Western experts should understand China’s building of socialism from China’s perspective

In this article, originally carried by CGTN, Keith Lamb makes the cogent point that it is not only Western specialists that need to make more effort to understand China and its rise on its own terms. Western socialists and Marxists do, too.

On January 11, Chinese President Xi Jinping, addressing the opening study session at the Party School of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, called for a greater effort to deepen the review, study, education, and promotion of the CPC’s history so as to better understand and make good use of the historical experience of the Party over the past century. With China’s rapid rise, this advice is also applicable to Western socialists and China observers.

China’s rise will usher in multi-polarity yet, bizarrely, few Western experts, including Western socialists, understand China from its own historical standpoint. This is highlighted by the many prophetic calls that have thus far proved wrong.

For example, that China would become more like a Western liberal democracy never came to pass. The “China collapse” theory fails regularly, only to get put on “life support” to extend it indefinitely into the future. Then, the “China is a neoliberal state working towards capitalist restoration,” posited by some Western Marxists, looks like a historical inaccuracy today.

Continue reading Western experts should understand China’s building of socialism from China’s perspective

Damning imperialism: Marx’s writing on China

We are pleased to republish this article by Nick Matthews highlighting Karl Marx’s writings on China, originally published in the Morning Star.

Although not as well-known as his writings on Ireland and India, Marx paid a great deal of attention to China and not least to its relations with Western powers, Britain in particular. Much of his writing on the subject originally appeared in the form of articles for the New York Daily Tribune. As a passionate opponent of colonialism, Marx was outraged at Britain’s predatory Opium Wars against China and he supported the Chinese people’s resistance to foreign aggression without any equivocation.

Matthews’ article also contains useful background information on the New York Daily Tribune as well as on the work of Donna Torr, a foundation member of the Communist Party of Great Britain, whose work in Moscow included translating the works of Marx and Engels and who edited the definitive collection of Marx’s journalistic work on China, first published in 1951.

China and Marxism have been much discussed lately. Hearing these voices reminded me that Karl Marx himself had written extensively about China. How his views have come down to us is quite a tale.

In the late 1840s, Charles Anderson Dana, like many well-to-do Americans, took a trip to Europe.

In Paris he came across an uncompromising German radical who seemed to understand everything that was going on in those revolutionary times. This was of course Karl Marx.

Continue reading Damning imperialism: Marx’s writing on China

Theoretical and practical innovations in regard to party diplomacy of the Communist Party of China

We are very pleased to be able to make available this important paper by Pan Jin’e, Director and Professor of the International Communist Movement Research Department of the Academy of Marxism, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS). It was delivered at the Cloud International Workshop on “New Forms of Human Civilization from a World Perspective,” held by the School of Marxism, Dalian University of Technology (DUT), 29-31 October 2021. In his paper, Professor Pan outlines the development of the CPC’s international relations through different historical periods, relating it both to the situation in China and the world as well as to Marxist-Leninist theory. We are grateful to the DUT Translation Team for their work as well as to Professor Roland Boer for his meticulous sub-editing.

Party Diplomacy’s Significant Contributions to the Creation of A New Form of Human Civilisation: Theoretical and Practical Innovations in Regard to Party Diplomacy of the Communist Party of China

Xi Jinping, General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), commented in his speech at the ceremony marking the CPC’s 100th anniversary that socialism with Chinese characteristics has created a new form of human civilisation: “We adhere to and develop socialism with Chinese characteristics, promoting the coordinated development of material, political, spiritual, social and ecological civilisations, and thereby creating a new path of Chinese-style modernisation and a new form of human civilisation.”[1] These “five civilisations” are not only a profound summary of the development of socialist civilisation with Chinese characteristics, but also an important connotation of the “new form of human civilisation.”

Continue reading Theoretical and practical innovations in regard to party diplomacy of the Communist Party of China

The CPC at 100 – An exemplar in the innovation and adaptation of Marxism

The 12th World Socialism Forum was held on December 21st 2021, hosted by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) and organised by the World Socialism Research Centre, the Academy of Marxism and the Research Centre of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era of CASS. It was held in the Chinese Academy of History of CASS, with both offline and online participation.

The theme of the event was the Preservation and Innovation of Marxism in the 21st Century, with a key focus on:

  • The Major Achievements and Inspiring Experience of the Communist Party of China over the Past Century
  • The Contribution of the Path of Socialist Political Development with Chinese Characteristics to Political Civilisations of Humanity
  • Lessons and Insights from the Downfall of the Soviet Communist Party and the Dissolution of the Soviet Union
  • Upholding and Developing Marxism in the 21st Century

The Forum heard a total of 23 presentations, including 13 from leading Chinese Marxist thinkers and theoreticians as well as from the Cuban Ambassador to China; Egon Krenz, former leader of the German Democratic Republic (GDR); two speakers from Russia, including the Vice Chair of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF); Keith Bennett, Co-Editor of Friends of Socialist China; and speakers from Argentina, Italy, Cameroon, Venezuela and Vietnam.

We print below Keith Bennett’s speech to the Forum.

Dear Comrades and Friends

On behalf of Friends of Socialist China, a platform established earlier this year to support the People’s Republic of China and spread understanding of Chinese socialism on the basis of Marxism, I’d like to extend our thanks to the World Socialism Forum for inviting us to attend this important meeting and to submit a paper. We also extend warm greetings to everyone participating and hope that we can find concrete ways of working together in the future.

Continue reading The CPC at 100 – An exemplar in the innovation and adaptation of Marxism

China and the other socialist countries are smashing the myth of socialism as undemocratic

Friends of Socialist China was honoured to be invited by the International Department of the Communist Party of China to participate in a virtual meeting of Marxist parties in Europe, North America and Oceania, entitled ‘Democracy, Justice, Development and Progress: The Pursuit of Marxist Political Parties’ on 15 December 2021. This meeting brought together over 20 Marxist political parties and organisations to discuss and share insights on these themes, as well as to compare notes on innovation in Marxist theory and practice.

The keynote speech was given by Song Tao, head of the CPC’s International Department. He began by recalling internationalist comrades such as Norman Bethune who had assisted the revolutionary struggle of the Chinese people. Locating the failure of the Paris Commune in the lack of a strong leadership core and guiding ideology, he noted that Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era was a new breakthrough in adapting Marxism to Chinese conditions, thereby creating a brand new image of socialism in the world, positively impacting the global balance of forces between socialism and capitalism, and thereby promoting the emancipation of all humanity.

Comrade Song’s speech was followed by those from the leaders of the Communist Party of Australia, Hungarian Worker’s Party, Italian Communist Party, Communist Party of Canada, Communist Party of Britain, Communist Party of Denmark, Communist Party of Finland, Communist Party of Spain and the Communist Party of the USA.

Closing the meeting, Qian Hongshan, Deputy Head of the CPC International Department, again underlined that the emancipation of all humanity was the strategic goal of all Marxist parties throughout the world.

Friends of Socialist China co-editors Keith Bennett and Carlos Martinez submitted written speeches to the meeting on invitation. The following is the contribution prepared by Carlos Martinez.

Dear comrades and friends,

The themes of today’s event are democracy, justice, development and progress. These are concepts that capitalism has long tried to exercise a monopoly over. The capitalist world, led by the US, has sought to portray itself as the central force for democracy and progress globally. Conversely it has sought to portray the socialist world as the enemy of democracy and progress; as a force of authoritarianism and backwardness. This was a core pillar of the propaganda connected with the Cold War, and is now central to the New Cold War.

In recent years, the idea of the socialist countries being ‘backward’ or ‘undeveloped’ has started to lose any of the resonance it once had, even among people in the West. The People’s Republic of China in particular has emerged as a powerhouse in science and technology; it is among the world leaders in 5G, in artificial intelligence, in quantum computing, in nanotechnology, in space research, and more. China’s successful campaigns to suppress Covid-19 and to eliminate extreme poverty have caught the world’s attention, and the ‘backward’ label just does not stick.

Continue reading China and the other socialist countries are smashing the myth of socialism as undemocratic

The universalization of ‘liberal democracy’

The following article, written by Danny Haiphong and Carlos Martinez, has been accepted for publication in the journal International Critical Thought, where it will appear in early 2022. We have permission to publish the draft on this website, since the subject matter is particularly pertinent to current debates on the question of democracy.

The word democracy is connected to a large and diverse body of meaning. In the broadest sense, it simply refers to the exercise of power – directly or indirectly – by the people. However, in the leading capitalist countries, its meaning is much more specific: it has become synonymous with the system of ‘liberal democracy’, characterized by a multi-party parliament, universal suffrage, the separation of powers, and a strong emphasis on the protection of private property.

This narrow definition is widely considered in the West as a universal and absolute truth. Indeed, in the dominant Western narrative, adherence to the principles of liberal democracy constitutes the fundamental dividing line in global politics. On one side there is a group of ‘democracies’ (including the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, most of Europe, Japan, India and South Korea) and on the other side a group of ‘non-democracies’ or ‘authoritarian regimes’ (including the People’s Republic of China, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Cuba, Iran, Russia, Venezuela, and most of the countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America).

Continue reading The universalization of ‘liberal democracy’

Four Criteria of Democracy: The Superiority of China’s Full Process Socialist Democracy over the Democracy in the United States

We are very pleased to publish the text of this important speech made by Cheng Enfu (Principal Professor, University of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, and President, World Association of Political Economy) to our Summit for Socialist Democracy held on 11 December 2021. The full event can be viewed on YouTube.

The key to a country’s democracy is whether the people are the masters of their own country. To that end, four important criteria must be considered in determining whether a country’s political system is democratic.

1. The right to vote is important, but more important is people’s wide participation

When people have the right to vote, they can freely express their personal will, but this is far from enough, because the equality in the political right of “one person, one vote” does not necessarily remove other inequalities in economic and social terms. To solve this problem, people must have the right to participate in an all-around manner. The right to participation is the kernel of democratic politics. A democracy in which the people have only the right to vote but not the right to broad participation, i.e., they are awakened only at the time of voting and then go dormant afterwards, is formalistic. Evidently, it is of equal importance to ensure and support the people’s position as masters and to allow them to participate deeply in the management of both national and social life, through elections in accordance with the law as well as through systems and means other than election.

Continue reading Four Criteria of Democracy: The Superiority of China’s Full Process Socialist Democracy over the Democracy in the United States

Ian Goodrum: The ‘Summit for Democracy’ is a master class in hypocrisy

We are pleased to republish below this important article by Ian Goodrum in People’s World exposing the profound hypocrisy lying just beneath the surface of Biden’s ‘Summit for Democracy’, and discussing the realities of China’s socialist democracy.

The image above shows US soldiers holding three Grenadians prisoner during the October 1983 US invasion.

If you thought discourse in the United States couldn’t get more childish, think again: This week, the White House is convening the geopolitical equivalent of the He-Man Woman-Haters’ Club from Our Gang.

The club has an official name, of course; the Summit for Democracy, wherein U.S. President Joe Biden and 110 of his closest friends have a super-secret special meeting in their treehouse to talk about how great they are. But however hard they try to gussy it up, this affair is no different from what Spanky, Alfalfa, and Buckwheat got up to in those Hal Roach short films decades ago.

Continue reading Ian Goodrum: The ‘Summit for Democracy’ is a master class in hypocrisy

John Ross: The international and historical significance of the resolution on the history of the CPC

In his latest article, which we are pleased to republish from Learning from China, John Ross provides a useful summary of the three key resolutions on party history adopted by the Communist Party of China in its century of struggle. Against this background, John further outlines how generations of Chinese communists, and especially Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping and Xi Jinping, have defended, applied, enriched and developed Marxism-Leninism and in so doing have not only immeasurably improved the lives of the Chinese people but also contributed significantly  to the progress of humanity, especially to the liberation struggles of the countries and peoples of Asia, Africa and Latin America.

The following article was originally published in Chinese by Guancha.cn.

The “Resolution on the Major Achievements and Historical Experience of the Party over the Past Century”, adopted by the Sixth Session of the 19th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in November 2021, is, rightly, regarded as in the first place an issue for China itself. As the Resolution notes in its first sentence: “Since its founding in 1921, the Communist Party of China (CPC) has remained true to its original aspiration and mission of seeking happiness for the Chinese people and rejuvenation for the Chinese nation.”

It is obviously correct to start with the position of China itself. But the second sentence of the Resolution starts by noting the connection of China’s national struggle with international developments – in particular in regard to socialism: “Staying committed to communist ideals and socialist convictions, it [the CPC] has united and led Chinese people of all ethnic groups in working tirelessly to achieve national independence and liberation.” Indeed, for reasons that will be analysed, this resolution on the history of the CPC is of very great international and historical importance for all countries as well as for China itself. Therefore, while in no way wishing to deflect from the correctly China focussed nature of discussion on the Resolution, it is also hoped here it may cast some light on the discussion if international aspects of the significance of the Resolution are also considered.

Continue reading John Ross: The international and historical significance of the resolution on the history of the CPC

Elias Jabbour: The “fundamental law” of the new Chinese socioeconomic formation

This brief original essay by Elias Jabbour, Professor at the School of Economics, Rio de Janeiro State University, introduces a key idea from his book with Alberto Gabriele, China: Socialist Economic Development in the 21st Century (due to be released by Routledge in English in March 2022), emphasising that China’s combination of a hybrid economy, Communist Party leadership and innovative and effective governance collectively constitute an important development of Marxist political economic theory.

The task of each and every social scientist dedicated to the evolution of humankind runs through understanding in which stage the human anatomy is, what we must keep in mind in order to better understand the progress of the monkey´s anatomy.

Likewise, in socio-historical terms, it is central to comprehend which is the most advanced formation in course in the world today. This is how we arrived at the Chinese “Market Socialism” and its particularities, what led us to designate it as a “new socioeconomic formation”. As President Dilma Roussef pointed out at the launch of our book, it is “not emerging as a result of a pre-existing capitalism”. The challenge now is to discover the nature of its functioning, its internal coherence, the “universal in the particular”.

Continue reading Elias Jabbour: The “fundamental law” of the new Chinese socioeconomic formation

The significance of the new road of Chinese style modernization and its positive role in the world socialist movement

This interesting paper was presented by Guan Wei of the School of Marxism, Dalian University of Technology (DUT) at the School’s Cloud International Workshop on ‘New Forms of Human Civilisation from a World Perspective’, held October 29-31 2021.

Guan argues that: “Since the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the drastic changes in Eastern Europe, the world socialist movement has fallen to a low ebb. Through unremitting efforts, socialism with Chinese characteristics has become the mainstay of the world socialist movement in the 21st century… China has opened a new path of Chinese modernization and a new prospect for the development of world socialism.”

Thanks to the DUT Translation Team and to Professor Roland Boer for subediting.

Abstract: In the “7.1” speech delivered at the 100th anniversary of the Communist Party of China, Comrade Xi Jinping pointed out that China adheres to and develops socialism with Chinese characteristics, and has created a new road of Chinese style modernization and a new form of human civilization. This important exposition breaks through the theoretical and practical model of modernization with the West as the core, and puts forward a new path of Chinese modernization based on the practice of socialist modernization with Chinese characteristics. Since the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the drastic changes in Eastern Europe, the world socialist movement has fallen to a low ebb. Through unremitting efforts, socialism with Chinese characteristics has become the mainstay of the world socialist movement in the 21st century. Especially since the global economic crisis in 2008, China’s developmental achievements are obvious to all. With the achievements of its own development and its own practice of construction, China has opened a new path of Chinese modernization and a new prospect for the development of world socialism.


Since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (2012), socialism with Chinese characteristics has entered a new era, and China has opened up a new prospect for socialist development with its own developmental achievements and practice in construction. Especially since the global economic crisis in 2008, China’s development achievements are obvious to all. In his “7.1” speech, delivered at the 100th anniversary of the Communist Party of China, Comrade Xi Jinping pointed out that China adheres to and develops socialism with Chinese characteristics, and has created a new path of China’s modernization and new form of human civilization.

Continue reading The significance of the new road of Chinese style modernization and its positive role in the world socialist movement

Xi’s explanation of resolution on major achievements and historical experience of CPC over past century

The following address was given by Xi Jinping, General Secretary of the Communist Party of China, to the plenary meeting of the Party’s Central Committee, held in Beijing from 8 to 11 November 2021. It provides a detailed explanation of the contents of the Resolution on the Major Achievements and Historical Experience of the Party over the Past Century that was adopted by the meeting as well as outlining how the document was drafted and revised. It provides an excellent introduction to and summary of the Resolution and deserves careful study.

On behalf of the Political Bureau of the 19th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), I will now brief you on the Resolution of the CPC Central Committee on the Major Achievements and Historical Experience of the Party over the Past Century and related issues.

I. Considerations on the Agenda of the Sixth Plenary Session of the 19th CPC Central Committee

Our Party has always attached great importance to reviewing its historical experience. As early as in the Yan’an period, Comrade Mao Zedong pointed out, “We will not be able to achieve greater success unless we have a clear understanding of our history and of the roads we have traveled.”

In 1945, at the critical juncture for securing final victory in the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression, the Sixth CPC Central Committee convened its seventh plenary session and adopted the Resolution on Certain Questions in the History of Our Party. The resolution reviewed the history of the Party and the experience it had gained and lessons it had learned since its founding in 1921, especially those in the period between the fourth plenary session of the Sixth Central Committee in January 1931 and the Zunyi Meeting in January 1935. It drew conclusions on major historical issues of the Party, leading to a broad consensus among all Party members, particularly high-ranking officials, on fundamental questions pertaining to the Chinese revolution. It served to strengthen the solidarity of the Party, paved the way for the convocation of the Seventh CPC National Congress, and helped advance the Chinese revolution significantly.

Continue reading Xi’s explanation of resolution on major achievements and historical experience of CPC over past century

A question of State and Revolution: China and Market Socialism

We are very pleased to republish this important article from the website Workers Today on the important question of China and market socialism. Rigorously argued and theoretically well grounded, it puts forward six main theses:

  • That Chinese market socialism is a way to address the backward state of productive forces
  • That market socialism in China is a Marxist-Leninist tool that is important to socialist construction. Here it draws on both Marx’s Critique of the Gotha Program and Lenin’s The Tax in Kind
  • That the CPC’s continued leadership and control of this economy is central to Chinese socialism
  • That Chinese socialism has catapulted a workers state to previously unknown economic heights
  • That China’s successful development of a modern industrial economy has laid the basis for higher forms of socialist economic organisation
  • That China’s application of market socialism to its relations with other developing countries plays a major role in the fight against imperialism

Although issued by Workers Today on 18 November 2021, the article originally appeared on the Return to the Source website in May 2011. It may have been written a decade ago, but its analysis and conclusions remain highly relevant.

Though each face very specific obstacles in building socialism, these five countries–the Republic of Cuba, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and the People’s Republic of China–stand as a challenge to the goliath of Western imperialist hegemony. Among them, however, China stands unique as a socialist country whose economic growth continues to supersede even the most powerful imperialist countries.

Continue reading A question of State and Revolution: China and Market Socialism

Resolution of the CPC Central Committee on the Major Achievements and Historical Experience of the Party over the Past Century

We are very pleased to publish here the full text of the Resolution of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China on the Major Achievements and Historical Experience of the Party over the Past Century, which was adopted at the Sixth Plenary Session of the 19th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China on 11 November 2021.

It is a very long document but it needs to be carefully read by anyone with a serious interest in socialism in China, in Marxism and indeed, considering the vital and increasing importance of China in the world, in the future prospects of humanity. 

In the last 100 years, this is only the third such resolution adopted by the CPC. The first, adopted in 1945, affirmed the correctness of Mao Zedong’s strategic line for the victory of the Chinese revolution and clearly established Mao Zedong Thought, along with Marxism-Leninism, as the guiding ideology of the CPC. 

The second, adopted in 1981, while affirming Chairman Mao as a great proletarian revolutionary, sharply criticised the mistaken policies that led to the Cultural Revolution; formulated the theory of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics; and stressed the centrality of Reform and Opening Up to the building of China into a moderately prosperous nation.

The present resolution builds on these two historic documents to outline the contributions made by Jiang Zemin, Hu Jintao and especially Xi Jinping to the further consolidation of socialist positions in China. It further elucidates China’s place and role in the world and the vital importance of Marxism, to which Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era is both an application to the concrete conditions of China and a development in the 21st Century. 

The resolution is justly proud of the achievements of the Chinese party and people, which are among the greatest, if not the greatest, in human history. Yet, contrary to the usual facile coverage in the Western media, it is far from a self-congratulatory collection of platitudes. It is sober, modest, concrete and, where appropriate, self-critical. As such it is a model of a Marxist, historical materialist document. 

Friends of Socialist China intends to publish further material on this important and historic resolution. 


Preamble

Since its founding in 1921, the Communist Party of China (CPC) has remained true to its original aspiration and mission of seeking happiness for the Chinese people and rejuvenation for the Chinese nation. Staying committed to communist ideals and socialist convictions, it has united and led Chinese people of all ethnic groups in working tirelessly to achieve national independence and liberation, and then to make our country prosperous and strong and pursue a better life. The past century has been a glorious journey.

Over the past hundred years, the Party has led the people to a number of important milestones: achieving great success in the new-democratic revolution through bloody battles and unyielding struggles; achieving great success in socialist revolution and construction through a spirit of self-reliance and a desire to build a stronger China; achieving great success in reform, opening up, and socialist modernization by freeing minds and forging ahead; and achieving great success for socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era through a spirit of self-confidence, self-reliance, and innovating on the basis of what has worked in the past. The endeavors of the Party and the people over the past century represent the most magnificent chapter in the millennia-long history of the Chinese nation.

A review of the Party’s major achievements and historical experience over the past century is necessary for the following purposes:

Ÿ–starting a new journey to build China into a modern socialist country in all respects in the historical context of the Party’s centenary;

Ÿ–upholding and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era;

Ÿ–strengthening our consciousness of the need to maintain political integrity, think in big-picture terms, follow the leadership core, and keep in alignment with the central Party leadership;

Ÿ–enhancing our confidence in the path, theory, system, and culture of socialism with Chinese characteristics;

Ÿ–resolutely upholding Comrade Xi Jinping’s core position on the Party Central Committee and in the Party as a whole and upholding the Central Committee’s authority and its centralized, unified leadership to ensure that all Party members act in unison;

Ÿ–advancing the Party’s self-reform, building all Party members’ fighting capacity, strengthening their ability to respond to risks and challenges, and maintaining the Party’s vigor and vitality; and

Ÿ–uniting and leading all Chinese people in making continued efforts to realize the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation.

All Party members should uphold historical materialism and adopt a rational outlook on the Party’s history. Looking back on the Party’s endeavors over the past century, we can see why we were successful in the past and how we can continue to succeed in the future. This will ensure that we act with greater resolve and a stronger sense of purpose in staying true to our Party’s founding mission, and that we more effectively uphold and develop socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era.

The Party adopted the Resolution on Certain Questions in the History of Our Party at the seventh plenary session of its Sixth Central Committee in 1945 and the Resolution on Certain Questions in the History of Our Party since the Founding of the People’s Republic of China at the sixth plenary session of its 11th Central Committee in 1981.

These two resolutions embody a facts-based review of major events in the Party’s history, as well as important experience gained and lessons learned. These documents unified the whole Party in thinking and action at key historical junctures and played a vital guiding role in advancing the cause of the Party and the people. Their basic points and conclusions remain valid to this day.

I. A Great Victory in the New-Democratic Revolution

In the period of the new-democratic revolution, the main tasks of the Party were to oppose imperialism, feudalism, and bureaucrat-capitalism, seek national independence and the people’s liberation, and create the fundamental social conditions necessary for realizing national rejuvenation.

With a history stretching back more than 5,000 years, the Chinese nation is a great and ancient nation that has fostered a splendid civilization and made indelible contributions to the progress of human civilization. After the Opium War of 1840, however, China was gradually reduced to a semi-colonial, semi-feudal society due to the aggression of Western powers and the corruption of feudal rulers. The country endured intense humiliation, the people were subjected to untold misery, and the Chinese civilization was plunged into darkness. The Chinese nation suffered greater ravages than ever before.

To save the nation from peril, the Chinese people rose to fight back, and patriots of high ideals sought to pull the nation together, putting up a heroic and moving struggle. The Taiping Heavenly Kingdom Movement, the Westernization Movement, the Reform Movement of 1898, and the Yihetuan Movement rose one after the other, and a variety of plans were devised to ensure national survival, but all of these ended in failure. The Revolution of 1911 led by Dr. Sun Yat-sen brought down the absolute monarchy that had reigned over China for thousands of years, but it failed to change the semi-colonial and semi-feudal nature of Chinese society and to alter the bitter fate of the Chinese people. China was in urgent need of new ideas to lead the movement to save the nation and a new organization to rally forces of revolution.

With the salvoes of Russia’s October Revolution in 1917, Marxism-Leninism was brought to China. The May 4th Movement of 1919 spurred the spread of Marxism throughout the country. Then in July 1921, as the Chinese people and the Chinese nation were undergoing a great awakening and Marxism-Leninism was becoming closely integrated with the Chinese workers’ movement, the Communist Party of China was born. The founding of a communist party in China was an epoch-making event, and from then on the Chinese revolution took on an entirely new look.

The Party was keenly aware that the conflicts between imperialism and the Chinese nation, and those between feudalism and the people constituted the principal contradiction in modern Chinese society. To realize national rejuvenation, it would be essential to initiate an anti-imperialist and anti-feudal struggle.

In the early days of the Party and during the Great Revolution, the Party formulated the program of the democratic revolution, launched movements of workers, youths, peasants, and women, promoted and supported the reorganization of the Chinese Kuomintang (KMT) and the founding of the National Revolutionary Army, and led the great anti-imperialist and anti-feudal struggle across the country, bringing about a surge in the Great Revolution.

In 1927, the reactionary clique within the KMT betrayed the revolution, brutally massacring communists and other revolutionaries. Meanwhile, the Right deviationist ideas within the Party represented by Chen Duxiu grew into Right opportunist errors and came to dominate the Party’s leadership. The Party and the people were unable to mount an effective resistance, resulting in a disastrous defeat for the Great Revolution under the surprise attack of a powerful enemy.

During the Agrarian Revolutionary War, the Party realized in light of harsh realities that without revolutionary armed forces, it would be impossible to defeat armed counter-revolutionaries, win the Chinese revolution, and thus change the fate of the Chinese people and the Chinese nation. The Party would need to fight armed counter-revolution with armed revolution.

The Nanchang Uprising of 1927 fired the opening shot of armed resistance against KMT reactionaries. This marked the start of the Communist Party of China’s journey to lead the revolutionary struggle independently, build the people’s armed forces, and seize state power by force. Soon afterwards, the policy of carrying out agrarian revolution and organizing armed uprisings was established at the August 7th Meeting. The Party led the Autumn Harvest Uprising, the Guangzhou Uprising, and uprisings in many other areas. Due to the great disparity in strength between the enemy forces and our own, most of these uprisings ended in failure. The fact of the matter was that in view of objective conditions at the time, the Chinese communists could not follow the example of Russia’s October Revolution and win nationwide revolutionary victory by taking key cities first. The Party urgently needed to find a revolutionary path compatible with China’s actual conditions.

The shift from attacking big cities to advancing into rural areas was a new starting point of decisive importance in the Chinese revolution. Led by Comrade Mao Zedong, soldiers and civilians established the first rural revolutionary base in the Jinggang Mountains, where the Party led the people in overthrowing local despots and redistributing the land. The Gutian Meeting of 1929 established the principles of strengthening the Party ideologically and the military politically. As progress was made in the struggle, the Party established the Central Revolutionary Base as well as the Western Hunan-Hubei, Haifeng-Lufeng, Hubei-Henan-Anhui, Qiongya, Fujian-Zhejiang-Jiangxi, Hunan-Hubei-Jiangxi, Hunan-Jiangxi, Zuojiang-Youjiang, Sichuan-Shaanxi, Shaanxi-Gansu, and Hunan-Hubei-Sichuan-Guizhou bases. In addition, the Party also set up Party organizations and other revolutionary organizations in KMT-controlled areas and launched revolutionary mass struggles.

However, the fifth counter-encirclement and suppression campaign in the Central Revolutionary Base ended in failure as a result of the misguided leadership of Wang Ming’s “Left” dogmatism within the Party. The Red Army was forced to make a strategic shift, and arrived in northern Shaanxi Province after enduring the extraordinarily bitter and arduous journey of the Long March. The errors of the “Left” line caused enormous losses to revolutionary bases as well as revolutionary forces in KMT-controlled areas.

In January 1935, the Political Bureau of the Central Committee convened a meeting in Zunyi on the Long March, at which Comrade Mao Zedong was confirmed as the de facto leader of the Central Committee and the Red Army. The meeting laid the groundwork for establishing the leading position within the Central Committee of the correct Marxist line chiefly represented by Comrade Mao Zedong, as well as for the formation of the first generation of the central collective leadership with Comrade Mao Zedong at its core. The meeting opened a new stage in which the Party would act on its own initiative to address practical problems concerning the Chinese revolution, and saved the Party, the Red Army, and the Chinese revolution at a moment of greatest peril. It also subsequently enabled the Party to defeat Zhang Guotao’s separatism, bring the Long March to a triumphant conclusion, and open up new horizons for the Chinese revolution. The Zunyi Meeting is therefore considered a pivotal turning point in the Party’s history.

After the September 18th Incident in 1931 during the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression, the conflict between China and Japan gradually overtook domestic class conflict as the issue of primary importance. As Japanese imperialists intensified their aggression against China, the country was plunged into an unprecedented national crisis. The Party was the first to propose that China should fight Japanese aggression with armed resistance, and launched extensive resistance movements. It also facilitated a peaceful settlement of the Xi’an Incident, thus playing a historic role in promoting a second period of cooperation between the KMT and the CPC and the united resistance against Japanese aggression.

Following the July 7th Incident in 1937, the Party implemented the right policy on the Chinese united front against Japanese aggression, and adhered to the line of all-out resistance. It devised and executed the strategic guidelines for a protracted war as well as a whole set of strategies and tactics for a people’s war, opened up vast battlefronts behind enemy lines, and developed bases for the resistance. The Party led the Eighth Route Army, the New Fourth Army, the Northeast United Resistance Army, and other forces of the people’s armed resistance in brave fighting, and they were the pillar of the entire nation’s resistance until the Chinese people finally prevailed. This marked the first time in modern history that the Chinese people had won a complete victory against foreign aggressors in the war of national liberation, and was an important part of the global war against fascism.

During the War of Liberation, as the KMT reactionaries flagrantly launched an all-out civil war, the Party led soldiers and civilians in gradually shifting from active defense to strategic offensive. It secured victories in the Liaoxi-Shenyang, Huai-Hai, and Beiping-Tianjin campaigns as well as the Crossing-the-Yangtze Campaign, advanced triumphantly into the central-south, northwest, and southwest, and wiped out eight million KMT troops, thus overthrowing the reactionary KMT government and the three mountains of imperialism, feudalism, and bureaucrat-capitalism. With the support of the people, the Party-led people’s army demonstrated heroic mettle and unyielding resolve as they fought to the last against these fierce enemies, making a historic contribution to the victory of the new-democratic revolution.

In the course of the revolutionary struggle, Chinese communists, with Comrade Mao Zedong as their chief representative, adapted the basic tenets of Marxism-Leninism to China’s specific realities and developed a theoretical synthesis of China’s unique experience which came from painstaking trials and great sacrifices. They blazed the right revolutionary path of encircling cities from the countryside and seizing state power with military force. They established Mao Zedong Thought, which charted the correct course for securing victory in the new-democratic revolution.

In the course of the revolutionary struggle, the Party carried forward its great founding spirit comprised of the following principles: upholding truth and ideals, staying true to its original aspiration and founding mission, fighting bravely without fear of sacrifice, and remaining loyal to the Party and faithful to the people. The Party initiated and advanced the great project of Party building, introduced the principle of focusing on strengthening the Party in ideological terms, and upheld democratic centralism. It stuck to the three fine styles of conduct, namely combining theory with practice, maintaining close ties with the people, and conducting criticism and self-criticism; it developed the three important tools of the united front, armed struggle, and Party building, as it strived to build a national Marxist party of the people, which was fully consolidated in ideological, political, and organizational terms. The rectification movement—a Party-wide Marxist ideological education movement—was launched in 1942 and yielded tremendous results. The Party formulated the Resolution on Certain Questions in the History of Our Party, which helped the entire Party reach a common understanding of the basic questions regarding the Chinese revolution. At the Seventh National Congress, the correct line, principles, and policies were formulated for building a new-democratic China, and as a result the Party became united as never before in ideological, political, and organizational terms.

On October 1, 1949, the founding of the People’s Republic of China was proclaimed after 28 years of bitter and courageous struggle carried out by the people under the leadership of the Party and with the active support of other political parties and democrats without party affiliation, thus realizing the independence of the Chinese nation and the liberation of the Chinese people. This put an end to China’s history as a semi-colonial, semi-feudal society, to the rule of a handful of exploiters over the working people, to the state of total disunity that plagued the old China, and to all the unequal treaties imposed on our country by foreign powers and all the privileges that imperialist powers enjoyed on our land, marking the country’s great transformation from a millennia-old feudal autocracy to a people’s democracy. This also reshaped the world political landscape and offered enormous inspiration for oppressed nations and peoples struggling for liberation around the world.

It has been proven through practice that history and the people have chosen the Communist Party of China, and that without its leadership, it would not have been possible to realize national independence and the people’s liberation. Through tenacious struggle, the Party and the people showed the world that the Chinese people had stood up and the time in which the Chinese nation could be bullied and abused was gone and would never return. This marked the beginning of a new epoch in China’s development.

II. Socialist Revolution and Construction

In the period of socialist revolution and construction, the main tasks of the Party were to realize the transformation from new democracy to socialism, carry out socialist revolution, promote socialist construction, and lay down the fundamental political conditions and the institutional foundations necessary for national rejuvenation.

After the founding of the People’s Republic, the Party led the people in surmounting a multitude of political, economic, and military challenges. It cleared out bandits and remnant KMT reactionary forces, peacefully liberated Tibet, and unified the entire mainland. It stabilized prices, unified standards for finances and the economy, completed the agrarian reform, and launched democratic reforms in all sectors of society. It introduced the policy of equal rights for men and women, suppressed counter-revolutionaries, and launched movements against the “three evils” of corruption, waste, and bureaucracy and against the “five evils” of bribery, tax evasion, theft of state property, cheating on government contracts, and stealing of economic information. As the stains of the old society were wiped out, China took on a completely new look.

Meanwhile, the Chinese People’s Volunteers marched valiantly across the Yalu River to fight alongside the Korean people and troops. They ultimately defeated a powerful enemy that was armed to the teeth, demonstrating the gallantry of our army and our country, and the unyielding spirit of our people. China’s resounding victory in the War to Resist US Aggression and Aid Korea safeguarded the security of the nascent People’s Republic, and testified to its status as a major country. The new China thus gained a firm foothold amid complex domestic and international environments.

Under the Party’s leadership, a government of people’s democratic dictatorship was established and consolidated, which was led by the working class and based on an alliance of workers and peasants. This created the conditions necessary for the country’s rapid development.

In 1949, the Common Program of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) was passed at the CPPCC’s first plenary session. In 1953, the Party officially set forth the general line for the transition period, namely gradually realizing the country’s socialist industrialization and socialist transformation of agriculture, handicrafts, and capitalist industry and commerce over a fairly long period of time. In 1954, the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China was adopted at the first session of the First National People’s Congress. In 1956, China basically completed the socialist transformation of private ownership of the means of production, and put into practice public ownership of the means of production and distribution according to work, thus marking the establishment of the socialist economic system.

Under the Party’s leadership, China established the system of people’s congresses, the system of CPC-led multiparty cooperation and political consultation, and the system of regional ethnic autonomy, providing institutional guarantees for ensuring that it is the people who run the country. Under the Party’s leadership, China also forged and strengthened unity among people of all ethnic groups, established and developed socialist ethnic relations based on equality and mutual assistance, and achieved and cemented unity between workers, peasants, intellectuals, and people from other social strata across the country. As a result, a broad united front was consolidated and expanded. The establishment of the socialist system laid the foundation for all of China’s subsequent progress and development.

In light of the domestic situation following socialist transformation, the Party propounded at its Eighth National Congress that the main contradiction in China was no longer the contradiction between the working class and the bourgeoisie, but rather that between the demand of the people for rapid economic and cultural development and the reality that the country’s economy and culture fell short of the needs of the people. Therefore, the major task facing the nation was to concentrate on developing the productive forces and realize industrialization in order to gradually meet the people’s growing material and cultural needs. The Party called on the people to redouble their efforts to build China step by step into a strong socialist country with modern agriculture, industry, national defense, and science and technology, and it led them in carrying out large-scale socialist construction across the board.

Through the execution of several five-year plans, an independent and relatively complete industrial system and national economic framework were established, the conditions of agricultural production were markedly improved, and impressive progress was made in social programs such as education, science, culture, health, and sports. With continuous breakthroughs in cutting-edge technologies, including nuclear weapons, missiles, and satellites, China’s defense industries underwent steady growth after starting from scratch. The People’s Liberation Army continued to grow in strength, expanding from ground forces alone into a composite military force comprised of the navy, air force, and other specialized units. This provided firm support for the People’s Republic to consolidate the newborn people’s government, establish China’s position as a major country, and defend the nation’s dignity.

The Party adhered to an independent foreign policy of peace, championed and upheld the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, and firmly defended China’s independence, sovereignty, and dignity. It provided support and assistance for other oppressed nations in seeking liberation, for newly independent countries in their pursuit of development, and for various peoples as they put up just struggles, and stood opposed to imperialism, hegemonism, colonialism, and racism. The humiliating diplomacy of the old China was put to an end.

The Party adjusted its diplomatic strategies in light of evolving circumstances, worked to restore all lawful rights of the People’s Republic of China in the United Nations, opened up new horizons for China’s diplomacy, and fostered commitment to the one-China principle among the international community. The Party put forward the theory of the differentiation of the three worlds and made the promise that China would never seek hegemony, earning respect and acclaim from the international community and developing countries in particular.

The Party fully foresaw the new challenges it would face after assuming power over the whole country. As early as at the second plenary session of its Seventh Central Committee which was held shortly before nationwide victory was attained in the War of Liberation, the Party called on all members to remain modest, prudent, and free from arrogance and rashness in their work, and to preserve the style of plain living and hard struggle. After the founding of the People’s Republic, the Party focused on the major issue of Party building in the context of governing, and worked to strengthen the Party and consolidate Party leadership ideologically, organizationally, and in terms of conduct. The Party bolstered efforts to encourage officials to study theory and increase their knowledge, improved its capacity for exercising leadership, and demanded that all members, especially high-ranking officials, act with a greater sense of purpose to safeguard Party unity and solidarity. Rectification campaigns were carried out throughout the Party to strengthen education within the Party, consolidate primary-level organizations, raise membership requirements, and oppose bureaucratism, commandism, graft, and waste. The Party was on high alert against corruption, worked hard to prevent degeneracy among officials, and responded to corruption with firm punishment. These important measures strengthened the integrity of the Party and the solidarity of all Party members, built closer ties between the Party and the people, and accumulated essential starting experience for building a governing party.

During this period, Comrade Mao Zedong proposed a second round of efforts to integrate the basic tenets of Marxism-Leninism with China’s realities. Chinese communists, with Comrade Mao Zedong as their chief representative, enriched and developed Mao Zedong Thought by taking stock of new realities, and put forward a series of important theories for socialist construction. These included recognizing that socialist society was a long historical period; strictly differentiating between two types of contradictions, namely those between the people and the enemy and those among the people, and properly dealing with these contradictions; handling the ten major relationships in China’s socialist construction appropriately; finding a path to industrialization suited to China’s realities; respecting the law of value; implementing the principle of long-term coexistence and mutual oversight between the Communist Party and other political parties; and applying the principle of letting a hundred flowers blossom and a hundred schools of thought contend to scientific and cultural work. These creative theoretical achievements maintain important guiding significance to this day.

Mao Zedong Thought represents a creative application and advancement of Marxism-Leninism in China. It is a summation of theories, principles, and experience on China’s revolution and construction that has been proven correct through practice, and its establishment marked the first historic step in adapting Marxism to the Chinese context. The living soul of Mao Zedong Thought is the positions, viewpoints, and methods embodied in its constituent parts, which are reflected in three basic points—seeking truth from facts, following the mass line, and staying independent. These have provided sound guidance for developing the cause of the Party and the people.

Regrettably, the correct line adopted at the Party’s Eighth National Congress was not fully upheld. Mistakes were made such as the Great Leap Forward and the people’s commune movement, and the scope of the struggle against Rightists was also made far too broad. Confronted with a grave and complex external environment at the time, the Party was extremely concerned about consolidating China’s socialist state power, and made a wide range of efforts in this regard. However, Comrade Mao Zedong’s theoretical and practical errors concerning class struggle in a socialist society became increasingly serious, and the Central Committee failed to rectify these mistakes in good time. Under a completely erroneous appraisal of the prevailing class relations and the political situation in the Party and the country, Comrade Mao Zedong launched and led the Cultural Revolution. The counter-revolutionary cliques of Lin Biao and Jiang Qing took advantage of Comrade Mao Zedong’s mistakes, and committed many crimes that brought disaster to the country and the people, resulting in ten years of domestic turmoil which caused the Party, the country, and the people to suffer the most serious losses and setbacks since the founding of the People’s Republic. This was an extremely bitter lesson. Acting on the will of the Party and the people, the Political Bureau of the Central Committee resolutely smashed the Gang of Four in October 1976, putting an end to the catastrophic Cultural Revolution.

From the founding of the People’s Republic to the eve of reform and opening up, the Party led the people in completing the socialist revolution, eliminating all systems of exploitation, and bringing about the most extensive and profound social change in the history of the Chinese nation and a great transformation from a poor and backward Eastern country with a large population to a socialist country. Despite the serious setbacks it encountered in the process of exploration, the Party made creative theoretical achievements and great progress in socialist revolution and construction, which provided valuable experience, theoretical preparation, and material foundations for launching socialism with Chinese characteristics into a new historical period.

Through tenacious struggle, the Party and the people showed the world that the Chinese people were not only capable of dismantling the old world, but also of building a new one, that only socialism could save China, and that only socialism could develop China.

III. Reform, Opening Up, and Socialist Modernization

In the new period of reform, opening up, and socialist modernization, the main tasks facing the Party were to continue exploring a right path for building socialism in China, unleash and develop the productive forces, lift the people out of poverty and help them become prosperous in the shortest time possible, and fuel the push toward national rejuvenation by providing new, dynamic institutional guarantees as well as the material conditions for rapid development.

After the end of the Cultural Revolution, the Party stood at a crucial historical juncture in which it was confronted with the question of which course the Party and the country should take. The Party came to recognize that the only way forward was to launch a program of reform and opening up; otherwise, our endeavors in pursuing modernization and building socialism would be doomed to failure. In December 1978, the 11th Central Committee held its third plenary session. At the session the Party decisively abandoned the policy of taking class struggle as the key link, and initiated a strategic shift in the focus of the Party and country’s work, thereby ushering in a new period of reform, opening up, and socialist modernization. This marked a great turning point of far-reaching significance in the Party’s history since the founding of the People’s Republic of China. The Party also made the momentous decision to completely renounce the Cultural Revolution. Over the more than 40 years that have passed since then, the Party has never wavered in following the line, principles, and policies adopted at this session.

After the third plenary session of the 11th Central Committee, Chinese communists, with Comrade Deng Xiaoping as their chief representative, united and led the whole Party and the entire nation in conducting a thorough review of the experience gained and lessons learned since the founding of the People’s Republic. On this basis, and by focusing on the fundamental questions of what socialism is and how to build it and drawing lessons from the history of world socialism, they established Deng Xiaoping Theory, and devoted their efforts to freeing minds and seeking truth from facts. The historic decision was made to shift the focus of the Party and the country’s work onto economic development and to launch the reform and opening up drive. Chinese communists brought the essence of socialism to light, set the basic line for the primary stage of socialism, and made it clear that China would follow its own path and build socialism with Chinese characteristics. They provided sensible answers to a series of basic questions on building socialism with Chinese characteristics, and formulated a development strategy for basically achieving socialist modernization by the middle of the 21st century through a three-step approach. They thus succeeded in founding socialism with Chinese characteristics.

After the fourth plenary session of the 13th Central Committee, Chinese communists, with Comrade Jiang Zemin as their chief representative, united and led the whole Party and the entire nation in upholding the Party’s basic theory and line, deepening their understanding of what socialism is and how to build it, and what kind of party to build and how to build it. On this basis, they formed the Theory of Three Represents. In the face of complex domestic and international situations and serious setbacks confronting world socialism, they safeguarded socialism with Chinese characteristics, defined building a socialist market economy as an objective of reform and set a basic framework in this regard, and established a basic economic system for the primary stage of socialism under which public ownership is the mainstay and diverse forms of ownership develop together, as well as an income distribution system under which distribution according to work is the mainstay while multiple forms of distribution exist alongside it. They opened up new horizons for reform and opening up across all fronts and advanced the great new project of Party building. All these efforts helped to successfully launch socialism with Chinese characteristics into the 21st century.

After the 16th National Congress, Chinese communists, with Comrade Hu Jintao as their chief representative, united and led the whole Party and the entire nation in advancing practical, theoretical, and institutional innovation during the process of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects. They gained a deep understanding of major questions such as what kind of development to pursue and how to pursue it under new circumstances, and provided clear answers to these questions, thus forming the Scientific Outlook on Development. Taking advantage of an important period of strategic opportunity, they focused their energy on development, with emphasis on pursuing comprehensive, balanced, and sustainable development that put the people first. They worked hard to ensure and improve people’s wellbeing, promote social fairness and justice, bolster the Party’s governance capacity, and maintain its advanced nature. In doing so, they succeeded in upholding and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics under new circumstances.

In order to promote reform and opening up, the Party re-established the Marxist ideological, political, and organizational lines, thoroughly refuted the erroneous “two whatevers” policy, and correctly appraised the historical position of Comrade Mao Zedong and the value of Mao Zedong Thought as a scientific system. The Party made it clear that the principal contradiction in Chinese society was that China’s underdeveloped social production was unable to meet the ever-growing material and cultural needs of the people, and hence the central task of the Party was to resolve this contradiction. On this basis, the Party put forward the goal of building China into a moderately prosperous society.

The Party restored and formulated a series of correct policies in all fields of work, and began the process of readjusting the national economy. Under the leadership of the Party, comprehensive steps were taken to set things right ideologically, politically, and organizationally, and extensive efforts were made to redress wrongs suffered by those who were unjustly, falsely, and wrongly accused and to regulate social relations. The adoption of the Resolution on Certain Questions in the History of Our Party since the Founding of the People’s Republic of China marked the successful conclusion of the Party’s efforts to rectify its guiding principles.

The Party came to recognize that to open up new prospects for reform, opening up, and socialist modernization, it needed to steer the advancement of its endeavors with theoretical innovation. Comrade Deng Xiaoping once said, “When everything has to be done by the book, when thinking turns rigid and blind faith is the fashion, it is impossible for a party or a nation to make progress. Its life will cease and that party or nation will perish.” With this understanding, the Party led and supported extensive discussions on the criterion for testing truth, upheld and developed Marxism in light of new practices and the features of the times, and effectively answered a series of basic questions regarding socialism with Chinese characteristics, including development path, stage of development, fundamental tasks, development drivers, development strategies, political guarantee, national reunification, diplomacy and international strategy, leadership, and forces to rely on, thereby forming the theory of socialism with Chinese characteristics and achieving a new breakthrough in adapting Marxism to the Chinese context.

At its 12th through 17th national congresses, the Party made consistent overall plans for advancing reform, opening up, and socialist modernization in view of evolving circumstances at home and abroad and new requirements for the country’s development. The Central Committee convened several plenary sessions dedicated to planning major initiatives for promoting reform, development, and stability.

The introduction of the household contract responsibility system in rural areas marked the initial breakthrough in China’s reform, further steps were gradually taken to reform the economic structure in the cities, and reform initiatives were then carried out across the board. Oriented toward the development of a socialist market economy, this reform gave greater and broader play to the basic role of market in allocating resources, while upholding and improving China’s basic economic and income distribution systems. While resolutely advancing economic structural reform, the Party simultaneously carried out political, cultural, and social structural reforms as well as institutional reforms related to Party building, which led to the formation and development of vigorous institutions and mechanisms that suited the conditions of contemporary China.

The Party designated opening up as a fundamental national policy. Under this policy, China progressed from establishing special economic zones in Shenzhen and a few other areas to opening up more parts of the country–Pudong in Shanghai, key inland cities as well as areas along the coastline, borders, the Yangtze River, and major transportation routes. It also acceded to the World Trade Organization, and went from “bringing in” to “going global.” In this process, we fully utilized both domestic and international markets and resources.

With continuous progress in reform and opening up, China achieved the historic transformations from a highly centralized planned economy into a socialist market economy brimming with vitality, and from a country that was largely isolated into one that is open to the outside world across the board.

In an effort to accelerate socialist modernization, the Party led the people in promoting economic, political, cultural, and social development and made immense achievements.

The Party continued to take economic development as the central task, stood by the conviction that development is of paramount importance, and put forward the notion that science and technology constitute the primary productive force. It implemented major strategies such as invigorating China through science and education, pursuing sustainable development, and developing a quality workforce. It advanced large-scale development of the western region, revitalized old industrial bases in the northeast and other regions, promoted the rise of the central region, and supported the trailblazing development of the eastern region in an effort to promote the coordinated development of urban and rural areas and different regions. The Party promoted the reform and development of state-owned enterprises, encouraged and supported the development of the non-public sector, and accelerated the transformation of the economic growth model. It stepped up environmental protection and promoted sustained and rapid economic development. All of this enabled China’s composite national strength to increase by a large margin.

Upholding the unity between the Party’s leadership, the running of the country by the people, and law-based governance, the Party worked to develop socialist democracy and promote socialist political progress and advanced reform of the political system in a proactive and prudent manner. With a commitment to integrating the rule of law with the rule of virtue, a new Constitution of the People’s Republic of China was formulated, China built itself into a socialist country under the rule of law, and a socialist system of laws with Chinese characteristics took shape. The Party made earnest efforts to respect and protect human rights and consolidated and developed the broadest possible patriotic united front.

The Party stepped up education on ideals and convictions, advanced the development of the core socialist values, promoted cultural-ethical progress, and fostered an advanced socialist culture, thus pushing socialist culture to flourish.

The Party accelerated social development with a focus on improving public wellbeing. It worked to improve people’s living standards and rescinded taxes on agriculture. It devoted constant effort to ensuring access to education, employment, medical services, elderly care, and housing and to promoting social harmony and stability.

The Party put forward the overall goal of building a strong, modern, and standardized revolutionary military, and it made winning local wars in the information age the focal point in preparation for military struggle. It advanced military transformation with Chinese characteristics by following an approach of having fewer but better troops.

Facing a rapidly changing international landscape, the Party upheld the Four Cardinal Principles, eliminated all kinds of interference, and calmly responded to a series of risks and trials related to China’s overall reform, development, and stability.

The late 1980s and early 1990s witnessed the demise of the Soviet Union and the drastic changes in Eastern European countries. In the late spring and early summer of 1989, a severe political disturbance took place in China as a result of the international and domestic climates at the time, and was egged on by hostile anti-communist and anti-socialist forces abroad. With the people’s backing, the Party and the government took a clear stand against the turmoil, defending China’s socialist state power and safeguarding the fundamental interests of the people.

The Party led the people in successfully responding to the Asian financial crisis, the global financial crisis, and other economic risks. We successfully held the 2008 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Beijing. We overcame natural disasters, such as severe flooding on the Yangtze, Nenjiang, and Songhua rivers, the devastating earthquake in Wenchuan, and the SARS epidemic. All these victories demonstrated the Party’s ability to withstand risks and cope with complicated situations.

Defining national reunification as a major historical task, the Party worked tirelessly to complete it. Comrade Deng Xiaoping introduced the creative and well-conceived concept of One Country, Two Systems, paving a new path for achieving reunification through peaceful means.

Through arduous work and struggle, the Chinese government successively resumed its exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong and Macao, thus ending a century-long history of humiliation. Since Hong Kong and Macao’s return to the motherland, the central government acted in strict compliance with China’s Constitution and the basic laws of the special administrative regions and maintained lasting prosperity and stability in the two regions.

Keeping in mind the big picture with regard to resolving the Taiwan question, the Party set forth the basic principles of peaceful reunification and One Country, Two Systems and facilitated agreement across the Taiwan Strait on the 1992 Consensus, which embodies the one-China principle. It advanced cross-Strait consultations and negotiations, established comprehensive and direct two-way mail, transport, and trade links across the Strait, and launched dialogues between political parties of the two sides. The Party pushed for the enactment of the Anti-Secession Law, resolutely deterred separatist forces seeking “Taiwan independence,” promoted national reunification, and thwarted attempts to create “two Chinas,” “one China, one Taiwan,” or “Taiwan independence.”

Based on a judicious assessment of global trends and the features of the era, the Party put forward the concept that peace and development are the themes of our times. In line with this concept, China upheld its fundamental foreign policy goal of preserving world peace and promoting shared development. It adjusted its relations with other major countries, developed friendly relations with neighboring countries, and deepened friendly cooperation with other developing countries. It actively participated in international and regional affairs and created a new comprehensive and multi-layered framework for foreign relations.

The Party promoted the development of a multipolar world and the democratization of international relations and pushed economic globalization in a direction toward common prosperity. China took an unequivocal stand against hegemonism and power politics, endeavored to safeguard the interests of developing countries, worked for a new international political and economic order that would be fair and equitable, and promoted lasting peace and common prosperity in the world.

The Party has always stressed that to do a good job of governing the country, we must first do a good job of governing the Party, and that means governing it strictly. With this in mind, it focused its efforts on strengthening the Party and launched the great new project of Party building.

The Party formulated the Code of Conduct for Intraparty Political Life, strengthened democratic centralism, promoted democracy within the Party, and normalized intraparty political activities. It launched a party-wide rectification campaign through a well-planned, step-by-step approach in order to address the problems of defects in terms of thinking, conduct, and organization within the Party. The Party also worked to fortify its ranks with the aim of cultivating younger, more revolutionary, better educated, and more specialized officials, and it made a strong point of promoting young and middle-aged officials and advancing the process of succession.

With a view to addressing the two historical challenges of improving the Party’s leadership and governance and bolstering its ability to resist corruption, prevent moral decline, and withstand risks, and with its focus on enhancing its governance capacity and advanced nature, the Party made a series of decisions on major issues including strengthening its ties with the people, its style of work, and its governance capacity. It also carried out education campaigns on the importance of study, political integrity, and rectitude, on the Theory of Three Represents, on preserving the advanced nature of Party members, and on studying and applying the Scientific Outlook on Development. The Party defined efforts to improve Party conduct, uphold integrity, and combat corruption as issues concerning the very survival of the Party and the country, and pushed forward the development of systems for preventing and punishing corruption.

On the 40th anniversary of the launch of reform and opening up, the Party held a grand ceremony to mark this important event. In his address at the ceremony, Comrade Xi Jinping reviewed the great achievements made and valuable experience accumulated over those four decades. He stressed that reform and opening up represented a great awakening for the Party and a great revolution in the history of the Chinese nation’s development, and he called for continued efforts to see this process through. Our country’s impressive achievements in reform, opening up, and modernization attracted the whole world’s attention. China achieved the historic transformation from a country with relatively backward productive forces to the world’s second largest economy, and made the historic strides of raising the living standards of its people from bare subsistence to moderate prosperity in general and then toward moderate prosperity in all respects. All these achievements marked the tremendous advance of the Chinese nation from standing up to growing prosperous.

Through tenacious struggle, the Party and the people showed the world that reform and opening up was a crucial move in making China what it is today, that socialism with Chinese characteristics is the correct road that has led the country toward development and prosperity, and that China has caught up with the times in great strides.

IV. A New Era of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics

Following the Party’s 18th National Congress, socialism with Chinese characteristics entered a new era. The main tasks facing the Party in this period are to fulfill the First Centenary Goal, embark on the new journey to accomplish the Second Centenary Goal, and continue striving toward the great goal of national rejuvenation.

The Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core has implemented the national rejuvenation strategy within the wider context of once-in-a-century changes taking place in the world. It has stressed that the new era of socialism with Chinese characteristics is an era in which we will build on past successes to further advance our cause and continue to strive for the success of socialism with Chinese characteristics under new historical conditions; an era in which we will use the momentum of our decisive victory in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects to fuel all-out efforts to build a great modern socialist country; an era in which Chinese people of all ethnic groups will work together to create a better life for themselves and gradually realize the goal of common prosperity; an era in which all the sons and daughters of the Chinese nation will strive with one heart to realize the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation; and an era in which China will make even greater contributions to humanity. This new era is a new historic juncture in China’s development.

Chinese communists, with Comrade Xi Jinping as their chief representative, have established Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era on the basis of adapting the basic tenets of Marxism to China’s specific realities and its fine traditional culture, upholding Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory, the Theory of Three Represents, and the Scientific Outlook on Development, thoroughly reviewing and fully applying the historical experience gained since the founding of the Party, and proceeding from new realities.

Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era makes the following clear:

—The leadership of the Communist Party of China is the defining feature of socialism with Chinese characteristics and the greatest strength of the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and that the Party is the highest force for political leadership. Therefore, all Party members must strengthen their consciousness of the need to maintain political integrity, think in big-picture terms, follow the leadership core, and keep in alignment with the central Party leadership; stay confident in the path, theory, system, and culture of socialism with Chinese characteristics; and uphold Comrade Xi Jinping’s core position on the Party Central Committee and in the Party as a whole, and uphold the Central Committee’s authority and its centralized, unified leadership.

—The overarching task of upholding and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics is to realize socialist modernization and national rejuvenation, and that on the basis of completing the goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, a two-step approach should be taken to build China into a great modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious, and beautiful by the middle of the 21st century, and to promote national rejuvenation through a Chinese path to modernization.

—The principal contradiction facing Chinese society in the new era is that between unbalanced and inadequate development and the people’s ever-growing needs for a better life, and the Party must therefore remain committed to a people-centered philosophy of development, develop whole-process people’s democracy, and make more notable and substantive progress toward achieving well-rounded human development and common prosperity for all.

—The integrated plan for building socialism with Chinese characteristics covers five spheres, namely economic, political, cultural, social, and ecological advancement, and that the comprehensive strategy in this regard includes four prongs, namely building a modern socialist country, deepening reform, advancing law-based governance, and strengthening Party self-governance.

—The overall objectives of comprehensively deepening reform are to develop and improve the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics and to modernize China’s system and capacity for governance.

—The overall goal of comprehensively advancing law-based governance is to establish a system of socialist rule of law with Chinese characteristics and to build a socialist rule of law country.

—China must uphold and improve its basic socialist economic system, see that the market plays the decisive role in resource allocation and the government plays its role better, have an accurate understanding of this new stage of development, apply a new philosophy of innovative, coordinated, green, open, and shared development, accelerate efforts to foster a new pattern of development that is focused on the domestic economy but features positive interplay between domestic and international economic flows, promote high-quality development, and balance development and security imperatives.

—The Party’s goal for military development in the new era is to build the people’s armed forces into world-class forces that obey the Party’s command, that are able to fight and to win, and that maintain excellent conduct.

—Major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics aims to serve national rejuvenation, promote human progress, and facilitate efforts to foster a new type of international relations and build a human community with a shared future.

—Full and rigorous self-governance is a policy of strategic importance for the Party, and the general requirements for Party building in the new era include making all-around efforts to strengthen the Party in political, ideological, and organizational terms and in terms of conduct and discipline, with institution building incorporated into every aspect of this process, continuing the fight against corruption, and ensuring that the political responsibility for governance over the Party is fulfilled. By engaging in great self-transformation, the Party can steer great social transformation.

These strategic concepts and innovative ideas are the important outcomes of the Party’s theoretical development based on a deeper understanding of the underlying laws of socialism with Chinese characteristics.

Comrade Xi Jinping, through meticulous assessment and deep reflection on a number of major theoretical and practical questions regarding the cause of the Party and the country in the new era, has set forth a series of original new ideas, thoughts, and strategies on national governance revolving around the major questions of our times: what kind of socialism with Chinese characteristics we should uphold and develop in this new era, what kind of great modern socialist country we should build, and what kind of Marxist party exercising long-term governance we should develop, as well as how we should go about achieving these tasks. He is thus the principal founder of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era. This is the Marxism of contemporary China and of the 21st century. It embodies the best of the Chinese culture and ethos in our times and represents a new breakthrough in adapting Marxism to the Chinese context. The Party has established Comrade Xi Jinping’s core position on the Party Central Committee and in the Party as a whole, and defined the guiding role of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era. This reflects the common will of the Party, the armed forces, and Chinese people of all ethnic groups, and is of decisive significance for advancing the cause of the Party and the country in the new era and for driving forward the historic process of national rejuvenation.

The significant achievements attained in the cause of the Party and the country since the launch of reform and opening up have laid a solid foundation and created favorable conditions for developing socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era. At the same time, however, the Party has remained soberly aware that changes in the international environment have brought about many new risks and challenges and China faces no small number of long unresolved, deep-seated problems as well as newly emerging problems regarding reform, development, and stability. Moreover, previously lax and weak governance has enabled inaction and corruption to spread within the Party and led to serious problems in its political environment, which has harmed relations between the Party and the people and between officials and the public, weakened the Party’s creativity, cohesiveness, and ability, and posed a serious test to its exercise of national governance.

The Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core has demonstrated great historical initiative, tremendous political courage, and a powerful sense of mission. Keeping in mind both domestic and international imperatives, the Central Committee has implemented the Party’s basic theory, line, and policy and provided unified leadership for advancing our great struggle, great project, great cause, and great dream. Acting on the general principle of pursuing progress while ensuring stability, it has introduced a raft of major principles and policies, launched a host of major initiatives, pushed ahead with many major tasks, and overcome a number of major risks and challenges. It has solved many tough problems that were long on the agenda but never resolved and accomplished many things that were wanted but never got done. With this, it has prompted historic achievements and historic shifts in the cause of the Party and the country.

1. Upholding the Party’s overall leadership

Since the launch of reform and opening up, the Party has made continued efforts to strengthen and improve its leadership, providing fundamental political guarantees for the cause of the Party and the country. However, there have remained many problems within the Party with respect to upholding its leadership such as a lack of clear awareness and vigorous action as well as weak, ineffective, diluted, and marginalized efforts in implementation. In particular, the Central Committee’s major decisions and plans were not properly executed as some officials selectively implemented the Party’s policies or even feigned agreement or compliance and did things their own way.

The Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core has made it clear that the leadership of the Party is the foundation and lifeblood of the Party and the country, and the pillar upon which the interests and wellbeing of all Chinese people depend. All Party members must maintain a high degree of unity with the Central Committee ideologically, politically, and in action. We need to enhance our capacity to conduct sound, democratic, and law-based governance, and ability to chart our course, craft overall plans, design policy, and promote reform. We must ensure that the Party fully exerts its core role in providing overall leadership and coordinating the efforts of all sides.

The Party has clearly stated that it exercises overall, systemic, and integrated leadership, and that its lifeblood lies in maintaining its solidarity and unity. The centralized, unified leadership of the Central Committee is the highest principle of the Party’s leadership, and upholding and strengthening this is the common political responsibility of each and every Party member. In upholding Party leadership, all Party members must, first and foremost, take a clear stance in maintaining political integrity to ensure that the whole Party obeys the Central Committee.

The Code of Conduct for Intraparty Political Life under New Circumstances was approved at the sixth plenary session of the 18th Central Committee. The regulations of the Political Bureau on upholding and strengthening the centralized, unified leadership of the Central Committee were also issued. These documents were designed to strictly enforce the Party’s political rules and discipline, to counteract and prevent self-centered behavior, decentralism, liberalism, departmentalism, and the “nice-guy” mentality, to cultivate a positive and healthy intraparty political culture, and to foster a sound political ecosystem featuring honesty and integrity within the Party.

The Central Committee has required leading officials to improve their capacity for political judgment, thinking, and implementation; to remain mindful of the country’s most fundamental interests; and to be loyal to the Party, obey its command, and fulfill their duties to it.

The Party has strengthened its leadership systems. It has improved the institutions for Party leadership over the people’s congresses, the government, the CPPCC, the supervisory, judicial, and procuratorial organs of the state, the armed forces, people’s organizations, enterprises and public institutions, primary-level people’s organizations for self-governance, and social organizations, thereby ensuring that the Party plays its role of providing leadership in all these organizations.

The Party has practiced democratic centralism. It has put in place sound systems for ensuring its leadership over major work of the state. The functions and roles of the Central Committee’s decision-making, deliberative, and coordinating institutions have been strengthened, and the mechanisms for ensuring implementation of the Central Committee’s major policies have been improved. The Party has strictly implemented the system for requesting instructions from and submitting reports to the Central Committee; tightened political oversight and inspection; investigated and handled cases of deviation from the Party’s line, principles, and policies as well as instances in which the Party’s centralized, unified leadership has been undermined; and rid the Party of members who acted duplicitously. All these measures have helped ensure that the whole Party maintains a high degree of unity with the Central Committee in terms of political stance, political orientation, political principles, and political path.

Since the 18th National Congress, the Party Central Committee’s authority and its centralized, unified leadership have remained robust, the Party’s leadership systems have improved, and the way in which the Party exercises its leadership has become more refined. There is greater unity among all Party members in terms of thinking, political resolve, and action, and the Party has significantly boosted its capacity to provide political leadership, give guidance through theory, organize the people, and inspire society.

2. Exercising full and rigorous self-governance

Since the launch of reform and opening up, the Party has upheld the principle of the Party exercising effective self-supervision and practicing strict self-governance, making notable progress in Party building.

However, there was a certain period in which we failed to supervise Party organizations effectively or govern them with the necessary stringency. This resulted in a serious lack of political conviction among some Party members and officials, misconduct in the selection and appointment of personnel in some localities and government departments, a blatant culture of pointless formalities, bureaucratism, hedonism, and extravagance, and a prevalence of privilege-seeking attitudes and behavior. To be more specific, some officials engaged in cronyism and ostracized those outside of their circle; some formed self-serving cliques; some anonymously lodged false accusations and fabricated rumors; some sought to buy popular support and rig elections in their favor; some promised official posts and lavished praise on each other for their promotions; some did things their own way and feigned compliance with policies while acting counter to them; and some got too big for their boots and made presumptuous comments on the decisions of the Central Committee. Such misconduct interwoven with political and economic issues led to a startling level of corruption that damaged the Party’s image and prestige and severely undermined relations between the Party and the people and between officials and the people, arousing the discontent and indignation of many Party members, officials, and members of the public.

Comrade Xi Jinping emphasized that it takes a good blacksmith to make good steel and that China’s success hinges on the Party, especially on the Party’s efforts to exercise effective self-supervision and full and rigorous self-governance. With this understanding, we must make strengthening the Party’s long-term governance capacity and its advanced nature and integrity the main tasks, make enhancing the Party politically the guiding principle, make firm commitment to the Party’s ideals, convictions, and purpose the foundation, and make harnessing the whole Party’s enthusiasm, initiative, and creativity the focus of our efforts. We must keep improving the efficacy of Party building and build the Party into a vibrant Marxist governing party that stays at the forefront of the times, enjoys the wholehearted support of the people, has the courage to reform itself, and is able to withstand all tests.

With the attitude and resolve to make Party building an unceasing endeavor, the Party has practiced rigorous self-governance and put the spotlight on leading officials, the “key few.” It has worked to ensure that responsibilities for taking charge and exercising supervision over self-governance are properly fulfilled, bolstered the enforcement of oversight, discipline, and accountability, and integrated the requirement for full and strict self-governance into all aspects of Party building. The Central Committee has convened meetings on Party building in various sectors and made effective plans in this regard, thus promoting all-around progress in Party building.

The Central Committee has consistently stressed that our Party comes from the people, has its roots among the people, and is dedicated to serving the people. Once the Party becomes disengaged from the people, it will lose its vitality. To exercise strict self-governance in all respects, we must first address issues concerning Party conduct that the people are strongly concerned about.

For this purpose, the Central Committee started with formulating and enforcing an eight-point decision on improving Party and government conduct and worked to improve the Party’s style of work through a top-down approach, with members of the Political Bureau and leading officials taking the lead. The Political Bureau holds meetings every year to hear reports on implementation of the eight-point decision and to engage in criticism and self-criticism on this subject.

With the persistence to keep hammering away, the Central Committee has made consistent efforts to tackle pointless formalities, bureaucratism, hedonism, and extravagance. It has opposed privilege-seeking attitudes and behavior, shut down extravagant and wasteful spending and use of public funds for non-work-related gifts, dining, or travel, and worked to solve prominent problems that invite a strong public response or harm the public’s interests. The Central Committee has reduced burdens at the primary level, and encouraged frugality while opposing wasteful spending. Thanks to these efforts, certain unhealthy tendencies that were once considered impossible to control have been reined in, and certain problems that had long plagued us have been remedied, while Party, government, and social conduct have significantly improved.

The Party has always stressed that the whole Party must maintain firm ideals and convictions, well-constructed organizational systems, and strict rules and discipline.

Our faith in Marxism, the great ideal of communism, and the common ideal of socialism with Chinese characteristics are our source of strength and the anchor of our political soul as Chinese communists, and they constitute the ideological foundation for maintaining the Party’s unity. The Central Committee has stressed that ideals and convictions are like essential nutrients; without them, we would become frail and susceptible to corruption, greed, degeneracy, and decadence.

The Party has remained committed to integrating efforts to strengthen the Party ideologically with those to bolster self-governance through institutional building. In recent years, it has launched campaigns for advancing study and implementation of the mass line; for pushing Party members to be strict with themselves in practicing self-cultivation, exercising power, and maintaining self-discipline and to be earnest in their thinking, work, and behavior; for requiring Party members to study the Party Constitution, Party regulations, and General Secretary Xi Jinping’s major policy addresses and to meet Party standards; for raising awareness of the need to stay true to the Party’s founding mission; and for encouraging study of the Party’s history. Through these efforts, the Party aims to equip its members with its new theories and to turn itself into a learning party. It has worked to educate and guide Party members and officials, especially leading officials, so that they can keep the roots of their convictions healthy and strong and absorb the mental nutrients they need to maintain the right line in their thinking, and ultimately preserve their political character and the backbone of their identity as communists.

The Party has introduced and implemented an organizational line for the new era. It has specified a set of criteria for good officials, which include firm convictions, devotion to serving the people, a strong and pragmatic work ethic, a willingness to take responsibility, and a commitment to being clean and honest. In appointing officials, the Party has adopted a rational approach with a greater emphasis on political integrity. It has adhered to the principle of selecting officials on the basis of both integrity and ability, with greater weight given to the former, and on the basis of merit regardless of background, and it is intent on appointing those who are dedicated, impartial, and upright. The Party has opposed the selection of officials solely on the basis of votes, assessment scores, GDP growth rates, or age, or through open popularity contests. It has strengthened the role of Party organizations in exercising leadership and final oversight in order to rectify misconduct in the selection and appointment of officials.

The Party has mandated that leading officials at all levels cultivate a proper worldview, outlook on life, and sense of values, all of which serve as the “master switch” for their conduct, and that they appreciate the power entrusted to them, manage it well, and use it prudently. They must willingly submit to the oversight from all sides, share the Party’s concerns at all times, make contributions to the country, and work for the people’s wellbeing.

The Party has adhered to the principle of the Party supervising personnel, pursued a more proactive, open, and effective personnel policy, implemented the strategy of invigorating China by developing a quality workforce in the new era, and moved faster to build world-class hubs for talent and innovation, thus bringing together the brightest minds from all corners.

The Party has constantly strengthened its organizational system with a focus on improving the organizational capacity of Party organizations and enhancing their political and organizational functions. By attaching greater attention to the primary level, the Party has promoted full coverage for its organizational framework and initiatives.

The Party has upheld the principles that Party discipline should be even more stringent than the law and that discipline and law enforcement efforts should go hand in hand. It has conducted four forms of oversight over discipline compliance,[ The four forms are: 1) criticism and self-criticism activities and oral and written inquiries which are to be conducted regularly, to ensure that those who have committed minor misconduct are made to “redden and sweat”; 2) light penalties and minor organizational adjustments to official positions, which are to be applied in the majority of cases; 3) heavy penalties and major adjustments to official positions, which are to be applied in a small number of cases; and 4) investigation and prosecution, which are to be undertaken in a very small number of cases involving serious violations of discipline and suspected criminal activity.] strengthened political and organizational discipline, and promoted stricter observance of discipline on all fronts. The Party has remained committed to exercising rule-based governance over the Party, strictly abided by the Party Constitution, and developed a sound system of intraparty regulations. It has worked to ensure strict compliance with all Party institutions, and to make Party building efforts more rationally-conceived, institutionalized, and procedure-based.

The Central Committee has stressed that corruption is the greatest threat to the Party’s long-term governance. The fight against corruption is a major political struggle that the Party cannot and must not lose. If we let a few hundred corrupt officials slip through the cracks, we would let down all 1.4 billion Chinese people. We must confine power to an institutional cage and ensure that powers are properly defined, standardized, constrained, and subject to oversight in accordance with discipline and the law.

The Party has made integrated efforts to see that officials do not have the opportunity, desire, or audacity to engage in corruption. It has used punishment as a deterrent, strengthened institutional constraints, and promoted heightened consciousness, so as to ensure that the powers conferred by the Party and the people are always used for the people’s benefit. The Party insists that no place is out of bounds, no ground is left unturned, and no tolerance is shown in the fight against corruption. It has imposed tight constraints, maintained a firm stance, and strengthened long-term deterrents against corruption. It has punished both those who take bribes and those who offer them and ensured that every case is investigated and all perpetrators of corruption are punished. The Party has shown the determination to adopt powerful remedies and the courage to take painful measures for the sake of the bigger picture, and taken firm action to “take out tigers,” “swat flies,” and “hunt down foxes.”

The Party has intensified efforts to address corruption that occurs on the people’s doorsteps, hunt down corrupt officials who fled overseas and recover state assets they had stolen, and root out all corrupt officials. The Party has focused on dealing with cases involving both political and economic corruption, prevented interest groups from arising within the Party, and investigated and punished corrupt officials such as Zhou Yongkang, Bo Xilai, Sun Zhengcai, and Ling Jihua for their serious violations of Party discipline and the law.

The Party has taken the lead in improving Party and state oversight systems, promoted the establishment of the National Commission of Supervision and local supervisory commissions at all levels, and developed an oversight network that facilitates coordination in disciplinary inspections conducted at different levels and mechanisms for promoting coordination between various types of oversight with intraparty oversight playing the main role. Through these efforts, we have strengthened checks and oversight on the exercise of power.

By taking resolute action since the 18th National Congress, we have given full play to the role of full and strict Party self-governance in providing political guidance and guarantees, significantly strengthened the Party’s ability to improve and reform itself and maintain its integrity, and addressed the problem of lax and weak governance over Party organizations at the fundamental level. An overwhelming victory has been achieved in the fight against corruption, and this momentum has been consolidated across the board. As serious potential dangers in the Party, the country, and the military have been rooted out, our Party has grown stronger through revolutionary tempering.

3. Pursuing economic development

Since the launch of reform and opening up, the Party has concentrated on economic development as the central task, and led the people in working diligently to bring about a miracle of rapid growth. China’s economic strength has thus risen by a significant margin.

However, there existed problems such as undue emphasis on the rate and scale of growth in some localities and sectors and an extensive growth model. They, combined with the impact from sluggish world economy in the aftermath of the global financial crisis, led to a stack-up of institutional and structural problems in China’s economy. Imbalanced, uncoordinated, and unsustainable development hence became a glaring issue.

The Central Committee determined that China’s economy had reached a new normal of development, and was transitioning from a stage of high-speed growth to a stage of high-quality development. Our traditional growth model could no longer be sustained in the face of a complex situation in which we must deal with a slowdown in economic growth, make painful structural adjustments, and absorb the effects of previous economic stimulus policies all at once.

The Central Committee noted that applying a new development philosophy represented a profound shift affecting China’s overall development. The GDP growth rate could not serve as the sole yardstick of success for development. Rather, it was imperative to achieve high-quality development in which innovation is the primary driver, coordination is an endogenous trait, eco-friendly growth prevails, openness to the world is the only way, and shared growth is the ultimate goal, with a view to propelling transformative changes in the quality, efficiency, and impetus of economic development.

The Party stepped up strategic planning and unified leadership over economic work, and improved its institutions and mechanisms for leading economic development. Through the fifth plenary session of the 18th Central Committee, the 19th National Congress, the fifth plenary session of the 19th Central Committee, and a series of central economic work conferences, it rolled out new plans and made major decisions in this regard. They were as follows: focusing on the main theme of high-quality development and the main task of supply-side structural reform; building a modern economic system; expanding domestic demand as a strategic priority; and fighting effectively in the three critical battles against potential risk, poverty, and pollution.

The Party has worked with unswerving commitment to consolidate and develop the public sector and to encourage, support, and guide the development of the non-public sector. It has prompted state capital and state-owned enterprises to grow stronger, better, and larger, established a modern enterprise system with Chinese characteristics, and worked to make the public sector more competitive, innovative, risk-resilient, and capable of exerting a greater level of influence and control over the economy. A cordial and clean relationship has been cultivated between government and business, and steps have been taken to facilitate the healthy growth of the non-public sector and encourage those working in this sector to achieve success.

The Party has been committed to the innovation-driven development strategy. It has made self-reliance in science and technology the strategic pillar for the country’s development and developed a new system for mobilizing the resources nationwide for this purpose. It has strengthened China’s capabilities in strategic science and technology, intensified basic research, and spurred breakthroughs and original innovation on core technologies in key fields. The Party has bolstered the creation, protection, and application of intellectual property rights, and moved faster to build China into a country of innovators and a global leader in science and technology.

The Party has carried out supply-side structural reform on all fronts. It has worked to cut overcapacity, reduce excess inventory, deleverage, lower costs, and shore up weaknesses, and implemented the principles of consolidating gains made in this regard, strengthening the dynamism of micro entities, upgrading industrial chains, and ensuring unimpeded flows in the economy. It has increased efforts to build China into a manufacturer of quality, build a modern industrial system, expand the real economy, and develop the digital economy.

The Party has improved its macroeconomic governance, adopted innovative ideas and approaches in macroeconomic regulation, shown greater initiative in macro policymaking, and implemented a proactive fiscal policy and a prudent monetary policy. The Party has pressed forward with efforts to streamline administration, delegate power, improve regulation, and upgrade services. Steps have been taken to ensure food, energy, and resource security as well as the security of industrial and supply chains. The Party has worked to ensure that the financial sector better serves the real economy, strengthened financial regulation across the board, taken measures to prevent and defuse economic and financial risks, and stepped up market supervision and anti-monopoly regulation. The Party has also taken measures to prevent runaway expansion of capital, maintain order in the market, galvanize market entities of all types, especially micro, small, and medium enterprises, and protect the rights and interests of workers and consumers.

The Party has introduced a coordinated regional development strategy. It has promoted coordinated development of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, the development of the Yangtze Economic Belt and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, integrated development in the Yangtze River Delta, ecological protection and high-quality development in the Yellow River basin, and high-quality construction of Xiongan New Area to a high standard. The Party has prompted a new phase in the large-scale development of the western region, new breakthroughs in the revitalization of the northeast, and high-quality development of the central region, and encouraged the eastern region to accelerate its pace of modernization. The Party has provided assistance for improving working and living conditions in old revolutionary base areas, areas with large ethnic minority populations, border areas, and impoverished areas. It has promoted a new, people-centered type of urbanization and improved urban planning, development, and management.

The Party has always made issues relating to agriculture, rural areas, and rural residents a top priority. It has introduced a rural revitalization strategy and accelerated the modernization of agriculture and rural areas. It has adopted a food crop production strategy based on farmland management and the application of technology, implemented the strictest possible system for the protection of farmland, and worked to increase self-reliance in seed technology and ensure that China’s seed resources are self-supporting and under better control. With all these efforts, the Chinese people’s food supply has remained firmly in their own hands.

Since the 18th National Congress, our economic development has become much more balanced, coordinated, and sustainable. China’s GDP has exceeded 100 trillion yuan, while per capita GDP has topped US$10,000. China’s economic strength, scientific and technological capabilities, and composite national strength have reached new heights, and our economy is now on a path of higher-quality development that is more efficient, equitable, sustainable, and secure.

4. Deepening reform and opening up

After the third plenary session of the 11th Central Committee, China’s reform and opening up embarked on a remarkable course and scored achievements that captured the attention of the world. Nevertheless, as practice changed, certain deep-seated institutional problems and impediments from vested interests became increasingly evident. China’s reform thus entered a critical phase fraught with tough challenges.

The Central Committee is keenly aware that evolving in practice, freeing minds, and reform and opening up are processes without end. Reform is always ongoing and can never be completed, and halting or reversing course would get us nowhere. Therefore, it is imperative to deepen reform in all areas through greater political courage and wisdom, to be well prepared to tackle tough issues and brave risky areas, to make institutional development a priority, to increase interconnectivity and synergy between reforms in different sectors, and to clear a path forward for reform by cutting away institutional barriers on all sides.

At its third plenary session, the 18th Central Committee made arrangements for reforms of economic, political, cultural, and social systems and those pertaining to ecological conservation, national defense and the armed forces, and Party building. It defined the overall objectives, key strategic targets, ranking of priorities, focal points, working mechanisms, methods of implementation, timetable, and roadmap for the endeavor of comprehensively deepening reform.

The third plenary session of the 11th Central Committee was an epoch-making event that ushered in the new period of reform, opening up, and socialist modernization. In the same way, the third plenary session of the 18th Central Committee was also of epoch-making significance. It enabled the transformation of reform from trials and breakthroughs limited to certain areas into an integrated drive being advanced across the board, and thus marked the beginning of a new stage in China’s reform and opening up.

The Party has worked to ensure that reform stays on the right path, that it is inspired and guided by the objectives of promoting social fairness and justice and improving people’s wellbeing, that it follows a problem-oriented approach, and that it focuses on further freeing minds, unleashing and developing the productive forces, and unlocking and boosting social dynamism. The Party has strengthened top-level design and overall planning, pursued reform in a more systemic, holistic, and coordinated manner, stimulated people’s creativity, and deepened and consolidated reforms in key areas.

The Party has taken swift yet steady steps to promote and deepen reform in all areas, scoring multiple breakthroughs in the process. As we have gone from laying foundations and defining initial structures, to making overall progress and building momentum, to achieving systematic integration and efficient coordination, we have seen basic institutional frameworks put in place in various areas, and witnessed historic, systemic, and holistic transformation in multiple fields.

The Central Committee is keenly aware that opening the door brings progress, while closing it leaves one behind. For China’s development to gain the upper hand, seize the initiative, and have a good future, it is essential that we follow the tide of economic globalization, leverage the strengths of China’s massive market, and pursue a more proactive opening up strategy. Adhering to the principle of achieving shared growth through consultation and collaboration, China has promoted high-quality development of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). We have advanced a large number of cooperation projects with significant implications for fueling economic development and improving people’s lives in countries along the BRI routes, and worked to build the BRI into an initiative of peace, prosperity, openness, green development, and innovation that brings different civilizations closer, and a widely welcomed public good and platform for international cooperation in today’s world.

While ensuring that its efforts to open up internally and externally reinforce each other and better integrating the “bringing in” and “going global” strategies, China has worked to promote trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, build a globally oriented network of high-standard free trade zones, including pilot free trade zones and the Hainan Free Trade Port, and expand opening up on the institutional level in terms of rules, regulations, management, and standards. Through these efforts, we are advancing opening up on a larger scale, across more areas, and in greater depth, and establishing an open economy that is diverse, balanced, secure, and efficient and brings benefit to all. In this way, China is consistently building new and greater strengths in international economic cooperation and competition.

Since its 18th National Congress, the Party has consistently promoted broader and deeper reform across the board. The system of socialism with Chinese characteristics is now more mature and well-defined, and the modernization of China’s system and capacity for governance has reached a higher level. The cause of the Party and the country now radiates with fresh vitality.

5. Advancing political work

Since the launch of reform and opening up, the Party has led the people in keeping to the path of socialist political advancement with Chinese characteristics and developing socialist democracy, and has achieved substantial progress in this regard. Learning lessons from successes and failures in political development both at home and abroad, the Party has become deeply aware of the following: to have full confidence in the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics, we must first and foremost foster strong confidence in the political system of socialism with Chinese characteristics; to promote socialist democracy and socialist political advancement, we must ensure that the political system of socialism with Chinese characteristics is deeply rooted in China; and mechanical copying of the political systems of other countries will get us nowhere, and could potentially lead our country to ruin.

We must uphold the unity between the Party’s leadership, the running of the country by the people, and law-based governance. Efforts must be made to actively develop whole-process people’s democracy, and advance comprehensive, extensive, and coordinated development of the systems and institutions through which the people run the country. We must establish diverse, unimpeded, and well-organized democratic channels, diversify forms of democracy, and expand the people’s orderly political participation at all levels and in various fields, so as to ensure that China’s governance and institutions in all sectors give full expression to the will of the people, protect their rights and interests, and spark their creativity. We must remain on guard against the erosive influence of Western trends of political thought, including the so-called constitutionalism, alternation of power between political parties, and separation of powers.

With a view to maintaining the long-term governance of the Party and the long-term stability of the country, the 19th Central Committee at its fourth plenary session outlined an overall plan for upholding and improving the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics and modernizing China’s system and capacity for governance, and also laid out major plans for upholding and improving the fundamental, basic, and important systems that underpin socialism with Chinese characteristics.

The Central Committee has stressed the importance of upholding the principal position of the people and ensuring their law-based participation in democratic elections, consultations, decision-making, management, and oversight.

The Party has worked to uphold and improve the system of people’s congresses. We have supported and safeguarded the right of the people to exercise state power through people’s congresses, supported people’s congresses in exercising their statutory powers of enacting laws, conducting oversight, making decisions, and appointing and removing officials, and conducted decisive investigations of vote rigging and election bribery cases. Through these efforts, we have upheld the authority and dignity of the system of people’s congresses, and given full play to its role as China’s fundamental political system.

The Party has worked to uphold and improve the system of CPC-led multiparty cooperation and political consultation, and to improve systems through which the central committees of other political parties conduct special oversight over the implementation of major decisions and plans and make suggestions directly to the CPC Central Committee. We have stepped up institutional development in promoting the CPPCC’s role as a specialized consultative body, advanced extensive, multilevel, and institutionalized development of socialist consultative democracy, and put in place a system of consultative democracy with Chinese characteristics.

The Party has worked to consolidate government and improve democracy at the primary level, and to increase transparency in administration in order to protect the people’s rights to be informed, to participate, to be heard, and to exercise oversight.

We have further reformed Party and government institutions to achieve thorough and systematic restructuring of their functions. In this process, we have followed the principles of upholding the Party’s overall leadership, committing to a people-centered approach, promoting greater optimization, coordination, and efficiency, and ensuring law-based governance in all dimensions.

The Party has worked to uphold and improve the system of regional ethnic autonomy, followed a correct and uniquely Chinese path to dealing with ethnic affairs, and made fostering a strong sense of community for the Chinese nation the main task in its work related to ethnic affairs. The Party has established policies for the governance of Tibet and Xinjiang in the new era, consolidated and developed socialist ethnic relations characterized by equality, solidarity, mutual assistance, and harmony, and pushed for all ethnic groups to work together in pursuit of common development and prosperity.

In line with the Party’s basic policy on religious affairs, we have upheld the principle that religions in China must be Chinese in orientation, and provided active guidance for the adaptation of religions to socialist society.

The Party has worked to build a broad united front with the goal of expanding common ground and the convergence of interests and creating a mighty force to drive our push toward national rejuvenation.

The Party has promoted reform and innovation within trade unions, Chinese Communist Youth League organizations, women’s federations, and other people’s organizations with the objectives of strengthening their political consciousness, their advanced nature, and their ability to represent the people, so that these organizations can play their role more effectively.

We have worked to promote human rights in all areas, with top priority given to safeguarding the people’s rights to subsistence and development.

Since the 18th National Congress, we have made sweeping progress in improving the institutions, standards, and procedures of China’s socialist democracy, and given better play to the strengths of the Chinese socialist political system. As a result, our political stability, unity, and dynamism have been reinforced and grown stronger.

6. Comprehensively advancing law-based governance

Since the launch of reform and opening up, the Party has upheld law-based governance and kept advancing socialist rule of law. However, we have also faced serious problems such as laws being ignored or not being strictly enforced, lack of judicial impartiality, and violations of the law going unpunished, while judicial corruption occurring from time to time. Some judicial and law-enforcement personnel have bent the law for personal gain, or even provided shelter for criminals. These phenomena have seriously undermined the authority of the law, and had a negative impact on social fairness and justice.

The Party is deeply aware that power is a double-edged sword. If it is wielded in accordance with the law and rules, it can bring benefit to the people, but if it is abused, it will invariably bring disaster to the country and the people.

The Central Committee has stressed that when the rule of law prevails, the country will prosper, but should it weaken, the country will descend into chaos. Comprehensively advancing law-based governance is an essential requirement and important guarantee for socialism with Chinese characteristics; it is also a profound revolution in China’s governance. Law-based governance and law-based exercise of state power begin with compliance with the Constitution. We must remain committed to the path of socialist rule of law with Chinese characteristics; implement Chinese socialist rule of law theory; pursue coordinated progress in law-based governance, law-based exercise of state power, and law-based government administration; promote integrated development of the country, the government, and society based on the rule of law; and comprehensively enhance people’s awareness of the need to respect, study, and abide by the law and their ability to apply the law.

At the fourth plenary session of the 18th Central Committee and the central conference on the rule of law, dedicated efforts were made to analyze the issue of advancing law-based governance in all respects. Top-level designs and major plans were put forward on ensuring sound legislation, strict law enforcement, impartial administration of justice, and observance of law by all. Coordinated progress was made in advancing the development of the system of laws and regulations, the system for enforcing the rule of law, the system for overseeing the rule of law, the system for guaranteeing the rule of law, and the system of Party rules and regulations.

The Party has emphasized that since the people make up the broadest and deepest foundation for comprehensively advancing law-based governance, we must ensure that their interests and wishes are reflected, their rights are protected, and their wellbeing is enhanced in every aspect throughout the entire process of law-based governance. We must protect and promote social fairness and justice, and work to ensure that the people feel fairness and justice prevails in every law, every law enforcement decision, and every judicial case.

The Party has led efforts to improve systems and mechanisms for ensuring full enforcement of the Constitution. We have established the system of pledging allegiance to the Constitution, and promoted the spirit of socialist rule of law. We have enhanced the ability of state institutions to perform their duties in accordance with the law, boosted the ability of officials at all levels to think and act under the guidance of the rule of law as they work to solve problems and promote development, and raised awareness about the rule of law throughout society.

Amendments to the Constitution have been adopted; laws including the Civil Code, the Foreign Investment Law, the National Security Law, and the Supervision Law have been formulated; revisions have been made to the Legislation Law, the National Defense Law, and the Environmental Protection Law; and legislation has been stepped up in key, emerging, and foreign-related fields. All these efforts have accelerated the improvement of the socialist system of laws with Chinese characteristics, at the heart of which is the Constitution.

The Party has led efforts to deepen reform of the judicial system, with the focus on enforcement of judicial accountability, and to advance all-around reform in the judicial, procuratorial, and public security domains. Checks and oversight on law enforcement and judicial activities have been strengthened; action has been taken to educate and consolidate judicial, procuratorial, and public security personnel; unjust and erroneous rulings have been redressed in accordance with the law; and vigorous measures have been taken to punish corruption in law enforcement and judicial work. All these efforts have contributed to ensuring the justice, integrity, efficiency, and authority of law enforcement and judicial work.

Since the 18th National Congress, the system of socialist rule of law with Chinese characteristics has constantly been improved, solid progress has been made in advancing the rule of law in China, the rule of law has played a greater role in consolidating foundations, ensuring stable expectations, and delivering long-term benefits, and the Party’s ability to lead and govern the country through law-based methods has been notably enhanced.

7. Driving cultural advancement

Since the launch of reform and opening up, the Party has attached equal emphasis to material progress and cultural-ethical progress. As a result, socialist culture has thrived, the national spirit has been lifted, and national solidarity has grown stronger. At the same time, however, misguided ideas have often cropped up, such as money worship, hedonism, ultra-individualism, and historical nihilism, online discourse has been rife with disorder, and certain leading officials have demonstrated ambiguity in their political stance and a lack of fighting spirit. These phenomena all have a serious impact on people’s thinking and the environment for public discourse.

The Party has maintained an accurate perspective on the trends of collisions taking place worldwide between different ideas and cultures, as well as of the profound changes in Chinese people’s ways of thinking. It has stressed that ideological work shapes the collective mind of a country and forges the soul of a nation, and that confidence in one’s culture, which is a broader, deeper, and more fundamental form of self-confidence, is the most essential, profound, and enduring source of strength for the development of a country and a nation. Without a thriving culture and firm confidence in it, the Chinese nation cannot achieve rejuvenation.

We must adhere to a people-centered approach in ideological work, uphold socialism with Chinese characteristics, rally public support, foster a new generation with sound values and ethics, develop Chinese culture, and build a better national image. We must have a firm hold on leadership in ideological work, develop socialist ideology that has the power to unite and inspire the people, and build China into a country with a strong socialist culture. We must ignite the cultural creativity of the whole nation, and bolster the Chinese spirit, Chinese values, and Chinese strength in order to consolidate the common ideological foundation for the concerted efforts of all Party members and all Chinese people.

With a focus on addressing the issue of lax Party leadership in the ideological sphere, the Party has replaced faulty practices with effective ones in an effort to clear up muddy waters. It has made arrangements on a number of strategic issues of guiding significance in the ideological sphere, and established and upheld a fundamental system for ensuring the guiding role of Marxism in the ideological domain. By strengthening the responsibility system for ideological work, the Party has engaged all members in improving communication and outreach. Under this system, every Party member is charged to do their best to fulfill their duties, to be proactive in their work, and to take a clear stand against erroneous views.

In intensifying its efforts to improve communication and outreach, the Party has started with the most fundamental issues. It convened a national conference on communication and outreach, as well as forums on literature and art, the Party’s press and public communications work, cybersecurity and IT application, philosophy and social sciences, and ideological and political work at institutions of higher learning. Through these events, it has clarified its principles and stance on a number of fundamental issues, distinguished right from wrong regarding theories, and kept its work on the right track. As a result, a healthy trend is gathering steam in the sphere of ideology and culture.

The Party endeavors to use its new theories to equip its members, educate the people, and guide practice. It has worked harder to study and develop Marxist theory, and made advances in constructing disciplinary, academic, and discourse systems for philosophy and social sciences with Chinese features.

The Party puts heavy emphasis on developing and creating new means of communication. It has promoted integrated development of media, and worked to strengthen the penetration and credibility of the media and its ability to guide and influence. The Central Committee has made it clear that failure in the cyberspace domain will spell disaster for the Party’s long-term governance. The Party therefore attaches great importance to the Internet as the main arena, battleground, and frontline of the ideological struggle. It has improved the leadership and management systems for the Internet, regulated the cyberspace according to the law, and strived to foster a clean online environment.

The Party has guided cultural development with the core socialist values, and paid close attention to nourishing the roots and forging the soul of our nation with advanced socialist culture, revolutionary culture, and China’s fine traditional culture. It has carried out extensive public awareness activities on socialism with Chinese characteristics and the Chinese Dream, promoted regular and institutionalized education on ideals and convictions, and improved the system of ideological and political work. We have established sound systems of Party and state awards and honors, instituted Martyrs’ Day, carried out initiatives to raise the public’s cultural-ethical standards, built centers for promoting cultural and ethical advancement in the new era, and nurtured a love of learning among our people.

The Party has encouraged the people to study the history of the Party, the People’s Republic of China, reform and opening up, and the development of socialism, and built the Museum of the Communist Party of China. It has also organized events to celebrate the centenary of the Party, the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic, the 90th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army, and the 40th anniversary of the launch of reform and opening up; to commemorate the 70th anniversary of victory in the Chinese People’s War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression and the global war against fascism; and to mark the 70th anniversary of the Chinese People’s Volunteers’ departure for Korea to resist US aggression and aid Korea. These events vividly illustrated the solidarity of our Party and our people and the strength of our country and our military while championing China’s underlying values and spreading positive energy throughout society.

Putting social benefits first while also stressing economic returns, the Party has advanced all-around development of cultural programs and industries. Art and literature are flourishing, and public cultural services have improved, providing people with richer cultural nourishment.

The Central Committee has stressed that China’s fine traditional culture is a prominent strength of our nation that enables us to gain a firm footing amidst global cultural interaction. We must adapt to new conditions so that we can carry on our traditional culture in the new era. For this purpose, we have launched projects to pass on and develop our fine cultural traditions, promoted their creative transformation and development, raised public awareness of the importance of preserving our cultural heritage, and stepped up preservation efforts.

We have accelerated work to strengthen our international communication capacity, with the goal of telling well China’s stories and the Party’s stories, making China’s voice heard, and promoting exchanges and mutual learning between civilizations. Our cultural soft power and the appeal of Chinese culture have increased significantly.

Since the 18th National Congress, we have seen a sweeping and fundamental shift in the ideological domain, a notable boost in confidence in our culture among all Party members and all Chinese people, and a major increase in cohesiveness throughout society. All of this has provided solid ideological guarantees and powerful inspiration for opening up new horizons for the cause of the Party and the country in the new era.

8. Promoting social advancement

Since the launch of reform and opening up, the Chinese people have witnessed notable improvements in their living standards and in social governance. Meanwhile, in pace with the changing times and social progress, they have developed an increasingly strong desire for a better life and growing demands for democracy, rule of law, fairness, justice, security, and a better environment.

The Central Committee has stressed that satisfying the people’s aspirations for a better life is the goal of all the Party’s work; that improving the people’s wellbeing is an essential requirement in the Party’s commitment to serving the public good and governing for the people; that ensuring a better life for the people is the immutable aim of all the Party’s endeavors; and that addressing inadequacies in support for people’s basic needs and solving the most pressing difficulties of great concern to the people are urgent tasks in advancing social development.

We must, therefore, strengthen social development by laying stress on ensuring and improving people’s wellbeing. We must do everything within our capacity and keep working year by year to tackle one issue after another. In particular, we need to make steady progress in ensuring people’s access to childcare, education, employment, medical services, elderly care, housing, and social assistance, and we need to strengthen social governance by developing new practices, so that the people will have a more robust, solid, and sustainable sense of fulfillment, happiness, and security.

In the push to moderate prosperity, the Party was deeply aware that raising the living standards of rural residents was critical. Only by securing a victory in the fight against poverty, which is a fundamental task in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, could China fulfill its First Centenary Goal. Therefore, extraordinary moves were needed to advance the fight against poverty with greater resolve, more targeted approaches, and more powerful measures.

To this end, the Party introduced a strategy of targeted poverty alleviation and set the objectives of guaranteeing food and clothing needs and ensuring access to compulsory education, basic medical services, and safe housing for the impoverished rural population. It applied a responsibility system whereby heads of Party and government bodies pledged themselves to win the fight against poverty in their localities. The whole Party, the entire nation, and all sectors of society were mobilized in the most extensive and aggressive anti-poverty campaign in human history. As they tackled the most daunting challenges and surmounted the most difficult obstacles, the Chinese people forged a great spirit in the fight against poverty.

Since the 18th National Congress, 832 counties, 128,000 villages, and nearly 100 million rural residents that fell below the current poverty line have been lifted out of poverty. China has thus achieved the poverty reduction target laid out in the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development ten years ahead of schedule, brought about a historic resolution to the problem of absolute poverty in China, and created a miracle in the human history of poverty reduction.

In 2020, facing the sudden outbreak of the novel coronavirus epidemic, the Central Committee responded calmly and decisively, and set out the general requirements to stay confident, stand united, and adopt a science-based approach and targeted measures. With the commitment to putting the people and human life above all else, the Central Committee led the whole nation in an all-out people’s war to curb the spread of the virus. It made well-conceived plans for the battles to defend Hubei Province and its capital city Wuhan and pooled nationwide resources to save lives on an unprecedented scale. It worked to ensure constant vigilance against imported cases and domestic resurgences, coordinated the Covid-19 response with economic and social development, and thus protected the health and safety of the people to the greatest extent possible. These efforts enabled China to lead the world in getting the epidemic under control, restarting work and production, and resuming economic and social development. With this major strategic success through our response, we have forged a great spirit in the fight against Covid-19.

To ensure and improve people’s wellbeing, the Party has introduced a range of major measures concerning income distribution, employment, education, social security, healthcare, and housing support in accordance with the principles of meeting basic needs, prioritizing key areas, improving institutions, and guiding expectations. Efforts have been focused on providing inclusive public services, meeting essential needs, and ensuring basic living standards, with progress made in providing equal access to basic public services.

We have worked to develop an income distribution system that emphasizes efficiency while promoting fairness. By adjusting excessive income, prohibiting illicit income, increasing the income of low-income groups, and steadily expanding the size of the middle-income group, we have promoted the formation of an olive-shaped pattern of distribution and ensured that personal incomes generally grow in step with economic growth and that rural income grows faster than urban income. We have implemented an employment-first policy and worked to achieve fuller and higher-quality employment.

We have worked to implement the Party’s education policy in full and given priority to educational development. We have made it clear that the fundamental task of education is to foster virtue and nurture a new generation of capable young people with the moral grounding, intellectual ability, physical vigor, aesthetic sensibility, and work skills needed to join and carry on the socialist cause. We have bolstered reform and innovation in education and teaching in order to promote fair and higher-quality education. We have worked to promote balanced development and urban-rural integration in compulsory education, make education and instruction in the standard spoken and written Chinese language available across the country, and keep off-campus tutoring well-regulated. We have taken active steps to develop vocational education and worked to bring out the full potential of higher education. Through these efforts, we have strived to develop a strong education system that the people are satisfied with.

China has established the world’s largest social security system, with 1.02 billion people covered by basic old-age insurance and 1.36 billion people by basic medical insurance.

We have advanced the Healthy China Initiative across the board. Following the principle of putting prevention first, we have deepened reform of the medical and healthcare systems and shifted the focus of medical and health care down to the community level, channeling resources accordingly. We have taken prompt action to improve major epidemic prevention and control systems and mechanisms as well as the national public health emergency management system. We have worked to promote the preservation, innovation, and development of traditional Chinese medicine and strengthened the public health service system covering both urban and rural areas.

As we have stepped up our efforts to build China into a sporting nation, we have launched extensive public fitness activities and vigorously promoted China’s sporting spirit.

We have intensified research on our population development strategy. In response to population aging, we have accelerated the development of elderly care services, and we have adjusted and improved the family planning policy so as to promote balanced development of the population over the long term.

We have given greater weight to strengthening family ties, values, and traditions, and worked to better protect the rights and interests of women and children. We have acted more quickly to develop programs for people with disabilities.

Adhering to the principle that housing is for living in and not for speculation, we have moved faster to build a housing system with multiple types of suppliers and support channels that encourages both renting and buying, and increased investment in the construction of government-subsidized housing. All this has led to significant improvements in urban and rural housing conditions.

To ensure the lasting stability of the country and a happy and comfortable life for the people, the Party has strived to advance the Peaceful China Initiative to a higher level and improve the social governance system. It has enhanced the Party organization-led urban and rural community governance system featuring a combination of self-governance, the rule of law, and the rule of virtue, and it has shifted the focus of social governance down to the community level. This has helped develop a social governance system based on collaboration, participation, and benefit sharing and fostered communities of social governance in which everyone fulfills their responsibilities and shares in the benefits.

We have bolstered disaster prevention, mitigation, and relief efforts, improved workplace safety, and strengthened our national emergency management system and capacity.

We have carried on and developed the Fengqiao model in promoting social harmony in the new era. By continuing to address issues at the source through systematic, law-based, and holistic approaches, and by refining the system for handling public complaints, we have improved integrated mechanisms for preventing, mediating, and defusing social problems. We have adopted a full range of measures to maintain law and order, launching campaigns to combat and root out organized crime, cracking down on Party officials who condoned, covered up, or even provided protection for organized crime, and taking steps to prevent and combat violence and terrorism, new types of cybercrime, and transnational crime.

Since the Party’s 18th National Congress, we have promoted social advancement across the board. The people’s lives have improved in all areas, public participation in social governance is growing, and social governance is becoming smarter, more law-based, and more specialized. We have continued to develop a sound atmosphere in which people are able to live and work in peace and contentment and social stability and order prevail. As a result, China’s miracle of long-term social stability has continued.

9. Spurring ecological advancement

Since the launch of reform and opening up, the Party has paid increasingly greater attention to ecological conservation and environmental protection, a major area in which we are still falling short. China faces increasingly grave problems in the form of tightening environmental and resource constraints and ecological degradation. In particular, environmental pollution and ecological damage of various kinds are becoming increasingly commonplace, impairing our country’s development and people’s wellbeing. We will pay an extremely heavy price unless we reverse the trend of ecological and environmental deterioration as soon as possible.

The Central Committee has emphasized that ecological conservation is of vital importance for the sustainable development of the Chinese nation. To protect the environment is to protect the productive forces, and to improve the environment is to boost the productive forces. We must never sacrifice the environment in exchange for transient economic growth. We must stay true to the principle that lucid waters and lush mountains are invaluable assets, continue our holistic approach to the conservation of mountain, river, forest, farmland, lake, grassland, and desert ecosystems, and protect and cherish our natural environment as we do our own lives. We must act with greater resolve to promote green, circular, and low-carbon development, and adhere to a model of sustainable development featuring increased production, higher living standards, and healthy ecosystems.

Through all-out efforts in the areas of theory, law, institutions, organization, and conduct, the Party has strengthened ecological conservation and environment protection in all dimensions and regions and at all times. We have promoted the enforcement of red lines for ecological conservation, set benchmarks for environmental quality, imposed caps on resource utilization, and launched a whole raft of pioneering initiatives that will have fundamental and far-reaching significance. We have worked to implement the functional zoning strategy and set up sound systems in the following areas: property rights for natural resource assets, territorial space development and protection, performance evaluation and accountability for ecological conservation, compensation for ecological conservation, designation of river, lake, and forest chiefs, assignment of equal responsibilities for environmental protection to Party committees and governments, and charging officials with environmental protection responsibilities in addition to their prescribed duties. Corresponding laws and regulations have been formulated and/or revised.

We have optimized planning for development and protection of territorial space, built a national park-based system of nature reserves, moved forward with large-scale afforestation, and better protected and improved the ecosystems of major rivers, lakes, and wetlands, and coastlines. We have redoubled efforts to preserve and restore ecosystems and protect biodiversity, and developed spatial layouts, industrial structures, and ways of production and living that help conserve resources and protect the environment.

Under the Party’s leadership, China has achieved initial success in the critical battle against pollution. Three major action plans on addressing air, water, and soil pollution have been fully implemented. We have continued working to keep our skies blue, our waters clear, and our lands pollution-free, improved rural living environments, and completely banned the importation of solid waste. We have carried out central government environmental inspections, strictly investigated and prosecuted a number of major representative cases of ecological damage, and addressed a number of environmental problems that have aroused strong public concern. China has played an active role in global environmental and climate governance, and pledged to reach peak carbon emissions before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060, demonstrating its commitment to act as a responsible major country.

Since the Party’s 18th National Congress, the Central Committee has devoted greater efforts than ever before to ecological conservation. The whole Party and the entire nation have become more conscious and active in pursuing green development, and made significant progress in building a Beautiful China. Our environmental protection endeavors have seen sweeping, historic, and transformative changes.

10. Strengthening national defense and the armed forces

Since the launch of reform and opening up, China has made constant progress in building a more revolutionary, modernized, and standardized military and enhancing its national defense capabilities. This has provided reliable security guarantees for China’s reform, development, and stability. The Central Committee has stressed that a country needs a strong military before it can truly be strong and secure. China must build fortified national defense and a strong people’s military commensurate with its international standing and its security and development interests.

The Party has set objectives for strengthening the military and defined China’s military strategy for the new era. It has formulated the following three-step development strategy for modernizing national defense and the armed forces:

Ÿ–achieving the centenary objectives of the People’s Liberation Army by 2027;

Ÿ–basically completing the modernization of national defense and the armed forces by 2035; and

Ÿ–fully transforming the armed forces into world-class forces by the mid-21st century.

The Party has worked to enhance the political loyalty of the armed forces, strengthen them through reform, science and technology, and training of competent personnel, and run them in accordance with the law. It has accelerated efforts to modernize military theory, organization, personnel, and weaponry and equipment and to integrate mechanization with the application of information and smart technologies within the military. Troop training and battle preparedness have been bolstered across the board. Through these efforts, China has adhered to its own path in building a strong military.

To build strong people’s armed forces, it is of paramount importance to uphold the fundamental principle and system of absolute Party leadership over the military, to ensure that supreme leadership and command authority rest with the Party Central Committee and the Central Military Commission (CMC), and to fully enforce the system of the CMC chairman assuming overall responsibility.

For a period of time, the Party’s leadership over the military was obviously lacking. If this problem had not been completely solved, it would not only have diminished the military’s combat capacity, but also undermined the key political principle that the Party commands the gun. Setting their sights on this problem, the Central Committee and the CMC have worked vigorously to govern the military with strict discipline in every respect and made resolute decisions to enforce political discipline within the military. At the conference on military political work in 2014 in Gutian, Fujian Province, a plan was unveiled for enhancing the political loyalty of the armed forces in the new era, restoring and carrying on the proud traditions and fine conduct of the Party and the military, and improving political work through rectification. An all-around push was made to strengthen the Party’s leadership and Party building, improve Party conduct, build integrity, and fight corruption in the military. Grave violations of Party discipline and state laws including those involving Guo Boxiong, Xu Caihou, Fang Fenghui, and Zhang Yang were thoroughly investigated and punished, and their negative influence was completely eliminated. With this, the political environment in the people’s armed forces has made a fundamental turn for the better.

The Party has set forth the strategy of strengthening the armed forces through reform, and led efforts to conduct the most extensive and profound reform of national defense and the armed forces since the founding of the People’s Republic. It has reshaped the leadership and command system of the military, its system of modern military forces, and its system of military policies. The number of active service personnel has been cut by 300,000. A new military structure has been established with the CMC exercising overall leadership, the theater commands responsible for military operations, and the services focusing on developing capabilities.

In response to the new global military revolution, we have implemented the strategy of strengthening the armed forces through science and technology. We have made our people’s military more innovative, established a robust modern logistics system, and achieved major progress in developing weapons and equipment and national defense-related science and technology.

We have implemented the strategy of strengthening the armed forces by training competent personnel, established military education policies for the new era, and specified a set of criteria for good military officers. We have worked to develop a new type of military personnel training system consisting of military academies, military training, and military vocational education to train revolutionary officers and soldiers in the new era with faith, ability, courage, and integrity, and to build highly capable forces with ironclad convictions, beliefs, discipline, and sense of duty.

We have implemented the strategy of running the armed forces in accordance with the law, built a Chinese system for law-based administration of military affairs, and expedited fundamental transformations in the way our military is run. We have advanced the development of the military honors system.

The Party has set the missions and tasks for the armed forces in the new era. It has created new methods for providing military strategic guidance, improved the military strategic layout, and strengthened the armed forces’ strategic functions in shaping our military posture, managing crises, and deterring and winning wars. Devoting intense focus to combat effectiveness as the sole criterion that matters most and to their fundamental purpose of being able to fight and win, the people’s armed forces have strengthened their strategic forces and new-domain forces with new combat capabilities, and they have improved command systems and capacity for joint operations. They have worked hard to address “peacetime ills,” vigorously strengthened training under combat conditions, and built strong, well-structured, and modern border defense, coastal defense, and air defense systems. The armed forces have remained committed to carrying out military struggles in a flexible manner to counter military provocations by external forces, and they have created a strong deterrent against separatist activities seeking “Taiwan independence.” They have conducted major operations related to border defense, protecting China’s maritime rights, countering terrorism and maintaining stability, disaster rescue and relief, fighting Covid-19, peacekeeping and escort services, humanitarian assistance, and international military cooperation.

Since the Party’s 18th National Congress, the people’s military has been through an all-around revolutionary restructuring under the firm leadership of the Party in preparation for the next stage, while our defense capabilities have grown in step with our economic strength. Integration of national strategic systems and capabilities has accelerated, sound administrative and support systems for ex-service members have been established, defense mobilization has become more efficient, and greater unity has been cultivated between the military and the government and between the military and civilians. Firmly carrying out the missions of the new era, the people’s military has taken concrete actions to safeguard our national sovereignty, security, and development interests with an indomitable fighting spirit.

11. Safeguarding national security

Since the launch of reform and opening up, the Party has attached great importance to properly handling the relationship between reform, development, and stability. With this in mind, it has defined safeguarding national security and social stability as a fundamental task for the Party and the country in order to cultivate a sound security environment for reform, opening up, and socialist modernization.

In the new era, China is faced with more acute national security challenges, as evidenced by unprecedented external pressure, intertwined traditional and non-traditional security threats, and frequent “black swan” and “grey rhino” events. China’s ability to safeguard national security falls short of what is required of us by the current circumstances and tasks. We need to strengthen our capacity for responding to various major risks, and improve mechanisms for coordinating efforts to safeguard national security.

The Central Committee has stressed that the most fundamental and universal desire of our people is to live in a safe and peaceful nation. We must always be prepared for worst-case scenarios and mindful of potential dangers. We must uphold the primacy of our national interests and take the people’s security as our ultimate goal, political security as our fundamental task, economic security as our foundation, military, technological, cultural, and social security as means of guarantee, and international security as the support. We must find a balance between development and security, between opening up and security, between traditional and non-traditional security, between China’s domestic security and the common security of the world, and between safeguarding national security and creating conditions conducive to it.

Comrade Xi Jinping has stressed that our Party should make national security its top priority. He has put forward a holistic approach to national security, which covers political, military, homeland security, economic, cultural, social, technological, cyberspace, ecological, resource, nuclear, overseas interests, outer space, deep sea, polar, and biological security issues, among others. He has urged all Party members to enhance their fighting spirit and fighting capacity and to fulfill their responsibilities for guarding against and defusing various risks as they exercise leadership and carry out their work.

The Central Committee is acutely aware that, confronted with various types of external encirclement, suppression, disruption, and subversion, we must not be misguided or intimidated, and we must fight to the end with any forces that would attempt to subvert the leadership of the Communist Party of China and China’s socialist system, or to hinder or obstruct China’s advance toward national rejuvenation. Constant concessions will only invite more bullying and humiliation.

The Party has redoubled its efforts to strengthen the national security system and capacity building in this regard. It established a national security commission under the Central Committee, and it has improved the centralized, high-performing, and authoritative leadership system and the legal, strategy, and policy systems for national security. It has also put in place coordination and emergency management mechanisms for national security.

The Party has incorporated security imperatives into all areas throughout the process of national development, placed emphasis on guarding against and defusing major risks that may affect China’s modernization process, and resolutely safeguarded political, institutional, and ideological security. The Party has enhanced efforts to raise public awareness about the importance of national security and national defense and consolidated the public line of defense for national security. Solid steps have been taken to boost development, raise living standards, and ensure stability in border areas and to strictly prevent and crack down on infiltration, sabotage, subversion, and separatist activities by hostile forces. The Party has withstood and pushed back against extreme external pressure, stood up on issues such as those related to Hong Kong, Taiwan, Xinjiang, Tibet, and territorial waters, and moved faster to build a strong maritime country. Through all these efforts, we have effectively safeguarded national security.

Since the 18th National Congress, we have enhanced national security on all fronts and overcome many political, economic, ideological, and natural risks, challenges, and trials. This has helped ensure that the Party and the country thrive and enjoy lasting stability.

12. Upholding the One Country, Two Systems policy and promoting national reunification

After their return to the motherland, Hong Kong and Macao were reincorporated into the national governance system and embarked on a broad path of complementarity and common development with other parts of the country. The practice of One Country, Two Systems has been a resounding success. However, due to a variety of complicated factors both at home and abroad, anti-China activities aimed at destabilizing Hong Kong ran rampant for a period of time, posing serious challenges to Hong Kong.

The Central Committee has underscored the need to fully, firmly, and accurately implement the One Country, Two Systems policy and to uphold and improve the systems of the policy. It has taken steps to ensure law-based governance, maintain constitutional order as outlined in the Constitution and the basic laws, and enforce the central government’s overall jurisdiction in the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions. It has also ensured resolute implementation of the principle of patriots governing Hong Kong and Macao.

Based on its assessment of the situation, the Central Committee made the important decision to enhance the central government’s exercise of overall jurisdiction over the special administrative regions in accordance with the Constitution and the basic laws of the two regions, and to improve relevant systems and mechanisms for enforcing the Constitution and the basic laws. The Central Committee has pushed for the establishment and improvement of the special administrative regions’ legal systems and enforcement mechanisms for safeguarding national security, the enactment of the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), the refinement of the electoral system of the HKSAR, and the implementation of the principle of patriots governing Hong Kong. The Central Committee supported the special administrative regions in improving the oath-taking system for holders of public office. In accordance with the law, the Central People’s Government established the Office for Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, and the HKSAR established the Committee for Safeguarding National Security.

The central authorities have firmly supported the law-based efforts of the HKSAR to end violence and chaos and restore order, supported the chief executives and governments of Hong Kong and Macao in exercising law-based governance, taken resolute steps to stop and prevent interference in the affairs of the two special administrative regions by external forces, and cracked down on acts of separatism, subversion, infiltration, and sabotage.

The central authorities have fully supported better integration of Hong Kong and Macao into the country’s overall development as well as high-quality development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. They have supported Hong Kong and Macao in pursuing economic development and improving people’s lives, and worked to foster greater patriotism and a stronger sense of national identity among the people in Hong Kong and Macao.

These measures, which address both the symptoms and root causes of relevant issues, have helped to restore order in Hong Kong and ensure a turn for the better in the region. All this has laid a solid foundation for advancing law-based governance in Hong Kong and Macao and for securing steady and continued success of the One Country, Two Systems policy.

Resolving the Taiwan question and realizing China’s complete reunification is a historic mission and an unshakable commitment of the Party. It is also a shared aspiration of all the sons and daughters of the Chinese nation, and it is essential to realizing national rejuvenation.

The Party has approached cross-Strait relations in light of the changed circumstances of the times, enriched the theory on national reunification and policies and principles concerning Taiwan, and worked to keep cross-Strait relations on the right track.

Comrade Xi Jinping has put forward a series of important ideas and major policy propositions on Taiwan-related work, thus helping to develop the Party’s overall policy for resolving the Taiwan question in the new era.

We facilitated the first meeting between the leaders of the two sides since 1949, as well as direct dialogue and communication between them. Guided by the conviction that we are all of the same family, the Party has promoted peaceful development of cross-Strait relations, unveiling a host of policies for the benefit of our compatriots in Taiwan and strengthening economic and cultural exchanges and cooperation across the Strait.

Since 2016, however, the Taiwan authorities have stepped up separatist activities aimed at “Taiwan independence,” which has seriously impacted the momentum of peaceful development of cross-Strait relations. Upholding the one-China principle and the 1992 Consensus, we firmly oppose separatist activities seeking “Taiwan independence” and firmly oppose foreign interference. We have maintained the initiative and the ability to steer in cross-Strait relations. For realizing China’s complete reunification, time and momentum are always on our side.

It has been proven through practice that with the firm leadership of the Communist Party of China, the strong support of our great motherland, and the concerted efforts of all Chinese people, including those in the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions and Taiwan, it is certain that lasting prosperity and stability will be maintained in Hong Kong and Macao, and that China’s complete reunification will become a reality.

13. Bolstering the diplomatic front

Since the launch of reform and opening up, the Party has remained committed to an independent foreign policy of peace, fostered an external environment conducive to China’s development, and made significant contributions to human progress.

In the new era, the international balance of power is undergoing profound adjustments, unilateralism, protectionism, hegemonism, and power politics are posing greater threats to world peace and development, and the backlash against globalization is growing. The world has entered a period of turbulence and transformation.

The Party Central Committee has emphasized that faced with a grave and complex international situation and unprecedented external risks and challenges, it is essential that we take into account both domestic and international imperatives, improve institutions and mechanisms for the Party’s leadership over diplomatic endeavors, strengthen top-level design on this front, and conduct strategic planning on the major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics. We must work to develop a new type of international relations, promote the building of a human community with a shared future, champion the shared human values of peace, development, fairness, justice, democracy, and freedom, and steer the tide of human progress.

Keeping in mind the big picture of China’s diplomatic endeavors in the new era, the Party has focused on the main goal of achieving national rejuvenation and promoting human progress, and it has held high the banner of peace, development, cooperation, and mutual benefit. It has advanced and enhanced China’s diplomatic agenda in a comprehensive, multilevel, and multifaceted way, and actively developed global partnerships.

We have worked to develop relations with other major countries and promoted coordination and cooperation between major countries. In accordance with the principles of amity, sincerity, mutual benefit, and inclusiveness and the policy of forging friendship and partnership with our neighbors, we have deepened relations with neighboring countries, worked to cultivate their strategic support, and cooperated with them to build a community with a shared future. We have strengthened solidarity and cooperation with other developing countries with a commitment to upholding the greater good in the pursuit of shared interests and following the principles of sincerity, pragmatism, affinity, and good faith, and put in place collective cooperation mechanisms that cover all other developing countries.

The Party has stayed in constant touch with more than 500 political parties and political organizations around the world with the aim of deepening exchanges and cooperation between parties. Adapting to the growing new momentum in “going global,” we have steadily improved systems for protecting China’s overseas interests and effectively handled many risks and challenges in this regard.

China has actively participated in reform and development of the global governance system. It has worked to safeguard the international system centered on the UN, the international order underpinned by international law, and the basic norms of international relations based on the purposes and principles of the UN Charter. China has upheld and practiced true multilateralism, resolutely opposed unilateralism, protectionism, hegemonism, and power politics, and worked actively to make economic globalization more open, inclusive, balanced, and beneficial for all.

China has played a constructive role in the political resolution of regional and international hotspot issues, and it has been a positive force on issues such as climate change, poverty reduction, counterterrorism, cyber security, and regional security. In combating Covid-19, China has engaged in international cooperation and launched the largest global emergency humanitarian operation since the founding of the People’s Republic, providing supplies, medical support, and vaccine assistance for many countries, especially developing countries, and engaging in vaccine cooperation with a number of them. China has thus built its image as a responsible major country.

Through continued efforts, we have advanced major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics on all fronts. The concept of a human community with a shared future has become a banner leading trends of the times and human progress. China has broken new ground in its diplomatic endeavors amid profound global changes and turned crises into opportunities amid complex situations on the international stage. These efforts have resulted in a marked increase in China’s international influence, appeal, and power to shape.

In summary, since the 18th National Congress, the Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core has led the entire Party, the military, and all Chinese people in forging ahead. The goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects has been accomplished on schedule, while the cause of the Party and the country has scored historic achievements and gone through historic changes. All this demonstrates the great vitality of socialism with Chinese characteristics. The whole Party, the armed forces, and all Chinese people are more united and inspired than ever before. We are now equipped with stronger institutions, firmer material foundations, and a more proactive mindset for realizing national rejuvenation. Through tenacious struggle, the Party and the people have shown the world that the Chinese nation has achieved the tremendous transformation from standing up and growing prosperous to becoming strong.

V. The Historical Significance of the Party’s Endeavors over the Past Century

Over the past hundred years, the Party has always stayed true to its founding mission and united and led the Chinese people in writing a magnificent chapter in the history of human development, bringing about brighter prospects than ever before for the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.

1. The Party’s endeavors over the past century have fundamentally transformed the future of the Chinese people.

After the advent of modern times, the Chinese people were oppressed by the three mountains of imperialism, feudalism, and bureaucrat-capitalism, and were denigrated as the “sick man of East Asia” by Western powers. Over the past century, the Party has led the Chinese people in undertaking great and momentous struggles. Freed from bullying, oppression, and subjugation, the people have become the masters of the country, of society, and of their own fate, while people’s democracy has developed on a constant basis. The more than 1.4 billion Chinese people have achieved moderate prosperity in all respects, and are now seeing their aspirations for a better life become a reality. Today, the Chinese people are more self-confident, self-reliant, and capable of self-improvement, and have greater ambition, grit, and determination. The tremendous strength they have accumulated over this historical process is being fully unleashed, exhibiting historic initiative and creativity never seen before. With brimming confidence, the Chinese people are now writing a great history for China’s development in the new era.

2. The Party’s endeavors over the past century have opened up the right path for achieving rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.

After the advent of modern times, the Chinese nation faced a grave crisis. As it withered away in the eyes of the world, it was uncertain whether or not the splendid civilization it had created would endure. Over the past century, the Party has led the people in forging ahead persistently, opening up the right path to national rejuvenation. China has moved from a state of disunity and division to a high level of unity and solidarity, from weakness and poverty to strength and moderate prosperity in all respects, and from suffering invasion and bullying to becoming independent, self-reliant, and confident. China has completed a process of industrialization that took developed countries several centuries in the space of mere decades, bringing about the two miracles of rapid economic growth and enduring social stability. Today, the Chinese nation is a thriving nation standing tall and firm in the East.

3. The Party’s endeavors over the past century have demonstrated the strong vitality of Marxism.

Marxism has brought to light the laws governing the development of human society. It is a scientific truth for understanding and shaping the world. But to uphold and develop Marxism, Marxists from all over the world must engage in extremely strenuous and challenging work, both in theory and in practice. Over the past century, the Party has rallied under the banner of Marxism, continued to adapt Marxism to the Chinese context and the needs of our times, embraced all the outstanding achievements of human society with a broad-minded perspective, and used the sound theories derived from adapting Marxism to the Chinese context to guide its great endeavors.

In China, Marxism has been fully tested as a scientific truth, its people-centered and practical nature has been brought into full play, and its open-ended nature and contemporary relevance have been fully demonstrated.

Our continued success in adapting Marxism to the Chinese context and the needs of our times has enabled Marxism to take on a fresh face in the eyes of the world, and significantly shifted the worldwide historical evolution of and contest between the two different ideologies and social systems of socialism and capitalism in a way that favors socialism.

4. The Party’s endeavors over the past century have produced a profound influence on the course of world history.

The cause of the Party and the Chinese people constitutes an important part of the cause of human progress. Over the past hundred years, while pursuing happiness for the Chinese people and rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, the Party has also contributed to human progress and world harmony. It has profoundly altered the trends and landscape of world development through its unremitting efforts in self-improvement. The Party has led the people in pioneering a uniquely Chinese path to modernization, creating a new model for human advancement, and expanding the channels for developing countries to achieve modernization. This has offered a new option for countries and nations who want to accelerate development while preserving their independence. The Party has promoted the development of a human community with a shared future, and offered Chinese wisdom, Chinese solutions, and Chinese strength for addressing major issues facing humanity and for building an open, inclusive, clean, and beautiful world that enjoys enduring peace, universal security, and common prosperity. It has thus become an important force driving human development and progress.

5. The Party’s endeavors over the past century have made the CPC a forerunner of the times.

The Party’s membership has grown from just over 50 when it was founded to more than 95 million today. Leading a country of more than 1.4 billion people, it is now the world’s largest governing party with significant global influence. Over the past hundred years, the Party has remained true to its nature and purpose, upheld its ideals and convictions, and stayed committed to its founding mission. It has bravely engaged in self-reform, and withstood all manner of risks and trials and made enormous sacrifices in the course of life-and-death battles and arduous struggles. It has forged a distinct political character and developed a long line of inspiring principles originating from its great founding spirit. The Party has preserved its advanced nature and integrity, and kept improving its governance and leadership capacity. It is now leading the Chinese people in advancing toward national rejuvenation with unstoppable momentum on the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics. It has proven to be a great, glorious, and correct party.

VI. The Historical Experience from the Party’s Endeavors over the Past Century

Over the past century, the Party has led the people through great endeavors in which it has made breakthroughs by pushing forward, become stronger by rising above setbacks, and improved itself by reflecting on its past. In the process, it has accumulated valuable historical experience.

1. Upholding the Party’s leadership

The Communist Party of China is the central leading force of our cause. The strong leadership of the Party is the fundamental reason why the Chinese people and Chinese nation have been able to transform their fate in modern times and achieved the great success we see today. Both the facts of history and the reality of today prove that without the Communist Party of China, there would be no new China and no national rejuvenation.

To govern our Party, which is the largest in the world, and our country, which is the most populous in the world, we must uphold the Party’s overall leadership, especially the Central Committee’s centralized, unified leadership, adhere to democratic centralism, and ensure that the Party exercises overall leadership and coordination.

As long as we maintain unwavering commitment to the Party’s overall leadership, firmly uphold the core of the Party and the authority of the Central Committee, fully leverage the political strengths of Party leadership, and see that Party leadership is exercised in all aspects and stages of the Party and the country’s cause, we will be able to ensure that all Party members, the armed forces, and all Chinese people unite as one in pressing ahead.

2. Putting the people first

The Party has in the people its roots, its lifeblood, and its source of strength. The people are the greatest source of confidence for the Party in governing and rejuvenating the country. No political consideration is more important than the people; no force is more powerful than justice. The Party’s greatest political strength is its close ties with the people, while the biggest potential danger it faces as a governing party is becoming distanced from them.

The Party represents the fundamental interests of the overwhelming majority of the Chinese people. It has no special interests of its own, nor has it ever represented the interests of any individual interest group, any power group, or any privileged stratum. This is the fundamental reason why the Party has maintained its inviolable strength.

We will remain committed to the Party’s fundamental purpose of wholeheartedly serving the people, adhere to the Party’s mass line, and always be aware that this country is its people and the people are the country. We will do everything for the people and rely on them in everything we do, exercise governance on behalf of the people and on the basis of their support, and stick to the notion that development is for the people, depends on the people, and its fruits should be shared by the people. With unswerving resolve, we will pursue common prosperity for all. By doing so, our Party will be able to lead the people toward new and even greater triumphs in building socialism with Chinese characteristics. Any attempt to divide the Communist Party of China from the Chinese people or to set the Chinese people against the Communist Party of China is bound to fail.

3. Advancing theoretical innovation

Marxism is the fundamental guiding ideology upon which our Party and our country are founded and thrive. Marxist theory is not a dogma, but a guide to action; it must develop with the evolution of practice, and only by adapting to the Chinese context can it take root in our country and gain a firm place in Chinese people’s hearts.

The fundamental reason why the Party has been able to lead the people through painstaking searches, setbacks, and pioneering efforts to accomplish enormous tasks that were inconceivable for any other political force in China is its commitment to the following: freeing minds, seeking truth from facts, advancing with the times, and applying a realistic and pragmatic approach; adapting the basic tenets of Marxism to China’s specific realities and China’s fine traditional culture; abiding by the principle that practice is the sole criterion for testing truth; and grounding all its efforts in reality. Furthermore, the Party has provided prompt answers to the questions of our times and our people, and kept adapting Marxism to the Chinese context and the needs of our times.

As Comrade Xi Jinping pointed out, the great social transformations that contemporary China has undergone are not a natural continuation of our country’s historical and cultural traditions, not a mechanical application of the templates designed by authors of Marxist classics, nor a copy of the socialist practice in other countries or foreign models of modernization. As long as we have the courage to keep making theoretical innovations in light of new practical developments and use new theory to guide new practice, we are certain to see Marxism emanate mightier and more compelling power of truth across the land of China.

4. Staying independent

Independence is the essence of China’s national spirit, and it is a major principle for building our Party and our country. We must follow our own path—this is the historical conclusion our Party has drawn from its endeavors over the past century.

The Party has always followed an independent path as it has pressed forward, stressing reliance on our own efforts to drive the nation’s development, and maintaining that China’s affairs must be decided and run by the Chinese people themselves. Throughout human history, no nation or country has ever become strong and prosperous by relying on external forces, indiscriminately copying the models of other countries, or blindly following in others’ footsteps. Those who have attempted to do so have either suffered inevitable defeat or been reduced to vassals of others.

As long as we maintain independence and self-reliance, bolster our people’s sense of national dignity and self-confidence while drawing on the useful experience of other countries, and refuse to be taken in by fallacies or to bend in the face of pressure, we will be able to keep the fate of China’s development and progress firmly in our own hands.

5. Following the Chinese path

The direction determines the path, and the path determines the future. Throughout its endeavors over the past century, the Party has always stayed grounded in China’s conditions and felt out a right path consistent with China’s realities—the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics. It is a sure path toward a better life for the people and the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. The Chinese land, the Chinese civilization, and the Chinese path provide our Party and people an infinitely vast stage, a heritage of incomparable depth, and unmatched resolve for forging ahead.

We must neither retrace our steps to the rigidity and isolation of the past, nor take a wrong turn by changing our nature and abandoning our system. As long as we follow the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics with unswerving commitment, we will be able to develop China into a great modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious, and beautiful.

6. Maintaining a global vision

When the path is just, the common good will reign over all under Heaven. The Party has been cogitating on the future of humanity with a global vision, and has correctly understood and handled China’s relations with the rest of the world in the context of the general trend of human development, the grand scheme of things amid global changes, and the entire course of Chinese history. It champions opening up over isolation, pursues mutual benefit instead of zero-sum games, and stands up for fairness and justice. This has enabled the Party to stand on the right side of history and the side of human progress.

We will keep to the path of peaceful development, developing our country by safeguarding world peace and contributing to world peace through our development. We will move forward in tandem with all progressive forces around the world. We will never rely on others, take advantage of others, or seek hegemony. As long as we stick to these principles, we will be able to continue contributing our wisdom and strength to the progress of human civilization and work with the people of other countries to keep the wheels of history rolling toward a brighter future.

7. Breaking new ground

Innovation is an inexhaustible source of momentum for the development of a country and a nation. The greater the cause, and the more fraught it is with difficulties and obstacles, the more important it is to work hard and break new ground.

The Party has led the people in surmounting all difficulties, searching high and low for a way forward, and pressing ahead with determination. As we have made constant innovations in theory, practice, institutions, culture, and other areas, we have demonstrated the courage to be pioneers and pursue a path hitherto uncharted. No difficulty or obstacle has been able to hold back the advance of the Party and the people.

We will continue to follow the trend of the times, respond to the demands of the people, and boldly advance reform. We will accurately identify changes, adeptly respond to them, and work to steer them in a favorable direction. We will never become rigid and never cease making progress. As long as we keep doing so, we will be able to bring about more miraculous achievements that amaze the world.

8. Standing up for ourselves

Having the courage to fight and the mettle to win provides the Party and the people with inviolable strength. All the achievements that the Party and the people have made did not come from nothing, nor were they given to us by others; they were earned through persistent struggle.

The Party was born amid domestic turmoil and foreign aggression, was tempered through numerous tribulations, and has grown strong by surmounting difficulties. No matter how powerful the enemy, how difficult the journey, or how grave the challenges, the Party has never lost heart or backed down, and never hesitated to make necessary sacrifices. It has remained unyielding despite all setbacks, fighting for our people, our country, and our nation, as well as our shared ideals and convictions.

We should grasp the contemporary features of the great new struggle, seize historical opportunities, and get a head start. As long as we carry forward the fighting spirit, build up our ability, and rally the will and strength of the whole Party and the entire nation, we are sure to overcome any risks or challenges, whether foreseeable or otherwise.

9. Promoting the united front

Solidarity is strength. Developing the broadest possible united front provides important assurance for our Party to defeat the enemy and to govern and rejuvenate the country.

The Party has remained committed to great unity and solidarity, united all forces that can be united, and mobilized all positive factors available in order to promote harmony between different political parties, ethnic groups, religions, social strata, and compatriots at home and abroad. This has allowed us to pool strength to the greatest extent possible for our common goals.

As long as we continue to consolidate solidarity between different ethnic groups, people across the nation, and all the sons and daughters of the Chinese nation, foster a strong sense of community for the Chinese nation, and ensure that Chinese people all over the world focus their energy and ingenuity toward the same goal, we will bring together a mighty force for making national rejuvenation a reality.

10. Remaining committed to self-reform

Having the courage to reform itself is a hallmark that distinguishes the Communist Party of China from other political parties. The spirit of self-reform underpins the Party’s ability to maintain its youthful vigor.

The advanced nature of a Marxist party is not a given, but rather cultivated through constant self-reform. The Party has emerged from one hundred years of vicissitudes with even greater vitality. The secret to this lies in the Party’s commitment to upholding truth and righting errors. The Party is great not because it never makes mistakes, but because it always owns up to its errors, actively engages in criticism and self-criticism, and has the courage to confront problems and reform itself.

As long as we consistently remove all elements that would harm the Party’s advanced nature and integrity, and eliminate any viruses that would erode its health, we will be able to ensure that the Party preserves its essence, color, and character and see that it always serves as the strong leadership core in the course of upholding and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era.

These ten points represent valuable practical experience gained over a long period and intellectual treasures created through the joint efforts of the Party and the people. All of us must cherish them, uphold them over the long term, and continue to enrich and develop them in practice in the new era.

VII. The Communist Party of China in the New Era

To accomplish the Party’s mission, we must never forget why we started. The Communist Party of China remains focused on achieving lasting greatness for the Chinese nation, and a hundred years on from its founding, the Party is still in its prime. Over the past century, the Party has secured extraordinary historical achievements on behalf of the people. Today, it is rallying and leading the Chinese people on a new journey to realize the Second Centenary Goal. It is up to the people to judge how the Party performs in the test of the times. We must continue to perform well, take an entirely new look in the new era, and make new accomplishments on our new journey.

At its 19th National Congress, the Party set out a two-stage strategic plan for achieving the Second Centenary Goal. In the first stage, from 2020 to 2035, we will see that socialist modernization is basically realized. In the second stage, from 2035 to the middle of this century, we will develop China into a great modern socialist country. By the end of that stage, the following objectives will have been met:

Ÿ–New heights will be reached in every dimension of material, political, cultural-ethical, social, and ecological advancement;

Ÿ–Modernization of China’s system and capacity for governance will be achieved;

Ÿ–China will become a global leader in terms of composite national strength and international influence;

Ÿ–Common prosperity for all will be largely realized;

Ÿ–The Chinese people will enjoy happier, safer, and healthier lives; and

Ÿ–The Chinese nation will stand taller and prouder among the nations of the world.

Today, we are closer, more confident, and more capable than ever of realizing the goal of national rejuvenation. But at the same time, all Party members must realize that achieving national rejuvenation will be no walk in the park, and it will take more than drum beating and gong clanging to get there. There are many risks and challenges on the journey ahead, some of which we can foresee and others we cannot. We must also recognize that China is still in the primary stage of socialism and will long stay in this stage, that it remains the largest developing country in the world, and that the principal contradiction facing Chinese society is that between unbalanced and inadequate development and the people’s ever-growing needs for a better life. Every Party member must bear in mind what the Party is and what its mission is—these are issues of fundamental importance that we must never lose sight of. We must have a precise grasp of historical trends, stand firm in our ideals and convictions, and stay true to our Party’s founding mission. We must remain modest and prudent, guard against arrogance and rashness, and work hard. We should draw strength from our achievements to forge ahead, and learn lessons from missteps and setbacks. We must not be intimidated by any risks or led astray by any distractions, and we must be absolutely certain that we make no catastrophic mistakes on fundamental issues. With the determination to never let up until we reach our goals and the attitude that the last leg of the journey only marks the halfway point, we must make unremitting efforts to advance the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.

The whole Party must uphold Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory, the Theory of Three Represents, and the Scientific Outlook on Development and fully implement Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era. We must use Marxist positions, viewpoints, and methods to observe, understand, and steer the trends of the times, and constantly deepen our understanding of the laws underlying governance by a communist party, the building of socialism, and the development of human society.

We must adhere to the basic theory, line, and policy of the Party; strengthen our consciousness of the need to maintain political integrity, think in big-picture terms, follow the leadership core, and keep in alignment with the central Party leadership; stay confident in the path, theory, system, and culture of socialism with Chinese characteristics; and uphold Comrade Xi Jinping’s core position on the Party Central Committee and in the Party as a whole, and uphold the Central Committee’s authority and its centralized, unified leadership.

We should continue to apply systems thinking and ensure coordinated implementation of the Five-Sphere Integrated Plan and the Four-Pronged Comprehensive Strategy. We need to ground our work in this new stage of development, apply the new development philosophy, foster a new pattern of development, and promote high-quality development. We should deepen reform and opening up across the board, promote common prosperity for all, and build up our country’s strength in science and technology. We should develop whole-process people’s democracy and ensure it is the people who run the country. We should continue to advance law-based governance in all respects, uphold the core socialist values, ensure and enhance people’s wellbeing in the course of development, and promote harmony between humanity and nature. We need to balance development and security imperatives, move faster to modernize national defense and the armed forces, and take well-coordinated steps toward making our people prosperous, our nation strong, and our country beautiful.

The entire Party must forever maintain close ties with the people, stand firmly on their side, uphold their principal position, and respect their creativity. We must act in line with the people-centered philosophy of development, safeguard social fairness and justice, and work hard to resolve the imbalances and inadequacies in development and the most pressing difficulties and problems that are of great concern to the people. We will better realize, safeguard, and advance the fundamental interests of the overwhelming majority of the people, and unite and lead all Chinese people in working ceaselessly for a better life.

All Party members must keep in mind that one thrives in adversity and perishes in laxity, see things from a long-term, strategic perspective, and always remain mindful of potential dangers. We will continue to advance the great new project of Party building in the new era, exercise full and rigorous self-governance, and remain committed to improving Party conduct, upholding integrity, and combating corruption. We will rise to the tests facing the Party in long-term governance, reform and opening up, the market economy, and the external environment, and we will overcome the dangers of losing drive, lacking competence, becoming disengaged from the people, and succumbing to inaction and corruption. We must maintain our mettle regardless of the hardships and dangers we face, and be both brave and adept in carrying out our struggle, forging new paths and building new bridges wherever necessary. We must be able to overcome all difficulties and withstand all pressures and steer the great ship of socialism with Chinese characteristics to cleave the waves and sail ahead with unstoppable momentum.

The cause of the Party and the people requires the continuous efforts of Chinese communists over generations. We must deliver on the vitally important issue of making sure this cause is carried forward by future generations.

We must educate our people with Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, enhance cohesion by instilling in them the Party’s ideals and convictions, nourish them with the core socialist values, and inspire them with the historic mission of national rejuvenation. By doing so, we will cultivate a large contingent of people who are capable of shouldering the mission of the times and well prepared to carry forward our cause.

We must work to train and select a constant stream of loyal, upright, responsible, high-caliber, and specialized officials, especially young officials, who demonstrate both integrity and ability. Party members and officials should be educated and guided to have firm belief in Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era and to practice it faithfully, and they should keep in mind that empty talk harms the country while solid work makes it flourish. They must be loyal to the country and the people, pursue lofty ideals, and strive to enhance their capabilities and sense of responsibility.

We must admit to the Party a constant stream of progressive people from various sectors, especially outstanding young people, and educate and guide young communists to forever follow the banner, the course, and the will of the Party, to sustain the Party’s revolutionary legacy, to carry forward its fine traditions, and to engage in hard struggle in which they brave the storms, broaden their horizons, temper their spirit, and increase their capabilities.

We must cultivate a constant stream of talented people who are dedicated to the country and have the courage to break new ground, truly care for them, nurture them attentively, and put them to good use, so as to bring together a full spectrum of bright people for the great endeavors of the Party and the people.

The Central Committee calls upon the entire Party, the military, and all Chinese people to rally more closely around the Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, to fully implement Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, and to champion the great founding spirit of the Party. We will always remember the glories and hardships of yesterday, rise to the mission of today, and live up to the great dream of tomorrow. We will learn from history, work hard, forge ahead for a better future, and make tireless efforts to realize the Second Centenary Goal and the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation.

We are convinced that the Communist Party of China and the Chinese people will build upon the great glories and victories of the past hundred years with even greater glories and victories on the new journey that lies before us in the new era.

Resolution charting China’s course hailed by experts

This brief report by Chen Weihua of the recently-concluded sixth plenary session of the 19th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China includes quotes from Friends of Socialist China co-editor Carlos Martinez; Communist Party of the Russian Federation chair Gennady Zyuganov; former Pakistani foreign secretary Salman Bashir; and others. The report first appeared in China Daily.

The sixth plenary session of the 19th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China will lead China to greater success in the next century, global experts said.

The session held last week adopted the Resolution on the Major Achievements and Historical Experience of the Party over the Past Century, according to the meeting’s communique.

“The CPC has made tremendous achievements in its 100 years of history and is ready to lead the Chinese people into the future,” said Gennady Zyuganov, chairman of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation.

He said that the main secret to its success is that “the Party set itself the goal of striving for people’s happiness and the great rejuvenation of the nation”.

Continue reading Resolution charting China’s course hailed by experts

The totality and emphasis of Mao Zedong’s Four Modernization strategies

We are very pleased to publish this important paper on Mao Zedong and the Four Modernizations presented by leading Chinese Marxist theoretician Jin Minqing at last month’s Cloud International Workshop organised by Dalian University of Technology’s School of Marxism. We are grateful to Professor Roland Boer for his comradely assistance in sub-editing the translation.

In his paper, Jin Minqing seeks truth from facts to clearly establish and demonstrate Mao Zedong’s key role in the formulation and elaboration of the Four Modernizations strategy from the time of Liberation and even before.

This is extremely important as it refutes both right and ‘left’ opportunist positions, that spuriously seek to draw a line between Chairman Mao and the Four Modernizations. Right opportunists seek to ascribe the line of Four Modernizations solely or overwhelmingly to other important CPC leaders, negating or belittling Mao’s central role and the achievements made under his leadership. ‘Left’ opportunists present the Four Modernizations as somehow being a revisionist departure from Marxism and as running counter to Mao Zedong Thought.

As Zhou Enlai said: “One tendency covers another.” And these two currents certainly fuel and provide a specious credibility to each other. The present generation of Chinese communist leaders, with Xi Jinping as the core, draw a very clear line of demarcation with historical nihilism and stress the essential continuity of the Chinese revolution through its successive and distinct phases. It is in this context that Ji Minqing’s paper acquires great importance and needs to be widely read internationally.

Author: Jin Minqing. Secretary of the CPC Party Committee of the Institute of Modern History, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences; Vice President and Secretary General of Chinese Historical Materialism Society

(Text of a paper delivered at the Cloud International Workshop on “New Forms of Human Civilization from a World Perspective,” School of Marxism, Dalian University of Technology, 29-31 October 2021).

Translated by DUT Translation Team.

Continue reading The totality and emphasis of Mao Zedong’s Four Modernization strategies

Carlos Garrido: Why Western Marxism misunderstands China’s use of markets

We are pleased to republish this thought-provoking piece in Midwestern Marx by Carlos L Garrido, on the philosophical underpinnings of Reform and Opening Up and of the left critique of it often found in the Western left.

Continue reading Carlos Garrido: Why Western Marxism misunderstands China’s use of markets

Communiqué of the Sixth Plenary Session of the 19th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China

This communiqué, first published in English by Global Times on 11 November, provides a detailed and insightful summary of the proceedings of the Sixth Plenary Session of the 19th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, which took place in Beijing from 8 to 11 November 2021.

At this plenary session, the CPC Central Committee reviewed the work of the Political Bureau, and adopted the Resolution on the Major Achievements and Historical Experience of the Party over the Past Century – the first major resolution assessing the party’s history since the Resolution on certain questions in the history of our party since the founding of the People’s Republic of China, adopted some 40 years ago.

The communiqué sums up the experiences and achievements of the CPC in the hundred years since its founding, and outlines the party’s tasks for the coming period. It strongly reaffirms the path of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics and the CPC’s adherence to Marxism and historical materialism, reiterating that “only socialism can save China” and that China’s revolution and socialist construction constituted “the most extensive and profound social change in the history of the Chinese nation.”

Assessing and positively appraising the contributions of each previous generation of leadership of the People’s Republic of China (that of Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin, Hu Jintao), the communiqué clarifies that the strategies and ideas of the current leadership – with Xi Jinping at its core – constitute an important new phase in the development of Chinese socialism. At the 18th National Congress of the CPC in 2012, Comrade Xi set out the Two Centenaries: to achieve a moderately well-off (xiaokang) society by the centenary of the CPC in 2021; and to develop China into a “strong, democratic, civilized, harmonious, and modern socialist country” by the centenary of the founding of the PRC in 2049. With the completion of the project to eradicate extreme poverty in late 2020, the first centenary goal has been met. The CPC is now moving steadily towards the second centenary goal.

Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era emphasizes green, sustainable, high-quality development; common prosperity; whole-process people’s democracy; resolutely safeguarding China’s sovereignty; and an ever-deeper integration and solidarity with the developing world. It demands a firm commitment on the part of party members to serving the people, and takes a zero-tolerance approach to corruption. The communiqué confirms that these concepts will continue to guide China’s development in the decades to come.

Adopted at the Sixth Plenary Session of the 19th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China on November 11, 2021

The 19th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China convened its sixth plenary session in Beijing from November 8 to 11, 2021.

A total of 197 members and 151 alternate members of the Central Committee attended the session. Members of the Standing Committee of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection and leading officials of other relevant departments were present at the meeting in a non-voting capacity. Some of the colleagues working at the primary level who were delegates to the 19th National Party Congress, along with a number of experts and scholars, also attended the meeting in a non-voting capacity.

Continue reading Communiqué of the Sixth Plenary Session of the 19th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China

On common prosperity

We are very pleased to publish this original article by Michael Dunford, Professor Emeritus of Sussex University and currently Professor at the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Professor Dunford provides a detailed theoretical, empirical and historical treatment of the key Chinese political concept of common prosperity, outlining its evolution and interpretation through the various phases of the history of the People’s Republic since 1953. Its publication is particularly timely. On 16 October, Qiushi, the main theoretical organ of the Communist Party of China, released the full text of an important speech by President Xi Jinping, delivered in mid-August to the party’s Central Committee for Financial and Economic Affairs, in which the Chinese leader forcefully outlined that now is the time to boldly advance the common prosperity agenda.


By Michael Dunford.[1]

Abstract

In China the idea of common prosperity dates back to 1953. After 1979 China chose to let some people and places get rich first to accelerate economic development, with Deng Xiaoping arguing that public property could prevent social polarization. The result was extraordinary sustained economic growth but at the expense of large increases in urban-rural, regional and social inequalities in income and wealth themselves associated with the growth of private capital. In 1999 the Communist Party of China started to address urban-rural and regional disparities in the name of common prosperity, while under the leadership of Xi Jinping the emphasis on common prosperity has increased markedly alongside domestic goals relating to innovation, improved governance and ecological and spiritual civilization. Starting in 2020 this course has seen strong government action against the disorderly expansion of private capital, monopolies, speculation and the costs of privately provided education, housing and potentially health as well as the establishment of a demonstration zone in Zhejiang province to explore ways to address uneven development and reshape the primary, secondary and tertiary distributions of income.

1 The meaning of common prosperity

On 17th August 2021 in a meeting of the Central Committee for Financial and Economic Affairs ( 中央财经委员会) Chinese President Xi Jinping called on China to promote common prosperity (material, ecological and cultural) in a context of high quality development (在高质量发展中促进共同富裕- zài gāo zhìliàng fāzhǎn zhōng cùjìn gòngtóng fùyù). In circumstances in which indigenous innovation is desired, a new industrial revolution is on the horizon and ecological civilization construction is designed to address environmental challenges, high quality development of the productive forces remains and will remain of vital importance, alone enabling China to advance from an upper middle to a high-income country. However the combination of high quality development with a quest for common prosperity and the increasingly frequent use of this term in defining China’s development direction are particularly significant and increasingly seen as mapping a new phase in China’s path to socialism.

The phrase ‘common prosperity’ first appeared in an article in the People’s Daily on 25th September 1953. On 12th December 1953 it appeared in the headline of a People’s Daily article entitled ‘The Path of Socialism is the Path to Common Prosperity’ (社会主义的路是农民共同富裕的路). Advanced as a step in the path to rural mutual aid, cooperatives and collectivization, collective prosperity was associated with the holding of resources in common. Just four days later the Communist Party of China (CPC) released its ‘Resolution on the Development of Agricultural Production Cooperatives’ (关于发展农业生产合作社的决议). Drafted under the chairmanship of Mao Zedong, it invoked ‘common prosperity’ as a goal of China’s socialist construction.[2]

In the late 1970s the term was often used by Deng Xiaoping to characterize socialism (Deng, 1999, 2014 [1979]). Also in the 1980s it was frequently used in his insistence that common prosperity (entailing the avoidance of polarization) and the predominance of public ownership are fundamental socialist principles.

At the end of the 1970s, however, an earlier association between common prosperity and egalitarianism (平均主义 平均主义 – píngjūn zhǔyì) was rejected. On 15th April 1979 the People’s Daily carried an article entitled: ‘A Few Getting Rich First and Common Prosperity (一部分先富裕和共同富裕). Increasingly, it was argued that to speed up the development of the productive forces, achieve the four modernizations and accelerate the arrival of common prosperity, some people and some places should be allowed to get rich first, with others getting rich later. Deng Xiaoping’s words repeated on a number of occasions are particularly important:

In short, predominance of public ownership and common prosperity are the two fundamental socialist principles that we must adhere to. The aim of socialism is to make all our people prosperous, not to create polarization. If our policies led to polarization, it would mean that we had failed; if a new bourgeoisie emerged, it would mean that we had strayed from the right path. In encouraging some regions to become prosperous first, we intend that they should inspire others to follow their example and that all of them should help economically backward regions to develop. The same holds good for some individuals (Deng, 2014 [1985]-b).

In the capitalist mode of production, the means of production and exchange are privately owned. In societies in which the capitalist mode of production predominates, private ownership derives from multiple (often corrupt) processes of accumulation by dispossession, and the concentration and centralization of assets and wealth in the hands of a small share of the population. This concentration of property in the hands of a class of private owners is the root cause of the gap between the rich and the poor. Although these mechanisms can lead in the direction of monopolies, the concentration and centralization of capital derive from market competition which gives rise to unending turbulence. Measures preventing and addressing the emergence of monopoly power do help. However anti-monopoly measures do not prevent the polarization of wealth and income (in the sense of a large and widening gap between rich and poor), as the accumulation of capital in competitive conditions (especially where returns to scale are increasing) is self-reinforcing.

Capital-centred societies have created considerable material wealth, and the material living standards of working people have increased significantly, especially in the post-war Golden Age when the income of low-income groups grew faster than those of high income groups. This outcome was however a result of an economic and political compromise, deriving from the struggles of working class people and their social movements and political parties at home, and the challenge of Communism. In that era trades union wage bargaining saw real wages increase steadily with productivity growth, while welfare states/social security co-existed with the capitalist mode of production (combined in many cases with significant state capital). Welfare funded principally out or taxation paid by the wage earning classes provided citizens with significant minimum rights and life guarantees. This era was however exceptional, and since the 1970s the competitive accumulation of private capital along with governments that principally serve capitalist interests are the main reasons for polarization and the expanded reproduction of income and wealth gaps in capitalist countries. As wealth and income accumulate at one end of the spectrum, non-owners, comprising the great majority of the population, are denied similar rights due to extreme self-reinforcing disparities in the ownership of private assets.

After the 1970s western capitalist societies moved in the direction of marketization, privatization and internationalization and also in the direction of financialization. Alongside the profits of capitalist enterprises, the owners of marketized land, natural resources and natural monopolies acquire economic rents. These rents are associated with monopoly positions, scarcity and differential advantages that cause the market values of the goods and services involving their use (land uses) to exceed their prices of production. In capitalist economies rents accrue to real estate capital and are also financialized: assets are pledged as collateral for financial sector loans, owners incur debts, and revenues on rent yielding assets are transformed into compound interest payments. Credit drives asset price inflation, while debtors unable to repay are expropriated, leading to a greater concentration of wealth in the hands of the financial sector. A relative increase in rentier and financial incomes and asset values diverts income away from real production and consumption, while in the absence of effective regulation capital market liberalization permits capital flight, tax evasion and money laundering. In financialized economies debt grows faster than the real production of goods and services, and financial and real estate interests seek leverage over money, credit creation and quantitative easing. In these conditions inequality increased dramatically.

The aim of socialism is people-centred rather than capital-centred development. The principal goal is to orient economic and social activities towards the production of goods and services that are socially useful, increase social well-being and enable all human beings to realize their potential and live happy and fulfilling lives (common prosperity). Although the material conditions for common prosperity (which itself involves an evolving and not a fixed standard) include development of the productive forces (although not the one-sided pursuit of GDP growth) the avoidance of polarization requires the development and improvement of socialist public ownership which also contributes to the development of the productive forces and national strength. Deng Xiaoping made this clear on repeated occasions. ‘As long as public ownership occupies the main position in our economy, polarization can be avoided,’ he said (Deng, 2014 [1985]-a, p. 149). In the public-owned socialist economy in the primitive stage of socialism, distribution should also depend on labour contributions, itself a way of avoiding social polarization. Contributions however vary. As a result incomes will vary but the differences should not be large. At the same time public ownership limits the possibilities of securing very high incomes as a result of personal possession/ownership of means of production and the exploitation of labour by capital (Wei, 2019)[3] as well as of real estate and financial assets.

The implication is that the eventual liberation of the working classes, realization of realm of freedom and comprehensive human development[4] require the replacement of private by collective ownership of economic assets and shared rights to and enjoyment of the fruits of their use in a communist society. The path to communism involves however a series of steps. These steps include a socialist stage (of to each according to his/her contribution) itself evolving from primitive to successively higher levels.

At present however common prosperity is not equality. Not only are people’s living needs differentiated requiring multi-channel supply systems. At the socialist stage (even after the elimination of private ownership of the means of production and exchange) the development of the productive forces remains limited. In the case of China it needs to advance socialist modernization, upgrade, innovate and escape the model of the recent past in which it imported high-end goods and exported low end assembled products. In this situation investment in skills and in indigenous science, technology and innovation are essential and will be associated with a distribution of rewards according to the quantity and quality of labour contributions. At present differences that are justified are moreover widely accepted. Differences that are not are widely condemned. Differences need not be large. In this new stage however the view that one ‘should give priority to efficiency with due consideration to fairness’ (Jiang Zemin, 2002)[5] is decisively giving way to a concept of shared development in which what is produced contributes to material, ecological and cultural needs, excessive primary income and wealth gaps are closed, distribution is reasonable[6] and all develop, building on China’s success in eliminating extreme poverty

The realization of common prosperity echoes the construction of a community of shared future for mankind: the establishment of an international division of labour has created a world in which developed countries with their relatively advanced industrial and military technologies and their financial power extract value from developing countries reproducing a global divide between the rich and the poor. Common prosperity as a national ambition has a counterpart in a global demand for shared development and common prosperity.

2 China’s path

The identification of a new path of common prosperity is a new step in the evolution of the new China. In 1949 China was virtually the poorest country in the world. In the next 30 years it grew at an average rate of 6.3% per year. China remained a low income country, but according to The World Bank (1981, p. 101), 1979 life expectancy of 64 was higher than the average of 51 for low income countries and 61 for middle-income countries, adult literacy stood at 66% compared with 39% in low income countries and 72% in middle income, while net primary school enrollment (93%) was just short of that for industrialized countries (94%). China’s population had nearly doubled. In the words of a glowing 1983 World Bank Report ‘China’s most remarkable achievement during the past three decades’ was to have made ‘low-income groups far better off in terms of basic needs than their counterparts in most other poor countries’ due to priorities attached to food, education and health. The authors of the report concluded that with the right policies China’s ‘immense wealth of human talent, effort and discipline’ would enable it ‘within a generation or so, to achieve a tremendous increase in the living standards of its people’ (The World Bank, 1983).

In the early 1970s after the visit of US President Richard Nixon to China a US embargo ended and China started to acquire western technologies. In 1979 it embarked on reform and opening up leading to historically unprecedented economic growth. As industrialization, urbanization and informatization advanced, China grew on average at 9.3% per year. By 2020 China was an upper middle income country with an average Gross National Income per head of US$ 10,610. At present it is expected to join the ranks of high-income economies during the country’s 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25) period.

China’s extraordinary growth transformed it into the second largest economy in the world, the world’s largest exporter, the second largest exporter of capital, the holder of huge foreign currency reserves (US$ 3.20 trillion in January 2021, down from a peak of 3.8 trillion in 2014), the owner of a currency that is increasingly used to settle international payments, the owner of a vast, increasingly affluent and highly coveted domestic market where permanent urban residents account for 60% of the population, a country with (as a result of painful reforms) a powerful core set of state and collectively owned enterprises and a country that has led recent world economic growth.

As a result of the prioritization of GDP, growth occurred however at the cost of serious environmental damage, growing inequalities in income and wealth, growing rural-urban and regional disparities and a rapid increase (from 10,000 in 1994 and more quickly from 1997 to reach 87,000 in 2005 according to official Public Security Bureau figures) in mass incidents (involving in the new millennium at least 100 and up to 10,000 people and often involving petitions to central government relating to employment, land acquisition, demolitions, pollution and official conduct).

As already mentioned, after the restoration of national sovereignty and the establishment of a basic industrial system and minimum life guarantees, overall priority was given from 1979 to the development of the productive forces allowing, some people and places to get rich first. This phase lasted until 1999.with a more decisive change of course with the arrival of China’s new leadership group in 2013.  Commencing at first in a limited way in 1999 common prosperity came to mark a new phase of development in which everyone should get rich together and wealth is conceived in political, cultural and ecological as well as in material terms (Ge, 2021). More specifically, in 1998 the Third Plenary Session of the 15th Central Committee of the CPC (CCCPC) addressed the question of agriculture and the sān nóng wèntí (three rural problems of agriculture, farmers and the countryside). This discussion opened the way to a succession of reforms to grant farmers secure rights to contracted land and use rights transfer, improve infrastructure and public services, to establish a new socialist countryside by 2010 and from 2003 to introduce a New Rural Co-operative Medical System and minimum life guarantees.[7]

Figure 1 Provincial, prefectural and rural-urban inequalities. Source: elaborated from, national and provincial statistical yearbooks and (National Bureau of Statistics: NBS, 2021)

In 1999 western development was set in motion. The aims were to expand domestic demand and drive economic growth in the aftermath of the Asian Financial Crisis and to contribute to ‘common prosperity’.[8]These measures were followed by measures to support Northeast and Central China. In 2000 to 2007, central government financial transfers reaching nearly 1.5 trillion yuan and national debt, budgetary and departmental construction funds in excess of 730 billion yuan were allocated to the West.[9] In subsequent years regional gaps (with the exception of Northeast China) started to close (Figure 1).

In 2013-15 China’s new leadership adopted a new eight-year targeted poverty alleviation campaign to identify poverty households and lift them out of poverty. This campaign enabled the CPC to meet its first centenary target of ending extreme poverty by 2020. In the 5th Plenary of 18th CCCPC in 2015 a strong emphasis was placed on shared development and common prosperity. [10] At the opening of the 19th National Congress of the CPC President Xi Jinping announced that the principal contradiction was no longer ‘the ever-growing material and cultural needs of the people versus backward social production’ identified in 1981 but ‘the contradiction between unbalanced and inadequate development and the people’s ever-growing needs for a better life’. And in January 2021 at a seminar for provincial and ministerial level officials on the guiding principles of the Fifth Plenary Session of the 19th CPC Central Committee, Xi Jinping said:

At the Fifth Plenary Session, I underscored five characteristics in particular. China’s modernization must cover a massive population, lead to common prosperity, deliver both material and cultural-ethical progress, promote harmony between humanity and nature, and proceed along a path of peaceful development.

‘Realizing common prosperity is more than an economic goal. It is a major political issue that bears on our Party’s governance foundation. We cannot allow the gap between the rich and the poor to continue growing—for the poor to keep getting poorer while the rich continue growing richer. We cannot permit the wealth gap to become an unbridgeable gulf. Of course, common prosperity should be realized in a gradual way that gives full consideration to what is necessary and what is possible and adheres to the laws governing social and economic development. At the same time, however, we cannot afford to just sit around and wait. We must be proactive about narrowing the gaps between regions, between urban and rural areas, and between rich and poor people. We should promote all-around social progress and well-rounded personal development, and advocate social fairness and justice, so that our people enjoy the fruits of development in a fairer way.’ (Xi Jinping, 2021).

3 The growth in inequalities

As already mentioned, in 2019 China’s GNI per capita (Atlas method) reached US$ 10,390, making it an upper middle-income country. In Japan and the US it reached US$ 41,580 and US$ 65,910, respectively (World Development Indicators | DataBank (worldbank.org). China’s growth was fast, but growth rates and starting points varied, generating excessive disparities in wealth and income. These disparities increased from the start of reform and opening up in 1979 until well into the new millennium.

Figure 2 China’s income inequality

Inter-provincial and rural-urban inequalities declined in the early 1980s, but subsequently increased especially from the early 1990s until the western financial crisis when they started to decline (Figure 1) although they remained high. At present, China’s middle-income groups account for about 30% of the total population. The proportion of low-income groups is still large. In May 2020, Premier Li Keqiang caused shockwaves when he announced that 600 million people were making less than 1,000 yuan per month (US$153), although the country’s average disposable income per capita stood at 30,000 yuan. The income Gini coefficient increased from under 0.3 in the early 1980s to 0.49 in 2008 after which it declined slowly (Ravallion & Chen, 2007; Sicular, 2020). In 2019 it stood at 0.465 (Figure 2). World Bank estimates are lower, its estimate of 0.385 in 2016 (o.462 according to the National Bureau of Statistics) compared with 0.414 in the United States in 2018 and 0.329 in Japan in 2013. In the case of wealth China’s Gini coefficient increased very strongly from 0.450 in 1995 to 0.720 in 2013 (according to the Peking University China Family Panel Studies). In 2020 it stood at 0.704 compared with 0.850 in the US and 0.644 in Japan. (Credit Suisse, 2022),[11] while recent evidence points to a large increase in wealth inequality since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although almost all real incomes have increased overall since 1979 (but not in all sub-periods), common prosperity seems far off and presents an arduous and complicated task that will be promoted in a gradual and progressive manner.

The rich are predominantly private entrepreneurs whose wealth derives from privatization and the development of private industry, property development and finance. The rest are mainly superstars in the realm of media and entertainment. Generally speaking the richer they are the more likely they are to make money.

As already mentioned , the incomes of low income groups have increased overall and the size of low-income groups has declined. The income and wealth gaps between low income groups and the rich are however very large and have increased. These gaps are therefore relative. But relative differences matter a great deal for several reasons. On the one hand, an increase in real wages as a result of an increase in the stock of society’s wealth may involve a relative decline in wages as a share of society’s total wealth. On the other, as Marx pointed out in Wage Labour and Capital

‘An appreciable rise in wages presupposes a rapid growth of productive capital. Rapid growth of productive capital calls forth just as rapid a growth of wealth, of luxury, of social needs and social pleasures. Therefore, although the pleasures of the labourer have increased, the social gratification which they afford has fallen in comparison with the increased pleasures of the capitalist, … in comparison with the stage of development of society in general. Our wants and pleasures have their origin in society; we therefore measure them in relation to society; we do not measure them in relation to the objects which serve for their gratification. Since they are of a social nature, they are of a relative nature.’ (Marx, 1891 [1847], p. 16).

To address this issue and move in the direction of common prosperity China plans to make major efforts to increase the share of household income in total national income, increase the share of the compensation of labour in the primary distribution of income, increase the income of low income groups, expand the share of middle income earners, and address excessively high incomes, reversing the excessive widening of income and wealth gaps as quickly as possible. More attention will also be paid to secondary and tertiary redistribution and decommodification with measures relating to taxation, health insurance, social security, affordable housing, Hukou (household registration) reform, poverty alleviation, rural vitalization and charity. Other measures will address the structure of the economy dealing with monopolies and externalities, orienting investment towards real productive sectors, expanding consumer demand and improving people’s livelihoods.

4 Causes and measures

Addressing the wealth and income gaps and promoting common prosperity involves identifying causes and reforms that deal effectively with these causes. As already explained, the main driver of polarization is the development of the private sector where substantial private wealth accumulates at one pole and many workers are subject to insecure employment and wages and inadequate public service access at the other. In the private sector wages and social protection are usually far lower than in the state and collective sector: in 2015 the average wage was 65% higher in SOEs than in private enterprises. In the private sector the average wage was one-third less than the average disposable income of an employee in an urban household (Qi & Kotz, 2020, p. 10).

The distribution and ownership of material and financial conditions of production and exchange (mode of production) is the main determinant of the primary distribution of income. To argue that the initial distribution should reflect efficiency and not equity and that subsequent redistribution should address equity separates production from distribution and sanctions large inequalities as inequalities are fundamentally determined by an unequal, unfair and inequitable distribution of assets. As a result addressing the ownership of assets and limiting the marketization of assets are vital. The significance of this issue was highlighted by an estimate mentioned in 2020 by Ning Jixuan, Deputy Director of the National Development and Reform Commission when he announced at a State Council press conference that China’s state assets accumulated as a result of massive infrastructure investment stood at 1300 trillion Yuan.[12]

In this respect an important suggestion was recently made by Cheng Enfu (2021), namely that China conduct experiments with the implementation of a national dividend deriving from the surplus operating income earned on state-owned assets. Macao has already conducted an operation of this kind paying a ‘red envelope’ of 9,000 Yuan to each permanent resident and 5,400 to non-permanent residents in 2014, having started to make payments in 2008. [13] A dividend would provide a new income stream that reflects the ownership of collective and state assets by all of the population and is subject to the same market attributes and governance rules as other economic subjects.

Alongside ownership relations, corruption, monopolies, superstar phenomena and markets have been identified as causes of inequality. These factors are not however the root cause of social polarization. In the case of celebrity phenomena incomes are excessive but these incomes are not a cause of the existence of large numbers of low income people.

In the case of corruption President Xi Jinping China has launched a major anti-corruption campaign. In 2018 the governmnet organized a three-year campaign to ‘Combat organized crime and root out local Mafia’ [打击有组织犯罪, 铲除当地黑手党 – dǎjī yǒu zǔzhī fànzuì, chǎnchú dāngdì hēishǒudǎng]. The aim was to address rent-seeking relationships between government and business and it resulted in the eradication of 3,644 organizations and disrupted interest consolidation mechanisms. Addressing the corruption of government officials plays a vital role in establishing public trust in government. Although some people did secretly enrich themselves, corruption is however not the root cause of wealth and income divides: it does not adequately explain the wealth of the rich, nor does it explain the large size and limited wealth of low income groups (Wei, 2019).

Official corruption did play an indirect role: in some cases officials and managers acted corruptly in enabling economic initiatives and permitted the misappropriation of state assets through for example questionable management buyouts and restructuring of state-owned and collective enterprises. These privatizations made some people very rich almost overnight and saw many workers laid off (Wei, 2019). In each year from 1982 until 1992 state assets worth 50 billion Yuan were transferred to the private sector. In the 1990s this figure stood at 500 billion Yuan. According to a 2007 survey at least one-third of the private capital stock of 7 trillion Yuan was transferred from the state and collective sector (Wei, 2019) with significant layoffs and changes in employment conditions for their workers. These layoffs contributed directly to the existence of large numbers of people in low income groups.

At the end of the 1990s and In the new millennium opposition to privatization intensified. As a result from 2004 management buyouts of large State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) came to an end with much stricter rules applied to acquisitions of smaller SOEs. In 2005 a draft property law was deferred for revision (Blanchette, 2019 chapter 2).

In social terms these reforms were extremely painful. As already mentioned, they led to the layoff and reduced social protection of millions of workers. The outcome was however the establishment of a smaller but highly competitive set of collective and state-owned enterprises that in 2020 accounted for more than one-third of capital investment (not far short of the private sector). Indeed since 2003 China’s Central SOES have experienced a significant rise and expansion under the leadership of the State Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC) and in the context of employing market competition as an instrument of a developmental state strategy (Chen, 2017).

The existence of monopolies can also affect the distribution of income. Monopolies are however not the root cause of income and wealth gaps. In 2012 90% of state and collective enterprises were in competitive sectors. In the case of natural monopolies SOEs pay high taxes and use profits to fund investment. In each case the main shareholders are public. In the private sector the quest for increased private wealth has led to the appearance of a series of problems of which some involve monopolistic practices, but it is ownership rather than monopoly market positions that explains increasing inequality.

In 2012 one China’s leading neoliberal economists, Zhang Weiying, claimed that in the new millennium market-oriented reform had been reversed on the grounds that ‘the state owned sector advances but the private sector retreats’ (Xiang, 2020). In the following year the World Bank and the Development Research Centre of the State Council published a report calling for a set of neoliberal economic reforms: redefinition of the role of government, a restructuring of state enterprises and banks, development of the private sector and reforms of land, labour and financial markets.

In 2012, however, in dealing with the need for structural economic reform, the 18th CPC National Congress called for consolidating and developing the public sector of the economy.[14] Although the state sector has contracted in the reform era, China still has a large SOE sector and has ruled out further privatization. In addition it has a state-owned banking system, and the public ownership of land is written into the Constitution (although land is leased and subsequent increases in value are not captured by the state but by private actors). In 2017 China had more than 150,000 SOEs (Lin, Lu, Zhang, & Zheng, 2020). In 2015 SOEs accounted for 30.9% of tax income. In industrial sector SOEs account for 38.8% of revenue (Qi & Kotz, 2020, p. 1). In the last few years SOEs and collective enterprises accounted for more than 35% of aggregate fixed asset investment with the private sector accounting for a similar share. SOEs occupy commanding heights of the economy, create economy wide externalities, invest in essential capital intensive industries, adopt a high road approach to employment, absorb labour to maintain social stability, undertake countercyclical investments and serve to limit foreign control. At the same time its existence limits the accumulation of private assets and provides opportunities to reduce social polarization and contribute to common prosperity.

5 Common prosperity in the new era

On August 29, 2021, Li Guangman’s Ice Point Commentary entitled ‘Everyone can feel a critical change is taking place’[15] was republished across Chinese state-owned media outlets. In it he declared ‘The capital market will no longer become a paradise for capitalists to get rich overnight. … The cultural market will no longer be a paradise for sissy (effeminate) stars, and news and public opinion will no longer be in a position worshiping Western culture.’

In the last few years the Chinese government has pursued the common prosperity agenda with a series of striking reforms. These reforms amount to a major crackdown on tech, platform economy and other monopolies (online food delivery, car and truck hailing, recruitment), on real estate (red lines controlling debt and associated risks)[16] and financial capital (shadow banking), on owners seeking to get rich by going public on foreign stock markets and on wealthy elites. Housing and education were other targets with the latter said to have been ‘hijacked’ by capital. As a result of liberalization, private initiatives and serious regulatory deficiencies or oversights the costs of housing, education and health have exploded, creating three mountains whose rising costs and declining affordability crowd out other household expenditure and limit the domestic side of dual circulation. A consequence of the large increase in the cost of living is an increase also in the cost of raising children which acts as a serious disincentive to couples giving birth to the three children the government hopes to see them raise. Measures were directed at property development and management, at private finance and speculation not only to reduce costs but also to reduce the risks of real estate and financial market crises. Other measures placed limits on increases in market rents and steps may be taken to deal with unoccupied housing. In May 2021 the Chinese internet finance, banking and payment clearance associations banned the use of crypto currencies (not the official digital yuan) about which it has been concerned since 2013. In June 2021 it finally shuttered crypto-mining operations that were present in energy-rich provinces. In addition some state-linked or very large corporations are allowed to teeter towards default.

In December 2020, at the Central Economic Work Conference, Xi Jinping tasked government agencies with curbing the ‘disorderly expansion of capital’ along with other important economic tasks including strengthening technological innovation, increasing domestic demand and moving in the direction of carbon neutrality and ecological civilization. In his words ‘lucid waters and lush mountains are as precious as mountains of silver and gold’.

To ‘prevent the disorderly expansion of capital’ China started to address the power of tech companies with a storm of regulation. This regulation was clearly already in preparation when in October 2020 Alibaba Group Holding founder Jack Ma criticized the Chinese government for excessive regulation and condemned the capital requirements imposed on financial institutions. Ma’s Ant Group initial public offering (IPO) on the Shanghai and Hong Kong stock markets was halted by the government authorities. A part of the Alibaba multinational e-commerce Group Ant Group uses mobile internet, big data and cloud computing to discover and provide highly leveraged micro financial services at high interest rates to vulnerable people creating a growing mountain of debt. Alibaba Group accounted for less than 2% of the funds Ant Group lends. All in all Alibaba poses risks that are too large (Tsui, He, & Yan, 2021). Alibaba, Tencent Holdings and Baidu have all been fined for anti-competitive practices (exclusivity arrangements, for example). New draft rules for overseeing Big Tech have been published, including for regulations concerning antitrust and personal data protection (a Personal Information Protection Law) and national data security (a Data Security Law). New video gaming rules that limit playing time for people under 18 years of age to just three hours per week will adversely affect the video games sector. These measures are a repudiation of the imported individualistic cultural values and addictions of western society and are designed to encourage science, technology, innovation and education, win the next technological race and alter the profile of the economy in favour of strategically important and socially useful industries. In the specific case of these industries measures are designed to address the threat their dominance poses to competition, privacy and through their fintech empires to financial stability. These measures also deal with their non-compliance with regulation. For example companies did not report acquisitions, while the use of Variable Interest Equity (VIE) that allowed largely unsupervised overseas Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) was questioned. VIE is a structure in which Chinese companies raise massive amounts of capital through offshore share issues which involve the sale of a majority of shares (in shell companies registered in tax havens) yet maintain a controlling interest. These companies can then invest in China circumventing restrictions on the entry of foreign capital.[17]

On 30th June Didi Global, a Chinese ride-hailing company, raised $4.4 billion on its debut on the New York Stock Exchange. On 2nd July 2021, it was accused by the Cyberspace Administration of China of illegally collecting users’ personal data and not adequately ensuring data security. Its app was removed from phones in mainland China and it will incur a large fine. In less than one month it lost about $29 billion in market value. In principle because of its VIE structure, DiDi, which is incorporated in the Cayman Islands, did not need Chinese government approval to list in New York. However, the cyber security administration was concerned about the sensitivity of its data and suggested DiDi postpone the floatation. DiDi ignored the warning.

On July 24, 2021, the General Office of the CCCPC and the General Office of the State Council jointly released the Guidelines for Further Easing the Burden of Excessive Homework and Off-campus Tutoring for Students at the Stage of Compulsory Education. The guidelines included some thirty measures to stop after school, weekend, national holiday and school vacation courses that were expected to earn private companies US$183 billion per year by 2023. After declaring that education had been hijacked by capital, it decided to stop licensing new tutorial centres and course providers for elementary and high school students, while existing ones will face stricter reviews and be regulated as not-for-profit entities whose programmes must be approved by the government. No foreign capital can invest in them (as had happened as a result of the speculative capitalization of Chinese education companies on the US stock market via VIE arrangements). These reforms follow a new education law that limits private sector involvement in core education and disallows the use of foreign education materials.[18]

These measures will reduce the enormous pressures on young people in a highly competitive education system oriented towards performance in the gaokao examinations which drive entry to China’s top universities and career prospects. The aims are to improve the school-life balance for children and their families, level a playing field on which the children of low-income and rural households were seriously disadvantaged, reduce financial pressures on parents faced with exorbitant fees for private lessons (US$60-220 per hour in Beijing) which absorb a very large share of their incomes and restrict ‘encroachment’ on public education including the poaching of teachers as part-time private sector tutors. The new measures will put an end to the extraordinary profitability of a $180 billion industry and decimated stock values. When the news of the measures leaked out, shares in New Oriental Education & Technology Group Inc plunged by a record 47% in Hong Kong, while those of Koolearn Technology Holding Ltd. tumbled 33% and China Maple Leaf Educational Systems Ltd by 10%. These losses spilled into other technology, healthcare and property sectors where regulation was expected to tighten. All in all these events erased $769 billion in value from US-listed Chinese stocks in just five months.[19]

On 26th July China’s State Administration for Market Regulation announced that food delivery firms will be required to guarantee the couriers their platforms employ a minimum income that is in excess of the minimum salary, relax delivery deadlines, strengthen traffic safety education and ensure that couriers join social insurance programmes. After this announcement the shares in Meituan, a food delivery giant, declined by 26%.

At the end of August 2021 China’s Supreme People’s Court and the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security issued a lengthy condemnation of ‘996’, the practice of working from 9 in the morning until 9 in the evening six days per week (described in 2019 as a ‘huge blessing’ by Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma). This practice is said to be common among the country’s technology companies, startups and other private businesses. The document stated that ‘adhering to the national working hour system is the legal obligation of employers’. In January 2021 e-commerce giant, Pinduoduo was accused of over-working its employees after two died unexpectedly.

In its 2021 China Financial Stability Report the People’s Bank of China stated that it had comprehensively cleaned up the financial order as well as dealing with a number of other issues including high risk institutions, the risks of shadow banking, credit risks and the need for a system to prevent and manage risks and curb an excessive macro leverage ratio (People’s Bank of China, 2021). The China Securities Regulatory Commission Chief Executive Officer, Yi Huimian, recently announced resolute action to make private equity funds return to ‘the fundamental direction of private equity positioning and support entrepreneurial innovation and strictly regulate the operation of all links in the entire chain of equity investment management’.

In July and August 2021 the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural development pledged to stabilize property prices, and started to cap housing rents in cities, saying that they should not rise by more than 5% per year. In 2017 at the 19th Party Congress Xi Jinping announced that ‘houses are for living in and not for speculation’. In subsequent years steps have been taken to control house prices and increase government-subsidized rental housing. Other measures may address the existence of non-occupied homes. Credit availability along with a limited supply of new residential land has kept up the price of urban land. The initial sale of leases is a major source of local government revenue, but subsequent increases in land values are not captured, while low-cost construction land is provided to companies to drive local economic development. The government has also required local authorities to scrutinize closely all the activities of developers from the arrangement of finance to the transfer of ownership titles.

In early September 2021 the National Radio and Television Administration (NRTA) issued a document calling for strengthening of the management of cultural and entertainment programmes and personnel and giving specific guidance on what the entertainment industry can and cannot do. This step followed a series of celebrity tax and other scandals and the removal of TV shows and programmes featuring celebrities caught up in them.[20]

Centred on continuing steady increases in income and high quality development, common prosperity aims to increase the size of middle income groups, raise the earnings of low income groups and reduce excessive incomes in a three-stage income distribution and tax system. The first stage involves an increase in primary incomes. The goals included an increase in the wage share (seen as the main component of income), increased property income (equity transfer and dividends) from rural homesteads, contracted land, rural assets and collective land used for construction, enriched capital market income, an improved environment for urban self-employed whose incomes are predominantly low and whose work situation is unstable and employee stock ownership.

The second is the tax and social security system. New taxes will be imposed on property, inheritance and capital gains and on high-income groups. Excessive incomes will be reduced, illicit incomes prohibited and monopoly rents reduced. The capping of SOE executives’ salaries will be refined. As for social security the aim is equitable access to improved public services (with significant increases in the quantity, quality and accessibility of public provision of elderly care, health, pre-school and school education making use of information technologies. Universal social protection (while dependent on high employment rates) will narrow gaps in the primary distribution and share the fruits of growth, while a decline in savings rates will increase expenditure, reinforcing domestic circulation.

The third is an improvement of mechanisms and preferential policies that will encourage high-income groups and enterprises to give back some of what they have gained from society in the shape of voluntary gifts and charitable donations. Government documents have referred to tertiary distribution since at least the 1990s but the importance attached to it has increased with an emphasis on government-recognized charity and social assistance organizations and government projects (to help elderly, lonely, sick, disabled and poverty-afflicted people) has increased as has the attention paid to it.[21]

Zhejiang demonstration zone for Common Prosperity

In June 2021 the State Council issued an Opinion of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China on supporting high quality development and construction of a common prosperity demonstration zone in Zhejiang (The State Council Information Office of the People’s Republic of China, 2021). This document drew on aspects of the ‘Eight-Eight strategy’ (eight advantages and eight initiatives) identified by Xi Jinping in 2003 when he was provincial Party Secretary. One month earlier in 2021 the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural affairs and Zhejiang provincial government announced a series of rural vitalization demonstration zone measures.

The choice of Zhejiang as a demonstration zone was striking as in that province the state sector accounts for just 35% of GDP compared with 40% nationally. Although this choice reflects a comparatively high regional income per capita (1.63 times the national average with about one-half earning 100,000 to 500,000 per year) in rural and urban areas and a relatively small rural-urban income gap (1.96), it is probably designed to demonstrate that while the province’s dominant private companies have an important role to play the CPC rules.

The Opinions identified six aspects and twenty-eight measures. The first aspect concerned the guiding ideology, adherence to overall party leadership and the goals of high quality development, a high quality of life, ecological and spiritual civilization rooted in socialist ideals and Chinese civilization. As an experimental area for the reform of the income distribution system, the Opinions called for adherence to the principle that distribution depends mainly on work and protection of the compensation of labour which coexists alongside other sources of income where improved policies are required, continuous increases in urban and rural incomes and a narrowing of the income gap. Also development goals were set for 2025 and 2035 by when Zhejiang’ GDP per capita is expected to equal that of economically advanced countries.

The second point was that the quality and efficiency of development are to lay the material foundations for common prosperity. The Opinions called for vigorous improvements in independent innovation, scientific and technological self-reliance and self-improvement, the establishment with strategic support of new competitive advantages and the consolidation and expansion of the real economy, increased economic efficiency, and increased vitality of market actors giving ‘full play to the strategic supporting role of the state owned economy and preventing the ‘disorderly expansion of capital’.

The third aspect was deepening reform of the income distribution system and increasing the income of rural and urban residents through multiple channels. The document specified fuller and higher quality employment, life-long education and training, collective wage bargaining and an increase in labour compensation,[22] continuous improvements in incomes, expansion of middle income groups, an improved distribution system and encouraging the return to society of wealth and income (tertiary distribution).

The fourth point concerned the narrowing of the development gap between urban and rural areas and realizing the sharing of high-quality public services. The measures identified include equalization of the provision of basic social services, integrated development of urban and rural areas, improved living conditions in the city and countryside including new urbanization, adhering to the position that houses are for living and not for speculation, development of affordable housing and rural revitalization with an ecological, rational, collectively owned and cooperative rural economy, a strong social security system and improved assistance of less advanced by more advanced areas including stronger east (coast) west (mountain) counterpart assistance.

The fifth concerned development of a ‘cultural highland in the new era’ and an enrichment of people’s spiritual and cultural life. Involved are socialist ideology and core socialist values and support for traditional Chinese culture, revolutionary culture and advanced socialist culture.

The sixth aspect involved the practical application of the idea that ‘lucid waters and green mountains are as precious as mountains of silver and gold’ and the creation of a beautiful and livable living environment. Stronger land use planning and control, improved spatial organization, ecological protection, protection of arable land, reduced carbon emissions, green finance and recycling and a circular economy are all involved.

The seventh aspect refers to the Fengqiao experience [枫桥经验- fēngqiáo jīngyàn] considered a model of rural governance that involves ‘relying on the masses to resolve contradictions locally’. The aim is to improve governance capacity and efficiency with digital reform and establish a grassroots governance system which integrates autonomy, the rule of law, the rule of virtue and the rule of intelligence and improves democratic consultation. More generally the construction of a Zhejiang under the rule of law and a safe Zhejiang.

The eighth aspect concerns a series of safeguards: upholding and strengthening the overall leadership of the CPC, strengthening a system involving central government guidance and overall planning, provincial responsibility and implementation by cities and counties, improving approval and supervision mechanisms and establishing an evaluation system.

The next steps involved the fleshing out of a plan by the provincial government, a leadership group and individual departments and local government. In July 2021, Zhejiang Province launched a road map aiming amongst other things to increase provincial residents’ per capita disposable income to 75,000 yuan ($11,560) by 2025, raise the compensation of labour to more than 50% of GDP, increase higher education enrollment to more than 70% and reduce personal health expenditure below 26% of total expenditure. The first set of 28 pilot projects were announced, and municipal governments were asked to outline their three-year plans for achievements that could be replicated and promoted in other cities.

6 Conclusions

China’s development path is evolving. In a country accounting for nearly one-fifth of the world’s population the aim is to promote common prosperity, while making progress in material terms (indigenous innovation, industrial upgrading, and dual circulation articulating an expanding domestic market with international markets for exports and imports) and also in cultural, ethical and spiritual terms. At the same time it aims to promote harmony between humanity and nature (ecological civilization).

Strikingly western economic experts have claimed that China’s decision to crack down on finance, property and private tech is in growth terms suicidal. A system involving market-driven state and collective ownership, planning and investment with a wide range of co-existing enterprise types is considered incapable of performing as well as one centred on profit-driven private capital and free markets for resources and assets of all kinds. If one simply compares the past and current growth records of China (with China growing at some 6% per year and the US and EU at less than 1% recently with little prospect of reaching much more than 2% for a sustained period of time as well as the dubiousness of the measured contributions of real estate and finance to G7 growth), this claim is quite astonishing.[23] Almost certainly it reflects the mistaken view that China’s growth was driven by its private sector and the extraordinary view that unregulated tech, finance and property sectors make major contributions to human prosperity. In China as in the G7 private sector profitability has declined explaining in part why speculation and unproductive investment increased. The growth of labour productivity and investment in the real economy, innovation, new infrastructure and socially useful public services are what China’s economy can deliver, whereas G7 economies as currently constituted cannot.

The socialist public-owned economy with state-owned economy as its core is the necessary institutional arrangement. The socialist public-owned economy is not only the necessary condition and foundation to eliminate polarization and realize common prosperity, but also the institutional guarantee of rapid development of productive forces as China’s investment share testifies: in western countries investment has stagnated due to a decline in private profitability. In order to realize fairness and justice and common prosperity, China will adhere to and improve its economic system which is led by a state-owned economy that exists alongside a variety of other types of property including foreign and private capital and widespread and strongly encouraged innovative micro entrepreneurship. In a situation in which disorderly capital accumulation, monopolies and speculation will be brought under control, the rich will be able to remain rich, but the poor will not continue to be poor.

Chinese sources

Cáo Yǒngdòng (2021) 新思想对马克思主义共同富裕理论的丰富与拓展 xīn sīxiǎng duì mǎkèsīzhǔyì gòngtóng fùyù lǐlùn de fēngfù yú tuòzhǎn [New ideas enrich and expand the Marxist theory of common prosperity], guójiā zhìlǐ (National Governance), 8(342): 3-7. https://page.om.qq.com/page/OOYEHBm3MZoQUahSPPmh4SNA0.

Chen, Zhiting, 2017 Governing through the market: SASAC and the resurgence of central state-owned enterprises in China (bham.ac.uk)

Cheng, Enfu (2021). 程恩富谈共同富裕:实施国资全民分红,提高个税起征点[chéng ēnfù tán gòngtóng fùyù: shíshī guózī quánmín fēnhóng, tígāo gè shuì qǐzhēngdiǎn – Cheng Enfu discusses common prosperity: implement a national dividend, raise personal tax thresholds]. 程恩富谈共同富裕:实施国资全民分红,提高个税起征点 (baidu.com)

Ge Daoshun (2021) 新时代共同富裕的理论内涵和观察指标 – xīn shídài gòngtóngfùyù de lǐlùn nèihán hé guānchá zhǐbiāo, [Theoretical implications and empirical indices of common prosperity in the New Era] , guójiā zhìlǐ (National Governance), 8(342): 8-11. 葛道顺 | 新时代共同富裕的理论内涵和观察指标|福祉_网易订阅 (163.com). https://www.163.com/dy/article/GI6FOMUD0514AE01.html.

Wèi Xìnghuá (2021) zhǐ yǒu gōngyǒuzhì cái néng xiāochú liǎngjífēnhuà, shíxiàn gòngtóng fùyù, 卫兴华:只有公有制才能消除两极分化,实现共同富裕 (toutiao.com) [only public ownership can eliminate polarization and achieve common prosperity https://www.toutiao.com/i6999789497034539558/?tt_from=weixin&utm_campaign=client_share&wxshare_count=1&timestamp=1629817265&app=news_article&utm_source=weixin&utm_medium=toutiao_android&use_new_style=1&req_id=202108242301050101511830305D11759C&share_token=ed0153de-034b-4353-9590-c9c66ab905b1&group_id=6999789497034539558&wid=1630421345513

Xi Jinping, 2021, 双语: 把握新发展阶段, 贯彻新发展理念, 构建新发展格局 [shuāng yǔ: bǎ wò xīn fāzhǎn jiēduàn, guànchè xīn fāzhǎn lǐniàn, gòujiàn xīn fāzhǎn géjú Full text: Understanding the new development stage, applying the new development philosophy, and creating a new development dynamic] 双语:把握新发展阶段,贯彻新发展理念,构建新发展格局 | 英文巴士 (en84.com). https://www.en84.com/11770.html.

Jiang Zemin, 2002, Jiang Zemin’s report delivered at the 16th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) on Nov. 8, 2002, entitled “Build a Well-off Society in an All-Round Way and Create a New Situation in Building Socialism with Chinese Characteristics”. (Part II) http://en.people.cn/200211/18/eng20021118_106984.shtml

References

Blanchette, J. (2019). China’s new red guards. the return of radicalism and the rebirth of Mao Zedong. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Cheng, E. (2020). Market’s decisive role and the role of the government. In E. Cheng (Ed.), Delving into the Issues of the Chinese Economy and the World by Marxist Economists (pp. 103-120). Istanbul, Berlin, London, Santiago: Canut International Publishers.

Deng, X. (1999). gòngtóng fùyù lǐlùn yánjiū [共同富裕理论研究 – Research on the Theory of Common Prosperity]. Beijing: zhōnghuá gōngshāng liánhé chūbǎnshè [中华工商联合出版社-China Federation of Industry and Commerce Press].

Deng, X. (2014 [1979]). We can develop a market economy under Socialism. In X. Deng (Ed.), Collected works (Vol. II (1975-82)). Beijing: People’s Publishing House.

Deng, X. (2014 [1985]-a). There is no fundamental contradiction between socialism and a market economy, October 23. In X. Deng (Ed.), Selected Works of Deng Xiaoping (Vol. III (1982-1992)). Beijing: People’s Publishing House.

Deng, X. (2014 [1985]-b). Unity depends on ideals and discipline, 7th March, 1985. In X. Deng (Ed.), Selected works of Deng Xiaoping (Vol. III (1982-1992)). Beijing: People’s Publishing House.

Lenin, V. I. (1983 [1921]). On state capitalism during the transition to socialism. Moscow: Progress Publishers.

Lin, K., Lu, X., Zhang, J., & Zheng, Y. (2020). State-owned enterprises in China: A review of 40 years of research and practice. China Journal of Accounting Research, 13(1), 31-55. doi:10.1016/j.cjar.2019.12.001

Marx, K. (1891 [1847]). Wage labour and capital (F. Engels, Trans.). In. London.

Marx, K., & Engels, F. (1968 [1845]). The German ideology. Moscow: Progress Publishers.

National Bureau of Statistics: NBS. (2021). National Bureau of Statistics of China. Retrieved from http://www.stats.gov.cn/

Qi, H., & Kotz, D. M. (2020). The Impact of State-Owned Enterprises on China’s Economic Growth. Review of Radical Political Economics, 52(1), 96-114. doi:10.1177/0486613419857249

The State Council Information Office of the People’s Republic of China. (2021). 中共中央国务院关于支持浙江高质量发展建设共同富裕示范区的意见 [zhōnggòng zhōngyāng guówùyuàn guānyú zhīchí zhèjiāng gāo zhìliàng fāzhǎn jiànshè gòngtóng fùyù shìfànqū de yìjiàn – Opinion of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China on supporting high quality development and construction of a common prosperity demonstration zone in Zhejiang]. Retrieved from Beijing:

The World Bank. (1983). China. Socialist economic development: The economy, statistical system, and basic data (English). Retrieved from Washington D.C.: https://documents1.worldbank.org/curated/en/192611468769173749/pdf/multi-page.pdf

Tsui, S., He, Z., & Yan, X. (2021). Legacies of definancialization and defending real economy in China. Monthly Review-an Independent Socialist Magazine, 73(3). Retrieved from https://monthlyreview.org/2021/07/01/legacies-of-definancialization-and-defending-real-economy-in-china/

Xiang, Q. (2020). Debate on the two views in the economic field continues. In E. Cheng (Ed.), Delving into the Issues of the Chinese Economy and the World by Marxist Economists (pp. 129-144). Istanbul, Berlin, London, Santiago: Canut International Publishers.

Footnotes

[1] The author would like to thank Qi Bing for providing some of the Chinese language material.

[2] https://chinamediaproject.org/2021/08/27/a-history-of-common-prosperity/

[3] In some cases it is claimed that China is an example of state capitalism. Without entering this controversy it is important to note as Lenin emphasized that state capitalism under capitalism and socialism differ and that the former is a ‘step towards socialism’ (Lenin, 1983 [1921]) while Mao (and indeed Stalin) spoke of a need to ‘develop socialist commodity production and commodity exchange. The implication is that commodity production under socialism and capitalism differ (Coderre, 2019, 34).

[4] ‘in communist society, where nobody has one exclusive sphere of activity but each can become accomplished in any branch he wishes, society regulates the general production and thus makes it possible for me to do one thing today and another tomorrow, to hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening, criticise after dinner, just as I have a mind, without ever becoming hunter, fisherman, herdsman or critic’ (Marx & Engels, 1968 [1845]).

[5] We should give priority to efficiency with due consideration to fairness, earnestly implementing the distribution policy while advocating the spirit of devotion and guarding against an excessive disparity in income while opposing equalitarianism. In primary distribution, we should pay more attention to efficiency, bringing the market forces into play and encouraging part of the people to become rich first through honest labor and lawful operations. In redistribution, we should pay more attention to fairness and strengthen the function of the government in regulating income distribution to narrow the gap if it is too wide. We should standardize the order of income distribution, properly regulate the excessively high income of some monopoly industries and outlaw illegal gains. Bearing in mind the objective of common prosperity, we should try to raise the proportion of the middle-income group and increase the income of the low-income group’ (Jiang, 2002).

[6] In official documents reference is made to ‘the income distribution system with labour distribution as the main body and multiple coexisting distribution modes, focusing on protecting labour income and perfecting the mechanism of factor participation in distribution.’ Alongside wages, the rents, interest, profits and capital gains of landowners/possessors, capital owners and owners of financial wealth co-exist.

[7] 中国共产党历次全国代表大会数据库 (people.com.cn), http://cpc.people.com.cn/GB/64162/64168/64568/65402/4429278.html

[8] 1999年中央经济工作会议 (www.gov.cn) http://www.gov.cn/test/2008-12/05/content_1168875.htm

[9] 1999年:西部大开发_中国财经新闻网 (prcfe.com)
http://www.prcfe.com/web/meyw/2009-10/12/content_564747.htm

[10] 中共十八届五中全会在京举行–新闻报道-中国共产党新闻网 (people.com.cn)

[11] Global wealth report – Credit Suisse (credit-suisse.com)

[12] 中国家底超过1300万亿元! [zhōngguó jiādǐ chāoguò 1300 wàn yì yuan – China’s patrimony exceeds 1300 trillion Yuan], 中国家底超过1300万亿元! (baidu.com)

[13] 澳门再发全民红包:居民9000元 非永久居民5400元 [àomén zàifā quánmín hóngbāo: jūmín 9000 yuán fēiyǒngjiǔjūmín 5400 yuán: Macao reissued a red packet for all people: 9,000 Yuan for residents and 5,400 Yuan for non-permanent residents. 澳门再发全民红包:居民9000元 非永久居民5400元_新闻_腾讯网 (qq.com)

[14] ‘The underlying issue we face in economic structural reform is how to strike a balance between the role of the government and that of the market, and we should follow more closely the rules of the market and better play the role of the government. We should unwaveringly consolidate and develop the public sector of the economy; allow public ownership to take diverse forms; deepen reform of state-owned enterprises; improve the mechanisms for managing all types of state assets; and invest more of state capital in major industries and key fields that comprise the lifeline of the economy and are vital to national security. We should thus steadily enhance the vitality of the state-owned sector of the economy and its capacity to leverage and influence the economy.’ 十八大报告全文英汉对照 [shíbā dà bàogào quánwén yīnghàn duìzhào – English Chinese comparison of the full text of the report of the 18th National Congress十八大报告全文英汉对照[5] (chinadaily.com.cn) http://language.chinadaily.com.cn/19thcpcnationalcongress/2017-10/16/content_32684880_5.htm
In 2013 the Third Plenary of the 18th CCCPC decided that the market plays a decisive role in resource allocation but as President Xi Jinping explained the government also plays a role that it should improve (Cheng, 2020).

[15] Everyone can feel a critical change is taking place

[16] A pilot affecting twelve large property developers subjects their debt to three red lines: a liability-to- presale -asset ratio of no more than 70%; a net debt-to-equity ratio of under 100%; and cash holdings at least equal to short-term debt,

[17] In sectors where China restricts or prohibits foreign participation Chinese companies set up shell companies in a tax haven such as the Cayman Islands with a similar name. The original company sets up agreements that give the shell company a claim on the profits and control over the assets of the original company. The shell company then registers on the New York Stock Exchange and sells shares to investors under the name of the Chinese company. Although these shares do not entail any company ownership claims, the Chinese company can raise international capital, and international investors secure a share of the Chinese company’s profits.
The Chinese government would prefer that capital is raised on domestic capital markets where it can also ensure that it goes to industries it wants to see develop and avoids areas it deems a threat to the common good.

[18] China Bans For-Profit Tutoring Firms: How Are Foreign Investors Affected? (china-briefing.com)

[19] Wipeout: China stocks in US suffer biggest 2-day loss since 2008 | Business and Economy News | Al Jazeera

[20] China orders showbiz to ban unpatriotic and unethical stars – Nikkei Asia

[21] In August 2021 tech giant Tencent Holdings donated US $7.7 billion towards ‘common prosperity’ to support low-income groups, rural revitalization, healthcare and education after having in April 2021 committed US $7.7 billion towards ‘sustainable innovations for social value’. Nasdaq-listed e-commerce website Pinduoduo announced that it would donate its second-quarter profit and all future earnings until the sum reached 10 billion Yuan ($1.5 billion) for China’s agricultural development.

[22] Any rebalancing of this kind will however raise the wage share affecting the owners of capital. Wealth gap sparks Xi’s call for ‘common prosperity’ – Asia Times

[23] In G7 countries the rate of growth of productivity in real sectors has almost progressively declined. In liberal market economics it is argued that capital is allocated efficiently to activities according to the marginal efficiency of capital (Keynes) or marginal productivity (neoclassics). Yet the marginal efficiency of capital in which capitalists are interested has declined and with it real productivity increasing investment (see also Wei, 2019).

Charles McKelvey: The continuity of the Chinese socialist project

We are pleased to reproduce this interesting article by Charles McKelvey, reflecting and elaborating on some of the points made in Carlos Martinez’s essay No Great Wall: on the continuities of the Chinese Revolution.


Many China-watchers have believed that the post-Mao Chinese reform and opening constituted an abandonment of the principles of Marxism, Maoism, and socialism.  For all who are proponents of the capitalist system, such an interpretation confirms their belief in the superiority of capitalism over socialism.  At the same time, many Western leftist intellectuals also adhere to the interpretation that the Chinese have abandoned socialism, but they consider it a turn in the wrong direction.  For leftist intellectuals, such an interpretation of China validates their sub-conscious belief that socialism in the real world is not attainable, but they themselves have a lifetime position as a commentator, sometimes well-rewarded, on the contradictions of capitalism and socialism.

Both perspectives are formulated from outside China or any country seeking to construct socialism.  They are formed by assumptions and beliefs beyond the world of actually existing socialisms, without appreciation of the dynamics that shape the concrete decisions that the leaders of socialist projects must make.  These perspectives are grounded in the real world of capitalism or by the intellectual world forged by academic and intellectual debates.  They do not give serious consideration to the self-interpretations of the socialist projects; how the leaders, academics, and intellectuals of socialist projects interpret their own world. 

I have discussed this phenomenon in a previous commentary with respect to Cuba, in which I observe that there is a tendency to dismiss explanations by Cuban leaders, academics, and intellectuals as “official” discourses not worthy of serious consideration.  This tendency functions to silence the voice of the Cuban Revolution and to deny the Cuban Revolution its right to explain itself.  Thus, there emerge public debates about the revolution conducted by persons who are not of the revolution, and citizens of the countries of the North are denied their right to know the revolution’s understanding of itself.  This epistemological method is functional for capitalism, because it contributes to the confusion and division of the people; it is dysfunctional for the advance of human understanding and the forging of socialist movements in the world.

An article by Carlos Martínez in the Invent the Future Website, “No Great Wall: on the continuities of the Chinese Revolution,” seems to utilize an alternative method, different from the Western pro-capitalist and “socialist” methodology.  He appears to take seriously the insights of revolutionary leaders, such that his criticisms of defects of the revolution are intertwined with his developing understanding of their understandings and formulations.  In effect, drawing upon Chinese sources, he facilitates the dissemination to Western readers of the Chinese Revolution’s interpretation and defense of itself. 

Listening to and taking seriously the formulations of Chinese leaders, Martínez arrives to appreciate the continuity between the radical socialist project of Mao and the reform project of Deng, an interpretation that dovetails with the understanding of the Chinese revolution itself.  Western intellectuals, trapped in a Eurocentric method, no doubt would view his approach as circular, for in listening, he has set himself up to the possibly of finding credibility.  But the Western intellectuals cannot answer the question, how can any revolutionary process be understood without taking into account the understanding that the revolution has of itself?  How can criticism of defects be put forth, before the revolutionary understanding of itself has been understood?

 “No Great Wall: on the continuities of the Chinese Revolution” by Carlos Martínez

Martinez begins the article with the declaration:

The Communist Party of China (CPC) was formed in July 1921. From that time up to the present day, it has led the Chinese Revolution – a revolution to eliminate feudalism, to regain China’s national sovereignty, to end foreign domination of China, to build socialism, to create a better life for the Chinese people, and to contribute to a peaceful and prosperous future for humanity.

Some of these goals have already been achieved; others are ongoing. Thus the Chinese Revolution is a continuing process, and its basic political orientation remains the same.

China in the epoch of Mao

Martínez summarizes the emergence of the Communist Party of China (CPC) from the post-World War I Chinese anti-imperialist and nationalist protests by students, workers, and intellectuals; who were reacting to the Treaty of Versailles, which had offended Chinese national pride by ignoring Chinese demands.  In accordance with its anti-imperialist and nationalist orientation, the CPC participated in the early 1920s in a united Front with the nationalist party of Sun Yat-sen, with the intention of constructing an anti-imperialist alliance of workers, peasants, intellectuals, and patriotic elements of the capitalist class.  Later, in the period 1937 to 1945, the CPC joined a Second United Front with the nationalists, now under the control of the Chiang Kai-shek, in spite of the fact that Chiang’s nationalist party in political power had unleashed a brutal repression of the communists from 1927 to 1937.

During the period of the Second United Front, the CPC implemented a program for the improvement of the lives of the population in the territory under its control.  Its base in Yan’an attracted revolutionary and progressive youth from throughout the country as well as foreign visitors.  There were extensive debates concerning the types of society that they were trying to build, which Mao synthesized in his 1940 pamphlet, On New Democracy.  Here Mao described the revolution as having two stages, first new democracy, and then socialism.  In the first stage, the goal is to defeat imperialism and establish independence from foreign rule, thus providing an essential foundation for the later stage of constructing socialism.  During the first stage, political power ought to be shared among all the anti-imperialist classes: the working class, the peasantry, the petty bourgeoisie, and those elements of the national bourgeoisie that were against foreign domination.

The stage of New Democracy would combine components of both socialism and capitalism.  Martínez quotes the text of Mao’s On New Democracy:

The state enterprises will be of a socialist character and will constitute the leading force in the whole national economy, but the republic will neither confiscate capitalist private property in general nor forbid the development of such capitalist production as does not ‘dominate the livelihood of the people’, for China’s economy is still very backward.

Such private capital, however, would be subject to extensive state regulation.

Following the defeat of Japan in 1945 and the bitter four-year civil war between Chiang’s nationalists and Mao’s communists, the People’s Republic of China was declared on October 1, 1949.  The new government was a united front government led by the CPC.  It attempted to construct the type of society envisioned in On New Democracy.  It accomplished the dismantling of feudalism and the elimination of the rural class structure through the distribution of land to the peasants.  These reforms generated an agricultural surplus which, along with the support of the Soviet Union, enabled infrastructure construction and a program of rapid state-led industrialization. 

By 1954, the government was moving beyond New Democracy and toward the collectivization of peasant lands and the shifting of private industrial production into state hands. With the Cold War and U.S. hostility intensified, and with the Soviet Union moving toward “peaceful coexistence” with the West, the Chinese Revolution saw the need to accelerate production on basis of China’s own resources.  Accordingly, the Great Leap Forward, launched in 1958, sought to attain rapid industrialization and collectivization, a fast-track to the construction of socialism.

The Great Leap Forward was overly ambitious, causing disruptions in established productive processes, leading to a fall in production.  The withdrawal of Soviet technicians as well as draughts and floods also contributed to the failure of the project.  In 1960, Mao ordered decreasing the pace of the Great Leap Forward. 

Reasonable estimates are that the Great Leap Forward is responsible for 11.5 million deaths, a fact utilized by opponents to discredit the Chinese Revolution.  Martínez points out, however, that the death rate in India in 1960 was similar, and that China previously had terrible famines in 1907, 1928, and 1942.  Pro-capitalist academics use the failure of the Great Leap Forward (GLF) to denigrate the entire history of the Chinese Revolution, but “the GLF was not some outrageous crime against humanity; it was a legitimate attempt to accelerate the building of a prosperous and advanced socialist society. It turned out not to be successful and was therefore dropped.”

As a result of the failure of the Great Leap Forward, Mao and the radical wing lost influence in the highest levels of the Party.  Leading Party members with a more pragmatic approach that stressed social stability and economic growth arrived to positions of power in the Party, including Liu Shaoqi, Deng Xiaoping, Chen Yun and Zhou Enlai.  They put forth the concept of the Four Modernizations in agriculture, industry, defense, and science and technology.

Mao and a group of close comrades began to believe that the pragmatic approach was an anti-revolutionary revisionist trend that could ultimately lead to capitalist restoration.  Mao was concerned that the new orientation meant greater reliance on teachers and academics who came from non-working-class backgrounds, who would promote capitalist and feudal values among young people.  Mao maintained that it was necessary to “exterminate the roots of revisionism” and “struggle against those in power in the party who were taking the capitalist road.”

In 1966, university students, responding to Mao’s call to “thoroughly criticize and repudiate the reactionary bourgeois ideas in the sphere of academic work, education, journalism, literature and art,” formed a mass movement of university and school students, calling themselves “Red Guards.”  Initially supported by Mao and by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution sought to eliminate persons in authority who were taking a supposedly revisionist and capitalist road.  Its objective was to forge a new socialist, collective, and modern culture.

In August 1966, the Cultural Revolution exploded into widespread disruption and violence, resulting in the closing of universities.  Many people were attacked and humiliated.  Liu Shaoqi, previously considered to be Mao’s successor, was arrested and tortured; he died in prison.  A similar fate awaited Peng Dehuai, former Defense Minister and the leader of the Chinese People’s Volunteer Army’s operations in the Korean War.

In 1967, Mao recognized that the situation was out of control, and he and high members of the Party ordered the army to establish order and reorganize production.  However, the Cultural Revolution flared up again with the ascendancy of a radical wing, the so-called “Gang of Four,” beginning in 1972.

To the enemies of the Chinese Revolution, the Cultural Revolution is an example of Mao’s tendency toward violence and power or an illustration of communist authoritarianism.  In contrast to this view, Martínez writes of the idealism that was at the foundation of the Cultural Revolution. 

The Cultural Revolution was a radical mass movement; millions of young people were inspired by the idea of moving faster towards socialism, of putting an end to feudal traditions, of creating a more egalitarian society, of fighting bureaucracy, of preventing the emergence of a capitalist class, of empowering workers and peasants, of making their contribution to a global socialist revolution, of building a proud socialist culture unfettered by thousands of years of Confucian tradition. They wanted a fast track to a socialist future. They were inspired by Mao and his allies, who were in turn inspired by them.

Today in China, Martínez observes, the Cultural Revolution is understood as misguided.  But Mao remains a revered figure.  His errors are understood as errors of excessive revolutionary fervor, and they do not negate his achievements.

Reform and Opening

Beginning in 1978, two years after Mao’s death, the post-Mao leadership embarked on a process of “reform and opening,” which expanded space for private property and permitted foreign investment.  “Socialism with Chinese characteristics” is characterized by a “socialist market economy,” an economy that is directed by the state but utilizes the profit motive to contribute the development of the productive forces.

The need to develop the productive forces in the construction of socialism is a Marxist concept.  As expressed by Deng Xiaoping,

Marxism attaches utmost importance to developing the productive forces… [The advance towards communism] calls for highly developed productive forces and an overwhelming abundance of material wealth. Therefore, the fundamental task for the socialist stage is to develop the productive forces. The superiority of the socialist system is demonstrated, in the final analysis, by faster and greater development of those forces than under the capitalist system. As they develop, the people’s material and cultural life will constantly improve… Socialism means eliminating poverty. Pauperism is not socialism, still less communism.

This view, that the construction of socialism involves the development of the productive forces in order to satisfy the needs of the people, is the prevailing thought in China today.  Martínez writes that “the consensus view within the CPC is that socialism with Chinese characteristics is a strategy aimed at strengthening socialism, improving the lives of the Chinese people, and consolidating China’s sovereignty.”

The 1978 turn to reform and opening was made necessary by objective economic and social conditions in China.  On the one hand, the achievements from 1949 to 1978 were enormous.  China had been unified and liberated from foreign rule.  Land had been distributed to peasants; and rural class relations had been transformed, which was accompanied by extensive irrigation of land.  Women had been liberated from archaic, feudal cultural constraints.  The literacy rate, which had been twenty percent prior to the revolution, had risen to ninety-three percent.  And universal health care had been established; life expectancy increased by thirty-one years during the period.  The poor in China had secure access to land and housing, so they were much better off than their counterparts in the developing world.

But on the other hand, China in 1978 was still a backward country in many ways.  Approximately thirty percent of the rural population lived below the poverty line, dependent on small loans for production and state grants for food.  Many did not have access to modern energy and potable water.  The per capita income gap between China and the developed world was not narrowing.  Although the ascent of Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan could be explained by geopolitical factors, and the relative wealth of Hong Kong and Macao can be explained by global economic dynamics, the contrasting socioeconomic situation of China with respect to its East Asian neighbors was undermining the legitimacy of the revolution in the eyes of the Chinese people.

In this situation, the leadership of the Party decided for policies designed to increase the productive forces and elevate the standard of living, drawing upon the theoretical formulations of Marx and Mao in their policy reformulation.  Their “socialism with Chinese characteristics” was unorthodox in relation to Western Marxism; it was forged on the basis of reflection on the experience of Chinese socialism and the objective conditions of China.  As expressed by Deng:

When a backward country is trying to build socialism, it is natural that during the long initial period its productive forces will not be up to the level of those in developed capitalist countries and that it will not be able to eliminate poverty completely. Accordingly, in building socialism we must do all we can to develop the productive forces and gradually eliminate poverty, constantly raising the people’s living standards… If we don’t do everything possible to increase production, how can we expand the economy? How can we demonstrate the superiority of socialism and communism? We have been making revolution for several decades and have been building socialism for more than three. Nevertheless, by 1978 the average monthly salary for our workers was still only 45 yuan, and most of our rural areas were still mired in poverty. Can this be called the superiority of socialism?

Martínez maintains that Deng is echoing Mao, who in 1949 warned that the revolution would lose the support of the people if it cannot improve the standard of living of the people.  “If we are ignorant in production, cannot grasp production work quickly … so as to improve the livelihood of workers first and then that of other ordinary people, we shall certainly not be able to maintain our political power: we shall lose our position and we shall fail.”

International developments also favored the 1978 turn to reform and opening.  The international environment was less hostile to China, as indicated by the restoration of China’s seat in the United Nations and by the rapprochement between China and the USA.  There now existed greater real possibilities for the sale of Chinese goods in the world market and for the entrance into China of foreign capital, technology, and expertise.  Moreover, as Zhou Enlai observed, “new developments in science are bringing humanity to a new technological and industrial revolution… we must conquer these new heights in science to reach advanced world standards.”  In 1975, Zhou called for the nation to take advantage of the more favorable international environment to “accomplish the comprehensive modernization of agriculture, industry, national defense and science and technology before the end of the century, so that our national economy will be advancing in the front ranks of the world.”

The new policies were intelligently designed.  As Martínez notes, the opening toward foreign investment and international commerce enabled China to accumulate capital and technology, thereby facilitating the development of the productive forces.  The post-1978 policies were effective in increasing China’s productive capacity. 

In a capitalist system, an increased productive capacity does not necessarily lead to an elevation of the standard of living of the majority.  But when the working class and the peasantry control the state, it can give priority to satisfying the needs of the people.  And this is precisely the situation in China.  Martínez writes that “there are some extremely wealthy individuals and companies controlling vast sums of capital.  And yet their political status is essentially the same as it was in the early days of the PRC; their existence as a class is predicated on their acceptance of the overall socialist programme and trajectory of the country.”

As a result, the per capita income in China has doubled since 1980.  And the combination of state direction and increasing productivity has led to a massive program in the construction of roads, railways, ports, airports, dams, housing, and systems of energy, telecommunications, water, and sewage.  With the New Reform since 2012, under the leadership of Xi Jinping, China has eliminated absolute poverty.  The New Reform seeks to eliminate negative consequences of the spectacular economic growth of 1978 to 2012, addressing such problems as poverty, inequality, corruption, and environmental degradation.

The principles of the Chinese Communist Party, therefore, have not changed since its founding in 1923.  As succinctly expressed by Xi Jinping, “Both history and reality have shown us that only socialism can save China and only socialism with Chinese characteristics can bring development to China.”

Conclusion

Western intellectuals, both pro-capitalist and “socialist,” have not experienced a revolutionary transformation, in which exceptional leaders with keen understanding of historical and political-economic dynamics, and with unbounded commitment to the sovereignty of the nation and the people, guide the people on the correct road, explaining to the people as the process moves forward.  Western intellectuals, therefore, do not believe that a better world is possible, and they do not know that an alternative, more just world is under construction in the Third World plus China.  They frame their observations with the cynical assumption that the discourse of leaders is a politically motivated deception; they cannot see an explanation rooted in critical reflection on revolutionary practice, thus advancing human understanding.

We intellectuals of the North who are committed to social justice for humanity must, in the first place, listen to Third World revolutionary voices, arriving to discern their insights and to appreciate that they are constructing a more just and sustainable world.  Secondly, we must learn to communicate this important news to our peoples, so that they too can believe that the taking of political power by the people and the subsequent redirection of state policies is possible.  And high on the agenda of the revolutionary popular movement in the North is the abolition of imperialist policies toward other nations.