Chen Fengxiang: The CPC's New Image in the World

Having embarked on the great course of reform and opening up,
the CPC is projecting a brand new image to the rest of the world.

Thirty years ago, under the guidance of emancipating the mind and seeking truth from facts, the Communist Party of China set out on the great journey of reform and opening-up, and has been heralding the historical mission to the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. Nowadays after 3 decades of reform and opening-up, China's development has come to a new starting point, historical changes have taken place on China's visage, and accordingly the CPC has also taken on a brand new look in front of the rest of the world.

A governing party that concentrates on development  

The new period started with the CPC's resolute decision to shift the focus of its work to economic development by abandoning class struggles as the "key link". The CPC has thus transformed itself from a party of revolution to a party of governance. Such shift and transformation profoundly changed the perception of the international community about the CPC.

Some mainstream British media once described that before 1978, the CPC had been seen as a revolution-oriented party that put "class struggle" above national development and people's well being, and that believed in ideology as its No.1 political philosophy. Today, things are quite different. As pointed out by Malaysian media, in the process of reform and opening-up, national development has been upgraded to become the key priority in the party's strategies, and the CPC has been "transformed from a party to challenge into a party to govern". When reflecting the past 30 years' reform and opening-up in China led by the CPC, the Democratic Constitutional Rally of Tunisia and the National Democratic Party of Egypt, which have also long been in office, both exclaimed that the CPC is indeed a ruling party that takes state governance first, and promotes national development through constantly improving its governing capability.

Since the beginning of the new century, economic globalization, world multi-polarization and social diversification have been going further in depth. Comprehensive national strength with economic power as the mainstay has become the focus of international competition, and development has become the most urgent task of all governing political parties worldwide. Most of them are now in a process of searching for a road of development suitable to the national conditions of their own countries with a rational and pragmatic attitude in answer to the calls of our times and in accordance with the changing international situation.

As the ruling party of the biggest developing country, the CPC has taken development as the top priority in its mission to govern the state and rejuvenate the nation. In the past 3 decades, China has maintained an annual average GDP growth rate of 9.75%, which has propelled China to be the fourth largest economy in the world. Today, a modern, open and future-oriented socialist China stands firmly in the East. The CPC's image as a ruling party dedicated to development is also increasingly recognized by the rest of the world.

A modern party that is keen to blaze new trails and to keep abreast with the times 

Innovation is what drives a nation ahead, and what keeps a political party growing. Over the past 3 decades, the CPC has time and again initiated "mind freeing" campaigns as required by realities at different stages of reform and opening-up, with an effort to smash fetters on people's minds and tear down the walls of old conventions. Consequently, the CPC has established its basic line for the primary stage of socialism and founded Deng Xiaoping theory, the important thought of "Three Represents" and the Scientific Outlook on Development along with its applaudable practice of building socialism in a unique Chinese way. The CPC's pioneering exploration of socialism and theories on development in the process of reform and opening-up has enriched knowledge of the human society about social progress and the development of mankind.

Boldly breaking down dogmatic restrictions and embracing theoretical innovation, the CPC has injected enduring and powerful impetus to China's reform and opening-up, and has thus thoroughly shattered prejudice against communist regimes as rigid and conservative. Many foreign political leaders, scholars and media have applauded the CPC for its innovative spirit and open-mindedness to forge ahead with the times.

President of the Democratic Revolution Party of Mexico Amalia Garcia stated that the CPC is dynamic in thinking and has the courage to blaze new trails by which it has gradually formed a whole set of theories of socialism with Chinese characteristics. This is the key to China's success in reform and opening-up. Senior Associate of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Dr. Albert Keidel pointed out that thanks to the mind emancipation movement initiated by Deng Xiaoping, pragmatic thinking has prevailed in China, and reform and opening-up has become preoccupation of the Chinese society, the aspiration of the Chinese people as well as the inevitable trend of the Chinese nation. Such pragmatic thinking and the principles and policies taken therewith in line with China's national conditions are the secrets of the success of China's reform and opening-up. French newspaper Le Monde commented in its article "China's new social contract" on May 29th 2008 that with each reflection over crisis, the CPC has demonstrated such resilience unseen in the communist history. It also added that today the CPC government could no longer be described as an obsolete, deserted, dogmatic and rigid old-man government as it was in another era.

A party that always puts people first 

When proceeding with reform and opening-up, the CPC has taken it as the essential objective of socialism to improve people's living standards and realize all-round human development through emancipation and expansion of productive forces. By 2003, China's per capita GDP exceeded USD$1000 and the livelihood of the Chinese people in general reached a relatively comfortable level. Meanwhile, a raft of problems have accumulated in the process of reform and opening-up, which include imbalanced development between urban and rural areas and among different regions, yawning income gaps, mounting pressures on employment and social security, relatively lagging education, health, cultural and other social undertakings, increasing population, as well as intensifying restraint of ecological environment and natural resources on economic growth, etc.

Under the new circumstances, the central leadership of the CPC with Hu Jintao as the General Secretary has given prominence to the "people-first" aspects of Marxist theories, and has made important breakthrough in its philosophy of governance. Firstly, it set forth the goal of building a harmonious socialist society, underscoring social development. That provides a Chinese interpretation of the Marxist thinking about socialist social development.

Secondly, it has added new connotations to the "people-first notion, bearing in mind the fundamental interests of the overwhelming majority of the Chinese people in the pursuit of development, and ensuring that development is for the people, by the people and with the people sharing in its fruits". Thereby, the undertaking of economic and social advancement is integrated with the all-round development of the people.

Thirdly, it has carried forward the principle of serving the people. It has also clearly pointed out in the General Secretary's report to the 17th National Congress of the CPC that "we must always make sure that the aim and outcome of all the work of the Party and the state is to realize, safeguard and expand the fundamental interests of the overwhelming majority of the people. We must respect the principal position of the people in the country's political life, give play to their creativity, protect their rights and interests, take the path of prosperity for all and promote their all-round development". This has further enriched and developed the Party's governing philosophies.

New philosophies cast new images. From what the CPC believes in, one can perceive that the party is built for the public and exercises state power for its citizens. It cares for people's grievances and works for people's interests. That has been highly commended by the international community.

Secretary General of the Socialist International Mr. Luis Ayala has put it that what the CPC has done in promoting social justice has greatly empowered the Chinese people in political, economic and social fields, improved their livelihood and has lifted hundreds of millions out of poverty. According to Ayala, this is one of the most remarkable achievements of the reform and opening-up endeavor led by the CPC, and is no short of a miracle in world history. All this is attributed to the CPC's people-caring philosophies and working style.

An enlightened and open party that upholds peace and democracy 

Since the third plenary session of the 11th CPC Central Committee, under the guidance of Deng Xiaoping's outlook on the new type of inter-party relations, the CPC has established the four principles guiding inter-party relations, namely, "independence, complete equality, mutual respect and non-interference in each other's internal affairs", which have been widely echoed by various political parties around the world. Guided by these principles, the CPC has made historical readjustments and attained new breakthroughs in its external work. It successively normalized relations with some other communist parties with whom there had been discord. It began to have contacts with nationalist democratic parties in Asia, Africa and Latin America, set up ties with socialist parties and international political party organizations in Western Europe (social democratic parties and labor parties), and has maintained contacts with traditional central right parties in the West. After the end of the Cold War and in the wake of dramatic changes in the world political landscape, the CPC has actively engaged in exchanges with various types of political parties, old and new, from around the world in an orderly manner.

Up to date, it has maintained friendly exchanges and connections of different forms with more than 520 political parties and organizations from over 160 countries and regions in the world. A new scheme of all-dimensional, multi-channeled, wide-ranging and deep-going foreign relations of the CPC has taken shape. The external relations of the CPC have served as an important platform for the party to project its international image, and a vital channel for the international community to learn about China and the CPC.

With the deepening of reform and opening-up, the CPC is getting more and more integrated into the international community with a new look of being mature and confident, open-minded and full of vitality, no longer closed, conservative and rigid as before. On its external front, the party's interactions with the rest of the world have undergone historic changes. On one hand, the international community is paying more attention to the influence of the CPC's strategic decisions. Theoretical symposiums are organized between foreign political parties and the CPC, books and articles are written by foreign politicians about the CPC and many foreign parties have asked for the reports of successive party congresses of the CPC for in-depth studies so as to find out the secrets of China's stability and development.

On the other hand, the CPC is taking seriously the impact of international elements on China's reform, opening-up and modernization drive at home. It is keen to listen to different voices from the outside world and is careful in handling complex relations with the rest of the world. While firmly safeguarding China's national interests, it has made great efforts to increase converging points of interests with others, accommodate the rightful concerns of the international community and to promote the building of a harmonious world through China's peaceful development. The CPC's commitment to peaceful development and a harmonious world has been echoed, acknowledged and respected by the international community, and its open, enlightened, democratic and peace-loving image is more and more accepted by the world.

A new Marxist political party 

In the past 30 years, party-building of the CPC has been carried out simultaneously with the nation's reform and opening-up. As a result, the party's creativity, cohesion and capability have been constantly improved, and its responsiveness to the call of the times, its advanced nature as well as its openness has been further strengthened.

As the Party of European Socialists once put it, today's world has undergone tremendous changes and all political parties are facing new problems and challenges. The important thought of "Three Represents" has reflected the CPC's efforts in adapting to the changing situation and in seeking ways and channels to represent the interests of the most majority of the Chinese people. It also said that such new thinking of party building is a very important inspiration for many other countries and political parties. Financial Times commented too that by recruiting members from various social strata and economic elites, the CPC has become for more than a party of peasantry and workers. The structure of its membership is now better reflecting China's current social structure.

Since the start of reform and opening-up, the CPC has seriously summarized experience and lessons of other political parties' successes and failures and come to the conclusion that in promoting the development of the governing CPC, efforts must be made to study new situations, solve new problems and draw new lessons based on the real practice of reform and opening-up so as to constantly increase the party's governing capability through improvements and innovations, and to ensure that the party always remains to be a Marxist political party. In the past 30 years, the CPC's governing capability has been continuously improved thanks to incessant efforts and major progress in maintaining the party's advanced nature, expanding party membership, strengthening intra-party democracy, building up party official and cadre contingents, fighting against corruption, and in studying and practicing the Scientific Outlook on Development.

These achievements in party-building have given further annotation to the image of the CPC as an advanced and progressive party. Quite a number political parties in the developing world such as the Bangladesh National Socialist Party commended that the CPC, with its firm political conviction and mature theoretical establishment, can always accurately feel the pulse of social development and of the times. It is a dynamic, farsighted, pragmatic, open and innovation-minded vanguard of the times.


  Source: Liaowang