Xi Jinping Thought on New-Era Chinese Socialism Has Made Original Contributions to Developing Marxism

By: Xu GuangchunFrom:English Edition of QiuShi Journal October-December 2018|Vol.10,No.4,Issue No.37 | Updated: 2018-Dec-21 17:37
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I. Key manifestations

Since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in 2012, the CPC Central Committee with Xi Jinping at the core has focused on 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, thus forming Xi Jinping Thought on New-Era Chinese Socialism. The formation and founding of this thinking signifies that the development of Chinese socialism once again has new guiding principles, and that the development of Marxism for the 21st century, as represented by this body of thought, has a new theoretical system. The key manifestations of the original contributions which Xi Jinping Thought on New-Era Chinese Socialism has made to developing Marxism are outlined below.

1. It made the determination that “Chinese socialism has entered a new era.”

The CPC Central Committee’s report to the 19th National Congress of the CPC stated that, “With decades of hard work, socialism with Chinese characteristics has crossed the threshold into a new era. This is a new historic juncture in China’s development.” The report further pointed out that Chinese socialism entering a new era signifies the following: that the Chinese nation, which since modern times began had endured so much for so long, is on the threshold of a tremendous transformation, from having stood up and become prosperous to growing strong; that scientific socialism is full of vitality in 21st century China, and that the banner of Chinese socialism flies high and proud for all to see; and that the path, theory, system, and culture of Chinese socialism have kept developing, offering wisdom and options for solving the problems facing mankind based on China’s experience. From this we can see that “the new era” defines a new historical juncture in the undertakings of the Party and the country.

2. It made the major determination that the principal challenge facing society has evolved.

The report to the 19th National Congress made the major determination that 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. The evolution of the principal challenge facing Chinese society marks a historic shift which affects the whole landscape and that not only reveals the objective laws governing the changes in social development in China in the new era, but also creates many new demands for the work of the Party and the country. The proposal of the new principal contradiction in society has opened up new frontiers in Marxist theories regarding the challenges for socialism.

3. It put forward the basic principles for upholding and developing new-era Chinese socialism.

In the report to the 19th National Congress, Xi Jinping put forward 14 basic principles that underpin endeavors to uphold and develop new-era Chinese socialism on the basis of the new contemporary conditions of and practical requirements for Chinese socialism. These principles present a complete set of plans and arrangements which outline how to develop Chinese socialism in the new era and secure the great success of new-era Chinese socialism. This marks a major innovation in the theory of Chinese socialism, and a major breakthrough made by Chinese Communists with respect to the ideas, theories, decisions, arrangements, and practical tasks for upholding and developing socialism in China.

4. It stated the historic mission of Chinese Communists in the new era.

Xi Jinping stated that “National rejuvenation has been the greatest dream of the Chinese people since modern times began. At its founding, the Communist Party of China made realizing communism its highest ideal and its ultimate goal.” He also stressed that in order to realize our great dream we must carry out a great struggle, a great project, and a great cause. The proposal of the new mission has clarified the way forward, responsibilities, and objectives for Chinese Communists in the new era.

5. It stated that the overall plan for building socialism with Chinese characteristics is the “five-pronged” development philosophy and the overall strategy is the “Four Comprehensives” vision.

The “five-pronged” overall plan for the economy, political affairs, culture, society, and the environment and the “Four Comprehensives” strategy for comprehensively building a moderately prosperous society, deepening reform, advancing law-based governance, and governing the Party with strict discipline have made tremendous innovations in the theories for developing Chinese socialism in terms of strategic thinking, goals, measures, and implementation. The plan and strategy provide a new theoretical and practical guideline for realizing the two centenary goals and the Chinese dream of national rejuvenation.

Gao Eryun, a dedicated contributor to afforestation, prunes a willow tree. Three decades of untiring commitment to controlling desertification and promoting afforestation has led to the realization of green prosperity by restoring environments, spurring production, and improving the lives of rural citizens. PHOTO BY XINHUA REPORTER ZOU YU

6. It put forward the “new development philosophy.”

A development philosophy is the crystallization of the thinking, direction, and focus of development. The new development philosophy is driven by innovation, demands sustainability, and its main purpose is sharing; it integrates the notions of innovation, coordination, sustainability, openness, and sharing. The new development philosophy promotes the thinking, direction, and focus for sustaining the healthy development of Chinese socialism in the new era.

7. It posed the “four confidences.”

Xi Jinping stated that “Firm confidence in the path, theory, and system of Chinese socialism requires strengthening cultural self-confidence above all else,” and emphasized that “Without full confidence in our culture, without a rich and prosperous culture, the Chinese nation will not be able to rejuvenate itself.” The proposal of cultural self-confidence is a new proposition in Marxist theory; it is a fundamentally important issue in developing Chinese socialism which has written a new chapter in Marxist cultural thought.

8. It called for the market to play the decisive role in resource allocation, and the government to play its role better.

At the Third Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee held in 2013, Xi Jinping made the important determination that “The emphasis of our efforts to comprehensively deepen reform will be placed on economic reform, wherein our core task will be to properly balance the relationship between the government and the market, so that the market can play the decisive role in the allocation of resources and the government can exert its role more effectively.” This determination deepened our understanding of the socialist market economy, discovered the key points which were influencing the development of the socialist market economy, and clarified the focal areas for driving economic reforms. In so doing, this determination has made a major breakthrough in the theory of Chinese socialism with respect to the ideas, theories, and practical tasks of the socialist market economy.

9. It proposed the strategy for strengthening and revitalizing the armed forces.

Today, we face profound and complex changes in China and the world, the formidable task of military preparedness, and extant problems related to building national defense and the armed forces. In light of these issues, Xi Jinping stated that we need to enhance the political loyalty of the armed forces, strengthen them through reform and technology, run them in accordance with law, and stick to the Chinese path in strengthening our armed forces. This important notion is replete with new considerations, new ideas, new strategies, and new objectives.

10. It raised the major proposition of “building a community with a shared future for humanity.”

Xi Jinping stated that “The CPC strives for both the wellbeing of the Chinese people and human progress. To make new and greater contributions for humankind is our Party’s abiding mission.” This statement not only lays bare the broad involvement and sense of responsibility of Chinese Communists in seeking happiness for the Chinese people and progress for humankind, it also raises ideas and determinations of new contemporary value for the theories driving the Marxist spirit of internationalism and the development and progress of humankind.

11. It stated that the defining feature of Chinese socialism is the leadership of the CPC.

The greatest strength of the system of Chinese socialism is the leadership of the CPC; the Party is the highest force for political leadership. This important notion deepens our understanding of the laws that underlie governance by a communist party.

12. It set forth the general requirements for Party building in the new era.

These requirements set forth the general principles, objectives, and arrangements for Party building in the new era, and reflect the concretion of ideas on Party building in the new era.

II. Notable features

1. It is continuous.

The greatest trait of Xi Jinping Thought on New-Era Chinese Socialism is its originality, and furthermore it is an original creation based on a foundation which has been carried forward. It carries forward Marxism, including the basic principles, standpoints, viewpoints, and methods inherent in the major theoretical achievements of Marxism adapted to the Chinese context. It has also carried forward the quintessence of fine traditional Chinese culture, and learned from the experience and methods of other countries which are advantageous, beneficial, and useful to China. It can be said that this kind of originality is one which stays connected to its roots, and does not change in spirit or in substance; it is an originality that is innately continuous.

2. It is contemporary.

Xi Jinping Thought on New-Era Chinese Socialism is a new thinking which was formed during the period in which Chinese socialism entered a new era in the course of researching and answering problems concerning what kind of Chinese socialism the new era requires us to uphold and develop, and how we should go about doing it. It is a new theory which was created to better lead us to new great successes for Chinese socialism in the new era. Thus, its original contributions possess distinct contemporaneity.

3. It is practical.

Xi Jinping Thought on New-Era Chinese Socialism is a new theory which is driven on the basis of new practices. Its originality begins with practice, and is problem-oriented, centered on the endeavors in which we are currently engaged, and aims to promote practical initiatives. It brings theoretical and practical innovation closely together, and carries out and realizes originality through complementarity and interaction.

4. It is revolutionary.

Xi Jinping Thought on New-Era Chinese Socialism is replete with revolutionary spirit; it is precisely this spirit which enables this new thought to create a range of original contributions to the development of Marxism. Xi Jinping closely follows the social revolution which is led by the CPC, follows the reform of the Party, and brings these two together. He has made profound considerations into using self-reform of the Party to drive the social revolution led by the Party, and has used revolutionary spirit to study revolution, thus ensuring that the new thinking is replete with revolutionary splendor.

5. It is systematic.

The original contributions of Xi Jinping Thought on New-Era Chinese Socialism are not just a few isolated words and phrases or only applicable to a very few problems, but instead are systematic in nature. Its originality covers areas such as reform, development, maintaining stability, politics, economics, culture, internal and foreign affairs, national defense, and Party building; it covers the past, present, and future. These contributions cover all aspects, fields, and fronts which concern upholding and developing Chinese socialism, and form an original theoretical system.

(Originally appeared in Qiushi Journal, Chinese edition, No. 9, 2018)

Xu Guangchun is Director of the Consulting Committee for the CPC Central Committee’s Projectfor the Study and Development of Marxist Theory.