Constantly Working to Make Great Strides in Developing the External Work of the CPC

From: English Edition of Qiushi Journal Updated: 2011-09-20 00:13
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    During the past 60 years since the founding of the People’s Republic of China. great strides has been made in the external work of the Party, an important cause of the Party and a major part of China’s overall diplomacy, creating multi-channeled, wide-ranging and multi-directional relations between the CPC and many other political parties in the world.

    I. The Party has made great strides in adjusting and making innovations in its external work.

    1. The Party made the first leap forward in its external work during the early years of New China, focusing on the Party and government’s central task of consolidating the nascent political power of the people and taking the dissolution of the blockade against China as the core mission. Sixty years ago when the PRC was founded, the Cold War between the East and the West was becoming more and more intense. The Western forces headed by the US imposed an economic blockade on New China and kept the country in diplomatic isolation. The Chinese Communists, led by Comrade Mao Zedong, sized up the situation and resolutely decided to adopt a “leaning-to-one-side” foreign policy by cooperating with the other socialist countries in all areas. Under the direct leadership of the Central Committee, the CPC went all out in developing friendly ties with other socialist countries and with the communist parties and progressive forces in other countries, while working at the same time to win extensive sympathy and support from the rest of the world. These efforts quickly resulted in some initial progress in international relations. When the CPC convened its Eighth National Congress in 1956, representatives of communist and workers’ parties from 56 countries came to China to express their congratulations and support. Representatives of 61 foreign political parties responded to the invitation to attend the celebration for the 10th anniversary of the PRC in 1959. 

    During this period, the CPC’s engagement with the outside world constituted the mainstay of China’s foreign relations, and this effort established contacts to enable New China to engage with the international community. This was a great boost for the country’s efforts to break the imperialist blockade, consolidate the newly-established political power and gain the international assistance and aid needed for the country’s development. However, during the ensuing Cultural Revolution, the Party’s external work, like other aspects of national development, suffered severe setbacks, and the scope of the Party’s external relations was sharply reduced.

    2. The Party made a second leap forward in its external work in the period from the Third Plenary Session of the Eleventh CPC Central Committee in 1978 to the turn of the century. The focus of efforts was on economic development as the central task of the Party and the state and the core mission was to bring about a favorable international environment. At the Third Plenary Session of the Eleventh CPC Central Committee it was decided to make economic development the central task of the Party and China’s socialist modernization entered a new era of reform and opening up. The Party made a number of major adjustments to guidelines, strategic objectives, targets of contact, and principles and work plans for developing diplomatic relations to correct the previous erroneous practices. The CPC also identified the basic task of its external work in the new era as the cultivation of a favorable international environment, particularly the development of stable relations with neighboring countries, for reform and opening up and for socialist modernization. A four-point principle was established to guide relations between the CPC and political parties of other countries, consisting of independence, complete equality, mutual respect and non-interference in each other’s internal affairs. Promoting healthy, steady and comprehensive development of state-to-state relations was identified as the starting point and aim of the Party’s external work.

    A cultural performance was arranged by the International Department of the CPC Central Committee and the Ministry of Culture February 11, 1981 to welcome the political delegation of the French Socialist Party. Shown is Mr. Mitterrand, the delegation head, talking with performers. / Photo by Xinhua reporter Wang Xinqing

    Five major adjustments have been made in the CPC’s external work since the beginning of the new era. First, starting from the late 1970s, the CPC gradually restored relations with the communist parties of certain countries in a spirit of leaving behind previous enmities, looking to the future and pursuing cooperation. Second, the CPC gradually established ties with national non-communist parties in Africa, Latin America and Asia in order to promote solidarity and cooperation with the developing world. Third, starting from the early 1980s, the CPC began to build up contacts with socialist parties, social democratic parties and labor parties in European countries, as well as with their international organizations, in a spirit of transcending ideological differences and pursuing mutual understanding and cooperation. Fourth, beginning in the mid-1980s, the CPC began to reach out to some traditionally center-right parties in Western Europe, with a view to promoting sound and stable development of relations with developed countries. Fifth, in the early 1990s, against the backdrop of the dramatic changes sweeping across the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe and the development of multi-party systems in those countries, the CPC took appropriate steps to continue or develop relations with both old and new political parties in countries of the former Soviet Union, in Eastern Europe and in Africa.

    The external work of the CPC did not change in the face of the profound changes taking place in the international situation and the great amount of change and reorganization taking place in the political parties of the world during this period, instead continuing to tightly center all efforts on the central tasks of the Party and the state. Steady headway was made in the Party’s external relations both in form and content, which played a positive role in helping to create a favorable international environment for the country.   

    3. Centering efforts on the central task of opening a new chapter in building socialism with Chinese characteristics and taking coordination of the domestic and international situations as the core mission, the CPC has achieved another great leap forward since the beginning of the new century. Entering the 21st century, particularly since the Sixteenth National Congress of the CPC held in 2002, the CPC has been working to further expand the Party’s external work in light of the profound changes occurring in the international situation and China’s interactions with the international community, working to safeguard and extend the important period of strategic opportunities for China’s development. Work plans have been formulated and the scope of tasks continually expanded in line with the requirements of the Scientific Outlook on Development. One, full play has been given to the unique role and advantages of high-level exchanges, in-depth communication and proactive diplomatic work to widely publicize the Party’s domestic and foreign policies, enhance mutual understanding and trust between the CPC and foreign political parties, facilitate the resolution of substantive issues in state-to-state relations and promote the sound and stable development of China’s relations with other countries. Two, the CPC has been working to incorporate more economic and cultural elements in its relations with foreign political parties by strongly supporting cultural and economic exchange between Chinese local governments, mass organizations and corporations and their foreign counterparts to consolidate the foundation for state-to-state relations and enhance friendship and cooperation between the Chinese people and the peoples of other countries. Three, the CPC has been working to provide greater intellectual support for the decision-making of the central leadership by carrying out studies on theoretical and practical issues of most concern to them, particularly issues related to the international situation and foreign strategies, socialism and capitalism, party politics and foreign governance practices, as well as global trends in international political and social thoughts. The external work of the Party is uniquely qualified to address these four areas.

    The external work of the CPC now extends in many directions, uses a variety of channels, covers many areas and is more comprehensive than ever before and targets governing parties and their coalition partners, legal opposition parties and parties in countries without diplomatic ties with China, as well as some international organizations of political parties. The CPC now maintains friendly exchange and contact with some 520 political parties and organizations in more than 160 countries and regions, with one-third being ruling parties or ruling coalition partners. 

    II. In order for the external work of the Party to fulfill its functions and to continue making great progress, we must always keep our efforts closely focused on the central tasks of the Party and the state and work for the greater good.  

    The tremendous strides made in the Party’s external work over the past 60 years tells us that we must focus tightly on the central tasks of the Party and the state and approach all tasks bearing in mind the needs of the Party and the state in order to take full advantage of the role of the Party’s external work and ensure its constant development in serving the overall interests of the nation. 

    1. The Party’s external work must comply with and serve the national strategic plans for diplomacy. The experience of the past 60 years tells us that the diplomatic efforts of the Party can serve as a useful supplement to government diplomacy and vice versa and play an important role in the country’s overall diplomatic work only when it is carried out in line with the nation’s overall diplomatic strategy, follows the rules for such work and makes good use of its unique characteristics and advantages. Specifically, we must understand that the diplomatic efforts of the Party should be directed toward the political leaders of other countries and to consolidate and expand consensus and reinforce the political foundation of state-to-state relations through comprehensive, in-depth and protocol-free inter-party exchange. Given the fact that most countries in the world practice a multi-party system where the rise and fall of political parties leads to frequent changes of government, we must take a proactive approach in diplomacy with foreign parties and develop exchange with not only government parties, but with coalition parties and opposition parties as well, so that inter-party relations can help stabilize state-to-state relations. We should pay attention to the great influence of major political parties over bilateral relations and regional hot-spot issues, and set up mechanisms to put bilateral exchange with such parties on a regular basis to allow in-depth dialogue with them on selected topics to aid in the solution of difficult issues as well as pressing issues in bilateral relations. We should also give full play to the unique role of party diplomacy in communications with parties in countries without diplomatic ties with China to prepare the ground for the normalization of state-to-state relations. 

    2. The CPC’s external work must serve the fundamental requirements for Party improvement. We have learned from the past 60 years that as long as the Party’s external work is perceived as an important part of the overall mission of the Party and is planned and conducted accordingly, it will be able to make its due contribution to comprehensive progress in the great new undertaking to build the Party. The external work of the CPC over the past 60 years has provided an important channel for the Party to learn about the world and understand it, thereby aiding the Party’s self-improvement efforts. We have constantly improved our understanding of the rules governing communist governance, socialist construction and the development of human society through a long period of monitoring and comparative studies on the complex political ideologies of the contemporary world to trace their developments and identify trends. We have constantly learned from the experience of foreign political parties to improve the CPC through systemic study of the concepts of governance, system of governance, governance style and governance rules of foreign political parties and drawing lessons from the successes and failures of foreign political parties. Finally, we have opened more windows on the world for Party cadres, allowing them to get a more comprehensive picture of the world and constantly improve their ability to make sound, scientific judgments through extensive and dynamic interaction with foreign political parties and through official foreign visits of senior Party officials.  

    3. The external work of the Party should project a positive image of the Party to the world. Our experience over the past 60 years tells us making good use of the external work of the Party as a platform for international communication can make a unique contribution to efforts to build up China’s soft power. Our experience over the past 60 years has made us keenly aware that political parties and political leaders are not only key players in party politics of their own countries, but also help to shape public opinion and act as indicators of public opinion towards China in their respective countries. Along with the great historic course of the implementation of reform and opening up, the destiny of China has increasingly become interlocked with the destiny of the world. An important role of the Party’s external work, as well as a pressing task in the new period, is to help the international community, particularly foreign political parties and political leaders, gain a better understanding and appreciation of China’s path of development, system of political parties, and the concepts and principles of governance. We must take full advantage of the role of the Party’s external work in opening a window to the outside world so we can bring the latest and most accurate information about the Party to the world through a variety of means. We must focus our attention on the foreign political parties and political leaders who have the greatest impact on public opinion concerning China and carry out exchange activities and discussions specifically to inform them in a careful and dynamic way about the latest developments in the CPC’s domestic and foreign policies and advances made in theory and practice. We must demonstrate that the Party stands for the public good and administers government affairs for the people and present an excellent image to the international community as a Party that is democratic, progressive, open and innovative. 

    III. We must apply the Scientific Outlook on Development in practice, work hard to make another historic leap forward and greet the 100th anniversary of the founding of the CPC with fresh achievements.

    1. We must take both domestic and international situations into consideration. We must uphold the basic principles for the Party’s external work established over the past 60 years and always plan our external work in the context of the interaction between the domestic and international situation. We must constantly work to deepen our understanding by studying in depth developments in the world of socialism today and China’s development path in light of the complex changes taking place in thinking in the international community concerning politics, economics and society in order to continue contributing to the promotion of the cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics. We need to carefully study the experiences and lessons of foreign parties in handling party and government affairs in light of changes in the governance principles of foreign parties and the new challenges they are facing to continue helping to strengthen internal CPC improvement efforts. We need to study even more carefully the rules governing party diplomacy with Chinese characteristics to better understand them in light of world development trends and the new demands on the country’s overall diplomatic work to better coordinate the external work of the Party with the country’s overall diplomatic work. Given the expanding global impact of the “China Factor,” we must actively work to strengthen the external publicity work of the Party to increase knowledge and understanding in the international community concerning the great cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics led by the CPC and the line, principles and policies of the Party in order to constantly enhance the Party’s international image and influence. 

    2. We need to further develop and improve the strategic arrangements for the Party’s external work. We must seize the emerging historic opportunities to further develop and improve the strategic arrangements for the Party’s external work. First, we need to further institutionalize exchange with the political parties of neighboring countries to create a regional environment favorable to China. In addition, we need to further strengthen the basis and support for our relations with parties in developing countries by relying more on our traditional strengths to step up exchange with them. We also need to continually expand the existing platforms for exchange with the major parties of developed countries to strengthen dialogue and communication with them. Finally, we must do the best we can with the special platforms for maintaining relations with parties in countries that do not have diplomatic relations with China to promote mutual understanding and closer connection. We need to focus our efforts on improving the strategic arrangements for the Party’s external work so that it can better meet the requirements posed by changes in the situation and be more effectively serve China’s overall diplomatic interests.

    3. We must increase the breadth and depth of the involvement of the entire Party in the Party’s external work. We need to increase awareness of the importance of participation in external work among Party members in order to properly address the new requirements posed by the country’s constantly expanding strategy of opening up to the outside world. While maintaining important high-level party-to-party diplomatic exchange, we need to also actively look for new channels and ways for local Party committees to participate in the Party’s external work. We must view guidance and support for development of relations between local Party committees and foreign parties and their local organizations as a new focus for the Party’s external work in the near term in an effort to realize involvement of the entire Party in the Party’s diplomatic activities, from the Central Committee down to the lowest level Party committee. 

(From Qiushi in Chinese No.16 2009)

Note:Author: Head of the International Department of the CPC Central Committee

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