Unity and Cooperation: The Relationship Between the CPC and Other Political Parties of China

From: English Edition of Qiushi Journal Updated: 2011-12-28 18:56
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 In his speech to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the founding of the CPC, Hu Jintao, General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee, pointed out that the tenacious struggles of Chinese Communists and people of all ethnic groups in China over the past 90 years have allowed China to complete the new-democratic revolution, complete the socialist revolution, and carry out a great new revolution of reform and opening up, three major events that have reshaped the destiny of the Chinese people and the Chinese nation. During this mighty and magnificent historical process, the various democratic parties in China have come to accept the leadership of the CPC as the times required. Standing as one, the CPC and these parties fulfilled their historic mission to win national independence and liberate the people; together, they are committed to making the country strong and prosperous, and the people happy. History has shown us that the unity and cooperation between the CPC and the democratic parties has been fundamental to the success of China’s revolution, development, and reform, and that only with such unity and cooperation will the Chinese nation be able to create miracle after miracle as it strides towards its great rejuvenation.

  March 28, 2011, the United Front Work Department of the CPC Central Committee organized for the central committees of the democratic parties, the leaders of the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce, and personages without party affiliation to participate in an education activity entitled “Remembering History and Acting Together in Unison.” The activity was carried out in Chongqing. / Photo by Xinhua reporter Zhou Hengyi

 A common historical responsibility has dictated the necessity of unity and cooperation between the CPC and the democratic parties

 Throughout the patriotic fight against imperialism, the struggle for democracy, and the development of socialism with Chinese characteristics, the CPC and the democratic parties, with common ideals, have maintained a joint commitment to working together for progress. This has given rise to a deep friendship that enables them to stand as one and share the same fate. Due to this, the CPC and the democratic parties, as the ruling party and participating parties respectively, have been able to spur each other forward and develop side by side, leading to remarkable achievements that have gone down in history.

 The CPC and the democratic parties stood together through trials and tribulations in the bitter struggle for victory in the new-democratic revolution. In modern times, China was thrown into a crisis and various political forces in China took to the historical stage, contending with one another in a bid to carry out their own plans. At that time, the CPC proposed a program for a new-democratic revolution that would oppose imperialism and feudalism. It united with revolutionary classes and patriots from all circles of society in a joint quest for national independence and liberation. The democratic parties in China, which also advocated patriotism and democracy, supported and maintained close ties with the CPC. As their understanding of the CPC became deeper, they began to cooperate with the CPC actively, and a relationship of unity and cooperation was subsequently established. Faced with the full-scale Japanese invasion of China, the CPC called for a national united front to resist Japanese aggression. China’s democratic parties actively responded to the CPC’s calls for resistance, unity, and progress, devoting themselves to a movement that aimed to resist Japanese aggression and save the country. This would eventually lead to the Chinese nation’s first complete victory in its struggle against imperialist aggression. After defeating Japanese aggression, China found itself at crossroads: either become a new China, or continue to be the old China. Against this backdrop, the CPC united with other parties, organizations, and people from all walks of life to form a people’s democratic united front. Gradually realizing the direction in which China’s revolution would unfold, the democratic parties actively responded to the calls of the CPC, willingly accepted the leadership of the CPC, committed themselves to the new-democratic revolution, and joined the CPC in forming the new China. With this, the unity and cooperation between the CPC and the democratic parties entered a new historical stage.

 The CPC and the democratic parties worked together with one mind during the course of the socialist revolution and construction. Following the founding of the People’s Republic of China, the Party’s first generation of central collective leadership, with Mao Zedong at the core, faced a devastated society and a daunting reconstruction task. Leading people of all ethnic groups, the CPC, together with the democratic parties, engaged in a tireless search for the path ahead. With strong beliefs, they weathered all manner of trials and tribulations and united as one to seize victory. Seeking to develop a political structure modeled around multi-party cooperation, the CPC identified the basic principle of “long-term coexistence and mutual supervision.” In order to build and consolidate a democratic power of the people, a large number of representatives from democratic parties and democratic personages without party affiliation took up senior posts in various levels of government. In this capacity, they actively participated in China’s democratic reform and construction, and did their utmost to contribute to the rehabilitation of the national economy and the consolidation of the new-born people’s power. In order to establish and improve the socialist system, the CPC formulated the general line for the transitional period, which was met with strong endorsement from the democratic parties. The democratic parties joined hands with the CPC in a concerted effort to promote the socialist transformation of China’s capitalist industry and commerce and the establishment of joint state-private enterprises by whole trades. In doing so, they joined the entire Chinese people on the road to socialism. Setting out to maintain unity and cooperation with the democratic parties, the CPC encouraged democratic parties and personages from all circles to put forward, analyze, and solve problems independently. At the same time, the CPC itself adhered to “three don’ts,” namely: don’t pick on others for their faults, don’t put labels on people, and don’t punish people for their opinions. These efforts helped to inject further vigor and vitality into multi-party cooperation.

 The CPC and the democratic parties have made concerted efforts to overcome difficulties on the road to socialism with Chinese characteristics. The decision to shift the focus of the Party and the state was passed at the Third Plenary Session of the Eleventh CPC Central Committee, signaling the beginning of a new voyage towards the great cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics. On the basis of enhancements to China’s theories and policies, as well as improvements to the capacities of both the ruling party and the participating parties, the close cooperation between the CPC and the democratic parties grew stronger amidst focused efforts to boost institutional development and promote the cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics. The Party’s second generation of central collective leadership, with Deng Xiaoping at the core, asserted that China’s democratic parties had become political alliances of those socialist working people and those patriots supporting socialism with whom they were respectively linked, and put forward the principles of long-term coexistence, mutual supervision, sincere treatment, and the sharing of weal or woe, which laid down solid foundations for the development of multi-party cooperation under the backdrop of China’s reform and opening up. The Party’s third generation of central collective leadership, with Jiang Zemin at the core, emphasized that the system of multi-party cooperation and political consultation under the leadership of the CPC was one of China’s fundamental political systems, and correctly recognized the role of democratic parties as participating parties dedicated to the socialist cause. This represented another solid step forward for the system of multi-party cooperation. The CPC Central Committee, with Hu Jintao as the General Secretary, has maintained an unswerving commitment to the road of socialist political development with Chinese characteristics. It has placed emphasis on the consolidation and development of harmonious relations between political parties, and taken steps to bring the system of multi-party cooperation and political consultation under the leadership of the CPC under specifically defined institutions, regulations, and procedures. This has helped to ensure that multi-party cooperation continues to develop on the right track. The democratic parties have steadily promoted transitions between leaders and the handover of power; continued fine traditions and styles; and constantly enhanced their ideological development, organizational development, and institutional development. By making full use of their political, organizational, and intellectual advantages, they have diligently engaged in democratic supervision and participated in the deliberation and administration of state affairs. By offering advice and suggestions in regard to important issues that have a bearing on the prosperity of the nation and the wellbeing of the people, they have made an important contribution to China’s economic development, social progress, and national unity. As an outstanding system among the political party systems of the world, China’s system of multi-party cooperation is shining brightly as the country pursues reform, opening up, and modernization. It is a great source of political strength that China will rely on to promote socialism with Chinese characteristics.

 The CPC and the democratic parties were brought together by a common historical goal to achieve national independence and the liberation of the people. They have worked together hand in hand to strive for the strength and prosperity of the country and the common prosperity of the people. Through the past and the present, we have seen how unity and cooperation between the CPC and the democratic parties has maximized the worth of the democratic parties, helped to maintain democracy and solidarity to the greatest possible extent, and done a great deal to stimulate the creativity of all sectors of society. This has provided a limitless driving force for the development of socialism with Chinese characteristics.

 The essence of the political party system with Chinese characteristics has always been unity and cooperation between the CPC and the democratic parties

 The system of multi-party cooperation and political consultation under the leadership of the CPC has been maintained and strengthened throughout the course of China’s socialist revolution, socialist construction, and reform and opening up drive. As a socialist political party system, it not only accords to the conditions in China, but also boasts a huge source of vitality. The unity and cooperation between the CPC and the democratic parties represents the core and essence of this system; it reveals the unique elements of the political party system with Chinese characteristics.

 The unity and cooperation between the CPC and the democratic parties demonstrates the rich cultural foundations of the political party system with Chinese characteristics. The values of harmony and harmony in diversity can be seen throughout the development of Chinese culture, and are embedded in the thoughts and lives of the Chinese nation. The political party system with Chinese characteristics is rooted in the rich culture of China. This system takes cooperation, participation and consultation as its basic spirit, and unity, democracy and harmony as its essential nature. It adheres to the principles of seeking common ground while reserving differences; striving for understanding and tolerance; strengthening identity on the basis of respecting differences; and expanding consensus while tolerating diversity. These characteristics make it a paradigm of China’s culture of harmony: not only giving it distinctive Chinese features and manner, but also allowing it to display the cultural traditions of the Chinese nation. As a system, it lives up to the aspirations and the demands of the people, and conforms to the actual needs of China at the present.

 The prominent inherent feature of China’s political party system is that the various political parties unite, cooperate with each other, and act together in unison. The distinguishing feature of China’s political party system is the cooperative relationship that it creates between political parties. In this relationship, the ruling party is closely integrated with the participating parties, and leadership is closely integrated with cooperation. The CPC governs the country as the ruling party in accordance with the law, sincerely cooperates with personages outside the Party, and willingly submits itself to democratic supervision. On the other hand, the democratic parties play an important role in the political and social affairs of the country as participating parties and companions of the CPC, which they do by participating in state power; in the administration of state affairs; in decision-making concerning national policies, important affairs, and the nomination of national leaders; and in the formulation and implementation of national principles, policies, laws, and regulations. The CPC promotes unity via its political leadership, while the democratic parties promote cooperation through their participation in the deliberation and administration of state affairs, thereby allowing for a balance to be maintained between extensive participation and concentrated leadership. This gives full play to the advantages and functions of the system of multi-party cooperation.

 The unity and cooperation between the CPC and the democratic parties demonstrates the capacity of the political party system with Chinese characteristics to integrate resources. The CPC closely unites with the other political parties, pools wisdom from all sectors of society, accumulates strength from all directions, and extensively integrates resources in order to form a powerful cohesion. This is an enormous strength of the political party system with Chinese characteristics. Political consultation allows for the formation of the widest possible social consensus, which then leads to unity in thought and action; participation in the deliberation and administration of state affairs allows the CPC to solicit opinions and suggestions over the broadest possible scope, which helps it to make scientific decisions; and adherence to the principles of respect and tolerance encourages creativity, which helps all participants of the process to reach their potential. Owing to wide-ranging and profound cooperation, the CPC and the democratic parties share the same ideologies, work toward the same goals, and act together in unison. Together, they have consolidated the foundations of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and strengthened the force that will propel the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.

 Cooperation and unity reflects the contemporary values embodied within the political party system with Chinese characteristics. Cooperation and mutual benefit are the foundations on which the Chinese political party system is built. At the same time, cooperation and mutual benefit are also basic principles that must be adhered to in any effort to develop a harmonious society and a harmonious world. As the vanguard of the Chinese working class, the Chinese people, and the Chinese nation, the CPC represents the fundamental interests of the overwhelming majority of the people. As political alliances of the socialist working people, builders of socialism, and patriots supporting socialism with whom they are linked, the democratic parties represent and reflect the aspirations and demands of their members and the people with whom they are associated. Through the integration of consultative democracy and electoral democracy, China’s political system and political party system are able to achieve a balance between the wishes of the majority and those of the minority, and combine common interests with specific interests. This encourages the people to work together, share the fruits of their efforts, and live in a state of harmony. Therefore, the concepts embodied within China’s political party system are not just a product of the collective wisdom of the Chinese people, but also a great contribution to human political civilization.

 The CPC and the democratic parties will continue to seek renewed success in the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation on the basis of unity and cooperation

 The CPC and the democratic parties have been bound together by their common historical struggle and their common responsibilities. Looking back, they have created a glorious chapter in the modern history of China, leaving behind a much-told story of unity and cooperation. Looking towards the future, the prospects for the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation are bright and they shoulder heavy responsibilities. Therefore, the CPC and the democratic parties must continue to work together with one heart to promote the progression of socialism with Chinese characteristics.

 China must uphold its system of multi-party cooperation and remain committed to the road of socialism with Chinese characteristics. In his speech to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the founding of the CPC, Hu Jintao emphasized: “The path of socialism with Chinese characteristics is the only way for China to achieve socialist modernization and secure a high standard of living for its people.” This great path has been developed by the CPC and the democratic parties through their long-term cooperation, struggle, and action. Following this path is vital to the future and destiny of the CPC and the democratic parties, and to the development of their cooperation. Therefore, we must take a clear-cut stand, reinforce our beliefs, keep a clear head, and stick to the path ahead, regardless of what happens. We should systematically take stock of the invaluable experiences that we have gained from multi-party cooperation over the past 60 years and place an emphasis on top-level design in order to develop a theoretical framework for China’s political party system that embodies both general principles common to democracy and distinguishing Chinese characteristics. On this basis, we should make efforts to bring our multi-party cooperation under clearly defined institutions, norms, and procedures.

 We should enhance the effectiveness of multi-party cooperation in practice in order to focus energies on the scientific development of society and the economy. Promoting scientific development and building a moderately prosperous society in all respects is the common desire of all ethnic groups in China as well as the common goal that the CPC and the democratic parties are working towards. To achieve this goal, the CPC must solicit a wide range of opinions and pool the wisdom of the people, while the democratic parties should fully exert their strengths by offering suggestions and devoting efforts. In line with the themes and goals of the Twelfth-Five Year Plan, the democratic parties should, by conducting thorough investigations and studies and making useful proposals, contribute to the resolution of major issues concerning the transformation of China’s pattern of economic development and the achievement of scientific development. In order to ensure the people’s wellbeing and improve their standard of living, the democratic parties should focus on the practical issues of most immediate concern to the people, report social conditions and popular sentiment in detail, and follow up on their suggestions. This will help to ensure that everyone is able to benefit from China’s development. The democratic parties should focus on efforts to promote the development of impoverished areas and lift the people in these areas out of poverty. With this in mind, they should go a step further to promote development and benefit the people by carrying out projects that can create a large number of jobs and bring a large number of people out of poverty. The CPC should pool wisdom and strength to promote development, and unite with the democratic parties to accomplish the historic mission entrusted by the times.

 We should improve the environment for multi-party cooperation and constantly consolidate and develop harmonious relations between political parties. The candid and harmonious relationship between the CPC and the democratic parties, which is the product of a long process of unity and cooperation, demonstrates the essence of China’s political party system. This relationship underpins the stability of the political framework of multi-party cooperation, and represents a necessary requirement for the development of socialist democracy. The CPC must correctly understand its role as the political leader. It should maintain its leadership over political principles, political orientation, and important policies, while at the same time respecting the organizational independence of democratic parties and carrying out its work using political guidance and full consultation. We should correctly understand the role of the CPC as the ruling party and the role of the democratic parties as participating parties, make full use of their different political roles, and work together in a common quest to ensure that the people are masters of the country, thereby safeguarding the fundamental interests of the overwhelming majority of the people. We should correctly understand the united and cooperative relationship between the CPC and the democratic parties in the development of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and always adhere to the basic principles of long-term coexistence, mutual supervision, sincere treatment, and the sharing of weal or woe. The democratic parties should focus on the central task, work to serve overall interests, and make helpful comments and suggestions. The CPC and the democratic parties should work with one heart to make their unity and cooperation more profound, more extensive, and more advanced.

 We should consolidate the foundations of multi-party cooperation and encourage the ruling party and the participating parties to spur each other forward in development. As the ruling party and the participating parties, the CPC and the democratic parties should support each other in development and make progress in unison. This will ensure the steady and healthy development of multi-party cooperation and serve to promote continued success in the development of socialism with Chinese characteristics. While promoting the great new program of Party development, the CPC shall work, as the ruling party, to incorporate multi-party cooperation into its efforts to develop its governing capacity and vanguard nature. The CPC should make its leading cadres at all levels more aware of the importance of cooperation with the democratic parties. At the same time, it should improve the pattern of this unity and cooperation and constantly increase its ability to lead. As participating parties, the democratic parties should learn from the successful experiences of the CPC in party development whilst carrying forward their own fine traditions. In accordance with objectives and principles for the development of participating parties, the democratic parties should put ideological development first, focus on enhancing the abilities of leading bodies, and constantly promote institutional development. On this basis, they should establish a permanent mechanism for the continuation of fine traditions and fine styles and for changes of leadership, which will allow them to maintain their progressive nature.


(Originally appeared in Qiushi Journal, Chinese edition, No.17, 2011)

Author: Vice Chairperson of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference; Director of the United Front Work Department of the CPC Central Committee

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