Placing Greater Emphasis on Promoting Common Prosperity
Achieving common prosperity is an essential requirement of socialism, a common expectation of the Chinese people, and the CPC's abiding goal. Over the past hundred years, the CPC has worked consistently to build a strong and thriving nation and to bring common prosperity to the people.
In the early days of the People's Republic of China which was founded in 1949, Mao Zedong put forward the goal of developing China into a prosperous and strong country. He said, "This prosperity is common prosperity, and this strength is common strength. Everyone has a share." The establishment of socialism as China's basic system has laid down the institutional foundations necessary for gradually bringing about common prosperity.
After the launch of reform and opening up in 1978, Deng Xiaoping repeatedly emphasized the need to bring prosperity to all. He said, "Socialism does not mean allowing a few people to grow rich while the overwhelming majority live in poverty. No, that's not socialism. The greatest strength of socialism is that it enables all the people to prosper, and common prosperity is the essence of socialism." He also said, "We keep to the socialist road in order to attain the ultimate goal of common prosperity, but it is impossible for all regions to develop at the same pace." Throughout the process of reform and opening up, the CPC has followed a realistic approach, allowing some people and regions to get rich first and then using this momentum to fuel the push to prosperity for others. This approach has energized different sectors, unleashed and developed productive forces, and laid solid material foundations for achieving common prosperity.
Since the 18th National Congress of the CPC in 2012, General Secretary Xi Jinping has repeatedly stressed that common prosperity is a fundamental principle of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and that achieving common prosperity is a key mission for the Party. By advancing economic and social development, we are working toward the ultimate goal of achieving common prosperity for all. Under the firm leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Xi Jinping at its core, China's GDP has broken the RMB 100 trillion yuan mark, and per capita national income has risen above US$10,000. China has reached new heights in terms of economic might, scientific and technological capabilities, composite national strength, and living standards. A historic resolution has been brought to the problem of absolute poverty that has plagued China for millennia, and we have accomplished the First Centenary Goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects. These tremendous achievements have set the stage for advancing common prosperity as never before.
Building upon the success of reaching moderate prosperity in all respects, the CPC has led the Chinese people in launching a new journey to build a modern socialist country and advance toward the Second Centenary Goal. Putting greater emphasis on promoting common prosperity for all and making more notable and substantive progress in this regard is a historic task that must be fulfilled for China to advance toward greater long-term goals and a brighter future in social development. This also represents a major strategic decision made by the CPC for responding to people's expectations and seizing the historical initiative.
Promoting common prosperity is essential for addressing the principal challenge facing Chinese society in the new era. 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. Unbalanced and inadequate development has emerged as a prominent issue. Making more notable and substantive progress toward common prosperity for all is the focus of our efforts to address this issue.
Promoting common prosperity is an important feature of the Chinese path to modernization. This is an approach to modernization geared toward realizing common prosperity for all, and common prosperity is a major goal of socialist modernization. In the process of building China into a modern socialist country, we must bridge gaps between regions, between urban and rural areas, and between rich and poor people in a proactive manner, take solid steps toward common prosperity, and resolutely prevent polarization. By doing so, we will ensure that all the people are able to share in the fruits of modernization.
Promoting common prosperity is the fundamental aim of our efforts to advance high-quality development. China's economy has already shifted from a stage of rapid growth to one of high-quality development. This kind of development has the capacity to meet the people's growing needs for a better life, and makes the sharing of benefits the fundamental goal. In essence, this goal requires that we adhere to the peoplecentered philosophy of development and work toward common prosperity through a gradual approach. These are thus also requirements for promoting high-quality development.
Promoting common prosperity is not just an economic objective, but a major political issue that bears on the foundations of our Party's governance. The CPC comes from the people, has its roots among the people, and is dedicated to serving the people. It has in the people its foundations, its lifeblood, and its source of strength. Therefore, only by striving to satisfy the people's yearning for a better life and by constantly advancing common prosperity will our Party be able to win the trust and support of the people, and in turn solidify the foundations of its governance on a consistent basis.
As an old Chinese saying goes, though the road may be long and full of obstacles, you will reach your destination as long as you keep moving forward. On the path to common prosperity, the CPC has never slowed or slackened. This is a long-term historic mission, and therefore we must work pragmatically, put in sustained effort, and make progress step by step. With this in mind, it is imperative that we have the following:
First, we must have an accurate understanding of the meaning and requirements of common prosperity. The common prosperity we are working to achieve is for everyone and not for a minority; it covers enrichment of people's lives in both the material and non-material sense rather than focusing exclusively on material wealth; and it is not aimed at achieving rigid egalitarianism or a uniform level of prosperity, but instead allows gaps in wealth to exist to a certain extent. Bearing these points in mind, we must work to ensure that all the people share more fully and fairly in the fruits of development; to meet people's demands for intellectual and cultural fulfillment, democracy and rule of law, fairness and justice, development and security, and environmental quality in addition to satisfying their growing material needs; and to encourage the pursuit of prosperity through hard work and innovation as well as role models who inspire others to pursue prosperity through diligent work, entrepreneurship, and legitimate business activities. We are enabling some people to get rich first so that they can give a helping hand to those following in their wake. This is by no means taking from the rich to give to the poor.
Second, we must have a full picture of the fact that common prosperity is a complex and onerous task which will take a long time to fulfill. Pursuing common prosperity is a dynamic process of moving forward. We cannot expect to reach our goal overnight, nor can we do everything at once. Given this, we must make steady and incremental progress, working year by year to tackle issue after issue. In this way, small achievements will add up to larger victories, and we will keep advancing toward the goal of common prosperity for all.
Third, we must have a firm grasp of the general guidelines for advancing common prosperity. Under the guidance of the people-centered philosophy of development, we must promote common prosperity through high-quality development. We must strike the right balance between equity and efficiency, establishing basic institutional arrangements enabling coordination and complementarity between primary, secondary, and tertiary distribution while also putting greater and more targeted efforts into regulating distribution through taxation, social insurance, and transfer payments. This will help us expand the relative size of the middle-income group, raise incomes among low-income earners, rationally adjust excessive incomes, and prohibit illicit income, creating an oliveshaped distribution structure that is larger in the middle and smaller at each end. By doing so, we will promote social fairness and justice and people's well-rounded development, and make solid strides toward the goal of common prosperity for all.
(Originally appeared in Qiushi Journal, Chinese edition, No. 19, 2021)