Qu Qingshan:A Century of Brilliance for the Communist Party of China

2024-03-22 16:01:02 | Author:Qu Qingshan | Source:theorychina

A Century of Brilliance for the Communist Party of China


By Qu Qingshan

President and Research Fellow

Institute of Party History and Literature of

the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China



Chinese Society for the History of the Communist Party of China



Spanning from 1921 to 2021, the Communist Party of China (CPC) has journeyed through a full century. This century is inscribed with blood, sweat, tears, courage, wisdom, and strength; it is a century marked by adversity, surmounting obstacles, diligent work, and unceasing advancement, brimming with challenges and miracles. It is a century of splendor, sculpted through trials and tribulations, resilience in the face of setbacks, success reaped from exploration, rectification of errors, novel circumstances birthed from transitions, and a future secured through relentless struggle. The pursuit of national independence, people’s liberation, national prosperity, and people’s happiness form the themes and main threads of the CPC’s hundred-year journey. This “history of relentless struggle,” “history of theoretical exploration,” and “history of self-improvement” encapsulate the mainstream and essence of the CPC’s century-long narrative. Propelling the cause of revolution, development, reform, and rejuvenation is a defining feature of this hundred-year journey, while gradually achieving the goals of saving, revitalizing, enriching, and strengthening the nation signifies the solemn mission of the CPC throughout this period.

The century-long history of the CPC can be divided into four historical periods: from the establishment of the CPC in July 1921 to the founding of the People’s Republic of China in October 1949 is the period of the new-democratic revolution; from October 1949 to the Third Plenary Session of the 11th Central Committee of the Party in December 1978 is the period of socialist revolution and development; from December 1978 to the 18th CPC National Congress in November 2012 is the new period of reform and opening up and socialist modernization; from November 2012 to the present is the New Era of socialism with Chinese characteristics. In these four historical periods, the CPC completed and advanced four major tasks. These four tasks have forged the century-long brilliance of the CPC.


Pioneering Work: The CPC Completed the Great Task

of Saving the Nation during the New-Democratic Revolution


The modern history of China began with the Opium War in 1840. From then on, China was gradually reduced to a semi-colonial and semi-feudal society. In order to change the tragic and humiliating fate of the Chinese nation, the Chinese people and countless dedicated patriots carried out arduous explorations and unyielding struggles. The feudal ruling class initiated the Westernization Movement, the peasant class launched the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom Uprising and the Yihetuan Movement, the bourgeois reformists and revolutionaries successively launched the Reform Movement of 1898 and the Revolution of 1911, but all ended in failure. The CPC took the stage of Chinese politics against this historical backdrop. It was born out of the intense conflicts of modern Chinese society, the fierce struggle of the Chinese people against feudal rule and foreign aggression, and the process of combining Marxism-Leninism with the Chinese workers’ movement.

On July 23, 1921, the inaugural congress of the CPC took place in Shanghai and concluded a few days later on the Red Boat in South Lake, Jiaxing, Zhejiang. The convening of this first congress symbolized the formal establishment of the CPC. Party organizations that had been set up across the country prior to this event were considered early formations of the Party.

Renowned Party historian, Hu Qiaomu, once penned: “After the First Congress, it seemed as though nothing had occurred, with no coverage even in the newspapers. However, in essence, the profound transformation of China had begun.”

Mao Zedong, in summarizing the Party’s founding history, stated: “The birth of the Communist Party in China was a groundbreaking event.... From that moment on, China’s direction changed.” Unlike other political parties and organizations in China, the CPC, upon its inception, embraced the realization of communism as its highest ideal and ultimate goal, establishing its original aspiration and founding mission to seek happiness for the Chinese people and national rejuvenation.

The CPC’s exploration of the path to revolution in China was a challenging journey. Amidst strenuous exploration and practice, the CPC integrated the fundamental tenets of Marxism with the specific realities of the Chinese revolution. The Party united and guided the Chinese people in finding a correct revolutionary path, which involved surrounding the cities from the countryside and taking political power by armed force. After 28 years of fierce battle, the Party defeated Japanese imperialism, overthrew the reactionary rule of the Kuomintang, completed the new-democratic revolution, and established the People’s Republic of China.

Throughout this process, the Party led the people to make great sacrifices and overcome numerous difficulties. It can be said that the red political power and the new China did not come easily. They were “red” because they were earned through the life and blood of countless people martyrs. Mao Zedong once pointed out at the Seventh CPC National Congress: “Our Party has endured hardships and difficulties, fighting bravely and resolutely. Since time immemorial, no group in China, like the Communist Party, has been willing to sacrifice everything and everyone for such monumental tasks.” Yang Jingyu, the leader of the Northeast United Resistance Army, when left as the last man standing with no ammunition or provisions during the battle against the Japanese invaders, defiantly responded to others’ attempts to persuade him to surrender, stating: “Fellow villagers, if all of us Chinese surrender, will China still exist?”

According to incomplete statistics, from 1921 to 1949, more than 3.7 million recognized revolutionaries across the nation sacrificed their lives, with an average of over 370 deaths per day. They truly exemplified the valor and ambition encapsulated in these lines of poetry:


In sacrifice bitter, our resolve becomes clearer,

Boldly we dare, for new skies to appear.


The founding of the People’s Republic of China signifies the triumph of the new-democratic revolution against imperialism and feudalism, achieved by the people under CPC leadership, declaring that the Chinese people haves stoop up. It decisively concluded the history of Old China as a semi-colonial, semi-feudal society, thoroughly dispelled the fragmented state of Old China, and unequivocally abolished the unequal treaties forced upon China by foreign powers and all imperialistic privileges within China. The Chinese people genuinely began to run their nation and society, marking a significant transformation from millennia of feudal autocracy to people’s democracy. The Chinese nation embarked on an epic journey toward achieving rejuvenation, “working courageously and industriously to foster its own civilization and well-being and at the same time to promote world peace and freedom.”


Consequential: The CPC Spearheaded the Country’s Revival

during the Period of Socialist Revolution and Development


At the dawn of the People’s Republic of China, the domestic and international situations were extraordinarily challenging and complex. Long-term warfare had devastated the economy, leaving the people destitute. Remnants of the Kuomintang sought opportunities to cause disruption, and banditry was rampant. Some areas had not yet been liberated, and many grassroots levels had not established political power. Western countries, led by the United States, politically isolated us, economically blockaded us, and militarily threatened us. On June 25, 1950, the Korean War broke out, followed by the U.S. invasion of Korea and the deployment of the Seventh Fleet into the Taiwan Strait. The nascent People’s Republic of China faced serious security threats.

“One punch to avoid a hundred.” After thorough discussion and comprehensive weighing, the Party Central Committee and Chairman Mao Zedong made the strategic decision to “Resist US aggression and Aid Korea, Defend the Homeland.” The Korean War displayed the might of the People’s Republic of China and its military, enhanced the prestige of the CPC among the people, boosted the Chinese people’s national confidence and national pride, preserved peace in Asia and the world, and solidified the People’s Republic of China’s standing. As Deng Xiaoping later said, with the founding of the People’s Republic of China, “China has achieved status: people dare not look down upon us.”

Similarly, how to build socialism and how to advance modernize China were entirely new subjects for the CPC at the beginning of the People’s Republic. The CPC embarked on a journey to carve out its own path for socialist development, initially drawing lessons from the Soviet Union but later consciously avoiding its missteps. By 1956, China had completed its socialist transformation, established the basic socialist system, and began large-scale socialist development, achieving significant accomplishments.

In June 1954, Mao Zedong once asked, “What can we make at present? We can make tables and chairs, teacups and teapots, we can grow grain and grind it into flour, and we can make paper. But we can’t make a single motor car, plane, tank or tractor.” Under the steadfast leadership of the CPC, and through the self-reliance and arduous struggle of the entire nation, we quickly achieved numerous historical firsts in China: producing the first plane, motor car, and tractor, independently developing the first atomic bomb and hydrogen bomb, which were successfully detonated, successfully launching the first self-developed artificial earth satellite, successfully launching the first self-developed nuclear submarine, designing and constructing the first large bridge—the Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge, synthesizing insulin for the first time in the world, and successfully breeding a high-yield hybrid rice, among others. After more than 20 years of hard work, we initially established an independent and relatively complete industrial system and economic system. Deng Xiaoping said: “If it were not for the atomic bomb, the hydrogen bomb and the satellites we have launched since the 1960s, China would not have its present international standing as a great, influential country.” During this period, China also initially solved the problem of food and clothing for hundreds of millions of people, which was also recognized as a world miracle at that time.

In those passionate years, the entire Party maintained a good mental state, a good social atmosphere was formed throughout the society, and it was transformed into a powerful force to promote socialist revolution and development. Wang Jinxi, a worker from Daqing, shouted “When oil workers roar, even the earth shakes.” His Iron Man Spirit left an unforgettable impression, memory, and emotion to the people of the whole country, inspiring and encouraging them to move forward fearlessly. Utilizing simple tools, the residents of Lin County, Henan, carved through the Taihang Mountains, redirected the waters of the Zhang River into their county, and constructed the “man-made celestial river” known as the Red Flag Canal. This is a microcosm of the people’s striving for progress at that time.

The socialist revolution and the establishment of the socialist basic system were the great creations carried out by the first generation of central collective leadership with Mao Zedong at its core, uniting and leading the whole Party and people of all ethnic groups. They reflected the will of the Chinese people, conformed to China’s reality, and complied with the trend of historical development. This most extensive and profound social change in the history of the Chinese nation laid the fundamental political premise and institutional foundation for all development and progress in contemporary China, and provided valuable experience, theoretical preparation, and material basis for the creation of socialism with Chinese characteristics.

During the new-democratic revolution and the socialist revolution and development period, the CPC united and led the Chinese people to make a monumental leap, transforming China from the “Sick Man of East Asia” to a nation standing tall and proud.


Earth-Shaking: The CPC Led the Monumental

 Effort of National Prosperity in the New Era of Reform,

Opening Up, and Socialist Modernization


Finding a path to development socialism that aligns with China’s national conditions, especially in a country that was economically and culturally underdeveloped, was no easy task. Exploration inevitably involves mistakes. Alongside the achievements of our Party’s exploration, post 1958, serious errors also emerged, including setbacks from the Great Leap Forward, the People’s Commune movement, and the ten-year turmoil of the Cultural Revolution. Confronted with the severe consequences of these “leftist” errors, our Party embarked on profound self-reflection.

During his inspection in the Northeast from September 16th to 18th, 1978, Deng Xiaoping remarked, “ Socialism must demonstrate its superiority. Things should not continue as they are: although we have practiced socialism for more than 20 years, our country is still very poor. If things continue like this, why should we continue under socialism?” On December 13th of the same year, he delivered a pivotal speech at the Central Working Conference, famously titled “Emancipate the Mind, Seek Truth from Facts and Unite as One in Looking to the Future.” He emphasized, “Our modernization program and socialist cause will be doomed if we don’t make them now.” This speech served as the thematic report for the subsequent Third Plenary Session of the 11th Central Committee of the Party, and it became the manifesto for freeing the mind and seeking truth from facts in the new period.

The Third Plenary Session of the 11th Central Committee of the Party in 1978 marked a significant turning point in the Party’s history since the founding of the People’s Republic, ushering in a new period of reform, opening up, and socialist modernization. Following the Third Plenary Session, the second generation of the Party’s central collective leadership, with Deng Xiaoping at its core, faced the dire situation caused by the Cultural Revolution. With immense political and theoretical courage, they united and led the entire Party and people of all ethnic groups across the nation. They deeply analyzed both the successes and failures of China’s socialist development, learned from the historical experiences of world socialism, freed the mind, sought truth from facts, and made historic decisions to shift the focus of the Party and country’s work to economic development and implement reform and opening up. They clearly proposed to forge our own path and build socialism with Chinese characteristics, formulated the three-step development strategy, established the basic line for the primary stage of socialism, profoundly unveiled the essence of socialism, founded Deng Xiaoping Theory, scientifically answered a series of fundamental questions about building socialism with Chinese characteristics, and successfully inaugurated socialism with Chinese characteristics amidst rectification and reform.

After the Fourth Plenary Session of the 13th Central Committee of the Party in 1989, the third generation of the Party’s central collective leadership, with Jiang Zemin at its core, faced complex domestic and international situations and the severe tests posed by significant setbacks in world socialism. They united the entire Party and people of all ethnic groups, adhered to the Party’s basic theory and line, staunchly defended socialism with Chinese characteristics, established the Party’s basic program and experience based on new practices, set the reform goals and basic framework for the socialist market economy, established the basic economic and distribution systems for the primary stage of socialism, proposed the basic strategy of law-based governance, advanced the great new project to strengthen the Party, created the Theory of Three Represents, inaugurated a new phase of comprehensive reform and opening up, and successfully propelled socialism with Chinese characteristics into the 21st century.

Following the 16th CPC National Congress in 2002, the Party Central Committee, with Hu Jintao as the General Secretary, seized and capitalized on the important period of strategic opportunity. They united the entire Party and people of all ethnic groups, actively promoted practical, theoretical, and institutional innovation, put people first and pursued comprehensive, balanced and sustainable development. They endeavored to build a harmonious socialist society, accelerated ecological advancement, strived to safeguard and improve people’s livelihoods, promoted social fairness and justice, advanced the development of a harmonious world, enhanced the Party’s governing capacity and its progressive nature, formed the Scientific Outlook on Development, and successfully upheld and developed socialism with Chinese characteristics in the grand endeavor of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects.

In the new period of reform, opening-up, and socialist modernization, China experienced rapid economic growth and prolonged social stability. From 1978 to 2012, China’s economy has witnessed high-speed growth. Here’s a revised version of your sentence: Its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) successively outstripped that of Italy, France, the United Kingdom, and Germany. In 2010, it exceeded that of Japan, making China the world’s second-largest economy. Meanwhile, China outpaced Germany in terms of exports, earning China the title of the world’s largest exporter. Following the footsteps of the United Kingdom, the United States, Japan, and Germany since the 18th-century industrial revolution, China evolved into the “world’s factory.” By 2010, it had ascended to the ranks of upper-middle-income countries.

During the new period of reform, opening up, and socialist modernization, the CPC guided the Chinese people through a remarkable transformation: they not only stood up but also prospered.


Eventful: The CPC Fuels Advancements in

the New Era of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics,

with the Goal of Building a Great Country by Mid-Century


Since the 18th National Congress of the CPC in 2012, the CPC Central Committee, with Xi Jinping at its core, has united and led the people of all ethnic groups across the country. It has effectively charted the course, and meticulously planned and arranged the path forward. The party has effectively addressed the significant questions of our time, determining what form of socialism with Chinese characteristics should be adhered to and developed in the New Era, and how to maintain and evolve this socialism from both theoretical and practical perspectives. It has established Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, aligning the great struggle, project, cause, and dream, while coordinating efforts to pursue the five-sphere integrated plan and the four-pronged comprehensive strategy. This has led to the improvement and development of the socialist system with Chinese characteristics, the advancement of the modernization of the system and capabilities for governance. The Party has resolved many longstanding and complex issues, achieved numerous long-desired goals, and promoted historic achievements and changes within the Party and the country, propelling socialism with Chinese characteristics into a New Era.

The historic achievements and changes of the Party and the country in the New Era are reflected in the following areas: The Party’s leadership over all work has been unswervingly strengthened and the Party’s cohesion, combat effectiveness, leadership, and appeal have greatly increased. The new development philosophy has been unswervingly implemented, and the country’s development has consistently been steered towards higher quality, increased efficiency, greater fairness, enhanced sustainability, and improved safety.

China has risen to become the world’s second-largest economy, the foremost industrial nation, the leading goods trading country, and the country with the largest foreign exchange reserves, contributing to about 30% of global economic growth. It has made a series of landmark achievements in manned space flight, lunar exploration, quantum communication, supercomputing, deep-sea exploration, large aircraft manufacturing, and aircraft carriers.

China has remained steadfast in fully deepening its reforms, promoting a new state of reform that is marked by comprehensive initiatives, multiple breakthroughs, swift yet stable steps, and profound progression. The fundamental institutional frameworks in various fields have been largely established, with many areas experiencing historical transformations, systemic reshaping, and holistic restructuring.

Persistently promoting the rule of law comprehensively, the Party has significantly improved its capability to lead and administer the nation through legal approaches. Extensive strides have been made in advancing scientific legislation, strict law enforcement, impartial judiciary, and universal law observance, contributing to new progress in the development of the rule of law.

Unwavering in strengthening the Party’s leadership over ideological work, China has further consolidated unity in thought across the Party and society. The guiding position of Marxism in the ideological field has been strengthened, the core socialist values have been vigorously promoted, and the cultural sector and industries have flourished, significantly enhancing the country’s cultural soft power.

Unwavering in ensuring and improving people’s lives on the basis of development, the sense of fulfillment, happiness, and security of the people has been continuously enhanced. The achievements in poverty alleviation have been impressive, with all rural poor people under the current standard of poverty lifted out of poverty. In the past eight years, nearly 100 million people have been lifted out of poverty, and all 832 poor counties nationwide have been removed from the poverty list. People’s living standards have significantly improved, with a middle-income group exceeding 400 million people. Higher education has entered the stage of popularization. New urban employment has exceeded 10 million people for many consecutive years. The world’s largest social security system has been established, with basic medical insurance covering over 1.3 billion people and basic pension insurance covering nearly 1 billion people. The average life expectancy of residents has increased to 77.3 years.

Unwavering in promoting ecological progress, China has taken significant steps in building a Beautiful China. Major efforts have been made to control environmental pollution, reversing the trend of ecological environment deterioration.

Unwavering in promoting national defense and military modernization, China has made historical breakthroughs made in national defense and military reform. The organizational form of the military has undergone significant changes.

Unwavering in promoting major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics, China has created a peaceful international environment and a good neighboring environment for its development. What China says carries more weight on the international stage, and its influence on the world has been continuously expanded.

Unwavering in promoting full and rigorous Party self-governance, China has further consolidated the Party’s governing foundation and popular support. The results of full and rigorous Party self-governance are remarkable, and the dominant position in the battle against corruption has been established and fortified.

In the New Era, the CPC has strategically planned for the completion of a moderately prosperous society in all respects, the commencement of a journey toward a modern socialist country in all respects, and the realization of the Chinese Dream of National Rejuvenation. The 19th CPC National Congress divided the goal of achieving the Second Centenary Goal into two stages. The first stage, from 2020 to 2035, aims to fundamentally realize socialist modernization. The second stage, from 2035 to the middle of this century, aims to transform China into a prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious, and beautiful modern socialist country, thereby realizing the Chinese Dream of National Rejuvenation. The Recommendations of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China for Formulating the 14th Five-Year Plan for Economic and Social Development and the Long-Range Objectives through 2035, approved at the Fifth Plenary Session of the 19th CPC Central Committee, outline the vision for 2035. According to the 19th National Congress, by the middle of this century, the following goals will have been met:

§   New heights are reached in every dimension of material, political, cultural and ethical, social, and ecological advancement.

§   Modernization of China’s system and capacity for governance is achieved.

§   China has become a global leader in terms of composite national strength and international influence.

§   Common prosperity for everyone is basically achieved.

§   The Chinese people enjoy happier, safer, and healthier lives.

§   The Chinese nation will become a proud and active member of the community of nations.

The New Era signifies a transition from the past to the future, a continuation and expansion of previous achievements, and a time to persist in securing great victories for socialism with Chinese characteristics under new historical conditions. It is a phase dedicated to building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, and then transitioning into a great modern socialist country. It is an era where people of all ethnic groups in the country unite and strive, continuously create a better life, and gradually realize common prosperity for all. It is a period where all Chinese sons and daughters unite in their efforts, striving to realize the the Chinese Dream of National Rejuvenation. As China increasingly moves to the center of the world stage, it is a time to contribute more to humanity. The socialism with Chinese characteristics in the New Era is the result of the great social revolution pursued by the people under the leadership of the CPC, and also signifies the continuation of this great social revolution.

In the New Era, the face of the Party, the country, the people, the military, and the Chinese nation has undergone unprecedented changes. These changes have profoundly influenced China and the world. The CPC, in the New Era of socialism with Chinese characteristics, has united and led the Chinese people to achieve great transformation from wealth to strength for the Chinese nation and to see the bright prospects for national rejuvenation.


Invaluable Experiences:

A Review of the Hundred-Year History of the CPC


Over its hundred-year history, the CPC has gathered a wealth of invaluable experiences. These experiences, precious and profound, can be summarized as follows.

(1) The Party’s leadership over all work must be maintained. Modern Chinese history demonstrates that without the CPC, there would be no the new China, and without the CPC, there would be no socialism with Chinese characteristics. As General Secretary Xi Jinping stated, “The Party exercises overall leadership over all areas of endeavor in every part of the country.” The defining feature of socialism with Chinese characteristics is the leadership of the Communist Party of China; the greatest strength of the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics is the leadership of the Communist Party of China; and the Party is the highest force for political leadership. We must resolutely uphold the authority and centralized, unified leadership of the Party Central Committee with General Secretary Xi Jinping at its core, improve the system and mechanism for upholding the Party’s overall leadership, and strengthen the Party’s ability and resolve to chart our course, craft overall plans, design policy, and promote reform.

(2) The guiding position of Marxism must be maintained. The CPC is a proletarian party established under the guidance of Marxism. Marxism is the intellectual banner of the Party. As General Secretary Xi Jinping stated, “Marxism is the fundamental guiding thought for the establishment of our Party and our country. Departing from or abandoning Marxism, the Party would lose its soul and direction.” We must combine the fundamental tenets of Marxism with the actual conditions of China and the characteristics of the times, adapt Marxism to the Chinese context, arm the entire Party and educate the people with the Party’s innovative theories, and open up new prospects for the development of Marxism in contemporary China and the 21st century.

(3) Our direction determines our path, and our path determines our future. As General Secretary Xi Jinping stated, “Socialism with Chinese characteristics did not just fall from the sky. Rather, it is the fundamental achievement that the CPC and people have made at the cost of countless hardships and enormous sacrifices. Socialism with Chinese characteristics is not only a great cause that we must continually advance; it is a fundamental guarantee for our future.” We must take neither the old path of being closed and inflexible, nor the erroneous path of abandoning socialism, but steadfastly follow the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics.

(4) The people-centered approach must be adhered to. The Party has no special interests of its own apart from the interests of the working class and the greatest possible majority of the people. As General Secretary Xi Jinping pointed out, “The people are our Party’s greatest strength in governance. They are the solid base of our republic, and the foundation of a well-built Party and a prosperous nation.” Our Party comes from the people, was born for the people, thrives because of the people, and must always be closely connected with the people, share weal and woe with the people, and struggle together with the people. We must remain committed to the principle of serving the people wholeheartedly, and carry out the mass line. We must respect the people’s principal position and pioneering spirit, always maintain close ties with them, channel their strength into an invincible force, and unite and lead them to create historic achievements.

(5) We must ensure that development is the Party’s top priority in governing and rejuvenating the country. Poverty is not socialism. Liberating and developing social productivity, and enhancing the composite national strength of socialist countries, are the essential requirements of socialism. As General Secretary Xi Jinping pointed out, “Development is the underpinning and the key for solving all our country’s problems.” We must adhere to the new development philosophy, promote high-quality development, and build a modern economic system to lay a solid material foundation for socialism with Chinese characteristics.

(6) We must remained committed to deepening reform and opening up. Reform and opening up is the source of dynamism for development and progress in contemporary China, an important means by which our Party and people make great strides in catching up with the times, and the only way to adhere to and develop socialism with Chinese characteristics. General Secretary Xi Jinping pointed out, “Reform and opening up is a great new revolution our Party has been leading the people in carrying out in the new era. It is the most defining feature of contemporary China, and the most distinctive banner of our Party.” Reform and opening up is an ongoing process without an end. We must deepen our understanding and application of the laws of reform and opening up, strengthen our determination, enhance our courage, and persistently carry out reform and opening up to the end.

(7) We must uphold democratic centralism. Democratic centralism is the fundamental organizational principle of Marxist political parties. Our Party has enriched and developed the content of democratic centralism in long-term practice, making it a unique leadership system and working system. As General Secretary Xi Jinping pointed out, “Democratic centralism is our Party’s fundamental organizational principle and leadership system, and an important symbol distinguishing Marxist political parties from other parties.” Under new circumstances, we must uphold this fundamental organizational principle, maintain and utilize the Party’s greatest institutional advantage.

(8) We must uphold sound, democratic, and law-based governance. Sound, democratic, and law-based governance is the governing method that the CPC has explored and formed in line with China’s national conditions in its long-term practice of governance. As General Secretary Xi Jinping pointed out, “We must adapt to the process of our country’s modernization to make our Party’s governance more sound, democratic and law-based; make state organs perform their functions better; ensure that the people are better able to manage state affairs, economic, social, and cultural affairs, and their own affairs in accordance with the law; institutionalize, standardize and establish effective procedures for the governance of all Party, state, and social affairs; and improve our ability to effectively govern the country under socialism with Chinese characteristics.” We need to adhere to, develop, and improve this effective method of governance by the Party.

(9) We must adhere to socialist ideology. The guiding role of Marxism in the ideological realm serves as the intellectual foundation that unites the entire Party and all the people in a joint endeavor. As General Secretary Xi Jinping pointed out, “To improve our public discourse in the new era, we must conscientiously uphold socialism, rally public support, foster a new generation, develop Chinese culture, and build a positive image of China.” We must firmly maintain cultural self-confidence, guide cultural development with core socialist values, promote the national spirit centered on patriotism and the spirit of the times centered on reform and innovation, promote socialist cultural-ethical progress, and provide powerful intellectual assurance and cultural support for the building of a modern socialist country in all respects.

(10) We must uphold the Party’s absolute leadership over the people’s army. Possessing a strong military and solid national defense are fundamental conditions for a proletarian party to seize and maintain power. As General Secretary Xi Jinping pointed out, “Building people’s forces that obey the Party’s command, can fight and win, and maintain excellent conduct is strategically important to achieving the Two Centenary Goals and national rejuvenation.” Our military emerged and grew under the leadership of the Party. Upholding the Party’s absolute leadership over the military is the unchanging soul of our military, and the fundamental guarantee for the Party’s long-term governance and the country’s enduring stability. We must unwaveringly follow a Chinese path to military development. We will enhance the political loyalty of the armed forces, to strengthen them through reform and technology and the training of competent personnel, and to run them in accordance with the law. We will comprehensively raise the level of national defense and military modernization to elevate our people’s armed forces to world-class standards.

(11) We must consolidate and develop the broadest possible patriotic united front. The united front is a crucial instrument of the CPC. Establishing a united front, achieving the widest political unity, widening the social base, and uniting all forces that can be united, is a successful strategy that has led the CPC to victory throughout various historical periods. As General Secretary Xi Jinping pointed out, “We conduct the united front work not for window dressing or good name, but for pragmatic reasons, because it plays a role, a big role, and an indispensable role. In the final analysis, the job of the united front is to win over more people; we use the united front to strengthen the forces for the common goal.” We must persist in developing and strengthening the patriotic united front in the New Era. We should cultivate harmonious relationships among different political parties, ethnic groups, religions, social classes, and compatriots both within and outside of China. It’s crucial to expand common understanding and align interests, thereby adding powerful momentum toward the reunification of the motherland and the realization of the Chinese Dream of National Rejuvenation.

(12) We must advance the noble endeavor of peace and development for humanity. The CPC is a party that pursues the wellbeing of the Chinese people and also strives for the progress of humanity. It consistently considers making new and greater contributions to humanity as its mission. General Secretary Xi Jinping pointed out: “What we Chinese Communists are doing is to better the lives of the Chinese people, rejuvenate the Chinese nation, and promote peace and development for humanity.” We must steadfastly uphold the banner of peace, development, cooperation, and mutual benefit, firmly grasp the major trends of global development, and continually position ourselves at the forefront of the times. We should unwaveringly follow the path of peaceful development and persistently pursue an open strategy of mutual benefit. We must promote the establishment of a new type of international relations, strive to build a global community with a shared future, and strengthen friendly exchanges with all countries. Together with people from all nations, we must advance the noble cause of peace and development for humanity.

(13) We must uphold full and rigorous Party self-governance. The CPC is a great party not because we do not make mistakes, but because we never conceal mistakes. We face up to them and reform ourselves. As General Secretary Xi Jinping has pointed out, “It takes a good blacksmith to forge good tools. China’s success hinges on our Party, so we must ensure that the Party exercises effective self-supervision and practices strict self-governance in every respect.” The fundamental reason our Party has emerged among various political forces in modern China is its enduring spirit of self-reform, its readiness to address its own issues, and its commitment to resolve its own problems. If our Party is to continually qualify to lead the great social revolution, it must have the courage to undertake a significant self-reform, constantly strengthening its ability to cleanse, improve, and reform itself, thus always maintaining its advanced nature and purity. We must improve our ability to pursue Party self-supervision and governance and carry on the great new project to strengthen the Party to make the Party stronger and more formidable.

A hundred years on from its founding, the CPC is still in its prime, and remains as determined as ever to achieve lasting greatness for the Chinese nation. Looking back at history, we are filled with immense pride; looking forward to the future, our hearts surge with excitement. History is a continuous journey from yesterday to today and onwards to tomorrow, and its connections cannot be severed. Over the past hundred years since its establishment, the CPC has united and led the Chinese people to create a glorious history. The achievements of the CPC today have laid the groundwork, created the conditions, and established the foundation for even greater successes in the future. As long as we stay true to our original aspiration and founding mission, and continue to strive, the CPC will surely write a new chapter and achieve even greater glory when it celebrates its centenary of governance and the centenary of the People’s Republic of China. History has shaped the CPC through the exploration and struggle of the people, and the CPC, in turn, has led the people to create historical brilliance. “Understanding history is akin to envisioning the future.” In studying and revisiting the hundred-year history of the CPC, we should solidify our confidence in the history of the CPC, and at the same time, strengthen the confidence in the future of the Chinese people and the Chinese nation.


( This article was initially published in Chinese in the Guangming Daily on February 3, 2021, on page 11. The present English version was produced by the Institute of Party History and Literature of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China. The translation copyright is held by TheoryChina, a multilingual website hosted by the institute)