The Reader of General Secretary Xi Jinping’s Major Speeches (hereinafter referred to as the Reader), which was published earlier in 2016, elaborates on the significance, core content, basic viewpoints, and practical requirements of a series of major speeches by General Secretary Xi, and provides insight into the new concepts, ideas, and strategies of the CPC Central Committee for the governance of China.
I. The major significance of Xi Jinping’s speeches
Since the 18th National Congress of the CPC in 2012, the CPC Central Committee headed by General Secretary Xi has shouldered the mission passed to it by history. In leading the whole CPC and all Chinese people towards the “Two Centenary Goals” and the Chinese dream of national rejuvenation, it has opened up new prospects for national governance and for the causes of the Party and country. Xi Jinping’s major speeches can be regarded as a crystallization of the CPC’s latest theoretical and practical innovations.
These speeches revolve around realizing the Chinese dream of national rejuvenation. Framed against the backdrop of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and conforming to the developmental trends of our times, they respond to the Chinese people’s expectations for a better life, and highlight the CPC’s governance philosophy by building further on its scientific theories.
These speeches answer a number of important questions, both theoretical and practical, regarding the causes of the CPC and country under current circumstances. Introducing new ideas while upholding tradition, they have helped to deepen the CPC’s understanding of the laws concerning CPC’s governance, the development of socialism, and the progression of human society. By establishing a continuous link between the historical, theoretical, and practical logic of China’s revolution, socialist construction, and reform, they have created new horizons for the development of Marxism, and opened a new chapter for the development of Chinese socialism.
These speeches are rooted in the features of China’s current stage of development. Revolving around topics such as reform, development, and stability; domestic affairs, foreign affairs, and national defense; the governance of the CPC, the state, and the armed forces; and China’s economic, political, cultural, social, and ecological progress, as well as Party-building, these speeches lay out a series of new concepts, ideas, and strategies with regard to the governance of China, thereby providing basic guidance for our efforts to achieve new goals in a new phase of development. Moreover, by upholding and applying the standpoints, viewpoints, and methods of Marxism, Xi’s speeches present us with a paradigm for interpreting, analyzing, and resolving problems.
A shopper at Beijing’s Wangfujing Bookstore flicks through a copy of The Reader of General Secretary Xi Jinping’s Major Speeches. XINHUA
II. The core content of Xi Jinping’s speeches
The Reader elaborates on the basic content, viewpoints, and links between Xi’s speeches.
To fully appreciate the meaning of the speeches, we first need to understand a key strategic concept: the Chinese dream of national rejuvenation. The Reader emphasizes that all theories and initiatives of the CPC since the 18th National Congress in 2012 revolve around this ambitious goal. Taking this goal as its outline, the Reader systematically summarizes the core content of Xi’s speeches in 16 dedicated sections that fall under five major topics.
1. The path of socialism with Chinese characteristics is the only route to the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
The success or failure of the CPC’s cause rests primarily on the path it chooses. Ultimately, the survival of the Party depends on its path. Looking back over the 500-year history of socialism, Xi’s speeches detail the development of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and incisively define the relationship between the period before the reform and opening up drive that began in 1979 and the period after it. Stressing the need for greater confidence in China’s path, theories, and system, the speeches announce that China will continue to develop socialism with Chinese characteristics, and call on all Party members to show greater clarity and resolve on the question of the CPC’s path and direction.
2. The “Four Comprehensives” provide a guarantee for the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
Scientific theories do not simply come out of nowhere. Rather, they are a product of their time and are derived from practice. The Four Comprehensives strategy, which comprises comprehensive efforts to build a moderately prosperous society, continue reform, advance the rule of law, and govern the CPC strictly, has gradually taken shape during the CPC’s push to achieve the “Two Centenary Goals” and realize the Chinese dream of national rejuvenation. Combining a strategic goal with strategic measures for its attainment, the Four Comprehensives represent a tightly-knit whole, an organized unfolding of an overall strategy. Together, they underpin the overall cause of Chinese socialism, and focus on the goal of rejuvenating the Chinese nation.
3. The principles of innovative, coordinated, green, open, and shared development will lay down solid foundations and help us build up strength for the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
By using these five principles to coordinate the “five-pronged” plan of economic, political, cultural, social, and ecological progress, we will lay down solid foundations and build up strength for the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. Having an overall, fundamental, and long-term bearing on our country’s development, the principles of innovative, coordinated, green, open, and shared development constitute a strategic program that will guide China forward. These principles represent a crystallization of the thinking, direction, and focus of China’s development during the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020) and possibly even longer, and they are a guideline that China must adhere to on a long-term basis. As Xi Jinping has stressed, to achieve our developmental goals, not only must we bolster our material foundations, but we must also strengthen our ideals and values. Focusing closely on our “five pronged” overall plan, we must use our new principles of development to steer the way forward; actively adapt to, understand, and guide the new normal of economic development; give full scope to the superiority of Chinese socialism; and pool strength with our socialist core values, so as to ensure that all people can benefit more fairly and more thoroughly from the fruits of reform and development and strive to build a beautiful China. This will require the effective implementation of all major plans and measures concerning the Party and country introduced in Xi’s major speeches.
4. A strong national defense and military, combined with efforts to promote a new type of international relations based on mutually beneficial cooperation, will create a favorable environment for the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
The world is currently witnessing unprecedented changes as major shifts occur in the international strategic landscape, the global governance system, the global geopolitical landscape, and the competition among countries over national strength. As China enters a crucial stage of its transformation from a major country to a powerful one, it is encountering growing pressure and obstruction on the path ahead. Thus, a favorable development environment is essential for the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. Xi Jinping has pointed out that without a strong national defense and military capability, we will lack the means to guarantee peace and development, and our dream of making our country strong will be unattainable. China is committed to the path of peaceful development, to building a community of shared future for humankind, to advancing the Belt and Road Initiative, to promoting the reform of the global governance system, and to taking China’s opening up to a higher level, and this is ultimately because these things comply with and serve the “Two Centenary Goals” and the Chinese dream of national rejuvenation.
5. A commitment to learning effective ways of thinking and working, and to becoming more adept at addressing key issues in reform and development, will help us cultivate the sound worldview and methodology we need to rejuvenate the Chinese nation.
Xi’s major speeches consciously apply the Marxist worldview and methodology. As he has noted, the Party must constantly draw wisdom from Marxist philosophy if it is to unite the people and lead them in achieving the Chinese dream of national rejuvenation. The Party must uphold and apply dialectical materialism and historical materialism in order to ensure that it performs its tasks more effectively. It must maintain its strategic resolve, bear in mind the bigger picture, and grasp major trends. When formulating policies, it must engage in calm observation, take prudent action, and make plans before acting. And when faced with a complex and volatile international situation, it must maintain its composure and observe the situation. At the same time, the Party must improve its ability to apply strategic, historical, dialectical, innovative, and worst-case-scenario thinking to its work, so as to make its initiatives more scientific, more forward-looking, and more creative. It must frequently conduct comprehensive and thorough investigations and studies in order to gain a fuller grasp of actual circumstances and a deeper understanding of objective laws. And it must lay serious emphasis on implementation to ensure that its plans are seen through, and attach importance to learning to ensure its successful future. Only by raising the capabilities of the entire CPC will we be able to achieve the “Two Centenary Goals” and realize the Chinese dream of national rejuvenation.
The abovementioned content, spread over 16 dedicated sections and five major topics, and all directed towards one overall goal, comes together seamlessly to form the core content and logical framework of Xi Jinping’s major speeches.
Leng Rong is Director of the Party Literature Research Center of the CPC Central Committee.
(Originally appeared in People’s Daily, May 6, 2016)