Shortly after the conclusion of the 20th National Congress of the CPC, General Secretary Xi Jinping led a visit of all seven members of the newly elected Politburo Standing Committee to Yan’an, in Shaanxi, a very important location in China’s revolutionary history. Yan’an is where the Chinese Red Army set up its base at the conclusion of the Long March, in late 1935 – a base that served as the centre of the Chinese Revolution for over a decade. It was in Yan’an that several of the key building blocks of Chinese socialism – including the ‘barefoot doctor’ system of basic healthcare provision – were first developed. It is also where some of the classic musical and literary works of the Chinese Revolution were composed, including the famous song ‘The East is Red’, the melody of which was based on a local folk song.
This is the third time that Xi has led a post-Congress visit of the newly elected Standing Committee to an important revolutionary site (the first was in 2012, to The Road to Renewal exhibition in Beijing; the second was in 2017, to the site of the CPC’s First Congress in Shanghai), stating that “the revolutionary sites are like a book that is worth reading all the time” in order to feel inspired by the heroic feats of the Chinese Revolution and to continuously deepen the leadership’s connection to the CPC’s founding principles and objectives. To uphold the legacy of the Yan’an period, “all Party members must stand firmly with the people, act on the Party’s purpose, put into practice the mass line, maintain close ties with the people, take the initiative to apply the people-centered development philosophy to all work, and achieve solid progress in promoting common prosperity, so that the people share more fully and fairly in the gains of modernization.”
We reproduce two articles below reporting on the trip, one from China Daily and one from Xinhua.
Xi urges efforts to carry forward great founding spirit of CPC and Yan’an Spirit
Less than a week after the conclusion of the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, president of the People’s Republic of China, and chairman of the Central Military Commission, led the members of the Standing Committee of the CPC Central Committee Political Bureau to visit Yan’an, an old revolutionary base in Northwest China’s Shaanxi province. The members are Li Qiang, Zhao Leji, Wang Huning, Cai Qi, Ding Xuexiang and Li Xi. They were there to pay tribute to this sacred land of the Chinese revolution, review the eventful days of the Party Central Committee in Yan’an in the years of the revolutionary war, commemorate the great achievements made by revolutionaries of the older generation, and manifest the conviction of the new central leadership to carry forward the Party’s revolutionary legacy and fighting spirit and present an excellent answer sheet to the people and posterity with new achievements on the road ahead. Xi stressed that we will carry forward the great founding spirit of the Party, the Yan’an Spirit, and our fighting spirit, remain confident in our history, and exhibit greater historical initiative to strive in unity for the fulfillment of the objectives and tasks set forth at the 20th CPC National Congress.
On the morning of October 27, Xi Jinping and the others arrived at the revolutionary site of Yangjialing in northwest Yan’an. In November of 1938, all departments of the CPC Central Committee moved from Fenghuang Hill to Yangjialing, where the CPC held its Seventh National Congress, launched the Yan’an Rectification Movement, and led the Chinese people in the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression.
Xi and the others first visited the site of the Seventh CPC National Congress, which was held from April to June in 1945. There were only over 50 members when our Party was founded. By the time of the Seventh CPC National Congress, this number had increased to 1.21 million. Xi Jinping walked slowly to pay his tribute to the site, and said that the Seventh CPC National Congress marked a major milestone in the history of our Party, suggesting that our Party was becoming increasingly mature as far as its political direction, ideology and organizational structure were concerned. Politically, after the Yan’an Rectification Movement, the whole Party was united together under the guidance of Comrade Mao Zedong, realizing unprecedented unity and solidarity within our Party. Ideologically, the Party established the guiding role of Mao Zedong Thought in the whole Party and enshrined it in the Party Constitution. Organizationally, our Party formed a group of time-tested statesmen who held high the banner of Mao Zedong. The Seventh CPC National Congress played an incredibly important role in the history of our Party, pointing out the right direction and charting the correct course for our Party in achieving one victory after another ever since.
Then, they arrived at the former residences of Mao Zedong and other revolutionaries of the older generation, where they recalled stories of those revolutionaries at Yangjialing and learned about how these revolutionary sites had been protected. During the Yan’an Period (1935-1948), Mao stayed at Yangjialing for the longest time, where the well-known “cave-dwelling conversation” with acclaimed patriot and educationist Huang Yanpei happened. The conversation was mainly about how to escape the historical cycle of rise and fall, how to avert the possibility of a government’s policies ending with the death of its leader, and ultimately how a political power can maintain long-lasting successful governance. Mao had offered the first answer to the question — placing the government under the supervision of the people. With the practice of full and rigorous Party self-governance since the 18th CPC National Congress, the Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core has provided the second answer — carrying out Party’s self-reform. Xi noted that the revolutionary sites had witnessed a glorious journey our Party had traveled during the Yan’an Period when it led the Chinese revolution and struggled to adapt Marxism to the Chinese context and the needs of that era. The revolutionary sites are like a book that is worth reading all the time, said Xi, adding that each time he came here to visit the sites, he was struck with new insight and great inspiration. He urged solid efforts to improve the management of these sites and thoroughly study their revolutionary past so as to better tell the stories of Yangjialing and of the Seventh CPC National Congress in combination with reality.
A docent introduced how people in northern Shaanxi composed the song The East Is Red based on the folksong of Baimadiao and sang it for the leaders. Xi pointed it out that the works of literature and art in praise of the Party and Chairman Mao were all voluntarily created by the people, which fully demonstrated that Mao was chosen by the people and supported by the people.
They then traveled to Yan’an Revolutionary Memorial Hall and visited an exhibition titled The Great Journey — CPC Central Committee’s 13 Years in Yan’an.
From 1935 to 1948, the Shaanxi-Gansu-Ningxia Border Region centered around Yan’an was where the CPC Central Committee headquartered. It also served as the political guidance center for the Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression as well as the general rear area for the Chinese People’s War of Liberation. In a comprehensive and systematic manner, the exhibition presented the glorious history of how the CPC Central Committee and revolutionaries of the older generation including Mao Zedong led the Chinese revolution to success from Yan’an through adapting the basic tenets of Marxism to the specific practices of the Chinese revolution. Xi and the others visited the exhibition chapters “the Foothold of the CPC Central Committee and the Red Army during the Long March,” “the Center of Political Guidance for the Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression,” “the Model Pilot Zone of New Democracy,” “the Point of Departure for Winning the National Victory,” “the Lasting Glory of Yan’an Spirit,” and other chapters. Xi would once in a while stop to watch a particular exhibit and reminisce with everyone at presence about the extraordinary years of the CPC Central Committee in Yan’an.
Xi delivered an important speech at the end of the visit. He said that Yan’an is a sacred place of the Chinese revolution and the cradle of New China. The CPC Central Committee and revolutionaries of the older generation, including Mao Zedong, lived and struggled in Yan’an for 13 years from 1935 to 1948. There, under the leadership of the CPC Central Committee and revolutionaries of the older generation including Mao Zedong, the revolutionary cause developed from its low tide to high tide and realized its historic transition, thus turning the tables when it came to China’s future and destiny. The towering Baota Mountain and rolling Yanhe River have witnessed the great endeavors. Yan’an, with all kinds of food grain, nourished the development of the CPC in strength, and supported the victory of the Chinese revolution. Yan’an and its people have made tremendous contribution to the victory of the Chinese revolution, which we should never forget, Xi said.
“I have lived and worked in Yan’an for seven years,” Xi said affectionately. “My elder generation also once lived here, and I am quite familiar with the region. When I was sent to northern Shaanxi and worked in the fields as a farmer, every time I got a chance to come to Yan’an, I would visit those revolutionary sites, including the site of the Seventh CPC National Congress, Yangjialing, Zaoyuan and Fenghuang Hill. After working in the CPC Central Committee, I’ve paid three inspection tours here,” he said. “This time, with members of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, I come here to manifest that the new central leadership will inherit and carry forward the glorious traditions and fine work styles of the Party cultivated during the Yan’an Period, and carry forward the Yan’an Spirit,” Xi said.
He stressed, the glorious traditions and fine conduct of the CPC cultivated and carried forward during the years in Yan’an, and the Yan’an Spirit characterized by firm and correct political direction, ideological line of emancipating the mind and seeking truth from facts, the principle of serving the people wholeheartedly, and the style of self-reliance and hard work, are an invaluable source of inspiration for the Party, and should be passed down from generation to generation.
Xi noted, the firm and correct political direction was the essence of the Yan’an Spirit. In 1938, when replying to the question “What should be learned at the Military and Political University of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression in Yan’an”, Comrade Mao Zedong pointed out, “First and foremost, we need to learn about a political direction.” All Party members must adhere to the correct political direction, resolutely implement the Party’s basic theory, line, and policy, thoroughly implement the Party Central Committee’s decisions and plans, so as to further advance the great cause pioneered by revolutionaries of the older generation.
Xi stressed, during the Yan’an Period, our Party put forward the fundamental principle of serving the people wholeheartedly and wrote it into the Party Constitution, emphasizing that “the contingent of the CPC was established for the liberation of the people and always stood ready to work for their interests”, and requiring all Party officials to “stand firmly at the side of ordinary people”, and thus bringing about a vivid picture in which “officials were all public servants in people’s eyes”. All Party members must stand firmly with the people, act on the Party’s purpose, put into practice the mass line, maintain close ties with the people, take the initiative to apply the people-centered development philosophy to all work, and achieve solid progress in promoting common prosperity, so that the people share more fully and fairly in the gains of modernization.
Xi noted, after settling down in Yan’an, the Party Central Committee and the Red Army faced extremely tough conditions due to the enemy’s military encirclement and economic blockade. Soldiers and civilians in Yan’an had enthusiastically responded to Comrade Mao Zedong’s call of “drawing on our own labor to supply ourselves with adequate food and clothing” and started an enthusiastic production campaign, which provided crucial support for the frontline in the war against Japanese aggression. Each and every Party member must carry forward the spirit of self-reliance and hard work, which shall never be repudiated no matter how well-off we become in the future, and they should also work hard in a down-to-earth and practical manner to concentrate on managing our own affairs well and support the development of our country and our nation with our own strength.
Xi stressed that, back in the days in Yan’an, Comrade Mao Zedong and other revolutionaries of the older generation lived in cave-dwellings, eating coarse grain for meals and wearing rough clothes. This “Yan’an conduct” defeated the “Xi’an conduct.” All Party members should carry forward the glorious traditions and fine conduct of revolutionaries of the older generation and Chinese Communists, advance the Party’s self-reform with courage, resolutely exercise full and rigorous self-governance of the Party, and always maintain our Party’s advanced nature and integrity, enabling our Party to always remain the strong leadership core in the cause of building socialism with Chinese characteristics.
Xi pointed out that during the Yan’an Period, the Party, with tenacious fighting spirit and exceptional fighting ability, had effectively carried out struggles against Japanese militarist aggression, and effectively responded to a series of major challenges such as the Xi’an Incident, the July Seventh Incident and the Chongqing Negotiations. Also, the Party had effectively led and commanded the revolutionary struggles nationwide and effectively tackled the targeted attacks by the Kuomintang-led forces on the Shaanxi-Gansu-Ningxia Border Region. With merely “millet plus rifles,” the Party had opened up new prospect for the Chinese revolution. The whole Party should carry forward such fighting spirit, improve fighting ability, resolutely surmount all difficulties and challenges on the road ahead and harness our indomitable fighting spirit to open up new horizons for our cause.
Xi stressed that the Party’s 20th National Congress had set forth major principles and policies for the Party and the country at present and for some time to come, and drawn up a splendid blueprint of promoting national rejuvenation through a Chinese path to modernization. Let us embark on the new journey, and set out toward our new goal!
Before he left, Xi had cordial talks with some veterans of the Red Army and the Eighth Route Army, descendants of revolutionary martyrs, local Party School and cadre college teachers and staff members of the memorial. He encouraged them to promote revolutionary spirit, tell well stories of the Party, so as to inspire people to steadfastly follow the Party and its guidance, and strive unremittingly to realize the Chinese Dream of great national rejuvenation. Lasting and loud applause rose at the site.
Liu Guozhong, Chen Xi, and leading officials of relevant central authorities and Shaanxi Province took part in the activities.
Xi Jinping stresses advancing rural revitalization across the board, urges ceaseless efforts to modernize agriculture and rural areas during inspection tours to Shaanxi’s Yan’an, Henan’s Anyang
The most challenging and arduous tasks we face in building a modern socialist China in all respects remain in rural areas, stressed Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, during his recent inspection tours to Shaanxi Province’s Yan’an city and Henan Province’s Anyang city.
Xi, also Chinese president and chairman of the Central Military Commission, urged solid steps to comprehensively study and implement the spirit of the 20th CPC National Congress and continue prioritizing the development of agriculture and rural areas. The Yan’an Spirit and the Hongqi Canal Spirit should be carried forward, and our achievements in poverty alleviation be consolidated and expanded, said Xi. He also called for efforts to advance rural revitalization across the board and ceaselessly strive for the modernization of agriculture and rural areas.
Ding Xuexiang, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and director of the General Office of the CPC Central Committee, accompanied Xi on the visits.
The visits lasted from Wednesday to Friday. Xi visited the rural area and a school in Yan’an city with the company of Liu Guozhong, a member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and secretary of the CPC Shaanxi Provincial Committee, and Zhao Yide, governor of Shaanxi province. He visited Anyang city, where he inspected a revolutionary education base and a cultural relics protection unit, accompanied by Lou Yangsheng, secretary of the CPC Henan Provincial Committee, and Wang Kai, governor of Henan.
An old revolutionary base, Yan’an used to suffer entrenched poverty. Xi has been concerned about folks in northern Shaanxi. In February 2015, Xi presided over a seminar on eliminating poverty for a better life in the old revolutionary bases of the provinces of Shaanxi and Gansu, and Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region. He delivered an important speech that charted the course for the critical battle against poverty in these regions. Yan’an was Xi’s first destination for his inspection tour after the conclusion of the 20th CPC National Congress. He wished to see how the folks were doing after being lifted out of poverty and learn about the difficulties they were facing and their views on rural revitalization.
On the afternoon of Wednesday, Xi traveled to the Nangou village of Gaoqiao town, Ansai district of Yan’an city as soon as he got off the train. An apple orchard in the mountain was embracing a bumper harvest. Xi walked into the orchard and chatted with growers who were picking apples. He asked about this year’s harvest and picked a big red apple. He also learned about apple-growing technique, picking method, apple variety and quality, sale price, villagers’ income as well as how to further promote apple-growing and other industries. Xi showed great concern for irrigation and water use. Local villagers told him that they had effectively solved the problem by building dams, as well as adopting drip irrigation and fine management. Xi recognized their efforts, saying, “This is exactly agricultural modernization. And you have found the right path to industrial development.”
At an apple washing and selecting workshop, Xi was briefed on the development of the local apple industry and checked the production line for sorting and packaging apples. A variety of locally-grown apples and deep-processed products were on display. He looked at them with great interest and listened to the briefing carefully. Xi affirmed what the locals have done in developing modern agriculture and rural tourism, cultivating and boosting the collective economy, which has helped villagers increase their incomes and become well-off.
Outside the workshop, villagers gathered to greet Xi in a loud voice. Xi chatted with them and recalled the years he spent as an educated youth in northern Shaanxi. He said to them, “I once lived in northern Shaanxi for seven years. During that time, when I saw people were leading a hard life, I thought about what could be done to make their lives better. This time, when I came, I saw a bumper harvest, well-improved traffic conditions as well as other fundamental changes.” In the past, villagers in northern Shaanxi had to reclaim terraces and plant crops, having their feet firmly planted in the soil. Carrying hoes into the field and farming all day long, they lived a tough life with their work hardly paying off. Now, with the efforts to convert farmland on the mountains to forest, apple trees have been planted on the hillsides. Villagers have work to do with stable income, children enjoy good education and the elderly benefit from medical insurance — their lives are getting better day by day. The achievements made in northern Shaanxi are a vivid epitome of the great changes taking place in China, Xi said, pointing out that China has achieved the First Centenary Goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, the problem of absolute poverty has been solved and the villagers now enjoy good living conditions, but we should continue to work hard and make our lives even better. The climate, sunlight, latitude, altitude and other factors in northern Shaanxi shape it into a suitable place for developing the apple industry. Besides, equipped with advanced technologies such as drip irrigation, dwarf planting, and production lines for sorting fruits, apples can be sold out locally with a vast market awaiting. Shaanxi embraces the favorable timing, geographical and human conditions to vigorously develop the apple industry, which is the perfect, most suitable and promising industry for the region, he said. Xi stressed, the CPC is a Party of the people and for the people. As the ruling Party, the CPC is committed to serving the people and doing a good job for their benefit. Empty talk will do nothing for our country; only solid work will make it flourish. We must gain a full understanding of and apply the spirit of the 20th CPC National Congress, advance rural revitalization across the board, implement one policy after another for the prosperity of the people, speed up the modernization of agriculture and rural areas, so that all the country folks could live a more prosperous life. Xi’s remarks won thunderous applause from the villagers.
After that, Xi traveled to Zaoyuan campus of Yan’an Middle School, which was the first school of its kind set up by the CPC. With great care and attention of revolutionaries of the older generation, educationists, and leaders of the Party and the country, Yan’an Middle School has a glorious history as well as fine revolutionary traditions and has fostered many talents for the old revolutionary base areas. Xi walked into the school’s education history museum to learn more about how the school is run and operated. He expressed his hope that the school should follow the Yan’an Spirit in imparting knowledge and educating students, deliver an education that the people are satisfied with, and carry forward the fine revolutionary traditions and cultivate talents of the new era.
A variety of tasty dishes were on offer at the student dining hall. Xi checked on the dishes and asked the cooks about the prices and flavors, urging them to ensure food quality and pay special attention to food hygiene, so as to provide safe and delicious meals for the students.
The students were having classes at the teaching building. Xi stepped into the classroom of Class 2, Grade 10, where he had a cordial conversation with the teacher and students. He asked the students about their ideals and what they want to become after growing up. One of the students told Xi that she wanted to be a doctor like Li Shizhen, the renowned Ming Dynasty herbalist. A student said he wanted to study pharmacy at university in the future, another student said she would like to learn foreign languages and become an interpreter for diplomatic affairs. Xi was very delighted to hear their answers and praised them as having clear life goals and lofty aspirations. He encouraged the students to establish great ideals at an early age, aspire to become capable young people of a new generation who will contribute to the development of socialism and carry forward the socialist cause, so that our revolutionary traditions and heritage can be passed down from generation to generation.
Night fell as the leaders were leaving. All students went out of their classrooms, clapping hands to see the general secretary off. Xi also waved to bid farewell to them.
On the morning of Friday, Xi arrived at the Memorial Hall of the Hongqi Canal in the city of Linzhou in Anyang, Henan Province. In the 1960s, the local people, in order to deal with the severely harsh local environment where they lived completely at the mercy of the scanty rainfall, built the water conservancy project on the mountainside of Taihang with the support of the Party and the government. The project, which diverts water from the Zhanghe River to the area, is called a “man-made river from Heaven.” Xi walked into the exhibition hall and watched different parts of the exhibition — “Millennial Struggles against the Drought,” “Creating Miracles under the Leading of the Red Flag,” “Heroic People and Taihang Mountain Monument,” “Grand Changes and Realizing Dreams,” and “The Eternal Spirit and Marching into the Future” — one by one. Xi noted that the Hongqi Canal is a monument inscribing the heroic spirit of the unyielding and valiant local people who dare to fight to change their fate. We need to educate people, especially the youths, with the Hongqi Canal Spirit that China’s socialism is won by hard work, struggles and even sacrifice of lives. This was not only true in the past but also true in the new era. Without the arduous work of the older generation, or without the blood and even lives they devoted, there would be no happy life today. We must always remember them. Today, our material life has been greatly improved, but the spirit of perseverance like “the bullheaded old man removing the mountain” and the hard-working style must not change. The Hongqi Canal is of so much educational significance that everyone should come to have a look. Then, Xi inspected the operation of the canal’s water diversion sluice gate on the site and learned about the functions of the sluice gate in water diversion, irrigation and environmental improvement.
During the construction of the Hongqi Canal, 300 youngsters formed a commando team, and, with 17 months of hard fighting, they tunneled through the hard rock on the dangerous terrains for a stretch of the canal. The tunnel they made was named “The Youth Tunnel.” Xi walked up the steps and came to “The Youth Tunnel,” inspecting the canal along the way. He stressed that the Hongqi Canal Spirit and the Yan’an Spirit are coherent and come in continuity, and both are indelible historical memories of the Chinese nation, always stirring people’s soul. He said the younger generation must carry forward the spirit of staying tough and diligent, self-reliant and hard-working, abandon the finicky lifestyle and complacent attitude, and, like our parents’ generation, leave a memorable legacy in history with their youthful enthusiasm. The onus is on our generations to realize the Second Centenary Goal, Xi said. We are living in a remarkable time and must make our own contributions so as to live up to people’s expectations. The Hongqi Canal Spirit will never perish!
On the afternoon of Friday, Xi made an inspection tour of the Yinxu Ruins situated on both banks of the Huanhe River in the northwest suburbs of Anyang. The 3,300-year-old Yinxu Ruins has been confirmed by historic documents and archaeological excavations as the capital site of late Shang (Yin) Dynasty, the first such ruins so confirmed in Chinese history. Walking slowly into the Yinxu Museum, Xi attentively observed the bronze ware, jade ware, oracle bone inscriptions, and other unearthed relics. Then, Xi visited the Exhibition Hall of Chariot Pits where he observed the original-sized samples of animal-driven carts and remains of a Shang Dynasty road. He pointed out that oracle bone inscriptions unearthed at Yinxu Ruins kept the evidence of the Chinese written language of 3,000 years ago, helping to bring recorded Chinese history nearly 1,000 years earlier than previously believed. “I have long been yearning for visiting here. This time I come here for a deeper study and understanding of the Chinese civilization so that we can make the past serve the present, and draw inspirations for better building modern Chinese civilization,” he said. The Chinese characters are extraordinary and serve as a tie in the forming and development of Chinese nation, and the archaeologists have done a great job in this regard. We should attach more importance to and put more efforts on archaeological research to carry forward the project of tracing the origins of the Chinese civilization. With a long and continuous history stretching back to antiquity, the Chinese civilization shaped our great nation, and this nation will continue to be great, he added. Xi urged efforts to carry forward the fine traditional culture through discovery, research and conservation of the cultural relics. He stressed that fine traditional Chinese culture is the root of the Party’s new theories. The ultimate approach of adapting Marxism to the Chinese context and the needs of the times is to integrate the basic tenets of Marxism with China’s specific realities and fine traditional culture. We should stay confident in our culture and be more confident and prouder to be Chinese.
Chen Xi and other leading officials of relevant central authorities accompanied Xi in these activities.