CPC's Century-Long Struggle Has Shaped the Future of the Chinese People
Over the past century, the Communist Party of China (CPC), staying true to its founding mission, has united and led the Chinese people in working tirelessly to achieve national independence and liberation, and then to make our country prosperous and strong for a better life for the people. In so doing, it has written the most magnificent chapter in the millennia-long history of the Chinese nation, and fundamentally transformed the fate of the Chinese people. The aspirations of the Chinese people for a better life have continually been realized during all stages of the Party's century-long history. The Chinese people, who are more self-confident, self-reliant, and capable of self-improvement, now have greater aspiration, motivation and determination, and are marching in confident strides toward the Second Centenary Goal of building China into a great modern socialist country.
I. The Chinese people have become the masters of the country, society, and their own fate.
After the advent of modern times, the Chinese people, who were oppressed by the three mountains of imperialism, feudalism, and bureaucrat-capitalism, were economically exploited, politically deprived, and culturally enslaved. They were denigrated as the "sick man of East Asia" by Western imperialist powers. The CPC led the Chinese people, and through bloody battles and unyielding struggles, toppled these three great mountains and established the People's Republic of China (PRC), making the people the masters of their country. This marked the country's great transformation from a millennia-old feudal autocracy to a people's democracy. Henceforth, the Chinese people stood up, and held their fate firmly in their own hands.
Locals display sun-dried produce in Zhuquan Village, Yinan County, Shandong Province, November 13, 2021 (drone photo). Every autumn, the village holds a festival featuring dried goods, which has already become a unique tourist attraction. PHOTO BY XINHUA REPORTER FAN CHANGGUO
By taking charge, the people have become masters of their own country.
Since the founding of the PRC in 1949, the Party and the government have expanded the people's political participation at all levels and in all fields by continuously enriching the forms of democracy, broadening the channels of democracy, and improving the systems and institutions through which the people run the country. This ensures that China's governance and institutions give full expression to the will of the people, protect their rights and interests, and spark their creativity. In 1954, the Constitution of the People's Republic of China was adopted at the First Session of the First National People's Congress, establishing China's fundamental political system—the system of people's congresses. This represents a monumental innovation in the history of global political institutions made by the Chinese people. In this system, the people exercise state power through the National People's Congress and the local people's congresses at various levels; people's congresses at all levels are formed through a process of democratic election, and are accountable to the people and subject to their oversight; and the administrative, supervisory, judicial, and procuratorial bodies of the state are elected by people's congresses, are responsible to them, and are subject to their oversight. On the basis of the principle of combining universal, equal, and direct elections with indirect elections, it is ensured that everyone enjoys equal rights to vote and to stand for election. By always upholding the unity between the leadership of the CPC, the position of the people as masters of the country, and law-based governance, we are actively developing whole-process people's democracy and connecting every link in the chain including democratic elections, consultations, decision-making, management, and oversight. Through continuous efforts to improve the electoral system in accordance with national conditions, we are gradually making it so that the size of the population represented by each people's congress deputy is equivalent in urban and rural areas, and ensuring that all regions, ethnic groups, and social sectors have a suitable number of representatives. Through the institutionalized development of socialist consultative democracy in a broad range of areas and on multiple levels, the content and procedures of consultations are continually being standardized, and the people are able to participate through a variety of channels and methods in extensive consultations on major issues in national governance, particularly those of immediate concern to their interests. This enables us to find common ground with regard to the wishes and demands of society as a whole. When the CPC and the government formulate and implement major policy decisions, they solicit and consider opinions from all sides, drawing on the will of the people, gathering their ideas, and pooling their strength to the greatest extent possible. Community-level democracy is continually being improved so that there are ample guarantees for the people's rights to be informed, to participate, to be heard, and to exercise oversight.
A "selfie" of the Zhurong rover and its landing platform, unveiled at a ceremony for the release of the first images after the landing of Tianwen-1 on Mars held at the National Space Administration, Beijing, June 11, 2021. Also unveiled were images of the landing site, the Martian terrain, and China's first "footprints" on Mars. XINHUA / PHOTO PROVIDED BY THE NATIONAL SPACE ADMINISTRATION
By participating in social governance, the people have become masters of their own society.
Urban and rural residents nationwide, under the leadership of the CPC, elect their village or neighborhood committees in accordance with laws and regulations, and conduct public affairs and public welfare initiatives in their villages and communities. Workers in government-affiliated institutions voluntarily form trade unions in accordance with laws and regulations. They also organize and educate workers on exercising their democratic rights through employee congresses and other means in accordance with the constitution, laws, and regulations. In accordance with relevant laws, the people can establish social organizations and launch social service schemes and social welfare initiatives to drive orderly and healthy social development. Over the last 70 years, community-level democracy has developed in an orderly fashion nationwide, community-level self-governance mechanisms have continually been improved, and resident codes of conduct, village rules and regulations, industry rules and regulations, and charters of organizations have played a positive role. Hence, the public exercises an extensive role in managing, serving, teaching, and monitoring itself in community administration, basic public affairs, and public welfare initiatives. Forms of community-level democracy such as seminars, public hearings, online and distance deliberation of public affairs, and direct solicitation of the views of the public through legislative outreach offices and other types of community meetings are constantly emerging. It is becoming increasingly commonplace for civil affairs to be discussed, decided, and run by the people. The system for the management of social organizations is improving, and a positive situation in which everyone participates and everyone does their duty is quickly taking shape.
By displaying energy and drive, the people have become masters of their own fate.
Since the founding of the PRC, the CPC has devoted itself to creating a just society in which everyone is equal. It has continued to drive equality of genders, of employment opportunities, and between ethnic groups, so that everyone has the opportunity to realize personal development through their own hard work. Millions upon millions of the hard-working people did away with feudal dependency, and all workers and farmers, in particular the millions of Tibetan serfs, were liberated and embarked toward a better life. The CPC and the government adopted and implemented the Marriage Law to establish a dedicated mechanism for protecting women's rights, and continually improved the legislative framework for safeguarding women's equal rights, greatly raising the political, familial, economic, and social standing of women. The Party established the system of regional ethnic autonomy, thoroughly negating ethnic oppression and discrimination. As such, every ethnic group is equal without exception, so that interaction, communication, and integration between the 56 ethnic groups increasingly firm up a keen sense of identity of the Chinese nation. Since the launch of reform and opening up in 1978, more than 600 million people have moved from rural areas into the cities to live and work, profoundly transforming their own lot while simultaneously driving national economic and social development. As long as they are passionate and devoted in their work, diligent in their studies, adept in practice, and dependable and willing to work hard, the vast majority of workers will be able to realize their dreams in life and change their fate, regardless of their occupation.
II. The Chinese people's yearning for a better life is continually becoming a reality.
This country is its people; the people are the country. As we have fought to establish and consolidate our country, we have in fact been fighting to earn and keep the people's support. Over the past hundred years, the CPC, maintaining a people-centered perspective on development, has united and led the Chinese people in driving toward the goal of common prosperity in order to realize a better life, and achieved the First Centenary Goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects. As such, it has brought about a historic resolution to the problem of absolute poverty in China, and the Chinese people's lives have witnessed tremendous changes.
All the people are enjoying moderately prosperous lives.
Over the millennia, the Chinese people have been plagued by the torments of hunger, insufficient food or clothing, and dire poverty. In the modern era, the invasion of China by imperialist powers brought untold misery to the Chinese people. After the founding of the PRC, under the firm leadership of the CPC, the Chinese people brought about the miracle of rapid economic development, and a historic leap was realized in people's lives from subsistence to moderate prosperity in general, and then to moderate prosperity in all respects. In particular, since the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012, the CPC Central Committee with Xi Jinping at its core has made the poverty eradication campaign the fundamental requirement for, and an important symbol of, the endeavor to build a moderately prosperous society in all respects. By driving forward targeted efforts to alleviate and eliminate poverty, we have accomplished the historic task of eradicating absolute poverty. By the end of 2020, 98.99 million rural poor people living below the poverty line were completely lifted out of poverty, 832 poor counties had left poverty behind, 128,000 poor villages completely shook off the "poor" designation, and regional poverty was eliminated on the whole, representing a miraculous achievement that will go down in history. Per capita disposal income among Chinese residents grew from 49.7 yuan in 1949 to 32,000 yuan in 2020, thus elevating China from an extremely impoverished low-income country to an upper-middle-income country which was soon to join the ranks of the high-income countries. In 2020, the Engel's coefficient nationwide dropped to 30.2%, and the structure of consumption gradually moved from a subsistence pattern to consumption for the purposes of development and enjoyment. Enjoying more than enough food, clothes, and goods, people have started to seek a higher quality and style of living. In 2019, domestic tourists made more than 6 billion trips, while Chinese traveling abroad made about 155 million trips, indicating that China is entering an era of mass tourism. Cars have also quickly become affordable for ordinary people—in 2020, the rate of automobile ownership among residents reached 37.1 per 100 families.
The Shougang Big Air complex, November 11, 2021. Located in the Shougang industrial park, the complex is also called the "Snow Apsara" since its design was inspired by the flying apsaras at the Dunhuang Grottoes. Like other Olympic venues including the "Ice Ribbon" and "Snow Ruyi," it boasts prominent Chinese elements. PHOTO BY BEIJING DAILY REPORTER PAN ZHIWANG
People are leading happier, more satisfying, and more secure lives.
The old China was poor and weak, the people lived in destitution, education and health undertakings were extremely under-developed, epidemics were rampant, and doctors and medicine were in short supply. Furthermore, there were huge numbers of people in distress in urban and rural areas including disaster victims, poor people, and orphans, elderly people, and disabled people living without support. Immediately after the founding of the PRC in 1949, illiteracy was as high as 80%, average life expectancy was only 35 years, and the infant mortality rate was over 200‰. Since the 1950s, the CPC has persisted in improving living standards through development, actively promoting access to childcare, education, employment, medical services, elderly care, housing, and social assistance to continue improving people's lives and enhancing their wellbeing. Education has developed across the board—in 2020 gross enrollment for preschool education was 85.2%, the student retention rate over nine years of compulsory education reached 95.2%, and the gross enrollment rate in secondary and higher education reached 91.2% and 54.4%, respectively. The current overall level of the modernization of education has already surpassed the global average. The people's education and cultural levels have seen marked improvement, with the average education received by the working-age population reaching 10.8 years. Healthcare undertakings have also advanced in great strides. The triple-tier network for the provision of medical services covering urban and rural areas has been enhanced on an ongoing basis, and the standard of medical technology and capabilities in medical services have continued to improve, giving the people access to affordable and effective medical services. In 2019, national average life expectancy reached 77.3 years, and in 2020 the infant mortality rate decreased to 5.4‰, making public health indicators better than the average levels in upper-middle income countries. China has already established the world's largest social security system which includes elderly care, medical services, government provided subsistence allowances, and housing. Regardless of whether people reside in cities or the countryside, what region they come from, or their gender or occupation, they all enjoy corresponding institutional guarantees when facing the challenges of old age, illness, job loss, occupational injury, physical disability, or poverty.
As of the end of 2020, 1.36 billion people nationwide were covered by full basic medical insurance, and 999 million people were covered by basic old-age insurance. The goal of ensuring that all elderly citizens have the care and support they need and feel happy and secure is being realized. Guarantees for the rights of disabled people have been strengthened, and 85 million disabled people nationwide have advanced together into moderate prosperity. The system of child welfare and protection of minors has been consistently improved, providing strong support for the health and all-around development of children. Housing guarantees have been reinforced, with government-subsidized housing and new housing for people relocated from run-down areas reaching over 80 million units, helping over 200 million people living in difficulty to improve their housing conditions. Most families facing difficulties such as living on subsistence allowances or with low incomes have received support, and the housing conditions of lower-middle income households have seen effective improvement. Over the long term, China has preserved social harmony and stability and ensured that the people can live and work in peace and contentment, giving the people a fuller, more solid, and more sustainable sense of fulfillment, happiness, and security.
The Chinese people are leading richer lives in the non-material sense.
The CPC has led the people in developing advanced socialist culture and building China into a country with a strong socialist culture. With each passing day, the cultural and intellectual lives of the people are growing richer and more dynamic. By promoting free access to public libraries, museums, cultural centers, memorial halls, and art galleries, and offering free public cultural courses at scientific and technological museums and centers, workers' culture centers, activity centers for women and children, and youth extracurricular activity centers, public cultural services have been made more abundant, convenient, and accessible. For example, without leaving their homes, people can enjoy high-quality public cultural services online; trendy cultural sites and museums, high-quality cultural products, and creative cultural activities better satisfy people's personalized, diverse, high-quality, and cosmopolitan cultural needs. Booming film and television productions allow people to enjoy an increasing amount of high-level cultural treats. In addition, as a result of widespread efforts to promote the best of China's traditional culture, more and more people are now able to revel in classical art and our national treasures, and in this experience the long history of Chinese civilization and the magnificence of Chinese history. With the noble ideal of communism and the shared ideal of Chinese socialism more firmly consolidated among the Chinese people, the core socialist values of prosperity, democracy, civility, harmony, freedom, equality, justice, the rule of law, patriotism, dedication, integrity, and friendship are able to take root deep in people's hearts. Carrying forward the spirit of patriotism, reform and innovation, and striving in the new era will further develop a national mentality that is positive and enterprising, open and inclusive, and rational and composed, and further reinforce unity in thinking within the entire Party and society as a whole.
III. The Chinese people are more self-confident and self-reliant.
The CPC has led the Chinese people through a century of struggle, turning national rejuvenation into a historical inevitability and transforming the nation and the people's mental outlook. The Chinese people are now more self-confident and self-reliant, and have greater aspiration, motivation and determination for the road ahead.
The CPC has strengthened the Chinese people's aspiration.
A hundred years ago, the Chinese people endured bullying and humiliation whereas today they have realized moderate prosperity in all respects. They now stand with pride and confidence among the nations of the world, with stronger desire for realizing the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. The great success of the battle against poverty brought real change to the lives of hundreds of millions of people, demonstrating the Chinese people's lofty pursuit for transformative changes. The strategic success in the fight against Covid-19 has amply exhibited China's spirit, strength, and sense of responsibility. And in the Olympic stadia, with the Chinese flag rising up and the national anthem March of the Volunteers being played time and again, the Chinese people's good health and sportsmanship has brought abundant self-confidence. Every step taken, and every success gained toward realizing the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation shows the Chinese people's firm self-confidence and staunch determination. As the poem reads, "Self-confidence can empower a man to swim 3,000 miles and live for 200 years." Only with nerve such as this can the Chinese people fearlessly confront all kinds of difficulties and challenges, unlock new prospects with unswerving determination, and bring about one miracle after another. The Party has led the people in pioneering a uniquely Chinese path to modernization, creating a new model for human advancement. The Chinese people are closer to realizing the goal of national rejuvenation than at any time in our history, and are more confident and capable than ever before of achieving this goal. On the new journey that lies before us in the current era, the Chinese people will inevitably live better lives, greatly strengthen their unity, cohesiveness, and sense of pride, and gather together boundless strength and determination to realize national rejuvenation.
The CPC has increased the Chinese people's motivation for making progress.
Over the past hundred years, the CPC has led the people in bringing about miraculous achievements that have amazed the world. In the economic domain, China completed, in the space of mere decades, a process of industrialization that took developed countries several centuries, becoming the world's second largest economy, largest manufacturing nation, largest trader of goods, second largest consumer of commodities, and second largest recipient of foreign investment, as well as the country with the largest foreign exchange reserves for many years running. In the science and technology domain, after 1949, the Chinese people became independent and self-reliant, making major breakthroughs including nuclear weapons, intercontinental ballistic missiles, satellites, super-hybrid rice, high-performance computers, synthetic bovine insulin, and artemisinin, among others. Since the launch of reform and opening up, and particularly since the 18th CPC National Congress, the Chinese people have moved fast in science and technology and future development through bold exploration and blazing new trails. In so doing, we have overcome a great many scientific and technological challenges with a bearing on our overall national development strategy, made breakthroughs on many core technologies in key fields, and achieved many world-class and independently driven innovative achievements such as deep-sea surveys, quantum communication, and large aircraft. China is a world leader in fields including aviation and space flight, artificial intelligence, 5G mobile communications, mobile payments, new energy vehicles, and fintech. Our country has broken through blockades and restraints imposed by the United States and Western countries, thoroughly transformed its laggard level of science and technology, ascending to the ranks of innovation-oriented countries. China's economic strength, scientific and technological capabilities, and composite national strength have risen substantially, and consistently reached new heights. Important achievements have been made in modernizing national defense and the armed forces. There has been a marked rise in our country's cultural soft power. The international influence of Chinese culture is thus increasingly apparent, writing a magnificent epic of self-improvement, and immensely enhancing the Chinese people's confidence.
The CPC has boosted the Chinese people's determination.
The Chinese people have endured a century-long struggle, bringing about tremendous transformations and consistently taking on a new look. From being ordered about to running their own country, from having no means of livelihood to having a good life, and from absolute poverty to reaching moderate prosperity, the Chinese people have never been as affluent, proud, and happy as they are today. The Chinese people's determination stems from the firm leadership of the CPC, the tremendous strengths of the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and the guidance of the CPC Central Committee led by Xi Jinping. Thus, the Chinese people have the backbone, stability, and decisiveness so that when faced with danger, no matter how great, they will be calm, composed, self-confident, and steadfast. The nation has hope, the country has strength, and the people are determined, and Chinese people the world over receive widespread respect. One after another, successful evacuation operations have revealed China's strength, demonstrating that our great nation will always be a firm source of support for its people. Regardless of what kind of danger Chinese people may meet when abroad, they will always have their mighty homeland at their back. In their hearts, no Chinese person feels regret for being born in China. A strong country will forever be something that the Chinese people can depend on the most, and something that fuels every Chinese person's determination.
(Originally appeared in Qiushi Journal, Chinese edition, No. 23, 2021)