Important Thoughts from Xi Jinping on Making the Work of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference More Effective

By: Zhang QingliFrom:English Edition of QiuShi Journal April-June 2019|Vol.11,No.2,Issue No.39 | Updated: 2019-Sep-17 10:42
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Since the 18th National Congress of the CPC in 2012, the Party Central Committee with Xi Jinping at its core has attached great importance to the undertakings of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) and strengthened overall Party leadership over CPPCC work. With the work of the Party and the state in mind, General Secretary Xi Jinping has given a series of major speeches and directives on advancing the cause of the CPPCC. These speeches and directives have elaborated deeply upon a range of key issues of directional, overall, and strategic importance including the nature, work principles, objectives and tasks, duties, and practical requirements of the CPPCC, and have effectively answered the major questions of what kind of CPPCC we should build in the new era and how it should be built. These speeches and directives constitute Xi Jinping’s important ideas on strengthening and improving CPPCC work, signaling a new leap forward in the Party’s theoretical work on the CPPCC. The significance of these important ideas is explained over the following seven points.

First, elucidating for the first time that the CPPCC is a major channel for socialist consultative democracy and a specialized consultative body

General Secretary Xi has stated that “Consultative democracy is an important way of effecting Party leadership and a unique feature and advantage of China’s socialist democracy,” and that the CPPCC is “a specialized consultative body and an important means of realizing socialist consultative democracy.” Adhering to CPC leadership and the essence of people’s democracy, these important statements have elevated consultative democracy from a political concept and political practice to a democratic institution, and have further clarified the important role and unique strength of the CPPCC in developing socialist democratic politics and socialist political culture.

Second, clarifying for the first time the CPPCC’s new orientation and mission in the new era

In November 2018, General Secretary Xi Jinping set forth the requirement to organize the CPPCC into an increasingly mature and established institution with Chinese characteristics, and better exert its role as a specialized consultative body. This is also the new orientation and mission of the CPPCC in the new era.

Third, affirming for the first time that the CPPCC is an important component of China’s governance system

General Secretary Xi Jinping has stated that as an important component of the country’s governance system, the CPPCC must adapt to the needs of comprehensively deepening reform, vigorously improve its ability to perform duties by strengthening reform awareness, upholding innovative principles, and adopting practical measures, and strive to play a greater role in the modernization of China’s governance system and governing capacity. These important statements serve as an exposition on the inherent links between the CPPCC – a political organization and form of democracy – with national governance, and they also act to preserve a reasonable key element of China’s traditional political culture, wherein great importance is attached to the overall interests of the nation and country. Furthermore, these statements reflect the mutual respect and inclusiveness that exists between China’s different political parties, ethnic groups, social strata, and interest groups, and embody the unique wisdom of balancing relationships, resolving problems, reaching consensus, and promoting reform and development through democratic consultation under China’s socialist governance.

Fourth, identifying for the first time the CPPCC as a distinctively Chinese political institution

General Secretary Xi has pointed out that the vitality of the Chinese socialist system can be attributed to the fact that this system has grown from within Chinese society, and he also has stated that the CPPCC is an institution with distinct Chinese characteristics that is well-suited to China’s national conditions. Based on a combination of Marxist theories on democracy and China’s realities, these important statements articulate the linkages between the CPPCC and ideas found in China’s magnificent traditional culture, such as seeking common ground while setting aside differences, upholding inclusiveness, solving problems through consultation, and addressing the concerns of the people through consultation. These statements have defined the CPPCC as an important embodiment and aspect of the institutional advantages of Chinese socialism, and reflect Xi Jinping’s firm and deep-seated confidence in the path, theories, system, and culture of socialism with Chinese characteristics.

Fifth, pointing out for the first time the features and advantages of China’s new political party system model

General Secretary Xi has stated that the system of multi-party cooperation and political consultation under the leadership of the CPC is one of China’s basic political systems, that it is a great political creation by the CPC, the Chinese people, other political parties in China, and prominent individuals without political party affiliation, and that it represents a new type of political party system born on Chinese soil. Taking China’s realities into account, these important statements have explained concisely why it is important that we fully utilize our unique advantage of multi-party cooperation and develop our socialist democracy. Moreover, they have broadened our theoretical and practical horizons so that we may further strengthen China’s socialist political party system and better exert the role of the CPPCC as a major political and organizational vehicle facilitating the proper function of China’s new-model political party system.

Sixth, explaining for the first time the necessity of striking a balance between uniformity and diversity in carrying out the work of the united front in the new era

General Secretary Xi has emphasized that the united front is a combination of unity and diversity, and it cannot be built or developed if it lacks either of these two elements. These important statements have generated new requirements for the CPPCC in its work of consolidating the will and strength of the people and in fully grasping the relationship between socioeconomic development and the changing internal structure of the united front. These statements have also helped guide the CPPCC to better perform its organizational function within the united front in the new era through expanding solidarity, strengthening inclusiveness, and harnessing positive energy.

Seventh, identifying for the first time the central task of the CPPCC in performing its duties

General Secretary Xi has stressed that the CPPCC must focus its work on the central task of improving theoretical and political guidance and building up broad consensus, as well as enhancing the great unity and solidarity of people from all political parties, social organizations, ethnic groups, and sectors of society. Drawing deeply on the historical experience of the CPPCC’s development, these important statements have further clarified the core requirements, implementation approaches, and assessment standards of the CPPCC in carrying out the central task and serving the overall interests of the country in the new era. Moreover, these statements provide important guidelines for the CPPCC, under CPC leadership, to work in the following areas: persevering with the dual task of offering suggestions and building consensus, carrying forward China’s fine political traditions such as “uniting-criticizing-uniting,” promoting common progress in political guidance of all Chinese political parties, social organizations, ethnic groups, and sectors of society, and conscientiously undertaking its political responsibilities of implementing the CPC Central Committee’s decisions and plans, meeting its own work requirements, and pooling the wisdom and strength of all Chinese people, at home and overseas, to realize the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation.

(Originally appeared in Qiushi Journal, Chinese edition, No. 5, 2019)

Zhang Qingli is Vice Chairman of the 13th National Committee of the CPPCC.