Embarking on a New Journey
The National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), which takes place every five years, is one of the most important political events of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). More than 2,200 delegates attended the 20th CPC National Congress, which began on October 16 this year. They represent the over 96 million members of the CPC, the world’s largest governing party, and over 4.9 million primary-level Party organizations. Each CPC National Congress, in its term of five years, holds plenary sessions on various subjects of importance.
Although the CPC National Congress is an internal political affair of China, which reviews the outcomes of the Party’s work in the preceding five years and draws the roadmap for the next five years, its decisions are considered to be greatly affecting global political and socio-economic affairs. It, therefore, tempts the leaders of various countries, big and small, to remain attentive to the influence of the decisions of the CPC National Congress.
The 20th CPC National Congress is being viewed with great interest as it is taking place in the aftermath of major complicated and grave situations adversely affecting global peace and stability and severely dampening the pace of international economic development for long, caused by natural and man-made disasters that severely impacted rule-based global security, supply chain system of energy and food, and resultant inflationary trend in the world economy. Moreover, China was made to bear with confrontational behaviors pursued by the United States and its Western allies by gearing strategic schemes such as Indo-Pacific, QUAD, and AUKUS, aimed at containing China’s rise.
In the midst of these anomalies, it is heartening to see that China’s option is primarily aimed at strengthening its resolve to march ahead with its solemn objective of building a modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious and beautiful by the 100th anniversary of the PRC in 2049, on its own, with concerted efforts of its 1.4 billion people of all ethnic groups. One cannot help but appreciate the achievement that China has made in accomplishing the First Centenary Goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, which was also marked by its unprecedented achievement of eliminating absolute poverty by the end of 2020, superseding by 10 years in advance the time limit set by the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Xi Jinping delivered a very comprehensive report to the 20th CPC National Congress. He hailed the great transformation in the first decade of the new era as “a milestone in the history of the CPC, of the People’s Republic of China, of reform and opening up, of the development of socialism, and of the development of the Chinese nation.”
The theme of the Congress is holding high the great banner of socialism with Chinese characteristics, fully implementing the Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, carrying forward the great founding spirit of the Party, staying confident and building strength, upholding fundamental principles and breaking new ground, forging ahead with enterprise and fortitude, and striving in unity to build a modern socialist country in all respects and advance the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation on all fronts.
“We embraced the centenary of the Communist Party of China; we ushered in a new era of socialism with Chinese characteristics; and we eradicated absolute poverty and finished building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, thus completing the First Centenary Goal,” said Xi at the Congress, calling these three major events as “historic feats.” “From this day forward, the central task of the CPC will be to lead the Chinese people of all ethnic groups in a concerted effort to realize the Second Centenary Goal of building China into a great modern socialist country in all respects and to advance the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation on all fronts through a Chinese path to modernization,” Xi said as he expounded on the missions and tasks of the CPC on the new journey of the new era.
He pointed out that on the journey ahead, we must firmly adhere to the following major principles: upholding and strengthening the Party’s overall leadership; following the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics; applying a people-centered development philosophy; remaining committed to deepening reform and opening up; and carrying forward our fighting spirit.
Xi also noted that China, with people-centered philosophy of development, has built the largest education, social security, and health care system around the globe. Other great achievements highlighted by Xi ranged from the Belt and Road Initiative, which, as a collaborative endeavor, has been welcomed by the international community both as a public good and a cooperative platform; to the Chinese path to modernization, which he reaffirmed is the socialist modernization pursued under the leadership of the CPC, is the modernization of a huge population, of common prosperity for all, of material and cultural-ethical advancement, of harmony between humanity and nature and of peaceful development, he stressed, adding that it offers humanity “a new choice” for achieving modernization.
He also stressed tasks and targets in China’s ambitious modernization drive, such as building a high-standard socialist market economy, advancing whole-process people’s democracy, implementing the employment-first strategy as well as exercising law-based governance on all fronts. “The next five years will be crucial for getting our efforts to build a modern socialist country in all respects off to a good start,” Xi said.
While fully affirming the Party’s remarkable achievements, Xi urged all CPC members not to lose sight of the shortcomings, difficulties and problems, such as bottlenecks hindering high-quality development and wide gaps in development and income distribution between urban and rural areas and between regions. Xi urged the CPC to be ready to “withstand high winds, choppy waters, and even dangerous storms,” and “to always stay alert and bear in mind that self-reform is a journey to which there is no end.” Describing corruption as “a cancer to vitality and ability of the Party,” Xi called for the tough and protracted battle against it.
While underscoring that Marxism is the fundamental guiding ideology upon which the CPC and China are founded and thrive, he said, “Our experience has taught us that, at the fundamental level, we owe the success of our Party and socialism with Chinese characteristics to the fact that Marxism works, particularly when it is adapted to the Chinese context and the needs of our times.”
On foreign policy front, Xi said that China remains firm in pursuing an independent foreign policy of peace. It has always decided its position and policy on issues based on their own merits, and it has strived to uphold the basic norms governing international relations and safeguard international fairness and justice.
He reiterated that China adheres to the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence in pursuing friendship and cooperation with other countries. It is committed to promoting a new type of international relations, deepening and expanding global partnerships based on equality, openness, and cooperation, and broadening the convergence of interests with other countries.
China adheres to the right course of economic globalization and opposes all forms of unilateralism, says the report. Xi pointed out that China stands firmly against all forms of hegemonism and power politics, the Cold War mentality, interference in other countries’ internal affairs, and double standards. “No matter what stage of development it reaches, China will never seek hegemony or engage in expansionism,” he said.
Guided by the principles of sincerity, real results, affinity, and good faith and with a commitment to the greater good and shared interests, China endeavors to strengthen solidarity and cooperation with other developing countries and safeguard the common interests of the developing world, Xi said. “China plays an active part in the reform and development of the global governance system. It pursues a vision of global governance featuring shared growth through discussion and collaboration. China upholds true multilateralism, promotes greater democracy in international relations, and works to make global governance fairer and more equitable.”
The Chinese people are ready to work hand in hand with people across the world to create an even brighter future for humanity, Xi said.
The 20th CPC National Congress is expected to come out with a blueprint and guidelines for national rejuvenation and to embark upon a new journey to build China into a modern socialist country in all respects. With strong dedication and zeal of the Chinese people of all ethnic groups and their wisdom and resilience, along with the implementation of Xi Jinping Thought of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for the New Era under the overall leadership of the CPC, it can be confidently said that the goals set forth are bound to be achieved. I would like to extend my best wishes to China and its dedicated people for all the success in their great nation-building task and their impending endeavor.
The author is the officiating chairman of the China Study Center in Nepal.