The following is an excerpt from a speech given by Xi Jinping, General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), at a study session for new members of the Central Committee and some other leading party members on February 7, 2023. It originally appeared in the Chinese language edition and subsequently the English language edition of Qiushi, the main theoretical journal of the CPC Central Committee.
In the speech, Xi Jinping clarifies that China’s modernisation is socialist modernisation led by the CPC. He notes that: “The report to the 20th CPC National Congress held in October 2022 pointed out that Chinese modernisation is socialist modernisation pursued under the leadership of the Communist Party of China. This is an overarching and fundamental definition of Chinese modernisation.”
He explains that the nature, purpose, founding mission, convictions, policies, and principles of the party determine that Chinese modernisation is socialist modernisation, and not modernisation in any other form, adding:
“With Marxism as its fundamental guide, our Party has deepened its understanding of the laws that underlie governance by a communist party, the development of socialism and the evolution of human society, opening up a new frontier in adapting Marxism to the Chinese context and the needs of our times.”
Stressing the absolute necessity of party leadership in the process and course of modernisation, Xi says that: “Without it, Chinese modernisation will veer off course, lose its soul, or even bring about catastrophic mistakes.” The party has ” integrated high ideals with phased targets, which once set, it has tenaciously pursued with relentless hard work and dedication. After the launch of reform and opening up in 1978, we advanced gradually and consistently toward our goals for building a modern socialist country.”
In a comment strikingly similar to one he made recently to visiting Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, Xi says that: “Reform and opening up has been a crucial move in making China what it is today.”
The report to the 20th CPC National Congress held in October 2022 pointed out that Chinese modernization is socialist modernization pursued under the leadership of the Communist Party of China. This is an overarching and fundamental definition of Chinese modernization. Why is it important to emphasize the leading role of the Party in Chinese modernization? It is because Party leadership has a direct bearing on the fundamental orientation, future, and ultimate success of Chinese modernization.
Party leadership determines the fundamental nature of Chinese modernization. The nature, purpose, founding mission, convictions, policies, and principles of our Party determine that Chinese modernization is socialist modernization, and not modernization in any other form. Under socialism with Chinese characteristics, our Party has upheld the basic tenets of scientific socialism while also endowing it with distinctive Chinese characteristics and contemporary features. Our Party has firmly followed the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics to ensure that Chinese modernization is advanced along the right track. With Marxism as its fundamental guide, our Party has deepened its understanding of the laws that underlie governance by a communist party, the development of socialism and the evolution of human society, opening up a new frontier in adapting Marxism to the Chinese context and the needs of our times and providing sound guidance for Chinese modernization. Our Party has upheld and improved the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics, further modernized the system and capacity for governance, and formed a set of institutions that includes the fundamental, basic, and important systems for socialism with Chinese characteristics, thereby providing strong institutional guarantee for the steady progress of Chinese modernization. Our Party has also upheld and developed a socialist culture with Chinese characteristics to ignite the cultural creativity of the entire nation, thus providing a powerful source of inspiration for Chinese modernization. It is fair to say that only by firmly upholding Party leadership can we create a bright and prosperous future for Chinese modernization. Without it, Chinese modernization will veer off course, lose its soul, or even bring about catastrophic mistakes.
Party leadership ensures that Chinese modernization advances steadily in line with set goals. Our Party has stayed true to its founding mission of seeking happiness for the Chinese people and rejuvenation for the Chinese nation, and integrated high ideals with phased targets, which once set, it has tenaciously pursued with relentless hard work and dedication. After the launch of reform and opening up in 1978, we advanced gradually and consistently toward our goals for building a modern socialist country and enriched and refined these goals in line with the evolution of our practices. Based on a review of our practical accomplishments and experiences in reform and opening up and in the new era, we clearly defined goals and requirements for China’s development to be met by 2035 and drew up a grand blueprint for building a great modern socialist country and advancing national rejuvenation at our Party’s 20th National Congress. From this historical process, it is clear that building a modern socialist country has been a consistent goal of our Party and has been pushed forward by one generation after another, bringing about remarkable achievements that have entered the annals of history.
Party leadership unlocks powerful momentum for advancing Chinese modernization. Reform and opening up has been a crucial move in making China what it is today. It is also integral to the success of Chinese modernization. Since the launch of reform and opening up, our Party has, with timely actions, steadily transformed those aspects in the relations of production that were out of sync with the productive forces and those aspects of the superstructure that were incompatible with the economic base. It has advanced institutional reform across the board and established and developed robust institutions and mechanisms suited to the conditions of contemporary China. This has unleashed all the vitality of labor, knowledge, technology, management, and capital and enabled all sources of social wealth to flow freely. Since the 18th CPC National Congress held in 2012, our Party has comprehensively deepened reform with tremendous political courage. We have adopted a problem-oriented approach and dared to brave uncharted waters, tackle tough problems, navigate potential dangers, and face new issues and challenges. We have broken the shackles of stale thinking, torn down barriers erected by vested interests, and removed institutional obstacles in all areas. Reform has been transformed from a limited set of explorations and breakthroughs in certain areas into an integrated drive being advanced across the board. This has seen us effecting historic, systemic, and holistic transformations in many fields and creating an inexhaustible source of momentum for Chinese modernization.
Party leadership brings together a mighty force for advancing Chinese modernization. Our Party is keenly aware that Chinese modernization is an undertaking of hundreds of millions of Chinese people and thus they are the main actors in this process. We must rely closely on our people, respect their creativity, and pool their wisdom and strength to move Chinese modernization forward. Upholding the Party’s mass line, we have focused on putting people first, responding to their concerns, reflecting their wishes, and improving their wellbeing when considering problems, making decisions, and getting things done, so as to ensure we win their wholehearted support for our Party’s theories, guidelines, principles, and policies. We have regarded the people’s aspiration for a better life as our goal, followed a people-centered development approach, worked hard to ensure and improve public wellbeing, and made every effort to resolve the pressing difficulties and problems that concern the people most, so that the gains of Chinese modernization benefit all our people fairly. Our Party has advanced whole-process people’s democracy, expanded democratic channels, diversified the forms of democracy, and encouraged people’s orderly participation in political affairs, so as to ensure that people participate in various ways in the management of state, economic, cultural, and social affairs in accordance with the law and invest great enthusiasm in modernization with the sense of being masters of this process. By encouraging and inspiring people with our vision of Chinese modernization, we have effectively promoted harmony between different political parties, ethnic groups, religions, social strata, and compatriots both at home and abroad, strengthened unity among all the sons and daughters of the Chinese nation both in the country and overseas, and thus forged a mighty force for building a modern socialist country.