The Core Issue in Improving the Conduct of the CPC

From: English Edition of Qiushi Journal Updated: 2014-02-08 14:22
text size: T | T
Share:

The launching of activities to study and practice the Party’s mass line represents a major initiative that the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), with Xi Jinping as General Secretary, has undertaken in order to improve the conduct of the Party and promote the great cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics. The Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee has led the way in this regard. Through the convening of special meetings, the Political Bureau has inspected the implementation of the “eight-point code of conduct,” which pertains to curbing bureaucratic practices and maintaining close ties with the people; analyzed problems; engaged in criticism and self-criticism; and formulated measures to further improve Party conduct. In doing so, the Political Bureau has set a fine example for the entire Party to follow. Taking this as a source of encouragement, we need to deepen our understanding of the inherent relationship that exists between maintaining close ties with the people and improving the conduct of the Party, and work more conscientiously to improve our conduct and preserve our close ties with the people. By making new achievements in the improvement of conduct, we will be able to rally strong momentum behind our efforts to build a moderately prosperous society in all respects and achieve the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.

                    

September 29, 2013, Lin Yanhe (second on the left), the head of Party discipline in Baizhong Town, Minqing County, Fujian Province, asks villager Lin Zhengyin (first on the left) about his family’s income during a visit to Meiban Village. Lin Zhengyin’s family is one of the poorer families in Meiban Village. / Photo by Xinhua reporter Zhang Guojun

I. Maintaining close ties between the Party and the people is the core issue in improving the conduct of the Party

As a great, glorious, and correct party, the Communist Party of China has created countless miracles. Looking back over its glorious history, we cannot help but be proud of what the Party has achieved. At the same time, however, we are also compelled to consider where the vigor of the Party has come from, and what has allowed the Party to become even stronger despite the trials and tribulations that it has endured. The answer is that our Party has always been fully clear on its relationship with the people, who it regards as its lifeline and source of strength. Laying great emphasis on the principal role of the people in the country, the Party has cultivated the advantageous tradition of making efforts to improve its conduct, the core aspect of which is to maintain close links with the people. This has given the Party greater appeal and made it more capable of bringing the people together, which in turn has provided it with an endless source of impetus and a powerful tool for claiming success. 

Throughout the course of its long-term efforts to lead China’s revolution, construction, and reform, the Party has cultivated a number of fine traditions, such as closely linking theory with practice, maintaining close ties with the people, criticism and self-criticism, and being modest, prudent, and hardworking. Maintaining close ties with the people has always been at the center of the Party’s efforts to improve its conduct. Conduct can be understood as the manifestation of one’s standpoint and worldview in practice. As such, one’s conduct is very much a product of one’s standpoint and worldview. Distinguishing itself from old notions of historical idealism through its total embracement of historical materialism, Marxism fully acknowledges the role of the masses in the development of human society and history, and strives to realize and safeguard the fundamental interests of the overwhelming majority of the people. Our Party upholds the Marxist position and worldview that the people are the creators of history, viewing the people as its foundation and lifeblood, and the mass line as its lifeline and the fundamental approach to its work. It strives to put into practice the lofty values of working for the people and drawing strength from the people, and makes constant efforts to forge the fine conduct of Party members. Fundamentally speaking, improving conduct boils down to ensuring that the Party has the right attitude towards the people. This means that we must be clear on who the Party was founded for and who it governs for.

All initiatives to improve conduct pertain directly to whether or not the Party is maintaining its close ties with the people. This is another reason why we regard the preservation of these close ties as the core issue in our initiatives to improve conduct. Freeing the mind, seeking truth from facts, and being realistic and pragmatic constitute our Party’s ideological line and way of thinking. The roots of this way of thinking are found in the great social practice of the people, who are the primary actors in society. However, if we place ourselves above the people, and if we become distanced from them, we will in fact be distancing ourselves from the greatest source of vigor in society. Should this happen, we will be unable to avoid subjective mistakes such as dogmatism and empiricism. Our fine tradition of criticism and self-criticism is about carrying forward good practices and rooting out bad ones for the good of the people. Being modest, prudent, and hardworking means engaging in tireless endeavors for the fundamental interests of the overwhelming majority of the people. Fundamentally speaking, the most outstanding problems with regard to conduct at present are all the result of Party members becoming detached from the people and violating their interests. Formalism and bureaucratism, both of which have been the cause of strong public reactions, are the result of a lack of regard for the people among some Party members. These Party members have become detached from the people, turning a blind eye to their hardships, and failing to resolve the difficulties that they face. They even see themselves as being above the people, thinking that being an official is about being the man in charge, and caring only about putting on appearances. The emergence and spread of unhealthy tendencies such as hedonism and the pursuit of extravagant lifestyles reflects the fact that some leading cadres lack awareness of the interests of the people and the purpose of the Party. These people put their personal interests above everything else, not only deviating from their purpose of serving the people, but even placing themselves in opposition to them. Therefore, improving the conduct of the Party is fundamentally a matter of addressing problems in the relationship between the Party and the people, better implementing the Party’s mass line, and maintaining close ties between the Party and the people. 

II. Improving the conduct of the Party is an ongoing effort

The CPC has always placed a strong emphasis on the cultivation of fine conduct with a view to maintaining the close ties between the Party and the people. During the Jinggang Mountains era, the Chinese Communists, with Mao Zedong as their representative laid particular emphasis on the view that “a successful revolution depends on the people,” asking Party members and cadres to “pay close attention to the well-being of the masses” in their daily work. During the Yan’an era, the Party successfully carried out a rectification movement, which helped to cultivate the Party’s three finest forms of conduct. During the revolutionary war years, the Party’s cause was able to spread like a raging fire despite the difficulties and hardships of that time. Above all else, this was made possible by the great significance that the Party attached to cultivating good conduct and by the constant efforts that it made in this regard. The progress that the Party made in refining its conduct was able to ensure the realization of the Party’s purpose. In turn, this gave the Party the support of the majority, and the endless force that the majority represented. During the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression, an investigation conducted by a U.S. military observer group concluded that though the Kuomintang government controlled most of China’s land, the CPC had the support of most of the people. By fully exerting its political advantage of maintaining close ties with the people to win their support, the Party ultimately succeeded in the new-democratic revolution and founded the People’s Republic of China.  

In the early days of the People’s Republic of China, the CPC launched a resolute struggle against corruption, waste, and bureaucratic practices, and took firm, determined measures to punish extremely serious degenerates such as Liu Qingshan and Zhang Zishan in a bid to secure the position of the new government. Since the launch of the reform and opening up drive, Chinese Communists represented by Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin, and Hu Jintao have paid close attention to the improvement of conduct, working to crack down on economic crimes, correct malpractices, and prevent leading cadres from seeking personal privileges and becoming detached from the people whilst encouraging senior cadres to play a leading role in carrying forward the fine traditions of the Party. Through initiatives such as launching a party-wide rectification campaign, stressing the importance of study, politics, and integrity among leading cadres, urging Party members to preserve their advanced nature, requiring in-depth study and implementation of the Scientific Outlook on Development, and organizing a campaign to foster progressiveness and excellence among Party members, the Party has constantly improved its styles of work, study, thinking, and leadership in addition to constantly improving the personal conduct of its cadres. It has been by constantly improving its conduct and fully exerting its political advantage of maintaining close ties with the people to win their support that our Party has achieved a series of great accomplishments throughout China’s socialist revolution, socialist construction, and reform and opening up. 

Looking back briefly over our history, we can see how our efforts to improve Party conduct, which revolve around maintaining close ties with the people, have constituted a political advantage of our Party and one of the secrets to its success. However, history has also demonstrated that the Party’s political advantages, like its governing position, cannot be taken for granted as something that will last forever. The fact that we had these advantages in the past does not necessarily mean that we have them today; and the fact that we have them today does not necessarily mean that we will continue to have them in the future. Only by constantly improving the conduct of the Party will we be able to hold on to our political advantages and enhance them on a constant basis. In turn, this will provide us with a strong supporting foundation as we work to promote the sound progression of the reform and opening up drive and our socialist modernization. 

Generally speaking, our Party boasts strong political advantages at present. Our large numbers of Party members and cadres have assumed a leading role, devoting themselves selflessly to various tasks aimed at promoting reform and development and maintaining stability. By fully demonstrating their exemplary vanguard role, they have won the support of the majority of the people. However, we must realize that as global conditions, national conditions, and the conditions within our Party undergo profound changes, the entire Party is increasingly facing the dangers of lacking in drive and ability, being out of touch with the people, and corruption. In particular, instances of Party members being out of touch with the people have become commonplace. Some of these problems are highly severe, particularly formalism, bureaucratism, hedonism, and extravagance. If allowed to go unchecked, these tendencies will become a barrier that divides the Party from the people, causing the Party to lose its foundation, lifeline, and strength. The report to the Eighteenth National Congress of the CPC set out the goals of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects by the centennial of the Communist Party of China in 2021, and establishing China as a modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced and harmonious by the time the People’s Republic of China marks its centennial in 2049. In order to realize these two goals, and achieve the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, we must further improve the conduct of the Party, address the above-mentioned problems, and give full play to our Party’s unique advantage of maintaining close ties with the people. This is our only choice. 

This is the reason why the new central leadership has devoted even greater efforts to improving the Party’s conduct since the conclusion of the Party’s Eighteenth National Congress. The CPC Central Committee has identified the implementation of the “eight-point code of conduct” as a point of breakthrough for efforts to improve the conduct of cadres, and also as a means of promoting the resolution of deep-rooted problems regarding conduct within the Party. The formulation and implementation of the “eight-point code of conduct” has effectively curbed frivolous receptions, pointless meetings and documents, and various forms of waste and extravagance. In addition to promoting improvements in the Party’s conduct and governance, these efforts have also helped to bring about a cleaner social atmosphere. As a result, the prestige of the Party in the eyes of the people has been significantly enhanced. The intensive activities to study and practice the Party’s mass line that are being carried out throughout the Party at present will undoubtedly exert a profound and far-reaching influence not only on our efforts to further improve the conduct of the Party, maintain its advanced nature and purity, and consolidate its governing foundation and position, but also on our efforts to build a moderately prosperous society in all respects and promote socialism with Chinese characteristics. 

III. Taking advantage of activities to study and practice the Party’s mass line, we should establish permanent means of maintaining the close relationship between the Party and the people

Bad conduct is a reoccurring problem that can be very difficult to eliminate. Whereas fine practices cannot be cultivated overnight, bad practices cannot be stamped out in a single effort. Improving the conduct of the Party, with the focus being maintaining close ties with the people, is not only a major political task at present, but also a long-term task in the self-improvement efforts of the Party as it continues to govern the country over the long term. At present, our responsibility is to ensure the successful implementation of activities to study and practice the Party’s mass line, with the focus being to establish permanent means of maintaining the close relationship between the Party and the people.

We should reinforce the values of serving the people in a down-to-earth, honest, and upright fashion. Only by identifying with these values will we genuinely be able to address problems related to conduct. While carrying out activities to study and practice the Party’s mass line, we should take solid steps to reinforce education on the Marxist viewpoint on the masses as well as the Party’s mass line. On that basis, we should urge Party-member cadres to further strengthen their ideals and convictions, guide them in enhancing their thinking and understanding, and ensure that the values of serving the people in a down-to-earth, honest, and upright fashion become deeply rooted in their thinking and their actions. At all times, Party-member cadres must stand together with the people, serve them whole-heartedly, adhere to the viewpoint of historical materialism that the people are the real heroes, and remember that the Party was founded for the public good and that it governs for the people.

We should ensure that leading cadres set a good example. The words and deeds of leading cadres have a strong guiding influence on other cadres, Party members, and the public. In order to successfully carry out our activities to study and practice the Party’s mass line, it is essential that leading organizations, leading bodies, and leading cadres set an example to be followed. Leadership at each level should oversee the efforts of leadership at the level below, principal leaders should oversee the efforts of the members in their leading bodies, and leading cadres should oversee the efforts of ordinary cadres. By doing so, we will create a situation whereby each level oversees the level below and efforts are made at all levels in unison. Before attempting to guide others, leading cadres must ensure that their own conduct is good and proper. Leading cadres should first view themselves as common Party members, and set high and strict standards for themselves. They should only expect of others what they are capable of doing themselves, and only forbid others from doing what they are able to refrain from doing themselves. Moreover, they should always be one level above in their thinking, one step ahead in their study and practice, and one notch higher in their analysis and resolution of prominent problems.

We should devote more efforts to the building of institutions. Institutions represent a fundamental, comprehensive, consistent, and permanent means of addressing problems related to conduct. Institutions not only regulate people, but also cultivate them. Therefore, we will be unable to address the issue of conduct unless we are able to establish sound institutions. Only by developing sound systems, establishing scientific and effective institutions, and ensuring that those systems and institutions are enforced strictly will we be able to foster fine conduct and a strong contingent of officials. At the same time, we must ensure uniform standards in the enforcement of institutions, with no exceptions. Those who violate regulations must be held accountable for their actions and punished accordingly. 

We should enhance oversight and appraisal by the public. Nobody is clearer than the public when it comes to problems with Party members and cadres as well as the effectiveness of our various initiatives. This is why the public should have the first say when it comes to this issue. We need to fully trust and rely on the public, carefully listen to the opinions of the public, arrange for the orderly participation of the public, and willingly subject ourselves to their supervision. By evaluating our activities in accordance with public opinions and regarding public satisfaction as the highest standard to be pursued, we should work to ensure that our activities not only conform to the will of the public, but also reflect their demands.


(Originally appeared in Qiushi Journal, Chinese edition, No.14, 2013)

Author: Executive Vice-President of the Party School of the CPC Central Committee  

Qiushi Journal | English Edition of Qiushi Jounrnal | Contact us | Subscription Copyright by Qiushi Journal, All rights reserved