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Awareness of Potential Adversity Promotes Development, Reform, and Innovation in the Party

On November 9, 2009, Study Times Net published two articles related to party development. One is titled, "The Awareness of Potential Adversity Promotes Development, Reform, and Innovation in the Party." The second one is, “Grasp the Essential Features of a Learning-Oriented Party." Their intention is to ask the whole party to prepare for danger in times of safety, enhance the awareness of potential adversity, and achieve the party’s development goals. The following are abstracts of these two articles.

The Fourth Plenary Session of the 17th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) requested the party to prepare for danger in times of safety, enhance awareness of potential adversity, bear in mind concern for the party, take full responsibility for the party’s prosperity, dare to transform, dare to innovate, never stop, and never stagnate. The awareness of potential adversity and the reform of innovative ideology ran through “The Central Committee of the CPC’s Decision on Several Major Issues about How to Strengthen and Improve the Party’s Development under the New Environment” that the plenary session enacted.  [1]

It can be said that the party’s development as a whole has adapted to the new situation and the requirements of its new duties. Otherwise it would be impossible for the party to lead the reform and opening up policy towards success. This is the most basic conclusion. However, there are also indeed many problems. To put it in a simple way, contradictions exist between the reform and innovation of the party’s self development and the requirements of changes in the social environment. These contradictions exhibit in the following ways. [1]

The first contradiction is that between the changes in the mass base and the insufficient transformation of the leading and administrative style of the party. During the 60 years that the communist party has been in power, the mass base has gone through several generations of change. It is completely different from the initial ruling period and the period prior to the reform and opening up. Under this situation, the party’s style of leadership over the non-party populace, which by tradition was compulsory and through the use of administrative authority, has had difficulty obtaining social acknowledgement. Some events are triggered by improper leadership. Facing the new issues under the new situation, the party organizations at all levels need to undergo a relatively big change, going from the idea, to policy-making, to the way of implementing the work. It requires truly administering in a scientific way, in a democratic way, and in a legal way. It requires learning how to use democracy, the legal system, and the “putting people first” way of dealing with the public. [1]

The Second contradiction is that the contradictions at deep social levels interweave mutually with the contradictions at the deep levels of the party. Right now, Chinese society is in a period of social transformation. Society’s contradictions have increased sharply. On one hand, because the social differentiation issue is more prominent, the mutual trust among different social stratum is insufficient. On the other hand, some problems in the public power operations, especially the corruption in the party, have caused insufficient positive interactions between the public and the officials. In fact, there were some departments in authority that became stakeholders among multi-dimensional interest groups. This has led some local people not trust the public power operations. Conflict between public security officers and the public has happened in some places. When the problems of these two aspects interweave together, some ordinary event can cause a mass event. For example, the Weng’an and Menglian events are of this kind. [2] The reform and innovation of the party’s development directly relate to the operation of public’s civil rights and relate to the pattern of change in social interests.

The third contradiction is that between the bottom up (from the masses to the authorities) democracy appeal and the insufficient innovation in the party’s democratic system. Since the reform and opening up policy, village autonomy has appeared as a result of the disintegration of people’s communes. Later, it evolved into the direct election of local party officials. This further stimulated party member’s consciousness of their democratic rights. In the base unit, democratic decision-making emerged as new procedure. However, in general, from the macroscopic perspective, the existing policy-making system has not been able to meet society’s increasing needs. In more than one place, the public’s opinions were different from the decisions of certain local party committees and of the government, but communication channels and platforms were lacking. Eventually, the public had to “take a walk collectively” or set up special web pages to publish different opinions to express their intense attention to the public affairs that related to their interests. In recent years, regarding this kind of demand, the decision-making processes at the National People’s Congress and the government have changed. For example, enacting the "Property Rights law" and the "Labor law" has shown the true public opinion. Internal party decision-making should lead the way in building up the democratic decision-making mechanism. [1]

The fourth contradiction is the contradiction between the change in the base society and the insufficient shift in the base party’s organizational function. In the last 30 years, the base society has undergone profound changes. The massive populace transformed from the traditional unit person into the social person. The party members also walk randomly among the different ownership systems of economic organization and other social organizations. Many non-government organizations have also emerged. Since the beginning of the reform and opening up policy, the base party organization has unceasingly improved its working method and form of activities. In the places where they could not use administrative authority, they have used services to bond people together. They worked in a democratic and legal way. The base organization could only gain a social foundation for their power by emphasizing the promotion of scientific progress. The party can only obtain its ruling power by putting its emphasis on service. Of course, the base organization developments of different regions are not balanced. Some have already made outstanding achievements while some are far behind the requirement of this era. [1]

The fifth contradiction is that of the maladjustment between the change of information flow and the change in the party’s internal communications. In the high tech time, the appearance of the new media, including the Internet and cell phones, has brought dramatic changes in the way that information flows. Information may spread over the whole world in a second. However, the party’s internal communications still remain old fashioned, one rank after another, one level after another, and top to bottom. Feedback is still transmitted bottom up through the same channel. In this process, a problem in one link will cause the system channel to have “an intestinal obstruction.” At the same time, certain emergency events can spread instantly to the whole society. However, our organizational channel reacts very slowly. If it fully took advantage of the high tech means, the party’s internal communication among all levels could be quick. Communication and information sharing between party member and leaders is good for the party’s internal communication. It is good for the party members to participate in the decision-making and monitoring process, and also good for the process of emergency events. [1]

The sixth contradiction is the conflict of imbalances in the complexity of the party’s internal relationships and the innovations in the party’s development system. The party’s internal relationships refers to mutual interactions among all factors of the party organization. Between the party members and the organization, among various parts of the organization, and among the organization system and the work routines, the issue is how to be connected so as to be run efficiently and in order. Among all the party’s internal relationships, the most complicated one is human. The party members’ social statuses are complicated. Though they are close to each other in the basic political idea, their individual interest requirements and individual value orientations may not be totally identical. How should the party be organized internally in order to respect the individual’s requirements while keeping the same common goal? The party organization is not a villager’s autonomous committee. Nor is it a state institution. How should the party organize the power within the party in order to have the power in balance and also have cooperation with each other? To what extent should democracy be developed within the party? And so on. All these are the innovation problems of the party’s development that need to be solved from the macro level.  [1]

Having an awareness of potential adversity requires reform and innovation. The direction of reform and innovation is to enhance the scientific level of the party’s development. … We must ensure that the party is the vanguard of the Chinese working class, and also the vanguard of the Chinese people and the Chinese nation. The so-called science, … when applied to the party’s development, means that the party’s development needs to conform to the laws of the ruling party’s development and the laws of society’s development. [1]

First, use reform and innovation to ensure the scientific nature of the party’s ideological theories. Without reform and innovation, there will be no development of the party’s ideological theories. Here, the reforming and innovative spirit is unified with the spirit of science. Being open-minded, practical and realistic, and keeping up with the times are the ways of the party’s ideology. It is also the unification of the above two kinds of spirits. The Fourth Plenary Session of the 17th Central Committee stressed to develop a Marxist learning-oriented political party. Eventually, this requires the party to update its knowledge, enhance its quality and ability by continuing its learning. Through study, the party can persist and develop the Marxist guiding principles to archive the goal of adapting to changes in the social environment. The ideas and theories’ innovation and scientific nature are unified in the process of studying and practicing. [1]

Second, use reform and innovation to ensure the scientific nature of the party development system. The system’s scientific nature is the guarantee that the party organization will remain healthy and in good operating order. It is the guarantee that the general party policy in the primary stage of socialism and the reform and opening up policy will not be changed by the fluctuation of personalities or by a shift in people’s attention. It is also the guarantee that the party’s internal political life will be democratic, in order, and lively. The party organization always has its system. However, the system’s scientific level should be continuously enhanced and developed in the process of practicing.  [1]

Third, use reform and innovation to ensure the scientific nature of the methods of work and activities. The party’s methods of work and activities never stay the same but rather are flexible. One of the traditional advantages of the Chinese Communist Party is that it takes the initiative in bringing up the issue of transforming the party’s methods of work at different historical stages. It can be said that the party has always been paying great attention to the most workable methods of work and activities. In recent year, the methods of work and activities at some local base party organizations indeed changed tremendously. The sense of scientific governance, democratic governance, and governance by the law have gradually deepened. The party interacts with the populace openly, transparently, and following the law, to serve the public. Especially among the community party organizations, non-state enterprises, and the new social organizations, the party organization’s activities have already become quite different from those of the party’s internal organizations. Its basic way of working is primarily democratic consulting, with the focus on strengthening the organization’s service functions, using flexible, amateur, and diverse methods to work. However, the innovation of the party’s methods of work is not balanced, especially when dealing with the populace. Some organizations abuse administrative authority when it should not be applied and do not use new methods of work when they should be used. Therefore, further reform and innovation are needed to adapt to the needs of the populace and the society. [1]

In the article "Grasp the Essential Features of a Learning-Oriented Party," the author pointed out that “the development of a learning-oriented political party is a major strategic choice that the CPC made after absorbing new ideas from the world with an open mind and a view of the current era.” “[Only when realizing] that the learning-oriented party is a special study organization and its prominent political nature distinguishes itself from other learning-oriented organizations, can (one) fully understand the series of duties for developing a learning-oriented party proposed at the Fourth Plenary Session of the 17th Central Committee. ‘(We should) promote the sinicization, contemporization, and popularization of Marxism. Persisting in keeping Marxism as the basic guiding principle to establish the party and the nation, closely integrating it with our national condition and historical characteristics, promoting theoretical innovation, verifying and developing the truth, and using enhanced Marxism to guide the new practice is the primary task of developing a Marxist learning-oriented political party.’ The document also requested the use of the theory of socialism with Chinese characteristics to equip the party and to treat it as the most critical part of the primary task. After proposing the primary task, it also proposed ‘the study and practice of the core value system of socialism for party members and the cadres is a major task for developing a Marxist learning-oriented political party.’ Developing a learning-oriented party organization needs to have this series of political tasks completed.” [3]

“In the process of developing a learning-oriented political party, we must explore the study management model that suits the nation’s and party’s situation. This is also a requirement for making the party’s development scientific.” “Constructing a learning-oriented political party is also a process of developing intra-party democracy politics. It should be closely coupled with strengthening intra-party democracy at the grassroots level for mutual improvement.” [3]

[1] Study Times, November 9, 2009
[2] In the Weng’an incident, rioters torched a police building and vehicles in southwest China in unrest triggered by allegations of a cover-up over a girl’s death. See
In Menglian, rubber farmers attacked police who had been sent to arrest alleged instigators in a conflict with rubber plant managers in Menglian, Yunnan. Forty officers were injured, eight police vehicles were burned, and riot police shot and killed two farmers,
[3] Study Times, November 9, 2009