Following is the full text of the keynote speech made by Hu Jintao, general secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), at a grand gathering marking the 90th founding anniversary of the CPC at the Great Hall of the People on July 1, 2011.
Comrades and Friends,
Today, together with the entire Party and the people of all ethnic groups in China, we are holding this grand meeting here to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and also to review the great course of China’s development and progress and look ahead at the bright future of development and prosperity for the country.
The CPC was founded 90 years ago today, which was an epoch-making event in the history of the Chinese nation. From then on, the Chinese people embarked on the bright road of striving for independence and liberation and began the glorious pursuit of prosperity and strength for the country and themselves.
Over the past 90 years, Chinese Communists and the people of all ethnic groups in China have, through indomitable struggles, achieved major successes in revolution, development and reform. Today, a vibrant socialist China has emerged in the East, and the 1.3 billion Chinese people are forging ahead full of confidence under the great banner of socialism with Chinese characteristics to realize the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
Comrades and Friends,
In the 170 plus years since the Opium War of 1840, our great country has weathered untold hardships, our great nation has waged earthshaking struggles, and our great people have scored splendid achievements in the annals of history.
Following the Opium War, China gradually became a semi-colonial and semi-feudal society, and foreign powers stepped up their aggression against China. The feudal rule became increasingly corrupt, the country was devastated by incessant wars and turbulence, and the Chinese people suffered from hunger, cold, and oppression. To salvage China from subjugation was an urgent mission for the Chinese nation. And the Chinese people faced the historic tasks of winning independence and liberation, and making China strong and prosperous.
In those dark years, in order to change the destiny of the Chinese nation, the Chinese people, led by many leading figures with lofty ideals, waged unyielding struggles to explore a new future against great odds. Not resigned to fate, the Chinese people launched one struggle after another, such as the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom Movement, the Reform Movement of 1898, and the Yihetuan Movement, but all these struggles ended in failure. The Revolution of 1911 led by Dr. Sun Yat-sen put an end to the autocratic rule that had existed in China for several thousand years. This revolution greatly boosted China’s social progress, but it did not change the country’s nature as a semi-colonial and semi-feudal society or end the misery of the Chinese people.
Facts have shown that neither the mission of striving for national survival nor the historic task of fighting imperialism and feudalism could be accomplished by reformist self-improvement movements which did not touch the foundation of feudal rule, old-style peasant wars, revolutions led by bourgeois revolutionaries, or other attempts to copy Western capitalism. To find a way of achieving China’s development and progress, one must, first of all, find an advanced theory that can guide the Chinese people in their revolution against imperialism and feudalism, and an advanced social force must rise that can lead social changes in China.
In 1921, the CPC was born in the process of integrating Marxism-Leninism with the Chinese workers’ movement. The birth of the CPC was a natural product of the development of modern and contemporary Chinese history as well as the indomitable exploration of the Chinese people for survival of the nation. The birth of the CPC put the Chinese revolution on the right course, gave the Chinese people a powerful motivation and created bright prospects for China’s future development.
Over the past 90 years, our Party has united with and led the Chinese people in writing a grand epic in the history of human development on this ancient land of China, evidenced in three earthshaking events.
The first is that our Party, firmly relying on the people, completed the new-democratic revolution, winning national independence and liberation of the people. The Party and the people fought through the Northern Expedition, the Agrarian Revolutionary War, the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression and the War of Liberation in 28 years, during which they defeated Japanese imperialist aggressors, overthrew the Kuomintang reactionary rule and established the People’s Republic of China. With the founding of New China, the Chinese people became masters of their country and society and determined their own destiny. China achieved a great transition from a feudal autocracy that was several thousand years old to a people’s democracy. Great unity and unprecedented solidarity of all ethnic groups were realized in China. The history of old China being a semi-colonial and semi-feudal society which was like a heap of loose sand was brought to an end once and for all. The unequal treaties imposed on China by imperialist powers and all the privileges they had in China were abolished. The Chinese people stood up, and the Chinese nation entered a new era of development and progress.
The second is that, firmly relying on the people, our Party completed the socialist revolution and established the basic socialist system. We creatively achieved the transition from New Democracy to socialism, therefore creating a socialist society for a quarter of the world’s population in this large country in the East, and brought about the most extensive and profound social changes in Chinese history. We established industrial and economic systems that were independent and fairly complete, and we gained important experience of building socialism in China, a country with backward productive forces.
The third is that, firmly relying on the people, our Party carried out a great new revolution of reform and opening up, creating, upholding, and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics. Since the Third Plenary Session of the Eleventh CPC Central Committee, we have reviewed China’s practices of building socialism and drawn on the experience of other countries. We have embarked on the path of reform and opening up with tremendous political and theoretical courage and courage in practice. Going through an arduous process of trial and error, we have formed the Party’s basic theory, line and platform and gained basic experience in the primary stage of socialism, established a socialist market economy and constantly improved it, made China fully open, and made world-renowned progress in the socialist modernization drive.
These three major events reshaped the future and destiny of the Chinese people and the Chinese nation. They irreversibly ended the misery endured by China in modern times when it suffered from both domestic turmoil and foreign invasion and was poor and weak. They also irreversibly started the Chinese nation’s historic march for development, growth, and great rejuvenation. They gave China, a civilization of over 5,000 years, a completely new look and created unimagined prospects for the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
The profundity and the political and social impact of the changes that have taken place in Chinese society and in the destiny of the Chinese people over the past 90 years are rare in the history of human development.
What has happened shows that in the great cause of China’s social development and progress since modern times, history and the people have chosen the CPC, Marxism, the socialist road, and the reform and opening up policy.
History has also fully shown that the CPC truly deserves to be called a great, glorious and correct Marxist political party and the core force leading the Chinese people in breaking new ground in development.
Comrades and Friends,
We owe all our achievements over the past 90 years to the tenacious struggles waged by Chinese Communists and the people of several generations. The Party’s first generation of central collective leadership with Comrade Mao Zedong at the core united with and led the entire Party and the people of all ethnic groups in achieving the great victory of the new-democratic revolution, establishing the basic socialist system and creating the fundamental political prerequisite and institutional foundation for all development and progress in contemporary China. The Party’s second generation of central collective leadership with Comrade Deng Xiaoping at the core united with and led the entire Party and the people of all ethnic groups in starting the great march toward reform and opening up, sounding the bugle of the times for building socialism with Chinese characteristics and ushering in a new period of socialist development. The Party’s third generation of central collective leadership with Comrade Jiang Zemin at the core united with and led the entire Party and the people of all ethnic groups in steadfastly carrying out reform and opening up, advancing with the times, guiding reform and opening up to move in the right direction, and successfully ushering the great cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics into the 21st century. Since the Party’s Sixteenth National Congress, the Party Central Committee has united with and led the entire Party and the people of all ethnic groups in following Deng Xiaoping Theory and the important thought of Three Represents, fully implementing the Scientific Outlook on Development, energetically promoting scientific development and social harmony, and continuing to advance the great cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics by building a moderately prosperous society in all respects.
At this moment when we are marking the 90th anniversary of the founding of the CPC, we cherish the memory of Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai, Liu Shaoqi, Zhu De, Deng Xiaoping, Chen Yun and other proletarian revolutionaries of the older generation who contributed so much to China’s revolution, development, and reform and to the founding, consolidation, and growth of the CPC. We cherish the memory of revolutionary martyrs who gave their lives in founding, defending, and building New China. We also cherish the memory of all the forerunners who struggled tenaciously for the independence and liberation of the Chinese nation in modern times. Their tremendous contributions to China and the Chinese nation will go down in the annals of history.
On behalf of the CPC Central Committee, I wish to pay high tribute to workers, farmers, and intellectuals throughout China, to the democratic parties, people’s organizations, and patriotic figures from all walks of life, and to the People’s Liberation Army, People’s Armed Police Force, and public security police. I would also like to extend sincere greetings to our compatriots in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the Macao Special Administrative Region, and Taiwan and to overseas Chinese. Lastly, I wish to express cordial thanks to all the foreign friends and people of other countries who are friendly to the Chinese people, and view favorably and support China’s revolution, development, and reform endeavors.
Comrades and Friends,
We have embarked on the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics, formed a system of theories of socialism with Chinese characteristics and established a socialist system with Chinese characteristics. These achievements made over 90 years of endeavors, innovation, and enrichment, should be valued, upheld on a long-term basis and continuously built upon by our Party and people.
The path of socialism with Chinese characteristics is the only way for China to achieve socialist modernization and create decent lives for its people. In taking the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics, we should, under the leadership of the CPC and bearing China’s basic national conditions in mind, pursue economic development as the central task, uphold the Four Cardinal Principles, be committed to the reform and opening up policy, free and develop the productive forces, strengthen and improve the socialist system, promote the socialist market economy, socialist democracy, an advanced socialist culture, and a harmonious socialist society, and make China a prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced and harmonious modern socialist country.
The system of theories of socialism with Chinese characteristics is sound, which guides the Party and people in realizing the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation as they advance along the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics. The Party has consistently integrated the basic tenets of Marxism with the specific conditions of China, and it has made two great theoretical achievements in the historical process of adapting Marxism to China’s conditions. One is Mao Zedong Thought, which represents the application and development of Marxism-Leninism in China. Mao Zedong Thought has resolved in a systematic way the issue of how to accomplish the new-democratic revolution and socialist revolution in China, a big semi-colonial and semi-feudal country in the East, and made painstaking effort to explore the issue of what kind of socialism China should build and how to build it, thereby making new and creative contributions to enriching Marxism. The other theoretical achievement is the system of theories of socialism with Chinese characteristics. This is a scientific theoretical system consisting of Deng Xiaoping Theory, the important thought of Three Represents, the Scientific Outlook on Development and other major strategic thoughts. It has systematically addressed a series of significant issues, such as what kind of socialism China, a large developing country of over one billion people, should build and how to build it; what kind of party we should build and how to build it; and what kind of development China should achieve and how to achieve it. The system of theories of socialism with Chinese characteristics represents the continuation and development of Mao Zedong Thought.
The socialist system with Chinese characteristics, which fully embodies the distinctive features and strengths of socialism with Chinese characteristics, is a fundamental institutional guarantee for development and progress of contemporary China. In the course of promoting the self-improvement and self-development of the socialist system, we have put in place a complete set of integrated, interconnected systems in the economic, political, cultural, and social fields. They include the following: the system of people’s congresses which is China’s fundamental political system; the basic political systems which include the system of multiparty cooperation and political consultation under the leadership of the CPC, the system of regional ethnic autonomy, and the system of community-level self-governance; the socialist system of laws with Chinese characteristics; the basic economic system with public ownership being the leading sector and economic entities under diverse forms of ownership developing together; and specific economic, political, cultural, and social institutions based on the fundamental political system, basic political systems and the basic economic system. These systems and institutions are compatible with China’s reality and conform to the trend of the times. They keep the Party and country full of vitality and fully tap the enthusiasm, initiative, and creativity of the people and all sectors of society. They serve to free and develop the productive forces and promote all-around economic and social development. They uphold and promote fairness and justice and aim to bring prosperity to all. They make it possible to pool resources to undertake major national initiatives, and they can effectively defuse risks and meet challenges on our road ahead. They serve to maintain ethnic solidarity, social stability, and national unity.
We are facing drastic changes in the world and arduous tasks of promoting reform and development and maintaining stability in China. For our Party to unite with and lead the people in forging ahead, make new progress in its work and win new victories for its cause, it must hold high the great banner of socialism with Chinese characteristics, keep to and expand the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics, uphold and enrich the system of theories of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and adhere to and improve the socialist system with Chinese characteristics.
Comrades and Friends,
Looking back at China’s development and progress over the past 90 years, we have naturally come to this basic conclusion: Success in China hinges on the Party.
A review of its 90 years of development shows that the following are essential for our Party to preserve and develop its advanced nature as a Marxist political party: The Party should free up the mind, seek truth from facts, advance with the times, take a scientific approach toward Marxism, use Marxism as an evolving theory to guide practice in new realities, uphold truth, correct mistakes, blaze new trails, and maintain the motivation that enables the Party to forge ahead in a pioneering spirit. It should serve the people, rely on them, work for their benefit with heart and soul, draw on their wisdom and strength, and always maintain close ties with them. The Party should appoint officials on their merits, attract as many talents as possible, use our cause to inspire, train, and cultivate high-caliber personnel, constantly absorb new blood, and maintain its vitality at all times. The Party should police itself and impose strict discipline on its members, face its own serious problems and resolve them in a timely manner and thus keep its soundness.
The entire Party must be keenly aware that at a time of profound changes in global, national and intra-Party conditions, we are now faced with many new developments, problems, and challenges in our effort to enhance the Party’s leadership and governance and its ability to resist corruption and degeneration and to withstand risks, and strengthen its governance capacity and advanced nature. We are facing long-term, complicated and severe tests in governing the country, in implementing reform and opening up and in developing the market economy, as well as tests in the external environment. And the whole Party is confronted with growing danger of lacking in drive, incompetence, divorce from the people, lacking in initiative, and corruption. It has thus become even more important and urgent than ever before for the Party to police itself and impose strict discipline on its members.
We must recognize the new realities, continue to guide Party building with scientific theories, study and solve major theoretical and practical issues in Party building in a spirit of reform and innovation, focus on building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and accelerating socialist modernization, fully appreciate and apply the law governing the development of Marxist ruling parties, promote comprehensive progress in the great new undertaking of Party building, and make Party building more scientific.
To make Party building more scientific under the new historical conditions, we must continue to free up our minds, seek truth from facts, advance with the times, adapt Marxism both to China’s conditions and to the current times, and make it known to the general public so as to raise the ideological and political awareness of the whole Party.
The Party’s growth over the past 90 years shows that theoretical maturity is the basis for political conviction, advancing with the times theoretically is a prerequisite for forging ahead in action, and unity of thinking is an important guarantee for the whole Party to march in step. We Chinese Communists believe that the basic tenets of Marxism are an irrefutable truth and that Marxism must be constantly enriched and developed as practice changes, and we never take Marxism as an empty, rigid, and stereotyped dogma. For Marxism, practice is the source of its theory, the basis for its development, and the criterion for testing its truth. Any actions that stick to dogma, ignore practice, or overstep or lag behind real life will not succeed. We made mistakes and even suffered severe setbacks in some historical periods, and their root cause was that the guiding principles of the Party at the time were divorced from the real conditions in China. It was only by restoring and upholding the line of seeking truth from facts that the Party was able to correct its mistakes, overcome its setbacks and forge ahead triumphantly by relying on its own strengths and those of the people. The experiences and lessons our Party has learned in this regard are reviewed systematically in the Resolution on Certain Questions in the History of Our Party and the Resolution on Certain Questions in the History of Our Party Since the Founding of the People’s Republic of China. We must never forget these experiences and lessons.
The development of practice, cognition of the truth, and innovation of theories know no boundary. The practice of the Party and the people keeps progressing, so should the theories guiding it. The path of socialism with Chinese characteristics will definitely be expanded through the innovative practice of the Party and the people, and the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics will surely continue to improve as we deepen reform and open up wider. This process will certainly open up broad prospects for theoretical innovation. In upholding Marxism under the new historical conditions, it is important to promptly address new issues emerging in practice and thus provide scientific guidance for practice. We should have a correct understanding of the global development trend and China’s basic condition of being in the primary stage of socialism, find out more about the features of China’s development at the current stage, review the new experience gained in a timely manner by the people led by the Party, and create new theories with the focus on major issues concerning economic and social development, so as to ensure the vitality of scientific theories.
Every step forward in theoretical innovation should be accompanied by progress in arming Party members with such new theoretical innovation. This is an important experience the Party has gained in improving itself. To build a Marxist political party committed to learning, we must lose no time in studying all scientific, new ideas and new knowledge in human society. All Party members and cadres should take learning as an intellectual pursuit, study in an in-depth way and master Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought as well as theories of socialism with Chinese characteristics, foster a worldview and methodology of dialectical materialism and historical materialism, and genuinely cultivate virtues, increase knowledge and enhance competence through learning. All the comrades in the Party, especially leading Party cadres at all levels, should constantly improve themselves both ideologically and politically, reinforce our ideals and convictions, and enhance our eagerness and resolve to tirelessly work for the cause of the Party and the people. We should be fully committed to doing so to ensure that we remain firm and faithful in our actions.