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Xi Jinping: Thoughts on the Party’s Buildup over the 60 Years since Establishing the New China

Below is the translation of selected parts of the article from The article was from the speech that Xi Jinping (China’s Vice President, and a ranking member of the Secretariat of the Communist Party, and of the Politburo Standing Committee) gave at the Autumn School Opening Ceremony of the Party School of The Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The speech was titled, “Thoughts on Party Buildup over the 60 Years since Establishing the New China.” [1]

“Right before establishing the New China (the People’s Republic of China), Comrade Mao Zedong used the analogy of “going to Beijing to take a test” to describe our party’s task of governance. He also said, “We will not be Li Zicheng. [2] We hope to do well in the test.” After sixty years, reality has shown that our party has passed the “test” and the people are satisfied with the party. The achievements of passing the “test” and people being satisfied is fundamentally due to the fact that in the work of governing the nation for the people in the past 60 years the party has made great accomplishments with worldwide attention. These accomplishments mainly consist of three aspects.”

“First of all, our party has led people of all ethnic groups to achieve the transformation from the New Democratic Revolution to Socialist Revolution and Development, from a highly concentrated planned economic system to a dynamic socialist market economic system, and from being completely closed or semi-closed, to fully opening up to the outside world in all domains. We have established a basic socialist system and the guiding role of Marxism in ideology. Through difficult explorations in the practices of the reform and opening up, we have found the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics, formed the theoretical system of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics, and have continuously consolidated, developed, and perfected our socialist system. The establishment of the basic socialist system and the exploring of the socialist path with Chinese characteristics have built a fundamental political premise and institutional base for current China’s development and progress, pioneered an extremely broad, bright, and beautiful prospect for Chinese people, and empowered the Chinese people with unprecedented vitality.

Secondly, on top of an old China of destitution, our party has led the people of all ethnic groups in the whole nation to rely on ourselves to fight through hardships. We have conquered countless difficulties and gradually established an independent and comprehensive industrial system and national economic system. Since the reform and opening up, we have creatively established a socialist market economy, with social productivity growing rapidly. The overall economy has jumped to among the top in the world and the production of the key industrial and agricultural products are also among the top in the world. Our comprehensive national power has been significantly uplifted and people’s living conditions are moving toward the goal of Xiaokang. [3]

“Thirdly, our party has led people of all ethnic groups to insist on safeguarding the sovereignty, unity, and security of the nation. We completely eliminated all the privileges that the imperialist powers were entitled to in China, turned over the humiliating page of history when any country in the world could trample China, and ended the situation that China was divided into pieces. We defeated the foreign forces’ attempts at isolating, blocking, intervening, and provoking our country. We were able to resume the exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong and Macao, and are successfully maintaining their prosperity and stability. We pursue a foreign policy of independence and peace, insist on walking a path of peaceful development, and insist on an opening-up strategy that promotes win-win situations. We are firmly against hegemonism and power politics and try our best to maintain global peace and promote the joint development of the nations. Our nation’s global position and international influence have been significantly uplifted, and we are playing a more and more important role in international affairs. The national renaissance pursued by Chinese people for the past one hundred years is coming true under the leadership of the CCP.”

“These 60 years since the establishment of the New China have been the 60 years when, under the leadership of the CCP, people of all ethnic groups in the entire country have worked tirelessly to achieve the nation being prosperous and the people being happy and wealthy. These 60 years have been the 60 years when our nation has achieved great accomplishments in socialist, economic, political, cultural, and societal buildup. These 60 years have been the 60 years when our nation and people’s material and cultural lives have experienced historical changes.” “In these 60 years, (the CCP) has withstood a series of difficulties and risks in politics, the economy, and the natural environment, as well as international challenges. The CCP is leading the people in writing a brilliant chapter in the history of development of the Chinese people and the history of human progress. The CCP deserves to be called a great Marxist ruling party.”

I. The Main Characteristics of the CCP’s Development over the Past 60 Years
In the 60 years that our party has been in power, it has continually strengthened and improved the buildup of the party according to the changes in the historical tasks that the party bears. It has shown several characteristics.

i. Scientifically judging and precisely controlling the historic position; strengthening and improving the party’s buildup while achieving the two main transitions. With the establishment of the New China, our party changed from one that led the people to fight to seize power to a ruling party that led the people to achieve the transformation from the New-Democratic Revolution into Socialist Revolution and Development. After the party’s Third Plenary Session of the 11th Central Committee, our party began to change from a ruling party that was leading the country’s development while being blocked by outside forces and was employing a planned economy, into a ruling party that leads the country’s development while opening to the outside and implementing a socialist market economy. History and reality both show that the party’s development was much more complex after the party took power and became the ruling party, than before the party became the ruling party; the party’s development has been much more complex since we opened up to the to outside and began to practice a socialist market economy, than the party’s development was during the period of closed and semi-closed conditions under a planned economy. These two major transitions required the entire party to change correspondingly in ideology, organization, working style, leadership system, and ruling methods, in order to accommodate the new situations and tasks.

ii. Combine advancing the great projects that the party leads and advancing the great project of party buildup, strengthen and improve the party’s development while carrying out the historic mission of governance for the people and for the prosperity of the country. In the past 60 years, our party has integrated the work of changing the external world with the work of changing the subjective world. On one hand we advance the party’s development by advancing the great projects led by the party, and on the other hand, we advance the great projects that the party leads by strengthening and improving the party’s development. The party has been constantly improving its governance capability and the abilities of resisting corruption and decay, making itself a strong core leader of the socialist cause.

iii. Profoundly summarize and apply positive and negative lessons learned both nationally and globally; strengthen and improve the party’s development while holding onto the truth and correcting mistakes. It was a very difficult and complicated task to develop socialism in a large Oriental country like China, where the economy and culture were backward, and regional development was very imbalanced. It is inevitable that twists and mistakes occurred in the process of development. What is important is that our party is good at learning from mistakes and is able to use our own power and people’s support to hold onto the truth and correct the mistakes. The party has the courage to self criticize and can publicly correct all kinds of mistakes and shortcomings. Through summarizing and self-examination, the party’s ruling ability can improve and the work of the party and the people can progress.

In the past 60 years, our party has also attached great importance to summarizing and learning from foreign ruling parties’ lessons. In February of 1956, in the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Stalin was completely negated. This had shocking consequences in the socialist countries and soon after, there were incidents in Poland and Hungary. The imperialist countries seized this chance and started the waves of anti-Soviet Union and anti-socialism. Our party learned historic lessons from the communist parties in the Soviet Union and other socialist countries. In our party’s Eighth National Congress, we emphasized adhering to the principle of the party’s collective leadership, perfected the party’s Democratic Centralism, strengthened the supervision of the party’s organizations and party members, developed intra-party democracy, and opposed personal cults. These important ideas were crucial at the time and are crucial in the long term for strengthening party development. In February of 1957, at the Supreme State Conference, Comrade Mao Zedong gave a speech titled, “Correct Handling of Internal Conflicts of the People.” He summarized the historic experiences of the development of the socialist cause, and put forth the theory of strictly differentiating conflicts of two different natures and correctly handling the internal conflicts among the people. [4] At the end of the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s, dramatic changes took place in Eastern Europe, and the Soviet Union disintegrated. Global socialism suffered great setbacks. Our party learned lessons from the demise of the party in the Soviet Union and the Eastern European countries. We also scientifically summarized the lessons learned from other major parties that had lost power after ruling for decades. From these we have gained and borrowed good experiences to warn ourselves, improve ourselves, and perfect ourselves.

II. Major Accomplishments in Our Party’s Development over the Past 60 Years
In the past 60 years after establishing the new China, our party, as a ruling party, has always continuously strengthened and improved our party’s development. It has made significant accomplishments in all of the following aspects.

(1) Regarding the party’s Political Direction

In the past 60 years, our party has made unremitting efforts to determine and implement correct political base lines. … “The development and evolution of our party’s sixty years’ political direction have demonstrated that whether the political direction is correct or not has a direct impact on the causes of our party, our country and the people. The political base line is the life-line of our party’s entire activities. The foremost task of the party’s development is to define and insist on a correct political base line.”

(2) Regarding the Party’s Guiding Theories

… “Ever since the 16th National Congress of the CCP, the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party, headed by Comrade Hu Jintao, has persisted in following the important principles of Deng Xiaoping Theory and the “Three Represents” as the guiding ideology, continued to make breakthroughs in theory and practice, and pooled together the wisdom of all party members to propose major strategic ideologies, such as the Concept of Scientific Development. This socialist theory system with Chinese characteristics, which includes Deng Xiaoping’s Theory, the “Three Represents,” and the Concept of Scientific Development, adhere to and further develop Marxism, Leninism, and Mao’s Theory. It is the latest achievement in adapting Marxism to China’s situation. In the theoretical and political aspects, the formation of this scientific theory system is our party’s most significant accomplishment in the past 60 years.

 (3) Regarding the Development of the Party’s Cadre Team

… “In 1964, Comrade Mao Zedong raised the issue of fostering and forging successors for the revolutionary cause. Based on this, the Department of Organization of the Central Committee of the CCP proposed four measures for training and promoting new people. First, send young, educated, and outstanding cadres to the grass-roots level for training; second, send cadres with insufficient theoretical understanding but promising potential to different levels of the Communist Party schools to study; third, help cadres from workers and peasants who are not well educated to improve their education; fourth, party leaders make efforts to train successors by teaching, helping and guiding them. … In the past 60 years, our party, at different historic stages, has trained a cadre team that was, in general, capable of undertaking the tasks required by the situation at that particular historic stage, and has trained a large number of talented leaders to be good at governing the party and the country, as well as commanding the army. This is the key determining factor, which has helped our party to achieve great accomplishments in governance over a long period of time.

(4) Regarding Development of the Party’s Grass-roots Organizations

Emphasizing the development of our party’s grass-roots organizations is an organizational advantage of our party…. In the early 1960s, the Central Committee of the CCP created regulations for the party’s organizational work in three areas – the countryside, and industrial and commercial enterprises. The development of the party’s grass-roots organizations have thus become systemized and standardized. After the implementation of the “reform and opening up policy,” in addressing the new situations and problems arising in the grass-roots organizations, the Central Committee created a guiding policy and measures to comprehensively improve development in the countryside, enterprises, urban communities and organizations, schools, and new economic and social organizations. In the past 60 years, our party has been able to sustain its ruling authority stably over a long period of time, and complete its mission as a ruling party at different historic stages. This is largely attributed to the continual improvement in the development of grass-roots organizations, to the grass-root organizations acting as fortresses, and to the multitude of party members acting like role models in different front lines.
(5) Regarding the Development of the Party’s Working Style

During the revolutionary war time, our party formed three major working styles – theories to be connected with practice, a close relationship with the people, and criticism and self-criticism. They became the resource of power and the magical weapons to conquer the enemy. These are our party’s precious assets as a governing party. The practice in the past 60 years has proven that the party’s working style has an impact on the party’s image and on popular support for the party, which, in turn, has an impact on the livelihood of the party. It is a lasting and important task for the development of our party as a ruling party over a long period of time to enhance the development of the party’s working style with emphasis on maintaining a close connection with the people.

(6) Regarding the Development of the Party’s System

A (good) system is the guarantee of the long-term stability of the party and the country, because the system has the nature of being fundamental, comprehensive, stable, and enduring.… We have established the fundamental political system, including the People’s Democratic Dictatorship, the People’s Congress system, the CCP-led multi-party collaboration and political consultative system, and the ethnic autonomous region system.

III. The Inspiration from the 60 Years of Practical Experience of Party Development

In light of the great journey our party and country have taken over the past 60 years since the founding of the new China, we can draw many great inspirations from the practices during the party’s development.

First, we must adhere to combining the fundamental principles of Marxism and the specific characteristics of China during a specific historic period, and firmly walk on the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics. 

The socialist path with China’s own characteristics is a path under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party, based on the specific circumstances of our country. It is a path centering around economic development, adhering to the four fundamental principles, and the reform and opening up policy. It is a path of liberating and developing social productivity and reinforcing and perfecting the socialist system. It is also a path of developing a socialist market economy, socialist democratic politics, socialist advanced culture, a socialist harmonious society, and a prosperous, democratic, civilized and harmonious socialist modernized country.

The most important thing in holding onto the socialist path with Chinese characteristics is to… combine the adhering to the four fundamental principles with the reform and opening up policy. The four fundamental principles are the foundation of our country, and the political cornerstone of our party and our country’s survival and development; reform and opening up is the path to a prosperous country, and is the energy source for the development of our party and our country.

Secondly, we must make sure the party’s focal task is, especially, to develop our party as a governing party so as to rejuvenate the country. One must make sure this is the foremost priority when building up our party. One must also ensure the party’s development is always meant to serve social and economic development. The party’s development has always been closely tied to and for the realization of the party’s central task.

Thirdly, we must hold onto our fundamental mission, direction, and goal of developing the party. That is, the party is for the public and for the people. It is for safeguarding and maximizing the people’s fundamental interests. We must keep a close relationship with the people. The principal mission for the party is to serve the people whole-heartedly. This is the fundamental distinction between our party and other political parties.

Fourthly, we must hold onto and perfect the Democratic Centralism system, develop inner-party democracy, maintain the authority of the Central Committee, and continuously invigorate the party and bring it under unity. Democratic Centralism is the basic organizational system and leadership system of the party. … The 60 years’ history has proven that in order to adhere to and improve Democratic Centralism, on one hand, we must fully promote inner-party democracy by respecting the dominant position of massive party members and ensuring their democratic rights stipulated by the charter; on the other hand, we must firmly maintain the authority of the Central Committee and safeguard the unity of our party.

Finally, we must take the development of the party’s governance and its advanced nature as the main theme. Reform and renovation being the driving force, we need to further advance the ideological, organizational, working style system, and anti-corruption development, so as to improve the development of the party holistically. The advanced nature of the party is the inherent nature of a Marxist political party; it is also where the life and the power of our party lie. When our party is the ruling party, the advanced nature is manifested in our governing activities.

[1] The website of Study Times, September 28, 2009
] Li Zicheng was one of the major figures in the rebellion that brought down the Ming Dynasty of China. He was declared Emperor of the Shun Dynasty in Xi’an, Shaanxi Province in January 1644. However his empire lasted for less than a year. He was killed in 1645.
[3] Xiaokang is a term from ancient Chinese literature. The current Chinese government uses this word to refer to a society with various socioeconomic characteristics, one major measure being that people are moderately well-off, with, a per capita GDP of over 3,000 US dollars.
[4] The term “conflicts of two different natures” often appears in Chinese communist literature. One type of conflict is internal to the people and thus not subject to the “Proletariat Dictatorship,” the other being the conflicts between the people and the enemy, in which the enemy is subject to the “Proletariat Dictatorship.”