The following is one of a series of articles published by the China News Service on "Approaching the Sixteenth National Congress of the Communist Party of China."

Impressive Achievements in Pragmatic and Innovative Foreign Contacts
of the Communist Party of China (CPC)

Dispatch of the China News Service, Beijing, October 28, 2002 (Reporter: Qi Bin)

Party-to-party relations are now an important component of international and state-to-state relations. Since its Fifteenth National Congress in 1997, the CPC has developed its foreign contacts vigorously with impressive achievements. At present, it has already established contacts with more than 400 political parties and organizations in over 140 countries and regions, and an all-dimensional, multi-channeled, wide-ranging and deep-leveled pattern of contacts with foreign parties has preliminarily taken shape. 

An authoritative source in the International Department of the CPC Central Committee pointed out that anyone who looks carefully at the CPC's foreign contacts over the past five years can readily discover that the main thread running throughout those contacts is that of being pragmatic and innovative and serving our nation heart and soul.

First, at the turn of the century, the international situation was volatile, and in some countries, the political situation was unstable and political figures there rose and fell unpredictably. In accordance with the principle of promoting the state's overall diplomatic work, the CPC used party-to-party contacts in various ways to make many friends, so as to promote the sound and stable development of China's relations with foreign countries. 

A prominent characteristic of the CPC's foreign contacts is that they are made with both parties in power and opposition parties and with both elder and younger statesmen. Contacts with parties in power mainly help consolidate the political foundation of state-to-state relations. Contacts with opposition parties can serve the continuity and stability of state-to-state relations when the political situation changes. Contacts with young statesmen can lay a firm foundation for state-to-state relations in the future. The Party's future-oriented foreign contacts make a unique contribution to consolidating and developing state-to-state relations and maintaining their continuity and stability.

Due to China's specific national conditions, over the past five years the CPC gave full play to the advantages of party diplomacy, which has both an official and unofficial character, in actively cultivating contacts with parties in countries without diplomatic relations with China, including more than 20 important parties in 11 of the 14 such countries in Latin America. These friendly contacts were flexible and pragmatic, increased mutual understanding between China and these countries, and constantly strengthened the forces there friendly to China. As a result, some of these countries changed their attitude somewhat on major issues pertaining to China. This down-to-earth preparatory, cumulative work is forming a bridge of friendship and cooperation for gradually normalizing China's relations with those countries.

Second, party diplomacy sets the stage for business activities. By injecting economic factors into its party-to-party contacts, the CPC creates many new ways and means for promoting China's business exchanges and cooperation with other countries. 

For example, in its contacts with foreign parties, the CPC purposely included inspection tours of economic development projects, during which it thoroughly explored such hot topics as the development strategies of different countries and the challenges confronting China after its accession to the World Trade Organization. CPC delegations often included business groups, so as to introduce a number of strong enterprises and projects to the world. In addition, through the channel of party-to-party contacts, the Party recommended partners to economic departments, supplied various kinds of information and facilitated a number of business projects. 

Third, as the world's largest party in power, the CPC has all along been faced with the arduous historic tasks of further enhancing its levels of leadership and governance and becoming better able to resist corruption, prevent degeneration and withstand risks in the face of ever-changing circumstances at home and abroad. To accomplish these tasks, the Party must both ground itself on Chinese conditions and have a global perspective. 

The CPC attaches importance to drawing upon foreign experience through party-to-party contacts to enrich its ideas for development. The International Department of the CPC Central Committee and other related departments have carried out a great deal of specialized research on deep-seated reasons why the communist parties in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe lost political power and perished and why some large, old parties long in power in developing countries were forced out of office one after another. They have reviewed the deep causes of these events and learned from these parties' experiences. They have also deepened their understanding of the laws governing how the political systems in different countries change and how political parties rise and fall. All this provides a reference for the CPC's efforts to strengthen its Party building and improve its methods of leadership and governance and its systems of leadership and work.

Last, in the spirit of transcending ideological differences and seeking understanding and cooperation, the CPC has increased mutual understanding and trust through contacts with all kinds of foreign parties. Many foreign political figures acquired a comparatively comprehensive understanding of China, cleared up confusions, and eliminated doubts and prejudices, and then actively participated in or positively influenced their governments' decision-making on issues concerning China. 

In 2001, as guests of the Parliamentary Group of the European People's Party, a CPC delegation visited the European Parliament for the first time and had a frank and sincere dialogue with its five parliamentary groups on such questions as human rights and Tibet. This prompted the European Parliament to withdraw its plan to nominate the leaders of Falungong and the "democracy movement" for the Sakharov Prize, thus eliminating the negative impact this could have had on China.