Remaining of One Heart with the People
Speaking at the ceremony marking the centenary of the Communist Party of China on July 1, 2021, General Secretary Xi Jinping issued the following call to all Party members: "The Central Committee calls on every one of you to stay true to our Party's founding mission and stand firm in your ideals and convictions. Acting on the purpose of the Party, you should always maintain close ties with the people, empathize and work with them, stand with them through good times and bad, and continue working tirelessly to realize their aspirations for a better life and to bring still greater glory to the Party and the people."
The CPC's century-long history has been a process of putting the Party's founding mission into practice while breathing the same breath as the people, sharing the same future, and staying truly connected to them. The fact that the Party has persisted through so much hardship and is now in its prime 100 years on from its founding is fundamentally attributable to the fact that it has always made the people its greatest concern and remained of one heart with them. In both good times and times of adversity, the Party and the people have always stood side by side.
Who am I, what am I striving for, and who can I look to for support? These are the fundamental questions that every political party must ask itself. Xi Jinping has said that the entire CPC must have a firm awareness of the following principle: the question of who it works for and who it relies upon is the measure against which a party's character and its political authority are tested. Since the 18th National Congress of the CPC in 2012, Xi Jinping has constantly answered and elaborated upon this fundamental question with a focus on new experiences in practice, thus enriching and developing Marxist ideas on the people.
Compassion for the people: working with selfless devotion so as not to let the people down
On the afternoon of March 22, 2019, Xi Jinping met with Roberto Fico, president of the Italian Chamber of Deputies. During the meeting, Fico asked, "How did you feel when you were elected as China's president?" Xi replied, "Taking charge of such a large country is a heavy responsibility and a formidable task. I must work with selfless devotion so as not to let the people down. I am prepared to put my own needs aside and devote myself to China's development."
The hardest thing for people, let alone political parties, to achieve is remaining true to their original aspirations and staying the same at essence despite hardships and vicissitudes. Over 40 years, Xi Jinping has risen from the ranks of Party branch secretary of a production team through leadership positions at the village, county, prefectural, municipal, provincial, and central levels, ultimately becoming the paramount leader of this great country. Throughout this process, he has always kept the people close to his heart, thought of them constantly, fought for them, and remained their faithful servant.
During an interview with a Russian TV station in Sochi, Russia on February 7, 2014, Xi Jinping said, "My philosophy on governance can be summed up as follows: serving the people, and assuming the responsibilities that I ought to shoulder."
As an old saying goes, "As vast as heaven and earth may be, the people must always come first." Located in Yanchuan County, Shaanxi Province, in the heart of the Loess Plateau, there is a small village called Liangjiahe. In February 2015, Xi Jinping returned here to visit with local elders. During the visit, he said with deep emotion, "I once worked here as Party branch secretary of the production team. It was from then on that I became determined to do good for the people wherever I could." Back then, one of the things he wished for most was to see the locals eat their fill of meat.
In various speeches and directives since the 18th National Congress of the CPC, there is one word to which Xi Jinping has attached the greatest weight and emphasis—that word is "people." In his work to lead the people across the nation in shaking off poverty and chasing the dream of moderate prosperity over these last several years, Xi Jinping has crossed mountains, braved wind and snow, and endured scorching heat. In the mountains of Liangshan, he travelled along mountain paths visiting family after family on the way; at a village for people relocated for ecological reasons at the foot of the Qinba Mountains, he looked around every room at a local home and checked to see whether the traditional kang bed-stove was warm; deep in the Taihang Mountains, he helped a poor household figure out their finances for getting out of poverty; in a worn out mud brick bungalow in the Liupan Mountains, he sipped at a ladle of water to check the water quality; and in the Wuling Mountains, he shook hands with an elderly man who continuously praised the Party's policies. Speaking about impoverished people, Xi Jinping has said, "That their lives are beset by difficulties gives me a real sense of concern. Every improvement in their lives is a delight to see." His genuine concern for the lives of the people is evident in his words and his manner.
A floral display on the theme of "moderate prosperity in all respects." Ten such displays dedicated to the Party's centenary were set up along Chang'an Avenue in Beijing, vividly portraying the CPC's journey of struggle and its great accomplishments. PEOPLE VISUAL / PHOTO BY FANG SHUYUAN
Always making the people the greatest concern is not just the sincere sentiment that is always on Xi Jinping's mind, but also an ardent expectation and clear requirement for the Party as a whole, and particularly for officials in leadership positions at all levels. Xi has stressed on multiple occasions that "Party officials at all levels are the people's faithful servants," and that, "The power in the hands of leading officials is endowed by the people, and may only be used in their interest." To younger officials, he has offered the following advice: "Party officials must serve on behalf of ordinary people and consider themselves to be ordinary people rather than letting their authority turn them into overlords."
Steadfast commitment to the mission: the Party's century-long struggle has been to seek happiness for the people
On the afternoon of June 8, 2021, during a tour of Qinghai Province, Xi Jinping visited the home of local herdsman Sonam Tsering in the village of Golog Tsang Gongma in Gangcha County, Haibei Xizang Autonomous Prefecture. He took a close look around the home both inside and out, then sat and chatted with the family in their living room. Sonam Tsering told Xi with emotion that the good lives enjoyed by the herders were all owed to the effective policies of the Party, and expressed his heartfelt gratitude to the Party and to the General Secretary. Xi Jinping then said, "Our Party is now 100 years old. For it to grow and expand, win over the political power of the country, and build a new China has been no easy feat. Why do ordinary people give the CPC their wholehearted support? Because our Party wholeheartedly serves the people and seeks happiness for all ethnic groups."
A village surrounded by green fields in Butuo County, Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province. The county has made specialty farming an important component of its economic development, and this has helped residents increase their incomes, spurred rural revitalization, and refreshed the area's image as an idyllic mountain country. CHINA FEDERATION OF LITERARY AND ART CIRCLES / PHOTO BY DENG BANGMIN
Since the very day of its founding, the Party has made seeking happiness for the Chinese people and rejuvenation for the Chinese nation its aspiration and mission. It has stamped the word "people" at the center of its consciousness, featured the pledge to uphold the interests of the people above all else prominently on its banner, and sought happiness for the people and rejuvenation for the Chinese nation with steadfast commitment. At the Second National Congress of the CPC held in 1922, it was clearly stated that the CPC is a Party "composed of the proletarians with the most revolutionary spirit which fights for the interests of the proletariat." Xi Jinping has said, "Being of one heart with the people, breathing the same breath as them, sharing the same future, and staying truly connected to them is what the Party has always and will always aspire to."
Many years ago during the struggle in the Jinggang Mountains, the Red Army did not have enough salt as a result of ruthless enemy blockades. After he saw an old man swaying as he walked due to a lack of salt, Marshal Zhu De, though knowing that supplies were also extremely tight among the troops, ordered a soldier to deliver to the old man one of the few bags of salt that had been captured from an enemy position. He insisted, "As long as the Red Army has it, there will be salt for the ordinary people." At the Second National Congress of Workers, Peasants, and Soldiers on January 27, 1934, Mao Zedong said, "We must pay close attention to the problems that the people face in their lives, from issues involving land and labor to those related to daily necessities." At a funeral ceremony for the soldier Zhang Side on September 8, 1944, Mao Zedong declared, "Our army works solely for the purpose of liberating the people and serving their interests." On many occasions, Xi Jinping has related the "half a quilt" story once told by an elderly woman named Xu Jiexiu, who said, "What is the CPC? The CPC is made up of people who would take their only quilt and cut it in half to share it with an ordinary person like me." After an incredible century-long journey, the Party remains unshakeable in its original aspiration. From the old shikumen house on Xingye Road in Shanghai where it held its first congress to the gate tower over Tiananmen where the founding of the People's Republic of China was proclaimed and China embarked on the road to rejuvenation, and in all its endeavors as it has moved from a new period to a new century, a new starting point, and to a new era, everything the Party has done and all the sacrifices it has made have been for the people.
On November 15, 2012, the newly elected Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the 18th CPC Central Committee held a press conference attended by more than 500 Chinese and foreign journalists at the Great Hall of the People. It was at that moment, with the eyes of the world upon him, that Xi Jinping declared, "The people yearn for a better life, and our goal is to help them achieve it." He stressed this point again five years later on October 25, 2017 at a press conference for the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the 19th CPC Central Committee, saying, "The aspirations of the people to live a better life must always be the focus of our efforts."
The pursuit of a better life is an eternal theme, and a process that is always in motion. Xi Jinping has stated, "We have a grand yet simple goal—a better life for all our people." At present, the principal challenge facing Chinese society has evolved into that between unbalanced and inadequate development and the people's growing needs for a better life. As a result, we have shifted focus from the previous problem of want to the present problem of quality. Xi Jinping has stressed that we must ground ourselves in this new stage of development, implement the new development philosophy, and foster a new development dynamic as we strive to boost the quality and returns of development, better meet the growing needs of the people on multiple different levels, and take more effective steps in promoting well-rounded human development and common prosperity for all.
Xi Jinping delivered an earnest and impactful speech at the ceremony marking the centenary of the CPC, in which he said, "Though our Party's founding mission is easy to define, ensuring that we stay true to this mission is a more difficult task. By learning from history, we can understand why powers rise and fall. Through the mirror of history, we can find where we currently stand and gain foresight into the future. Looking back on the Party's 100-year history, 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 purpose in staying true to our founding mission and pursuing a better future on the new journey that lies before us."
Standing on the side of the people: as it has fought to establish and consolidate its leadership over the country, the Party has in fact been fighting to earn and keep the people's support
In late December 2012, a little over a month after the conclusion of the 18th National Congress of the CPC, Xi Jinping visited Fuping in Hebei Province. During the visit, he remarked, "A lot has been said about what our purpose is, but it ultimately comes down to a single phrase—serve the people. Our Party exists to serve the people, and what the Central Committee cares about is working for the people. Officials at all levels must make sure that in everything they do, they should not only be responsible to the higher-ups but also to the common people. We must regularly ask ourselves: are we busying ourselves with things that have nothing to do with the Party's fundamental purpose? Are we working wholeheartedly for the people? And are we working with a focus on the central tasks of the Party and the state?"
What Xi Jinping was asking here was whether or not Party officials were taking the Party's nature and purpose to heart. The Constitution of the Communist Party of China makes it clear from the outset that the CPC is the pioneer of the Chinese working class, the Chinese people, and the Chinese nation. It also explicitly stipulates that the Party shall be dedicated to wholeheartedly serving the people, and that it shall, at all times, give top priority to the interests of the people, share weal and woe with them, and maintain the closest possible ties with them. Xi Jinping has pointed out, "Public sentiment is the greatest test of political efficacy. Ours is a party that is dedicated to serving the people wholeheartedly, that is committed to serving the public good and exercising power in the interests of the people, and that takes the people's aspirations for a better life as its abiding goal." He has also stressed, "Prosperity for the people is the basic political position of the CPC, and it is the prominent feature that distinguishes Marxist parties from other parties." Years ago in Yan'an, a banner that read "serve the people" hung high on the wall of the Zaoyuan assembly hall. Today, the words "serve the people" appear bold and bright on the screen wall at the Xinhua Gate that leads into the office of the CPC in Zhongnanhai.
The nature and purpose of the CPC originated from Marxism. In the Communist Manifesto, Marx and Engels proclaimed, "All previous historical movements were movements of minorities, or in the interest of minorities. The proletarian movement is the self-conscious, independent movement of the immense majority, in the interest of the immense majority." All of the broad and profound knowledge of Marxism can be simply summarized as the pursuit of humanity's liberation. An affinity with the people is the fundamental attribute of Marxism, and its most distinctive character. Ours is a party equipped with Marxism, and therefore an affinity with the people is also the fundamental attribute of the CPC. As Xi Jinping said at the ceremony for CPC's centenary, "This country is its people; the people are the country. As we have fought to establish and consolidate our leadership over the country, we have in fact been fighting to earn and keep the people's support. The Party has in the people its roots, its lifeblood, and its source of strength. The Party has always represented the fundamental interests of all Chinese people; it stands with them through thick and thin and shares a common fate with them. The Party has no special interests of its own—it has never represented any individual interest group, power group, or privileged stratum. Any attempt to divide the Party from the Chinese people or to set the people against the Party is bound to fail. The more than 95 million Party members and the more than 1.4 billion Chinese people will never allow such a scenario to come to pass."
The people are the rightful masters of socialist China. Ours is a socialist country of people's democratic dictatorship under the leadership of the working class based on an alliance of workers and farmers; it is a country where all power of the state belongs to the people, and where the people participate, in accordance with the law and in various ways and forms, in the management of state, economic, cultural, and social affairs. Xi Jinping has said, "The supremacy of the people constitutes the core and essence of socialist democracy," and, "Respecting the principal position of the people and guaranteeing their status as masters of the nation is the consistent position of our Party." China's socialist democracy is the broadest, most genuine, and most effective democracy to safeguard the fundamental interests of the people. The name of our country and the names of our state organs at all levels start with "the people," which indicates the basic orientation of China's socialist government. State organs at all levels and their employees, regardless of their function, are ultimately working in service of the people. We must ensure that this basic orientation never wavers or weakens. To develop socialist democracy is precisely to give full expression to the will of the people, protect their rights and interests, spark their creativity, and provide systemic and institutional guarantees to ensure the people run the country.
Children watch a lion dance performance for the Lantern Festival at the Grand Bazaar Pedestrian Mall in Urumqi, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. In the process of shaking off poverty, achieving moderate prosperity, and pursuing modernization, no ethnic group is to be left behind. PHOTO BY XINHUA REPORTER WANG FEI
Commitment to clearly defined values: putting the people above all else and following a people-centered approach
The ceremony marking the centenary of the CPC was held on the morning of July 1, 2021 at Tiananmen Square. During the ceremony, a formation of helicopters cut through the skies, carrying the Party flag and a number of banners that fluttered in the wind. One of the banners was emblazoned with the slogan "long live the great Chinese people," in a display of the Party's commitment to putting the people above all else.
The principle of putting the people first is a reflection of the CPC's nature and purpose as well as the historical materialist perspective that the people are the creators of history. This principle is also a distinctive characteristic and theoretical quality of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era. It mandates that Chinese Communists always regard the wellbeing of the people as the nation's top priority and that they make the fundamental interests of the broadest majority the inspiration and benchmark for all their work. Explaining this principle in simple language, Xi Jinping has said, "Putting the people above all else means that we must follow through with things that make the people happy in support, and stay away from things that make them sneer in contempt."
Dressed up locals prepare to perform a folk dance in Dongxu Village, Menyuan Hui Autonomous County, Qinghai Province, August 6, 2020. CHINA FEDERATION OF LITERARY AND ART CIRCLES / PHOTO BY FEI MAOHUA
A political party's regard for human life is a revealing test of the values it upholds. While speaking about the fight against Covid-19 during the annual sessions of the National People's Congress and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference in 2020, Xi Jinping conveyed some important details: there had been more than 3,000 Covid-19 patients aged 80 or older treated in Hubei Province, one of whom was an 87-year-old patient whose life was saved after being given painstaking care by a group of around 10 medical workers over dozens of days. Xi Jinping said, "This is what putting the people above all else means. All those people working on one patient is a true reflection of the commitment to save lives at all costs."
Putting the people above all else is not a hollow, abstract concept; it must be implemented by the Party in every facet throughout the whole process of national governance. The people-centered philosophy of development, first introduced at the Fifth Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee, creatively applies the principle of putting the people above all else in the country's approach to development. This represents an innovative expansion on Marxist thought on the people, on development, and on modernization made by the CPC Central Committee led by Xi Jinping. Xi Jinping has said, "We will only have the right view of development and modernization if we follow a people-centered approach, insisting that development is for the people, reliant on the people, and that its fruits should be shared by the people."
As mentioned in the Chinese classics, "There are some fixed principles in governing a state, among which benefitting the people should be the root." Xi Jinping has said that the principle of shared development in the new development philosophy "represents the idea of people-centered development" and "reflects the demand of achieving shared prosperity in stages." Marx and Engels envisaged that in the society of the future "production will be calculated to provide wealth for all," and it would feature "the participation of all in the enjoyments provided by all." Xi Jinping has said, "The development we pursue is that which brings benefit to the people, and the prosperity we pursue is that shared by all people." In the pursuit of common prosperity, he has required that full consideration be given to what is necessary and what is possible, that more effective institutional arrangements be made, and that step-by-step progress be achieved in accordance with the underlying laws of economic and social development. He has said that we must make constant efforts to both bake a larger cake and ensure that it is divided fairly. We must act with purpose and initiative to address issues including the gaps among regions, urban and rural areas and the incomes of different groups, see that the strengths of the socialist system are exerted more fully, give the people a greater sense of fulfillment, and eradicate the phenomenon of massive disparity between rich and poor.
Since 2012, the CPC Central Committee led by Xi Jinping has made the fight against poverty the top priority. As a result, all of China's rural poor under current standards have been lifted out of poverty, marking a major milestone in the push toward common prosperity for all. After eight years of continuous effort, all 832 previously poor counties and close to 100 million people nationwide exited poverty, bringing a historic resolution to the problem of absolute poverty that plagued the Chinese nation for thousands of years. This is a miraculous achievement in the history of humanity's poverty reduction efforts, and represents a big and solid step forward on the path toward common prosperity.
Our great Party and country remain on course in the pursuit of our original aspirations. Our achievements in shaking off poverty and reaching moderate prosperity in all respects are not the finish line, but rather the beginning of a new life and a new struggle, and a new starting point of our push toward common prosperity. Looking toward the future, Xi Jinping stressed the following: "On the journey ahead, we must rely closely on the people to create history. Upholding the Party's fundamental purpose of wholeheartedly serving the people, we will stand firmly with the people, implement the Party's mass line, respect the people's creativity, and practice a people-centered philosophy of development. We will develop whole-process people's democracy, safeguard social fairness and justice, and resolve the imbalances and inadequacies in development and the most pressing difficulties and problems that are of great concern to the people. In doing so, we will make more notable and substantive progress toward achieving well-rounded human development and common prosperity for all."
A source of strength: the inspiration and touchstone for founding, growing, and strengthening the Party
There is a famous myth from ancient Greece about a giant named Antaeus who drew strength from his mother earth, and was invincible while he was in contact with her. If he lost contact with her, however, he would immediately lose his power.
As the saying goes, a tree that towers into the sky must have roots. The relationship between the Party and the people is the same as that between Antaeus and mother earth; they cannot become separate from each other, even for a moment. Xi Jinping has explained, "The people are the skies above us and the earth below us. If we forget the people and become distanced from them, we will lose their support, like a river with no headwater or a tree with no roots, and achieve nothing."
The people are the true heroes, for it is they who create history. Marxism holds that social history is composed of the actions of people following their own objectives, and that in this type of action, the people are never a negative or passive element, but rather play the main role. In The Holy Family, Marx and Engels wrote, "Together with the thoroughness of the historical action, the size of the mass whose action it is will therefore increase." The magnificent history of the Chinese nation's development was written by the Chinese people; China's expansive and profound culture was created by the Chinese people; the unfading spirit of the Chinese nation was fostered by the Chinese people; and the Chinese nation's tremendous leap from standing up and growing prosperous to becoming strong was made possible through the struggle of the Chinese people.
To quote Huang Zongxi, a scholar who lived between the Ming and Qing dynasties, "The order and disorder of the world does not correspond to the rise and fall of a dynasty under a certain family. It depends on whether the people are content with life." The future of a political party or government ultimately rests on public support. The people represent the deepest foundation and the greatest source of confidence for our Party in governing the country. Our Party and people stand together through thick and thin while always maintaining the closest of ties; this is the fundamental guarantee for the Party in triumphing over all risks and challenges. The CPC draws strength from the support of the people. Though there are now over 95 million Party members, this is still a minority among the more than 1.4 billion Chinese people. Without the support of the people, the grand goals of the CPC will never come to fruition. It is imperative that the Party relies closely on the people to bring about great and historic achievements. Speaking at a meeting to kick off a campaign promoting the study of Party history, Xi Jinping said, "The inspiration and touchstone for founding, growing, and strengthening the Party can be summed up as follows: the CPC is born of the people, invigorated by the people, stands with the people, and fights for the interests of the people."
As an old Chinese saying goes, "Those who win the people's hearts win the country, and those who lose the people's hearts lose the country." In the historical process from revolution, to reconstruction, to reform, it is precisely by relying closely on the people that the CPC has grown from small to big and from weak to strong, overcome one obstacle after another and achieved victory after victory, developing from a party that at first had just over 50 members into the world's largest governing Party with tremendous global influence. After the failure of the Great Revolution, most of the more than 300,000 revolutionaries who laid down their lives were ordinary people following the Party on the path of revolution; during the Red Army period, the people served as the impregnable fortress of the Party and the people's armed forces; during the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression, our Party mobilized the people and overwhelmed the aggressors with a people's war; the Huai-Hai Campaign was won with the help of ordinary people pushing wheelbarrows sending supplies for the People's Liberation Army, while the Yangtze River Crossing campaign was won by ordinary people steering boats; the success of socialist revolution and reconstruction was achieved through the people's efforts; and millions upon millions of ordinary people played the starring role in the saga of reform and opening up. Xi Jinping has said, "If you open your heart to the people, the people will open their hearts to you." The survival of the Party depends on the backing of the people. By earning the people's trust and gaining their support, the Party can overcome any challenge and prevail in all endeavors.
The ancients used to say, "The person that knows a leaking roof is the one who is under that roof; the person that knows an error of the imperial court is one who is not in power." In July 1945, Huang Yanpei visited Yan'an, where he spoke about the historical cycle of rapid rise and sudden demise. He expressed the hope that the CPC would find a new path and escape this cycle. Mao Zedong replied, "We have already found a new path; we can escape from this cycle. This new path is democracy. The only way for the government not to become complacent is for the people to oversee the government. If everyone takes responsibility, the political power we build can survive past our generation." This is the famous "cave dialogue" to which Xi Jinping frequently refers. He has said, "The times pose the test, we take the test, and the people mark the test." Ours is a party that represents the fundamental interests of the broadest possible majority of the people, and therefore our aptitude and efficacy in governance is not something we can decide ourselves. It is the people who deliver the highest ruling and ultimate verdict on our Party's work. In the end, it is up to the people to judge whether we are following the right values, whether we have chosen the right path, whether our service is solid, and whether the results we deliver are good. This judgment is weighed against the people's level of satisfaction, based upon their sense of fulfillment, and determines whether or not they offer their support.
Mao Zedong said, "What is a true bastion of iron? It is the people, the millions upon millions of people who genuinely and sincerely support the revolution. That is the real iron bastion which no force can smash, no force whatsoever." As long as we always stand firmly on the side of the people, uphold the principle status of the people, and win the wholehearted support of the vast majority of the people, we will be able to build such a "bastion of iron."
The mass line: the life of the Party and the fundamental guide to its work
On September 17, 2020, Xi Jinping presided over a symposium of primary-level representatives in Changsha, Hunan Province. He began his speech at the event as follows: "Recently, I have visited a number of places on research trips and chaired a series of forums with entrepreneurs, public figures without Party affiliation, experts in the economic and social domains, and scientists on the topic of advancing integrated development of the Yangtze River Delta. In the process, I have heard many opinions and suggestions. On this trip to Hunan Province, I have taken the opportunity to invite a number of primary-level representatives here to hold a symposium with the primary purpose of meeting with you face to face to hear your opinions and suggestions on the drafting of the 14th Five-Year Plan." Before this symposium, between August 16 and 29, 2020, opinions on the drafting of the 14th Five-Year Plan were solicited online, with more than one million comments posted that were ultimately consolidated into over 1,000 suggestions. It would therefore be fair to say that the formulation of the recommendations for the 14th Five-Year Plan was a vivid illustration of the CPC's mass line in practice.
Xi Jinping has always seen implementation of the mass line as highly important. Back when he was working in Fujian, he put forward the idea that officials must receive petitions from the primary level, carry out work in person at the primary level, conduct research at the primary level, and publicize the Party's policies at the primary level. He later introduced the requirement that officials make frequent visits to the homes of ordinary people to learn about their conditions, ease their worries, and help them in a variety of matters. Xi Jinping has stressed the importance of the mass line time and time again since the 18th National Congress of the CPC, saying, "Engaging with the people is our key skill. Our Party's success has relied on this work, and we must keep relying on it to achieve long-term governance," and, "Whether in policy-making or implementation, we must always be sure to remain mindful of our purpose, see that the people's stance is represented, and carry out the Party's mass line."
The mass line is the lifeline of the CPC and the fundamental guide to its work. It is a cherished treasure that enables the Party to retain its youthful vigor and fighting strength. Xi Jinping has said, "How can we maintain the Party's progressive nature and its integrity, and consolidate its governing role and status? The key is to keep to the Party's mass line and maintain close ties with the people." The Party's century-long history has been a history of always preserving the closest of ties with the people, and constantly relying on the people to achieve victory. On its 100-year journey, the CPC has established a fine tradition and style of work defined by the phrase "from the masses, to the masses." The mass line is the living soul and one of the fundamental aspects of Mao Zedong Thought. In June 1943, in an article entitled Some Questions Concerning Methods of Leadership, Mao explicitly and thoroughly defined "from the masses, to the masses" as a method of work, and stressed that this method must be applied "in all the practical work of the Party" and that it is "the basic method of leadership." Deng Xiaoping also held the status and role of the people in high regard, saying at the Central Work Conference in December 1980, "The masses are the source of our strength and the mass viewpoint and the mass line are our cherished traditions."
In the words of the ancient Chinese philosopher Mozi, "When the administration of the ruler answers to the desires of the people there will be order, otherwise there will be confusion." The mass line is the only way to obtain correct ideas for leadership, and the only way to truly serve the people wholeheartedly. The people have the wisdom and strength for governing the nation. The needs, desires, and expectations of the people cannot be understood with desultory effort, and policies cannot be formulated by just pushing figures around on paper. Xi Jinping has said, "The right approach for the Party's leadership work is to collect the opinions of the public and translate them into correct policy decisions. Then, we must go back to the public to explain policies and see that people act on them, and use practice in the public setting to test whether or not these policy decisions are correct." Going through this cycle, decisions become increasingly rich, dynamic, and correct. He has also stressed time and time again that we will always be students before the people, and that we must make conscious effort to view the people as our teachers, seeking advice from those with knowledge and ability. Leading officials must engage with people at the primary level, find the best solutions to problems by learning from their experience, and make focusing on the primary level and laying solid foundations an ingrained practice over the long term.
It has been proven repeatedly through history and through practice that the CPC's greatest political strength is its close ties with the people, and that the greatest danger it faces after gaining power is becoming disconnected from the people. The success or failure of the Party's endeavors is determined by whether or not it can maintain these close ties. During a tour of Qinghai Province, Xi Jinping put forward the following requirement for officials at all levels: "Wherever officials go, they must ask the locals how their lives can be made better. And then we work together to achieve better lives."
A century on from its founding, the Party, now in a new height of its life, remains focused on pursuing the cause of lasting greatness. Looking back on the path that we have taken, and ahead toward the path that we will go forward, it is certain that with the firm leadership of the CPC Central Committee led by Xi Jinping and the sound guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, the future belongs to our great Party and our great people.
(Originally appeared in Qiushi Journal, Chinese edition, No. 13, 2021)