CRI Online Interview with Vice Minister Liu Hongcai

  Actively Exploring Chinese-style Party Diplomacy;
Pattern of All-dimensional External Exchanges Becoming Increasingly Mature

Oct. 9th, 2007

CRI Online special report:

The Communist Party of China (CPC), the ruling party of the country, will welcome its national congress in the middle of October, when the governing lessons of the previous five years will be reviewed and major principles and policies for the Party and the country for the future period set out. In an exclusive interview with CRI Online, Liu Hongcai, Vice Minister of the International Department of the CPC Central Committee (IDCPC) reviewed with us the external exchanges of the Party over the past five years.

CRI Online: On September 18th in the hall of the International Department of the CPC Central Committee, Minister Wang Jiarui presented to a group of ordinary Chinese a foreign guest he was to meet with—leader of the Czech Social Democratic Party. The 18th is the day when the IDCPC is open to the general public, and in the future, a growing number of average people will be allowed to set foot into this core agency in charge of the foreign affairs of the ruling party.
While facing her own people with a more open attitude, the CPC is also looking at political parties of the world with the same posture. At present, political parties the CPC associates with include not only left-wing forces like communist parties but also nationalist democratic parties, as well as socialist parties, labor parties, right-wing forces like conservative parties, Christian democratic parties and liberal parties.

Liu: Independence, complete equality, mutual respect and non-interference in each other's internal affairs are the four principles guiding our party's external relations. On such a basis, we stand ready to develop a new type of exchanges and cooperation with political parties and organizations all over the world that are willing to engage with us. At present, the CPC has come into contacts and exchanges with over 400 political parties and organizations from more than 160 countries, forming a new pattern of party diplomacy with Chinese characteristics featuring all-dimensional, multi-channeled, wide-ranging and deep-going exchanges, which is becoming increasingly mature.

CRI Online: Statistics show that the CPC has received over 1000 foreign party delegations through the channel of party-to-party ties in a short period of 5 years, among which nearly 200 are headed by main leaders of these parties such as Mircea Dan Geoana, chairman of Social Democratic Party of Romania, Piero Fassino, National Secretary of Italian Democratic Party of the Left, and Wojciech Olejniczak, Chairman of the Democratic Left Alliance of Poland, all of whom have received exclusive interviews with CRI Online. The CPC leadership also places high importance on outbound exchanges with foreign political parties. According to statistics, since the 16th Party Congress, there have been more than 50 overseas visits of party delegations headed by members of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and its Standing Committee, who conducted face-to-face discussion with officials of foreign political parties.

Liu: The new stage of the new century, especially since the 16th Party Congress, has witnessed continuous expansion and deepening of the Party's external exchanges through more diversified forms under the correct leadership and with direct involvement of the Central Committee with Hu Jintao as General Secretary. Top leaders of our party attach great importance to exchanges with foreign political parties.

The direct exchanges and dialogue between the Chinese leadership including General Secretary Hu and their counterparts of foreign parities play an irreplaceable guiding role for addressing and promoting the development of party-to-party and state-to-state relations from a strategic and overall perspective.

CRI Online: The list of people the CPC associates with includes leaders of both government parties and opposition parties, incumbent political heavy weights as well as young politicians of newly-emerging parties. There are not only important statesmen of countries who have diplomatic ties with us, but also party leaders from countries that are not in diplomatic relations with China.

Liu: With the aim of establishing new friendship while deepening and renewing old one, our party has expanded its external exchanges. Given the changes of political parties of various countries over the past five years, our party has entered into relationship with nearly another one hundred political parties from over 30 countries, making new friends in the South Pacific island countries, the Middle East, and the Central American and the Caribbean region.

CRI Online: Friends should be frank with each other. The CPC and foreign political parties not only exchange successful lessons, but also discuss candidly their divergences.

Liu: We not only discuss new ways to promote the development of state-to-state relations, but also compare notes on how to run the country and government, on how to bring prosperity to our respective countries, and on how to address international and regional problems. When receiving foreign guests, we not only take them to advanced areas, but also show them the poor and backward places in China, so that they can gain a comprehensive picture of what China is really like.

Judging from the practice of party politics, in spite of the differences in governing models as well the diversities in nature, belief, platform, governing ideas and social bases, government parties face a large number of common or similar challenges on how to strengthen governance capability and consolidate ruling status. Reform, innovation and development are the common subjects faced by all of us. We sincerely hope to draw successful lessons from foreign political parties.

CRI Online: With the rising of China's overall national strength and international position, the international community is expecting more from China in contributing to the settlement of international hot-spots and difficulties. To this end, the CPC has taken the initiative in deepening and expanding its involvement in international affairs, actively engaging in major diplomatic activities like pushing forward UN reforms, coping with global climate change, and promoting the building of a harmonious world. It plays a positive role in contacting various political forces widely for candid exchanges and deepened effort to promote reconciliation and negotiation on the settlement of regional hot-spot issues such as the nuclear issue on the Korean peninsular, Middle East peace talks, and Palestine-Israel situation.

Liu: In the run-up to the Seventeenth National Congress, the CPC's external work is on a new historical point. The profound changes of relations between China and the World will also bring about unprecedented opportunities and challenges to the Party's external work.

We believe that the external exchanges of the CPC will make fresh contribution to deepening understanding and trust between the Chinese people and people around the world, to fostering a sound image of the Party as one that is built for the people and exercises power for the public, and as one that is democratic, progressive, open-minded and innovative, to constantly promoting the development of state-to-state relations, and to promoting the building of a harmonious world.

CRI Online: Thank you Vice Minister for being with us.