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Correctly Understanding and Evaluating the Reform and Opening-up in Contemporary China

Submit Time:05-09-2018 | Zoom In | Zoom Out

Author:Xiao Guiqing | Source:Guangming Daily (August 6, 2018)

Abstract:

  

Reform and opening-up is a new great revolution that the Party leads the people to carry out under the new historical conditions, which plays a decisive role in determining the destiny of contemporary China, and serves as the only way to uphold and develop socialism with Chinese characteristics and realize the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. To further deepen the reform comprehensively in a new era, most importantly, we should uphold the Party's leadership; implement the Party's basic line; reject both the old and rigid closed-door policy; deny any attempt to abandon socialism for an erroneous path; unswervingly follow the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics; and ensure the reform is always carried out on the correct path.

  Recognizing Reform Results; Rejecting the Old and Rigid Closed-door Policy

  We should scientifically evaluate the history of reform, effectively deal with the historical nihilism thought of denying reform, explicitly recognize the reform results, attach high importance to the great epoch-making significance of reform and opening-up, and provide theoretical and practical foundations for comprehensively deepening the reform and avoiding rigidity and isolation. The historic significance is firstly reflected in that the reform plays a decisive role in determining the destiny of contemporary China and serves as the basic driving force for building a moderately prosperous society in all respects in a new era, and moving on to all-out efforts to build a great modern socialist country. After 40 years of reform and opening-up, our economic strength, scientific and technological strength, national defense capability and comprehensive national power have ranked among the best in the world. Our Party, country, people, forces and nation have changed unprecedentedly. We have come to embrace the brilliant prospects of rejuvenation. If our Party did not make the resolute decision to carry out reform and opening-up, did not unswervingly advance it and firmly keep it moving in the right direction in 1978, there would not be the good situation today. Instead, we may face serious crisis, or confront the destruction of the Party and nation just like the Soviet Union and eastern European countries. Without reform and opening-up, China would not have come to where it is today, nor would it have a bright future. As socialism with Chinese characteristics enters a new era, and reform and opening-up has come to a critical juncture, we have to realize balanced and adequate development, and meet the people's ever-growing needs for a better life, which requires further advancement of the comprehensive deepening of the reform. We must not waver to the slightest degree in carrying out reform and opening-up, and we must continue to hold high its banner, fully recognize the results of reform and opening-up and firmly adhere to the correct path of reform and opening-up. The whole Party must reaffirm its conviction to push forward reform with greater political courage and wisdom, stronger measures and methods.

  The most important achievement of reform and opening-up is the establishment and development of socialism with Chinese characteristics, which has provided a powerful impetus and guarantee for socialist modernization. In order to continue to push forward the great cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics in a new era, we must comprehensively deepen the reform. Reform and opening-up, as a great awakening in history of our Party, has fostered magnificent creation from theory to practice in a new era, freed the Party and people from the shackles of rigid thinking, taken a scientific attitude towards Mao Zedong Thought, innovated in and developed Marxism closely around actual problems in modernization, achieved another great leap in terms of the combination of basic principles of Marxism and actual conditions of China under the new historical conditions, opened up a path of socialism with Chinese characteristics, formed the theoretical system of socialism with Chinese characteristics, established the socialist system with Chinese characteristics, developed the socialist culture with Chinese characteristics, and provided realization approaches, action guidelines, institutional guarantee and value guidance for development and progress in contemporary China. Practices have proved that reform and opening-up is the source of vitality for development and progress in contemporary China, a vital key for our Party and people to catch up with the trend of the times in big strides, and the only way to uphold and develop socialism with Chinese characteristics. The vigor of socialism with Chinese characteristics derives from its ability to carry out reform and opening up. Having been born out of the reform and opening-up drive, socialism with Chinese characteristics is certain to thrive along with the continuation of China's reform and opening-up policies. We must remain firmly committed to the line, principles, and policies that have been adopted since the Third Plenary Session of the 11th CPC Central Committee, make unremitting efforts to integrate the spirit of reform and innovation into all aspects of governance, and strive to push forward the course of socialism with Chinese characteristics while comprehensively deepening the reform. Achievements have been made in the reform and opening-up, but there are also problems. Contradictions in the reform and opening-up can only be solved by further deepening the reform. To stop or reverse the reform and opening-up would only lead to a blind alley. As the Party has fought its way through revolution, construction and reforms, its sole aim has always been to solve the problems of China. Since the Third Plenary Session of the 11th CPC Central Committee, the CPC Central Committee has led the people to overcome a series of problems hindering the development of the Party and the state through reform. But new contradictions and problems continue to occur which need to be solved through reform. It is fair to say that existing problems have forced us to reform, and reforms are deepened once problems are tackled and solved. Through 40 years of rapid development of economic society, original social contradictions have been solved to a large extent. However, with increasing in-depth development of the reform and opening-up, problems during and after development, general and deep-rooted contradictions, and tasks pending to be completed and newly put forward become more intertwined and complicated. It should be seen that these contradictions occur on the way forward and these problems exist in the process of development. We should fully evaluate the obstacles and barriers in the comprehensive deepening of the reform. But we should not deny the reform results, and distort the essence of reforms. Instead, we should solve such problems by continuing to deepen the reform on the basis of grasping the nature of the problem correctly. Facts have proved that it is a general trend and common aspiration of the people to carry out the reform and opening-up. Deepening the reform and opening-up is the only way to solve all kinds of difficulties in development, resolve risks and challenges from all aspects, better give play to the advantages of socialist system with Chinese characteristics, and push forward sustainable and healthy development of economic society.

  Clarifying the Reform Direction; Rejecting Any Attempt to Abandon Socialism for an Erroneous Path

  Reform and opening-up is a profound revolution carried out in the right direction based on specific position and principles. It is essentially self-improvement and development rather than a change of the socialist system. We must adhere to the correct path, and drive reforms to continue to move ahead along the road of socialism with Chinese characteristics. Socialism with Chinese characteristics is socialism, rather than any other ism. That is to say, no matter how we carry out reform and opening-up, we should always adhere to the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics, theoretical system of socialism with Chinese characteristics, socialist system with Chinese characteristics and socialist culture with Chinese characteristics. As the world is developing and society is progressing, if we do not implement the policies of reform and opening-up, we will find ourselves in a blind alley. Likewise, if we carry out the reform and opening-up by denying the socialist orientation, we will walk into a blind alley. Some opposing forces and people with ulterior motives try to make and confuse the public opinion, and attempt to change the essence of reform by shifting to Western political system. In this respect, we should keep clear-sighted, firmly adhere to the political orientation, make clear the political positioning, always uphold the unity by focusing on the central task of economic development with the two basic points, namely, adhering to the four cardinal principles and persisting in reform and opening up, in the great practice of building socialism with Chinese characteristics. We should ensure the correct path of reform and opening-up through the four cardinal principles and endow the four cardinal principles with new connotation through reform and opening-up, remove all kinds of distractions, unswervingly follow the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics, constantly advance self-improvement and development of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and inject new vitality into socialism.

  The policies formulated, theories established and achievements obtained by our Party during the reform and opening-up are neither a river without source nor a tree without roots, but the continuation and development of arduous explorations before the reform and opening-up. Only when we correctly understand and grasp the correlation of different historical periods before and after the reform and opening-up, can we judge the reform nature and make clear the reform direction more clearly. The socialist construction carried out by the people under the leadership of our Party involves two historical periods: the period before the reform and opening-up and the period after the reform and opening-up. Though the two historical periods are quite different in guiding ideology, guidelines and policies, and actual work of socialist construction, they neither are separated from each other, nor opposite to each other. Essentially, they are practical explorations of the people for socialist construction under the leadership of our Party. We should see the relationship correctly between the two periods from the perspective of historical materialism, and should never use any one of the two to deny the other. Explorations on socialist practice before the reform and opening-up have accumulated conditions for explorations on socialist practice after the reform and opening-up; the explorations on socialist practice after the reform and opening-up are in turn a continuation, reform and development of the previous period. The two not only can be traced to the same origin, but also be able to evolve as the times require. They jointly constitute the complete course of the Party's unremitting explorations for realizing the national rejuvenation and the people's happiness since the establishment of New China.

  Reform and opening-up is an endogenous evolution based on China's actual conditions. In order to comprehensively deepening the reform in the new era of Chinese socialism, we should start from China's national conditions and actual conditions of economic and social development, push forward the reform in steps with leadership, neither seek for sensational effect nor work for appearance sake, and always adhere to the correct path of reform. Every locality has its own customs. The social system and governance mode of a country depend on its historical legacy, cultural tradition and economic and social development level, and are determined by the people in the country. The socialist system with Chinese characteristics is the result of long-term development, gradual improvement and endogenous evolution based on China's historical legacy, cultural tradition and economic and social development. In order to finish building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and move on to all-out efforts to build a great modern socialist country, we need to continue to persist in comprehensively deepening the reform, keep improving and perfecting the socialist system with Chinese characteristics, and achieve the modernization of national governance system and capacity. But what should be reformed and how to reform must be firmly based on actual conditions and development needs of China. Those that cannot be reformed should never be reformed. We should not copy and apply western theories and opinions in us mechanically. We are willing to learn from the results of every human civilization, but we will not copy the development mode of any country. "The tasty orange, grown in southern China, would turn sour once it is grown in the north. Although they resemble in the shape of leaves, yet they differ widely in taste, because the north means different location and different climate." If we mechanically copy the system mode of other countries regardless of our national conditions, we will fail to achieve what we set out to do. It will not only fail to solve any actual problem, but also result in serious consequences because of non-application.

  Following the Path of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics; Remaining Committed to Deepening the Reform and Opening-up Comprehensively

  The leadership of the Communist Party of China constitutes the most essential attribute of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and the greatest strength of this system. The leadership of the Party is the basic guarantee for the success of China's revolution, construction and reform as well as smooth advancement of comprehensive deepening of the reform in a new era. Practices have fully proved and will continue to prove that the leadership of the Party is a choice of both history and the people, and an inevitable requirement for dealing with and overcoming all kinds of risks and challenges on the road of reform. Without the leadership of the Communist Party of China, national rejuvenation would be just wishful thinking. In modern China, the Party is the highest political force exercising leadership over all areas of endeavor in every part of the country. No other force can shake or replace the core leading position of the Party. Whether we can effectively move forward the great new project of Party building and ensure that the Party's great vitality and strong ability are forever maintained determines whether we can smoothly advance the comprehensive deepening of the reform. We should make sure that the Party supervises its own conduct and enforces strict discipline, put the political Party building first, strengthen the firm ideal and faith of the whole Party, especially leading cadres, with the political Party building as the guidance, improve the intra-Party system, particularly the democratic centralism, push forward the reform and innovation of systems and mechanisms, reinforce the building of corruption punishment and prevention system, so as to further increase the leadership level and governing capacity of the Party as well as keep on strengthening the Party's ability to lead politically, to guide through theory, to organize the people, and to inspire society, making sure that as history progresses and the world undergoes profound changes, the Party always remains ahead of the times; that as history progresses and we respond to risks and tests at home and abroad, the Party always remains the backbone of the nation; and that as history progresses and we continue to deepen the reform comprehensively, the Party always remains the mainstay. Besides, we must ensure that the Party plays its role as the leadership core in exercising overall leadership and coordinating all efforts, thus to ensure the success of reform.

  To seek happiness for the people has been the mission of Chinese Communists since the very beginning, and has also been the original mission of the Party for leading the people in the reform and opening-up and socialist modernization. To follow the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics and remain committed to deepening the reform and opening-up comprehensively is to realize all-round development of the people and all-round social progress by keeping developing social productivity, striving to achieve balanced and adequate development and continuing to meet the people's ever-growing needs for a better life. Over the past 40 years of reform and opening-up, China has lifted over 700 million people out of poverty and significantly made life better for its 1.3 billion-plus people. In pursuing development, we have accomplished just in a few decades what has taken other countries several hundred years to achieve. But China is still the largest developing country in the world. Per capital indicators in national economy and social development still lag far behind other countries in the world. In order to make all the Chinese people live a better life, efforts should be made to keep deepening the reform. To keep deepening the reform comprehensively in a new era, we should start from basic national conditions of China in the primary stage of socialism; correctly grasp the historic shift of the principal contradiction facing Chinese society; pay enough attention to the people's ever-growing needs for a better life; focus on addressing the imbalance and inadequacy of economic and social development; start with addressing issues of public concern; do more to pursue public interests and resolve public grievances; consistently make new progress in ensuring access to childcare, education, employment, medical services, elderly care, housing, and social assistance, in a continued effort to advance social equity and justice; help everyone receive greater and more equitable benefits from reform and development; and give them more substantial, assured, and lasting feelings of fulfillment, happiness and security as we make constant strides toward the goal of common prosperity.

  Reform and opening up is an ongoing process that never ends. Since the Third Plenary Session of the 11th CPC Central Committee, the Party, with great political courage, has firmly promoted reforms in the country's economic, political, cultural, social and ecological systems, as well as in the system of Party building. China's opening up has also been continuously promoted. The achievements have drawn the attention of the world. There will never be an end to practice, to emancipation of the mind, and to reform and opening up. The practical and theoretical results of reforms can help us face and solve problems occurring on our way forward. But they should never lead to our arrogance and complacence, or hinder us from keeping moving ahead. The farther we go on the path of reform and opening-up, the more new situations and problems will occur, and the more risks and challenges we will face. If we do not deepen the reform or if we take the wrong path, these difficulties will not be solved. Therefore, we must constantly bolster our confidence in the path, theory, system, and culture of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and push forward reform and opening-up with greater courage and wisdom.

  (Author: Xiao Guiqing, Research Center of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, Ministry of Education)


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