Cultivate Officials with Firm Conviction, Political Commitment, Professional Competence, and Proper Conduct

Xi Jinping: The Governance of China III Updated: 2021-12-29

Cultivate Officials with Firm Conviction, Political Commitment, Professional Competence, and Proper Conduct*

March 1, 2019

The training and selection of outstanding young officials is of great importance to the future of our Party, our country and our nation as well as the wellbeing of our people. Party officials, especially younger ones like you, should have a thorough understanding and good command of theories and strengthen your ideals and convictions through study. You should remain true to our original aspiration and founding mission as Party members, apply what you have learned in your work, acquire further knowledge through practice, improve yourselves through self-reflection, and faithfully follow our Party's principles and discipline; you should take the lead in shouldering your responsibilities by applying what you have learned to your actions. You should maintain loyalty to the Party, be grateful to the people, revere the law and discipline, and advance your career with enterprise. This means you should be firm in ideals and convictions, maintain political integrity and professional competence, and be disciplined.

Without a thorough understanding of theory, it is impossible to have a firm political stance and stay true to our Party's mission. Party officials must equip themselves with Marxist theories. Our Party governs a large country with a population of close to 1.4 billion, faces challenging domestic and international environments, and shoulders weighty mission. Without a good understanding of theory, it is difficult to overcome risks and challenges and make continuous progress. We should thus strengthen theoretical study, master and apply dialectical and historical materialism, in particular the Marxist stance, viewpoint and methodology as applied to them, and gain a thorough understanding of the principles of governance by the Party, the established practices of building socialism, and the laws underlying social progress.

Party officials should study theory in a comprehensive, systematic and timely fashion, and apply it to practice. When studying the Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, we should gain a full understanding of its importance to our era, to the Party's theory and practice, and to the world, and its underlying message and requirements. Our theoretical study should be problem-oriented and closely connected with our new practices in the new era, our thinking and actual work. We should reflect on what we have learned, develop an in-depth understanding of it, and know not only the hows but also the whys. The most effective way to study theory is to read the original works and articles, and fully understand the principles. We need to study, remember, and ponder over subjects of learning, conduct in-depth research, and guide our daily work with study, so that learning, reflection, and application are integrated and that knowledge strengthens faith and guides practice.

The ideals and convictions of the Chinese Communists are founded on a comprehensive understanding of Marxism and the laws governing historical development. History and experiences have time and again proved that if a party stays true to its ideals and aspirations, it will remain invincible and rise through hardships and adversity. If an official is firm in ideals and convictions, he or she will have a broader vision, keep to the correct political direction, and "remain as steadfast as a peak in the face of storm"1. Therefore, we should stay true to our faith, otherwise we may go astray.

The yardstick to judge whether an official has strong ideals and convictions is to see if he or she is loyal to our Party. An official should be loyal, honest, and responsible, with loyalty always coming first. Being loyal to our Party means we should enhance the Four Consciousnesses, reinforce the Four-sphere Confidence, ensure the Two Upholds, strictly observe our political discipline and rules, and follow the central Party leadership in terms of political stance, direction, principles and path. This commitment must be heartfelt and firm at any time and under any circumstance. Loyalty to the Party and faith in Marxism demand concrete actions. We should never forget to check whether we comply with the Party Constitution, rules, and discipline in terms of ideals, convictions, statements and deeds, beat the dust off our soul, and remain true Communists.

Never forget why we started, and we can accomplish our mission. The 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China is the best time to carry out the Aspiration and Mission education campaign. All officials should bear in mind the original aspiration and founding mission of our Party, so that we can aim high and have an inexhaustible source of aspiration for our endeavors. We should hold the people dearest in our hearts. Sticking together, maintaining a close bond, and sharing weal and woe with the people – this is what enables our Party to overcome all difficulties and dangers. Without the support of the people, we can accomplish nothing. We should keep in mind that the people are the true heroes; at no time should we forget whom we serve, whom we rely on, and who we are, and we must forge a true bond with the people.

The nature of a political party or a government is determined by whom it serves and whom it relies on for support. All of our officials must adhere to the Party's commitment to building itself for the public good and exercising power for the people. We should learn from the people with humility, truly take on responsibility for the people, passionately serve the people, and sincerely subject ourselves to their scrutiny. We need to look to the people as our teachers, learn from them, stay engaged with them, and know what they are concerned about. We should conduct in-depth research to identify prominent problems and difficulties faced by the people, heed their views, and extend their good practices. We should always care for the people, work for them, and deliver benefit to them. When analyzing and addressing issues or making decisions, we should share the concerns of the people. We should help the people solve problems, cater for their wellbeing, and see that they are satisfied with what they have gained and feel secure. We should have a strong sense of political responsibility and mission, remain committed to our great struggle, great project, great cause and great dream, and advance the cause of China's prosperity and rejuvenation and the wellbeing of our people with dedication.

Self-cultivation is essential to the performance of duties of officials. An official's moral integrity and commitment to our Party do not grow simply because the years of their Party membership or public service increase, or as they are promoted to higher posts. Therefore they should strengthen self-cultivation, self-restraint and self-reform. The Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era sets out not only important guidelines for our Party's exercise of governance, but also requirements for Party members in terms of political integrity, values, ethics, and approach to work. We should remain firm in our faith, strengthen political commitment, obey political rules, and enhance our political awareness and integrity.

One's moral character demonstrates one's ethical standards. Selfless devotion and being open and above board are our defining qualities as Communists, and they are qualities that we officials should cultivate and keep. We officials should maintain high ethical standards and follow Confucius' advice: "When you meet people of virtue and wisdom, think how you should learn to equal them; when you meet people with poor moral standards, remind yourselves against such behavior." We should draw a line between public and private interests, justice and benefit, right and wrong, rectitude and evil, and hard work and hedonism. We should dedicate ourselves to our great cause rather than seeking higher posts. We should be open-minded, and we should work for the Party and the people rather than seeking promotion and personal gain.

We officials should cultivate moral integrity, act in good faith, and maintain self-respect, good conduct and a healthy lifestyle. In particular, we should strengthen self-discipline and guard against temptations. If one cannot maintain integrity and self-discipline, one is doomed to failure. We should realize that incorruptibility is a blessing and greed a curse. To remain incorruptible, one should take the right attitude towards power, position, and interests, remain sober-minded, and maintain good conduct at all times. We should adopt the right approach to our job performance. We should contribute our share to our cause without claiming credit for its success. We should hammer away until a job is done, and be down-to-earth in our approach to work.

We should arm ourselves with our Party's theories and use them to guide and enhance our work. We should study in depth these theories, gain a thorough understanding of them, and put them to good use. We must remember that empty talk harms the country, while hard work makes it flourish. We should match our words with deeds and deliver outcomes. We should take a firm stand on major issues of principle, rise to challenges and crises, accept responsibility for mistakes, and resolutely fight against unhealthy tendencies. We should be like the sturdy grass that withstands high winds and true gold that stands the test of fire. There is no easy way to cultivate these qualities. Only by facing up to the storm and exploring the new world can we officials enhance our performance. We should act rather than just uttering empty rhetoric. We should work hard to surmount difficulties, steel ourselves through hardships, and increase our capabilities through work on the ground.

The best way to test an official's commitment to the Party and performance is to see if he or she is ready to take on responsibilities. A strong sense of responsibility, the courage to confront difficulties, and more skills are what we need to accomplish the following endeavors: carry out the Five-sphere Integrated Plan and the Four-pronged Comprehensive Strategy in a coordinated manner, act on the new development philosophy, win the three critical battles against major risks, poverty, and pollution, ensure steady growth, promote reform, make structural adjustments, improve people's lives, guard against risks, and maintain social stability. We should demonstrate our loyalty to the Party and the people by completing important tasks and meeting challenges.

* Main points of the speech at the opening ceremony of a training program for younger officials at the Central Party School (National Academy of Governance) during its 2019 spring semester.


1 Du Fu: "Song of the Thatched Cottage Broken by the Autumn Wind" (Mao Wu Wei Qiu Feng Suo Po Ge).

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