THE Sixth Plenary Session of the 19th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China was held in Beijing from November 8 to 11.
This is an important meeting held at an important juncture marking the CPC’s centenary and the convergence of our two centenary goals.
The Session comprehensively summarizes the major achievements and historical experience of the Party’s century-long struggle.
It reflects on why the CPC succeeded in the past and how we can succeed in continuing to develop socialism with Chinese characteristics.
The Central Committee adopted at the Session the Resolution on the Major Achievements and Historical Experience of the Party over the Past Century and the Resolution on the Convocation of the 20th CPC National Congress.
It also decided that the 20th Party Congress will be convened in the second half of 2022.
Friends from with South African political parties, the government as well as from all communities,
Today’s meeting is mainly about giving all our friends a comprehensive introduction to the outcomes of this Plenary Session.
II. Introduction to the Outcomes of the Sixth Plenary Session of the 19th CPC Central Committee
(I) The most important outcome
The most important outcome of this Session is the adoption of the Resolution on the Major Achievements and Historical Experience of the Party over the Past Century.
This resolution is the CPC’s third historic resolution.
In the century-long history of the CPC, the seventh plenary session of the 6th CPC Central Committee adopted the Resolution on Certain Questions in the History of Our Party in 1945.
In 1981, the sixth plenary session of the 11th Central Committee adopted the Resolution on Certain Questions in the History of Our Party since the Founding of the People’s Republic of China.
Unlike the first two Resolutions, this third historic Resolution focuses on summarizing the major achievements and historical experience of the Party’s century-long struggle.
The Resolution highlights socialism with Chinese characteristics, reviews important events, meetings and figures according to the principles agreed by the Central Committee.
The Resolution presents the Central Committee’s new understanding of the Party’s century-long struggle. It is a stellar Marxist guiding document.
It also is a political statement of Chinese Communists in the new era to develop socialism with Chinese characteristics, a guide for action to learn from history, usher in the future and rejuvenate the Chinese nation.
The most distinctive feature of the Resolution is that it is factual and respectful of history.
It reflects the original aspiration of the Party in its century-long struggle. It is in line with the Party’s two previous historic Resolutions and also in line with new developments of the times.
The Resolution will go a long way to inspire the whole party to make strides toward a brighter future and toward our original goals.
(2) Main Content of the Resolution
First, the CPC’s great achievements in a past century of struggles.
The CPC is a Marxist governing party that always valued and is good at reviewing historical experience.
The Resolution comprehensively reviews and summarizes the CPC’s great achievements, especially those achieved as socialism with Chinese characteristics enters the new era.
Since the 18th CPC National Congress, the historic achievements and changes in the Party and the country are mainly in 13 aspects:
With regard to upholding the Party’s overall leadership, the Central Committee’s authority and its centralized, unified leadership have remained robust. There is greater unity among all Party members in terms of thinking, political resolve, and action.
With regard to full and rigorous self-governance, the Party’s ability to improve and reform itself and maintain its integrity has been significantly strengthened.
With regard to the economy, our economic development has become much more balanced, sustainable and secure with better quality and efficiency.
With regard to reform and opening up, the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics is now more mature and well-defined, and the modernization of China’s system and capacity for governance has reached a higher level.
With regard to political work, we made comprehensive efforts to improve the institutions, standards, and procedures of China’s socialist democracy. Sustained progress is being made in modernizing China’s system and capacity for governance.
With regard to comprehensively advancing law-based governance, the system of socialist rule of law with Chinese characteristics has constantly been improved.
With regard to cultural advancement, we have seen a notable boost in confidence in our culture among all Party members and all Chinese people.
With regard to social development, we have continued to develop a sound atmosphere in which people are able to live and work in peace and contentment and social stability and order prevail.
With regard to eco-environmental advancement, our environmental protection endeavors have seen sweeping, historic, and transformative changes.
With regard to national defense and the armed forces, our people’s military has taken concrete actions to safeguard our national sovereignty, security, and development interests with an indomitable fighting spirit.
With regard to national security, we have enhanced security on all fronts.
With regard to upholding the policy of One Country, Two Systems and promoting national reunification, the principle that Hong Kong and Macao should be governed by patriots has been resolutely implemented. We uphold the one-China principle and the 1992 Consensus and we have maintained the initiative and ability to steer cross-Strait relations.
With regard to foreign affairs, we have advanced major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics on all fronts. The concept of a human community with a shared future has become a banner leading trends of the times and human progress.
Second, experience of the CPC on ten fronts in its century-long struggle.
Uphold the Party’s leadership. Party leadership is the essential feature of socialism with Chinese characteristics and the greatest advantage of our system.
Put the people first. A country is its people; and the people are the country. The CPC always puts the people highest on the agenda and draws wisdom and strength from the people.
Advance theoretical innovation. The CPC’s continued growth is thanks to its efforts to drive theoretical innovation on the basis of the principles of Marxism and the actual situations in China.
Stay independent. The CPC always keeps in mind China’s national conditions. We explored and forged a path in line with our own actual situations.
Follow the Chinese path. Socialism with Chinese characteristics is the only path toward socialist modernization and a better life for the people. It is the only way to achieve rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
Maintain a global vision. The CPC strives for mankind’s progress and always honors our mission to make new and greater contributions to mankind.
Break new ground. The CPC has always promoted innovation on the theoretical, practical, institutional, cultural fronts and innovation in all other aspects. We have taken a path that no one has taken before.
Stand up for ourselves. What makes the CPC invincible is our commitment to daring to struggle as well as daring to win.
Promote the united front. The patriotic united front is the CPC’s important measure to unite all Chinese sons and daughters at home and abroad to rejuvenate the Chinese nation.
Remain committed to self-reform. The courage of self-revolution is the most distinctive character and the greatest advantage of the CPC. It is a feature that distinguishes the CPC among political parties.
Third, the significance of the CPC’s century-long struggle on five fronts.
Over the past hundred years, the CPC has always been working to deliver our original mission. The Party united and led the people of all ethnic groups in China to paint a magnificent picture in human history.
The rejuvenation of the Chinese nation has now shown an unprecedented bright future.
The Resolution highlights the historical significance of the Party’s endeavors over the past century on five fronts:
First, the endeavors have fundamentally transformed the future of the Chinese people, who have been freed from bullying, oppression, and subjugation, and become the masters of the country, of society, and of their own fate.
The Chinese people are now seeing their aspirations for a better life become a reality.
Second, the endeavors have opened up the right path toward rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. They put China onto a path of industrialization that took developed countries several centuries to finish in only decades.
They also have brought about the two miracles of rapid economic growth and enduring social stability.
Third, the endeavors have demonstrated the strong vitality of Marxism.
In China, Marxism has been fully tested as a scientific truth. Its people-centered and practical nature has been fully implemented, and its open-ended nature and contemporary relevance have been fully demonstrated.
Fourth, the endeavors have produced a profound influence on the course of world history.
The CPC has led the people in pioneering a uniquely Chinese path to modernization, creating a new model for human advancement, and expanding the channels for developing countries to achieve modernization.
Fifth, the endeavors have made the Party a forerunner of the times.
The Party has developed a long line of inspiring principles originating from its great founding spirit, preserved its advanced nature and integrity, and kept improving its governance and leadership capacity. The Party has proved to be a great, glorious, and correct party.
The significance on five fronts comprehensively, profoundly and systematically laid out the historic contributions made by the CPC for the Chinese people, the Chinese nation and the building of Marxist political parties.
They are about what happened in China, but they also look to the future of mankind. They speak volumes to the relationship between the CPC, the Chinese people and the Chinese nation.
They reflect the relationship between the CPC and Marxism, world socialism and the development of human society.
They embody what is important about the CPC’s century-long struggle from historical, theoretical and practical perspectives.
Fourth, the most prominent political achievement of the Resolution is the “two establishments”.
The Resolution states that the Party has established Comrade Xi Jinping’s core position on the Party Central Committee and in the Party as a whole and established the guiding role of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era.
The “two establishments” reflect the common will of the Party, the armed forces, and Chinese people of all ethnic groups. They represent the call of the times and of history.
The two establishments are of decisive significance for advancing the cause of the Party and the country in the new era and for national rejuvenation.
The leadership core is most crucial to any country or political party.
Comrade Mao Zedong, the founding leader of China, once made a great observation. He said “How many pits does a peach have? There is only one pit.”
Comrade Deng Xiaoping, the chief architect of China’s reform and opening up pointed out that a collective leadership must have a core and that no leadership can be relied upon without a core.
Facts have proved once and again that the Party’s source of strength comes from the Central Committee and the whole Party having a core of leadership.
Without the core of the Central Committee and of the whole Party, there can be no centralized authority and unified leadership from the Central Committee. In that case, cooperation becomes difficult and nothing ever gets done.
Since the 18th Party Congress, General Secretary Xi Jinping has exhibited the political wisdom, theoretical courage and care for the world as a Marxist politician, thinker and strategist.
General Secretary Xi Jinping bore in mind the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, changes unseen in a century in the world and provided unified leadership for advancing our great struggle, great project, great cause, and great dream.
General Secretary Xi Jinping led the entire Party and the people to demonstrate great historical initiative and ushered in a new era of socialism with Chinese characteristics.
General Secretary Xi Jinping made it possible for the Party and the country to make historic achievements and bring about historic changes and to fully build a moderately prosperous society.
With all the great endeavors and achievements, General Secretary Xi Jinping has become the core of the Party, the leader of the people and the Commander-In-Chief of the armed forces that is overwhelmingly recognized by the people.
In this period, historic achievements of the Party and the country were achieved and major changes took place: from winning the battle against poverty to realizing the centuries-old dream of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects;
From comprehensively deepening reform, including in the difficult areas, to building the pillars of a better national governance system;
From fighting tigers, swatting flies, hunting foxes to making sure that no one dares, can or even wants to be corrupt;
From setting the goal of building a strong military to a revolutionary changeover of the armed force;
From proposing the Belt and Road initiative to the building of a human community with a shared future;
From taking the lead in putting COVID-19 under control to making China the first to resume work and production.
These are just to name a few. Throughout this process, General Secretary Xi Jinping has all along been focused on what is practical. He always stands at the forefront. He stands up for what he says and delivers on promises.
General Secretary Xi Jinping has demonstrated his strong character and a firm position of serving the people.
With sheer force of will, General Secretary Xi Jinping delivers on his commitment to serving the people and the people only.
General Secretary Xi Jinping won the heartfelt support of the whole party, the armed forces and received high praise from the international community.
The more than 95 million CPC members, the 1.4 billion Chinese people unanimously believe that with General Secretary Xi Jinping at the helm, the Party will have a firm hand on the steering wheel, the people will have a backbone and the ship of the Chinese nation toward rejuvenation will have an extraordinary captain.
We also believe that with General Secretary Xi Jinping at the helm, we will be able to withstand any storm coming our way and sail smoothly forward.
A political party needs to have scientific theories to generate the power of truth. Likewise, a cause needs to be guided by scientific theories to usher in a bright future.
Over the past century, the CPC has been able to accomplish enormous tasks that were impossible for any other political force in China.
The CPC has emerged victorious in the competition with all other political forces in China and amid difficult challenges.
The fundamental reason for that success lies in being able to adapt the basic tenets of Marxism to China’s realities and fine traditional culture, as well as in keep making theoretical innovations in light of new developments and use new theory to guide new practice,
In adapting Marxism’s to the Chinese context, the CPC has achieved great adaptations twice and in doing so, taken two historic steps, and produced two key theoretical achievements.
The first historic step is the birth of Mao Zedong Thought. The second historic step gave birth to the second great theoretical achievement of adapting Marxism to the Chinese context, which is the theory of socialism with Chinese characteristics.
Since the 18th CPC National Congress, Chinese communists, with Comrade Xi Jinping as their chief representative, worked to adapt the basic tenets of Marxism to China’s specific realities and its fine traditional culture;
Upheld Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory, the Theory of Three Represents, and the Scientific Outlook on Development;
Thoroughly reviewed and fully applied the historical experience gained since the founding of the Party, proceeding from new realities and;
Delivered a holistic answer to the major questions of our times, which is: what kind of socialism with Chinese characteristics we should uphold and develop in this new era and how.
It was based on all these previous efforts that the Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era was established.
The core principles of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics For A New Era is “eight clarifications”. It makes the following eight things clear:
1. It makes clear that the overarching goal of upholding and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics is to realize socialist modernization and national rejuvenation;
And, that on the basis of finishing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects, a two-step approach should be taken to build China into a great modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious, and beautiful by the middle of the century.
2. It makes clear that the principal contradiction facing Chinese society in the new era is that between unbalanced and inadequate development and the people’s ever-growing needs for a better life.
We must therefore continue commitment to our people-centered philosophy of development, and work to promote well-rounded human development and common prosperity for everyone.
3. It makes clear that the overall plan for building socialism with Chinese characteristics is the five-sphere integrated plan, and the overall strategy is the four-pronged comprehensive strategy.
It highlights the importance of fostering stronger confidence in the path, theory, system, and culture of socialism with Chinese characteristics.
4. It makes clear that the overall goal of deepening reform in every field is to improve and develop the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics and modernize China’s system and capacity for governance.
5. It makes clear that the overall goal of comprehensively advancing law-based governance is to establish a system of socialist rule of law with Chinese characteristics and build a country of socialist rule of law.
6. It makes clear that the Party’s goal of building a strong military in the new era is to build the people’s forces into world-class forces that obey the Party’s command, can fight and win, and maintain excellent conduct.
7. It makes clear that major country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics aims to foster a new type of international relations and build a community with a shared future for mankind.
8. It makes clear that the defining feature of socialism with Chinese characteristics is the leadership of the Communist Party of China; the greatest strength of the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics is the leadership of the Communist Party of China; the Party is the highest force for political leadership.
It sets forth the general requirements for Party building in the new era and underlines the importance of political work in Party building.
The “eight clarifications”, not only gave a scientific review over a series of basic issues on developing socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era, but also formed a systematic, complete and logical scientific theoretical system. They fully reflect how Marxism has developed in China in the 21st century.
The most fundamental requirements for practicing Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics For A the New Era are the “fourteen commitments”.
They include to:
l Ensure Party leadership over all work,
l Commit to a people-centered approach,
l Continue to comprehensively deepen reform,
l Adopt a new vision for development,
l See that the people run the country,
l Ensure every dimension of governance is law-based,
l Uphold core socialist values,
l Ensure and improve living standards through development,
l Ensure harmony between human and nature,
l Pursue a holistic approach to national security,
l Uphold absolute Party leadership over the people’s armed forces,
l Uphold the principle of “one country, two systems” and promoting national reunification,
l Promote the building of a community with a shared future for mankind, and to
l Exercise full and rigorous governance over the Party.
As the fundamental guidelines for upholding and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era, the “fourteen commitments” provide top-level guidance for various important areas and indicate the goals, paths and measures needed for developing socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era.
Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics For a New Era is aimed at delivering happiness to the people, rejuvenation for the nation and harmony to the whole world.
Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics For a New Era demonstrates the power of the truth for China and for the whole world.
With the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era established, the CPC will be able to keep to the right direction and break waves while working to achieve rejuvenation of the Chinese nation and addressing changes unseen in a century.
This way, the Party will always be able to observe the laws of development, to make plans and address risks and challenges with well-informed decisions, and lead all Chinese people to open up a bright future toward rejuvenation.
Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy
Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy is an important part of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics For a New Era.
Since the 18th Party Congress, General Secretary Xi Jinping has personally led the magnificent practice of great diplomacy with Chinese characteristics in the new era.
General Secretary Xi Jinping put forward a series of groundbreaking new ideas and initiatives in diplomacy, such as the Belt and Road initiative, to foster a new type of international relations and to build a human community with a shared future.
General Secretary Xi Jinping actively advocated China’s vision on the international order, global governance, global security, development, ecological preservation, civilization and on the common values of humanity.
It was thanks to these efforts that Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy has become the fundamental guideline for China’s foreign policy in the new era.
The essence of Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy can also be summarized into “10 commitments”.
They represent efforts to:
l Uphold the centralized and unified leadership of the Party in foreign affairs under the authority of the Central Committee, and advance major country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics with the mission of achieving rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
l Promote the building of a community with a shared future for mankind with the purpose of safeguarding world peace and promoting common development,
l Enhance strategic confidence with socialism with Chinese characteristics as the foundation,
l Promote global partnerships based on mutual respect and cooperation,
l Advance Belt and Road cooperation on the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits,
l Build global partnerships needed for enhancing diplomacy engagements,
l Lead reform of the global governance system with the concept of fairness and justice,
l Safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests on the basis of core national interests, and to
l Foster a unique style of Chinese diplomacy by combining our fine traditions with new realities.
The 10 commitments are the theoretical and practical basis for major country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics.
They transcend traditional international relations theories and provide principle guidance for countries to work together to build a human community with a shared future.
Under the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy, China has in recent years focused on advancing national rejuvenation and human progress.
We held high the banner of peace, development, and win-win cooperation, promoted and improved an all-round, multi-level and three-dimensional diplomatic posture, and actively developed partnerships globally.
China prioritizes the greater good over our own interests and follows the principle of sincerity, real results, amity and good faith as we strengthen solidarity and cooperation with the majority of developing countries, including Africa.
Our global cooperation mechanisms have covered virtually all countries. China actively participates in the development and reform of the global governance system
We uphold the international system with the United Nations at its core, an international order based on international law, and the basic norms of international relations based on the purposes and principles of the UN Charter.
We protect and practices real multilateralism, and resolutely oppose unilateralism, protectionism, hegemony and power politics.
China constructively participates in the political settlement of international and regional hotspot issues and plays an active role on issues including climate change, poverty reduction, counter-terrorism, cyber security and regional security.
Since COVID-19 started, President Xi Jinping has stressed on many occasions including UNGA, the BRICS Summit, the G20 Leaders’ Summit, the APEC Economic Leaders Meeting, and the World Health Assembly that countries need to join hands to fight COVID-19.
President Xi Jinping emphasized the importance of ensuring the accessibility and affordability of vaccines in developing countries.
President Xi Jinping put forward initiatives including the Global Development Initiative to help revive the world economy and steer global development toward more balance, coordination and inclusion.
These ideas speak volumes to the ideas for global harmony embedded in Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy.
President Xi Jinping’s proposals take into account the development of both China and the world, as well as the interests of the Chinese people and all human beings.
The efforts on these fronts stand at the forefront of our times. They represent the voice of the majority of the international community, and contribute Chinese wisdom and solutions to solving the world’s problems.
China and South Africa has a long history of friendship. Our relationship has been continuously refined in the struggle against imperialism, colonialism and racism and improved in the process of building solidarity and cooperation, as well as in advancing mutual benefit and common development.
Our bilateral relations achieved a major leap from partnership, strategic partnership to comprehensive strategic partnership, bringing tangible benefits to our two peoples.
Under the joint leadership of generations of leaders of the two countries, especially President Xi Jinping and President Ramaphosa, mutual political trust between the two countries has been deepened, practical cooperation has continued to expand, people-to-people cooperation has been colorful and international collaboration has become closer.
China-South Africa relations have long gone beyond bilateral spheres and have set a fine example for China-Africa relations, South-South cooperation and cooperation among emerging market countries. It is now having important strategic significance and global impact.
This year, we jointly celebrated CPC’s centenary and deepened the exchange of experience in the governance of the Party and the country.
We have firmly supported each other in the fight against COVID-19 and jointly raised the voice for justice and against politicizing COVID-19 origin-tracing.
We overcame the adverse impact of COVID-19, and our economic and trade cooperation has bucked the trend. China-South Africa bilateral trade volume is on track to exceed 50 billion US dollars for the year.
We have maintained close communication and cooperation at the UN, G20, BRICS, FOCAC and other multilateral occasions, and joined hands to safeguard the common interests of developing countries and international justice and equity.
Next year, the CPC will convene its 20th Congress, the ANC will have the 55th Congress, and the SACP will hold the 15th National Congress.
Standing at a new historical starting point, the CPC is ready to work with the ANC, the SACP and the South African people to grow together for common prosperity.
We are ready to work with all to exchange with and learn from each other, to explore a development path that is in line with our respective national conditions, and to build a closer China-South Africa community with a shared future in the new era.
*This is an edited version of Ambassador Chen Xiaodong at a webinar on the 6th Plenary Session of the 19th CPC Central Committee organized by the Chinese Embassy in South Africa.