12 Highlights from the Report to the 19th National Congress of the CPC

By: Wang WeiguangFrom:English Edition of QiuShi Journal April-June 2018|Vol.10,No.2,Issue No.35 | Updated: 2018-May-16 11:09
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The report to the 19th National Congress of the CPC in 2017 (hereinafter the Report) is a crystallization of the thinking of Chinese Communists, who stand at the forefront of the times promoting theoretical and practical innovations with great political courage; it is a guiding document that shines with the glory of Marxism. The Report declares that Chinese socialism has entered a new era, expounds on Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era (hereinafter Xi Jinping Thought on Chinese Socialism), and moves the guiding principles of the CPC forward with the times. On this basis, it opens up a new chapter of history in a new era during which the Chinese nation will stride toward rejuvenation, the Chinese people will tirelessly stride toward a better life, and the Chinese Communists will courageously stride toward great success. Replete with theoretical innovations and developments of effulgent Marxist truths, the Report is the culmination of Xi Jinping Thought on Chinese Socialism.

An aerial view of Xiong’an New Area (photograph taken on April 26, 2017) PHOTO BY XINHUA REPORTER YANG SHIYAO

1. The Report sums up the historic achievements and shifts since the 18th National Congress of the CPC in 2012. The five years since the 18th National Congress have been a truly remarkable five years. The CPC Central Committee with Xi Jinping at the core has led the whole Party and all Chinese people in a dedicated effort to forge ahead and innovate with strong determination, thus making historic achievements in reform, opening up, and socialist modernization. The fundamental reasons for these achievements are the leadership of the CPC and the proper guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Chinese Socialism. For five years, the CPC Central Committee with Xi Jinping at the core has developed a series of new ideas, new thinking, and new strategies, adopted a raft of important principles and policies, launched a host of great initiatives, and pushed ahead with a range of major tasks. Further, it has solved many tough problems that were long on the agenda but never resolved, and accomplished many things that were wanted but never got done. With this, it has prompted historic shifts in the undertakings of the Party and the country.

2. The Report stresses that the original aspiration and the mission of the CPC is to seek happiness for the Chinese people and rejuvenation for the Chinese nation; it is what inspires Chinese Communists to advance. The Report clearly states that building a great modern socialist country is the contemporary mission of Chinese Communists, which will inspire the continued effort of the Chinese people to uphold socialism with Chinese characteristics and their tireless endeavor to realize the Two Centenary Goals and the Chinese dream of national rejuvenation.

3. The Report makes the significant political determination that Chinese socialism has entered a new era. Thanks to sustained effort, Chinese socialism has reached a new historic juncture in China’s development. The political determination that Chinese socialism has entered a new era is made on the basis of five revelations: first, the new historic shifts that have taken place since the 18th National Congress; second, the new evolution of the principal contradiction facing Chinese society in the primary stage of socialism; third, the new features of China’s social development; fourth, the new historic tasks and goals in the period in which the timeframes of the Two Centenary Goals converge; and fifth, the CPC’s theoretical and practical innovations in view of contemporary conditions. It should be noted that, the new “era” of Chinese socialism refers not to a “grand era” from a historical perspective; rather, it is a concept regarding the development of the Party and the country’s undertakings. The “new era” indicates in particular that the development of Chinese socialism has come to a new historical starting point, entered a new historical period, and reached a new historical juncture.

4. The Report makes a fundamental political conclusion that the principal contradiction facing Chinese society has evolved, although China remains in the primary stage of socialism. As Chinese socialism has entered a new era, what we now face is the contradiction between unbalanced and inadequate development and the people’s ever-growing needs for a better life. After nearly 40 years of development since reform and opening up began, major changes have taken place in two aspects of the principal contradiction facing Chinese society. First, China’s productive forces have improved overall, and now the prominent problem is that our development is unbalanced and inadequate. Second, not only have the people’s material and cultural needs grown, their demands for a better life are becoming greater with regard to democracy, rule of law, fairness and justice, security, and a better environment. The evolution of the principal challenge facing Chinese society marks a historic shift that affects the whole landscape and creates many new demands for the work of the Party and the country. Nevertheless, the evolution of the principal challenge facing Chinese society does not change the basic dimension of the Chinese context – that China is still and will long remain in the primary stage of socialism, nor does it change China’s international status as the world’s largest developing country.

5. The Report affirms the latest achievement in adapting Marxism to the Chinese context – Xi Jinping Thought on Chinese Socialism. It comprehensively summarizes and elaborates on Xi Jinping Thought on Chinese Socialism to produce an “Eight-Point Statement of Purpose” that forms its most important theoretical contribution. Xi Jinping Thought on Chinese Socialism is a systematic combination of theory and practice that addresses the issues of what kind of Chinese socialism the new era requires us to uphold and develop, and how we should go about doing it. In upholding and developing Chinese socialism, it resolves a range of fundamental issues such as the overarching objective, task, plan, and strategy in this regard. Furthermore, it resolves issues concerning the direction, model, and driving force of development, and the strategic steps, external conditions, and political guarantees for upholding and developing Chinese socialism. Xi Jinping Thought on Chinese Socialism builds on and further enriches Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory, the Theory of Three Represents, and the Scientific Outlook on Development. It is the latest achievement in adapting Marxism to the Chinese context and encapsulates the practical experience and collective wisdom of our Party and people. It is an important component of the theory of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and a guide to action for all CPC members and all the Chinese people as we strive to achieve national rejuvenation.

6. The Report identifies 14 basic principles that underpin our endeavors to uphold and develop Chinese socialism in the new era, thus forming a new combination – the Party’s basic theories, guidelines, and principles. The basic principles that underpin our endeavors to uphold and develop Chinese socialism in the new era embody Xi Jinping Thought on Chinese Socialism, lay out specific requirements that should be applied in all our work, and represent the guide to action for the development of our Party and people’s undertakings. With their logical format covering the fields of political affairs, economy, culture, social development, environmental conservation, Party building, security, national defense, and foreign affairs, the basic principles also encompass all aspects of Party work; indeed, they are the overall requirement for coordinated implementation of the five-pronged overall plan and the “Four Comprehensives” strategy. In the Report, the “basic theory” refers to the theory of socialism with Chinese characteristics, the “basic guideline” refers to the Party’s basic line, and the “basic principles” refer to the 14 points from Section Three of the Report.

7. The Report outlines the significance of the great struggle, great project, great cause, and great dream, and their logical interconnections, while also fully elaborating on their core content. National rejuvenation has been the greatest dream of the Chinese people since modern times began. Realizing our great dream demands a great struggle, a great project, and a great cause. Among these four, the great new project of Party building plays the decisive role, and top priority is given to enhancing Party building. All work to advance this project must go hand in hand with what is geared toward the struggle, the cause, and the dream. We must see that as history progresses and the world undergoes profound changes, the Party remains always ahead of the times; that as history progresses and we respond to risks and tests at home and abroad, the Party remains always the backbone of the nation; and that as history progresses and we continue to uphold and develop socialism with Chinese characteristics, the Party remains always a powerful leadership core.

8. The Report illustrates the new requirements for securing a decisive victory in becoming a moderately prosperous society and embarking on a new journey to build a modern socialist China, while also fully elaborating on efforts in this regard. Taking into consideration the new era of Chinese socialism, the new starting point in the cause of the Party and the country, and the new historic juncture in China’s development, the Report presents a grand blueprint for securing a decisive victory in becoming a moderately prosperous society and the great success of Chinese socialism for a new era, and identifies new requirements and new arrangements regarding the former. The period between the 19th and the 20th national congresses is the period in which the timeframes of the two centenary goals converge. In this period, not only must we become a moderately prosperous society and achieve the first centenary goal; we must also build on this achievement to embark on a new journey toward the second centenary goal of building a modern socialist country. This is our strategic vision for developing Chinese socialism in the new era: becoming a moderately prosperous society, move on to basically realizing modernization, and then turn to making China a great modern socialist country in every dimension.

9. The Report identifies the strategic task of fully building a modern socialist China and the grand blueprint of realizing the Two Centenary Goals. The Report clearly states that, based on a comprehensive analysis of the international and domestic environments and the conditions for China’s development, we have drawn up a two-stage development plan for the period from 2020 to the middle of this century. In the first stage of 2020-2035, we will build on the foundation created by the moderately prosperous society with a further 15 years of hard work to see that socialist modernization is basically realized. This means China’s goal of realizing modernization will be reached 15 years ahead of the original plan. In the second stage from 2035 to the middle of the 21st century, we will, on the basis of having basically achieved modernization, work hard for a further 15 years and develop China into a great modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious, and beautiful.

10. The Report defines the new requirements, arrangements, and measures of the five-pronged overall plan and the “Four Comprehensives” strategy for fully advancing Chinese socialism in the new era. It details the strategic arrangements of the five-pronged overall plan and the “Four Comprehensives” strategy, and offers theoretical elaboration, policy response, and specific measures for a range of issues related to economic, political, cultural, social, and ecological advancement in the new era of Chinese socialism, as well as enhancing national defense and military capabilities, upholding “one country, two systems,” and moving toward national reunification. These mainly include: applying a new vision of development and developing a modernized economy; improving the system of institutions through which the people run the country and developing socialist democracy; building stronger cultural confidence and helping socialist culture to flourish; growing better at ensuring and improving people’s wellbeing and strengthening and developing new approaches to social governance; speeding up reform of the system for developing an ecological civilization, and building a beautiful China; staying committed to the Chinese path of building a strong military and advancing the modernization of national defense and the military; and upholding “one country, two systems” and moving toward national reunification.

11. The Report emphasizes the important notion of a community of shared future for humanity and the diplomatic principle of staying on the path of peaceful development. It sets forth the overall strategy for China’s diplomatic initiatives, stressing that China will continue to follow a path of peaceful development, uphold the principles of peace, development, cooperation, and mutual benefit, and pursue its fundamental foreign policy goal of preserving world peace and promoting common development. On the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, the Report states that China will remain firm in its commitment to strengthening friendship and cooperation with other countries. Further, it emphasizes that China will actively promote international cooperation through the Belt and Road Initiative, take an active part in reforming and developing the global governance system, and promote a new type of international relations based on mutual respect, fairness, justice, and win-win cooperation. Finally, it stresses that China will work toward building a community of shared future for humanity, and is ready to work with people of all other countries to build an open, inclusive, clean, and beautiful world that enjoys lasting peace, universal security, and common prosperity.

12. The Report identifies the general requirements for Party building in the new era, which are as follows. We should uphold and strengthen overall Party leadership and ensure that the Party exercises effective self-supervision and practices strict self-governance in every respect; take strengthening the Party’s long-term governance capacity and its advanced nature and integrity as the main thrust; take enhancing the Party’s political building as the overarching principle; take holding dear the Party’s ideals, convictions, and purpose as the underpinning; take maximizing the whole Party’s enthusiasm, initiative, and creativity as the focus of efforts; make all-round efforts to see the Party’s political building enhanced, its theory strengthened, its organizations consolidated, its conduct improved, and its discipline enforced, with institution building incorporated into every aspect of Party building; step up efforts to combat corruption and continue to improve the efficacy of Party building; and build the CPC into a vibrant Marxist governing party that is always at the forefront of the times, enjoys the wholehearted support of the people, has the courage to reform itself, and is able to withstand all tests.

Wang Weiguang is Chairman of the Committee for Ethnic and Religious Affairs of the 13th CPPCC National Committee. He was President of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences at the time the article was written.

(Originally appeared in Qiushi Journal, Chinese edition, No. 24, 2017)