Study the Theoretical System of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics and Master the Marxist Stand, Viewpoint and Method (Extract)

From: English Edition of Qiushi Journal Updated: 2011-09-20 10:16
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 I. Studying the Marxist stand, viewpoint and method is a fundamental requirement for thoroughly understanding the theoretical system of socialism with Chinese characteristics and raising our ideological and theoretical levels.

 At the Seventeenth National Party Congress the requirement was introduced to thoroughly study the theory of socialism with Chinese characteristics and arm the entire Party with the latest achievements in adapting Marxism to Chinese conditions. This was again brought up at the Fourth Plenary Session of the Seventeenth Party Central Committee, when it was pointed out that leading Party cadres must set a good example in genuinely studying, understanding, believing in and applying this theory. The Marxist stand, viewpoint and method permeates Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought and the theoretical system of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and is the essence of the scientific ideological system of Marxism. Leading Party cadres will only be able to continuously raise their ideological and theoretical levels, only be better able to tell right from wrong and understand and change the world, and be able to strengthen their faith in socialism with Chinese characteristics and the ideals of communism by diligently studying and fully understanding the Marxist stand, viewpoint and method. They will only be able to fully and correctly understand and implement the Party’s basic theory, basic line and basic platform, absorb the basic lessons learned from experience, apply all the Party’s principles and policies, continue to emancipate their minds, carry out the reform and opening up policy, pursue scientific development, promote social harmony and work for continued progress in developing a moderately prosperous society in all respects by diligently studying and fully understanding the Marxist stand, viewpoint and method. They will only be able to constantly improve their style of work and working methods, make their work better comply with principles and more systematic, foresighted and creative, prevent backsliding, avoid one-sidedness and eradicate blind spots in their work to improve their work by diligently studying and fully understanding the Marxist stand, viewpoint and method. Therefore, the Party has called on all leading Party cadres to genuinely study, understand, believe in and implement the theory of socialism with Chinese characteristics. We need to genuinely study, understand, believe in and apply both the basic content of the theory and the Marxist stand, viewpoint and method that permeates the entire theory.

 Mastering and applying the Marxist stand, viewpoint and method to study and resolve practical problems is an heirloom passed on to us by the Chinese Communists led by Mao Zedong. “Analysis of the Classes in Chinese Society,” “Report on an Investigation of the Peasant Movement in Hunan,” “Strategic Problems of China’s Revolutionary War,” “Role of the Chinese Communist Party in the National War,” “China’s Revolution and the Chinese Communist Party,” “On Coalition Government” and other works by Mao Zedong were all written based on studying and adhering to the Marxist stand, viewpoint and method and were used to guide China’s revolution. When he talked about how to correctly apply Marxism in China taking into consideration of Chinese conditions at the Sixth Plenary Session of the Sixth Party Central Committee held in October 1938, Mao Zedong made it clear that “It is not just a matter of understanding the general laws derived by Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin from their extensive study of real life and revolutionary experience, but of studying their standpoint and method in examining and resolving problems.”

 In “Reforming Our Study” written in 1941 to address the serious problem of theory being divorced from reality and treating Marxism dogmatically within the Party, Mao Zedong again pointed out that when studying and applying Marxism-Leninism many comrades “can only cite odd quotations from Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin in a one-sided manner, but are unable to apply the stand, viewpoint and method of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin to actual study of China’s present conditions and her history or to a concrete analysis to resolve the problems of the Chinese revolution.” That year the Central Committee made a resolution that “calls on our comrades to study and apply the Marxist stand, viewpoint and method in conscientiously studying China’s history as well as her economy, politics, military affairs and culture, make a specific analysis of every issue on the basis of detailed information and before reaching a theoretical conclusion.” Mao’s important ideas on studying and mastering the Marxist stand, viewpoint and method are an essential component of Mao Zedong Thought as well as an important guiding principle for the leading cadres to follow in order to do their work well.  

 During the early years of the reform and opening up policy Deng Xiaoping reviewed the experience and lessons learned during the socialist construction and stated that “The key is to use the Marxist stand, viewpoint and method to analyze and resolve problems. Specific analysis of specific conditions is the living soul of Marxism. Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought would lose their vitality if they are not tailored to actual conditions.”

 Jiang Zemin pointed out that “In studying theory, the key is to learn how to use the Marxist stand, viewpoint and method to observe and resolve problems and to improve our capacity for dialectic reasoning to avoid metaphysics and prevent one-sidedness.”

 Hu Jintao stated, “What is most important in holding high the banner of Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory and the important thought of Three Represents and constantly opening up new prospects in the cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics and in developing Marxism in China is to always adhere to the Marxist stand, viewpoint and method, the living soul of the scientific ideological system of Marxism.”

 The reason why leaders of our Party have all stressed the need to study and master the Marxist stand, viewpoint and method is that this concerns the basic attitude toward Marxism. Deng Xiaoping stated, “We cannot expect Marx to provide ready answers to questions that arise a hundred or several hundred years after his death, nor can we ask Lenin to give answers to questions that arise fifty or a hundred years after his death.”

 Studying Marxism means studying and mastering the Marxist stand, viewpoint and method. This requires resolutely resisting the idea that “Marxism is obsolete” and all other erroneous ideas denying Marxism while at the same time not being fettered by certain Marxist views and conclusions on certain situations and conditions. It is precisely because our Party has taken this scientific approach toward Marxism, steadfastly followed the basic tenets of Marxism taking into consideration actual conditions in China and the specific features of the times, conscientiously applied the Marxist stand, viewpoint and method in studying and resolving practical problems in China’s revolution, construction and reform, and constantly made progress in adapting Marxism to conditions in China that we were able to develop the major strategic ideas contained in Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory, the important thought of Three Represents and the Scientific Outlook on Development to guide China’s revolution, construction and reform to one victory after another.  

  Reporters interviewing an official of the Party School of the Central Committee of CPC in Beijing. On June 30, 2010, more than 60 reporters from over 30 domestic and foreign media went to the Party school for a press conference. The Party school attaches great importance to guiding the students in the study and discussion of major domestic and international issues and strategic issues with raising awareness of the theoretical system of socialism with Chinese characteristics as the central task and with improving the cadres’ theoretical awareness, worldwide view, strategic thinking and maturity in Party spirit as the basic requirement. In recent years, the Party school has become more open to the outside world and has established relations of academic cooperation with the government departments, research institutes and universities of nearly 30 countries.  / Photo by Xinhua reporter Li Mingfang

 Studying and mastering the Marxist stand, viewpoint and method is of great significance to our campaign to thoroughly study and apply the Scientific Outlook on Development and efforts to consolidate and expand the achievements of the campaign. The Scientific Outlook on Development is the latest achievement in adapting Marxism to Chinese conditions and a concentrated expression of the Marxist worldview and methodology on development. Development is its essence, putting people first is its core, comprehensive, balanced and sustainable development is its basic requirement, and consideration of all factors is its fundamental approach. The essence, core, basic requirement and fundamental approach of the Scientific Outlook on Development reflect and manifest the Marxist stand, viewpoint and method. 

 The campaign for all Party members to thoroughly study and apply the Scientific Outlook on Development was launched in accordance with arrangements made at the Seventeenth National Congress of the Party. It was carried out throughout the Party from top to the bottom in three phases, with the pilot program starting in March 2008, the full-scale campaign in September 2008 and the finish in February 2010. The campaign had many special features, resulted in many innovations by all localities and departments, generated valuable experience and achieved significant results. The facts show that the campaign was successful in increasing awareness of the latest achievement in adapting Marxism to Chinese conditions among Party members, and that it was also a successful experiment in implementing the Scientific Outlook on Development and in carrying forward the great cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics and the great new program of Party development. The campaign has played a major role in the country’s efforts to deal with the impact of the global financial crisis, accelerate transformation of the pattern of economic development and maintain steady and fast economic growth.

 II. We must adhere to the Marxist stand that permeates the theoretical system of socialism with Chinese characteristics, always represent the interests of the people, develop the Party for the public good, administer the government for the benefit of the people and take it as our greatest responsibility to serve the people and benefit them.

 A stand represents the base from which issues are observed, understood and handled. A person’s stand is fundamentally determined by his or her economic, political and social interests and social status. Marx and Engels made it clear in the Communist Manifesto that communists must always work in the interests of the proletariat and the overwhelming majority of workers. Lenin emphasized that a communist party is the vanguard of the proletariat and must serve the people and represent their interests. Mao Zedong introduced the idea of serving the people wholeheartedly. Deng Xiaoping said that in evaluating reforms and all other undertakings, a fundamental criterion is whether the people approve of, support, are happy with and allow them. Jiang Zemin said that the Communist Party of China must always represent the fundamental interests of the overwhelming majority of the people. Hu Jintao said that we must take the fundamental interests of the overwhelming majority of the people as the starting point and final objective in implementing the Scientific Outlook on Development. In these important ideas we can find a very clear line of thinking that is both in the same vein and in step with the times. We always stand for the interests of the people, do everything for their benefit, believe in them, rely on them in all our endeavors, and work heart and soul for their interests. This is the starting point and ultimate goal of both Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory, the important thought of Three Represents and the Scientific Outlook on Development. We must always stand for the interests of the people and never deviate or waver. It is of major importance for communists to fully understand the Marxist worldview, and therefore it is also important for all Party members and cadres in studying and implementing the theoretical system of socialism with Chinese characteristics.

 In order to genuinely stand for the interests of the people, Party members and leading cadres must first have a deep feeling for the masses. Faced with the diversification of interests and values in society accompanying the deepening of the reform and opening up policy, some leading cadres are exhibiting serious problems that are not in conformity with and even go against the Marxist stand. Some of them are estranged from the people and indifferent to them. Some even vie with the people for personal gains. These have undermined the close ties between the Party and the people. Many facts show that now that the Party has been in power for a long time and is facing new historical conditions created by the reform and opening up policy, leading cadres at all levels are facing the issue of how to further cultivate, consolidate and enhance their ties with the people. We must firmly bear in mind the fundamental purpose of the Party, treat the people as our masters and teachers, see ourselves as their public servants and pupils, and conscientiously follow the Party’s mass line. The people are a boundless source of wisdom and creativity. We must humbly learn from them to increase our political wisdom and skills for governance and leadership and constantly absorb nutrition and strength from them. Mao Zedong said, “If we take the people as our teachers, it will work.” These words constitute a profound principle. The people are the driving force behind history. We communists should never forget this basic principle of historical materialism.

 To genuinely stand for the interests of the people, Party members and leading cadres must, in the final analysis, be fully aware that they hold and exercise power for the benefit of the people. The Communist Party of China is the ruling party in China, but all power belongs to the people and serves the people. The power granted to leading cadres is vested in them by the people and it can only be used to develop the interests of the people. We absolutely must not use it for personal gain or to further the interests of a small number of individuals. We often say that leading cadres should have a correct attitude toward the people, toward the Party organizations and toward themselves, and the reason for this is to tell them that they should have a correct understanding of the nature of the power in their hands and use it properly, and that they should carry out their mission faithfully and live up to the expectations of the people. Power is a “double-edged sword.” While it creates the opportunity for us to serve the people, it also makes us susceptible to corruption. The forms corrupting leading cadres are becoming more numerous and covert. Once they relax their vigilance and fall to seduction, they can engage in influence peddling and fall prey to corruption and crime. For leading cadres at all levels, power means responsibility. The greater the power they have, the greater the responsibility they have. They must truly be clear about why they joined the Party, why they became leaders and what they want their legacy to be. They must put the interests of the people first at all time and under all conditions, work in the people’s interests wholeheartedly, meet the basic requirement of running the government and exercising power for the benefit of the people, always bear in mind the basic duties of human beings in pursuing their careers, always be servants of the people when handling state affairs, and never seek personal gains through the exercise of their power. Having a correct outlook on power means we must use our power to implement the Party’s line, principles and policies and ensure that we always exercise our power fairly and impartially without overstepping our authority. We must accept that everyone is equal before the law, that nobody has special privileges to contravene regulations, and that everyone is bound by the same code of conduct without exception. We must exercise our power within the jurisdiction prescribed by the law and not overstep our authority, exercise our power by following the correct procedures without acting arbitrarily, exercise our power on the basis of our legal responsibilities without evading restrictions, and always use our power in accordance with the law and regulations. We must conscientiously, voluntarily and willingly accept oversight, always guard against the development of bureaucracy, and resolutely resist seduction from any source. We must faithfully abide by the Guidelines of the CPC for Leading Cadres in the Honest Performance of Official Duties, lead a clean life and perform our duties honestly, and always work to develop the Party for the public good and ensure that government power is properly used to benefit the people.

 III. We must adhere to the Marxist viewpoint that permeates the theoretical system of socialism with Chinese characteristics and conscientiously use dialectic and historical materialism as our ideological tool to remold the objective and subjective world. 

 A viewpoint represents a person’s opinion about reality. The Marxist viewpoint reflects a scientific understanding of Marxism concerning the laws governing nature, society and human thinking. It is a scientific summary of the laws of nature and the experience of human society. It is manifested in the three major components of Marxist philosophy, political economy and scientific socialism, and it encapsulates many aspects. For instance, it covers basic views such as a worldview, an outlook on life and a sense of values, of dialectic and historical materialism, of the laws governing the movement of social forms and primary social contradictions, of the inevitability of socialism supplanting capitalism, of socialist revolution and proletarian dictatorship, of proletarian parties, and of the nature of socialism and the development of socialism.

 These basic views permeate the scientific ideological system of Marxism and their content is vast and profound, so we must tirelessly study them and strive to truly understand them and conscientiously read and study the original Marxist works in order to achieve a profound understanding of these basic views. Recently the Chinese edition of the Collected Works of Marx and Engels and the Collected Works of Lenin on Specific Topics were formally published, marking completion of a major undertaking in the CPC’s ideological and theoretical development. These works will play a major role in the efforts of Party members and leading cadres to study the classic works of Marxism, better use Marxism to guide their work and unwaveringly uphold socialism with Chinese characteristics.

 The crucial task for the present is to systematically study and understand Marxism in contemporary China, which includes Deng Xiaoping Theory, the important thought of Three Represents and the Scientific Outlook on Development, i.e. the basic views of the theoretical system of socialism with Chinese characteristics. We should use these basic views to observe, analyze and resolve practical issues confronting us in the course of reform and opening up and socialist modernization and to guide us in remolding the objective and subjective world.

 In order to study and understand the Marxist viewpoint that permeates the theoretical system of socialism with Chinese characteristics, we must study and fully understand the basic views of Marxism regarding the laws governing the development of human society and its historical trends and always maintain a firm belief in socialism with Chinese characteristics and the ideals of communism. By applying materialist principles to the social and historical matters, Marxism reveals that the development of human society is a natural historical process and that the movement of primary social contradictions means that socialism will inevitably supplant capitalism. This scientific ideal has been inspiring and encouraging communists generation after generation to struggle, shed their blood and sacrifice their lives for the realization of this ideal. Some Party members lately have been afraid to proceed in face of problems, are pessimistic and disappointed in face of difficulties, and have been unable to maintain their purity, even giving in to temptation and becoming corrupted. It all boils down to problems in their ideals and convictions. Experience has shown that to ensure that communists have unshakeable ideals and convictions, they must conscientiously study and understand the powerful ideological tool of dialectical and historical materialism and build their ideals and convictions on a reasonable basis of scientific analysis. We must correctly understand current economic and scientific developments in capitalist countries, but it is even more important for us to correctly understand the primary contradiction with capitalist society and the historical tendency for it to inevitably decline and fall. We must correctly understand the twists and turns in the course of the development of socialism, but it is even more important to correctly understand that the development of socialism has a bright future. We must correctly understand that socialism is a long, arduous and complex process, but it is even more important to be aware of the powerful vitality and the tremendous superiority of the socialist system. In other words, we need to understand the changes and trends in today’s world from the lofty perspective of the laws of Marxism governing the development of human society and always maintain firm ideals and convictions. We must profoundly understand that the theoretical system of socialism with Chinese characteristics, which represents Marxism in contemporary China, both upholds the basic principles of scientific socialism and clearly reflects Chinese characteristics in accordance with actual conditions in China and the features of the times, and that it is a scientific theory leading contemporary Chinese society in constant development and progress and leading the Chinese nation toward the great goal of rejuvenation. Therefore, we must face all sorts of risks without flinching, brush aside all sorts of interference and advance valiantly in the direction of socialism with Chinese characteristics.

 To study and understand the Marxist viewpoint that permeates the theoretical system of socialism with Chinese characteristics, we must study and understand the Marxist outlook on production as the fundamental prerequisite for the existence and development of human society and steadfastly give top priority to development in the Party’s governance and rejuvenation of the country. Marxism always looks at society through its material production, especially in terms of the movement of the contradiction between the productive forces and the relations of production. This indicates that the productive forces are always the most active and most revolutionary force driving social progress, thus determining that the most fundamental task of socialism is to develop the productive forces.

 This basic principle means that throughout the historical process of building socialism, we must always give top priority to the development of the productive forces, take economic development as the central task of the Party and state, and concentrate on development. Deng Xiaoping repeatedly emphasized that the need for development is an absolute principle. China is still in the primary stage of socialism and will remain so for a long time to come, and the primary contradiction in Chinese society today is between the ever-growing material and cultural needs of the people and the backward state of production. Therefore, we must always take development as the top priority and economic development as the central task and never waver in economic development regardless of the circumstances. Leading cadres at all levels must firmly bear this principle in mind. When we talk about development, we mean sustainable development that is in line with changes in our population, the environment and resources, and sound and fast development based on improvement in the economic structure and the quality and performance of the economy. Since the adoption of the reform and opening up policy, we have made tremendous achievements in socialist modernization that have captured worldwide attention. At the same time, we must be clearly aware that there are still long-standing, deep-seated issues and problems restricting overall progress. These are mainly manifested in the unsuitable pattern of economic development. The global financial crisis would seem to be affecting the rate of Chinese economic growth, but essentially it is affecting the pattern of development. The inefficient pattern of economic growth is not sustainable. The Chinese economy is now in a key period which requires that we accelerate transformation of the development pattern and adjustment of the economic structure to ensure relatively fast and sustainable economic development. Just as Hu Jintao emphasized after making a comprehensive assessment of the domestic and international situations, we urgently need to transform the pattern of economic development. Leading cadres at all levels must broaden their vision, think strategically and obtain a thorough understanding of the importance and urgency of the need for transformation of the development pattern. We must enhance our sense of responsibility and mission and conscientiously implement the important decision of the Party Central Committee concerning the promotion of scientific development and unswervingly carry out transformation of the development pattern.

 To study and understand the Marxist viewpoint that permeates the theoretical system of socialism with Chinese characteristics, we must study and understand the Marxist outlook on balancing socialist economic, political and social development, which in turn will enable us to advance all aspects of the cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics. The highest Marxist ideal for a society is a communist society in which there is abundant material wealth, the people have high cultural, intellectual and ideological standards, and everyone is free to pursue comprehensive personal development. A socialist society is one that should focus on economic development and at the same time achieve overall development and progress. Without economic development, there can be no material basis for development in other areas. Without development and progress in other areas, the material civilization would lack essential guarantees and drive for progress, making economic development very difficult.

 Since the adoption of the reform and opening up policy, our Party has introduced a series of policies to promote a “two-pronged” approach in order to promote sustainable economic development as well as overall social progress thus fully demonstrating and taking advantage of the superiority of the socialist system. It was precisely on the basis of a profound understanding of Marxism and a correct understanding of conditions in China and the features of the times that it was clearly stated at the Seventeenth Party Congress that taking a path of socialism with Chinese characteristics means focusing on economic development, adhering to the Four Cardinal Principles, carrying out reform and opening up, liberating and developing the productive forces, consolidating and improving the socialist system, and developing the socialist market economy, socialist democratic politics, advanced socialist culture and a harmonious socialist society under the leadership of the CPC taking into consideration the basic conditions of China in order to make China a prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced and harmonious modern socialist country. Leading cadres at all levels obtain a profound understanding of this scientific summary, continue to commit themselves to the mission of rejuvenating the nation and bringing prosperity to the people, and attach greater importance to achieving progress in socialist economic, political, cultural and social development and in ecological conservation while at the same time concentrating on economic development.

 To study and understand the Marxist viewpoint that permeates the theoretical system of socialism with Chinese characteristics, we must study and understand the Marxist outlook on comprehensive personal development and always put the people first in promoting development. According to Marxism, free and full development of individuals is an essential definition of communism and an important task in developing socialism. Following the Sixteenth National Congress of the Party, Hu Jintao introduced the important concept of putting the people first. He pointed out that the fundamental connotation of this concept is that we must serve the people whole-heartedly, run the Party for the public good and administer the government for the people’s benefit, always take the fundamental interests of the overwhelming majority of the people as the starting point and final goal of the work of the Party and the government, and ensure that development benefits the people and relies on the people and that all of the people share in the fruits of development. In promoting development, we need to focus on both material progress and personal development, pay equal attention to improving both material production and the overall quality of people, and attach equal importance to both economic indices and indicators of humanistic development and protection of resources and the environment. This means that we must establish a correct assessment of our achievements based on overall development and progress. Only by adhering to this type of assessment can we make achievements that can stand the test of time and satisfy the people.

 IV. We must adhere to the Marxist method that permeates the theoretical system of socialism with Chinese characteristics and arm ourselves with the thinking and working methods of materialist dialectics, seeking truth from facts and the Party’s mass line to constantly improve the level of leadership.

 These methods constitute a methodology in complete conformity with the Marxist worldview. They are the fundamental thinking and working methods for guiding us so we can correctly understand and remold the subjective and objective world. The Marxist worldview and the Marxist methodology are closely integrated. Studying and understanding the correct worldview and methodology has always been a major task of a Marxist party in developing its ideology.

 To study and master the Marxist method, we must study and master the thinking method of materialist dialectics. We need to observe, analyze and resolve issues objectively rather than subjectively, dynamically rather than statically, comprehensively rather than one-sidedly, systematically rather than sporadically, and in context rather than in isolation. A basic requirement for studying and mastering the thinking method of materialist dialectics is to understand the law of development of things in the course of unity of opposition between the two aspects of a contradiction. Adhering to the thinking method of materialist dialectics is very important to ensure success in the leadership. For example, it’s a leader’s major responsibility to come up with ideas and select personnel. To come up with good ideas, one must have a scientific and correct understanding of the situation. Only by learning to dialectically analyze and compare the local and general development and the development at present and in the long run, learning to dialectically understand and compare the development trends in the economies, politics and culture of both China and other countries, and to dialectically consider and compare the past and present development will we be able to effectively consider and study the work of our own locality, department or organization by bearing in mind partial and overall, short-term and long-term, domestic and international, and historical and current situations and trends, and will we be able to correctly assess and decide on issues. The same applies to the appointment of cadres. We need to consider both their strengths and their weaknesses and use their strengths and avoid or compensate for their weaknesses in order for them to fill suitable positions and tap their potential.

 The Scientific Outlook on Development is an outlook on development that fully implements and expresses the Marxist materialist dialectics. It advocates sound and fast development based on correctly balancing minority and majority interests, quantity and quality, and speed and results. It calls for balanced development based on correctly balancing the interests of different individuals, between individuals and society, and between man and Nature. It calls for balanced development by correctly balancing concerns of cities and the countryside, developed and underdeveloped regions, and domestic development and opening to the outside world. It advocates comprehensive development based on correctly balancing economic, political, cultural, social and ecological concerns and sustainable development based on correctly balancing short-term and long-term interests and between present and future concerns. In studying and understanding the Scientific Outlook on Development, we must work to understand the dialectic thinking underpinning it. If we fully and profoundly understand this, we will be able to better understand the laws governing economic and social development, better understand the theory and practice of the Scientific Outlook on Development, act more conscientiously and be more successful in promoting scientific development and social harmony. 

 To study and understand the Marxist method, we must study and understand the thinking method of seeking truth from facts. This method is a concentrated expression of the Marxist materialistic and dialectic theory of knowledge and a fundamental thinking method that our Party has always adhered to. Emancipation of our minds is an inherent requirement for seeking truth from facts. Only by emancipating our minds, constantly studying new situations and resolving new problems, and freeing our minds from the fetters of all sorts of unsuitable concepts, practices and systems, can we correctly understand the constantly changing objective conditions, bring our thinking in line with the objective world and thus genuinely seek truth from facts. Keeping pace with the times is a prerequisite for and an inevitable outcome of seeking truth from facts. The objective world keeps changing along with the times, so our thinking and understanding must also change and progress. This is what seeking truth from facts means. Therefore, seeking truth from facts must be combined with emancipation of our minds and keeping pace with the times. In this way we will be able to uphold truth, correct mistakes, avoid blind faith in books and superiors, and always proceed from reality. Actual experience has shown that it is easy to talk about seeking truth from facts but difficult to do so because the objective reality is complex and volatile and general laws are hiding behind phenomena, making it difficult to find them. To truly succeed in seeking truth from facts, we must carry out investigations and studies. For our leading cadres at all levels, conducting investigations is an essential skill they must master. Tools for collecting information today are highly advanced and using information tools is one way to collect and understand information, and an increasingly important one. No matter how advanced such tools are, however, and no matter how many means are available, they are not a substitute for on-the-spot investigations to uncover the real situation by visiting local organizations and local people. An important requirement for seeking truth from facts is to speak one’s mind and be honest in what one says. Leading cadres at all levels should have the courage to conduct criticism and self-criticism, take the lead in speaking the truth, reveal the facts without hesitation, speak their minds without reservation, and never pursue praise or avoid or cover up problems. We should be good at listening to the truth and encourage our subordinates and ordinary folks to speak their minds and report the true situation. We need to correctly handle and sincerely listen to the arguments and comments of other comrades. We need to avoid blaming the speaker and instead accept the warning in the words, correcting any mistakes and guarding against those that have not been made. This will help establish more sincere and harmonious relationships among Party comrades and help us strongly resist vulgarizing intra-Party activities.

 To study and understand the Marxist method, we must study and understand the working method of the mass line. The mass line of “doing everything for the people and relying on them in everything we do” and “from the masses to the masses” is a specific expression of a basic principle of Marxism on historical materialism as well as the fundamental working line and the fundamental working method of the Party.

 Some cadres have forgotten about the mass line. Many Party members and ordinary people complain that cadres are keeping a longer distance from the people in spite of advances in modern transportation; they are having more difficulties communicating with cadres in spite of advances in IT and in spite of the higher level of education of cadres, they are less able to do mass work. Such complaints reflect problems in the mass work of the Party and in the relationships between the Party and the people and between the cadres and the people. This is both a problem of their stand and feeling and a problem of working method and competence. Leading bodies and leading cadres at all levels need to recognize the importance of maintaining close ties with the people from a political perspective. We need to avoid taking on airs and get rid of bureaucratic tendencies, recognize the true situation and maintain ties with the masses to solicit ideas and working methods for resolving problems so that our policy decisions meet the wishes and needs of the people. We must thoroughly study the rules and features of mass work in the current circumstances and strive to make our mass work better focused and more effective. We need to properly balance equity and efficiency in carrying out reform and development, fully mobilize the initiative and creativeness of the people, give due consideration to the interests of different sectors of society in adjusting the pattern of wealth distribution and properly balance and handle the interest concerns of people of different groups. We need to find the right words for communicating with the masses amidst changes and development of ideas and concepts, close the emotional distance between the Party and the masses, work hard to master the scientific working method for serving the people, improve our ability to serve the people, truly rally the people around the Party and government, and work together to promote scientific development and social harmony.

(From Qiushi in Chinese, No. 7, 2010)


Note: Author: Member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, Secretary of the Secretariat and Vice President of the People’s Republic of China

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