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

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

Communist Party of China: A Century of Glory


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



Since its founding in 1921, the Communist Party of China (CPC) has traversed a glorious journey of more than one hundred years. This century-long history has been written with blood, sweat, tears, courage, wisdom, and strength. It is a century of overcoming adversity and obstacles, of diligent work and ceaseless progress, full of challenges and miracles. It is a century of glory forged through suffering, rising with determination after setbacks, reaping success from exploration, setting things right after mistakes, opening up new horizons in transitions, and winning the future through relentless struggle.

The pursuit of national independence, the liberation of the people, national prosperity, and the people’s happiness is the theme and main thread of the Party’s century-long history; relentless struggle, no fear of sacrifice, theoretical exploration, ensuring the people’s wellbeing, and self-improvement are its mainstream and essence; advancing the cause of revolution, development, reform, and rejuvenation is its distinctive feature; and achieving the goals of saving, revitalizing, enriching, and strengthening the nation is the solemn mission of the Party throughout its history in the past century.

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


An Epoch-Making Event: Saving the Nation through
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. Against this historical backdrop, the Communist Party of China came onto China’s political stage. 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 First National Congress of the Communist Party of China 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 Party. 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 wrote: “After the First National Congress, it seemed as if nothing had happened, and not even the newspapers reported it. But in fact, a great event had begun in China.”

Mao Zedong, in summarizing the Party’s founding history, stated: “The birth of the Communist Party in China was an epoch-making event...From that time, China changed her direction.” Unlike other political parties and organizations in China, the Communist Party of China, upon its inception, embraced the realization of communism as its highest ideal and ultimate goal and established the pursuit of happiness for the Chinese people and rejuvenation for the Chinese nation as its original aspiration and founding mission.

The Party’s exploration of the path to revolution in China was a challenging journey. Amidst strenuous exploration and practice, the Party integrated the basic 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 encircling the cities from the countryside and seizing state 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 in making great sacrifices and overcoming 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 with the lives and blood of countless revolutionary martyrs. Mao Zedong pointed out at the Seventh National Party Congress: “Our Party has endured so many hardships and difficulties and fought bravely and resolutely. Since time immemorial, no group in China, except the Communist Party, has ever been willing to sacrifice everything and everyone to do such a great thing.” Yang Jingyu, the leader of the Northeast United Resistance Army, when he was the last man standing in the battle against Japanese invaders without ammunition or provisions, told those who tried to persuade him to surrender: “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 the leadership of the Party, declaring that the Chinese people have stoop up. This put an end to China’s history as a semi-colonial, semi-feudal society, to the state of total disunity that had plagued the old China, and to all unequal treaties imposed upon our country by foreign powers and all the privileges imperialist powers enjoyed on our land. The Chinese people have genuinely become the master of their nation and society, marking China’s great transformation from a millennia-old feudal autocracy to a people’s democracy. The Chinese nation has embarked on an epic journey toward achieving rejuvenation, “working courageously and industriously to create its own civilization and prosperity while promoting world peace and freedom.”


A Tremendous Transformation: Revitalizing the Country

through Socialist Revolution and Development


In the early days of the People’s Republic of China, the domestic and international situations were extremely challenging and complex. The prolonged war had devastated the economy and left the people destitute. Remnants of the Kuomintang were still looking for opportunities to cause disruption, and banditry was rampant. Some areas had not yet been liberated, and local government had not been established in many places. 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 US 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 hard punch saves a hundred punches in return.” After thorough discussion and consideration, the Party Central Committee and Chairman Mao Zedong made a strategic decision to “resist US aggression and aid Korea to defend our homeland.” The Korean War displayed the might of the People’s Republic of China and its military, enhanced the prestige of the Party 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.”

At the same time, how to build socialism and pursue modernization in China were entirely new subjects for the Party during the early days of the People’s Republic. The Party embarked on a journey to find 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 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 strong leadership of the Party, 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, detonating the first homemade atomic bomb and hydrogen bomb, launching the first self-developed artificial earth satellite, launching the first domestically developed nuclear submarine, designing and building the first large bridge—the Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge, synthesizing insulin for the first time in the world, and 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 Party as a whole maintained high morale and created a good atmosphere throughout society, both of which became a powerful force for promoting socialist revolution and development. Wang Jinxi, a worker from Daqing, shouted “When oil workers roar, even the earth shakes.” His “Iron Man” spirit brought unforgettable impressions, memories, and inspiration to the people all over the country, motivating and encouraging them to overcome difficulties and move forward. Using simple tools, the people of Lin County, Henan, cut through the Taihang Mountains, diverted the waters of the Zhang River into their county, and built the “man-made heavenly river” known as the Red Flag Canal. This is a microcosm of the people’s pursuit of progress at that time.

The socialist revolution and the establishment of the basic socialist system were the great achievements of 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 periods of the new-democratic revolution and the socialist revolution and development, the Party united and led the Chinese people in achieving a great transformation from the “sick man of East Asia” to a nation that now stands tall and proud in the East.


Enormous Changes: Bringing Prosperity to China

through Reform, Opening Up, and Socialist Modernization


Finding a path of building socialism that suits our national conditions, especially in a country that was economically and culturally underdeveloped, was no easy task. Exploration inevitably involves mistakes. While the Party made achievements through exploration, it also made serious mistakes, including the setbacks of the Great Leap Forward, the people’s commune movement, and the ten-year turmoil of the Cultural Revolution. Confronted with the grave consequences of these “Left” mistakes, our Party began a profound self-reflection.

During his inspection in the northeast from September 16th to 18th, 1978, Deng Xiaoping said, “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 reforms now.” This speech served as the thematic report of the subsequent Third Plenary Session of the 11th CPC Central Committee, and it became a manifesto for freeing the mind and seeking truth from facts in the new period.

The Third Plenary Session of the 11th CPC Central Committee 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 that 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 the entire nation in conducting a thorough review of the experience gained and lessons learned in building socialism in China. Drawing on the historical experiences of world socialism, freeing their minds, and seeking truth from facts, they made a historic decision to shift the focus of the Party and the country’s work onto economic development and to carry out reform and opening up. They declared that China would follow its own path and build socialism with Chinese characteristics, formulated the three-step development strategy, and set the basic line for the primary stage of socialism. They revealed the essence of socialism, established Deng Xiaoping Theory, and answered a series of basic questions about building socialism with Chinese characteristics, thus successfully founding socialism with Chinese characteristics through rectification, reform, and opening up.

After the Fourth Plenary Session of the 13th CPC Central Committee 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 the entire nation and led them in implementing the Party’s basic theory and basic line and staunchly defending socialism with Chinese characteristics. They established the Party’s basic program and basic experience based on new practices. They defined building a socialist market economy as an objective of reform and set a corresponding basic framework, and they established the basic economic and income distribution systems for the primary stage of socialism. They proposed the basic policy of law-based governance, advanced the great new project of Party building, formed the Theory of Three Represents, and opened up new horizons for reform and opening up across all fronts. Thanks to these efforts, socialism with Chinese characteristics was successfully brought into the 21st century.

Following the 16th National Party Congress in 2002, the CPC Central Committee, with Hu Jintao as General Secretary, seized and made full use of the important period of strategic opportunity. They united and led the entire Party and the entire nation in promoting practical, theoretical, and institutional innovation and pursuing comprehensive, balanced, and sustainable development that puts the people first. They worked hard to build a harmonious socialist society, accelerate ecological advancement, ensure and improve the people’s livelihoods, promote social fairness and justice, advance the development of a harmonious world, and enhance the Party’s governing capacity and its advanced nature. They formed the Scientific Outlook on Development and successfully upheld and developed socialism with Chinese characteristics in the great 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 long-term social stability. From 1978 to 2012, China’s economy grew at a rapid pace, with its gross domestic product (GDP) successively surpassing that of Italy, France, the United Kingdom, and Germany, and surpassing that of Japan in 2010 to become the world’s second largest economy. Meanwhile, China surpassed Germany in terms of exports and became the world’s largest exporter. China also became the world’s factory, following in the footsteps of the UK, the US, Japan, and Germany since the industrial revolution of the 18th century. In 2010, it joined the ranks of upper-middle income countries.

During the new period of reform, opening up, and socialist modernization, the Party led the Chinese people in achieving a great transformation from standing up to growing prosperous.


Historic Achievements: Forging Ahead in the New Era of Socialism
 with Chinese Characteristics toward the Goal of Building a Great Country by Mid-Century


Since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in 2012, the Party Central Committee, with General Secretary Xi Jinping as its core, has united and led the whole Party and the Chinese people in raising the banner; formulating strategic plans; staying committed to Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory, the Theory of Three Represents, and the Scientific Outlook on Development; and fully implementing Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era as well as the Party’s basic line and basic policy. We have adopted a number of strategic measures, developed a range of transformative practices, and made a series of breakthroughs and landmark advances. We have withstood risks, challenges, and trials in the political, economic, ideological, and natural domains, solved many longstanding tough problems that were never resolved before, and accomplished many major tasks that were wanted but never got done previously. With this, it has prompted historic achievements and transformations in the cause of the Party and the country, ushering in a new era for socialism with Chinese characteristics and embarking on a new journey toward building a modern socialist country in all respects.

The historic achievements and transformations in the Party and the country’s cause in the new era are reflected in the following areas:

We have established Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era. In doing so, we have laid out the basic policy for upholding and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics, put forward a series of new ideas, new thinking, and new strategies on national governance, and achieved a new breakthrough in adapting Marxism to the Chinese context and the needs of our times. We have endeavored to use this new theory to arm ourselves intellectually, guide our practice, and advance our work. This theory provides us with fundamental guidance for advancing the cause of our Party and our country in the new era.

We have strengthened Party leadership in all respects. We have made clear that the leadership of the Communist Party of China is the defining feature of socialism with Chinese characteristics and the greatest strength of the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics, that the Party is the highest force of political leadership, and that upholding the centralized, unified leadership of the Party Central Committee is the highest political principle. We have made systematic improvements to the Party’s leadership systems. All Party members have become more conscious of the need to maintain political integrity, think in big-picture terms, follow the leadership core, and keep in alignment with the central Party leadership. They have become more purposeful in closely following the Party Central Committee in thinking, political stance, and action, and they have continued to improve their capacity for political judgment, thinking, and implementation. All this has ensured the Party Central Committee’s authority and its centralized, unified leadership and guaranteed that the Party fulfills its core role of exercising overall leadership and coordinating the efforts of all sides. Now, our Marxist party of over 98 million members enjoys greater unity and solidarity than ever.

We have developed well-conceived and complete strategic plans for advancing the cause of the Party and the country in the new era. We have put forward the Chinese Dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation and proposed promoting national rejuvenation through a Chinese path to modernization. We have made well-coordinated efforts to advance our great struggle, our great project, our great cause, and our great dream. We have adopted the Five-Sphere Integrated Plan[1] and the Four-Pronged Comprehensive Strategy[2] as well as the general principle of pursuing progress while ensuring stability, and we have worked to both pursue development and safeguard security. We have identified the principal contradiction facing Chinese society as that between unbalanced and inadequate development and the people’s ever-growing needs for a better life, and we have made it clear that closing this gap should be the focus of all our initiatives. With these efforts, we have made constant progress in enriching and developing a new form of human advancement.

We have achieved moderate prosperity, the millennia-old dream of the Chinese nation, through persistent hard work. With this, we have elevated China to a higher historical starting point in development. By galvanizing the entire nation to carry out targeted poverty alleviation, we have won the largest battle against poverty in human history. A total of 832 impoverished counties and close to 100 million poor rural residents have been lifted out of poverty, and, among them, more than 9.6 million poverty-stricken people have been relocated from inhospitable areas. We have, once and for all, resolved the problem of absolute poverty in China, making significant contributions to the cause of global poverty reduction.

We have put forward and applied a new development philosophy, worked hard to promote high-quality development, and pushed to foster a new pattern of development. We have carried out supply-side structural reform, formulated a series of major regional strategies important to China’s overall development, and brought about a historic rise in China’s economic strength.

In the past decade, China’s GDP has grown from 54 trillion yuan to 114 trillion yuan to account for 18.5 percent of the world economy, up 7.2 percentage points. China has remained the world’s second largest economy, and its per capita GDP has risen from 39,800 yuan to 81,000 yuan. It ranks first in the world in terms of grain output, and it has ensured food and energy security for its more than 1.4 billion people. The number of permanent urban residents has grown by 11.6 percentage points to account for 64.7 percent of the population. China’s manufacturing sector is the largest in the world, as are its foreign exchange reserves. China has built the world’s largest networks of high-speed railways and expressways and made major achievements in building airports, ports, and water development, energy, information, and other infrastructure.

We have accelerated efforts to build our self-reliance and strength in science and technology, with nationwide R&D spending rising from 1 trillion yuan to 2.8 trillion yuan, the second highest in the world. Our country is now home to the largest cohort of R&D personnel in the world.

We have grown stronger in basic research and original innovation, made breakthroughs in some core technologies in key fields, and boosted strategic emerging industries. We have witnessed major successes on multiple fronts, including manned spaceflight, lunar and Martian exploration, deep sea and deep earth probes, supercomputers, satellite navigation, quantum information, nuclear power technology, new energy technology, airliner manufacturing, and biomedicine. China has joined the ranks of the world’s innovators.

We have comprehensively deepened reform with tremendous political courage. We have carried out critical tasks and enhanced top-level design for reform. We have dared to brave uncharted waters, take on tough problems, navigate potential dangers, and face new issues and challenges. We have broken the shackles of stale thinking, torn down barriers erected by vested interests, and removed institutional obstacles in all areas. This has enabled us to put in place foundational institutional frameworks in all sectors, to achieve historic, systemic, and holistic transformations in many fields, and to complete a new round of reform in Party and state institutions. The system of socialism with Chinese characteristics has become more mature and better defined, and China’s system and capacity for governance have been further modernized.

We have pursued a more proactive strategy of opening up. We have worked to build a globally-oriented network of high-standard free trade areas and accelerated the development of pilot free trade zones and the Hainan Free Trade Port. As a collaborative endeavor, the Belt and Road Initiative has been welcomed by the international community both as a public good and a cooperation platform. China has become a major trading partner for more than 140 countries and regions, it leads the world in total volume of trade in goods, and it is a major destination for global investment and a leading country in outbound investment. Through these efforts, we have advanced a broader agenda of opening up across more areas and in greater depth.

We have kept to the path of socialist political advancement with Chinese characteristics. We have comprehensively developed whole-process people’s democracy, made all-around progress in improving the institutions, standards, and procedures of our socialist democracy, and advanced socialist consultative democracy by way of extensive participation. We have reinforced the foundations that undergird the people’s running of the country, injected fresh vitality into democracy at the community level, and consolidated and expanded the patriotic united front. We have made new accomplishments in promoting ethnic unity and progress, fully implemented the Party’s basic policy on religious affairs, and provided better protections for human rights. We have intensified efforts to advance socialist rule of law in our country, and a comprehensive framework for law-based governance has taken shape. We have sped up work on developing the system of socialist rule of law with Chinese characteristics. We have made major progress in reforming the judicial system, thus providing more effective protection for social fairness and justice. These efforts have opened new ground for advancing the rule of law in China.

We have established and upheld a foundational system for ensuring the guiding role of Marxism in the ideological domain. The Party’s new theory for the new era has been embraced by the people, the core socialist values are resonating with the public, fine traditional Chinese culture is undergoing creative transformation and development, cultural programs are flourishing, and the online environment has seen continuous improvement. All this has brought about overarching and fundamental changes in China’s ideological landscape.

We celebrated the 90th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army, the 40th anniversary of the launch of reform and opening up, the 70th anniversary of victory in the Chinese People’s War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression and the global war against fascism, and the 70th anniversary of the Chinese People’s Volunteers’ departure for Korea to resist US aggression and aid Korea. The 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics and Paralympics were a great success. Our young people are filled with greater optimism and enterprise, and there is a notably stronger sense of cultural confidence and a higher level of morale throughout the Party and the nation.

We have implemented a people-centered philosophy of development. We have worked continuously to ensure people’s access to childcare, education, employment, medical services, elderly care, housing, and social assistance, thus bringing about an all-around improvement in people’s lives. China’s life expectancy has reached 78.2 years, its per capita disposable annual income has risen from 16,500 yuan to 35,100 yuan, and more than 13 million urban jobs have been created each year on average over the past 10 years. We have built the largest education, social security, and healthcare systems in the world. These achievements have allowed us to make historic strides in making education universally available, bring 1.04 billion people under the coverage of basic old-age insurance, and ensure basic medical insurance for 95 percent of the population. Timely adjustments have been made to the childbirth policy. More than 42 million housing units in run-down urban areas and more than 24 million dilapidated rural houses have been rebuilt, marking a significant improvement in housing conditions in both urban and rural areas. The number of internet users has reached 1.03 billion. We have ensured a more complete and lasting sense of fulfillment, happiness, and security for our people, and we have made further progress in achieving common prosperity for all.

We have acted on the idea that lucid waters and lush mountains are invaluable assets. We have persisted with a holistic and systematic approach to conserving and improving mountain, water, forest, farmland, grassland, and desert ecosystems, and we have ensured stronger ecological conservation and environmental protection across the board, in all regions, and at all times. China’s ecological conservation systems have been improved, the critical battle against pollution has been advanced, and solid progress has been made in promoting green, circular, and low-carbon development. This has led to historic, transformative, and comprehensive changes in ecological and environmental protection and has brought us bluer skies, greener mountains, and cleaner waters.

We have applied a holistic approach to national security. We have steadily improved the leadership, legal, strategy, and policy systems for national security. We have not yielded any ground on matters of principle, and we have resolutely safeguarded China’s sovereignty, security, and development interests. National security has thus been strengthened on all fronts. We have further improved the social governance system based on collaboration, participation, and shared benefits. We have effectively contained ethnic separatists, religious extremists, and violent terrorists and secured important progress in the campaigns to combat and root out organized crime. We have responded effectively to major natural disasters. The Peaceful China Initiative has entered a new stage.

We have set the Party’s goal of building a strong military in the new era. We have implemented the Party’s thinking on strengthening the military for the new era, followed the military strategy for the new era, and upheld absolute Party leadership over the people’s armed forces. We held a meeting on military political work in Gutian in 2014 and improved political conduct through rectification initiatives. Having established combat effectiveness as the sole criterion, we have acted with resolve to focus the entire military’s attention on combat readiness. We have coordinated efforts to strengthen military work in all directions and domains and devoted great energy to training under combat conditions. We have carried out bold reforms of national defense and the armed forces, restructuring the military leadership and command systems, the modern armed forces system, and the military policy system. We have moved faster to modernize our national defense and the armed forces and reduced the number of active service personnel by 300,000. With new systems, a new structure, a new configuration, and a new look, the people’s armed forces have become a much more modern and capable fighting force, and the Chinese path to building a strong military is growing ever broader.

We have fully and faithfully implemented the policy of One Country, Two Systems. We have upheld the policy of One Country, Two Systems, under which the people of Hong Kong administer Hong Kong and the people of Macao administer Macao, both with a high degree of autonomy. We have helped Hong Kong enter a new stage in which it has restored order and is set to thrive, and we have seen both Hong Kong and Macao maintain good momentum for long-term stability and development. We have put forward an overall policy framework for resolving the Taiwan question in the new era and facilitated cross-Strait exchanges and cooperation. We have resolutely opposed separatist activities aimed at “Taiwan independence” and foreign interference. We have thus maintained the initiative and the ability to steer in cross-Strait relations.

We have pursued major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics on all fronts. We have promoted the development of a human community with a shared future and stood firm in protecting international fairness and justice. We have advocated and practiced true multilateralism. We have taken a clear-cut stance against hegemonism and power politics in all their forms, and we have never wavered in our opposition to unilateralism, protectionism, and bullying of any kind. We have improved China’s overall diplomatic agenda and worked actively to build a global network of partnerships and foster a new type of international relations. We have demonstrated China’s sense of duty as a responsible major country, actively participating in the reform and development of the global governance system and engaging in all-around international cooperation in the fight against Covid-19. All this has seen us win widespread international recognition. China’s international influence, appeal, and power to shape have risen markedly.

We have made significant advances in exercising full and rigorous Party self-governance. Guided by the belief that it takes a good blacksmith to forge good steel, we kicked off our efforts by formulating and implementing the central Party leadership’s eight-point decision on improving conduct. We have put forward and implemented the general requirements for strengthening the Party in the new era. We have set strengthening ourselves politically as the overarching guide for all other initiatives of Party building, and we have made sure that our ideological work is aligned with our institution building efforts. Intraparty political activities have been conducted in earnest, and we have continued to carry out intensive education initiatives. We have formulated and implemented the Party’s organizational line for the new era and placed an emphasis on political commitment in selecting and appointing officials. Political inspections have been strengthened, and a sound system of Party regulations has taken shape. These moves have enabled the entire Party to maintain firm ideals and convictions and have strengthened the Party’s organizational system and tightened discipline and rules.

We have worked ceaselessly to improve Party conduct and enforce Party discipline. We have hammered away at the task of rectifying pointless formalities, bureaucratism, hedonism, and extravagance; opposed privilege-seeking mindsets and practices; and taken strong action to address misconduct and corruption that occur at people’s doorsteps. Thanks to these efforts, unhealthy tendencies that had long gone unchecked have been reversed, and deep-seated problems that had plagued us for years have been remedied.

We have waged a battle against corruption on a scale unprecedented in our history. Driven by a strong sense of mission, we have resolved to “offend a few thousand rather than fail 1.4 billion” and to clear our Party of all its ills. We have taken coordinated steps to see that officials do not have the audacity, opportunity, or desire to be corrupt, and we have used a combination of measures to “take out tigers,” “swat flies,” and “hunt down foxes,” punishing corrupt officials of all types. We have achieved an overwhelming victory and fully consolidated the gains in our fight against corruption. All this has helped remove serious hidden dangers in the Party, the country, and the military and ensured that the power granted to us by the Party and the people is always exercised in the interests of the people.

Through painstaking efforts, the Party has found a second answer to the question of how to escape the historical cycle of rise and fall. The answer is self-reform. We have significantly boosted the Party’s ability to purify, improve, renew, and excel itself, addressed the problem of lax and weak self-governance in Party organizations at the root, and steadily fostered and developed a political atmosphere of integrity within the Party. By doing so, we have ensured that the Party will never change its nature, its conviction, or its character.

In the new era, the Party has strategically planned for finishing building 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 National Party Congress divided the goal of achieving the Second Centenary Goal into two stages. The first stage, from 2020 to 2035, aims to basically realize socialist modernization. The second stage, from 2035 to the middle of this century, aims to transform China into a modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious, and beautiful, 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.

Building upon the strategy outlined at the 19th National Party Congress to achieve the goal of building a great modern socialist country in two steps, the 20th National Congress further mapped out macro goals for 2035 and the middle of this century. It laid out strategic tasks and major initiatives for the 2022–2027 period in areas such as economic development, education, science and technology, talent cultivation, improving democracy, comprehensive law-based governance, cultural advancement, ensuring and improving people’s wellbeing, ecological conservation, safeguarding national security and stability, and developing national defense and the military.

According to the plan of the CPC, China’s overall development objectives for the year 2035 are as follows:

Ÿ   Significantly increase economic strength, scientific and technological capabilities, and composite national strength; substantially grow the per capita GDP to be on par with that of a mid-level developed country

Ÿ   Join the ranks of the world’s most innovative countries, with great self-reliance and strength in science and technology

Ÿ   Build a modernized economy; form a new pattern of development; basically achieve new industrialization, informatization, urbanization, and agricultural modernization

Ÿ   Basically modernize the system and capacity for governance; improve the system for whole-process people’s democracy; build a law-based country, government, and society

Ÿ   Become a leading country in education, science and technology, talent, culture, sports, and health; significantly enhance national cultural soft power

Ÿ   Ensure that the people are leading better and happier lives; bring per capita disposable income to new heights; substantially grow the middle-income group as a share of the total population; guarantee equitable access to basic public services; ensure modern standards of living in rural areas; achieve long-term social stability; make more notable and substantive progress in promoting the people’s well-rounded development and prosperity for all

Ÿ   Broadly establish eco-friendly ways of work and life; steadily lower carbon emissions after reaching a peak; fundamentally improve the environment; largely accomplish the goal of building a Beautiful China

Ÿ   Comprehensively strengthen the national security system and national security capabilities; achieve basic modernization of national defense and the armed forces

After basically realizing modernization in 2035, we will continue to work hard and build China into a great modern socialist country that leads the world in terms of composite national strength and international influence by the middle of the century. By that time, the following goals will have been achieved:

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

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

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

Ÿ   Common prosperity for everyone is basically achieved.

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

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


The new era holds special significance in the century-long history of the Party. It is an era in which we will build on past successes to further advance our cause and continue to strive for the success of socialism with Chinese characteristics under new historical conditions; an era in which we will use the momentum of our decisive victory in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects to fuel all-out efforts to build a great modern socialist country; an era in which Chinese people will work together to create a better life for themselves and gradually realize the goal of common prosperity; an era in which all the sons and daughters of the Chinese nation will strive with one heart to realize the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation; and an era in which China will make even greater contributions to humanity.

Socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era is the achievement of the great social revolution of the Chinese people under the leadership of the CPC, and it is also the continuation of this great social revolution.

This new era has seen unprecedented changes in the look of the Party, the country, the people, the military, and the Chinese nation. These changes have had a profound impact on China and the world. Under the Party’s leadership in the new era of socialism with Chinese characteristics, the Chinese people are experiencing a great transformation from growing prosperous to becoming strong and are embracing a bright prospect of realizing the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.


Historic Experience: Summary of the Century-Long History


The Party has led the people through great endeavors, making breakthroughs by pushing forward, growing stronger by overcoming setbacks, and improving itself by reflecting on the past. In the process, it has accumulated valuable historical experience—upholding the Party’s leadership, putting the people first, advancing theoretical innovation, staying independent, following the Chinese path, maintaining a global vision, breaking new ground, standing up for ourselves, promoting the united front, and remaining committed to self-reform.

1. Upholding the Party’s leadership

The Communist Party of China is the central leading force of our cause. The strong leadership of the Party is the fundamental reason why the Chinese people and Chinese nation have been able to transform their destiny in modern times and achieved the great successes we see today. Both the facts of history and the reality of today prove that without the Party, there would be no new China and no national rejuvenation.

To govern our Party, which is the largest in the world, and our country, which is the most populous in the world, we must uphold the Party’s overall leadership, especially the Central Committee’s centralized, unified leadership, adhere to democratic centralism, and ensure that the Party exercises overall leadership and coordination.

As long as we maintain unwavering commitment to the Party’s overall leadership, firmly uphold the core of the Party and the authority of the Central Committee, fully leverage the political strengths of Party leadership, and see that Party leadership is exercised in all aspects and stages of the Party and the country’s cause, we will be able to ensure that all Party members, the armed forces, and all Chinese people unite as one in pressing ahead.

2. Putting the people first

The Party has in the people its roots, its lifeblood, and its source of strength. The people are the greatest source of confidence for the Party in governing and rejuvenating the country. No political consideration is more important than the people; no force is more powerful than justice. The Party’s greatest political strength is its close ties with the people, while the biggest potential danger it faces as a governing party is becoming distanced from them.

The Party represents the fundamental interests of the overwhelming majority of the Chinese people. It has no special interests of its own, nor has it ever represented the interests of any individual interest group, any power group, or any privileged stratum. This is the fundamental reason why the Party has maintained its invincible strength.

We must remain committed to the Party’s fundamental purpose of wholeheartedly serving the people, adhere to the Party’s mass line, and always be aware that this country is its people and the people are the country. We will ensure that we are acting for the people and relying on them in everything we do, exercise governance on behalf of the people and on the basis of their support, and stick to the notion that development is for the people, depends on the people, and its fruits should be shared by the people. With unswerving resolve, we will pursue common prosperity for all. By doing so, our Party will be able to lead the people toward new and even greater triumphs in building socialism with Chinese characteristics. Any attempt to separate the Party from the Chinese people or to set the Chinese people against the Party is bound to fail.

3. Advancing theoretical innovation

Marxism is the fundamental guiding ideology upon which our Party and our country are founded and thrive. Marxist theory is not a dogma, but a guide to action; it must develop with the evolution of practice, and only by adapting to the Chinese context can it take root in our country and gain a firm place in Chinese people’s hearts.

The fundamental reason why the Party has been able to lead the people in accomplishing enormous tasks that were impossible to accomplish for any other political force in China through painstaking searches, setbacks, and pioneering efforts is its commitment to the following: freeing minds, seeking truth from facts, advancing with the times, and applying a realistic and pragmatic approach; integrating the basic tenets of Marxism with China’s specific realities and fine traditional culture; abiding by the principle that practice is the sole criterion for testing truth; and grounding all its efforts in reality. Furthermore, the Party has provided prompt answers to the questions of our times and our people and kept adapting Marxism to the Chinese context and the needs of our times.

As Xi Jinping pointed out, the great social transformations that contemporary China has undergone are not a natural continuation of our country’s historical and cultural traditions, not a mechanical application of the templates designed by authors of Marxist classics, nor a copy of the socialist practice in other countries or foreign models of modernization. As long as we have the courage to keep making theoretical innovations in light of new practical developments and use new theory to guide new practice, we are certain to see Marxism emanate mightier and more compelling power of truth across the land of China.

4. Staying independent

Independence is the essence of China’s national spirit, and it is a major principle for building our Party and our country. We must follow our own path—this is the historical conclusion our Party has drawn from its endeavors over the past century.

The Party has always followed an independent path as it has pressed forward, stressing reliance on our own efforts to drive the nation’s development, and maintaining that China’s affairs must be decided and run by the Chinese people themselves. Throughout human history, no nation or country has ever become strong and prosperous by relying on external forces, indiscriminately copying the models of other countries, or blindly following in others’ footsteps. Those who have attempted to do so have either suffered inevitable defeat or been reduced to vassals of others.

As long as we maintain independence and self-reliance, bolster our people’s sense of national dignity and self-confidence while drawing on the useful experience of other countries, and refuse to be taken in by fallacies or to bend in the face of pressure, we will be able to keep the future of China’s development and progress firmly in our own hands.

5. Following the Chinese path

The direction determines the path, and the path determines the future. Throughout its endeavors over the past century, the Party has always stayed grounded in China’s conditions and opened up a right path consistent with China’s realities—the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics. It is a sure path toward a better life for the people and the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. The Chinese land, the Chinese civilization, and the Chinese path provide our Party and people with an infinitely vast stage, a heritage of incomparable depth, and unmatched resolve for forging ahead.

We must neither retrace our steps to the rigidity and isolation of the past, nor take a wrong turn by changing our nature and abandoning our system. As long as we follow the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics with unswerving commitment, we will be able to develop China into a great modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious, and beautiful.

6. Maintaining a global vision

A just cause should be pursued for the common good. With a global vision, the Party has been cogitating on the future of humanity, and it has correctly understood and handled China’s relations with the rest of the world in the context of the general trend of human development, the profound changes in the world, and the entire course of Chinese history. It champions opening up over isolation, pursues mutual benefit instead of zero-sum games, and stands up for fairness and justice. This has enabled the Party to stand on the right side of history and the side of human progress.

We will keep to the path of peaceful development, developing our country by safeguarding world peace and contributing to world peace through our development. We will move forward in tandem with all progressive forces around the world. We will never become dependent on others, take advantage of others, or seek hegemony. As long as we stick to these principles, we will be able to continue contributing our wisdom and strength to the progress of human civilization and work with the people of other countries to keep the wheels of history rolling toward a brighter future.

7. Breaking new ground

Innovation is an inexhaustible source of momentum for the development of a country and a nation. The greater the cause, and the more fraught it is with difficulties and obstacles, the more important it is to work hard and break new ground.

The Party has led the people in surmounting all difficulties, searching high and low for a way forward, and pressing ahead with determination. As we have made constant innovations in theory, practice, institutions, culture, and other areas, we have demonstrated the courage to be pioneers and pursue an uncharted path. No difficulty or obstacle has been able to hold back the advance of the Party and the people.

We will continue to follow the trend of the times, respond to the demands of the people, and boldly advance reform. We will accurately identify changes, adeptly respond to them, and work to steer them in a favorable direction. We will never become rigid and never cease making progress. As long as we keep doing so, we will be able to bring about more miraculous achievements that amaze the world.

8. Standing up for ourselves

Having the courage to fight and the mettle to win provides the Party and the people with inviolable strength. All the achievements that the Party and the people have made did not come from nothing, nor were they given to us by others; they were earned through persistent struggle.

The Party was born amid domestic turmoil and foreign aggression, was tempered through numerous tribulations, and has grown strong by surmounting difficulties. No matter how powerful the enemy, how difficult the journey, or how grave the challenges, the Party has never lost heart or backed down, and never hesitated to make necessary sacrifices. It has remained unyielding despite all setbacks, fighting for our people, our country, and our nation, as well as our shared ideals and convictions.

We should grasp the contemporary features of the great new struggle, seize historical opportunities, and get a head start. As long as we carry forward the fighting spirit, build up our ability, and rally the will and strength of the whole Party and the entire nation, we are sure to overcome any risks or challenges, whether foreseeable or otherwise.

9. Promoting the united front

Solidarity is strength. Developing the broadest possible united front provides important assurance for our Party to defeat the enemy and to govern and rejuvenate the country.

The Party has remained committed to great unity and solidarity, united all forces that can be united, and mobilized all positive factors available in order to promote harmony between different political parties, ethnic groups, religions, social strata, and compatriots at home and abroad. This has allowed us to pool strength to the greatest extent possible for our common goals.

As long as we continue to consolidate solidarity between different ethnic groups, people across the nation, and all the sons and daughters of the Chinese nation, foster a strong sense of community for the Chinese nation, and ensure that Chinese people all over the world focus their energy and ingenuity toward the same goal, we will bring together a mighty force for making national rejuvenation a reality.

10. Remaining committed to self-reform

Having the courage to reform itself is a hallmark that distinguishes the Communist Party of China from other political parties. The spirit of self-reform underpins the Party’s ability to maintain its youthful vigor.

The advanced nature of a Marxist party is not a given, but rather cultivated through constant self-reform. The Party has emerged from one hundred years of vicissitudes with even greater vitality. The secret to this lies in its commitment to upholding truth and righting errors. The Party is great not because it never makes mistakes, but because it always owns up to its errors, actively engages in criticism and self-criticism, and has the courage to confront problems and reform itself.

As long as we consistently remove all elements that would harm the Party’s advanced nature and integrity, and eliminate any viruses that would erode its health, we will be able to ensure that the Party preserves its nature, conviction, and character and see that it always serves as the strong leadership core in the course of upholding and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era.

These 10 points form a complete and interconnected integral whole. They are critical to the continued success of the Party and the people. They are the source of the Party’s invincible strength and are the very reason why the Party has always been able to seize the historical initiative. They are essential for the Party to preserve its advanced nature and integrity and always stand at the forefront of the times.

Today, a hundred years on from its founding, the Communist Party of China is still in its prime, and remains as determined as ever to achieve lasting greatness for the Chinese nation. Over the past century, the Party has secured extraordinary historic achievements on behalf of the people. Today, it is rallying and leading the Chinese people on a new journey to realize the Second Centenary Goal of building a modern socialist country in all respects.

Looking back at the past, we are filled with immense pride; looking forward to the future, we are excited to embrace what lies ahead. History is a continuous journey from yesterday to today and on to tomorrow, and its connections cannot be severed. Over the past hundred years since its establishment, the Party has united and led the Chinese people in creating a glorious history. Its achievements 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 work hard, the Party will surely write a new chapter and achieve even greater glory when the People’s Republic of China celebrates its centenary by the middle of this century.

History has shaped the Communist Party of China through the explorations and struggles of the people, and the Communist Party of China has led the people in creating historical glory. “Understanding the past will help us envision the future.” By studying and revisiting the hundred-year history of the Party, we should consolidate our confidence in the Party’s history and strengthen our confidence in the future of the Chinese people and the Chinese nation.

[1] This refers to a plan to promote coordinated economic, political, cultural, social, and ecological advancement.

[2] The strategy is designed to make comprehensive moves to finish building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, deepen reform, advance law-based governance, and strengthen Party self-governance.

Translated by Institute of Party History and Literature of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China