What Is Behind the CPC's Success?
In the history of human development, 100 years are but a brief moment. But for the China of today, the 100 years of the Communist Party of China have been a period of momentous change. These 100 years have changed the history and fate of the Chinese people, ushered in bright prospects for the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, and seen the Chinese people make outstanding contributions to human development. General Secretary Xi Jinping has said, "The Chinese people have achieved the great transformation from standing up and growing prosperous to becoming strong, and China's national rejuvenation has become a historical inevitability." This statement succinctly captures the great achievements of the CPC over the past 100 years. Why has the CPC been able to grow in size and strength to become the largest Marxist party in the world and govern China on a long-term basis? Why has it been able to lead the Chinese people in creating a Chinese miracle that is unparalleled in history? And why, in its 100th year, is the CPC still in its prime?
The Communist Party of China possesses certain strengths that have enabled it to remain invincible. These include the following:
Marxism is a scientific theory that sheds light on the objective laws underlying the evolution of human society and specifies the right path for human social development. The CPC, which has developed under the guidance of Marxism-Leninism, inscribed Marxism on its banner on the very day it was founded. In the process of leading China's revolution, reconstruction, and reform, the CPC has not only upheld Marxism's basic tenets but integrated them with the realities of the country and the best of traditional Chinese culture. As it has continuously adapted Marxism to the Chinese context, the times, and popular needs, it has established in succession Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory, the Theory of Three Represents, the Scientific Outlook on Development, and Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era. The guiding thought of the Party has thus always advanced in step with the times.
Under the guidance of these scientific theories, the CPC has correctly recognized and understood the laws underlying governance by the Party, socialist development, and human social evolution, quickly discerned and understood social development trends to always stand on the right side of history, and continuously enhanced the strategic, forward-looking, and well-balanced nature of its decision making. This enabled the CPC to identify the uniquely Chinese path of new-democratic revolution and socialist transformation and reconstruction, and ultimately to forge the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics. At the same time, the CPC has also taken Marxism as a practical guide to action, using it to arm the minds of its members and educate the Chinese people. When such scientific theories are grasped by the people, they are transformed into an immense material force. When they grasped both Marxism and the achievements in adapting it to the Chinese context and the times, the CPC and the Chinese people took hold of powerful theoretical tools for understanding and changing the world. This has allowed them to shift from a passive to an active mindset and harness a tremendous power for remaking the country and transforming the objective world.
Marxism has lived up to China's expectations, while China has remained true to Marxism. The country's practical experiences have demonstrated the tremendous vitality of Marxism while propelling it into the 21st century and providing a new scientific guide for human social development.
The Communist Party of China is the vanguard of China's working class, the Chinese people, and the Chinese nation. The CPC's fundamental purpose is to wholeheartedly serve the Chinese people.
The CPC does not have any special interests of its own, but has always pursued its founding mission of seeking happiness for the Chinese people and rejuvenation for the Chinese nation. All the struggles, sacrifices, and efforts through which the Party has united and led the people over the past hundred years have been tied together by one ultimate theme—the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
Based on this goal, the Party has determined the direction of its efforts, experimented with various approaches, fought with tenacity, overcome grave challenges, carefully sized up situations, and made well-judged decisions. It has remained modest in victory, become braver with each setback, upheld truth, and corrected its mistakes. In the revolutionary spirit of conquering each and every difficulty standing in its way, the CPC has led the Chinese people from one great victory to the next and through one epic chapter after another in China's revolution, reconstruction, and reform. It has steered China's national rejuvenation onto a path of great promise by completing in just decades the process of industrialization that Western countries took several centuries to navigate. In pursuit of this goal, countless Chinese Communists have made selfless sacrifices and even given their lives.
As General Secretary Xi has said, "No Party in the world has encountered as many difficulties and dangers, come through as many perilous tests, and made as many bitter sacrifices as our Party." But no difficulty, danger, perilous test, or bitter sacrifice has ever shaken the CPC's determination or slowed its drive to realize its original aspiration.
The Chinese people are the source of the CPC's strength and the foundation on which its success is built. The CPC originates from the people and is deeply rooted among the people. It has always maintained a people-centered approach, upheld the mass line, and served the people wholeheartedly.
Original copies of New Youth magazine Vol. 5, No. 5 (right) and Vol. 6, No. 5 (left) carrying Li Dazhao's articles "The Victory of Bolshevism" and "My View of Marxism" photographed on display at Peking University's Red Building, June 26, 2021. At the fundamental level, the capability of the CPC and the strengths of Chinese socialism are attributable to the fact that Marxism works. PHOTO BY XINHUA REPORTER XIE HAN
Upholding a historical materialist standpoint, the Party views the people as the fundamental force behind the advance of history, regards itself as a tool for realizing the people's fundamental interests, and takes the mass line as the fundamental guideline for its work. The Communist Party of China believes that the country is the people and the people are the country; in fighting to establish and consolidate leadership over the country, the Party has in fact fought to earn and keep the people's support. It has always maintained a close bond with the people, shared the same fate as the people, and pursued the same aspirations as the people. This has won the Party the people's devoted support. This is what makes the CPC fundamentally different from any capitalist political party, which represents only the interests of a small number of capitalists or a certain section of the electorate, thus giving rise to interest groups.
As Xi Jinping has said, "The people's aspirations for a better life are what our Party is striving toward." Countless Chinese Communist revolutionaries defied great difficulties and dangers and fought bloody battles in order to realize the liberation of the people. One generation after another, CPC members have gone through thick and thin with the people. The CPC has always taken the people's fundamental interests and their growing expectations for a better life as its immutable goals and continuously increased the people's sense of fulfillment, happiness, and security. It has steadily developed socialist democracy, and created a uniquely Chinese approach to democratic elections, management, participation, oversight, and consultation, one which fully guarantees the position of the people as masters of the country and the basic human rights of the people. Forged over the past 100 years, the strong unity and harmony the Party enjoys with the people is something that no other political party can boast. And in politics, the people's support is the overriding factor.
A sculpture depicting the story of three female Red Army soldiers who in 1934 cut their only quilt in half to share with an elderly woman with whom they were billeted is displayed at an exhibition hall dedicated to this heartwarming deed in Shazhou Yao Village, Rucheng County, Hunan Province. This story reflects the CPC's compassion for the people and devotion to serving them. PHOTO BY XINHUA REPORTER CHEN SIHAN
The Party has relied on learning to get to where it is today. In doing so, it has relentlessly innovated its theories, practices, and institutions to ensure the Party's theories, guidelines, principles, and policies always accord with objective laws and the people's interests. During the revolutionary war, for instance, the Party learned how to fight in the heat of battle. Integrating MarxismLeninism with the realities of China, it developed the right policy of surrounding the cities from the countryside and taking political power by armed force, along with the strategic tactics of guerilla and protracted warfare under the conditions of enemy superiority. This allowed it to eventually topple the three great mountains of imperialism, feudalism, and bureaucrat-capitalism and to found a new state to be run by the Chinese people. In the early days of the People's Republic, the CPC developed the path of socialist transformation to quickly clean away the remnants of the old society, revive the national economy, and build the basic economic systems and political institutions for socialism. These efforts created the basic political conditions and institutional foundations needed for our country's economic development. Take also the reform and opening up policy launched after the Third Plenary Session of the 11th CPC Central Committee in 1978. The CPC drew on the achievements of all advanced civilizations to creatively develop a socialist market economy, and gradually gave shape to and refined socialism with Chinese characteristics, thus providing a basic guarantee for development in a new period for China. Another example comes from the current new era, in which the Communist Party of China has pioneered and launched the Belt and Road Initiative based on both new realities and the Party's historical experiences. This initiative has provided public goods for reviving a sluggish world economy. In addition, the constant efforts of the CPC to further reform have been particularly notable. The CPC since its 18th National Congress in 2012 has issued over 2,400 reform measures. These have gradually improved China's socialist system and modernized its system and capacity for governance.
Continuous learning, selectively drawing on excellent experiences from other countries, and constant reform and innovation have all bolstered the resilience of the CPC, and kept it clear of dogmatism and complacent conservatism. As a result, it has successfully met challenges, remained at the forefront of the times, and injected new vitality into its own cause and that of the country.
Based on the principles of democratic centralism, the CPC has built a strong and tight-knit organizational system. This is a sound system made up of central, local, and primary-level organizations. The central leadership of the Party, as the central brain, is responsible for formulating major policies of state and functions as a final arbiter and decision-maker. Local Party organizations ensure central policies and plans take effect in their localities while also presenting the opinions and suggestions of Party members and primary-level organizations to the CPC Central Committee. Primary-level Party organizations are responsible for implementing at the community level the decisions and plans of the CPC Central Committee and the Party committee at the next level up, and for collecting and relaying the views and suggestions of Party members and the public. Today, the Communist Party of China has 4.8 million primary-level organizations nationwide and over 95 million Party members who work in primary-level organizations.
This strong, extensive, and tight-knit organization allows the CPC Central Committee to effectively convey its instructions to local and primary-level organizations, thereby ensuring that national policies and central committee decisions and plans are implemented in full and without delay at the community level. It also ensures Party organizations and members are fully integrated with the people of their communities.
A backbone force
Talent is the most precious resource. The task of national governance hinges on having the right people for the job. Over the last 100 years, the CPC has always insisted on Party members having both integrity and ability, with priority given to the former, on drawing people from all corners of the country, and on making appointments based on merit. It has always given first consideration to its cause when making appointments, with people being selected and used in a fair and upstanding way. Rejecting cronyism, "mountain stronghold" mentality, and clique culture, the Party has brought people from all sides together in the name of its cause.
In particular, after the CPC began governing the country, it put into place an official selection and promotion system for choosing a backbone force for national governance with integrity, ability, and concrete achievements. After the introduction of reform and opening up, the Party pursued a principle of revolutionizing its ranks to make them younger, better educated, and more professional. With this, a large number of officials with integrity and ability entered leadership positions at all levels, providing a guarantee of talent for China's reform, opening up, and modernization. Since the 18th CPC National Congress, the Party has made selections and appointments based on the "standards for good officials," which are defined as having firm ideals and convictions, serving the people, being diligent and practical, being willing to take on responsibility, and being upright and honest. This has allowed the Party to build a loyal, clean, and responsible backbone of officials for governing the nation.
It requires a good blacksmith to make good steel. One of the major features and strengths of the CPC has been the great self-reform it has undertaken in promoting tremendous social reform and the use of this to guide social reform.
As it has pursued its original aspiration over these past 100 years, with a focus on the tasks of upholding Party leadership, strengthening ideals and convictions, improving the organizational system, preserving the Party's traditions, and tightening discipline, the CPC has continuously sought self-improvement, squarely faced problems, upheld truth, corrected mistakes, and resolved contradictions and problems within the Party in a timely fashion to keep itself healthy. It carried out a great project of Party development during the revolutionary war and a great new project of strengthening the Party after the initiation of reform and opening up. And in the new era, it has ensured full and rigorous self-governance of the Party. The CPC has enhanced its capacity to cleanse, improve, and reform itself, allowing it to maintain and develop its advanced nature and wholesome feature and boost its capacity for leadership and governance. In particular, it has been unswerving in its fight against corruption, and has worked continuously to remove all corrupt elements from its ranks. For example, the CPC Central Committee with Xi Jinping at the core has demonstrated the determination to take strong remedies and adopt painful measures in order to combat corruption. It has insisted that no one is irreplaceable and has taken down both "tigers" and "flies," giving rise to a battle against corruption unprecedented in its intensity, depth, and scope in order to eliminate a serious latent political danger. The fight against corruption has built up unstoppable momentum and ensured historic successes and changes in the cause of the Party and the people.
A song, dance, and drama show, "Miracle in the East," is presented during an art performance entitled "The Great Journey," celebrating the centenary of the CPC at the National Stadium in Beijing, evening of June 28, 2021. PHOTO BY XINHUA REPORTER XING GUANGLI
General Secretary Xi emphasized at the Fifth Plenary Session of the 19th CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection that we must maintain political resolve and never change our attitude, let our determination wane, or drop the intensity of our effort. By continually carrying out self-reform, our Party has maintained its strong capacity for organization and action as well as strong vitality. The CPC is a Marxist party that moves with the times, brims with vitality, and enjoys extensive support among the Chinese people.
The noble ideal of communism and the shared ideal of socialism are the spiritual pillars and political soul of Chinese Communists. Having firm ideals and convictions and upholding the common aspiration of Chinese Communists have always been the basis upon which we have pursued our life's work.
After its founding, the CPC developed a great founding spirit, which is comprised of the principles of 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. This spirit is the Party's source of strength. Over the last 100 years, one generation of Communists after another has carried forward this spirit with great tenacity. These tireless efforts have also given rise to the spirit of the Jinggang Mountains, of the Long March, of the Zunyi Meeting; to the spirit of Yan'an, of Xibaipo, and of Hongyan; the spirit demonstrated in the War to Resist U.S Aggression and Aid Korea and in the development of China's first atomic and hydrogen bombs and artificial satellite; to the spirit forged in China's special economic zones, in the battles against flooding, and in earthquake and disaster relief efforts; and to the spirit of the fight against Covid-19 and the spirit of the battle against poverty. Together, these constitute a long line of inspiring principles for Chinese Communists and stand as a testament to the Chinese nation. During the revolutionary war, the CPC created a fine style of work based on integrating theory with practice, keeping in close touch with the people, engaging in criticism and self-criticism, and being self-reliant and hardworking. After it became the governing party of China, it continued and carried forward this fine style of work, and created new ways of working based on new realities. Most importantly, it developed a spirit for our times with reform and innovation at its core. The CPC's glorious tradition and tremendous spirit are embodied in its ideals, convictions, and overall purpose and reflect all the outstanding qualities of the Party. They constitute a precious intellectual asset and powerful motivational force which spur us to keep forging bravely ahead.
Because each generation has kept alive and carried forward our honorable traditions and great spirit by freeing their minds, seeking truth from facts, remaining tenacious and unyielding, making courageous sacrif ices, and having the courage to fight and the fortitude to win, the CPC has been able to withstand all trials and difficulties, overcome all risks and challenges, and usher in bright prospects for national rejuvenation.
The ocean is vast, for it welcomes all rivers. Throughout its 100 years, the CPC has demonstrated tremendous inclusivity.
During the Great Revolution, when the historical mission of opposing imperialists, feudalists, and warlords was placed before it, the CPC chose to advocate and implement a policy of KMT-CPC cooperation. During the Agrarian Revolutionary War, when it faced the task of opposing the dictatorial rule of Chiang Kai-shek, the CPC engaged in extensive cooperation with all those who loved peace and democracy. During the War of Resistance, when the historical task of resisting Japanese aggression to save the nation arose, the CPC called for the establishment of a broad patriotic united front, and most importantly, set aside its grievances against the KMT to mount a joint resistance effort with it. One of the most magnificent developments of that period was that patriotic youths and figures from all walks of life flooded into the CPC base in Yan'an. During the War of Liberation, faced with the historical task of overthrowing the reactionary KMT clique and uniting the country, the CPC joined forces with all peace-loving parties and individuals who opposed war in order to form a united front. All the while, the Chiang Kai-shek clique became increasingly isolated. The united front was one of three magic weapons the CPC used to secure victory in the new-democratic revolution.
After the founding of the People's Republic, the CPC's inclusivity was embodied in the design of China's political systems. By implementing the system of people's congresses, it enabled the Chinese people of all ethnic groups to devote themselves to socialist development as the masters of their country. By implementing the system of multiparty cooperation and consultation and the new political party system, it enabled all parties to take part in the development of the cause of socialism. By implementing the system of regional autonomy, it enabled all 56 of China's ethnic groups to closely unite as one. There has also been a strong element of inclusivity in the Party's self-improvement efforts. In the early days of the war against Japanese aggression, in response to the need to establish a national united front, the Party made the decision to recruit large numbers of outstanding people from all social strata. During the early days of reform and opening up, to adapt to the needs of socialist modernization, the Party made the decision to recruit large numbers of outstanding intellectuals into the Party. In the early 21st century, to adapt to the emergence of great numbers of new economic organizations, social organizations, and social strata, it made the decision to bring large numbers of outstanding people from new social strata into the Party. As more and more outstanding people and particularly young people from all social strata have applied for Party membership, the Party has become more advanced in nature and further consolidated its public base. This inclusivity is a reflection of CPC's confidence and openness.
In international affairs, the CPC has always championed the concept of world harmony. It has advocated and put into practice the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence and pursued an independent foreign policy of peace, and worked to foster a new type of international relations.
Staying on the path of peaceful coexistence, China has never engaged in aggression or expansion against others, but has made arduous efforts to forge a new Chinese-style path to modernization. China promotes the shared human values of peace, development, fairness, justice, democracy, and freedom and works in cooperation with all peace-loving nations; it does not engage in confrontation, spheres of influence, or exclusive cliques. China firmly defends the international system centered on the United Nations and the international order based on international law, and opposes hegemony and power politics. China has always worked to build world peace, contribute to global development, and defend the international order. It firmly supported the nationalist movements of oppressed peoples against colonial and imperial rule, and has done its best to build a more just and fairer world for developing countries. China enjoys relations of mutual respect and support with a great majority of developing countries and has provided them with whatever help it can while remaining out of their domestic affairs. The Chinese people put great store in honor, believing that words must carry weight and actions must produce results. China fulfilled its promises on poverty alleviation and environmental protection with outstanding results, demonstrating a Chinese approach in these areas. China has put forward and led implementation on the Belt and Road initiative, which is providing public goods and vast opportunities to address the global development deficit and promote growth in developing countries. China has also proposed the building of a global community of shared future, which has won the support of a majority of countries and international organizations, including the UN, and set out a sound path and bright prospects for the development of humanity.
As some international scholars have noted, the path of integrity pursued by China is diametrically different from the path of might taken by those that engage in aggression, bullying, and hegemony and are quick to go to war and threaten the use of force. Thus, it will always hold the high moral ground for its just and reasonable approach.
CPC's success and experiences over the past 100 years have been closely examined and researched by the international community. This year many international media outlets published articles and interviews featuring foreign political figures and academics, many of whom raised very important points. The following are just some examples of those important views:
"The CPC is the most successful political party in modern times." "The CPC has modernized ancient China." "The centenary of the CPC is a great revolutionary milestone." "The CPC has led China in becoming a great country." "The CPC has provided an option for the global cause of poverty reduction." "The CPC has provided the world with an effective governance model." "The CPC has made outstanding contributions to human development." "The CPC is the largest force for peace in the world." "The CPC has shown an astounding ability to adapt and reform." "The CPC has restored the vitality of world socialism." "The theories of the CPC have contributed greatly to Marxism in the 21st century." "The China of today has never engaged in aggression or expansion." "China is an opportunity, not a challenge for the world." "The Chinese model has provided the world with an alternative choice."
These views will perhaps help people to understand how and why the CPC has been successful.
Jiang Jinquan is Director of the CPC Central Policy Research Office.
(Originally appeared in Qiushi Journal, Chinese edition, No. 14, 2021)