establishment of the correct Marxist line, represented by Mao Zedong, in the CPC Central Committee, and began the formation of CPC’s first generation of collective leadership, with Mao Zedong at the core. These events were instrumental in leading the CPC and China’s revolution out of danger and towards new promise. 

The victory of the Long March made the CPC realize that only by integrating the basic tenets of Marxism-Leninism with the realities of China’s revolution, and resolving the major issues of China’s revolution autonomously, could it guide the revolution towards victory. This was a truth that the CPC learnt at the cost of blood, through the test of its many struggles. 

The victory of the Long March brought about the unprecedented unity of the entire CPC and Red Army on the basis of seeking and upholding truth. Without this great ideological and political unity, China’s revolution could not have succeeded. Tempered by the Long March, the CPC matured in its way of thinking, becoming the central pillar of the Chinese people’s resistance against Japanese aggression, and the central force in the ultimate victory of China’s revolution.    

– A great journey, the Long March saw the awakening of the people. 

The Red Army was victorious because it had the support of the people. With no precedent in recorded history, the Long March issued a manifesto, spread a message, and planted a seed. As the opposing forces of good and evil clashed, and a choice had to be made between light and dark, the CPC rooted itself deep among the people, connecting with them, conveying its message to them, arming them, uniting them, and relying on them. Using its own exemplary actions, the CPC won the genuine support of the people, who became an endless fountain of strength for the victory of the Long March. 

During the Long March, the CPC called on the entire nation to unite in resistance against Japanese aggression. Spurring the formation of the united national front, the Long March, like a clarion call, awakened the Chinese nation from its slumber, channeling formidable strength into a united stand against the invading Japanese aggressors. The people realized that the CPC was a party that stood for the people; that the Red Army was the people’s army and the real resistance against Japanese aggression; and that the path pointed out by the CPC was the path that would lead the Chinese people to liberation. 

The victory of the Long March spread CPC’s message. It planted the seeds of the revolution, expanded the influence of the CPC and the Red Army, and solidified CPC’s close ties with the people, allowing the CPC to strike its roots deeply among them.   

The victory of the Long March fully demonstrated the power of CPC’s nature and mission. It showed that the CPC had to take root and grow among the people, and that it had to rely closely on the people in order to overcome difficulties and claim victory.   

– A great journey, the Long March ushered in a new era.

The victory of the Long March marked the triumph of a direction and a path. The Long March was not only a process of overcoming an enemy, clinching a victory, and achieving a strategic goal, but was also a process of developing new theories and exploring a revolutionary path on the basis of actual conditions. Before the Long March, owing to the mistaken leadership of “Leftist” dogmatists within the CPC, the failure of the Central Revolutionary Base to repel the KMT’s fifth “encirclement and eradication” campaign, and the setbacks suffered in other revolutionary bases, China’s revolution had come to a crossroads, and a path forward had to be chosen. Faced with treacherous waters and fierce storms, our Party demonstrated great pioneering spirit and creativity, fearlessly reinvigorating itself as it withstood all manner of tests. Through blood and fire, it paved a revolutionary path that would lead it to rebirth and victory.  

During the Long March, through its tireless searching, the CPC was able to link its own fight for survival with the fight to save the nation, and link the overall direction of the Long March with the establishment of a forward position against Japanese aggression. In doing so, it shifted from a revolutionary fight within China to a national war of resistance against Japanese aggression, thus laying down a solid foundation for the Chinese people’s victory in the war of resistance and in turn the victory of the New Democratic Revolution.   

The victory of the Long March not only preserved the revolutionary forces, but also gave the CPC a new foothold from which to grow the strength of the revolution, and a new departure point from which to advance it to victory. From the final destination of the Long March, the CPC led the Chinese people in opening a magnificent new chapter in China’s revolution.    

The victory of the Long March allowed the CPC to establish and rapidly develop a number of revolutionary bases, the most central of which was the Shaanxi-Gansu-Ningxia Revolutionary Base. Thanks to these bases, the spark of the revolution spread across the entire country like wildfire, pushing the revolution to a new climax. 

Comrades,

Adversity breeds success. The sheer duration, scale, distance, severity, and ferocity of the Long March were not only unparalleled in Chinese history, but almost totally unheard of in the history of war and human civilization.

On that long, long trek, the Red Army engaged the enemy more than 600 times; crossed almost 100 rivers; scaled more than 40 peaks – including more than 20 snow-capped mountains with elevations in excess of 4,000 meters; and traversed vast grasslands known as “death traps.” It used its indomitable will to push the limits of human survival. The Red Army delivered a grand, imposing performance worthy of military history, and created a human miracle of monumental proportions. 

Over the last 80 years, the Red Army’s Long March has frequently been the subject of news reports and research around the world. A constant stream of people have traveled to China to retrace the steps of the Long March. The international community increasingly believes that the Long March was one of the key events that shaped world history in the 20th century, regarding it as an epic of ideals, devotion, willpower, and bravery. Unleashing a great, inspirational power transcending time, space, and ethnicity, the Long March was a monumental epic telling of humankind’s tireless search for truth and light.

Comrades, 

As a great feat in human history, the Long March has left us with a rich heritage. However, its most valuable gem was the spirit of the Long March, which was forged with the lives and blood of Chinese Communists and Red Army soldiers. 

The spirit of the Long March was about putting the fundamental interests of the Chinese people and nation above all else, about upholding firm revolutionary ideals and beliefs, and about the belief that a just cause would surely succeed. It was about a willingness to sacrifice everything to save the country and people, no matter what difficulties and obstacles lay ahead. It was about remaining committed to independence and autonomy, to seeking truth from fact, and to proceeding from reality in all endeavors. It was about seeing the bigger picture, maintaining strict discipline, and uniting closely. And it was about relying closely on the people, sharing the same fate as the people, and fighting bitterly alongside the people.  

The spirit of the Long March was a vivid reflection of the demeanor of Chinese Communists and the people’s army under their leadership; it was a demonstration of the Chinese people’s spirit of constant self-improvement; and it was the highest embodiment of a national spirit based on patriotism. 

A person without a spirit cannot stand tall; a country without a spirit cannot be strong. A spirit is the essence upon which a people depend for their long-term survival. Only with such a spirit can a people stand firm and move boldly forward amidst the torrent of history. The spirit of the Long March, as an important constituent of Chinese Communists’ red heritage, has been deeply infused into the veins and soul of the Chinese nation, becoming a rich source of nutrition supporting our core socialist values, and a powerful inner drive spurring the Chinese people to constantly surmount difficulties and advance from victory to victory.   

Comrades, 

History is made by the people, and heroic people make heroic history. The progress and development we see in China today is the result of an ongoing “long march.”

On the eve of the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, Mao Zedong reminded us: “To win countrywide victory is only the first step in a long march.” Following the founding of the new China, after an arduous period of searching that saw many setbacks, we launched a new era of reform and opening up, embarking on a new long march to develop socialism with Chinese characteristics. 

During more than 30 years of reform and opening up, under the leadership of the CPC, the Chinese people have united as one and engaged in a painstaking struggle to develop the country. China’s reform, opening up, and socialist modernization have progressed highly rapidly, the people’s standard of living has been fundamentally improved, and China’s socialist system has been significantly bolstered and developed. As a result, we are now welcoming bright prospects for the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. 

Upholding and developing Chinese socialism is an arduous, long-term task of great historical significance. Deng Xiaoping once said, “We have been building socialism for only a few decades and are still in the primary stage. It will take a very long historical period to consolidate and develop the socialist system, and it will require persistent struggle by many generations, a dozen or even several dozens. We can never rest on our oars.”

History only moves forward. To realize our ideals, we must continue on the path we have set for ourselves. Every generation has its own long march, and every generation must see that march through. Today, the long march of our generation is to attain the “Two Centenary Goals” and realize the Chinese Dream – the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. 

Though there are differences, some considerable, between today’s long march and the Red Army’s Long March, and also the new long march we have embarked upon since the launch of the reform and opening up drive, particularly with regard to their conditions, tasks, and the powers involved, the fact remains that each of these long marches can be described as a pioneering, arduous, and highly-complex undertaking.

There is no easy path to realizing a great ideal. To secure new progress in our effort to uphold and develop socialism with Chinese characteristics, yield new results in our effort to advance the great new undertaking of Party-building, and claim new victories in a great struggle with many new historical features, there are still many “snow-capped peaks” that we must scale, many “grasslands” that we must cross, and also many “Loushan Passes” and “Lazikou Passes” that we must conquer. There can be no room for any desire for ease and comfort, any unwillingness to keep on fighting; and there can be no room for any arrogance and complacency, any lack of drive to carry on forging ahead.  

The long march goes on. There can be no future for a people who do not remember the road that brought them to where they are today. No matter how far our causes develop, and how great our achievements may be, we must always carry forward the spirit of the Long March and continue forging ahead courageously on a new long march. 

– To carry forward the spirit of the Long March and succeed in our present long march, we must remain committed to the great ideal of communism and the common ideal of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and engage in a tireless struggle to realize our ideals and beliefs. 

The victory of the Long March told us that belief in our hearts means strength in our legs. Without their indomitable ideals and beliefs to sustain them, the Red Army’s victory in the Long March would simply have been inconceivable. Deng Xiaoping once said, “In the past, no matter how small and weak our Party was, and no matter what difficulties it faced, we always maintained great combat effectiveness thanks to our faith in Marxism and communism. Because we shared common ideals, we had strict discipline. That is our real strength today as it has been in the past and will be in the future.”

On our new long march, we need to ensure that our ideals and beliefs remain firm. No matter how the times change or how conditions alter, we must never be perturbed by the trials that await us. We must consciously strive to be firm believers in, and loyal practitioners of, the great ideal of communism and the common ideal of Chinese socialism, and engage in an eternal fight for truth and for our ideals.   

A rock can be smashed, but its pieces will still be hard; cinnabar can be ground, but its powder will still be red. Firm ideals and beliefs come from solid ideas and theories. To have firm ideals and beliefs, one must first understand, grasp, believe in, and defend truth. The ideals and beliefs of a Chinese Communist are founded on the scientific truths of Marxism, on the laws of social development revealed by Marxism, and on the grand aspiration to serve the interests of the broadest majority of the people. We are strong because what we pursue is truth. We are strong because what we respect are the laws that govern development. And we are strong because what we represent are the fundamental interests of the majority. 

To solidify our ideals and beliefs, we must thoroughly study Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory, the Three Represents, and the Scientific Outlook on Development. We must also study in depth the new concepts, ideas, and strategies for the governance of China introduced by the CPC Central Committee since our Party’s 18th National Congress. We must use truth to empower ourselves, to guide our ideals, and to solidify our beliefs. With a commitment to believing in, reflecting on, and acting on what we learn, we must transform the outcomes of our learning into unmovable ideals and beliefs, and into the correct outlook on the world, life, and values. We can then use our ideals to light up the path ahead, and our beliefs to forge a better future.

– To carry forward the spirit of the Long March and succeed in our present long march, we must remain confident in the path, theories, system, and culture of Chinese socialism, and engage in a tireless struggle to win new victories for this great cause. 

The victory of the Long March told us that we can only move in the right direction once we possess a sound theory; and only advance to victory once we have forged our own path on the basis of reality. The Long March not only crossed countless mountains and rivers; it also surmounted the mistaken notion that Marxism was a fixed dogma that could not change. Its most fundamental lesson was that China had to remain committed to combining the basic principles of Marxism with China’s concrete realities, and remain committed to a path of revolution, socialist construction, and reform that conformed to the country’s conditions. 

On our new long march, we must firmly believe in the path, theories, system, and culture of socialism with Chinese characteristics. The path of Chinese socialism is the only path that can lead us to socialist modernization, and the only path that can create better lives for the people. The theories of Chinese socialism constitute a sound theoretical framework that will guide the CPC and the Chinese people down the path of China’s socialism, the destination being the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. These theories stand at the forefront of our time, and they evolve as the times change. The system of Chinese socialism represents a fundamental institutional guarantee for progress and development in China today. It is an advanced system with distinct Chinese features, notable institutional strengths, and a strong capacity for self-improvement. The culture of Chinese socialism embodies the deepest aspirations of the Chinese people. Representing a unique symbol of our nation, it is a powerful inner force that drives the Chinese people to victory. The truth of these statements has been proven not only in theory, but also by practice. 

Socialism with Chinese characteristics, as the only choice for the development of modern China, embodies the ideals and explorations of several generations of Chinese Communists, the wishes and hopes of countless progressives, and also the struggles and sacrifices of millions upon millions of Chinese people. In emphasizing the need for confidence in our path, theories, system, and culture, our intention is by no means to rest on our laurels and stop seeking progress. On the contrary, it is imperative that we continue to discover, invent, create, and advance, so as to preserve the strong vitality of China’s socialism. However, what we must always remember is that the purpose of any and all improvements we make is to advance further on the path we have set for ourselves, and not to change course, or discard the very foundation that supports the CPC, the country, and the people. 

– To carry forward the spirit of the Long March and succeed in our present long march, we must put the people at the very center of our hearts, remain committed to serving the people and relying on them in all endeavors, and engage in a tireless struggle to make life better for them. 

The victory of the Long March told us that the people possess boundless wisdom and strength. Only by believing in the people, relying closely on them, and giving full play to their enthusiasm, initiative, and creativity can we channel strength into an impenetrable great wall. In essence, the Long March told the story of a deep emotional bond between the Red Army and the people. When passing through Shazhou Village, Rucheng County, Hunan Province, three female Red Army soldiers sought shelter in the home of an elderly villager named Xu Jiexiu. Upon their departure, they cut their only quilt in two, leaving half with Xu Jiexiu. The elderly Xu said, “Who are the Communist Party members? The people who have only one quilt, but give half to the people. They are the Communist Party members.” Ultimately, the Long March succeeded because the CPC and Red Army stood together with the people, maintained a close bond with the people, and shared the same destiny as the people. This is also a fundamental guarantee that enables us to overcome all difficulties and dangers. Reliance on the people is precisely what allowed the CPC to grow its strength, and precisely what has allowed China’s socialism to constantly advance. The reason why the CPC has won the support of the people, and why socialism has won the same support, is that they have made life better for the people. 

On our new long march, the whole CPC must remember that the nature of a political party and government is determined by whom they serve and whom they rely on for their support. We must uphold our fundamental political stance of standing on the people’s side, put the interests of the people above all else, and constantly advance our endeavors to make life better for them. Rallying and leading all Chinese people, we must use our own tireless efforts to constantly secure and improve standards of living for the people, allow all people to benefit more fairly and thoroughly from the fruits of reform and development, and take steady steps towards our goal of common prosperity for all.

There is an old saying: “The water that keeps a ship afloat can also upset it.” This is something we must never ever forget. The people are the skies above us, and the earth below us. If we forget the people, and become distanced from them, we will lose our support, like a river with no headwater or a tree with no roots. We will achieve nothing. Therefore, we must uphold CPC’s principle of relying on and serving the people, preserve our close ties with the people, readily subject ourselves to the criticism and oversight of the public, remain mindful of the difficulties ordinary people face, and search constantly for means of bringing people prosperity, so as to ensure that the CPC always has the trust and support of the people, and ensure that our cause has an inexhaustible source of strength to carry it forward.  

Solidarity is a powerful force. Not only does it enable us to overcome all difficulties, but it is also an important guarantee for gathering support and accomplishing feats. On our campaign to rejuvenate the Chinese nation, we must consolidate solidarity between China’s various ethnic groups; enhance solidarity among various political parties, groups, ethnicities, social strata, and other actors; remain committed to preserving China’s national unity as well as its social harmony and stability; and resolutely oppose all separatist activities that aim to sabotage our unity and solidarity. We need to pool the wisdom and strength of all Chinese people, and tap the creative and developmental potential of our entire society, turning the monumental force unleashed when all Chinese people unite and work together into a powerful driving force for the rejuvenation of our nation.

– To carry forward the spirit of the Long March and succeed in our present long march, we must stay on the right course, keep sight of the bigger picture, and make sound overall arrangements, engaging in a tireless effort to accomplish our overall tasks, fulfill our plans, and achieve our goals.

The victory of the Long March told us that to remain undefeatable, a political party must stand at the forefront of the times, keep in step with the flow of history, lay out sound overall plans, seize the strategic initiative, and stay committed to achieving its goals. The Long March took the CPC and the Red Army over towering peaks, across treacherous rivers, and through bleak grasslands, but every leg of the journey, every charge through enemy lines, and every battle fought formed part of a bigger strategic picture. Not only did the CPC and Red Army win the fight, they also seized the initiative strategically. This was an embodiment not only of spirit, but also of wisdom. 

On our new long march, we need to balance domestic conditions with global ones; coordinate the cause of the CPC with that of the country, and advance various initiatives in a coordinated fashion, remaining mindful of conditions globally, nationally, and within the Party. We must identify strategic priorities, make key breakthroughs, seize the initiative, prevent systemic risks, and avoid being upended by crisis, so as to ensure the sound progression of our greater cause.    

The overall task of Chinese socialism is to achieve modernization and national rejuvenation. In a constant effort to move closer to the completion of this overall task, we must coordinate our “five-pronged” overall plan of economic, political, cultural, social, and ecological progress; advance the “Four Comprehensives” strategy in a coordinated fashion; and work wholeheartedly to achieve our “Two Centenary Goals.” Development is critical to upholding socialism with Chinese characteristics. We must continue to make economic development our central task, and guide a new normal of economic development with our five-point development philosophy, so as to resolve difficulties in development, cultivate new advantages, and lay down stronger material foundations to underpin Chinese socialism. Reform is the key move that will decide China’s future. With an unequivocal commitment to reform, we must break free from the shackles of outdated thinking, dismantle the barriers erected by vested interests, and clear away institutional obstacles impeding the development of productive forces and social progress, in order to further modernize China’s national governance system and capacity. Innovation is the primary driving force behind development. It is imperative that we liberate our minds, seek truth from facts, and move forward with the times. We must resolutely advance innovation in theory, practice, and systems, and in many other areas, so that the causes of the CPC and country retain their strong creative vitality and constantly advance into new territory.  

– To carry forward the spirit of the Long March and succeed in our present long march, we must build a solid national defense capacity and strong military that is commensurate with China’s international standing and that can meet the country’s security and developmental needs, and engage in a tireless effort to preserve national security and world peace.

The victory of the Long March told us that the people’s army was the foundation of the revolution and the hope of the people, and that absolute CPC leadership over the army guaranteed victory on the battlefield. The Long March tested, tempered, and strengthened the people’s army, initiating a new phase in its growth. The Long March was the glory of the people’s army. A glorious people’s army must therefore carry forward the spirit and fine conduct that the Red Army demonstrated during the Long March. 

On our new long march, under the guidance of CPC’s goal of building a strong military, we must continue to implement our military strategies in view of new conditions and strive to build a world-class army.  

A country needs a strong army before it can truly be strong and secure. With a firm commitment to strengthening the military through political means, we must uphold absolute CPC leadership over the armed forces, preserve the nature, mission, and character of the people’s army, and ensure that the spirit of the Red Army goes on. We must cultivate a new generation of revolutionary soldiers that have soul, competence, mettle, and character; and forge a highly competent military with iron-clad beliefs, convictions, and discipline as well as an unbreakable sense of duty. With a firm commitment to strengthening the military through reform, we must resolutely deepen reform in national defense and the armed forces, address institutional, structural, and policy issues that are hindering the development of national defense and the armed forces, further modernize the way in which the military is organized, and accelerate the establishment of a distinctly Chinese system of modern military strength. With a firm commitment to governing the military according to the rule of law, we must build a distinctly Chinese system of rule of law in the military, promote a fundamental transformation in the way that the military is governed, and raise the standard of law-based governance in national defense and the armed forces. With a firm commitment to war preparedness, we must continue to regard combat effectiveness as the standard that matters most, broaden and deepen our preparations for military conflict, enhance simulation-based training, and rapidly raise our capacity to prevail in information warfare. At the same time, we should move forward with an integrated military-civilian development strategy, better integrate the development of national defense and the military into the framework of China’s economic and social development, and form a highly-effective, multi-factor, and multi-domain developmental layout for the deep integration of military and civilian sectors. We should strengthen our national defense mobilization capacity and reserve strength, and consolidate unity between the government and the armed forces and between the people and the armed forces. And we should enhance international military security cooperation, actively assume responsibilities and obligations commensurate with China’s international standing, work with other countries to meet global security challenges, and make a bigger contribution to the preservation of world peace. The entire military must be more mindful of potential dangers and crises, and enhance its sense of mission. Making sure that every minute counts, they must continue to advance the modernization of China’s defense and military capabilities and ensure that they shoulder the crucial responsibility of protecting the country’s sovereignty, security, and development interests. 

– To carry forward the spirit of the Long March and succeed in our present long march, we must strengthen CPC leadership, remain committed to governing it strictly, and engage in a tireless effort to advance the great new undertaking of Party-building. 

The victory of the Long March told us that leadership by the CPC is a fundamental guarantee ensuring that the causes of the CPC and people will succeed. Mao Zedong once said, “Who brought the Long March to victory? The Communist Party. Without the Communist Party, a long march of this kind would have been inconceivable. The Communist Party of China, its leadership, its cadres and its members fear no difficulties or hardships.” The leadership of the CPC has guaranteed the success of China’s revolution, socialist construction, and reform. As the most essential attribute of Chinese socialism, and the greatest strength of this system, this leadership must be resolutely upheld and improved.  

On our new long march, all members of the CPC must consciously uphold and maintain CPC leadership; stand on the side of the CPC and the people; and remain loyal to, share the concerns of, and assume their responsibilities and obligations to the CPC, doing their utmost to fulfill the duties and tasks entrusted to them. With the combined efforts of all Party members, the CPC will always stand with the people and always stand at the forefront of the times.

Heroes are those who know themselves and can overcome their own weaknesses. The closer we come to our dream of national rejuvenation, the more arduous the task of reform and opening up becomes, and the more we must emphasize Party-building. Being prepared for danger in times of peace is the key to survival and development. The “four tests” and “four dangers” that our Party faces are long term, complex, and grave. Upholding the centralized leadership of the CPC Central Committee, we must ensure that all Party organizations, members, and officials enhance their political integrity, keep in mind the bigger picture, follow the CPC Central Committee as the core of the Chinese leadership, and act consistently with CPC Central Committee policy, maintaining a high degree of unity with the CPC Central Committee in the way of thinking, in political principles, and in their actions. We must continue to promote comprehensive governance of the CPC with strict discipline; focus on strengthening the governance capacity and pioneer nature of the CPC; improve and regulate political life within the Party under new conditions; make a persistent and determined effort to improve Party conduct and combat corruption; raise the capacity of the CPC to remain pure and to improve, renew, and surpass itself; improve CPC leadership and governance whilst enhancing its ability to resist corruption and withstand risks; and ensure that the CPC remains the firm leading core of the cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics.

The question of how to carry forward the spirit of the Long March, and how to succeed in our present long march, is among the most important issues we currently face. The spirit of the Long March is a precious asset, one which the CPC and Chinese people won at great cost through great struggle. We must always remember, learn from, and carry forward the spirit of the Long March, turning it into a powerful source of inner strength driving our Party, our country, our people, our military, and our nation towards a better future.

Comrades, 

During the 80 years that have passed since the victory of the Long March, the CPC has led the Chinese people through revolution, socialist construction, and reform. Embarking on one long march after another, we have captivated the world with a series of monumental achievements.  

Today, we are closer than ever to the goal of national rejuvenation, and more confident and capable than ever to realize this goal. Our generation, having inherited this cause from our predecessors, must not only fight for today, but also carve out a better path for tomorrow.   

The blueprint has been drawn, and now we must forge ahead. As we advance on this path, we must vigorously promote the spirit of the Long March, and draw on this spirit to inspire and encourage the whole CPC, military, and all Chinese people, especially young people, to devote themselves to making the country strong; to continue the great cause our predecessors started; and to write a new, glorious chapter in our new long march to attain the “Two Centenary Goals” and realize the Chinese dream of national rejuvenation. 

(Originally issued in Chinese by Xinhua News Agency, Beijing, October 21, 2016)