Improve the Work of the United Front*
May 18, 2015
In the new era, we must master the law of United Front work, adhere to the principles, adopt the appropriate methods, and uphold the leadership of the Party, which is most fundamental. The United Front is under CPC leadership. In the United Front work, the policy and measures adopted should be conducive to upholding and consolidating CPC leadership and rule. At the same time, we must make it clear that CPC leadership over the United Front is primarily political, namely in terms of political principles, political direction, and major principles and policies, that this leadership is conducted mainly by Party committees rather than any department, and by collective rather than individuals. We should resolutely adhere to the Party's leadership, but in the process, we should respect, protect and give consideration to the interests of our allies and help prominent non-CPC individuals to solve their problems. This is our Party's responsibility and an important prerequisite for the Party's leadership over the United Front.
To improve the work of the United Front in the current era, we must correctly deal with the relationship between consistency and diversity. The United Front is the unity of consistency and diversity; it would not have been established or developed with only consistency or diversity alone. "One cannot be taken as two, while only two can achieve unity."1 Consistency and diversity are not static, but historical, concrete and developing. Some officials pursue too much consistency, and others let diversity develop unchecked; the results will undermine the foundation of the United Front. The key to correctly handling the relationship between consistency and diversity is to seek common ground while shelving differences. On the one hand, we need to consolidate the common belief and political foundation, both consolidating existing consensus and promoting new consensus. This is the basis and prerequisite. On the other hand, we should fully promote democracy, and respect inclusiveness and difference. We should take a clear-cut stand against any problem that is detrimental to CPC leadership, socialist political power, and national systems and the rule of law, and harmful to the fundamental interests of all the people, never letting it prevail in the name of diversity. This is our political red line, and it must not be crossed. On top of that, for all other issues of diversity, we should try to find the greatest common ground through patient and meticulous work. As long as we see to it that the political red line is not crossed, we will create a wider inclusive circle with a longer radius.
To improve the work of the United Front in the current era, we must be good at befriending prominent non-CPC individuals. This is an important part of such work. Party and government leaders, and officials of the United Front work should master this approach. We conduct the United Front work not for window dressing or good name, but for pragmatic reasons, because it plays a role, a big role, and an indispensable role. In the final analysis, the job of the United Front is to win over more people; we use the United Front to strengthen the forces for the common goal.
Including members of other political parties, prominent individuals without any party affiliation, people from ethnic minority groups and religious circles, people from New Social Groups2 , and people from Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan and overseas, the United Front numbers hundreds of millions of people. As long as we unite all these people, we will have a stronger force to fight for the realization of the Two Centenary Goals and the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation. In a sense, to evaluate the performance of the United Front, we need to consider how many friends we have made, whether they are up to our expectation, and whether they are close to us. The first is about quantity and the others are about quality. As the saying goes, "Even one enemy is too many, and one hundred friends are too few." We should have a wider circle of friends. The more friends we have, the better it is. In particular, we need to make friends with those who speak their mind and offer forthright criticism. To make such friends, we should expend more time and make greater efforts. We should meet more often with prominent non-CPC individuals, talk heart to heart with them and offer more help to them, and treat them with respect, equality and sincerity; we must not patronize them or intimidate them. Of course, officials do have such personal friends, but this friendship is subordinate to the Party's friendship with them. We should uphold principles, disciplines and rules. We should never treat prominent non-CPC individuals as our personal resource. Instead, we should make a large number of sincere friends for the Party.
* Part of the speech at the Central Conference on the United Front.
1 Cai Shen: The Great Law (Hong Fan Huang Ji). Cai Shen (1167-1230) was a scholar of the Southern Song Dynasty.
2 This refers to people working in emerging industries, including management personnel and professionals in private and foreign-funded enterprises, employees of intermediate agencies, and the self-employed. – Tr.
(Not to be republished for any commercial or other purposes.)