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Chen Jin:How the People’s Republic Came to Be

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Author:Chen Jin | Source:English Edition of Qiushi Journal January-March 2019|Vol.11,No.1,Issue No.38 | Updated: 2019-Jul-9



In November 1932, The Eastern Miscellany, located in Shanghai, published a request for readers from across the social spectrum to answer the following two questions: What do you hope China will be like in the future? What dreams do you have for your own life?

This question on hopes and dreams sent ripples across China. Some said that they dreamed of an equal society in which everyone worked together and shared with each other, while others said that the China of the future would belong to the people. Some were relatively optimistic, with the hope that China would achieve the benevolent ideals advocated by Confucius, the scientific ideals advocated by Bertrand Russell, and the communist ideals advocated by Lenin, but others were much more pessimistic, saying “in these long winter nights, all I feel is cold and hunger, and all I hear is people weeping,” and “I am gripped by nightmares, and al¬ways awake in a cold sweat.”

It was at this time, when the dreams of the people were separated by such great uncertainty, that the Communist Party of China (CPC) took a determined step in the pursuit of a brighter future and established the Chinese Soviet Republic in Ruijin, Jiangxi Province, less than 1000 kilometers away from Shanghai. This was a country for “the exploited and oppressed masses of workers, peasants, and soldiers.” In the years that followed, the Party led the people through bitter and determined struggles, defeating the imperialist aggression of Japan and overturning the reactionary rule of the Kuomintang. The founding of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 1949 marked the beginning of a new epoch of rejuvenation for the Chinese nation.

I. Why is it said that the founding of the PRC allowed the Chinese people to “stand up?”

July 1, 1949 was the 28th anniversary of the CPC’s founding. On this day, political parties other than the CPC jointly sent their congratulations to the CPC Central Committee in a telegram which stated that it was an incredibly joyous event that 475 million people had freed themselves from the millennia-old fetters of the feudal autocracy and wiped clean a century of humiliation at the hands of imperialist powers. On September 21 of the same year, at the First Plenary Session of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, Mao Zedong made an overall similar statement: “we are all convinced that our work will go down in the history of mankind, demonstrating that the Chinese people, comprising one quarter of humanity, have now stood up.” The resulting applause from delegates lasted for five minutes.

If one were to ask those who were there at the time of the PRC’s founding which phrase had the most profound impression on them, almost all would say that it was Mao Zedong’s statement that “the Chinese people have stood up!”

After 1840, with the outbreak of the first Opium War between China and Britain, the imperialist powers imposed one unequal treaty after another on the Chinese people, which gave the modern Chinese nation the solemn historical task of striving for complete national independence and liberation. Thus, after 1949, the people witnessed the expulsion of all foreign military forces garrisoned in China’s mainland regions, and the gradual elimination of all special privileges originally enjoyed by imperialist powers including land for military bases, navigation of inland waterways, control of customs, and exemption from local law.

With their own strategic interests in mind, some countries in the Western world did not want to see poor and backward China truly stand up. Consequently, after the outbreak of the Korean War on June 25, 1950, the US government immediately ordered the Seventh Fleet of its navy to enter the Taiwan Strait and enforce military occupation of Taiwan, thereby interrupting the PRC’s progress in completing the great task of national reunification. On September 15, American-led UN forces landed at Incheon in the middle of the Korean Peninsula, rapidly crossed the 38th parallel, and carried the fighting to the banks of the Yalu River, thus bringing the threat of war to the Chinese border. American planes repeatedly invaded Chinese airspace in the northeast, dropping not only conventional bombs, but also bombs armed with disease-spreading bacteria.

In this critical moment, when the security and independence of the newly-founded PRC was under grave threat, the CPC Central Committee decided, after careful consideration and deliberation, to resist US aggression and aid Korea in defense of the motherland using a volunteer force. The PRC, which had only just emerged from calamity and had countless urgent tasks at hand, was now up against the top economic and military power in the world at the time as well as an enormous camp of its Western allies. What was the result of the contest between these two sides so widely disparate in strength? The myth that the American military was undefeatable was shattered. On July 27, 1953, faced with a Chinese population that had now stood up, the US had no choice but to sign an armistice agreement. Peng Dehuai, commander of the Chinese People’s Volunteer Army, said proudly that the centuries-long era in which Western aggressors could land on a stretch of coastline in the East, set up a few pieces of artillery, and dominate a whole country was gone forever.

Many people felt that the world had changed, with the words “liberation,” “emancipation,” and “unwilling to be bullied” used often at the time. When the PRC was founded, people’s congresses were convened in different areas of China, and the public began to exercise their democratic rights. But what is democracy? On August 31, 1949, the Peking Xinhua Radio Station released an article by the renowned scholar Fei Xiaotong. In it he said that though he had long before heard the term democracy, he had not understood what really constituted a democratic society. It was witnessing the scene of conferences between people from all walks of life in Peking that made him suddenly realize the meaning of democracy: there were people wearing uniforms, work clothes, collared shirts, dresses, western suits, and Chinese robes, and even one person sporting a traditional skullcap, all discussing issues together in one place. This allowed him to understand for the first time what democracy was truly like.

The political consultative conference convened by the CPC in preparation for the founding of the PRC had a total of 662 delegates, including specially invited representatives from various political parties, societies and associations, regions, and those representing more than a dozen different social sectors including workers, farmers, intellectuals, industrial and commercial figures, women, self-employed people, overseas Chinese, and religious groups. This was an event unprecedented in the history of China.

The political manifestation of the democracy talked about by ordinary people is the people acting as masters of the country. Therefore, after the founding of the PRC, the word “people” was included at the front of the names of governments and organs of political power at all levels, as in people’s congress, people’s government, people’s court, people’s procuratorate, people’s railway, and people’s postal service, with even the currency used called the people’s money (renminbi).

The feudal system of land exploitation was always a chronic malady obstructing China’s historical progress and economic development, as well as a focal point of conflict between the country’s social classes. For generation after generation of impoverished farmers, the dream was to have one’s own land. In June 1950, the Central People’s Government issued the Agrarian Reform Law of the People’s Republic of China. Land reform was implemented for the purposes of liberating impoverished farmers as well as freeing rural forces of production from the fetters of antiquated relations of production, thereby bringing one of the most fundamental missions of China’s revolution to full completion.

II. How did China transition into a socialist society?

Building socialism was an objective set out by the CPC from its very founding, but the establishment of the PRC did not signify that China had entered into socialism. At the time, people thought that socialism meant following the example of the Soviet Union by changing the relations of production, instituting public ownership over essentially all of the means of production, and implementing a system of distribution according to labor. However, the real national conditions of the PRC at the time of its founding were not amenable to this model. The leaders of the Party believed that all components of the economy, including the capitalist economy, must be allowed to continue developing, and that steps toward adopting socialism could be taken only after the national economy had recovered and productive forces had developed to an appropriate extent.

By 1952, China’s economy had already achieved full recovery with unforeseeably quick speed, while the system of economic operation had also gone through major changes, with the state sector holding the initiative in the market. As a result, from 1953 to 1956, China was swept with the following political term: “one industrialization and three transformations.” Industrialization was the goal, while the three transformations referred to the socialist transformation of agriculture, individually-operated handicraft, and capitalist industry and commerce. This term was called the general guideline in the period of transition toward socialism. Underlying this general guideline was a new vision for the process of modernization in contemporary China – first accelerating the process of industrialization by reforming the economic system and improving the relations of production, and then transitioning to socialism.

Socialist transformation of agriculture was carried out by launching the agricultural cooperative movement. In 1952, an interesting story emerged from a village in the Yanshan Mountains of Hebei Province centered on a farmer named Wang Guofan. Wang united the 23 poorest farming households in the village and established a grassroots cooperative. Since the cooperative only had one donkey that was still one-quarter owned by villagers who had not entered into the association, people called it the “poor man’s cooperative of three donkey legs.” Resting on these three donkey legs, however, this cooperative grew to include 83 households by its second year and increased its grain output per mu [1 mu = 1/15 hectare] from 60 to more than 150 kilograms.

After learning of this, Mao Zedong wrote in the book Socialist Upsurge in China’s Countryside in 1955: “This, in my view, is the image of our entire nation. Why can’t 600 million ‘paupers’ create a prosperous and strong socialist country in several decades by their own efforts?”

Mao Zedong put enormous effort into compiling Socialist Upsurge in China’s Countryside, with the purpose of advancing the cooperative movement and completing the socialist transformation of agriculture as early as possible. Precisely at the time that he was working on this book, the agricultural cooperative movement took off through a series of conferences in 1955. Mao said that he was overjoyed seeing hundreds of millions of people embarking on the path toward socialism, perhaps even more so than he was when the country was founded in 1949, because in his mind this brought about a fundamental change in China’s situation. By the end of 1956, 96.3% of rural households throughout China had already entered into cooperatives. Meanwhile, socialist transformation of individual handicraft industries progressed smoothly.

In contrast, carrying out socialist transformation of capitalist industry and commerce was a relatively complicated process. The method adopted by the government was not like that envisaged by the authors of Marxist classics, nor was it a copy of what was actually employed by the Soviets, who carried out non-compensatory seizure and expropriation. Instead, the Chinese government implemented a policy of joint public- private operation and peaceful buyouts. This method was able to reduce disruptive social effects and was conducive to the enhancement of productive forces.

Of course, there were some successful capitalists, especially those with relatively extensive assets, who were apprehensive and skeptical about the implementation of joint public-private operation. With this in mind, Mao Zedong personally went to work, inviting industrial and commercial figures to discussions in the hopes that everyone would recognize the laws of socialist development, take hold of their destiny, and walk the path of socialism. Rong Yiren, who was honored with the nickname of “the Red Capitalist,” said, “Though we obviously prize our businesses greatly, if we only care about our own business and hold on stubbornly to private ownership, then our perspective will inevitably be too narrow. We must also continuously carry out development through a number of five-year plans to grow our country and make all of our lives better.”

Once joint public-private operation was implemented, the government paid interest to capitalists according to the value of their assets. But how much interest was appropriate? Most capitalists were hoping that they could get as much as they could but were not overly confident. Referring to the interest rate, they said that 3% was on the low side, 4% was not a certainty, and 5% was out of the ques­tion. In the end, the government set a uniform interest rate of 5% calculated from January 1956 with a term of 7 years. To the surprise of the majority of capitalists, after the term expired in 1962, the government decided to extend it to ten years. Paying private businesspeople annual interest of 5% as a buy-out while arranging work for them allowed capitalist industry and commerce to peacefully transform into the socialist economy, and there­fore this method indeed represented an invention of great historical signif­icance.

In roughly four years from 1953 to the end of 1956, the three great tasks of transformation were essen­tially completed nationwide. From that time forward, China crossed the threshold into a socialist society.

III. Why was exploring the path of socialist development such an arduous and tortuous process?

A country without modern indus­try will never be able to grow strong. When the first day of 1953 arrived, a new rhythm could be felt in the PRC’s march of progress. It was on that day that a new phrase emerged in the editorial section of the People’s Daily: the First Five-Year Plan. The editorial also stated that industriali­zation was the “ideal for which the Chinese people have been yearning for a century.” The spectacle of in­dustrialization was certainly exciting, sparking people’s curiosity and mak­ing them feel proud. Whereas China had previously needed to import items as simple as nails, when the First Five-Year Plan was completed ahead of schedule in 1956, the coun­try for the first time had its own air­craft, machine tool, and electronics industries. In that year, a song called “Old Driver” became popular all over China after 12 Jiefang branded vehi­cles rolled off the factory line.

In the fall of 1956, the Eighth Na­tional Congress of the CPC was convened as China crossed the threshold into socialism. In his opening ad­dress, Mao Zedong stated that the tasks of this congress were as fol­lows: summarize experience gained since the Seventh Congress (1945), unite the whole Party, unite all forces at home and abroad that could be united, and strive to build a great so­cialist China. However, no one had seen what socialism was outside of the Soviet model, and no one had built socialism without Soviet meth­ods. As the saying goes, straw shoes have no set form, but rather take shape as the weaver makes them. There was no precedent for China’s development of socialism, and there­fore the country had to feel its way forward through practice.

The process of trial and error is like walking in a thick fog; it is dif­ficult, complicated, and often causes one to bump into obstacles. One great problem that emerged in eco­nomic development was the Great Leap Forward campaign of 1958. First, the campaign called on all peo­ple to produce steel, because at the time steel was the basis of all indus­try and served as a representation of the nation’s productive strength. However, much of the steel produced during the Great Leap Forward was unusable. Second, in an effort to raise agricultural production, people in many places falsified their production figures as they competed ac­cording to atmospherically high and absurd targets. Third, in an effort to raise productivity, some agricul­tural cooperatives were merged into larger people’s communes, with both the means of production as well as certain basic necessities distributed in a unified manner rather than ac­cording to each of the commune’s brigades. Consequently, problems emerged with distribution, as poorer production brigades could benefit at the expense of their more well off counterparts.

It was precisely by having walked this winding path that the CPC grad­ually accumulated extensive experi­ence and created a whole series of theories on building socialism. This includes ideas such as walking our own path and independently explor­ing how to build socialism in China, shifting the focus of the Party and state to socialist development and technological revolution, implement­ing a cultural development campaign under the slogan “let a hundred flowers bloom, let a hundred schools of thought contend,” correctly han­dling relations among the people, ad­vocating the continued existence of commodity production and exchange in socialist society, and taking a Chi­nese approach to industrialization with the strategic objective of achiev­ing modernization of agriculture, in­dustry, national defense, and science and technology.

In the process of exploring the path to building socialism, it was even more crucial to have an enterprising spirit and a willingness to put in ar­duous effort. A nation’s character and spirit can best be seen in the face of hardships and challenges. That was a time in which many heroes stepped forward, bringing about one miracle after another. Their stories will forever remain in the memory of history.

Working to bring construction of the Daqing Oilfields to early com­pletion, the oil worker Wang Jinxi, confronted with an unexpected oil well blowout, immediately jumped into the mud pit and used his body to mix the cement, earning him the nickname “Iron Man Wang.” The “Ballad of Malan” is a song that was dedicated to those who travelled in secrecy to the far reaches of the Gobi Desert to work on the “missile, atom bomb and the satellite” project, thus rendering outstanding service to their country. The life of PLA sol­dier Lei Feng came to an end at the young age of 22, but the spirit of do­ing good deeds for the people which he practiced during his short time on earth has today been translated into conscious action on the part of countless young volunteers. Finally, though Lankao County in Henan Province has now gotten its dust storms under control and embarked on the road from poverty to prosper­ity, its people will never forget the dedication of the county Party secre­tary Jiao Yulu.

While exploring its way forward, China fell into a period of politi­cal turmoil that began in 1966 and lasted for a decade. Chinese Commu­nists are adamant in their belief that the Cultural Revolution must be ut­terly rejected because this movement brought disastrous consequences for socialist development and thus became a profound lesson for lat­er generations. After the Cultural Revolution ended in 1976, the peo­ple revived the four modernizations slogan, which for a time had been completely abandoned. It was pre­cisely through the enthusiasm and activity of working toward the four modernizations that people came to understand that China had turned the page on its previous chapter and now a new journey of exploration was beginning.

IV. What kind of path did the CPC find through the practice of reform and opening up?

It was the ingenuity of the Chinese people that led to the first step in Chi­na’s reform and opening up. Some ar­eas took the initiative to experiment with fixing farm output quotas to the household, opening up a pathway for reform of the system under which ru­ral production operated. This method of rural institutional reform, which later became known as “the house­hold responsibility system,” rapidly enabled rural residents to ensure that their basic needs were met. People often use the words “reform” and “opening up” together by force of habit. We know that reform took off in strides in rural areas, but how did opening up get started?

In April 1979, chief of the CPC Guangdong Provincial Committee Xi Zhongxun arrived in Beijing to attend a central work conference. Speaking at the conference, he ex­pressed the hope that the Central Committee would accord Guangdong special policies in consideration of its proximity to Hong Kong and Macao and its role as the homeland of nu­merous overseas Chinese. A few days later, he reported in person to Deng Xiaoping on specific plans. Deng expressed his approval, saying, “The name special zone is good, just like the Shaanxi-Gansu-Ningxia region used to be called a special zone! The Central Committee doesn’t have any funds, but we can offer you policy support for you to go and carve out a path yourselves.” Deng likened the challenge of setting up special economic zones and creating pathways for opening up in order to bring in funds, technology, and management methods from Western countries to the challenge of breaking out of military encirclement,through which one can see that this was a monumentally significant move.

The contracting of land and the creation of special economic zones were the two major breakthroughs of reform and opening up. Once these breakthroughs were made, productive forces were given free rein to develop, and the creativity of the people was unleashed. The track China was taking began to show positive results and extend outward in all directions, weaving together a grand web of reform and opening up that spanned across rural and urban areas and from the economic domain to every sector of society.

Even greater achievements followed hot on the heels of these breakthroughs. The theory of the primary stage of socialism was intro¬ duced on the basis of an assessment of China’s national conditions and became known as the “one central task and two basic points” (the central task being economic development and the two points referring to upholding the four cardinal principles and reform and opening up). In addition, the objective of economic reform to build a socialist market economy was established. Finally, the cause that China was now undertaking was branded with a new name; in the words of Deng Xiaoping, we must “blaze a path of our own and build a socialism with Chinese characteristics – that is the basic conclusion we have reached after reviewing our long history.”

Human societies always move forward along an appropriate path. The success of any undertaking or the achievement of any goal is dependent on how one chooses and explores a way forward, and how they stick to and develop their path. As the theme of all the CPC’s theory and practice since the launch of reform and opening up, socialism with Chinese characteristics has its landmark event, as reflected in the oft-quoted phrase “since the Third Plenary Session of the 11th CPC Central Committee (1978)”; it has its source of practi­cal motivation, namely reform and opening up; and it has its own clear themes, which have developed ac­cording to a series of questions, from “what is socialism and how it should be built,” to “what kind of Party should we build and how it should be built,” to “what kind of develop­ment are we seeking and how we pursue it,” and finally to “what kind of Chinese socialism should be up­held and developed in the new era, and how we go about doing this?”

The titles of reports to the National Congress of the CPC from the 13th congress in 1987 to the 19th congress in 2017 have all featured the words “socialism with Chinese characteris­tics.” Each of the goals that we have fought to achieve on this path is like a bright signpost marking the course of China’s development. For example, from the late 1980s, many rural and urban areas were decorated with such slogans which read “forging forward to moderate prosperity.”

V. Entering into a new era, what conceptual and practical changes have taken place in national governance?

History is like a great river that never stops rushing forward though the terrain may change. Just as a river can flow along a new riverbed, history can cross the threshold into a new era. So what riverbed is the great historical surge of socialism with Chinese characteristics running over today? Since the 18th National Congress of the CPC (2012), pioneer­ing changes have been made across the board in reform and opening up and socialist modernization, bring­ing about fundamental and historic transformations with profound im­plications. Therefore, at the 19th Na­tional Congress of the CPC (2017), it was officially announced that social­ism with Chinese characteristics has entered a new era.

As we have begun moving toward new frontiers in the new era, Xi Jin­ping Thought on Socialism with Chi­nese Characteristics for a New Era has introduced a whole series of new ideas, strategies, and principles for guiding national governance. These include the following: building upon our success in completing construc­tion of a moderately prosperous soci­ety in all respects and taking a two-step approach to make China into a great and modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democrat­ic, civilized, harmonious, and beau­tiful by the middle of this century; upholding a people-centered concept of development in consideration of the fact that the principal challenge in Chinese society has become that between imbalanced and inadequate development and the people’s ever-growing needs for a better life; ensur­ing coordinated implementation of the “five-pronged” overall plan and the “Four Comprehensives” strat­egy; comprehensively deepening re­form according to the overall goal of improving and developing China’s socialist system and advancing the modernization of China’s governance system and capacity; driving forward law-based governance according to the overall goal of building a system for Chinese socialist rule of law and developing China into a socialist country that is governed by the rule of law; advancing the Party’s objectives for strengthening the military in the new era, which are to develop a world-class military and build a peo­ple’s army that follows the command of the CPC, is capable of victory, and shows exemplary conduct; using major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics to promote the estab­lishment of a new model of major-country relations and a community with a shared future for humanity; and standing firm with the conviction that the leadership of the CPC is the most essential feature of socialism with Chinese characteristics as well as the greatest strength of the Chi­nese socialist system.

These new ideas, strategies, and principles are derived from abun­dant experience in vigorous innova­tion and reform, and are reflected throughout the practice of national governance. For example, in the in­terest of advancing reform in all re­spects, up until the 19th National Congress of the CPC in 2017, the Central Leading Group on Compre­hensively Deepening Reform held 38 meetings, while relevant central and state departments launched a total of more than 1500 reform measures. Principal frameworks underpinning all areas of furthering reform have now essentially been established, with some already exhibiting tangible posi­tive effects felt by the people through their implementation.

In Binhai New Area of Tianjin, there were once 18 departments and nearly 600 people engaged in administrative examination and approval. In 2014, the government combined all organi­zations with examination and approv­al functions into a single authority, reducing the number of people em­ployed in related work to little more than 100 and cutting the number of official seals for administrative exami­nation and approval from 109 to just one. Though the process of streamlin­ing of these procedures involved dif­ficult transfer and cession of powers, its benefits could be felt by ordinary people. For example, when a young man named Guo Lansheng registered a food and beverage company in 2008, he did so by hiring an agency since he felt that the examination and ap­proval process was unbearably diffi­cult and convoluted, which in the end took more than 20 days and cost him between 6000 and 7000 yuan. On Sep­tember 11, 2014, he went to the newly established examination and approval authority to register his new business, this time completing all relevant ex­amination and approval procedures in just one day.

Comprehensively deepening reform and advancing the rule of law are two interdependent processes. It has been said that the law is humanity’s great­est invention. While other inventions taught humans how to master na­ture, the law has taught humans how to master themselves. Embarking on a new journey to build a country gov­erned by the rule of law in the new era, we have seen a number of laws introduced and revised in conformity with the demands of socioeconomic development and in response to the major concerns of the public. This includes the following: the Crimi­nal Procedure Law was revised to improve interlinked mechanisms for the supervision and litigation of criminal matters, establish a system for trial in absentia, refine the system of leniency for admissions of guilt in criminal cases, and create additional procedures for summary judgment; the Law on Protection of Heroes and Martyrs was introduced to make re­vering, studying, defending, and car­ing for our national heroes common practice throughout society; gaps in the Law on the Prevention and Con­trol of Soil Pollution were filled to ensure that members of the public are confident that what they eat and where they live are safe; and the In­dividual Income Tax Law was revised for the seventh time to give ordinary people a greater sense of benefit by allowing them to enjoy varying de­grees of dividends from tax reduc­tion.

The new era will not wait for those who hesitate, watch from the side­lines, or drag their feet; only those who keep up with the tide of history and share a common future with the times will be able to capture a bright tomorrow. Now that it has entered the new era, Chinese socialism will inspire people to build even greater enthusiasm and confidence.

VI. Why is it said that socialism with Chinese characteristics is linked to both national conditions and ideals?

In November 2012, while visiting The Road of Rejuvenation exhibit at the National Museum of China, Gen­eral Secretary Xi Jinping opened up the topic of the Chinese Dream. He said, “I believe that national rejuve­nation has been the greatest dream of the Chinese people since modern times began.” From then on, the Chi­nese Dream became a hotly discussed topic throughout society. But what is the Chinese Dream? It is the dream of making the country prosperous and strong, revitalizing the nation, and bringing happiness to the people, a dream that from its very foundations belongs to the people.

The Chinese Dream is like the fi­nal stroke on a new, ornately painted door leading toward greater under­standing of China’s modern history. If one pushes open this door, trac­ing China’s path into the depths of history and witnessing the towering achievements that dot the way, they will see that it has always been carved with the code for deciphering China’s national conditions in different peri­ods of modernity, the ardent dreams and ambitions of the people, and the immutable aspiration and mission of the CPC.

What does this dream look like today? In Huaxi Village of Jiangsu Province, there was a man named Wu Renbao who served as secretary of the village Party branch for nearly half a century. Although he was a low-level official, what he achieved was incredible. Huaxi today is known as the “number one village under the sky,” where every family owns cars and a detached home and average savings per person are in the mil­lions. Before he passed away, Wu said, “I came from poverty, so my greatest desire was to help poor people live comfortable lives; this is what drove me. I have always believed firmly that a communist party must pursue the wellbeing of the vast majority of people. What is socialism? Socialism is the wellbeing of the people. There are thousands of isms that one could follow, but if socialism can make the people prosperous, then it is the best of them all.”

When one searches for a path for­ward, they may not act arbitrarily, and the path they choose cannot emerge from nothing. In this way, the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics is anchored to China’s national conditions on one end, and to our ideals on the other; while it carries on the past, it also points to­ward the future. Chinese socialism is linked to the Chinese Dream, and the Chinese Dream is integral to Chinese socialism. Socialism with Chinese characteristics has already become a path for uniting China’s people into a community with a shared dream and shared future.

There are four essential aspects to socialism with Chinese characteris­tics. The first is the path of Chinese socialism, which includes the basic line of “one central task and two basic points,” as well as five major routes of development that branch out from this basic line toward a socialist mar­ket economy, democratic politics, advanced culture, a harmonious so­ciety, and an ecological civilization. The second is Chinese socialism’s sys­tem of theories, which includes Deng Xiaoping Theory, the Theory of the Three Represents, the Scientific Out­look on Development, and Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era. The third is Chinese socialist institutions, including China’s political, legal, and economic institutions and systems at all levels. The fourth is the culture of Chinese socialism, including China’s outstanding traditional culture, revo­lutionary culture, and advanced so­cialist culture.

Socialism with Chinese character­istics constantly carries the Chinese Dream forward, and is the path we must follow to bring about the reju­venation of the Chinese nation. The following strategic plan has been made for the journey ahead: by 2020, we will achieve moderate prosperity throughout society; by 2035, we will basically realize socialist moderniza­tion; and by 2050, when the PRC cel­ebrates the 100th anniversary of its founding, we will build China into a great modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, civilized, harmonious, and beauti­ful. When in a few short decades the Chinese people are living in a great modern socialist country, then it will mean the Chinese Dream has come true, and each person will surely have his own vivid sense of great achievement.

Chen Jin is a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the 13th National People’s Congress and a research fellow at the Central Institute of Party History and Literature.

(Originally appeared in Qiushi Journal, Chinese edition, No. 2, 2019)

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