Uphold and Consolidate the Party's Ideological Leadership

Xi Jinping: The Governance of China II Updated: 2021-12-27

Uphold and Consolidate the Party's Ideological Leadership* 

May 18, 2015-May 17, 2016 

The rapid development of the internet has seen the emergence of two groups of people – new media professionals and social media "opinion leaders". Of the two, the former run online media, and the latter voice their opinions. Both groups are powerful enough to influence online discussions. As I have observed before, cyberspace is a major domain for publicity, thus a focus of competition. Therefore, we must take the initiative in this field and win over these two groups. To this end, we should work to enlist the most prominent figures among them in the United Front, establish regular contact, strengthen online and offline interaction, and seek a common political understanding. 

(from the speech at the Central Conference on the United Front,
May 18, 2015) 


The premise of Party schools identifying themselves with the Party is upholding the Party's ideals and convictions. Marxism and communism come above all else. Marxism is the guiding thought of the Party, and communism the lofty ideal. It was the conviction in Marxism and pursuit of the communist ideal that gave birth to the CPC and Chinese socialism. When I was leading the work of drafting the "Report to the 18th CPC National Congress", I required the following addition: Communists' conviction in Marxism, socialism and communism is their political soul that sustains them in all tests. 

We should never forget our origins and we must remain committed to our mission. Chinese communism has its origins in a belief in Marxism, communism and Chinese socialism and loyalty to the Party and the people. We need to consolidate our convictions and loyalty. The tortuous course of socialist practice across the world has shown that Marxist parties will collapse once they abandon their belief in Marxism, communism and socialism. The lack or absence of ideals and convictions will result in moral weakness, which leads to political corruption, greed, moral degradation and a decadent lifestyle. 

All Party members must remain sober-minded about the ideals and convictions of the Party. "Whenever one is doubtful about one's own observations and is unsettled at heart, one cannot have a clear view of external things. When my doubts remain, I cannot have a clear judgment of right and wrong."1 Party schools must make clear to the public their advocacy of Marxism, communism and Chinese socialism as well as the nature, tenets, traditions and practice of the Party. The Party Central Committee's approval of establishing a School of Marxism under the Central Party School manifests the principle of upholding Marxism and communism. 

Hostile forces at home and abroad constantly try to undermine our Party, attempting to make us abandon our belief in Marxism, communism and socialism. A number of people, even including some Party members, cannot see the underlying dangers of accepting the "universal values" that have developed in the West over hundreds of years, along with certain Western political dogma. They argue we need not reject them since we would not suffer any significant harm by accepting them. Some even regard Western theories and discourse as the gold standard and thus unconsciously become trumpeters of Western capitalist ideology. 

"When it is uncertain whether something is right or wrong, we may make a judgment through past experiences and measure it against things of late."2 Since the end of the Cold War, some countries, affected by Western values, have been torn apart by war or afflicted with chaos. If we tailor our practices to Western capitalist values, measure our national development by means of the Western capitalist evaluation system, and regard Western standards as the sole standards for development, the consequences will be devastating – we will have to follow others slavishly at every step, or we subject ourselves to their abuse. 

Party schools are not a paradise that is isolated from the real world. Students from across the country bring with them questions about all kinds of problems they have heard about or seen. Therefore, many major theoretical questions reach Party schools, posing the task of enhancing theoretical research. Party schools should analyze all trends of thought and give proper guidance; they should not be bystanders. Furthermore, as a pioneering force in safeguarding Marxism and Chinese socialism, Party schools should never hesitate to take a clear stance and resolve doubts and confusion. 

(from the speech at the National Conference on Party Schools,
December 11, 2015) 


In the principle of identifying themselves with the Party, Party schools should focus their efforts on the central tasks of the Party and conduct solid research in the Party's theories, helping consolidate the Party's leadership of ideological work and Marxism as the guiding ideology in China. Only with a clear theoretical understanding of the major issues can Party schools provide effective training. As the saying goes, "Observation fosters clear understanding; listening fosters deeper comprehension; thinking fosters sound judgment."3

Today's society sees an increasing diversity of ideas and values, the coexistence of mainstream and non-mainstream theories, the mingling of progressive and outdated concepts, and a variety of new trends of thought. As I said, the publicity field can be roughly divided into red, black and grey areas. The red area is the domain where we have the initiative and must keep it. The black area is where we find malicious views in opposition to the Party, so we must resolutely fight back and reduce their negative influence. The grey area is an intermediate zone that we must make an all-out effort to win over and turn into red. 

(from the speech at the National Conference on Party Schools,
December 11, 2015) 


The overwhelming majority of us can conscientiously and resolutely adhere to the guidance of Marxism. But there are some who fall short of thoroughly understanding Marxism, or effectively applying the Marxist stance, viewpoint and method to produce high-quality works. They are not capable of building a system of disciplines, an academic system, and a discourse system guided by Marxism, and they have yet to produce meaningful results. 

Meanwhile nebulous or erroneous notions still exist among certain people. Some think Marxism is obsolete and has already been abandoned in China. And some argue that Marxism is nothing but ideological teaching, devoid of scientific principles or academic rigor. In practice Marxism is marginalized, trivialized and stereotyped in certain realms; it has disappeared from the textbooks in some fields of study and is no longer heard in academic discussions and debates. We must take these phenomena seriously. 

Even in Western countries today Marxism still exerts great influence. At the turn of the century Karl Marx was voted the greatest thinker of the millennium in a BBC poll. American economist Robert Heilbroner wrote in his book Marxism: For and Against that we must look to Karl Marx for advice in exploring the future development of human society, as it is still governed by the laws of development he expounded. Through the flux of time and progress in science, Marxism has testified to its strength as a body of scientific thought, and its value in terms of truth and moral stature. Deng Xiaoping made the thoughtful observation: "I am convinced that more and more people will come to believe in Marxism, because it is a science."4

All people who work in China's philosophy and social science sector should willingly follow the guidance of Marxism. Furthermore, they should conscientiously abide by the theories of Chinese socialism in their teaching and research, cultivating a clear theoretical consciousness, firm political beliefs, and a scientific approach to thinking. 

(from the speech at the Seminar on Philosophy and Social Sciences,
May 17, 2016) 

* Excerpts from speeches made between May 18, 2015 and May 17, 2016.


1 Xun Zi

2 Ibid

3 Annotations by Wang Anshi in Scholars' Annotations to Dao De Jing (Dao De Zhen Jing Ji Zhu). Wang Anshi (1021-1086) was a thinker, writer and statesman of the Northern Song Dynasty. 

4  Deng Xiaoping: "Excerpts from Talks Given in Wuchang, Shenzhen, Zhuhai and Shanghai", Selected Works of Deng Xiaoping, Vol. III, Eng. ed., Foreign Languages Press, Beijing, 1994, p. 370.

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