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Scientific Understanding of a New Historic Juncture in China's Development

Submit Time:08-01-2018 | Zoom In | Zoom Out

Author:Huang Shouhong | Source:People's Daily (November 24, 2017)

Abstract:

Comrade Xi Jinping pointed out in the report of the 19th National Congress of the CPC that with decades of hard work, socialism with Chinese characteristics has crossed the threshold into a new era. This is a new historic juncture in China's development. A scientific understanding of the new historic juncture in China's development is of great theoretical and practical significance to the correct formulation of an overall, strategic and forward-looking program of action and the better upholding and development of socialism with Chinese characteristics. 

Understanding the new historic juncture in China's development using the Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era as a guide 

A historic juncture refers to the heading direction and position of objective things in the course of history. The ancients said, "Knowing the direction makes normalizing rules possible." A clear understanding of the historic juncture in development is a fundamental issue that determines the success of development. However, it is by no means easy to understand the historic juncture. Since the founding of New China, China has experienced not only smooth progress and continuous achievements in its development, but also setbacks and detours. One of the important reasons lies in whether the understanding of the historic juncture is correct or not. 

A scientific understanding of the new historic juncture in China's development is the key to ensuring that the development direction, development path, development initiatives and various tasks are in line with the actual national conditions and development stage, and is also the basis of understanding and practice for upholding and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics. Scientific theories are required to guide this. The Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era ("Xi Jinping Thought") is the latest achievement of Marxism in China and an important part of the theory of socialism with Chinese characteristics. The Xi Jinping Thought is proven to be the scientific truth and the fundamental guideline for correctly understanding the new historic juncture in China's development. By upholding the Xi Jinping Thought and adhering to the methodology of dialectical materialism and historical materialism, we should conduct an in-depth analysis of the actual conditions, changing trends and external conditions of social development in our country, accurately grasp the new historic juncture in China's development, practically integrate our thoughts and actions with the gist of the 19th National Congress of the CPC, and handle various tasks of the Party and the country in a more conscientious and initiative manner, from the perspectives of history and reality, theory and practice, and domestic and international dimensions. 

Understanding the new historic juncture in China's development from the stage characteristics of China's social development 

The historic juncture is determined by the stage of development. Since the 18th National Congress of the CPC, the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as its core has demonstrated tremendous political courage and a powerful sense of mission as it has developed new ideas, new thinking, and new strategies, adopted a raft of major principles and policies, launched a host of major initiatives, and pushed ahead with many major tasks. We have solved many tough problems that were long on the agenda but never resolved, accomplished many things that were wanted but never got done, and made historic achievements and historic changes in the cause of our Party and country. Socialism with Chinese characteristics has entered a new era and China's development has exhibited many new stage characteristics. 

The level of social productive forces has improved significantly, and the comprehensive national strength has jumped to the forefront of the world. In the past nearly 40 years since reform and opening up, China's economy has been developing at a sustained and rapid pace, and China has entered the ranks of upper-middle income countries from low-income countries and is moving towards high-income countries. The economic aggregate has jumped from the 11th to the 2nd in the world, and China has become the world's largest manufacturing country, the largest exporter of goods and a major outward foreign investment country. In 2016, China's GDP accounted for 14.8% of the world's GDP, up 13 percentage points over 1978. In recent years, China has contributed more than 30% to the world economic growth. 

Economic development has entered a new normal; major changes have taken place in the development pattern. After creating the record of the longest sustained and rapid economic growth in a country after World War II, China's economic development has entered a new normal. In the face of the harsh and complicated international environment and downward pressure on the domestic economy, we have insisted on deepening reform, expanding opening up, and strengthening innovation-driven economy, so that China's economy has run stably with steady and sound progress. From 2013 to 2016, China's GDP grew at an average annual rate of 7.2%, ranking the forefront of the world's major countries. The structural adjustment has achieved remarkable results. The added value of the service industry accounted for more than half of the GDP; consumption became the main driving force of economic growth; and the gaps of development between urban and rural areas and among regions were narrowed. The comprehensive innovation centered on scientific and technological innovation was advanced in depth and the accumulation of new drivers of growth was accelerated. The pattern of China's economic development is shifting from relying mainly on investment and export to relying on consumption, investment and export; from relying on the secondary industry to relying on the tertiary industry; and from relying on outward expansion to relying on improvement of quality and efficiency, providing solid support for the long-term economic growth at a medium-to-high speed and the industries moving toward the medium-to-high end levels. 

People's life has been significantly improved and social undertakings have developed at an accelerated pace. Employment has been steadily increasing. In the recent four years, new urban employment has registered more than 13 million people each year and the unemployment rate has remained at a relatively low level. The income level of urban and rural residents has been continuously increasing. In particular, the growth rate of resident income in recent years has exceeded the economic growth rate. The income of rural residents has grown faster than that of urban residents, and the number of impoverished people has been on the decline. A social security network covering more than 1.3 billion people nationwide has been established. On the basis of making two historic leaps from a poverty-stricken society to adequate food and clothing and then to a moderately prosperous society, we are moving toward a better life. 

With enhanced international status and influence, China is increasingly moving closer to the center stage of the world. Since the 18th National Congress of the CPC, our country has played a more important role in the international arena. China has advocated building a community with a shared future for mankind, resolutely upheld the international order centered on the purpose and principle of the Charter of the United Nations, insisted on economic globalization and multilateralism, and actively advocated the concept of cooperation based on mutual benefit and win-win results, winning wide recognition and support from the international community. China proposed the Belt and Road Initiative, initiated the establishment of new types of multilateral financial institutions like the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, and successfully held a raft of major diplomatic activities at home such as the Hangzhou Summit of the Group of Twenty (G20), demonstrating its strength and ability to participate in and lead the shaping of global governance. China today is no longer a bystander at the edge of the world system nor is it a passive recipient of the international order. Instead, it is an active participant, constructor and leader offering the Chinese wisdom and Chinese approach to solving human problems. 

Understanding the new historic juncture in China's development from the evolution of the principal contradiction facing Chinese society 

The principal contradiction facing the Chinese society determines the central task of the Party and the country. Correctly grasping the principal contradiction facing Chinese society in different historical periods is the basic basis for recognizing the historic juncture in China's development. After the socialist transformation was basically completed, the 8th National Congress of the CPC pointed out that the principal contradiction facing Chinese society is the contradiction between the people's needs for the rapid development of economy and culture and the situation where the current economy and culture cannot satisfy the people's needs. However, for a variety of reasons, this proposal failed to work in the following period. After the Third Plenary Session of the 11th CPC Central Committee, our Party's judgment of the principal contradiction facing Chinese society returned to the proposal at the 8th National Congress of the CPC after bringing order out of chaos. The Resolution on Certain Questions in the History of Our Party since the Founding of the People's Republic of China adopted at the Sixth Plenary Session of the 11th CPC Central Committee pointed out, "The principal contradiction facing Chinese society is always the contradiction between the growing material and cultural needs of the people and the backward social production." From the 12th National Congress of the CPC to the 18th National Congress of the CPC, our Party had always insisted on this judgment and devoted itself to promoting the development of social productive forces. 

After nearly 40 years of reform and opening up, the nature and characteristics of the principal contradiction facing Chinese society have undergone great changes. Social productive forces have achieved a historic leap forward and reached world advanced levels in many fields. They not only produce rich and diversified commodities and basically meet people's material and cultural needs, but also export products in large quantities, making "Made in China" well known to the world. This shows that our country's social production is not what it used to be and that the expression of "backward social production" is inconsistent with the reality. In addition, people, after their lives become generally decent, have a stronger desire for a better life, rather than just general material and cultural needs. In fact, they have higher and broader demands at varying levels and aspects. People anticipate better education, more stable jobs, more satisfactory income, more reliable social security, higher levels of medical and health services, more comfortable living conditions, a more beautiful environment, and a richer spiritual and cultural life. Their demands for democracy, rule of law, fairness, justice, security and environment are also on the rise. In contrast, problems caused by inadequate and unbalanced development in our country become even more prominent, as evidenced by the surplus of some middle- and low-end products and the lack of supply of middle- and high-end products, many weak spots in public services, a large gap in development and resident income distribution between urban and rural areas, prominent ecological problems, and so on. Based on a comprehensive analysis of situations in various aspects, the report of the 19th National Congress of the CPC pointed out that socialism with Chinese characteristics has entered a new era and that the principal contradiction facing Chinese society has evolved. What we now face is the contradiction between unbalanced and inadequate development and the people's ever-growing needs for a better life. Compared with the past, this judgment has both significant changes and continuity, reflecting the stage requirements for our country's development and the key requirements for the development of the cause of the Party and the country. 

The evolution of the principal contradiction facing Chinese society represents a historic shift that affects the whole landscape and creates many new demands for the work of the Party and the country. We must make efforts to solve the problem of unbalanced and inadequate development on the basis of continuing to promote development. In accordance with the five-sphere integrated plan and the four-pronged comprehensive strategy, we should implement the new vision for development, correctly handle major relations in development, focus on promoting the coordinated development of urban and rural areas, the coordinated development of economy and society, and the synchronous development of new industrialization, informatization, urbanization and agricultural modernization, and improve the country's soft power while enhancing the country's hard power, thereby constantly enhancing the balance of development. We should adhere to the central task of economic development, further emancipate and develop productive forces, and build a modern economic system. We should pursue supply-side structural reform as our main task, and work hard for better quality, higher efficiency, and more robust drivers of economic growth through reform. We should constantly enhance the adequacy of development to better meet the people's growing needs in economy, politics, culture, society and ecology, and promote the full development of people and the all-round social progress. 

Understanding the new historic juncture in China's development from the primary stage of socialism and its changing characteristics 

The evolution of the principal contradiction facing Chinese society does not change our assessment of the present stage of socialism in China. The new historic juncture in China's development must be scientifically understood from a large historical span of the primary stage of socialism. We must be completely clear about this fundamental dimension of our national context, and must base our work on this most important reality—the primary stage of socialism. We must have a more accurate understanding of the changing characteristics of our country's primary stage of socialism. 

The primary stage of socialism is a historical stage that would last for more than one hundred years. Since the reform and opening up, China has made remarkable achievements in its development. However, the basic characteristics and fundamental tasks of the primary stage of socialism have not changed. At present, although China's economic aggregate has exceeded 11 trillion U.S. dollars, its per capita GDP is only equivalent to about 80% of the world average level. When we finish the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects, our per capita GDP would be only close to the world average level, and we would still considerably lag behind the developed countries in terms of the innovation capacity, industrial level, public services and other aspects. There is still a long way to develop China into a great modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious, and beautiful. We must work hard for a long period of time. 

The primary stage of socialism is a historical stage full of continuous developments and changes. We emphasize the long-term nature of the primary stage of socialism, which does not mean that the primary stage of socialism is immutable. With the improvement of the level of social productive forces and the resulting profound changes in the production relations and the superstructure, the primary stage of socialism has constantly made new progress in development, achieved new improvements in level, and pursued new conceptualizations in practice. The foundation, level and stage characteristics of the current primary stage of socialism are quite different from those at the beginning of the reform and opening up, and also quite different from those at the beginning of this century when we proposed the goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects. "Things change as the world changes, and it is necessary to prepare for changes as things change." We should take corresponding measures based on the characteristics and requirements of the developments and changes in the primary stage of socialism, in order to push a leap in development from the low level to the high level and from quantitative changes to qualitative changes, so that we can eventually cross the primary stage and enter into the higher stage of development in socialism. 

In the primary stage of socialism, we must remain fully committed to the Party's basic line as the source that keeps the Party and the country going and that brings happiness to the people. In planning development and formulating policies, we must base our work on this fundamental dimension of our national context and this most important reality—the primary stage of socialism, and must never be divorced from reality and surpass this stage. In addition, we must accurately grasp the ever-changing nature of the primary stage of socialism and better reflect the new requirements of development and the new expectations of the people. In accordance with the Party's basic theory, line, and policy, while continuing to promote economic development, we should better solve various problems that have emerged in our society, better realize the all-round development of all undertakings, and better develop socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era. 

Ninety-six years ago, Li Dazhao, the pioneer of the Communist Party of China, said, "The golden age is before us, not behind us, and is in the future, not in the past." Today, we are closer, more confident, and more capable than ever before of making the goal of national rejuvenation a reality. We should unite more closely around the Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core, scientifically understand the new historic juncture in China's development, and make courageous progress toward the goal of national rejuvenation. 


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