Working Out a Path of Socialist Modernization with Chinese Characteristics

From: English Edition of Qiushi Journal Updated: 2011-09-20 09:55
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    The birth of Marxism has brought about an epoch-making change in the history of ideology, as socialism developed from a utopia to a science and from theory to practice, profoundly influencing the course of human history. China and Laos are both socialist countries, and the Communist Party of China and the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party (LPRP) are both parties in power. They have both made major achievements in socialist modernization in their respective countries and are facing the same or similar problems. The theme of this theoretical symposium of the CPC and the LPRP is “the major theoretical and practical issues of socialist modernization” and the objective is to increase discussion and exchange between the two parties so we can learn from each other and borrow ideas from each other. This will help deepen understanding of the laws governing socialist development and promote socialist modernization.

    After the founding of New China, the CPC led the Chinese people in establishing a socialist system and experienced all kinds of hardships to work out a road of modernization suitable for conditions in China. The Third Plenary Session of the Eleventh CPC Central Committee held in December 1978 opened up a new historical period of reform and opening up in China. Over the past 30 years and more, the CPC has been leading all the people of the country in constantly analyzing new situations, solving new problems and summing up new experiences. The CPC has worked out a comprehensive package of general and specific policies, successfully developed a socialist road with Chinese characteristics and promoted sustained and rapid economic and social development. China’s great achievements have caught the attention of the world. During this historical process, the CPC has accumulated a great deal of important and practical experience and deepened its understanding in a number of areas.

    One, we have found that we must adhere to the practice of combining the basic principles of Marxism with the realities in the country and constantly work to make theoretical innovations on the basis of practice to provide theoretical guidance for socialist modernization. Marxism is the fundamental guiding ideology for the development of the Party and government and is the ideological basis for ensuring that the whole Party and all the people of the country make a concerted effort. Therefore, we must always uphold the position of Marxism as our guide. Marxism is an open theoretical system that keeps up with the times and can only play its role as a guide to practice when combined with the realities in the country. While carrying out reform and opening up we have consistently followed Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought and constantly worked to free our minds, seek truth from facts and keep up with the times. We have been eliminating erroneous and dogmatic ideas about Marxism and constantly deepen theoretical innovations on the basis of practice. We have introduced a number of unique ideological and theoretical concepts closely related to efforts to answer the major questions of what Marxism is, how we handle Marxism, what socialism is, how we can further develop socialism, what we want the CPC to look like and how we can continue to develop our party, what kind of development we want to achieve and how to achieve. This has resulted in the formation of a socialist theoretical system with Chinese characteristics based on the major strategic achievements of Deng Xiaoping Theory, the important thought of Three Represents and the Scientific Outlook on Development, injecting fresh vitality into Marxism. We have improved our theoretical armor with every theoretical innovation and continuously reached new heights in learning and applying the results of the Party’s theoretical innovations. This has been very effective in encouraging people to study and put into practice the latest achievements in tailoring Marxism to conditions in China. It could be said that the key to China’s success in development lies in the fact that the socialist theoretical system with Chinese characteristics has provided us with strong beliefs and theoretical guidance. Our practice in the past 30-plus years has shown us that adhering to Marxism while continuously enriching and developing it was a basic prerequisite and a fundamental guarantee for bright prospects for the development of socialism with Chinese characteristics. Socialist modernization involves extensive and profound social changes, making it urgent for us to seek answers in Marxist theory for a number of major theoretical and practical issues emerging in developing our practice. We shall continue to conscientiously sum up the fresh experiences of the people concerning the great practice of building socialism with Chinese characteristics and actively borrow from the achievements of human civilization, carefully study issues with overall and strategic importance that affect our future progress in furthering the causes of the Party and the state, carefully study the major issues involved in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, continuously make new theoretical generalizations and constantly open new horizons for the development of Marxism. 

    2011 is set to be a promising year. After overcoming a series of risks and challenges, 

China, with its thriving economic and social development, is setting out on a new journey: 

the Twelfth Five-Year Plan. / Photo by Xinhua

    Two, we must maintain economic development as the central task and continuously work to liberate and develop the country’s productive forces to lay a solid material foundation for socialist modernization. The productive forces are a decisive factor in social development, and modernization must be based on well developed productive forces. It was decided at the Third Plenary Session of the Eleventh CPC Central Committee to shift the central task of the work of the Party and government to economic development. After carefully analyzing the basic conditions and major contradictions in the country, we introduced the basic line of making economic development the central task, adhering to the Four Cardinal Principles and persevering in the reform and opening up policy in line with the requirements of the times and the wishes of the people, thus defining the basic direction for the development of the Party and state. According to this basic line, we began implementing a three-step strategy for realizing the goals of modernization by the middle of this century. We are fully aware of the current rare historical opportunities for development and are taking full advantage of them to do everything possible to develop the country through our own efforts. In spite of all kinds of difficulties and challenges, we have consistently concentrated on development and pursued development wholeheartedly. Sustained and rapid economic development has constantly improved China’s overall national strength and enabled the country to make historical strides in improving the lives of the people, who have become comfortably off in general, whereas inadequate food and clothing were their major concerns in the past. On the other hand, we have determined that, although China has made tremendous progress in economic and social development, it is still in the primary stage of socialism and is still a developing country. No fundamental change has taken place in the country’s basic situation. China still has a huge population and a weak economic foundation, development in the country is not balanced and the country is dealing with the problems of an inefficient pattern of development, poor capacity for making independent innovation and a defective economic structure. On the basis of a scientific understanding of the character of this period and a careful review of the experience of China and other countries, the CPC introduced the Scientific Outlook on Development, stressing that development is of the utmost importance. Moreover, the Scientific Outlook on Development also requires that we always put people first, that we pursue balanced and sustainable development and that we take all factors into consideration and properly balance them. We thoroughly applied the Scientific Outlook on Development and the Party always gave development the highest priority in administering government affairs and working to make the country strong, truly safeguarded the fundamental interests of the overwhelming majority of the people, promoted all-round personal development of the people, balanced urban and rural development and regional development, worked to ensure harmony between people and nature and strongly promoted sound and rapid economic and social development. Recent practice has shown that the essential requirement for giving top priority to development is to pursue scientific development and that we must be more conscientious and resolute in applying the Scientific Outlook on Development and encourage all sectors of society to pursue scientific development in order to resolve the major problems and deep-rooted issues facing economic and social development. We must concentrate on the strategic task of speeding up transformation of the pattern of economic development, improve the economic structure, expand domestic demand and promote independent innovation, focusing on raising the quality and efficiency of economic development and continuously working to strengthen the international competitiveness of the Chinese economy and its ability to cope with risk.

    Three, we must adhere to the reform and opening up policy and continuously promote self-improvement and development of the socialist system to provide a strong driving force for socialist modernization. The most outstanding feature of China in this period is the reform and opening up, and the reason why socialism with Chinese characteristics has such vitality is because of the country’s reform and opening up policy. The Third Plenary Session of the CPC Eleventh Central Committee marked the start of a great new revolution for the Chinese people in the form of the reform and opening up policy. We focused on liberating and developing the country’s productive forces and centered on the overall objective of establishing the socialist market economic system, starting by implementing the rural household contract responsibility system with remuneration linked to output, gradually shifting the focus of reform to urban areas, establishing a basic economic system in which the public sector is dominant and the public and non-public sectors develop side by side, establishing a system under which distribution according to work is predominant and various forms of distribution exist side by side and forming a system for regulating the economy in which the market plays a fundamental role in the allocation of resources under government macroeconomic regulation. We carried out political, cultural and social structural reform in a step-by-step and orderly manner, making good progress and achieving substantial results. We have continued to adhere to the basic state policy of opening up to the outside world and opened up to the outside world in all respects, on all levels and in all areas by setting up special economic zones, opening up the coastal areas, the areas along the Yangtze River, the border areas and inland areas, and joining the World Trade Organization, as well as shifted from a large-scale influx of foreign companies to a large-scale movement of Chinese enterprises to “go global.” The great historical changes taking place in China today can be basically attributed to reform and opening up and China’s future development must also rely on the reform and opening up policy. The decision to carry out reform and opening up was a crucial factor determining the destiny of contemporary China and a course that we had to follow to develop socialism with Chinese characteristics. We will be incorporating the spirit of reform and innovation in every link in administering the affairs of the state, continuing efforts to improve the socialist market economic system, speeding up the pace of reform in important areas and key links, and developing vigorous, effective and more open systems and mechanisms conducive to scientific development. We will work to make reform decisions more scientific, make reform measures more balanced, take all factors into consideration and properly balance them and ensure that reforms complement and support each other to properly balance reform of the economic structure and reform of other structures, balance macro reform and micro reform, and balance urban and rural reform. We will be constantly expanding the width and breadth of openness to the outside world, improving the economic system to make it a more open system that features interaction between internal and external factors, provides benefits to all parties, and is secure and highly efficient, conscientiously learning from and borrowing from the achievements of all countries and actively taking part in international economic cooperation and competition in the midst of economic globalization.

    Four, we must follow the overall arrangements for pursuing the cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics and promote balance among economic, political, cultural and social development and efforts to increase ecological awareness to realize the objectives of socialist modernization in terms of making the country prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced and harmonious. Modernization is a comprehensive and systematic process that includes all aspects of economic and social development. Since the institution of the reform and opening up policy, we have maintained economic development as the central task while promoting the cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics. We have closely integrated the leadership of the Party, the position of the people as masters of the country, and the rule of law, improved the fundamental political system of people’s congresses, improved the system of multi-party cooperation and political consultation under the leadership of the CPC, the system of regional ethnic autonomy, and the system of community autonomy, continuously expanded people’s democracy, fully implemented the fundamental principle of the rule of law and promoted improvement and development of the socialist system. We have maintained an orientation of improving advanced socialist culture, strived to improve both material and cultural and ethical conditions, worked hard to develop a system of core socialist values, worked hard to develop cultural programs and the culture industry, worked hard to promote cultural innovation and promoted the thriving development of socialist culture. We have introduced the strategic task of developing a harmonious socialist society, strongly promoted social development focusing on improving the lives of the people, concentrated on solving the issues affecting the immediate interests of the people, carried out social programs, improved the management of society and promoted fairness and justice. We have actively promoted ecological awareness, worked to balance economic development and population, resource and environmental concerns and worked to develop a society that conserves resources and is environmentally friendly. Over the past 30-plus years we have constantly improved the overall arrangements for the cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics, promoted a balanced approach to all economic and social issues, gradually formed a situation in which all areas witnessed development and laid a solid foundation for realizing the modernization objective of making China prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced and harmonious. Our experience in carrying out reform and opening up shows that economic, political, cultural and social development and development of an ecologically friendly civilization in the process of modernization are all interrelated and development in each area is governed by its own laws of development and each depends on the others and provides the necessary conditions for the others, making them inseparable. We must take an overall and balanced approach to economic, political, cultural and social development and development of an ecologically friendly civilization in order to develop and make progress in all areas. 

    Five, we must balance reform, development and stability by ensuring that the strength of reforms and the speed of development are in line with the ability of society to tolerate them and create excellent social conditions for carrying out socialist modernization. The course of modernization is inevitably accompanied by profound shifts and changes in the economic system, social structure, interest patterns and ideological views; maintaining social and political stability during this process is of utmost importance. We used reform to drive development and reached our development goals with stability as a prerequisite over the past 30-plus years, promoting reform and development while maintaining social stability and promoting social stability through reform and development. We carried out development for the benefit of the people, relying on the people and ensuring that all the people share in the fruits of development. We made constant improvement in people’s lives the pivotal point in balancing reform, development and stability, brought into full play the people’s initiative and ensured that more people shared in the fruits of development, winning wide and solid support for reform among the people. We correctly identified and handled the contradictions that emerged in economic and social activities and quickly and properly handled contradictions among the people, carefully taking into consideration the interests of all sectors and increasing factors conducive to harmony and reducing factors leading to friction in society to the greatest extent, thus maintaining overall social stability. Development is the absolute principle and maintaining stability is an essential task. China is now in a key period of development beset by an interrelated combination of old and new contradictions and an interrelated combination of long-standing contradictions and contradictions unique to the current stage. Efforts to promote reform, development and stability are facing new challenges. If we are to carry out smooth socialist modernization, we must be more conscientious in ensuring that the strength of reform and the speed of development are in line with the ability of society to tolerate them, correctly identify and properly balance major different interests, properly balance personal interests and collective interests, properly balance specific interests and overall interests, and properly balance current interests and future interests. In addition, we must lose no time in developing a scientific and effective mechanism for balancing interests, a scientific and effective mechanism to allow the people to express their demands, a scientific and effective mechanism for mediating and settling disputes and a scientific and effective mechanism for safeguarding the people’s rights and interests to provide institutional guarantees for social harmony and stability.

    Six, we must adhere to our independent foreign policy of peace and follow a path of peaceful development and promote harmony, peace and prosperity for all in the world to create a favorable external environment for socialist modernization. China’s development cannot be divorced from the world. We need both a stable domestic environment and a peaceful international environment to carry out socialist modernization. We have been advocating and firmly adhering to the theme of the times, which is peace and development, and implementing a correct foreign affairs strategy and policy since the institution of reform and opening up based on a scientific analysis of trends and changes in the world. Despite changes in the international situation, we have consistently adhered to an independent foreign policy of peace, held high the banner of peace, development and cooperation, worked to improve foreign relations on all fronts to develop friendly and cooperative relations with all countries. In line with the trend towards multi-polarization and economic globalization, we promoted democracy in international relations, participated in international economic cooperation and competition and promoted the establishment of a fair and reasonable new order in international politics and economy. We actively participated in multilateral affairs, fulfilled our international responsibilities, carried out our international obligations and demonstrated that China is a large, responsible developing country. This has created a very good international environment for China’s reform and opening up and made an important contribution to the peace and development of the world. Historical changes have taken place in the relationship between contemporary China and the rest of the world. China’s destiny is now closely linked with the destiny of the rest of the world so we must take into consideration both the domestic and international situations in pursuing socialist modernization. We will always follow a road of peaceful development and pursue friendly and cooperative relations with all countries on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, oppose all forms of hegemony and power politics, oppose all forms of terrorism and always be a staunch force for safeguarding world peace. We will always follow an open strategy of mutual benefit and work to create win-win situations, expand the scope of interests in common with all other parties, take into consideration the legitimate concerns of all parties, particularly those of developing countries, while pursuing our own development, work to liberalize trade and investment and cut through associated red tape and do more to bring about development and prosperity for all.

    Seven, we must uphold and continue to improve the Party’s leadership and continuously work to improve the Party’s ability to govern and the quality of the Party’s leadership to ensure that the Party is the strong core leading socialist modernization. Maintaining the leadership position of the CPC is a fundamental political principle for a socialist country, and developing the Party is an important principle to ensure the success of the great causes under the leadership of the Party. In order to adhere to a socialist road with Chinese characteristics, carry out socialist modernization and realize the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation we must always uphold the leadership of the CPC. The key to socialist modernization lies in strengthening and improving Party leadership. We closely integrated efforts to carry out the great new program of Party development with efforts to pursue the great causes of the Party while carrying out the reform and opening up policy. We maintained a close connection between Party development and the pursuit of socialism with Chinese characteristics and promoted the cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics by strengthening and improving Party development work. On the basis of a scientific judgment of the position of the Party in history, we adopted a series of policy measures to improve the system of democratic centralism, improve the overall quality of Party members, improve the Party’s work style and punish and prevent corruption in the Party closely tied to two major historic issues. One is how to raise the Party’s overall level of leadership and improve the Party’s ability to govern and two is how to make the Party become less vulnerable to corruption and decadence and how to strengthen the ability of the Party to cope with risk. To address changes in the situation and new problems currently facing the Party, we improved all areas of Party development in a spirit of reform and innovation, continuously promoted innovation of the Party building in practice, theory and system. We upheld and developed the Party’s advanced nature and constantly strengthened the Party’s creativity, cohesiveness and combat capacity in the great cause of leading implementation of the reform and opening up policy. In the face of new demands placed on Party development by developments and changes in the global situation, domestic situation and situation in the Party, we will carry out ideological development, organizational development, work style development, institutional development and efforts to fight corruption and ensure clean government in relation to efforts to improve the Party’s ability to govern and strengthen its advanced nature and in relation to efforts to preserve the close ties between the Party and the people, conscientiously following a principle that the Party exercises self-discipline and is strict with its members. We are working to develop the Party into a Marxist party adept at learning, strengthen and improve community relations work and delve deeply into the laws governing development of a party in power and constantly working to make Party development more scientific so that the Party will always be the core leadership for the cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics.

    The recently concluded Fifth Plenary Session of the Seventeenth CPC Central Committee was an extremely important meeting that was held in this key period for efforts to develop a moderately prosperous society in all respects and during a period when we are facing some difficult issues affecting efforts to deepen implementation of the reform and opening up policy and speed up transformation of the pattern of economic development. It was also an important meeting because during the session we reviewed our recent experience, made plans for the future and defined the direction and goals for development. During this plenary session we systematically reviewed the great achievements made and valuable experience gained in carrying out economic and social development during the Eleventh Five-Year Plan period, scientifically analyzed the current strategic opportunities and risks and challenges for the Party and introduced the guiding ideology, overall approach, targets and tasks, and major measures for economic and social development in the Twelfth Five-Year Plan period, thus drawing a master blueprint for China’s development over the next five years. We are convinced that so long as we conscientiously follow the guidelines set out at this plenary session and fully carry out all the arrangements made during the session, diligently pursuing scientific development and concentrating on speeding up transformation of the pattern of economic development as the main thread, China’s socialist modernization will surely continue to open up new prospects.

(Originally appeared in Qiushi Journal, Chinese edition, No.22, 2010)


Note: Author: Member of the Political Bureau and the Secretariat of the CPC Central Committee and Director of the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee

The author delivered this keynote address at the symposium on theory held by the Communist Party of China and the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party October 22, 2010.

 

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  Symposium on Theory of the CPC and the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party

  The first Symposium on Theory of the CPC and the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party was held on October 22, 2010 in the Laotian capital of Vientiane with the theme of “The Major Practical and Theoretical Issues in Socialist Modernization.” Liu Yunshan, Member of the Political Bureau and the Secretariat of the CPC Central Committee and Director of the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee and Tongsing Thammavong, member of the Political Bureau of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party and President of the National Assembly of Laos attended the opening ceremony and delivered the keynote addresses. Over 100 people attended the symposium, including the heads of the concerned departments of the two parties as well as scholars and experts. This symposium comes during a time when relations between the two parties have entered a new stage of development and the two sides are stepping up activities to exchange experience in running a party and a country, which contributed to the successful convening of this symposium. In September 2009 Choummaly Sayasone, General Secretary of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party and President of Laos, visited China and met with Hu Jintao, General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee and President of the P.R.C. The two leaders reached agreement on an important matter. They decided to upgrade relations between the two countries to full status as strategic cooperative partners, pointing the way for continuing to deepen relations between the two countries in the new period. In October of the same year Tongsing Thammavong, member of the Political Bureau of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party and President of the National Assembly of Laos, visited China and proposed setting up a mechanism for discussing and exchanging ideas about theory between the two political parties of the two countries to promote more theoretical exchange between the two parties. The Chinese side enthusiastically responded to the proposal. The two parties carried out friendly negotiations to decide on the four major issues to be discussed at this first symposium between the two parties, which were the socialist market economy, industrialization and modernization, reform of government administration, Party development and the training of cadres.

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