Keep in Line with the CPC Central Committee

Xi Jinping: The Governance of China II Updated: 2021-12-24

Keep in Line with the CPC Central Committee*


December 11, 2015


The CPC is a Marxist political party under a unified central leadership. Unity in political stance, homogenized theory and practice are critical to the development and growth of the Party's cause. As training institutions for Party members and officials, the schools of the CPC must always keep in line with the CPC Central Committee in political stance as well as in theory and practice. Failure to do so will lead to betrayal of the Party's basic guidelines.

Chairman Mao Zedong said in his speech at the preparatory meeting of the Seventh CPC National Congress in 1945: "You know, a troop formation is not always in order. That is why we have to often dress our ranks – 'Dress left', 'Dress right', and ‘Dress center'. We must dress to the Party Central Committee and to the Party National Congress. Maintaining order is the principle, but deformation is inevitable in real life. We dress our ranks whenever there is deformation."1 The simple statement conveys a profound truth. The army needs to frequently dress ranks to remain in order no matter how well the troops are trained. However, alignment in political stance, theory and practice is not as easy as correction of the physical formation. We dress our ranks to enhance the Party's experience in self-improvement and exploration of the laws governing its development. Only through frequent dressing of the ranks by Party organizations at all levels can the entire Party remain alert to disorder and maintain forward momentum in unity and with full vigor. Therefore, one of the main purposes of regularly training officials at Party schools is to help them keep in line with the Party Central Committee.

To raise their awareness of keeping in line with the Party Central Committee, Party schools must focus all their work on the Party Central Committee's policies and plans. Before the Yan'an Rectification Movement2, the divorce between theory and practice and prevalence of subjectivism and dogmatism at Party schools gave rise to deviations from the guidelines of the Party Central Committee led by Mao Zedong. Mao criticized these phenomena in a report titled "Reform Our Study", produced in May 1941, which drew little attention at the time – as he mentioned in September 1943.3 The Central Party School conducted structural reforms on February 28, 1942 and at the end of March the same year, it was placed under the direct leadership of Chairman Mao, aiming to correct deviations and practices at the school that were incompatible with the Party's cause.

In the current era, Party schools must dress to the Party Central Committee and conduct their work in accordance with the Party's theories, principles, guidelines and policies. Party schools should also conform to the decisions of the 18th CPC National Congress and the third, fourth and fifth plenary sessions of the 18th CPC Central Committee, and to the Party Central Committee's policies and plans regarding the pursuit of reform, development and stability, handling of national defense and domestic and foreign affairs, and governance of the Party, the country and the military. Party schools must firmly uphold the Party Central Committee in every aspect of their work, including curriculum, research programs, and new teaching and research methods. Only by keeping itself in line with the Party Central Committee can a Party school guide its trainees in doing so. How else can a Party school provide practical guidance to its trainees?

To raise their awareness of keeping in line with the Party Central Committee, Party schools must strictly abide by the Party's political discipline and rules. Party schools are more than ordinary schools in the sense that they should meet higher political standards as they are institutions training key officials for the governance of the country. I have heard complaints about some teachers who spread Western capitalist values in classes at Party schools, who make indiscreet and inappropriate comments on major policies of the Party and state, who always assume a cynical and fault-finding attitude, and who imprudently engage themselves in improper social activities in the name of Party schools. Although they are only a small percentage of Party school teachers, these phenomena can have far-reaching consequences, and must not be seen at Party schools.

In fact, we welcome criticism of the Party and the state's policies and work, no matter how sharp it may be. We encourage open-minded thinking and analysis of Party and state policies and measures. However, innovative analysis must be built upon a firm political stance. Academic questions should not be discussed as political issues and vice versa. Academic research does not justify impulsive remarks at any time or remarks made for the sake of being different and seeking notoriety.

It is also worth mentioning that individual criticism is mostly exploratory and sometimes only reflects a partial view of reality. Its validity needs to be tested in practice. Individual criticism can be discussed as an internal research subject or reported to higher authorities through channels within our organizations. Prudence must be practiced in voicing individual criticism in class or in publications. Words once spoken are subject to the interpretation of the listener. The public may easily take the criticism as the truth because they see people working for the Party schools as authoritative. Some people with ulterior motives may use what they hear from Party schools to exaggerate criticism of the Party and differences of opinion within the Party. The serious consequences of ill-considered statements at Party schools must not be underestimated.

In short, the expression of opinions and remarks regarding major political and theoretical issues in class at Party schools or on other public occasions should be based on an awareness of maintaining the prestige of the Party, upholding the authority of the Party Central Committee, and building a positive image of Party schools. No area is out-of-bounds as far as academic research is concerned, yet teaching at Party schools requires discipline. "No out-of-bounds area" does not mean no discipline. Words and actions against the Four Cardinal Principles and views that run counter to the Party's theories, principles, guidelines and policies, whether expressed in private or in public, are not allowed at Party schools. This is a political discipline to which Party schools should conform in an exemplary way.

* Part of the speech at the National Conference on Party Schools.


1  Mao Zedong: "Guiding Principles of the Seventh National Congress of the CPC", Collected Works of Mao Zedong, Vol. III, Chin. ed., People's Publishing House, Beijing, 1996, pp. 297-298. 

2  This refers to a Marxist education campaign inside the CPC from 1942 to 1945. Its main aims were: to fight against objectivism in order to improve theoretical study; to fight against sectarianism in order to improve Party conduct; and to fight against "eight-legged Party essays" in order to improve writing. Through the movement the whole Party reaffirmed the practice of applying the basic theories of Marxism to the actual conditions of China's revolution. It is called the Yan'an Rectification Movement because the CPC Central Committee was seated in Yan'an at the time. 

3 Mao Zedong – A Biography (1893-1949), Vol. I, Chin. ed., Central Party Literature Publishing House, Beijing, 2004, p. 655.

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