Stay True to the Party's Original Aspiration and Founding Mission and Carry Out Self-Reform*
June 24, 2019
In response to the sweeping Aspiration and Mission education campaign, the Political Bureau is holding today its 15th group study session on "staying true to the Party's original aspiration and founding mission and carrying out self-reform" with a view to motivating Party members to remain true to its original aspiration, take on their responsibilities, identify areas of improvement, and enforce implementation based on a review of the historical experience of our Party and the requirements of the new era. This is also an important move the Political Bureau is taking to lead this campaign.
How will our Party, a party with a century of history, maintain its progressive nature, integrity and vigor? How will it always keep the trust and support of the people? How will our Party continue to lead the country? These are fundamental questions that we must answer and solve properly. The requirement to stay true to the Party's original aspiration and founding mission is to remind all Party members that the Party's nature, ideals, convictions, and goals manifest themselves in the aspiration and the mission. The longer our Party is in power, the more it should stick to its nature as a Marxist party, the more it should remember its original aspiration and founding mission, and the more it should carry out self-reform.
The original aspiration and founding mission of our Party are based on Marxism. Marx and Engels wrote in the Manifesto of the Communist Party that, "All previous historical movements were movements of minorities, or in the interest of minorities. The proletarian movement is the self-conscious, independent movement of the immense majority, in the interests of the immense majority." As a Marxist party, the CPC has always taken it as its original aspiration and founding mission, and made it the focus of its efforts, to work towards a happy life for the Chinese people and the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. If it failed to stay true to the original aspiration and founding mission, it would change its nature and color, lose the support of the people, and fail to survive. Our Party will prevail so long as it adheres to its commitment to serving the public good and exercising power in the interests of the people, ensures that the Chinese people are happy, works to rejuvenate the Chinese nation, examines itself, faces up to its mistakes, and fights against all the problems that may tarnish its progressive and wholesome nature or endanger its health.
In retrospect, how could our Party flourish from small roots, survive every crucial test, surmount so many difficulties, and advance from victory to victory? The fundamental reason is that our Party is always committed to its original aspiration and founding mission whether in good or bad times and perseveres in marching towards its goal, winning wholehearted support of the people. During the revolutionary wars, in order to win national independence and people's liberation, our Party led the people to succeed in the New Democratic Revolution and establish the People's Republic of China, and made it possible for the people to be the masters of the country after years of painful struggle. After the founding of the People's Republic, in order to modernize the country, our Party led the people to establish socialism as China's fundamental system and advance socialist construction by working hard and rising to challenges.
During the years of promoting reform, opening up, and socialist modernization, our Party led the people to open up a socialist path with Chinese characteristics by freeing the mind and seeking truth from facts, and enabled the country to catch up with, and stand proud among, the nations of the world.
Now in the new era of socialism with Chinese characteristics, we are closer to, more confident, and more capable than ever before of making national rejuvenation a reality. Our achievements are impressive. This is a reason for pride, but never complacency. I have emphasized, "After achieving success it's not easy to keep the entrepreneurial drive and be mindful of possible problems; after taking power, it's not easy to stay frugal and restrained; during peacetime, it's not easy to discipline officials, and to prevent corruption and extravagant life; in the critical moments of reform, it's not easy to follow the tide and the people's aspirations." We can never allow ourselves to lose our revolutionary spirit and to indulge in complacency and pleasure-seeking amidst flattery and praise. Rather, we must remember that midstream is where the current is the strongest and the road halfway up the hill is steeper. So it is necessary to take "staying true to the Party's original aspiration and founding mission" as our eternal theme in strengthening the Party, and a lifelong task for all Party members and officials.
Staying true to the original aspiration and founding mission is not easy. It requires us to have a strong sense of self-reform. We must fulfill this mission on the new journey and reform the Party further in the new era to build it into a vibrant Marxist governing party that is always at the forefront of the times, enjoys the wholehearted support of the people, has the courage to reform itself, and is able to withstand all tests.
This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, and our Party also celebrates 70 years in power. As the ancient saying goes, "One prospers in worries and hardships, and perishes in ease and comfort."1 No external forces but we alone can beat ourselves. Our ancestors said, "It's admirable to correct one's mistakes, and it's not commendable not to make any mistakes."2 It should be noted that as our Party has been in power for a long period of time, factors undermining its advanced and wholesome nature are ever-present, and dangers running counter to its founding mission and weakening its foundation are ubiquitous. Unless we guard against these problems or address them in time, they will accumulate into bigger and harder ones which cannot be easily solved. Some of them may even lead to disastrous consequences imperiling the whole country.
Remarkable results have been achieved in strengthening Party self-governance since the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012, winning wide acclaim from the people, but we should not be complacent about it. We should be soberly aware that prominent problems of contaminated politics, thinking, organization, and conduct in our Party have not been solved root and branch. Some problems that have been dealt with might resurface, new problems are cropping up, and the Four Tests and the Four Risks are still complex and tough. There is a long way to go for the Party to reform itself. We can never allow ourselves to slacken off. The key is not the problems themselves; it is whether we have the will and courage to confront and resolve them. It calls for the joint efforts of the whole Party to stay true to our original aspiration and founding mission. Therefore, every single Party member, and particularly every official, must engage in this education campaign while concerning themselves with the Party, shouldering their responsibility, and striving to strengthen the Party.
Marxism is an instrument to transform our objective and subjective world. As the Party worked to adapt Marxism to the Chinese context, it has developed Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory, the Theory of Three Represents, the Scientific Outlook on Development, and the Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era. They serve as powerful theoretical weapons to advance social reform and self-reform. Based on the Marxist theory of strengthening parties, our Party has developed rich theories of its self-reform such as reinforcing Party members' ideals and convictions and their Party consciousness, enforcing strict Party self-governance, being strict with intra-Party political activities and conduct, developing both regular and intensive education, carrying out regular criticism and self-criticism, strengthening internal scrutiny, accepting supervision from the public, cleansing the thinking, organization, and conduct of the Party, and keeping it in good health. As important sources of experience for the Party in conducting self-reform, they should be fully applied and developed in this campaign.
In the final analysis, this education campaign aims to solve all intra-Party problems running counter to our Party's original aspiration and founding mission. The key is to have the courage to face up to the problems. Problems are always there. So we should reflect on ourselves just as the old saying goes, "A man of virtue often examines himself as a fallible person"3, to identify our shortcomings and have the courage to correct them.
We should be problem-oriented and settle problems in earnest. Concealing a malady for fear of taking medicine might result in incurable diseases. In fact, the outstanding problems within our Party have manifested in many ways, requiring us to make a sweep search and do all we can to address them.
To strengthen our Party politically, we need to ensure that the Party exercises centralized and unified leadership and that all its members strengthen their commitment to the Four Consciousnesses, the Four-sphere Confidence, and the Two Upholds. We need to cleanse our political environment, and remove hidden political dangers such as those brought by double-dealers to prevent and defuse political risks.
To strengthen our Party theoretically, we need to improve theoretical guidance, have firm ideals and convictions, bear in mind the Party's nature and purpose, enhance the Party spirit to combat any loss of faith and sense of purpose, and raise the awareness of the Party and Party membership.
To strengthen our Party organizationally, we need to improve the Party by consolidating its weak and slack organizations at all levels to increase their creativity, cohesiveness and ability. We need to resolutely oppose self-centered behavior, anti-centralization, disregard of the rules, the silo mentality, and sacrificing principles for selfish purposes.
We must implement in earnest the criteria for appointing good officials and rectify all unhealthy tendencies.
To improve our Party's conduct and discipline, we need to continue to address the problems of favoring form over substance, bureaucratism, hedonism and extravagance, and also resolutely correct nonfeasance and any misconduct that undermines the people's interests.
We must maintain a tough stance against corruption and eradicate the tumors endangering the health of our Party. The eight prominent problems targeted in this guidance campaign are all that might weaken the foundation and hinder the growth of our Party. They must be solved in the spirit of thorough self-reform. These problems are always visible to the public. Whether Party members and officials remain true to the Party's original aspiration and founding mission needs to be judged and evaluated in practice. We can never carry out self-reform behind closed doors. We must be receptive to the public's suggestions and willingly accept their supervision.
I expounded on how to cleanse, improve, and reform the Party at the Third Plenary Session of the 19th Central Commission for Discipline Inspection earlier this year. These measures could help to remove the tumors and enhance the health of our Party. To cleanse the Party and keep it in good shape, we must eliminate impurities and toxins and remove boils and tumors. As the ancient saying goes, "To ensure lasting peace, problems must be addressed when they arise; to enjoy eternal health, people must go to the doctor when they get ill"4, it is necessary to prescribe medicine when confirming the diagnosis, and for some chronic ailments, a heavy dose of medicine is needed; when cancer cells are likely to spread, it even requires surgery.
We must address inadequacies, shore up points of weakness, consolidate the foundations, tackle problems at source, prevent minor problems from becoming major ones, address them when they crop up, close institutional loopholes, and improve the supervision system and the Party's long-term governance capability.
A weak person needs to build up his health and boost his immunity; otherwise his health will deteriorate until it is too late to recover. As the saying goes, the smallest antholes in a dam must be repaired promptly, otherwise it will eventually collapse. To reform our Party, we must have a clear picture, be resolute in removing all theoretical and institutional barriers, and experiment with theoretical, practical, institutional and cultural measures. To improve the Party, we must learn from books, from practice and from the people, strengthen our Party consciousness and political ability, raise our political, theoretical, and ethical level, enhance our governance capability, and build a contingent of loyal, clean, responsible, competent, and professional officials.
To remain true to the Party's original aspiration and founding mission and to carry out self-reform of the Party, we need to deal with the following relationships:
First, we must uphold and enhance centralized and unified CPC leadership while addressing the Party's own problems. All Party members and particularly officials need to fight with extraordinary courage against any behavior by any member that weakens the Party's leadership and governance foundation, or contravenes its political discipline and rules. But we should not undermine or deny the Party's leadership and take an erroneous road of self-destruction because of the existence of those problems.
Second, we must uphold the correct path and embrace innovation. To improve the efficacy of self-reform, we must adhere to the Party's nature, purpose, original aspiration and founding mission, ideals, and convictions, and at the same time solve all problems within the Party with new methods and approaches.
Third, we must on the one hand enforce discipline on all our Party members, and on the other, show them our great care. We must improve the supervision mechanism to prevent them from practicing malfeasance. At the same time, we must also give a free hand to entrepreneurial and responsible Party members and officials, unleashing their enthusiasm, initiative, and creativity, and encouraging them to make contribution and achievements in the new era.
Fourth, we must rely on both the driving force of Party organizations and initiatives of individual members. Party organizations at all levels must be strict in requirements, education, management and supervision. Party members and officials must take the initiative to examine and cleanse themselves politically to improve their political immunity.
The key to remaining true to the Party's original aspiration and founding mission lies in Party officials at all levels and particularly high-level officials. They need to lead by example in studying the Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, in strengthening their commitment to the Four Consciousnesses, the Four-sphere Confidence and the Two Upholds, in staying true to our original aspiration and founding mission, in carrying out criticism and self-criticism, and in upholding truth and rectifying errors. Everyone should be involved and no one should stand aside. The Political Bureau in particular needs to set a good example for the whole Party in this regard.
Finally, I would like to conclude with quotes from Chairman Mao. One is from "On Coalition Government" on April 24, 1945: "Thousands upon thousands of martyrs have heroically laid down their lives for the people; let us hold their banner high and march ahead along the path crimson with their blood!"5 The other is from "Report to the Second Plenary Session of the Seventh Central Committee of the Communist Party of China" on March 5, 1949: "The Chinese revolution is great, but the road after the revolution will be longer, the work greater and more arduous. This must be made clear now in the Party. The comrades must be taught to remain modest, prudent and free from arrogance and rashness in their style of work. The comrades must be taught to preserve the style of plain living and hard struggle. We have the Marxist-Leninist weapon of criticism and self-criticism. We can get rid of a bad style and keep the good. We can learn what we did not know. We are not only good at destroying the old world, we are also good at building the new."6
* Speech at the 15th group study session of the Political Bureau of the 19th CPC Central Committee.
1 The Mencius (Meng Zi).
2 Sima Guang: Historical Events Retold as a Mirrorfor Government (Zi Zhi TongJian).
3 Gangcang Zi. Gangcang Zi (dates unknown), who lived during the Spring and Autumn Period (770-476 BC), was a discipline of Lao Zi.
4 He Tan: Xichou's Sayings (Xi Chou Chang Yan). He Tan (dates unknown), also known as Xichou, was a scholar of the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279).
5 Mao Zedong: "On Coalition Government", Selected Works of Mao Zedong, Vol. III, Eng. ed., Foreign Languages Press, Beijing, 1975, p. 270.
6 Mao Zedong: "Report to the Second Plenary Session of the Seventh Central Committee of the Communist Party of China", Selected Works of Mao Zedong, Vol. IV, Eng. ed., Foreign Languages Press, Beijing, 1961, p. 374.
(Not to be republished for any commercial or other purposes.)