Since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in 2012, the CPC Central Committee headed by General Secretary Xi Jinping has introduced a series of new concepts, ideas, and strategies for the governance of the country. This new thinking on national governance has not only deepened the CPC’s theoretical understanding of the “three laws” – the laws concerning CPC’s governance, the development of socialism, and the progression of human society – but has also provided a sound theoretical framework for advancing reform, opening up, and socialist modernization.
The photograph, taken on March 27, 2016, shows the picturesque rural scenery of Lantan Village, Daqiao Town, Gutian County, Fujian Province. How can the old path of “Pollute first, clean up later” be avoided? China’s answer: to keep waters lucid and mountains lush! This is as valuable as mountains of gold. PHOTO BY XINHUA REPORTER SONG WEIWEI
I. A deeper understanding of the objective laws concerning CPC’s governance
As General Secretary Xi Jinping has pointed out, “Party-building must reach whatever stage the causes of the CPC and the people reach. This is a basic rule that must be observed as we intensify Party-building.” By striking a balance between national governance and Party governance, and remaining committed to comprehensively governing itself with strict discipline, the CPC has managed to gain a deeper understanding of the underlying laws of its governance.
1. By reinforcing its ideals and convictions, the CPC has deepened its understanding of its governing mission and goals.
Xi Jinping has repeatedly stressed that “revolutionary ideals rise above all else,” and that ideals and convictions represent the “fundamental pursuit,” “political guidance,” and “inner sustenance” of a communist. In his own words, “The wavering of an ideal or belief is the most dangerous form of wavering; the slide of an ideal or belief is the most dangerous form of slide. The decline of a political party often begins with the loss or absence of ideals and beliefs.”
2. By working to improve Party conduct and combat corruption, the CPC has deepened its understanding of the nature and tenets of its governance.
First, all Party members must bear in mind the nature and tenets of the CPC. Second, they must maintain close ties with the people and resolutely rectify undesirable practices. And third, they must understand the extreme importance of the fight against corruption, viewing it as an initiative concerning the very survival of the CPC. The greatest threat the CPC faces as a governing party is corruption. Rather than causing the CPC to collapse, a genuine fight against corruption will actually strengthen the capacity of the CPC to purify, refine, reform, and improve itself, to preserve its close ties with the people, and to make itself stronger.
3. By strengthening Party discipline and promoting institutional development, the CPC has deepened its understanding of the means by which it is required to govern.
First, the CPC should regard strengthening discipline as the fundamental approach to strict Party governance on a comprehensive basis. Second, the CPC should lay emphasis on the observation of its major codes of discipline, which cover political, organizational, public-related, professional, and personal conduct as well as honesty and integrity. Third, the CPC should govern itself, exercise power, and administer its personnel on the basis of prescribed institutions. In view of the fact that institutional issues are of fundamental, overall, stabilizing, and long-term significance, the CPC must lay down strong institutional guarantees if it is to supervise and run itself according to a strict code of discipline.
4. By strengthening and improving its leadership, the CPC has deepened its understanding of its role as China’s leading core.
China’s success hinges on the CPC. To govern the CPC with strict discipline, it is essential that we strengthen the leading role of the Party. First, General Secretary Xi Jinping has made an important statement regarding the Party’s leadership, stating that “the leadership of the CPC constitutes both the most essential attribute of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and the greatest strength of this system.” Second, Xi has emphasized the importance of fully exerting the CPC’s role as a leading core. Third, he has also called on all Party members to 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.
II. A deeper understanding of the laws concerning the development of socialism
The CPC Central Committee has remained committed to integrating the basic principles of scientific socialism with the realities of China and the features of the times. By consistently advancing practical, theoretical, and institutional innovation, and enriching the practical, theoretical, national, and contemporary characteristics of Chinese socialism, it has deepened the CPC’s understanding of the underlying laws that govern the development of socialism.
1. The CPC has upheld a people-centered notion of development.
In his speech marking the 95th anniversary of CPC’s founding, Xi Jinping pointed out, “Standing on the people’s side represents the fundamental political stance of the CPC, and it is what distinguishes a Marxist political party from other political parties.” He also stated that, “Leading the people in building a better life is the goal that the CPC is working tirelessly to achieve. The people demand a better standard of living, and we must respond by upholding a concept of development that puts the people in the center.” Moreover, Xi has called on the whole Party to “take the support, approval, satisfaction, and consent of the people as the fundamental criterion for appraising all initiatives.” The CPC must ensure that development is for the people, reliant on the people, and that its fruits are shared by the people, so as to give the people a stronger sense of gain. With the fundamental goal of promoting social justice and fairness and improving people’s wellbeing, the CPC must ensure that all people can benefit more fairly and more thoroughly from reform achievements.
2. The CPC has understood China’s basic national conditions and the new normal in economic development.
Xi has repeatedly stressed that the primary stage of socialism, which China currently finds itself in, represents the most striking reality and national condition facing China at present, as well as the “overall basis” for building socialism with Chinese characteristics. That being said, we also need to be aware of new features emerging in each stage of China’s economic and social development. Xi has not only identified a new normal in China’s economic development, which constitutes a major assertion on the policy level, but has also stressed from a theoretical perspective that new conditions, circumstances, and phases are constantly taking shape during the process of China’s economic development, and that the new normal represents just one stage in this long process.
3. The CPC has carried comprehensive reform to a new level at a new historical starting point.
Reform is an ongoing process, and not a task that can simply be completed. Through continued reform, we will ensure that socialism with Chinese characteristics is more efficient than capitalism at releasing and developing productive forces, unleashing and boosting the vigor of society, and promoting people’s well-rounded development. Xi Jinping has pointed out that the overall objective of reform should be to improve and develop the system of Chinese socialism, and to modernize China’s national governance system and governance capacity. Moreover, he has also stated that reform should aim at both creating new growth impetus and safeguarding social fairness and justice.
4. By advancing the five-pronged overall plan and the Four Comprehensives, the CPC has refined its theory on the overall development of socialism.
Since the 18th National Congress of the CPC in 2012, the formation and coordinated implementation of the Four Comprehensives has promoted the comprehensive implementation and further deepening of the CPC’s five-pronged overall plan for developing socialism with Chinese characteristics.
5. By implementing new principles of development, the CPC has broadened the theory behind the developmental approaches and goals of socialism.
In the last three years, China has guided the new normal of economic development with new principles of development. It has accelerated the transformation of its economic growth model, the restructuring of the economy, and the upgrading of development; advanced supply-side structural reform; promoted more efficient, higher-quality, fairer, and more sustainable economic development; and sped up the formation of an institutional environment in which innovation is revered, coordination is emphasized, green development is advocated, openness is fostered, and sharing is encouraged, so as to bolster China’s economic strength and overall national strength.
III. A deeper understanding of the laws concerning the development of human society
China’s new concepts, ideas, and strategies for the governance of the country constitute a “Chinese proposal” that will aid the search for a better social system. These notions have deepened the CPC’s understanding of the underlying laws governing the development of human society.
1. Recognizing the inherent link between the development of China and the human society in general, the CPC has introduced new principles for promoting the prosperity of human society.
China is committed to balancing its own development with that of the world. Not only dedicated to following its own path of socialism with Chinese characteristics, it also strives to identify overall historical trends and act in compliance with the laws that govern the development of human society. Meanwhile, China has a great deal of fresh wisdom, experience, and proposals to offer to human society. For example, China has actively participated in building the global governance system, introduced the Belt and Road Initiative, proposed the founding of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), and promoted the establishment of the BRICS New Development Bank (NDB). While realizing its own development, China has offered the new concepts of “peaceful, cooperative, and inclusive development” to the world.
2. Working to build an international community of shared future and interests, the CPC has laid out new principles for the international order and new prospects for social relations between peoples.
As Xi Jinping has pointed out, to build an international community of shared future, countries should uphold the following four principles: First, they should respect each other and treat each other as equals; second, they should promote mutually beneficial cooperation and common development; third, they should strive to realize joint, comprehensive, cooperative, and sustainable security; and fourth, they should remain open minded towards other cultures and learn from them through inter-cultural exchanges. In working to establish an international community of shared future and interests, China has shared its projections on the future trend of human civilization with the international community, and outlined an ideal vision for the international order and social relations between peoples in the 21st century.
3. Promoting exchanges and mutual learning among cultures, the CPC has introduced a new outlook on cultures which regards cultures as diverse, equal, and inclusive.
Xi Jinping has stated, “Cultures become colorful through exchanges and rich through mutual learning.” Cultures are diverse, which means that one culture should not be prized at the expense of another; cultures are equal, which means that “no one culture should be judged superior to another”; and cultures are inclusive, which means there is no so-called “clash of civilizations,” and harmony between cultures is attainable. China advocates that different cultures develop together through exchanges and mutual learning, with a view to creating a diverse and colorful human civilization. Only in this way can human society embrace a brighter future.
Research Center for the Theories of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences
(Originally appeared in Qiushi Journal, Chinese edition, No.16, 2016)