On January 5, 2018, president Xi Jinping made an important opening speech at a seminar for the new and alternate members of the CPC Central Committee, and leading cadres at the provincial and ministerial levels. On September 16, 2022 – four years later – a portion of the speech was published by Qiushi, the official publication of the CPC Central Committee. The speech affirms that socialism with Chinese characteristics is an organic historical component and continuation of the world socialist movement, that Chinese communists are holding high the banner of this movement, and that China is thus becoming the beacon for the global struggle for socialism. We, the editorial collective of Chinese Voices, believe that this view will be reflected in the political report of the 20th CPC National Congress. Therefore, we are sharing some key takeaways from the speech as follows.
Extracts from General Secretary Xi's speech:
- "Socialism with Chinese characteristics did not just drop from the sky, but is the result of the great practice of 40 years of reform and opening up, the consistent exploration [of socialist construction] since the founding of the PRC nearly 70 years ago, the 97 years of the people's great revolution led by the Party, the 170-plus-year historical process during which the Chinese nation became prosperous after years of decline, and the inheritance and development of Chinese civilization in the past 5,000-plus years. It is a priceless result of the painstaking efforts made by the Party and the people, at great cost, a hard-won achievement…The principal challenge [for the Party and the people], is that building socialism in a formerly semi-colonial and semi-feudal society is an unprecedented project that did not have a ready-made model to follow. "
- "Socialism with Chinese characteristics was initiated in the new period of reform and opening up; but, to understand its formation and development, to recognize its historical inevitability and its scientific truth, we must put it in its historical context and grasp it as a part of the evolution of socialism in the world. More than 170 years ago, Marx and Engels…proposed the dialectical materialistic approach to history and the theory of surplus value, laying scientific theoretical foundations for the socialist ideology and thus creating scientific socialism…The combination of scientific socialism and the workers' movement led to the success of the October Revolution and the establishment of the world's first socialist state…In the aftermath of the Second World War, a host of socialist countries emerged; with the founding of New China by the Chinese people under the Party's leadership in particular, scientific socialism grew from being practiced solely in one country to being developed in many nations. At that time, the socialist camp was thriving, and alongside the anti-imperialist and anti-colonialist struggles across Asia, Africa, and Latin America, it developed overall equilibrium with the capitalist world. That's why comrade Mao Zedong said that 'the east wind prevails over the west wind.'"
- "In the late 1980s and early 1990s, with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU), and the dramatic changes in Eastern Europe, not only did the first socialist state and Eastern European socialist countries cease to exist…but also, many developing countries were forced to follow the path of copying Western institutional models. Global socialism suffered major setbacks."
- "Last year marked the 100th anniversary of the October Revolution. I started the second part of the report of the Party's 19th National Congress by mentioning this significant historical event in order to declare the historical impact of the October Revolution on the birth and growth of CPC. As Lenin profoundly pointed out at the celebration of the 4th anniversary of the Revolution, '…the first victory is not yet the final victory,' but 'we have made the start. When, at what date and time, and the proletarians of which nation will complete this process is not important. The important thing is that the ice has been broken; the road is open, the way has been shown.'"
- "A wide range of developing countries have cast an admiring eye on China and expressed their desire to learn from China's experience in governance. Socialism with Chinese characteristics is becoming the banner for the development of scientific socialism in the 21st century and the mainstay for the revitalization of socialism across the world. Our Party has the responsibility, confidence, and ability to make greater historical contributions to the new development of scientific socialism."
- "Staying true to our original aspiration and founding mission means that we should not forget that we are communists and revolutionaries, and therefore should not lose our revolutionary spirit. Some people say that our party has now turned from a 'revolutionary party' to a 'ruling party'. This statement is inaccurate. The official formulation of the Party is that, through revolution, construction, and reform, our Party has changed from the Party that led the people in their struggle to seize national power to the Party that leads the people to hold national power and rule permanently; from the Party that led the construction of the country under the conditions of external blockade and a planned economy to the Party that leads the construction of the country under the conditions of opening to the outside world and developing a socialist market economy…Our Party is a Marxist ruling party, but at the same time, a Marxist revolutionary party."
- "Ensuring that CPC does not collapse, and the Chinese socialist system does not fall is an extremely difficult and risky challenge. There was a time when the CPSU was so strong, and the Soviet Union was so powerful."
- "We are like exam candidates sitting for the tests posed by this era, and the people will review our results. To achieve prosperity, stability, and longevity for the Party and the state, all comrades of the Party must maintain the revolutionary spirit and morale, courageously continue the great social revolution in which our party has led the people for 97 years…[and] strive to make socialism with Chinese characteristics shine with a more powerful and persuasive force of truth."
Xi Jinping pointed out in the 20th National Congress (NC) Report that, based on the long-term exploration and practice of socialist construction since the founding of New China, especially the reform and opening up, and through the innovative breakthroughs in theory and practice since the 18th NC, China has successfully promoted and expanded the China model of modernization. In the 20th NC Report, Xi provided important explanations on this subject.
Central task of CPC
From this day forward, the central task of CPC will be to lead the Chinese people of all ethnic groups in a concerted effort to realize the Second Centenary Goal of building China into a great modern socialist country in all respects and to advance the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation on all fronts through a Chinese path to modernization.
Main characteristics of the China model of modernization
The China model of modernization is socialist modernization pursued under the leadership of the CPC. It contains elements that are common to the modernization processes of all countries, but it is more characterized by features that are unique to the Chinese context.
It is the modernization of:
- A huge population.
- Common prosperity for all.
- Material and cultural-ethical advancement.
- Harmony between humanity and nature.
- Peaceful development.
Essential requirements for the development of the China model of modernization
- Upholding the leadership of the CPC.
- Upholding socialism with Chinese characteristics.
- Pursuing high-quality development.
- Developing whole-process people’s democracy.
- Enriching the people’s cultural lives.
- Achieving common prosperity for all.
- Promoting harmony between humanity and nature.
- Building a human community with a shared future.
- Creating a new form of human advancement.
A set of long-range objectives for China to essentially achieve socialist modernization by 2035
- Significantly increase economic strength, scientific and technological capabilities, and composite national strength; substantially grow the per capita GDP to be on par with that of a mid-level developed country.
- Join the ranks of the world’s most innovative countries, with great self-reliance and strength inscience and technology.
- Build a modernized economy;form a new pattern of development; generally achieve new industrialization, informatization, urbanization, and agricultural modernization.
- Basically modernize the system and capacity for governance; improve the system for whole-process people’s democracy; and build a law-based country, government, and society.
- Become a leading country in education, science and technology, talent, culture, sports, and health; significantly enhance national soft power.
- Ensure that the people are leading better and happier lives; bring per capita disposable income to new heights; substantially grow the middle-income group as a share of the total population; guarantee equitable access to basic public services; ensure modern standards of living in rural areas; achieve long-term social stability; and make more notable and substantive progress in promoting the people’s well-rounded development and prosperity for all.
- Broadly establish eco-friendly ways of work and life; steadily lower carbon emissions after reaching a peak; fundamentally improve the environment; and largely accomplish the goal of building a Beautiful China.
- Comprehensively strengthen the national security system and national security capabilities;achieve basic modernization of national defense and the armed forces.
The next five years will be crucial for getting our efforts to build a modern socialist country in all respects off to a good start.
Firmly adhere to five major principles
Our country has entered a period of development in which strategic opportunities, risks, and challenges are concurrent and uncertainties and unforeseen factors are rising. Various "black swan" and "gray rhino" events may occur at any time. We must therefore be more mindful of potential dangers, be prepared to deal with worst-case scenarios, and be ready to withstand high winds, choppy waters, and even dangerous storms. On the journey ahead, the following five major principles must be firmly adhered to:
- Upholding and strengthening the Party's overall leadership.
- Following the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics.
- Applying a people-centered development philosophy.
- Remaining committed to deepening reform and opening up.
- Carrying forward our fighting spirit.
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