From feudalism to socialism, China celebrates CPC 90th anniversary

BY:Hu Jintao| July 5, 2011

The following are two excerpts from Chinese President Hu Jintao’s speech on the occassion of the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China. Hu emphasizes the tremendous progress China and the Chinese people have made, especially in these last 90 years, building socialism with Chinese characteristics, unity of the party and people, reform and openness, rejection of dogma and corruption, and the challenges ahead in building a socialist and sustainable economy, a “moderately prosperous” country, socialist democracy and culture and world peace.

To read the full text of Hu’s speech on Xinua, click here:

Excerpted from July 1, 2011, speech:

The Communist Party of China was founded 90 years ago today, which was an epoch-making event in the history of the Chinese nation. From then on, the Chinese people embarked on the bright road of striving for independence and liberation and began the glorious pursuit of prosperity and strength for the country and themselves.

Over the past 90 years, Chinese Communists and the people of all ethnic groups in China have, through indomitable struggles, achieved major successes in revolution, development and reform. Today, a vibrant socialist China has emerged in the East, and the 1.3 billion Chinese people are forging ahead full of confidence under the great banner of socialism with Chinese characteristics to realize the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.

In the 170 plus years since the Opium War of 1840, our great country has weathered untold hardships, our great nation has waged earthshaking struggles, and our great people have scored splendid achievements in the annals of history.

Following the Opium War, China gradually became a semi-colonial and semi-feudal society, and foreign powers stepped up their aggression against China. The feudal rule became increasingly corrupt, the country was devastated by incessant wars and turbulence, and the Chinese people suffered from hunger, cold, and oppression. To salvage China from subjugation was an urgent mission for the Chinese nation. And the Chinese people faced the historic tasks of winning independence and liberation, and making China strong and prosperous.

In those dark years, in order to change the destiny of the Chinese nation, the Chinese people, led by many leading figures with lofty ideals, waged unyielding struggles to explore a new future against great odds. Not resigned to fate, the Chinese people launched one struggle after another, such as the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom Movement, the Reform Movement of 1898, and the Yihetuan Movement, but all these struggles ended in failure. The Revolution of 1911 led by Dr. Sun Yat-sen put an end to the autocratic rule that had existed in China for several thousand years. This revolution greatly boosted China’s social progress, but it did not change the country’s nature as a semi-colonial and semi-feudal society or end the misery of the Chinese people.

Facts have shown that neither the mission of striving for national survival nor the historic task of fighting imperialism and feudalism could be accomplished by reformist self-improvement movements which did not touch the foundation of feudal rule, old-style peasant wars, revolutions led by bourgeois revolutionaries, or other attempts to copy Western capitalism. To find a way of achieving China’s development and progress, one must, first of all, find an advanced theory that can guide the Chinese people in their revolution against imperialism and feudalism, and an advanced social force must rise that can lead social changes in China.

In 1921, the CPC was born in the process of integrating Marxism-Leninism with the Chinese workers’ movement. The birth of the CPC was a natural product of the development of modern and contemporary Chinese history as well as the indomitable exploration of the Chinese people for survival of the nation. The birth of the CPC put the Chinese revolution on the right course, gave the Chinese people a powerful motivation and created bright prospects for China’s future development.

Over the past 90 years, our Party has united with and led the Chinese people in writing a grand epic in the history of human development on this ancient land of China, evidenced in three earthshaking events.

The first is that our Party, firmly relying on the people, completed the new-democratic revolution, winning national independence and liberation of the people. The Party and the people fought through the Northern Expedition, the Agrarian Revolutionary War, the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression and the War of Liberation in 28 years, during which they defeated Japanese imperialist aggressors, overthrew the Kuomintang reactionary rule and established the People’s Republic of China. With the founding of New China, the Chinese people became masters of their country and society and determined their own destiny. China achieved a great transition from a feudal autocracy that was several thousand years old to a people’s democracy. Great unity and unprecedented solidarity of all ethnic groups were realized in China. The history of old China being a semi-colonial and semi-feudal society which was like a heap of loose sand was brought to an end once and for all. The unequal treaties imposed on China by imperialist powers and all the privileges they had in China were abolished. The Chinese people stood up, and the Chinese nation entered a new era of development and progress.

The second is that, firmly relying on the people, our Party completed the socialist revolution and established the basic socialist system. We creatively achieved the transition from New Democracy to socialism, therefore creating a socialist society for a quarter of the world’s population in this large country in the East, and brought about the most extensive and profound social changes in Chinese history. We established industrial and economic systems that were independent and fairly complete, and we gained important experience of building socialism in China, a country with backward productive forces.

The third is that, firmly relying on the people, our Party carried out a great new revolution of reform and opening up, creating, upholding, and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics. Since the Third Plenary Session of the Eleventh CPC Central Committee, we have reviewed China’s practices of building socialism and drawn on the experience of other countries. We have embarked on the path of reform and opening up with tremendous political and theoretical courage and courage in practice. Going through an arduous process of trial and error, we have formed the Party’s basic theory, line and platform and gained basic experience in the primary stage of socialism, established a socialist market economy and constantly improved it, made China fully open, and made world-renowned progress in the socialist modernization drive.

These three major events reshaped the future and destiny of the Chinese people and the Chinese nation. They irreversibly ended the misery endured by China in modern times when it suffered from both domestic turmoil and foreign invasion and was poor and weak. They also irreversibly started the Chinese nation’s historic march for development, growth, and great rejuvenation. They gave China, a civilization of over 5,000 years, a completely new look and created unimagined prospects for the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
The profundity and the political and social impact of the changes that have taken place in Chinese society and in the destiny of the Chinese people over the past 90 years are rare in the history of human development.

What has happened shows that in the great cause of China’s social development and progress since modern times, history and the people have chosen the CPC, Marxism, the socialist road, and the reform and opening up policy.

History has also fully shown that the CPC truly deserves to be called a great, glorious and correct Marxist political party and the core force leading the Chinese people in breaking new ground in development.


The most salient feature of the new period is reform and opening up. Reform and opening up constitute a great new revolution carried out by the people under the leadership of the Party in the new historical stage. They are a critical choice that holds the future of contemporary China. They are what we must pursue in upholding and building socialism with Chinese characteristics and achieving the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. Only by carrying out reform and opening up can we develop China, socialism, and Marxism. Profound changes are taking place in the world, in China, and in the Party. China suffers from a serious lack of balance, coordination, and sustainability in its development; and there are institutional obstacles to scientific development. In no way can we get around these problems, which must be resolved in the course of deepening reform. We must firmly follow the line, principles, and policies adopted since the Third Plenary Session of the Eleventh Party Central Committee, be confident and courageous, apply the spirit of reform and innovation to all aspects of government administration and strive to make greater progress in reform and opening up. We should keep developing the socialist market economy in our reform, ensure the soundness of decisions concerning reform and enhance coordination of reform measures taken. We should identify areas where breakthroughs can be made, set priorities in deepening reform and opening up, advance reform in important areas and key links when opportunities are ripe and continue to reform the economic, political, cultural and social systems in an innovative way. We should further free and develop the productive forces, promote the self-improvement and self-development of the socialist system, and get rid of all the notions and remove all the institutional drawbacks that hinder scientific development. By doing so, we will create a strong momentum in advancing the cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics.

On the way forward, we must firmly carry out the central task of economic development and stay committed to pursuing scientific development.

Pursuing economic development as our central task is essential for reinvigorating China and achieving prosperity and enduring political stability of our Party and country. Only by promoting sound and rapid economic development can we build a strong material foundation for enhancing China’s development and prosperity, ensuring happiness and wellbeing of the people of all our ethnic groups and achieving the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. In the past 30 plus years of reform and opening up, we have pursued economic development as the top priority and developed the productive forces at an unprecedented speed. This is the fundamental reason for the marked improvement in China’s overall strength, the living standards of the Chinese people and China’s international standing. In the time to come, we must continue to follow the strategic thinking that only development counts and firmly carry out the central task of economic development, and we should not waver in the slightest in this pursuit.

The productive forces are the primary force driving the development of human society. Our Party entered the historical arena representing China’s advanced productive forces. All the Party’s endeavors are pursued to free and develop the productive forces and improve the people’s lives. We have made remarkable achievements. However, China’s basic condition has not changed, that is, it is still is in the primary stage of socialism and will remain so for a long time to come, and the principal issue in society is still how to meet the ever-growing material and cultural needs of the people while upgrading backward social production. And China’s international status as the largest developing country in the world has not changed.

Development is still the key to solving all the problems in China. We should seize and make the most of the important and strategic opportunities that have presented themselves now and in the coming period to promote China’s development. To do so will enable us to take the initiative, gain advantages and ensure victory in the future. But this also presents a major test for our Party’s governance capacity and for our nation’s self-improvement capacity. We must continue to focus on pursuing development and consolidate the material foundation for upholding and building socialism with Chinese characteristics.

In contemporary China, only development counts, and this calls for pursuing scientific development. We should take scientific development as the goal and give priority to accelerating the shift of model of economic development. We also need to place more emphasis on the following efforts: putting people first; promoting comprehensive, coordinated, and sustainable development; taking all factors into consideration when making overall plans; carrying out reform and opening up; and ensuring and improving the people’s wellbeing. We will accelerate strategic adjustment of the economic structure, scientific and technological progress and innovation, and the building of a resource-conserving and environmentally friendly society. We will promote fairness and justice; long-term, steady and rapid economic development; and social harmony and stability. We will continue to make new and greater achievements in pursuing civilized development that leads to increased production, better lives for the people, and a sound ecosystem, and thus lay a more solid foundation for building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and realizing the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
On the way forward, we will continue to vigorously promote the development of socialist democracy and keep to the socialist path of enhancing the socialist political system with Chinese characteristics.

People’s democracy has always been a glorious goal pursued by the CPC. Since the reform and opening up policy was introduced, the Party has reviewed both positive and negative lessons in developing socialist democracy, and it has come to the conclusion that without democracy there can be no socialism and socialist modernization, and that the essence of socialist democracy is that the people determine their own destiny. We have steadfastly promoted the political structural reform and made major progress in developing socialist democracy. We have eliminated de facto life tenure for leading officials, and realized orderly succession of organs of state power and leaders. We have expanded orderly public participation in political affairs, and the people are extensively involved in decision making. We have upheld and improved multiparty cooperation under the leadership of the CPC, carried out political consultation, democratic oversight and participation in the deliberation and administration of state affairs, and developed the broadest possible patriotic united front. We have set up a sound decision-making mechanism that enables us to be fully aware of the conditions of the people, reflect their will, pool their wisdom and lighten their burden to make sure all our decisions meet the people’s interests and aspirations. We have set up a sound and dynamic personnel mechanism which attracts large numbers of talented people, puts them to best use and prepares them for both promotion and demotion. This has created wide-ranging opportunities for people to fully tap their potentials. We have established a socialist system of laws with Chinese characteristics. Under this system, the Party willingly operates within the limit set by the Constitution and laws and supports the people’s congress, the government, the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, and the judicial organs which have independent responsibilities in accordance with the law and their respective charters in working in concert and harmony. We have set up a sound system of checks and supervision over the exercise of power to ensure that Party and state organs exercise their powers in accordance with statutory jurisdiction and procedures. Practices have fully proved that China’s socialist democracy is full of vitality and that the socialist path of enhancing the socialist political system with Chinese characteristics is correct and ensures that the people determine their own destiny.

On the other hand, we must also recognize that the development of China’s socialist democratic legal system has not fully met the need of expanding people’s democracy and promoting economic and social development. Some specific institutional arrangements of the system of socialist democracy are inadequate, and there is still room for improvement in terms of safeguarding people’s democratic rights and giving play to their creativity. As the cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics moves forward, so should the cause of building China’s socialist democracy.

To develop socialist democracy, we must keep to the path of enhancing the socialist political system with Chinese characteristics. What is important is that the leadership of the Party, the position of the people as masters of the country, and the rule of law should be well integrated. We will actively yet prudently carry out the political structural reform to achieve the fundamental goal that the people should determine their destiny, increase vitality of the Party and the country and fully tap the initiative of the people. We will expand socialist democracy, build a socialist country under the rule of law, and promote socialist political progress. We should ensure that the Party plays its role as the core of leadership in exercising overall responsibilities and coordinating the efforts of all sides, and improve its capabilities to conduct scientific, democratic, and law-based governance. This will enable the Party to lead the people in effectively governing the country. We must see to it that all state powers belong to the people, improve institutions for exercising democracy, diversify its forms, expand its channels, and ensure that the people can participate in democratic elections, decision making, administration and oversight in accordance with the law. We will fully implement law-based governance as a fundamental policy, raise public awareness of the rule of law under socialism throughout society, improve law making, ensure strict law enforcement, impartial administration of justice, and observance of law by everyone and that everything we do is governed by law. In short, we will improve institutions, standards, and procedures for exercising socialist democracy, give greater play to the superiority of China’s socialist political system, and provide a better institutional guarantee for promoting prosperity, development, and enduring political stability of the Party and the country.

On the way forward, we will continue to promote vigorous development and enrichment of socialist culture, and unwaveringly develop an advanced socialist culture.

Advanced socialist culture is an ideological and intellectual banner of a Marxist political party. As culture has increasingly become an important factor in competition for overall national strength, we must have a keen sense of our own cultural identity, have confidence in our culture, focus on raising the quality of our nation and shaping a noble character, redouble efforts to promote cultural reform and development, carry out cultural innovation in the great practice of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and enable the people to share in cultural achievements.

We will continue to develop a national, scientific, and popular socialist culture oriented toward modernization, the world, and the future. We will increase the public appeal of the advanced socialist culture, and promote comprehensive development of socialist cultural and ethical progress and material progress. We will steadily increase the whole nation’s cultural creativity and let people enjoy richer and more colorful cultural life, and we will make sure that their basic cultural rights and interests are better ensured, and comprehensive progress is made in their ideological and moral standards and scientific and cultural levels. All these efforts are designed to create a source of inspiration for the Chinese nation.

To develop advanced socialist culture, we must incorporate improving socialist core values into the entire process of national education, promoting cultural and ethical progress, and Party building. We will continue to use the latest achievements in adapting Marxism to China’s conditions to equip the whole Party and educate the people, guide cadres and the people to acquire a deep understanding of the Party’s advances in theoretical innovation, and reinforce their ideals and convictions. We will vigorously promote the national spirit centered on patriotism and a spirit of the times with reform and innovation at its core, enhance self-respect, confidence and pride of the Chinese nation, and inspire the whole Party and the people of all ethnic groups to join hands and work hard for the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. We will use the socialist concept of honor and disgrace to guide public conduct, intensify efforts to cultivate public morale, professional ethics, family values, and personal ethics, strengthen moral education among young people, and foster inspiring cultural pursuits and healthy, civilized lifestyles in the whole society. We will speed up the reform of the cultural sector, accelerate the building of a system of public cultural services, and develop cultural programs and the culture industry. We should bring Chinese culture to the world, develop cultural soft power compatible with China’s international standing, and increase the influence of Chinese culture in the world. The Chinese nation has created an extensive and profound culture with a long history, and it can surely add new splendor to Chinese culture on the basis of inheriting and enriching its fine traditional culture.

On the way forward, we will continue to vigorously ensure and improve the people’s wellbeing, and work to build a harmonious socialist society.

To attain the grand goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, it is necessary to ensure and improve the people’s wellbeing and promote social harmony. We must promote social development to uphold the fundamental interests of the overwhelming majority of the people and the enduring political stability of the country, and ensure that social development advances in step with economic, political, and cultural development.

To promote social development, we should focus on ensuring and improving the people’s wellbeing, and make special efforts to solve the most practical problems of the utmost and immediate concern to the people. We should ensure that development is for the people and carried out by the people and that they share in the fruits of development. We will strengthen the institutional arrangements for ensuring and improving the people’s wellbeing, give high priority to promoting employment in our economic and social development, and accelerate the development of education, social security, medicine and healthcare, low-income housing and other social programs. We will ensure that all the people have equal access to basic public services, make more efforts to regulate income distribution, pursue prosperity for all, and strive to ensure that all the people enjoy the right to education, employment, medical and old-age care, and housing.

To strike a balance among reform, development, and stability and achieve unity of the three is an important guideline for achieving overall success in China’s socialist modernization. Development is critically important, and upholding stability is also a critically important task. Without stability, nothing could be done, and even the achievements already made could be lost. This is a lesson that all the comrades in the Party should keep in mind, and we should make all the people keep this lesson in mind.

China is going through social changes unparalleled in scope. While releasing tremendous dynamism for China’s development and progress, these changes have inevitably given rise to conflicts and problems. The movement of social conflicts is the basic force driving social development. We should follow the law governing social development, face problems squarely, and properly handle conflicts among the people and other social conflicts. We should reduce and defuse these conflicts by building the material basis, enhancing moral strength, improving policies and measures, and providing a stronger institutional guarantee. We should energize society to the greatest possible extent, maximize factors of harmony and minimize factors that undermine harmony. We should strengthen social administration in an innovative way. We should build a socialist social administration system with Chinese characteristics under the leadership of the Party, with responsibility assigned to the government, with the assistance of society and with the participation of the general public. We should also make social administration more scientific and ensure peace and happiness for the people as well as social stability and harmony.

Strong national defense and a powerful army provide a strong guarantee for upholding China’s sovereignty, security, and territorial integrity. We must coordinate economic development with the building of defense capabilities, pursue a development path with Chinese characteristics that meets the need of both military and civilian sectors and promote both China’s prosperity and its military strength in the course of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects. The army should fulfill its historic mission in the new stage in the new century. The scientific development of national defense and the army should be the general guideline to follow, and priority should be given to accelerating change in the way of raising troops’ combat effectiveness. We should intensify efforts to build a revolutionary, modern, and standardized army in an all-around way. We must adhere to the fundamental principle of the Party exercising absolute leadership over the army and the fundamental purpose of the army as a people’s army and cultivate core values for contemporary revolutionary military personnel. It is important to expand and intensify military preparedness and conduct military exercises with IT applications and raise independent defense- and weaponry-related R&D capabilities. We should speed up all-around development of modern logistics and the training of a new type of high-caliber military personnel, and promote reform of national defense and the army in an active yet prudent manner. The army must be run strictly and in accordance with the law. It should comprehensively enhance its capability to accomplish a range of military tasks, and the most important one is to win limited wars under the conditions of IT application. We need to speed up the building of a modern armed police force. We also need to enhance public education on national defense, strengthen our national defense mobilization and reserve forces, and strengthen and develop unity between the army and the government and between the army and the people.

We will unswervingly implement the principle of “one country, two systems” under which the people of Hong Kong administer Hong Kong, and the people of Macao administer Macao with a high degree of autonomy, and fully support the governments of the Hong Kong and Macao Special Administrative Regions in governing in accordance with the law, growing their economies and improving the wellbeing of their peoples. We will promote exchanges and cooperation between Hong Kong and Macao and the mainland, unite with all forces that love the motherland, Hong Kong, and Macao, and sustain long-term prosperity and stability of Hong Kong and Macao. We should pursue the general goal of promoting peaceful development of relations across the Taiwan Strait, deepen exchanges and cooperation in all areas and expand interactions across the Strait. We should join hands in opposing and checking separatist activities for “Taiwan independence” and work for the happiness of compatriots on both sides of the Strait and the future of the Chinese nation.

Around the world, peace, development, and cooperation remain the trend of the times, but we face multiple challenges in our efforts to achieve world peace and development. To share in development opportunities, jointly tackle risks and build a harmonious world of durable peace and common prosperity is the common call of the people of all countries.

The CPC and the Chinese people have always been a positive force for promoting world peace and development. Years ago, the CPC and the Chinese people made a solemn commitment to contribute their due share to human progress. We will make unremitting efforts for the noble cause of peace and development of mankind and strive to make new and greater contributions to mankind.

China’s foreign policy aims to uphold world peace and promote common development. We will continue to pursue an independent foreign policy of peace and unswervingly follow the path of peaceful development and the win-win strategy of opening up. We will develop friendship and cooperation with all other countries on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, uphold the legitimate demands and common interests of developing countries, and take an active part in multilateral affairs to make the international political and economic order more just and equitable. We will unswervingly follow the basic state policy of opening up, improve our open economy, and fully improve the performance of our open economy. We will strengthen mutually beneficial cooperation with countries around the world and continue to contribute to the common development of all countries through China’s own peaceful development.

The CPC will, following the principle of independence, complete equality, mutual respect, and noninterference in each other’s internal affairs, conduct exchanges, cooperation, and mutual learning of governance experience with political parties and organizations of other countries and regions to promote China’s relations with other countries.


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