Improve Governance Capacity Through the Socialist System with Chinese Characteristics

Xi Jinping: The Governance of China I Updated: 2021-12-06

Improve Governance Capacity Through the Socialist System with Chinese Characteristics* 

February 17, 2014 

To keep up with the overall progress in the national modernization process, we must improve the CPC's capability for scientific, democratic and law-based governance, and enhance the efficiency of government departments. We must improve the general public's ability to manage state, social, economic and cultural affairs in accordance with the law. In this way, Party, state and social affairs will be administered in accordance with rules, standards and procedures, and we will become better able to govern the country through the socialist system with Chinese characteristics. 

The Third Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee pointed out that the overall goal of continuing the reform to a deeper level is to develop the socialist system with Chinese characteristics, and modernize our national governance system and capacity. This is a prerequisite for adhering to and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics and for realizing socialist modernization. 

Since the introduction of the reform and opening-up policy some three decades ago, our Party has begun to ponder the issue of national governance system from a new perspective, and come to the conclusion that the issues of leadership and organizational systems are fundamental, comprehensive, stable and permanent ones. 

Today, we are tasked with an important historic mission, that is to make our socialist system with Chinese characteristics more mature and better established, and provide a set of more complete, more stable and more effective systems for the development of the Party and the nation, the wellbeing of the people, social harmony and stability, and the enduring prosperity and stability of the country. 

This is a grand project. It entails carrying out all-round and systematic reform, and integrating reform in various fields to promote the overall modernization of our national governance system and capacity. 

A country's governance system and capacity are the major barometers of its system and that system's governing efficiency. The two are complementary. Our governance system and capacity are good overall and have unique advantages. Moreover, they suit our national conditions and development needs. 

Nevertheless, our national governance system and capacity still have much room for improvement, and we should exert greater efforts to enhance our national governance capacity. Our governance system will become more efficient as long as we focus on improving the Party's governance capacity while raising the moral and political standards, scientific and cultural levels, and professional abilities of officials at all levels and administrators of all areas, and as long as we make Party and government agencies, enterprises, public institutions, and social organizations more efficient. 

We must understand that the overall goal of continuing the reform to a deeper level consists of two aspects, that is, to improve and develop the socialist system with Chinese characteristics, and to modernize our national governance system and capacity. To accelerate the modernization of the national governance system and capacity, we must follow the socialist path with Chinese characteristics. 

The kind of governance system best suited for a country is determined by that country's historical heritage and cultural traditions, and its level of social and economic development, and it is ultimately decided by that country's people. Our current national governance system has been developed and gradually improved over a long period of time on the basis of our historical heritage, cultural traditions, and social and economic development. 

Our national governance system needs to be improved, but we should have our own opinion on what improvements are necessary. The Chinese nation is open-minded. Over centuries, we have been continuously drawing on others' strengths and shaping the character of our own nation. Without unwavering confidence in our system we cannot have the courage to further reform, and without continuous reform our confidence in the system cannot possibly be full and long-lasting. 

Continuing our reform to a deeper level involves improving our socialist system with Chinese characteristics. When we say boosting our confidence in the system, we do not mean to be complacent. Instead, we should continue to eradicate drawbacks in the system, and make it more mature and more enduring. 

To modernize our national governance system and capacity, we should foster and promote the core socialist values and the relevant system1, and accelerate the building of a value system that fully reflects the characteristics of China, the Chinese nation and the times. To safeguard our value system and core values, we must let culture play its due role. 

A nation's culture is a unique feature that distinguishes that nation from others. We should delve deeper into and better elucidate China's excellent traditional culture, and make greater efforts to creatively transform and develop traditional Chinese virtues, promoting a cultural spirit that transcends time and national boundaries, and has eternal attraction and contemporary value. 

We should also present to the world China's contemporary creative cultural products that carry both our excellent traditional culture and contemporary spirit, and that are based in China and oriented towards the outside world. 

As long as the Chinese people pursue lofty virtues generation after generation our nation will be forever filled with hope. 

Producing a good document is only the first step in the long march of thousands of miles. The key is to implement the document. We should meticulously and strenuously study and promote the guiding principles of the Third Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee, and gain a solid understanding of continued reform. While studying the document, we should not stop at the surface, quote it out of context, copy it mechanically or apply it blindly. We should straighten out the relationship between the general policy arrangement and a particular policy, between a policy chain and a link, between top-level policy design and policy interfaces at different levels, between policy consistency and diversity, and between long- and short-term policies. We cannot replace the whole with any part, nor can we compromise principles for the sake of flexibility, or vice versa. 

While implementing the document we should avoid empty talk, hesitation or seeking quick success, and instant benefits. We should implement it with a very strong sense of urgency and responsibility. 

Reform is a gradual process. We should make bold breakthroughs while advancing step by step, so as to ensure the realization of the reform goals. 

Continuing all-round reform to a deeper level is aimed at serving the overall, basic and long-term interests of the country. We should avoid picking reform areas according to personal preferences, and should get rid of reform-hindering mindsets. We must firmly carry out reform that benefits the Party and the people, and contributes to prosperity and long-term stability. Doing this will enable us to fulfill our historic mission and our responsibilities to the people, the country and the nation. 

* Main points of the speech at a provincial-level officials' seminar on studying and implementing the decisions of the Third Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee on continuing reform. 


1  The system of the core socialist values was introduced in the "Resolutions of the CPC Central Committee on Major Issues Regarding the Building of a Harmonious Socialist Society," which was adopted at the Sixth Plenary Session of the 16th CPC Central Committee in October 2006. The system includes the guiding thoughts of Marxism, the common ideal of socialism with Chinese characteristics, the national spirit centering on patriotism and the spirit of the times highlighted by reform and innovation, as well as the socialist maxims of eight honors and eight disgraces.

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