Promoting the Party’s External Work—Marking Ninety Years of the CPC’s External Work

From: English Edition of Qiushi Journal Updated: 2011-12-29 14:38
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 This year marks the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China (CPC). The origins of the CPC’s external work can be traced back to the founding of the Party. Over the past 90 years, the Party has made extraordinary progress in its external work, which has run parallel to the course of China’s revolution, development, reform, and opening up. It is important that we look back and review our past experiences, as this will help us to open up a new chapter for the Party’s external work.

 I. Contribution to the cause of the Party and the state over the past 90 years

 The Party began to carry out external work following its establishment in the 1920s, when it first made contact with the Communist International. During the New Democratic Revolution, the Party worked to win sympathy and support from the international community and other progressive forces, and these efforts helped to increase the global influence of the Party and China’s revolution. After the founding of the People’s Republic of China, the Party established extensive friendships with the world’s communist parties, workers’ parties, and progressive forces, which contributed to the rapid launch of China’s international relations, the consolidation of the nascent political power of the people, and the subsequent initiation of socialist revolution and large-scale socialist construction. After the Third Plenary Session of the Eleventh CPC Central Committee in 1978, the Party made important changes to the orientation of its external work, requiring that the external work of the Party must put national interests first; serve the overall diplomacy of the state; adhere to the four-point principles guiding relations between the Party and political parties of other countries; and transcend ideological boundaries, thereby allowing for the development of friendly exchanges with the political parties of other countries. Since the Sixteenth National Party Congress in 2002, we have given full play to the unique role and advantages of high-level exchanges, strategic communications, proactive diplomatic work, prospective study, and basic work in the Party’s external work. At the same time, we have made new progress in the Party’s external work by deepening friendly exchanges and cooperation with a range of political parties from other countries and expanding ties with international organizations of political parties.  

 December 2, 2010, the Head of the International Department of the CPC Central Committee Wang Jiarui (Fourth on the Right) co-chairs the Second U.S.-China High-Level Political Party Leaders Dialogue in Washington with former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright (representative of Democratic Party) and former Assistant Secretary of State Richard Williamson (representative of Republican Party). / Photo by Xinhua Reporter Zhang Jun

 Over the past 90 years, we have identified several rules for the Party’s external work:

 First, we must adhere to scientific guiding principles in the Party’s external work. The Party’s adherence to the latest theoretical achievements in the adaptation of Marxism to suit Chinese conditions is the fundamental reason why, despite the interference and difficulties that have been faced at different periods, constant progress has been made in its external work. After the Third Plenary Session of the Eleventh CPC Central Committee, the Party corrected its errors, totally abolished the “Leftist thinking mode,” and ceased to determine right and wrong on an ideological basis in external work. Adhering to the basic Marxist principles of relations between political parties and taking the conditions of the Party and the state into full consideration, we ushered in a new phase of development for the external work of the Party.

 Second, we must, based on an understanding of contemporary themes and global trends, ensure that the external work of the Party moves with the times. At the end of the 1970s, the CPC concluded that the theme of the times was no longer war and revolution, but peace and development. Since then, the diplomatic efforts made by the Party have helped to secure a favorable global environment for China’s reform, opening up, and modernization, marking a major shift and a breakthrough in the external work of the Party.

 Third, the Party’s external work must comply with and serve the central tasks of the Party. To do this, we must correctly identify the role of the Party’s external work; give play to its advantages; and seek substantive results. Over the past 90 years, the focus of the Party’s external work has shifted as the central tasks of the Party have changed. During the New Democratic Revolution, which lasted from the 1920s to the 1940s, the core of the Party’s external work was to serve the armed struggle, the expansion of the unified front, and the fight for political power. After the founding of the People’s Republic of China, it served to support the socialist revolution and socialist construction. Since the Third Plenary Session of the Eleventh CPC Central Committee, it has served China’s reform and opening up drive and socialist modernization. Therefore, we can see that the Party’s external work has always been closely tied to the Party’s political lines, and that its most fundamental purpose is to serve the Party in the realization of its central tasks.

 Fourth, we must adhere to the four-point principle guiding relations between the CPC and political parties of other countries. We have become aware from the work over the past 90 years that observing appropriate principles for party-to-party interactions is a prerequisite for the sound development of relations between different political parties. China has established four principles to guide relations between the CPC and political parties from other countries, namely, independence, complete equality, mutual respect, and non-interference in each other’s internal affairs. These principles were established on the basis of the experiences of the Party, both positive and negative, in its external work, as well as those of world socialist movements in general. Falling in line with the tide of the times and the trend of party-to-party relations, these principles have been widely recognized by various political parties, and have demonstrated great vitality in practice. They have not only furthered the mutual understanding, friendship and cooperation between the CPC and political parties around the world, but have also promoted relations between China and other countries, and benefited world peace and development.

 Fifth, we must have the courage to try new things and be innovative in order to promote further progress in the Party’s external work. In fact, every single major achievement made in the Party’s external work over the past 90 years can be attributed to constant efforts to try new things and be innovative. At the end of the 1970s, the Party, judging the situation at the time, searched courageously for the path forward and engaged in a series of bold innovations, eventually leading to historical breakthroughs in multiple aspects of the Party’s external work, including the overall guidelines for the external work of the Party, the principles for relations between the CPC and political parties of other countries, the scope of counterparts for contact, and the content and form of external relations. With this, the external work of the Party embarked on a new path of development.

 II. Development and progress of the Party’s external work after the Sixteenth National Party Congress

 Since the Sixteenth National Party Congress was held, the channels through which the Party engages in external exchanges have been constantly expanded, and the content of these exchanges has become increasingly diverse. The CPC now maintains friendly ties with some 600 political parties and organizations spanning more than 160 countries and regions. At present, the external work of the CPC is carried out in many directions, through a variety of channels, over a wide range of working fields, and with more depth than ever before, while the main targets of such efforts are governing parties and their coalition partners, legal opposition parties, and international organizations of political parties. With this, China’s party diplomacy has reached new heights, not only complying with the needs of overall state diplomacy, but also falling in line with the trends of world party politics.

 First, we have served national diplomacy with a creative spirit and worked hard to preserve the important period of strategic opportunity that China currently enjoys. On one hand, we have managed to deepen exchanges with a variety of political parties by taking advantage of the state’s overall diplomatic layout and the strengths of the Party’s external work. Since the Sixteenth National Party Congress, the traditional friendships that the CPC shares with the political parties of other socialist countries have continued to play an irreplaceable role in our bilateral relations with these countries. Exchanges with political parties from neighboring countries have become more balanced, which has helped to increase mutual trust and avoid misunderstanding. Extensive ties have been maintained with a range of political parties from developed countries, helping to promote strategic trust between China and these countries. Exchanges with political parties from developing countries have been constantly deepened, and such initiatives have consolidated the political foundations that underpin our relations with these countries. The frequency of our exchanges and cooperation with various international and regional organizations of political parties has been increased, and multilateral platforms for exchanges between political parties are increasingly becoming a stage for the CPC to publicize its ideologies and policies and increase its international influence. On the other hand, we have actively coordinated the Party’s external work with the major diplomatic arrangements of the state in order to safeguard China’s core and key interests. With respect to relations between China and Japan, the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue, issues concerning Tibet, Xinjiang, and the Beijing Olympic Games, as well as disaster relief, we have stepped in at the appropriate time and made active follow-up efforts. By leveraging the unique channels and networks of party-to-party interactions, we have gained understanding and support from the international community to the greatest possible extent, which has helped to promote the positive development of these issues.

 Second, we have contributed to China’s reform, opening up, and socialist modernization by giving joint consideration to domestic and international situations. On one hand, we have used party-to-party exchanges as a means of learning more about the developmental experiences of others, thereby enabling the Party to draw widely from the achievements of all other countries. Through exchanges, leading Party cadres at all levels have been able to gain a deep understanding of global trends as well as the most recent developmental situations, features, and ideas from around the world. They have learned from both the successes and failures of other countries, and have used these experiences to enrich their own ideas on reform and development. On the other hand, party diplomacy has contributed to China’s reform and development by promoting practical cooperation between nations. Since the Sixteenth National Party Congress, the Party has been sending more than 100 delegations abroad every single year to engage in exchanges and cooperation in the fields of politics, economics, culture, education, and administration of justice. These efforts have not only served to boost economic and social development within China, but have also provided support for China’s strategy of going global.

 Third, we have made great efforts to increase ideological communication and the exchange of ideas in order to project and safeguard a positive image of the Party to the world. As China develops rapidly, the international community is paying increasing attention to the CPC, and international opinion surrounding the Party is becoming more complex. In our interactions with political parties from other countries, we have candidly exchanged opinions and conducted in-depth dialogue. These efforts have allowed us to convey China’s major strategic ideas on peaceful development, social harmony, and world harmony, and have allowed the international community to better understand the Party’s tenets of serving the public good and governing for the people; they have allowed the world to see the core role that the Party plays in maintaining national stability, boosting economic development, and promoting social harmony, and have helped to establish the CPC’s image as an enlightened, open, democratic, progressive, and diligent party that is for the people.

 Fourth, in line with the major development of China’s diplomacy, we have constantly sought out new mechanisms and broader boundaries for party diplomacy. Since the Sixteenth National Party Congress, innovations have been made in regard to the working fields, contents, mechanisms, and methods of the Party’s external work. Firstly, considering the changes that have taken place in the global landscape, we have not only emphasized relations with traditional large countries, but have also paid close attention to relations with major emerging countries. We have established mechanisms for exchanges with political parties in the United States, Japan, Russia, Brazil, India, and Australia. Secondly, we have enhanced strategic communications and cooperation with political parties from different countries in accordance with their respective characteristics. On one hand, for political parties in Western countries, we have placed a greater emphasis on strategic talks. High-level dialogue between the CPC and the political parties in the United States and the China-Europe Political Party Forum have been launched and convened at regular intervals. On the other hand, taking into consideration the hopes of political parties in developing countries, we have probed deeply into lessons and experiences in party governance and state governance, held mutual discourse on governance philosophies, and shared experiences in governance, which have deepened mutual political trust. Thirdly, we have experimented with new approaches for multilateral diplomacy between political parties. We successfully held the Third International Conference of Asian Political Parties, and actively participate in global and regional forums for political parties, thus increasing the influence of the Party. Fourthly, by utilizing ties between political parties, we have encouraged non-governmental organizations to engage extensively in international exchanges and multilateral activities, thus leading to the creation of a new form of people-to-people diplomacy based on party-to-party interactions.

 Fifth, we have enhanced investigations and studies to provide intellectual support for the decision-making of the central leadership. The International Department of the CPC Central Committee conducts in-depth studies into the world situation, diplomatic strategies, and the domestic and diplomatic developments of other countries, so as to provide intellectual support for the major diplomatic decision-making of the Party. We have probed into the rules governing the development of human society from a theoretical perspective, thereby allowing the Party to correctly ascertain world trends, address domestic and global risks, and respond to challenges. By reviewing the root causes behind the fall from power and collapse of ruling parties in the Soviet Union and former socialist countries in Eastern Europe, and drawing lessons from the rise, fall, success, and failure of major and traditionally strong parties, we have provided intellectual support that will allow the Party to improve its ability to govern and strengthen its own development.


(Originally appeared in Qiushi Journal, Chinese edition, No.14, 2011) 
Author: Head of the International Department of the CPC Central Committee
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