The following interview appeared on the front page in the special edition of the People's Daily commemorating the 80th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China.

Working Together for Development by
Seeking Common Ground While Reserving Differences:
A Talk About the Party's International Work Given by
Dai Bingguo, Minister of the International Department
of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC)

Ever since its founding in 1921, the CPC has had a global perspective and reached out to the world through its foreign contacts. A few days ago, I interviewed Minister Dai Bingguo of the CPC International Department for the People's Daily, and he talked about how the Party's international work has made historic contributions to China's revolution and construction. 

Dai Bingguo said that the CPC is a product of the integration of Marxism with the practice in the Chinese revolution. The founders of the CPC sought revolutionary truth abroad, actively made contacts with the Communist International and started preparations for the founding of the CPC with its help. This is an important indication of how Marxism was integrated with the Chinese revolution. It can be said that during the CPC's formative period, association with foreign Communists played a special role in the founding of the CPC and in the development of the Chinese revolution. War and revolution were the distinguishing features of that era, and revolutions in the world and national liberation movements surged. The CPC enthusiastically participated in activities of the Communist International, the Red International of Labor Unions, the Youth's Communist International, the Peasant International (Krestintern) and other revolutionary organizations; it also joined the world anti-fascist struggle, supported foreign national liberation movements and constantly increased its contacts with other countries. These activities not only won widespread sympathy and support for the Chinese revolution but also made their due contribution to just struggles for social progress and liberation waged by people in other countries. Ever since the founding of the Party, its international work has been an important component of its cause.

At the time immediately after the founding of New China, imperialists adopted the policies of diplomatic isolation, economic sanctions and military blockade towards it in an attempt to strangle the people's government in the cradle. Faced with the complex situation in which the East and West camps were locked in confrontation, the leaders of New China, represented by Mao Zedong, proceeding from the standpoint of the fundamental interests of the country, pursued the foreign policy of leaning to one side, that is, to the socialist camp headed by the Soviet Union. As communist parties were in power in all the socialist countries, relations between China and these countries first developed through the channel of party-to-party contacts. The CPC's international work thus played an irreplaceable role in promoting friendship and cooperation between China and other socialist countries. At the same time, the CPC actively established friendly contacts and cooperated with foreign communist and workers' parties and with national parties and organizations in Asia, Africa and Latin America, which greatly supported the diplomatic work of New China and gave it more room to maneuver in its international activities. When the Eighth National Congress of the CPC, the first after it assumed office in the country, was convened in 1956, political parties from 56 countries sent congratulatory delegations to the congress. The outstanding role played by the Party's international work was self-evident. This prompted Mao Zedong to proudly declare at the congress, "We do not feel isolated!"

Dai Bingguo pointed out that since the reform and opening up policy was introduced in the late 1970s, the principal aims of the Party's international work have been to safeguard world peace, seek common development and work for favorable international and neighboring environments. The CPC centered its international work on the state's overall diplomatic plans and made major adjustments to its guiding ideology, policies, associates contacted, and the manner and content of contacts accordingly. Based on Deng Xiaoping's proposal that a new type of relations should be established between parties, the CPC adopted the principles of independence, complete equality, mutual respect and noninterference in each other's internal affairs as its basic principles for party-to-party contacts. By discarding past enmity and looking to the future, the CPC gradually restored friendly relations with foreign communist and workers' parties and established broad contacts with national democratic parties in developing countries. In the 1980s, in the spirit of transcending differences in ideology and social systems and of seeking understanding, dialogue and cooperation, the CPC established friendly relations with left-wing, centrist and right-wing parties in Western countries and their international organizations. At the Fifteenth National Congress of the CPC in 1997, the Party further clarified the guiding principle for developing this new type of party-to-party relations. Leaders at all levels from central to local authorities attach importance to and have great concern for the Party's international work. So far the CPC has established various types of friendly relations with more than 400 parties and organizations in over 140 countries and regions. Party diplomacy has become a dynamic and indispensable component of the state's overall diplomatic work.

Dai Bingguo said that since the end of the cold war and especially since the beginning of the new century, the international situation has become more complicated, but peace and development remain the themes of the times. The CPC, which is devoted to reform and opening up and to leading the nation in its great rejuvenation effort, needs to better understand, study and reach out to the world. People around the world, particularly political parties and statesmen, are more concerned about and eager to understand socialism with Chinese characteristics and are paying closer attention to the tremendous historic changes taking place in China. The conditions under which the CPC expands and deepens its foreign contacts are more favorable, and the missions it undertakes in its international work are more arduous than before. Under these circumstances, in handling its international work in the new century, we should be guided by Deng Xiaoping's diplomatic thinking and China's general principles for diplomatic work, exploit our advantages, innovate resolutely, and stress practical results in order to contribute more to China's reform and opening up, the state's overall diplomatic work, Party building and building socialism with Chinese characteristics. We firmly believe that under the correct leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Jiang Zemin as its core and with the full support of all the Party members, we will surely make greater achievements in the Party's international work in the new century.

Wu Qimin, People's Daily reporter 

(p. 5, July 4, 2001)