Shi Zhongquan:Heaven and Earth Have Been Overturned in Heroic Triumph: 100 Years of the Communist Party of China

2021-05-06 18:25:20 | Author:Shi Zhongquan


Shi Zhongquan

Former deputy director and researcher of

the Party History Research Center of the CPC Central Committee


Abstract: The establishment of the Communist Party of China (CPC) is a groundbreaking event in the modern history of China. During its 100 years of hard work, the CPC has united with and led the people of China in making achievements that have changed the world through a great and arduous struggle. Today, as we celebrate the centenary of the CPC, systematically summarize its extraordinary history and achievements, especially the historic achievements and changes that have taken place in the Party and the country since the 18th National Party Congress, it is of great significance for us to gain a deep understanding of the Party’s innovative theories in the new era, persistently arm our minds, guide our praxis and promote our work with the latest achievements of these theories, stay true to our founding mission, build a socialist modern country in all respects and advance national rejuvenation.

Keywords: centenary of the founding of the CPC, national salvation, national construction, national reinvigoration, strengthening the nation


The birth of the CPC a century ago was a groundbreaking event. The centenary of the CPC is a big event for the Chinese people to rejoice. Over the past 100 years, the CPC has undergone a great challenging struggle that has overturned Heaven and Earth with great achievements. In his speech at the Party History Study and Education Mobilization Conference, General Secretary Xi Jinping stated that, "The 100 years of our Party have been a period during what it has been determined to accomplish its founding mission, worked hard to lay the foundation for its cause, and created brilliant achievements as it moves toward the future."[i] This performance can be summarized from several facets. From the perspective of the historical development of the Party, the 100 years of the Party can be divided into four periods: the new-democratic revolution, the period of socialist revolution and construction, the new period of reform and opening up, and the new era of socialism with Chinese characteristics. Accordingly, the great performance of the Party in the past 100 years can be summarized as the great struggle to save the country, found the People’s Republic of China, build the country, and strengthen the country, which has brought about historic changes in China.

 I. The revolution has saved the country and

the Chinese nation has stood up

Why was the CPC founded 100 years ago? In a word: to save China. This has the voice of hundreds of millions of compatriots since modern times. The Chinese nation, with an uninterrupted civilization history of more than 5,000 years and having served as a world leader for 1,500 years, was plunged into the abyss of suffering in a semi-colonial and semi-feudal society after the Opium War in 1840.

Before the founding of the Party, China came to this situation: “Today, the powers surround China, watching it like a tiger and an eagle, coveting the richness of its minerals and products. One after another, they are following the example of invading China. The situation of their carving up China like a melon is even more worrying.” This was what Dr. Sun Yat-sen, the first great man of Chinese history in the 20th century, said of China at that time.

How could China, a nation that had made great contributions to human civilization, tolerate such humiliation? Therefore, the progressive Chinese raised their voices to save the people from the fire and to keep the building from collapsing. When Sun Yat-sen founded the Revive China Society (Xing Zhong Hui) to save the country, he unprecedentedly shouted the great slogan of "revitalizing China.”[ii]

The variation of a thousand years of prosperity and a hundred years of fall of the Chinese nation called for the birth of the CPC. She took over the baton of "revitalizing China" of the previous generations of Chinese people and started a new journey to save her country.

In the 28-year new-democratic revolution saw the CPC unite with and lead the Chinese people in the arduous struggle for national salvation. During these 28 years, Chen Duxiu and Mao Zedong were the most influential persons in the two major events of the founding of the Party and the salvation of the nation. Without Chen Duxiu, the CPC would not have been founded. Without Mao Zedong, there would be no victory of the CPC in leading the revolution to save the country.

1. Chen Duxiu's aspiration to save China and the founding of the Party

  Chen Duxiu was a passionate revolutionary who crossed the sea over to Japan five times to seek the truth of saving China and her people, and established the first revolutionary organization with military nature in Anhui Province, the Yuewang Association, in 1905, After the Revolution of 1911, he became the secretary-general of Anhui Governor's Office and the leader of the democratic revolution in Anhui Province.

The failure of the Revolution of 1911 made him realize that a cultural awakening and theoretical enlightenment were necessary to fundamentally transform China. He launched New Youth and advocated for democracy and science, taking the lead in sounding the call for intellectual enlightenment and acting as the psychological leader of the New Cultural Movement.

After the arrival of Marxism in China, New Youth became the main forum for the propagation of Marxism. After the outbreak of the May Fourth Movement, Chen Duxiu actively participated in the ranks of patriotic students, drafting and personally distributing the Beijing Residents' Manifesto. There was no second to a famous professor like Chen moving around and charging directly into the fray. Mao Zedong admiringly called him "the commander-in-chief of the May Fourth Movement.”

After his arrest and release, he was escorted by Li Dazhao from Beijing to Shanghai. During this journey, they discussed the founding of a Communist Party organization. This is known as the "South Chen and North Li agreeing to found the Party.” Chen propagated Marxism among the workers in Shanghai and published the Shanghai Workers' Manifesto, shouting "Long Live Labor.”

Following his involvement in the May Fourth Movement and his experience with the workers, Chen Duxiu improved himself theoretically to become a Marxist. In August 1920, he established China’s first early Communist Party organization in Shanghai, and actively promoted the establishment of early Party organizations in Beijing, Wuhan, Changsha, Guangzhou, Jinan, as well as among the Chinese in Japan and France.

With this background, and with the help of the Communist International, the CPC held its First National Congress in Shanghai on July 23, 1921, and moved to South Lake in Jiaxing, Zhejiang Province in early August to close and announce the official founding of the Party. Although Chen Duxiu was not present at the Congress, he was elected Secretary of the Central Bureau, the highest governing body. In terms of revolutionary credentials, activity capacity, prestige and social influence, he was the one best qualified for this position.

Chen Duxiu was the main founder of the CPC and the highest leader of the Party from the First to the Fifth National Congress. In terms of revolutionary practice, he played an irreplaceable role in the formulation of the democratic revolutionary program of the Second National Party Congress, the establishment of the guidelines for the cooperation between the Kuomintang-CPC at the Third National Party Congress, and the raising of the questions concerning the leadership of the proletariat in the democratic revolution and the worker-peasant alliance. He played an important guiding role in promoting the Great Revolution from 1924 to 1927, leading the May 30th Movement, the three armed uprisings of Shanghai workers, and the struggle against the old and new Rightists of the KMT and criticizing Dai Jitaoism.

In terms of theoretical exploration, Chen also made his own contributions to several fundamental issues of the Chinese revolution. In the founding of the Party and the early and middle periods of the Great Revolution, the Party’s line was basically correct and its achievements were outstanding. In the late stage of the Great Revolution, the Communist International did not advocate a tit-for-tat struggle by the CPC against the new Rightists of Chiang Kai-shek of the KMT. As a result, the CPC, as a branch of the Communist International, had to carry out its instructions, which made the views in favor of compromises and concessions prevail in the Party. At the critical moment of the Great Revolution, he lacked a correct judgment of the complex and changing situation, was not good at dealing with the complex relationship with the KMT, and made a Rightist opportunist mistake.

As Mao Zedong pointed out, the Party at that time was still young and "did not have much knowledge of Chinese history and Chinese society or of the specific features and laws of the Chinese revolution, and it lacked a comprehensive understanding of the unity between the theory of Marxism-Leninism and the practice of the Chinese revolution.”[iii]

There were both subjective and objective reasons why Chen was not a mature leader of the Party. The failure of the Great Revolution could hardly be avoided at that time.

2. Mao Zedong leading the national salvation revolution to victory, and the Chinese nation standing up

      In his youth, Mao Zedong was, as the fashionable phrase goes, a "loyal die-hard fan" of Chen Duxiu. He recalled the conversation he had with Chen Duxiu when he visited him Shanghai in 1920: Chen Duxiu "influenced me perhaps more than anyone else" and " Chen’s own assertions of belief had deeply impressed me at what was probably a critical period of my life.”[iv] In this regard, the two can be said to be teacher and student, and in the journey of saving the country after the establishment of the Party, Mao Zedong did better than what Chen could have done.

What did Mao Zedong rely on to lead the Chinese revolution to victory in saving the country? In the final analysis, it is a brand-new road and three main magic weapons.

The brand-new road was the road of encircling the cities from the countryside and seizure of power by armed force. The successive failures of the armed uprisings in the cities showed that they were not suitable for China's national conditions. In the cities, the counterrevolutionary forces were strong and the revolutionary forces were weak, so it was impossible to overcome the enemy. On the contrary, in the remote countryside, where counterrevolutionary forces were weak and the poor peasants supported the revolution, the revolutionary forces led by the Party could open up bases, establish its governments, overthrow the local despots and distribute land, develop the armed forces, carry out guerrilla warfare, and break the counterrevolutionary "siege" with a larger geographical space and abundant human and material resources.

Mao Zedong and Zhu De persisted in the struggle in the Jinggang Mountains for more than a year and then went down to create a larger revolutionary base—the Central Soviet Area. He explored the new road of "encircling the cities from the countryside and seizing power by armed force" during the harsh war against the "encirclement and suppression.” From then on, the road blazed by Mao Zedong is the road to the victory of the Chinese revolution and the salvation of the country. This new road is the only correct road for the Chinese revolution to save the country. It is a great creation of the CPC.

The three main magic weapons are the united front, armed struggle, and strengthening the Party. Mao Zedong said that these are the three fundamental questions of the Chinese revolution, stating that, "Having a correct grasp of these three questions and their interrelations is tantamount to giving correct leadership to the whole Chinese revolution.” He added, these “are the Communist Party of China's three ‘magic weapons,’ its three principal magic weapons for defeating the enemy in the Chinese revolution.”[v]

1) Strengthening the Party

Mao Zedong was the main creator of the Party's theory of strengthening the Party with strengthening it theoretically at the core. The resolution of the Gutian Meeting in 1929 pioneered the concept of strengthening the Party theoretically, which initially answered the question of how to build the Party theoretically in order to maintain the nature of the vanguard of the proletariat, given the predominantly peasant composition of the Party membership. The resolution of the Gutian Meeting marked the initial formation of Mao Zedong's thinking on strengthening the Party and laid a solid foundation for the development of the Party's theory of strengthening the Party.

The Zunyi Meeting in January 1935 was a great turning point in the history of the Party as well as in the life of Mao Zedong. His central position was established in the Party Central Committee and the Red Army at the meeting, the Party escaped from the brink of extinction, and the Red Army changed from a passive to an active state, breaking through the KMT Army's siege and interception and achieving the great victory of the Long March.

With the outbreak of the Chinese War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression, the Party's ranks grew as never before. By the end of 1938, the number of Party members increased from 40,000 at the beginning of the war to more than 500,000. The daunting task of the war required continuous improvement in the political and theoretical quality of Party members. From the early summer of 1941, the Party Central Committee decided to launch a Party-wide rectification campaign to educate the majority of officials to learn to apply the Marxist stance, view, and method to study and solve specific problems of the Chinese revolution. This was an important platform for strengthening the Party. After the rectification, the Party's theoretical, political and organizational lines were strengthened as never before, and the three major styles became the foundation of the Party's invincibility. The rectification played a decisive role in building the Party into an advanced Marxist party, both in practice and in theory. It is because of the solid practical and theoretical foundation of strengthening the Party that there was an important organizational guarantee for the Party to become the mainstay of the War of Resistance.

In the War of Liberation, it was also because of the strong Party that the People’s Liberation Army were able to move from strategic defense to strategic offense in only one year. After the decisive victory in the three decisive campaigns against the KMT Army, Mao Zedong began to consider how the CPC could adhere to the “two imperatives”[vi] after the founding of a new China, maintain its advanced nature and purity, and always be the leading core of the Chinese people's revolutionary cause. Strengthening the Party is the most important treasure for the victory of the Chinese revolution.

2) About armed struggle

At the critical moment of the Great Revolution, Mao Zedong proposed to use the barrel of a gun against the barrel of a gun. After the failure of the Great Revolution, he took up the gun and fought a brutal land revolutionary war against the reactionaries, and formed a set of theories on the strengthening the people's army and the strategy and tactics of the people's war. The people's army led by the Party also had three magic weapons in the nationwide War of Resistance.

First, it always adhered to the line of comprehensive resistance war and conducted a people's war. At the beginning of the war, the Eighth Route Army and the New Fourth Army penetrated behind enemy lines, mobilized the people, organized various forms of armed forces, and fought independently. The vast rural areas in the enemy-occupied areas were always in the hands of the people's army, which eventually undertook the task of fighting a full-scale counteroffensive against Japan.

Second, the guerrilla war was brought to a strategic position, and the military strategy that “Guerrilla warfare is basic, but lose no chance for mobile warfare under favorable conditions" was always implemented. The Battle of Pingxingguan and the Battle of Hundred Regiments were typical examples of mobile warfare under favorable conditions. Throughout the war period, the extensive and persistent guerrilla warfare of the Chinese army was maintained and became the basic form of China's war against Japanese Aggression  in the late war period, playing a central role in the victory of the war.

Third, the bases behind the enemy lines that were opened up became the bases for the persistence of the people's war. In the spring of 1945, the country had 18 liberated areas, with a total area of nearly 1 million square kilometers and a population of nearly 100 million, and the people's army had grown to 1.2 million men. This prepared important conditions for the seizure of the final victory in the war against Japanese aggression. The War of Liberation was the final contest between the revolutionary and counterrevolutionary forces that would determine the fate of China. History developed much faster than the Party had expected, and it took only three years to achieve national revolutionary victory.

3) About the United Front

After the victory and defeat of the Great Revolution, the Party came to maturity. The Party Central Committee, with Mao Zedong at its core, had abundant experience in dealing with a second period of KMT-CPC cooperation against Japanese aggression. The Party had a profound understanding of the basic issues of the Chinese revolution and a deep insight into the development trend of international politics. According to the special pattern of the ever-changing relations between the three sides (the CPC, the KMT and Japan), the CPC adjusted its policies and strategies at the right time and correctly grasped the relationship between national and class contradictions. "The Communists are no longer political infants and are able to take care of themselves and to handle relations with their allies. If the Japanese imperialists and Chiang Kai-shek can maneuver in relation to the revolutionary forces, the Communist Party can do the same in relation to the counterrevolutionary forces."[vii]

At the beginning of the war, the Party raised the banner of the Chinese United Front against Japanese Aggression. After the stalemate stage, the Party made adequate preparations for the reversal of the war situation and the deterioration of its relationship with the KMT, as well as for the possibility of sudden changes, and formulated corresponding policies and strategies one after another. This included the general policy of "developing progressive forces, fighting for intermediate forces, and isolating stubborn forces" and the specific strategies of both unity and struggle. In particular, the three major policies of "persisting in resistance and opposing capitulation, persisting in unity and opposing a split, and persisting in progress and oppose retrogression and the principle of "waging struggles on just grounds, to our advantage, and with restraint" played an important role in uniting the KMT in the common struggle against Japan to the end. When the Party beat back the high tide of anti-Communist attacks launched by the KMT diehards, it crushed the attacks of the KMT Army on the one hand, and paid close attention to the development of the general situation of the War of Resistance on the other hand, so that not only did the special pattern of the tripartite relationship between the two countries not lose control due to the deterioration of the relationship between the two parties, but also forced the KMT government to return to the correct direction of continuing the resistance against Japanese Aggression and made important preparations for the final victory of the War of Resistance.

After the victory of the war, the KMT government reneged on its trust and relied on the support of the United States to launch a large-scale civil war. The CPC was not intimidated by the arrogance of the KMT reactionaries and dared to struggle and win, carrying out self-defense counterattacks and wars of liberation. In addition, it established the broadest united front, which includes the vast majority of the entire population. In late September 1949, the First Plenary Session of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference adopted the Common Program of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and proclaimed the establishment of the Central People's Government of the People's Republic of China. A new China was born and the Chinese people stood up from then on.

 II. The Founding of the People’s Republic of China and

the Establishment of Socialism as the Fundamental System

The founding of the People's Republic of China opened up a new era in the history of the Chinese nation. The establishment of a socialist society was the clear goal of the Party at the time of its founding. The 29 years of national construction was a painstaking exploration for socialist construction in China, with both dramatic years of triumphal march and stormy times of twists and turns and setbacks. Through the unremitting efforts of the whole Party and the whole nation, socialism finally stood up in the East of Asia as the fundamental system.

 1. The three major campaigns, led by the war to resist US aggression and aid Korea, establishing a firm foundation for building a new socialist China

 Soon after its outbreak, the Korean War spread to the Yalu River. The question arose whether China should send troops to resist the US and aid Korea at the request of the DPRK government for the purpose of self-defense. China’s situation at that time was exceptionally difficult, and the PLA's weaponry was basically at the level of "millet plus rifles.” The United States was the most powerful country in the world in terms of economic strength and military power. In terms of composite national power, the total industrial and agricultural output value of the United States in 1950 was $280 billion, while China had only $10 billion. In terms of military equipment, the United States had a large number of advanced weapons, including the atomic bomb, and modern logistical support. With such a disparity in military strength, could we win if we went to war? Can domestic economic recovery and construction still take place? The military situation was urgent, the pressure was enormous, and the decision was unprecedentedly difficult. After repeatedly weighing the situation, the Party Central Committee decided to send the Chinese People's Volunteers to the war even if the Soviet Union did not assist China with planes, and to be prepared for the worst situation.

After the Chinese People's Volunteers went to war, they crushed the rampant attack of the US-led "United Nations Force" after five campaigns in seven months, and fundamentally turned the tide of the Korean War. The victories of the Chinese and Korean armies forced the unbeatable US invaders to sit down and negotiate and to finally lower their arrogant heads and sign an armistice agreement.

After two years and nine months of military and political battles with the so-called United Nations Force, Chinese volunteers overcame all kinds of unexpected hardships and sacrifices and became the most lovable people in the eyes of the Chinese people. The great spirit of resisting US aggression and aiding Korea created by them greatly inspired the people of China. The Chinese Volunteers entered the DPRK to fight and went through modern warfare, which not only brought out the military prestige of the people's army, but also the national prestige of the People’s Republic of China. This not only made the Chinese people really proud, but also provided the strong national security guarantee for building socialism.

At the same time, the newly liberated areas, which accounted for more than half of the country's population, underwent reforms to abolish the feudal land system. By the end of 1952, about 300 million landless peasants were given 700 million mu of land without compensation, which fundamentally eradicated the foundation of China's feudal system and liberated the rural productive forces. In addition, a campaign to suppress the counterrevolutionaries was launched with great fanfare. This campaign removed the remnants of counterrevolutionary forces and provided for the consolidation of the new government, economic recovery and other efforts. The three great campaigns gave the People’s Republic a firm foundation.

 2. Carrying out the three major transformations by implementing the general line of the transitional period to lay a solid foundation of the political system for the transformation of New Democracy into socialism

 Following the victory of the war to resist US aggression and aid Korea and the full recovery of China’s economy, Mao Zedong rethought transformation from New Democracy to socialism. At the end of 1953, the CPC issued its general line for the transitional period, which was simply called the "one transformation and three reforms.” The "one transformation" was to industrialize the country through large-scale economic development in several five-year plans. The "three reforms" were to create a series of transitional forms from low to high level to realize the socialist transformation of agriculture, handicrafts and capitalist industry and commerce by the state. The transitional forms of the "three reforms" opened up a path of transformation suitable for Chinese characteristics. It enriched scientific socialist theory with new practices.

By 1956, the transformation of the ownership of the means of production was basically completed in most areas of the country, and a socialist economic system in which public ownership prevailed was initially established. In a large country of several hundred million people, the realization of different forms of public ownership, which on the whole promoted economic development while maintaining social stability, showed that it was in line with the objective laws of China's economic and social development.

During this period, the First Session of the First National People's Congress was held, which opened in September 1954, with the primary task of considering the Constitution of the People's Republic of China drafted by Mao Zedong himself. This was the first Constitution of the People’s Republic, establishing the fundamental political system of China’s socialist society, clearly stipulating its state and political systems, and the direction and way of transition to socialism. At the session, the new leaders of the Republic were elected. In this way, after the basic completion of the socialist transformation, CPC leadership, the state apparatus of the people's democratic dictatorship, and the theoretical guiding position of Marxism were the fundamental guarantee for the Chinese people to build socialism. The fundamental political system of people's congresses, the basic political system of multiparty cooperation and political consultation under the leadership of the Party and regional ethnic autonomy, and the basic economic system with public ownership as the mainstay, reflected the characteristics and advantages of Chinese society.

The year 1956 saw the convening of the Eighth National Party Congress, at which it was officially declared that China had established a basic socialist system. This marked the successful realization of the most profound and greatest social change in China's thousands of years of history, and laid the fundamental political premise and institutional foundation for all future development and progress in China.

 3. The large-scale modernization and restructuring of China’s economy carried out under several five-year plans laying a solid material and technological foundation for the socialist system

 China's first Five-Year Plan was implemented in 1953. This plan dealt with the relationship between the priority development of heavy industry and the corresponding development of agriculture and light industry. The plan adjusted the economic layout and changed the unreasonable development ratio between the coast and the interior. The principles of ensuring the scale, speed and efficiency of economic construction were designed in the light of China's actual situation, in line with national strength, and within the limits of ability. With regard to the relationship between self-reliance and foreign aid, the plan stressed that China rely on herself and should not resort to foreign aid until it was essential.

By the end of 1957, the targets of the First Five-Year Plan were substantially exceeded, and the achievements of industrial production far exceeded those of the old China over the previous 100 years. The growth rate was among the highest compared with other countries in the world in the same period. Agricultural and light industrial production was developed accordingly, and China’s economic system had the initial foundation for further development.

After the completion of the First Five-Year Plan, the Second Five-Year Plan was supposed to be implemented. However, after the Anti-Rightist Movement in 1957, the thinking of the Party Central Committee, with Mao Zedong at the core, changed greatly. In order to change the country's poverty and backwardness as soon as possible, the Party formulated the general line for socialist construction in 1958 and launched the Great Leap Forward and the People's Commune Movement. Two years of practice proved these movements were against the objective laws governing economic development.

 III. Following the Implementation of the Reform and Opening Up Policy,

the Chinese People Began to Get Rich

The Third Plenary Session of the 11th CPC Central Committee was another great turn in the history of the Party, and ushered in a new period of development for China. Reform and opening up was mainly initiated by Deng Xiaoping. The Party Central Committee with Deng Xiaoping at the core scientifically answered a series of basic questions on building socialism with Chinese characteristics and successfully blazed the socialist path with Chinese characteristics. The Party Central Committee with Jiang Zemin at the core defended socialism with Chinese characteristics amidst of the test of serious twists and turns in world socialism and successfully advanced socialism with Chinese characteristics into the 21st century. The Party Central Committee with Hu Jintao as the general secretary formed the general layout of socialism with Chinese characteristics in the process of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, and successfully adhered to and developed socialism with Chinese characteristics.

1. How did the central collective leadership with Deng Xiaoping at the core lead the Chinese people to become rich?

 Following the Third Plenary Session of the 11th Central Committee, Deng Xiaoping became the core of the second generation of the central collective leadership and the chief architect of reform, opening up and modernization. Through constant reflection, he pointed out that it is important to follow China’s own path and build socialism with Chinese characteristics.

1) Shifting from taking class struggle as the key link to making economic development the central task, and carrying out comprehensive reform and all-around opening up

Deng Xiaoping pointed out that in 1978, “We ... put forth a series of new principles and policies. The main points were that we should shift the focus of our work from class struggle to expansion of the productive forces, that we should replace the closed-door policy with an open policy and that we should abandon old conventions and carry out reform in every field.”[viii]

2) Making it clear that China's greatest reality is that it is in the primary stage of socialism, and formulating the Party's basic line in the primary stage of socialism

In the spring of 1987, Deng Xiaoping pointed out that the primary stage of socialism was its underdevelopment stage. Everything must start from this reality. The 13th Party Congress made a scientific overview of the basic line of the primary stage of socialism.

 2. How did the central collective leadership with Jiang Zemin at the core lead the Chinese people to become rich?

 In the late 1980s, the third generation of the central collective leadership, with Jiang Zemin at the core, was entrusted with the task of adhering to reform and opening up and leading and uniting the Chinese people to further enrich themselves at a critical historical juncture.

1) Putting forward the Theory of Three Represents, expanding the Party's vanguard core and continuing the Party's guiding ideology of building the country and enriching the people

The central collective leadership with Jiang Zemin at the core deepened its understanding of what socialism is, how to build it, what kind of ruling party to build and how to build the ruling party, and created the Theory of Three Represents.

2) Establishing the basic framework of the socialist market economy and the basic economic system of the primary stage of socialism

The 14th Party Congress clearly established the socialist market economy. The Third Plenary Session of the 14th CPC Central Committee adopted the Decision on Several Issues Concerning the Establishment of Socialist Market Economy, which clarified that the market plays a fundamental role in resource allocation under the macro-control of the state and outlined the basic framework of the socialist market economy.

3) Correctly balancing reform, development and stability to promote healthy economic and social development

In September 1995, in his speech "Correctly Handling Some Major Relationships in Socialist Modernization,” Jiang Zemin discussed the need to correctly balance reform, development and stability; speed and efficiency; eastern and central-western regions; and the state, enterprises and individuals in income distribution.

3. How did the Party Central Committee, with Hu Jintao as General Secretary, lead the Chinese people to become rich?

At the beginning of the 21st century, the Party Central Committee, with Hu Jintao as its general secretary, in the process of building a moderately prosperous society, responded to the changes in the domestic and international situation, seized the period of important strategic opportunity, was pragmatic, pioneering and enterprising, and made a new leap in the journey of building the country and enriching the people.

1) Creating the Scientific Outlook on Development and realizing the Party's guiding ideology to keep pace with the times

After entering the new century, the Party Central Committee, with Hu Jintao as general secretary, put forward the Scientific Outlook on Development on the basis of a profound analysis of world development trends and foreign development experience. Its top priority is to promote development, its core is to stay people-oriented, its basic requirement is make development comprehensive, coordinated and sustainable, and its fundamental method is to take all factors into account.

2) Formulating the program of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and forming the Five-Point Development Guideline for building socialism with Chinese characteristics

The 16th Party Congress formulated a grand program for building a moderately prosperous society, proposing that in the first 20 years of the 21st century, China should build a higher level of moderately prosperous society benefiting more than one billion people, so that the economy will be more developed, democracy will be more sound, science and education will be more advanced, culture will be more prosperous, society will be more harmonious, and people's life will be more prosperous.

3) Continuing to deepen reform and promoting sound and rapid economic development

The Decision on Several Issues of Improving the Socialist Market Economy formulated in October 2003 put forward important measures such as improving the basic economic system, establishing a system to gradually change the dual urban-rural economic structure, forming a mechanism to promote the coordinated development of regional economies, and improving the employment, income distribution and social security systems.

 IV. In the New Era: China Begins to Become Strong

 Following the 18th National Party Congress, with great political courage and strong responsibility, the Party Central Committee, with Xi Jinping at its core, has put forward a series of new ideas and new strategies for governing the country, introduced a series of major policies, solved many longstanding problems, and accomplished many great things that it wanted to do in the past but failed to do, and socialism with Chinese characteristics has entered a new era.

1. Economic and social development moves toward a new era of China becoming strong.

 Based on the great achievements made since the implementation of the reform and opening up policy, the Party Central Committee, with Xi Jinping at the core, has implemented the five-sphere integrated plan[ix] and the four-pronged comprehensive strategy,[x] led the reform to advance deeper and deeper; put forward the new development philosophy, and took economic and social development to a new level.

1) The economic structure has been improved as never before. Efforts have been made to develop the real economy, with the focus on promoting high-quality development and deepening the supply-side structural reform. Economic development has improved significantly.

According to the new development philosophy, the supply-side structural reform helps China's economy to accelerate change in its drivers, quality, and efficiency. The country has constantly transformed and upgraded its industrial structure. In 2015 China’s service industry contributed 50 percent to its economic growth.

2) Science and technology innovation continues to integrate into the overall economic and social development, innovation-driven development strategy has achieved remarkable results, and the scientific and technological content of economic and social development has impressed the world.

Since the 18th National Party Congress clearly put forward the innovation-driven development strategy, China has always upheld the core position of innovation in its modernization, created an institutional environment for business startups and innovation initiatives, and made science and technology self-reliance and self-improvement a fundamental support for promoting the development of the overall situation.

 2. The wellbeing of people is moving toward a new era of China becoming strong.

People's wellbeing is the nation's lifeline. Xi Jinping solemnly declared when he was inaugurated as the Party’s general secretary: “The people’s desire for a better life is what we shall fight for.” The Party Central Committee puts the people's interests as the center, and constantly focuses on improving people's lives, and as a result, the people have developed a stronger sense of fulfillment, happiness, and security.

1) Decisive progress has been made in the battle against poverty, and the goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects has been fully achieved.

The Party Central Committee, with Xi Jinping at its core, has implemented two unprecedented measures to build a moderately prosperous society in respects: First, it has put forward the concept of targeted poverty alleviation and poverty eradication, requiring that the real poor population be identified and that the degree and causes of poverty be clarified, so as to implement policies according to households and individuals and ensure that not a poor person is left behind. Second, competent Party members and officials are selected to serve as the first secretary of the grassroots Party organizations in poor areas, a poverty alleviation task force is stationed in every poor village, and a person is held responsible for helping every poor household.

2) Per capita disposable income has been increasing, and the middle-income group has continued to expand.

Entering the new era, the Party Central Committee has paid great attention to the general public's sense of access to reform dividends and constantly increased the sense of happiness of the middle-income group. The government's investment in basic livelihood has only increased, and the per capita disposable income of residents grew from 16,510 yuan in 2012 to 30,733 yuan in 2019.

3) Social development has continued to progress, and a social security system covering urban and rural residents has been basically completed.

The Party Central Committee has continued to strengthen social development and expand social security coverage, and focused on solving outstanding issues of general concern to the people. The year 2020 saw no relaxation in the development of a social security system covering urban and rural residents, despite the serious epidemic.

First, a multi-pronged approach was adopted to stabilize and expand employment. Some 10.99 million new jobs were created in urban areas nationwide in the first 11 months of 2020, completing 122.1 percent of the annual target.

Second, over the past few years, people's health and medical care has significantly improved, and a major medical insurance system has been established for urban and rural residents. The number of people insured by basic medical insurance nationwide exceeded 1.35 billion, with the participation rate stabilizing at over 95 percent. Basic medical insurance achieved full coverage.

Third, education in central and western China and rural areas has been strengthened, and state financial education funding has been consistently giving high priority to rural areas, remote and poor areas and ethnic minority areas to promote the sharing of high-quality resources. The facilities of primary and secondary schools in central and western China and rural areas have been greatly improved.

4) Ecological civilization has made remarkable achievements, and people and nature are getting along harmoniously.

The Party Central Committee continues to implement Xi Jinping's thinking on ecological civilization.

First, it has put ensuring food security in a prominent position, strengthened seed banks, and cultivated excellent varieties.

Second, it has implemented the strategy of rural revitalization to create a modern and beautiful countryside. It has comprehensively improved rural production and living conditions and made the countryside a better place to live in.

Third, it has increased pollution prevention and control efforts to continuously improve environmental quality. After years of efforts, the ratio of days when air quality is good or excellent in 337 cities nationwide reached 82 percent in 2019 compared with 2015.

Fourth, it has upheld green development and integrated the protection and restoration of mountains, rivers, forests, farmlands, lakes and grasslands.

3. Comprehensive and strict self-governance of the Party has brought the Party to a new era of China becoming stronger.

In 2014, Xi Jinping proposed "comprehensive and strict self-governance of the Party,” pushing the great new project of strengthening the Party to a new stage. How does the Party Central Committee with Xi Jinping at its core govern the Party in a comprehensive and strict manner? The most important thing is to put forward the new concept of "closely combining ideological and institutional self-governance of the Party.” This concept has enriched and developed the Marxist theory of building a ruling party, and its implementation has led the Party to a new era of China becoming strong.

1) The overwhelming victory in the fight against corruption has further strengthened our Party’s theory of modern party politics.

Under the guidance of the idea of closely combining ideological and institutional self-governance of the Party, the Party Central Committee has carried out the anti-corruption struggle with thunderous force, tackling both the symptoms and the root causes. It has taken firm action to “take out tigers,” “swat flies,” and “hunt down foxes.”

2) The idea of strengthening the theoretical foundations of the Party has been reemphasized so that Party members developed better ideals and convictions established based on scientific theory.

Strengthening the theoretical foundations of the Party is an essential feature of the CPC. Xi Jinping reemphasized this point, requiring officials at all levels, especially senior officials, to systematically master Marxist theory and the latest achievements of adapting Marxism to the Chinese context. In addition, he proposed to run the Party by virtue and implement the requirements of strengthening the theoretical foundations of the Party.

3) According to the idea of institutional governance of the Party, the Party's institution construction has been further strengthened.

Xi Jinping constantly emphasizes the need to keep power in the institutional cage, formulate a sound a systematic and complete regulations and systems to ensure the transparent exercise of power. The Party Central Committee has introduced or revised more than half of the previous Party regulations, initially forming a system of Party regulations with the Party Constitution as the root and guidelines, and with guidelines and other Party regulations as the backbone. Among the various regulations and ordinances introduced, there are two regulations that play a special role. One is to strengthen supervision and inspection, and the other is to revise the Intra-Party Regulations of the Communist Party of China.

4) Great attention has been paid to strengthening the conduct of the Party to gradually improve the advanced nature and purity of the Party.

To strengthen intra-Party political activities, the most important thing is to govern the Party in accordance with rules and strengthen its conduct. The new CPC Central Committee convened a meeting of the Political Bureau 20 days after the conclusion of the 18th CPC National Congress to review and approve the Eight-Point Decision on Improving Party and Government Conduct, which ushered in a dramatic change in the atmosphere. Subsequently, intensive activities were carried out to educate in and practice the Party's mass line, and Three Stricts and Three Earnests.[xi] The lax organization and loose discipline were greatly changed. Deterrence was strengthened so officials don’t dare to, the cage of institutions was strengthened so they’re unable to, and their vigilance was strengthened so they have no desire to commit acts of corruption, thus achieving initial results and laying the foundation for ensuring strict and firm self-governance of the Party. The Party's conduct was strengthened and corruption was severely punished, thus enhancing the Party's image as an advanced party, and opening up a new realm of its self-governance.

The CPC is both a century-old major party and a strong one. With the First Centenary Goal of completing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects successfully achieved, the Party has embarked on a new journey toward the Second Centenary Goal of building a modern socialist country in all respects. The Chinese Communists, who have weathered the stormy seas and turbulent waves, firmly believe that this goal must be reached, and this goal can definitely be reached.

[i] See Xi Jinping, "Learn Party History, Improve Understanding, Do Practical Things,  Enter into New Phases, and Celebrate the Centenary of the Founding of the Party with Excellent Achievements," People's Daily, February 21, 2021.

[ii] See the History Research Office of the Guangdong Provincial Academy of Social Sciences, et. al., The Complete Works of Sun Yat-sen, vol. 1, Zhonghua Book Company, Beijing, 1981, p. 19.

[iii] Selected Works of Mao Zedong, 2nd edition, vol. 2, p. 610.

[iv] Edgar Snow, Red Star over China, New York, Grove Press, pp. 150, 153.

[v] Selected Works of Mao Zedong, 2nd edition, vol. II, pp. 605, 606.

[vi] 1) To be modest, prudent, and free from arrogance and rashness in one’s work and 2) to continue to work hard and live plainly.

[vii] Selected Works of Mao Zedong, 2nd edition, vol. 1, pp. 157–158.

[viii] Selected Works of Deng Xiaoping, Eng. ed., Foreign Languages Press, Beijing, 1994, p. 264.

[ix] The five-sphere integrated plan is to promote coordinated economic, political, cultural, social, and ecological advancement.

[x] The four-pronged comprehensive strategy is to make comprehensive moves to finish building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, deepen reform, advance law-based governance, and strengthen Party self-governance.

[xi] The Three Stricts and Three Earnests are: to be strict with oneself in practicing self-cultivation, using power, and exercising self-discipline; and to be earnest in one’s thinking, work, and behavior.