Implementing the Guiding Principles of the Eighteenth National Congress of the CPC with a View to Upholding and Developing Socialism with Chinese Characteristics

From: English Edition of Qiushi Journal Updated: 2013-02-18 17:39
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The report to the Eighteenth National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) presents a grand blueprint for China to complete the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects, to accelerate socialist modernization, and to achieve new victories for socialism with Chinese characteristics under new historical conditions. The report is a political proclamation and a program of action for the Party to rally and lead the people of all ethnic groups in China in continuing to march on the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics and striving to complete the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects. As such, it has charted a course for the efforts of China’s new central collective leadership. The Central Committee has issued a notice on studying, publicizing, and implementing the guiding principles set forth at the Eighteenth Congress. Party committees at all levels should be thorough in studying, publicizing, and implementing these principles in accordance with the requirements of the notice.

Yan Pa (Right), a village Party secretary in the Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture of Yunnan Province, gathers a group of villagers together to convey the guiding principles of the Party’s Eighteenth National Congress and promote new social practices on November 28, 2012./ Photo by Xinhua reporter Qin Qing

The congress stressed that we must hold high the great banner of socialism with Chinese characteristics. It held that socialism with Chinese characteristics is the fundamental accomplishment that the Party and the people have made throughout the course of more than 90 years of arduous struggle, and therefore must be cherished, upheld, and constantly enriched. The congress called on the whole Party to explore and grasp the laws of socialism with Chinese characteristics, ensure that the Party retains its vigor and that China always has impetus for development, and work to create a bright future for socialism with Chinese characteristics. It can be said that upholding and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics is the underlying theme of the report to the congress. We must hold fast to this theme and make it the focus, the priority, and the goal of our efforts to study and implement the guidelines of the congress. Only by doing so will we be able to study these guidelines more thoroughly, understand them better, and implement them more purposefully.

Why do I stress this point? This is because the long-term endeavors of the Party and the entire country have shown that only socialism can save China, and that only socialism with Chinese characteristics can enable China to develop itself. Only by holding high the great banner of socialism with Chinese characteristics can we unite the entire Party and the people of all ethnic groups in China, and lead them in completing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects by the centennial of the Communist Party of China, and in turning China into a modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced and harmonious by the centennial of the People’s Republic of China, thus creating an even brighter future for the Chinese people and nation.

It is my understanding that when we study, publicize, and implement the guidelines of the congress with a view to upholding and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics, we should have a good grasp of the following points in both theory and practice.

First, we should fully understand that socialism with Chinese characteristics is the fundamental accomplishment that the Party and the people have made through their long-term efforts. Socialism with Chinese characteristics was born out of a new era of reform and opening up, with its basis being the protracted and arduous struggles of our Party. Socialism with Chinese characteristics is the product of the hardships that the entire Party and the Chinese people have endured, the prices that they have paid, and the continuous explorations that they have engaged in under the leadership of several generations of the Party’s central collective leadership. Our Party has, relying closely on the people, fundamentally changed the destiny of the Chinese people and nation, brought an end to, once and for all, the misery of the old China, a poor and weak country that had suffered from both domestic turmoil and foreign aggression in modern times, and launched the Chinese nation’s irreversible historic march to development and great rejuvenation. It has thus enabled the Chinese nation, which has a civilization of over 5,000 years, to reassert itself among the nations of the world. 

We should always remember the historic contributions that the Party’s three generations of central collective leadership and the Party Central Committee with Hu Jintao as the General Secretary have made to the cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics. The Party’s first generation of central collective leadership, with Mao Zedong at the core, provided invaluable experience, made theoretical preparations, and laid down material foundations for the establishment of socialism with Chinese characteristics in a new era. The Party’s second generation of central collective leadership, with Deng Xiaoping at the core, succeeded in launching the development of socialism with Chinese characteristics. The Party’s third generation of central collective leadership, with Jiang Zemin at the core, successfully brought socialism with Chinese characteristics into the 21st century. In a new century and a new phase, the Party Central Committee with Hu Jintao as the General Secretary has successfully upheld and developed socialism with Chinese characteristics from a new historical starting point. We can see that socialism with Chinese characteristics represents the ideals and explorations of several generations of Chinese Communists, embodies the expectations and aspirations of countless patriots, and that it is the result of the struggles and sacrifices of hundreds of millions of Chinese people. It is therefore the only viable choice for China’s social development, and the only means by which China can develop and remain stable.

Fact has shown that socialism with Chinese characteristics is the banner of unity, progress, and victory for the Communist Party of China and the Chinese people. If we are to complete the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects, accelerate socialist modernization, and achieve the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, we must always hold high the great banner of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and unswervingly uphold and develop socialism with Chinese characteristics. This is the fundamental reason why the congress called on the entire Party to have every confidence in our path, in our theories and in our system. 

Second, we should fully understand that socialism with Chinese characteristics is an integral whole that comprises of our path, our theories, and our system. The congress clearly expounded the scientific connotations of and relationships between the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics, the theories of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and the socialist system with Chinese characteristics. It stressed that the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics is the path to our goals, the theories of socialism with Chinese characteristics are a guide to action, and the socialist system with Chinese characteristics is the fundamental assurance for our success. These three elements come together to form an integral whole during the course of our grand initiatives to implement socialism with Chinese characteristics. This is the most salient feature of socialism with Chinese characteristics.

This summary tells us that there is close integration between practice, theory, and systems under socialism with Chinese characteristics. That is to say, successful practices are elevated as theories, correct theories are used to guide the course of practice, and principles and policies that are proven effective in practice are elevated as systems of the Party and state. Therefore, it can be said that socialism with Chinese characteristics is characterized by its path, theories and systems, by the intrinsic relationship between the path to achieving goals, the guide to action, and the fundamental assurance for success, and by the integration of these three elements during great endeavors to implement socialism with Chinese characteristics. In contemporary China, to uphold and develop socialism with Chinese characteristics is to truly uphold socialism.

The path of socialism with Chinese characteristics is the only way that we can achieve socialist modernization in China and create a better life for the Chinese people. Taking the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics means that we must take economic development as the central task whilst making overall efforts to advance economic, political, cultural, social, and ecological progress; it means that we must adhere to the Four Cardinal Principles whilst pursuing the policy of reform and opening up; and it means that we should liberate and develop the productive forces whilst realizing common prosperity and the all-around development of our people over time. 

The theories of socialism with Chinese characteristics represent the latest achievements in our efforts to adapt Marxism to China’s conditions. These theories, which include Deng Xiaoping Theory, the important thought of Three Represents and the Scientific Outlook on Development, represent the Party’s adherence to, and development, continuation and innovation of Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought. We cannot afford to disregard Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought; to do so would be to lose our roots. Meanwhile, we must concentrate our efforts on addressing practical issues that arise during the course of reform, opening up and modernization, and on what we are working to achieve. We must attach great importance to the application of Marxist theory, to the theoretical analysis of practical issues, and to new practices and new development. In contemporary China, to adhere to the theories of socialism with Chinese characteristics is to truly adhere to Marxism.

The socialist system with Chinese characteristics has organically integrated China’s fundamental political system and basic political systems with its basic economic system and the various mechanisms and institutions that are built upon these systems. It closely combines state-level democracy with community-level democracy, and integrates the leadership of the Party, the position of the people as masters of the country, and the rule of law. This system conforms to China’s conditions. It is a concentrated expression of the features and advantages of socialism with Chinese characteristics, providing a fundamental institutional guarantee for China’s development and progress.

However, it must be noted that although the socialist system with Chinese characteristics is distinct and highly productive, it is not yet perfect, mature, or set in stone. As the cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics continues to progress, the socialist system with Chinese characteristics also needs to be constantly improved. In the important talks he gave during his tour of southern China in 1992, Deng Xiaoping stated, “It will probably take another thirty years for us to develop a more mature and well-defined system in every field.” The congress stressed the need to give priority to institutional building and leverage the advantages of China’s socialist political system. We should continue to promote institutional innovation by engaging in theoretical innovation on the basis of practice, adhere to and improve our existing systems, and create new systems to meet practical needs in a timely manner. By establishing a complete, scientific, well-regulated, and effective framework of systems and ensuring that systems in all areas are well-developed and relatively fixed, we will provide a more effective institutional guarantee to underpin new victories for socialism with Chinese characteristics. 

Third, we need to fully understand the overall basis, the overall plan and the overall task for building socialism with Chinese characteristics. The congress stressed that the overall basis for building socialism with Chinese characteristics is the fact that China is still in the primary stage of socialism; the overall plan for building socialism with Chinese characteristics is to promote economic, political, cultural, social, and ecological progress; and the overall task of socialism with Chinese characteristics is to achieve socialist modernization and the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. This summary is insightful, concise, and to the point. A good understanding of this summary will help us to fully understand the meaning and essence of socialism with Chinese characteristics. 

The reason we lay stress on the overall basis for engaging in socialism with Chinese characteristics is because China’s most fundamental national reality at present is the fact that it is still in the primary stage of socialism. Under no circumstances can we lose sight of this reality. Moreover, this reality should form the basis of our efforts to promote reform and development in all fields. Not only should we base our economic development on the realization that China is still in the primary stage of socialism, but we should also bear this in mind when we are promoting political, cultural, social, and ecological progress. Not only did we base our work on this realization when our economy was small, but we should still bear this in mind now that our economy is large. Not only should we base our long-term planning on this realization, but we should also bear this in mind during the course of our day-to-day work. The Party’s basic line for the primary stage of socialism is the lifeblood of the Party and the country. During the course of our work, we should always maintain an unswerving commitment to the basic line of “one central task, two basic points,” neither diverting from the central task, nor stressing one basic point to the neglect of the other. We should both pursue our common ideal of socialism with Chinese characteristics and be true to the lofty ideal of communism. We should resolutely reject all kinds of erroneous attempts to abandon socialism, and take the initiative to rectify ideas and policy measures that attempt to transcend the primary stage of socialism. Only then can we be sure to neither underestimate nor overestimate what we are capable of, and take solid steps towards new victories for socialism with Chinese characteristics. 

The reason we lay stress on the overall plan for building socialism with Chinese characteristics is because socialism with Chinese characteristics is about all-around development. We must be firmly committed to pursuing development as the number one task of the Party in exercising power and rejuvenating the country, ensure that the Party always represents the requirements for developing China’s advanced productive forces, steadfastly take economic development as the central task, and advance in a coordinated way political, cultural, social and ecological progress as well as progress in other fields on the basis of constant economic development. As China’s economic and social development deepens, the importance of developing an ecological civilization is becoming increasingly prominent. The development of an ecological civilization was included in the overall plan for building socialism with Chinese characteristics at the congress. This inclusion has further clarified the strategic position of ecological civilization, and will help us to merge the pursuit of ecological progress into all aspects of our initiatives to promote economic, political, cultural and social progress. Therefore, this is an important achievement that the Party has made in constantly deepening its understanding and implementation of the laws that govern the building of socialism. On the basis of this overall plan, we shall work to achieve a balance between different aspects of modernization, between relations of production and productive forces, and between the superstructure and the economic base.

The reason we stress the overall task of socialism with Chinese characteristics is because our Party has shouldered the historical mission of accomplishing the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation ever since it was founded. Our Party has led the people through revolution, development, and reform because of its desire to bring prosperity to the Chinese people, make China prosperous and strong, and rejuvenate the Chinese nation. The underlying goal of the Party and country throughout the primary stage of socialism is to establish China as a modern socialist country that is strong, prosperous, democratic, culturally advanced and harmonious in accordance with a three-step strategy for modernization. The grand mission of the Party, the fundamental purpose of reform and opening up, and the goal of the country all come down to this overall task. We must concentrate on this overall task with every determination and make unremitting efforts to carry it out generation after generation. 

In different historical periods, our Party has always proposed inspiring goals to satisfy the desires of the people and the requirements of our causes, and it has always led the people in working hard to attain these goals. In response to changes in both the domestic and international situations, to economic and social progress in China, and to the new expectations of the people, the congress enriched and built on the objective of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects by putting forward a set of new requirements which are more policy-oriented, more targeted towards difficulties arising from development, and which better conform to the will of the people. These objectives and requirements are in conformity with the goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects set forth at the Sixteenth National Party Congress; with the new requirements for attaining the goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects set forth at the Seventeenth National Party Congress; and with the overall plan for building socialism with Chinese characteristics. All Party members and people of all ethnic groups in China should work hard with one heart and one mind and with a pioneering and innovative spirit in an effort to attain the goals of completing the building of a moderately prosperous society and deepening China’s reform and opening up in an all-around way.

Fourth, we should fully understand the basic requirements that must be met in order to achieve new victories for socialism with Chinese characteristics. The congress set forth the basic requirements that we must meet in order to win new victories for socialism with Chinese characteristics under new historical conditions. These requirements have been formulated in accordance with the Party’s basic theory, line, program, and experience, and on the basis of more than 60 years of experience in building socialism, particularly socialism with Chinese characteristics. They are the most essential manifestation of the laws related to communist party governance, to the building of socialism, and to the development of human society, demonstrating that the Party’s understanding of the laws governing socialism with Chinese characteristics has reached a new level. 

The basic requirements introduced at the congress have provided an answer to the question of how we will win new victories for socialism with Chinese characteristics on a new historical journey. Socialism with Chinese characteristics is a cause for hundreds of millions of people. Therefore, we must maintain the people’s principal position in the country and ensure that the people are the masters of the country. The fundamental task of socialism with Chinese characteristics is to release and develop productive forces. Therefore, we must take economic development as the central task, identify the pursuit of development in a scientific way as the underlying guideline, and realize a scientific means of development which puts people first and which is comprehensive, balanced and sustainable. Reform and opening up are crucial to adhering to and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics. Therefore, we must always integrate the spirit of reform and innovation into all aspects of governance and continuously promote the self-improvement and self-development of China’s socialist system. Fairness and justice are inherent requirements of socialism with Chinese characteristics. Therefore, relying on the concerted efforts of all the Chinese people and based on economic and social development, we must step up our efforts to develop institutions that are vital to ensuring social fairness and justice, and gradually establish a system for guaranteeing fairness in society. Common prosperity is the fundamental principle of socialism with Chinese characteristics. Therefore, we must ensure that all people can better enjoy the fruits of development in a fairer way and move steadily toward common prosperity. Social harmony is an inherent attribute of socialism with Chinese characteristics. Therefore, we must rally all forces that can be rallied, maximize factors conducive to harmony, and increase the creative vitality of society so as to ensure that the people live and work in contentment, that society is stable and orderly, and that the country enjoys enduring peace and stability. Peaceful development is the only viable option for socialism with Chinese characteristics. Therefore, we must pursue development through opening up and mutually beneficial cooperation, expand common interests, and work to build a harmonious world of enduring peace and common prosperity. The Communist Party of China is the core of leadership of the cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics. Therefore, we must enhance and improve the Party’s leadership and ensure that the Party exerts its role as the core of leadership that exercises overall leadership and coordinates overall efforts.

The basic requirements set forth at the congress have provided positive responses to serious issues arising from China’s economic and social development, to difficult issues facing China’s reform and the transformation of its economic growth model, and to hotspot issues of common concern among officials and the public. At a decisive stage of our efforts to complete the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects, they will provide us with a correct guide to promoting China’s reform, development, and stability, to handling domestic affairs, foreign affairs and national defense, and to governing the Party, the state, and the armed forces. These requirements involve both the productive forces and relations of production and the economic base and superstructure, both the cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics and the great new undertaking of Party building. They also involve overall domestic and international concerns. All of the strategies and plans set forth at the congress conform to and reflect these basic requirements. By holding fast to them, we will be better able to rally forces, tackle difficult problems, and continue promoting scientific development, social harmony, and improvements in people’s standard of living, so as to fulfill the glorious but arduous tasks bestowed on us by the times.

Fifth, we should fully understand the need to ensure that the Party is always the core of firm leadership of the cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics. The congress stressed that rallying the people together and leading them in completing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects, in advancing socialist modernization, and in achieving the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation is an important mission of the Party. So long as the Party maintains its strength and close ties with the people, China will enjoy prosperity and stability, and the Chinese people will live in peace and happiness. The changing situation, the progression of our causes, and the expectations of the people will compel us to comprehensively carry out the great new undertaking of Party building in an innovative reform-driven manner and make Party building more scientific in all respects. To do a good job of running the country we must first do a good job of running the Party, and to run the Party well means to run it strictly. For this reason, the congress set forth the general requirements and specific tasks for making Party building more scientific in all respects under new conditions. All Party members must study these requirements carefully and implement them to the letter. 

The general requirements for Party building adopted at the congress both promote and carry forward the advanced nature of a Marxist political party that our Party has maintained and developed over more than 90 years. At the same time, they also conform to and respond to new changes globally, nationally, and within the Party. Thanks to our efforts to carry out the great new undertaking of Party building in all respects over the past few years, the Party’s capacity for governance has been further increased, the Party’s advanced nature and purity have been maintained and developed, and the Party’s leadership has been strengthened and improved. However, the Party’s capacity to lead and govern, our efforts to strengthen Party organizations, and the quality, competence, and conduct of Party member officials are still falling short of the needs to respond to domestic and international developments and to accomplish the historic tasks of the Party. In particular, faced with the “four major tests” and “four major dangers” in strengthening and improving Party building under new conditions, the task of effectively exercising self-discipline and being strict with Party members has become more arduous and pressing than ever before. All members of the Party should heighten their sense of urgency and sense of responsibility, hold fast to the general requirements for Party building, and constantly increase the Party’s capacity to lead and govern as well as its ability to resist corruption and degeneration and withstand risks. This will ensure that the Party always stays at the forefront of the times during the course of profound changes in the world situation; that it will always be the backbone of the people during the course of our response to all kinds of risks and challenges at home and abroad; and that it will continue to be the core of strong leadership during the course of our efforts to build socialism with Chinese characteristics. 

Firm ideals, strong convictions, and dedication to the communist spirit are the things that allow a communist to stand strong. Faith in Marxism and conviction in socialism and communism constitute the political soul of communists and a source of strength which allows communists to withstand any test. To put it more vividly, ideals and convictions represent the “nutrients” that communists require; without those ideals and convictions, communists would suffer from “malnutrition.” In real life, some Party members and officials have made certain mistakes, and the underlying reason is because they have lost their faith and their spirit. All Party members should conscientiously study and put into practice the theories of socialism with Chinese characteristics, especially the Scientific Outlook on Development, in accordance with the arrangements of the congress. They should act with Party spirit, lay emphasis on integrity, set a good example, and strive ceaselessly to realize the common ideal of socialism with Chinese characteristics.

Strengthening the bonds between the Party and the people and between officials and the public and maintaining our close ties with the people comprise the vital foundation on which our Party will always stand unchallenged. The future and destiny of a political party and a political power is ultimately determined by whether the people support it or not. If we become alienated from the people and lose their support, the result will ultimately be our failure. In accordance with the new characteristics and requirements of our public-affairs initiatives under new conditions, we must exert ourselves in organizing the people, communicating with them, educating them, and serving them. At the same time, we must learn from the people with an open mind, sincerely accept their oversight, remain rooted among them, strive to benefit them, maintain close ties with them, and always stand together with them. We should draw wisdom and strength from the great endeavors of the people, take practical steps to respond to the will of the people, address the concerns of the people, and make life better for the people, and set right acts that harm the interests of the people. The congress stated that we should carry out intensive activities throughout the Party to study and practice the mass line, with the focus being placed on the need to serve the people in a down-to-earth, honest, and upright fashion. The Central Committee of the Party will make plans for these activities, and Party committees at all levels should work effectively to carry them out. High priority will be given to solving serious problems that the people feel strongly about, so as to ensure that substantial results can come from these activities.

Combating corruption, cultivating political integrity, and ensuring that the organs of the Party stay healthy has always been a clear-cut political stand adhered to by our Party. Improving Party conduct and upholding integrity is a major political issue that both officials and the public have always been concerned about. “When things decay, vermin thrive.” In recent years, long-term problems in certain countries have led to public resentment, social unrest, and the fall of state power. Graft and corruption have been among the major causes of such occurrences. An abundance of facts show us that if corruption is allowed to run rampant, it will ultimately result in the collapse of the governing party and the fall of the state. Therefore, we must stay vigilant against corruption. We have been left stunned by the serious breaches of discipline and violations of the law that have taken place within the Party in recent years. These violations have been despicable, and their political impacts extremely negative. Party committees at all levels must take a clear-cut stand against corruption, take effective steps to prevent and combat corruption in a more scientific way, and see to it that officials are honest, that the government is clean, that political integrity is upheld, and that the honest and upright political character of communists is forever preserved. Leading officials at all levels, particularly high-ranking officials, must readily observe the code of conduct on clean governance, not only exercising strict self-discipline, but also strengthening their guidance and supervision over their family members and staff. Under no circumstances can they be allowed to use their power for personal gain or seek special privileges. There can be absolutely no mercy in bringing those who violate Party discipline and state laws to justice. 

The congress stressed that developing socialism with Chinese characteristics is an arduous, long-term, and historically important task, and we must be prepared to engage in a great struggle that will embody many new historical features. All Party members must be firm in their convictions, forge ahead with tenacity, unswervingly adhere to socialism with Chinese characteristics and promote its development as required by the times, and constantly enrich socialism with Chinese characteristics to give it stronger practical and theoretical characteristics and make it more distinctive of both China and the times we live in. We must rally and lead the people of all ethnic groups in China in achieving all the objectives and tasks for completing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects, and in striving to accomplish the three historic tasks of promoting modernization, reunifying the motherland, and safeguarding world peace and promoting common development. These are the historic tasks that our generation of Communists must shoulder, and we must devote all of our wisdom and strength to accomplishing them.


(Originally appeared in Qiushi Journal, Chinese edition, No.23, 2012)

 

Note: This is a speech made by Xi Jinping, General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee, at the first group study session of the Political Bureau of the Eighteenth CPC Central Committee.

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