06/14/2021 | News release | Distributed by Public on 06/14/2021 19:41
An Impressive Scorecard
Remarks by Vice Foreign Minister Xie Feng
At an Exchange with Diplomatic Envoys
From North America, Oceania,
Latin America and the Caribbean
Before The CPC's 100th Anniversary
Beijing, 12 June 2021
It's nice to be back in Beijing after six and a half years. It's such a pleasure to meet with all the friends present today. I've hoped to have this meeting first thing I get settled. Yet COVID-19 and the busy schedule have kept us from gathering together.
This weekend, we in China are celebrating the Dragon Boat Festival. My wife and I, and my colleagues from the Foreign Ministry, are delighted to have you with us today in Diaoyutai State Guesthouse.
Let me first convey the warm regards from State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and the Foreign Ministry, and my respect to all of you. I wish to reassure you that my colleagues and I are here to facilitate your work in China.
I'm glad that we could observe the Festival together. The Zongzi that we just made will soon be served, and I hope this will give you a taste of traditional Chinese culture.
Now, I have a question for you, which place in China makes the best Zongzi? Yes, it is the city of Jiaxing in Zhejiang province, on the east coast.
Other than Zongzi, what special role has Jiaxing played in modern China? The Communist Party of China was born on a boat at Nanhu Lake in Jiaxing. That was in July 1921.
Time flies. In two weeks' time, we will celebrate the centenary of the founding of the CPC. Today, I wish to share with you my thoughts on four questions: Where did the CPC come from? How is the CPC's scorecard? What is the secret code of CPC's success? Where is the CPC heading?
I. Where did the CPC come from?
The history of modern China spans from the first Opium War in 1840 to the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949. During this period, the Chinese nation fought relentlessly for national independence. And different social classes and political parties took the stage, culminating in the success of the CPC in saving the nation.
After 1840, repeated aggression by foreign powers plunged China into a semi-colonial and semi-feudal society. The nation's survival was hanging in the balance. Political forces of different kinds searched long and hard for the path forward. They tried different 'prescriptions', constitutional monarchy, and presidential, parliamentary and multi-party systems, but none of them worked. China remained poor, backward and divided, like a heap of loose sand. As aptly depicted in a poem, 'Tears shed by the 400 million Chinese, for nowhere can we keep a land of our own'.
It was against this historical backdrop, when the nation could barely survive, that the Communist Party of China was born. Since day one, the CPC has been the champion of independence, liberation and rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
Over the past century, the CPC has led the Chinese people in an arduous journey to found the New China. It established a socialist system, advanced socialist development, reform and opening-up, and found our path of development, that is, socialism with Chinese characteristics.
Over the past 100 years, China, once torn apart and succumbed to foreign invasion, won independence and pursues rejuvenation and prosperity. It has made a historic leap from standing up to growing rich to becoming strong.
In January 1949, the New York Star invited some American experts on the Far East, including Agnes Smedley, Theodore White, Edgar Snow and John King Fairbank, to a seminar. The experts were asked for their opinions on why the CPC could succeed. And here are their answers:
The CPC does not have any magic, but they know what are the changes that the people desire, and they implement policies that meet people's needs. The CPC is able to organize even the poorest people and put in place an organizational structure with strict disciplines and strong leadership. For example, the famous 'Three Disciplines and Eight Reminders' followed by the Red Army, which include detailed orders like 'take not even a needle and thread from the people' and 'pay for every fuel, rice, cooking oil and salt you get from the people', have helped the CPC win people's heart.
In his letter to President Truman in July 1949, the then U.S. Secretary of State Dean Acheson wrote that 'the heart of China is now in Communist hands'.
II. How is the CPC's scorecard?
On 23 March 1949, weeks before the CPC founded the New China, Chairman Mao Zedong and other members of the CPC central leadership left CPC's 'last rural command'-Xibaipo in Hebei province, and set off for Beijing. Chairman Mao said that they were going to Beijing for the entrance exam. And Zhou Enlai added, 'I think we will all pass, and no one will have to be sent back.'
Why would they have such a conversation? Because there were too many examples of the 'sudden rise and fall' in the Chinese history, a 'historical cycle' as it was called. The most famous story might be that of Li Zicheng, a peasant uprising leader in the late Ming Dynasty. His army conquered the capital, Beijing after 18 years of ferocious battles. They only occupied the city for 42 days and were forced to flee south. So could the CPC break this cycle and hold on to its power? The world waited and watched.
Now, 72 years have passed, and I can confidently say that the CPC has turned in an impressive score sheet, and created three miracles that are rarely seen in the world.
The first miracle is fast economic development.
In the early days of the People's Republic, China was one of the poorest and most backward countries. Chairman Mao once said, 'What can we produce? Of course, we can make tables and chairs, tea cups and pots; we can grow grains and produce flour; and we can make paper. Still, when it comes to cars, planes, tanks or tractors, we cannot even make a single one.'
That was probably why some of the capitalists in China scorned the CPC, saying that it could get 100 points on military, 80 points on politics, but zero on economy. Secretary Acheson said that 'the first problem which every Chinese government has had to face is that of feeding this population. So far none has succeeded', neither would the CPC.
What happened afterwards was much beyond what they could fathom. Under CPC's leadership, China has achieved an economic takeoff.
On industrialization, China has realized in just a few decades what took developed Western countries several centuries. China now has the most complete modern industrial system in the world.
It is the second largest economy.
It is also the biggest trader in goods.
China's GDP was 67.9 billion yuan in 1952, and 90.03 trillion yuan in 2018, up by 174 times in real terms.
Per capita GDP soared by 70-fold, from 119 yuan to 64,600 yuan.
Scholars call it 'the greatest economic revolution in the history of mankind'.
Early in the 1980s, China already met its people's basic needs for food and clothing. Today, grain output is as high as 650 million tons per year. Getting enough to eat is not a problem any more. What the Chinese people care about today is how to eat well and healthy.
The second miracle is long-term social stability.
You may have heard about the paradox of Huntington, which says, 'Modernity breeds stability and modernization breeds instability.'
China is a super-large country with over 1.4 billion people. No matter how big the economic aggregate is, when divided by 1.4 billion, it will become very small. On the other hand, any small challenge will become big when multiplied by 1.4 billion. The CPC has stood the great tests, the formidable and complex task of development and reform, the economic and social changes, among others. And it has effectively preserved long-term political and social stability in China.
Sustaining social stability depends not only on the volume of wealth to be added to the society. More importantly, it also depends on how far poverty reduction can go. Making the cake bigger and dividing it fairly are both important. China is able to achieve long-term stability thanks to its fast development as well as its commitment to equity and justice.
In the early days of reform and opening-up, Mr. Deng Xiaoping put forth a policy to let some people and some regions prosper before others, so that they can help the underdeveloped regions to catch up for common prosperity.
President Xi Jinping has made it clear that we will leave no one behind as we pursue moderate prosperity in all respects and for all the Chinese people.
Today, the middle-income population in China is over 400 million, and as many as 800 million people have emerged from poverty. This is unprecedented in the human history.
Facing the impact of COVID-19, the CPC has, as always, put people and life first, and enforced strict health protocols. It effectively coordinated COVID response with economic and social development, and put life and work back to normalcy within a short span of time.
The third miracle is peaceful rise.
New China abandoned the obsolete colonialist path of traditional powers. It always pursues an independent foreign policy of peace. Over the past seven decades, China never provoked a war, or took an inch of land from any other country. China is the only country in the world that incorporates peaceful development into its Constitution.
Some claim that a growing power is bound to seek hegemony. But China's millennia-old wisdom tells us that hegemony leads only to failure. China does not seek hegemony. We stand firmly with the world against hegemonism. Words like 'coercion' and 'bullying' are not in the dictionary of China's diplomacy.
We are committed to a new path of state-to-state engagement, a path that advocates dialogue and partnership, instead of confrontation or alliance. We seek to grow our friendship and cooperation with all countries based on the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. We advocate equality among all countries, regardless of their size, wealth and strength. We respect the rights of people of all countries to choose their own development path. We oppose the strong bullying the weak or seeking supremacy.
China is always a force for peace, development and progress.
As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China firmly maintains world peace and stability, and stands for international fairness and justice.
China is the second largest funding contributor to the United Nations and UN peacekeeping operations. It is the top contributor of peacekeeping personnel among P5. Since 1990, China has taken part in nearly 30 UN peacekeeping operations.
As the largest developing country, China makes every effort to promote global common prosperity. Our economy has contributed more than 30 percent of global growth for over 10 consecutive years.
Since 2008, 25 percent of LDCs' total exports come to China. Under the G20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative for Poorest Countries, China has put off more loan repayments than other members.
In the past seven years since the Belt and Road Initiative was launched, China has registered more than 7.8 trillion US dollars in trade and 110 billion US dollars in direct investment with BRI partner countries.
We have hosted the China International Import Expo for three years running to share China's market with the world.
In COVID response, China has provided medical supplies to over 150 countries and 13 international organizations. Despite difficulties at home, China has provided over 300 million doses of vaccines to the world.
Socialism with Chinese characteristics has kept developing, including its path, theory, system, and culture. It has blazed a new trail for other developing countries to achieve modernization. It offers a new option for other nations who aspire to speed up their development while preserving their independence.
You may ask, what do the Chinese people think about the three miracles? One figure is quite telling. Between 2003 and 2016, Harvard University conducted eight surveys in China, and it published its findings in July 2020. It shows that over 90 percent of the Chinese public are satisfied with the Chinese government. That is quite extraordinary by any measure in any country.
III. What is the secret code of CPC's success?
From a small party with 59 members at the beginning, the CPC has grown into the world's largest Marxist governing party with over 98 million members. It is strongly endorsed by the people. If there is any secret code of success, it has mainly three elements.
First, the CPC is a party of mission that represents the overall interests of the Chinese people.
In a multiparty country, political parties usually represent the interests of particular groups. They are parties of segmental interests and of electoral politics. Their primary goal is to win the elections, take office and protect the interests of certain groups.
The CPC is different. It is a party of overall interests, a party of mission and responsibility. CPC members are communists, patriots and internationalists, all at the same time. They are revolutionists guided by ideals. Their original aspiration and mission is to seek happiness for the people, rejuvenation for the nation, and the common good for the world.
The Constitution of the CPC makes it clear in its very first paragraph that the Communist Party of China is the vanguard of the Chinese working class; in the meantime, it is the vanguard of the Chinese people and the Chinese nation, and the leadership core for the cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics. The CPC represents the developmental demands of China's advanced productive forces, the orientation for China's advanced culture, and the fundamental interests of the greatest possible majority of the Chinese people.
'Serve the people', a motto put forth by Mao Zedong in 1944, is still inscribed on the inner wall of Xinhua Gate at Zhongnanhai, office of the CPC Central Committee. Premier Zhou Enlai wore the 'serve the people' badge for his entire life.
When leaving China in 1949, John Leighton Stuart, then U.S. Ambassador to China, admitted that 'on the whole, the party was able to give the impression, both to the Chinese masses, especially the peasantry, and to foreign observers in and out of China, that it was truly devoted to the cause of the people and was truly seeking to promote in China the cause of democracy and to win for China a position of real independence and strength in the family of nations.'
In some multiparty countries, people do recognize the serious problems such as the gaping wealth gap and racial tensions. Yet constrained by factional interests and vote bases, they either find it hard to make up their mind or are unable to address the root causes of the problems.
China also has its share of challenges in resolving economic and social issues. What is different is that the CPC has no selfish calculations, and therefore it proceeds from the overall and long-term interests of the greatest majority of the Chinese people. It makes resolute decisions and ensures that they deliver.
China's political party system is neither a multiparty, bi-party, nor a one-party system. It is a new system of multiparty cooperation and political consultation under the leadership of the CPC. The decision-making process is rigorous and efficient. The political game of 'opposition for opposition's sake' and endless partisan strife is thus avoided.
As a party of mission and responsibility, the CPC is able to overcome shortsightedness, populism and other weaknesses of parties of segmental interests and of electoral politics. It is able to maintain policy consistency, make long-term, sustained investment, stick to its agenda and carry out hard work over generations.
In the 1960s, Chairman Mao Zedong and Premier Zhou Enlai proposed the development of Four Modernizations-goals to modernize China's agriculture, industry, defense, and science and technology.
In the 1980s, Comrade Deng Xiaoping put forward a three-step strategy for realizing modernization.
Now, President Xi Jinping has laid down the strategic plan of building a great modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious, and beautiful by the middle of the century.
All these goals, plans and decisions are coherent and consistent.
Over the past 70-plus years, the CPC has led the Chinese people in formulating and implementing 13 five-year plans. Right now we are implementing the 14th. From land reform to women's liberation, from atomic and hydrogen bombs and satellites to the world's largest high-speed rail network, from setting up special economic zones to joining the WTO, and from making good use of both domestic and international resources and markets to fostering a new development paradigm with domestic and international circulations reinforcing each other, the CPC members, generation over generation, have forged ahead with resolve and fortitude, and fulfilled one major, tough task after another.
Second, the CPC adapts Marxism to the Chinese context.
The Party does not just copy and paste any doctrine; it applies the theory to China's realities, and turns it into something of our own, and writes new chapters of Marxism.
President Xi Jinping has stressed that China must neither follow an old, rigid path of isolation, nor take the wrong turn to change its nature or abandon its system.
The Party is able to reflect on its past experience, while not clinging to any development model that has been proven wrong; it is able to raise the idea that China should 'blaze a path of our own and build a socialism with Chinese characteristics', while not veering toward capitalism or democratic-socialism; it is able to replace the planned economy with a socialist market economy, while rejecting the practices of neo-liberalism; it is able to fully engage China in economic globalization in the course of opening-up, while keeping independence and initiative.
Chairman Mao Zedong proposed the ways toward victory such as 'encircling the cities from the countryside' and 'seizing political power from the barrel of a gun'. They were once viewed as heretical by the Communist International. Later they were proven very relevant to the Chinese realities, and became an important outcome of adapting Marxism to the Chinese context.
During the debate on whether reform and opening-up represents a capitalist or socialist road, and what should be the right relationship between planning and market, Mr Deng Xiaoping put forth a set of criteria for judgment. In his view, whether there is a little more planning or a little more market was not the essential difference between socialism and capitalism. He was firmly resolved to advance the socialist market economy with Chinese characteristics. And that brought the Marxist theory of political economy to a whole new high.
President Xi Jinping has proposed a new set of propositions, including a new development philosophy of innovative, coordinated, green, open and inclusive development for all, the vision for higher-quality growth, the commitment to upholding and improving the socialist system with Chinese characteristics, and the need to modernize China's system and capacity for governance. These ideas have further enriched and developed the Marxist philosophy, the theory of political economy and scientific socialism.
The Chinese political system is created by the CPC as suited to China's realities, and consistent with the basic principles of Marxism. It includes the system of people's congresses, of CPC-led multiparty cooperation and political consultation, of regional ethnic autonomy, and of self-governance at the primary level.
All things considered, the CPC is different from the capitalist parties in the world. It is different from the communist parties in other countries. The CPC is not another Communist Party of the Soviet Union.
Third, the CPC embraces self-reform to stay vibrant and resilient.
In the history of political parties around the world, many big parties degenerate after assuming power. They lose touch with reality and ultimately lose the support of the people and the very foundation of their governance.
And here comes the question, why can the CPC remain at the forefront of the time and the backbone of the Chinese people and the Chinese nation? Fundamentally, it is the Party's ability to face up to its mistakes, correct them, and bravely embrace self-reform, no matter how painful it is.
The CPC grows up by reforming itself every step of the way.
In January 1935 during the Red Army's Long March, the CPC Central Committee convened the Zunyi Meeting to correct the 'left' mistakes; the meeting saved the revolution and the Party.
During the years in Yan'an, Chairman Mao Zedong mulled over a new path to break the historical cycle of rise and fall. In January 1945, he happily told Huang Yanpei, a democratic scholar, that he had found the new path, and the path was democracy.
At the 2nd Plenary Session of the 7th CPC Central Committee in March 1949, Mao instructed that Party members must 'remain modest, prudent and free from arrogance and rashness in their style of work, and preserve the style of plain living and hard working'.
The 3rd Plenary Session of the 11th CPC Central Committee in 1978 was a historic turning point. In the spirit of opening the mind and setting things right, it corrected the mistake of the decade-long 'Cultural Revolution', and steered China toward reform and opening-up.
Since the 18th National Congress of the Party, the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core has stressed the need for effective self-supervision and strict self-governance of the Party. It has taken steps to deter corruption, in both mindset and institution. A large number of corrupt officials, be they 'tigers' or 'flies', have been brought to justice. The anti-corruption campaign has posed a strong deterrence, and achieved sweeping victory. It responded to the expectations of the people, and gained great popular support.
While modernizing China, the CPC has never ceased in modernizing itself. These two processes have complemented and reinforced each other, and taken together, have contributed to the success story of China.
IV. Where is the CPC heading?
Socialism with Chinese characteristics has entered a new era. The principal challenge we now face is the gap between unbalanced and inadequate development and the people's ever-growing needs for a better life.
This means that for now and some time to come, the CPC will focus its work on the following:
First, to address inadequate development, and continue to take development as the top priority.
Second, to address unbalanced development.
And third, to meet our people's growing needs for democracy, rule of law, fairness and justice, security, and a better environment.
On the external front, the CPC will stay committed to the path of peaceful development. It will never seek hegemony, expansion, or any sphere of influence. We reject coercion by any country. The CPC observes the principle of non-alignment. When developing relations with other countries, we do not target any third party, or engage in value-driven blocs or ideological confrontation.
We practice true multilateralism. China is firmly committed to safeguarding the UN-centered international system, the international order on the basis of international law, and the WTO-centered international trading system.
We do not recognize the 'hegemonic rules' set by one or some countries, or the so-called international order established on the basis of such rules. We reject attempts to team up and build exclusive blocs.
The CPC upholds peace, development, equity, justice, democracy and freedom, the values shared by all. It is committed to building a community with a shared future for mankind. We will work with all countries to build an open, inclusive, clean and beautiful world that enjoys lasting peace, universal security and common prosperity.
Over the past century, China has realized tremendous transformation. It is made possible through the revolution, development and reform led by the CPC. Without the CPC, there would be no New China, and to understand China, it is essential to have a good knowledge of the CPC.
The CPC's leadership is the defining feature of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and where its greatest strength comes from. This leadership is not self-proclaimed. It is the choice of history and of the people.
The relationship between the Party and the people is as inseparable as fish and water. To respect China, one needs to respect the CPC's leadership and to respect the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics, a choice made by the Chinese people. Attempts to drive a wedge between the CPC and the Chinese people, or between ordinary Party members and its leadership, will never work.
The CPC is dedicated to the long-term cause of the Chinese nation. It is right in its prime at its centenary.
I'm confident that in another one hundred years, when the CPC celebrates its bicentenary, it will have led the Chinese people to make China a great modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious, and beautiful.
Such an experience will offer a worthwhile case study and a success story for the world. And it will be the CPC's historic contribution to human progress.