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The Evolution of the Principal Contradiction Facing Chinese Society Represents a Historic Shift Affecting the Whole Landscape

Submit Time:21-03-2018 | Zoom In | Zoom Out

Author:Han Qingxiang | Source:Guangming Daily (March 2, 2018)

Abstract:

In the report of the 19th National Congress of the CPC, General Secretary Xi Jinping put forward that "As socialism with Chinese characteristics has entered a new era, the principal contradiction facing Chinese society has evolved. What we now face is the contradiction between the people's ever-growing needs for a better life and unbalanced and inadequate development." He stressed that we should profoundly learn and understand new characteristics and influences of the evolution of the principal contradiction facing Chinese society, because it represents a historic shift that affects the whole landscape and that creates many new demands for the work of the Party and the country.  

Essentially, the principal contradiction facing society is determined according to the contradiction between need and supply. Marx found the general law of the development of human history while he revealed the relationship between the people's life and production, need and supply, and their inherent contradictions. "The principal contradiction facing Chinese society is the contradiction between the people's ever-growing needs for a better life and unbalanced and inadequate development." In this sentence, the part before "and" means the "need," while the part after "and" means the "supply." Therefore, the materialist conception of history is a philosophical methodology for analyzing the principal contradiction facing society.  

The principal contradiction facing society reflects the overall situation of social development in a certain era from the need, supply and their relationship. In fact, all activities in the whole human society are related to need and supply and their relationship fundamentally. From a macro point of view, the development of economy, politics, culture, society, ecology, military affairs, diplomacy and other areas in China is to solve the relationship between need and supply in the final analysis. From a mesoscopic point of view, all work done by all departments, units and organizations in all regions are to meet the needs of the people, of society and of the Party and country. From a micro point of view, all individual activities are to meet individual needs or the needs of others, society and the country. Hence, to recognize and master the overall development situation of the era and society, we must start from the need and supply of the people and their relationship.  

The 6th Plenary Session of the 11th Central Committee of the CPC pointed out that the principal contradiction facing Chinese society was the contradiction between the ever-growing material and cultural needs of the people and backward social production. This principal contradiction determined that our basic task was to focus on developing social productivity. Only when we fully concentrate on the principal contradiction, can we clearly observe and master the overall situation of social contradictions and effectively promote the resolution of various social contradictions. Additionally, the importance in the relationship between need and supply can also be reflected in the logic of "principal contradiction - fundamental problem - fundamental task – key work" as below. The "principal contradiction" contains the "fundamental problem." For example, in the above-mentioned principal contradiction, "backward social production" is the fundamental problem in that era and society. The "fundamental task" of our Party and country is to solve the fundamental problem. The "fundamental task" here is consistent with the "fundamental problem" to be solved, hence becoming the "key work" of our Party and country. For this reason, all work and tasks of our Party and country have been designed to resolve the principal contradiction facing Chinese society since 1978. It is one of important reasons why China has made huge achievements since the reform and opening-up.  

To make a correct judgment of the whole social existence, the overall era and social development situation, we should start the fundamental analysis from the need and supply of the people and their relationship. It is the foundation and prerequisite for correct decision-making.  

First, let's see the overall situation of the "need" of the people since the 18th National Congress of the CPC. Since the 18th National Congress of the CPC, the material living standard of the people has been significantly improved; the per capita income has been greatly improved; and the people's cultural needs have been greatly met. China will finish building a moderately prosperous society in all respects by 2020. In addition, now the people have expanded their needs for social life in all aspects, and improved the quality of needs, indicating the people's yearning for a better life. General Secretary Xi Jinping said that "China has seen the basic needs of over a billion people met, has basically made it possible for people to live decent lives, and will soon bring the building of a moderately prosperous society to a successful completion. The needs to be met for the people to live better lives are increasingly broad. Not only have their material and cultural needs grown; their demands for democracy, rule of law, fairness and justice, security, and a better environment are increasing." 

Next, let's see the overall "supply" of the whole society since the 18th National Congress of the CPC. Presently, China has significantly improved its social productivity on the whole, and seen its social production capacity ranking among the best in the world in many aspects. However, there are major problems in the development of China. First, unbalanced development. Unbalanced development between the east and west, north and south, urban and rural areas, industries and sectors becomes prominent. Second, inadequate development. The development quality and effect are relatively low. And China has to improve its infrastructural level from "made in China" to "created in China" and to "intelligent manufacturing in China." It is based on such analysis and judgment that the 19th National Congress of the CPC put forward the evolution of the principal contradiction facing Chinese society.  

The evolution of the principal contradiction facing Chinese society reflects basic development conditions of the era and society in China on the whole. We must firmly establish and implement the new development idea closely around the conditions and characteristics of the evolution of the principal contradiction facing Chinese society and take the settlement of unbalanced and inadequate development as the fundamental task and key work of our Party and country. Our Party and country have to carry out all their work around the fundamental task and key work. Only in this way, can we further promote the overall transformation and upgrading of Chinese development, embrace the great transformation of becoming strong, bear the historic mission of realizing the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation and move closer to the center of the world stage. Thus, General Secretary Xi Jinping stressed that "We must recognize that the evolution of the principal contradiction facing Chinese society represents a historic shift that affects the whole landscape and that creates many new demands for the work of the Party and the country. Building on continued efforts to sustain development, we must devote great energy to addressing development's imbalances and inadequacies, and push hard to improve the quality and effect of development. With this, we will be better placed to meet the ever-growing economic, political, cultural, social, and ecological needs of our people, and to promote well-rounded human development and all-round social progress." 

(Author's Affiliation: The Party School of the Central Committee of CPC)


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