Exploration for a New Pattern of Chinese Style Party Diplomacy—International
Exchanges of the Communist Party of China since its 16th National Congress

Wang Jiarui—Minister of the International Department of the CPC Central Committee

Since 16th National Congress of the CPC, under the leadership of the Central Committee with Comrade Hu Jintao as the General Secretary, with the personal involvement of the CPC leading members, and under the guidance of Deng Xiaoping Theory and the important thought of “Three Represents”, the international exchanges of the Party have been carried out in an innovative and pioneering spirit on the basis of the comprehensive implementation of the scientific outlook on development. The Party’s external work has made new contributions to the general task of all diplomatic efforts of the country, to the all-round advancement of the ambitious party building programme, to the endeavour of creating a new situation in building socialism with Chinese characteristics, and to the building of a harmonious world. Now our Party maintains contacts and exchanges of various forms with more than 400 political parties and organizations in over 160 countries and regions. A new paradigm of party-to-party relations of Chinese style that is all dimensional, multi-channeled, wide-ranging and deep-going is taking shape day by day, and the image of a democratic, progressive, open-minded and innovative CPC that works for the interests of the public and for the well-being of the people is being established.

Enthusiastic exploration for a new pattern of Chinese style party diplomacy in the new era. 

Into the new century, on the basis of coordinating domestic development and international cooperation, correctly understanding the development of world party politics and consciously acting in line with the general practice of party-to-party exchanges in the new era, Chinese style party diplomacy continues to adhere to the Four Principles of inter-party exchanges. While consolidating its relations with the ruling parties in socialist countries, the CPC transcends differences in ideology and conducts extensive exchanges with various types of political parties including the left, the centre and the right wing parties. While maintaining the flexible nature of party diplomacy, the CPC makes continuous efforts to improve the mechanism of party-to-party exchanges. While actively facilitating the development of state-to-state relations, our Party also pays more attention to providing intellectual support to the ambitious new party building programme, and conducts frequent and fruitful discussions and exchanges with other ruling parties on governance. While developing bilateral relations with various parties in different countries, the CPC is also actively engaged in multi-lateral exchanges with trans-national and trans-regional organizations of political parties.

One, high-level exchanges have become more frequent. Since the 16th National Congress, there have been more than 50 overseas visits led by members of the central leading body of the CPC including General Secretary Hu Jintao and nearly 200 delegations of foreign political parties headed by major party leaders have visited China.

Two, inter-party relations expanded continuously. In the last five years, the Party established new friendship with nearly 100 political parties in over 30 countries. Our party develops new friendship in regions including south Pacific, Middle East and Central America and the Caribbean region.

Three, the Party has enlarged its spectrum of exchanges, not only furthering relations with traditional political parties like communist parties, workers’ parties, socialist parties, labour parties and conservative parties, but also making breakthrough in relations with newly emerging parties like green parties and making new expansion in communication with major party groups in the European Parliament and with international organizations of political parties.

Four, the content of exchange between parties is deepened. There are on-site visits as well as theoretical seminars; political dialogues as well as exchanges of views on economic and cultural issues; discussion of new methods to promote state-to-state relations as well as new ways to strengthen party building; exchanges of best practices in governance as well as exploration of solutions to international and regional issues.

Five, inter-party exchanges now enjoy a wider platform which include active participation in various activities like congresses of foreign parties and party organ festivals in addition to regular exchanges with major foreign political parties. 3rd ICAPP (International Conference of Asian Political Parties) the CPC hosted in 2004 was participated by representatives from as many as over 80 political parties.

Keenly serve domestic development and international cooperation. 


Since the 16th National Congress, the external exchanges of the Party, filling into the overall diplomatic endeavour of the country, have been further consolidating relations with political parties in neighbouring countries, maintaining exchanges and developing cooperation with political parties from developing countries, particularly enriching relations with parties in Africa and Latin America, intensifying connections, expanding consensus and enhancing mutual understanding with mainstream political parties in developed countries, and keeping regular friendly exchanges with parties in countries without diplomatic relations with China.

By conducting extensive contact, candid exchanges and facilitating peaceful talks with relevant political parties and political organizations, our party diplomacy, as an important part of major diplomatic deployment of the country, has played a due role in solving hotspot issues.

At critical junctures of development of bilateral relations with some countries, party diplomacy has played its unique role as “all weather diplomacy”, “soft diplomacy” and “people-oriented connections”. It offers an alternative for healthy development of state-to-state relations by taking initiatives and actively implementing follow-up actions.

Through explorations for new areas to serve domestic reform and development and by supporting the nation’s strategic programmes such as the development of the western region, revitalizing old industrial bases in northeastern China, development of central part of China and giving priority to developing eastern coastal areas, party diplomacy has enhanced awareness of facilitating the country’s economic construction and trade and economic cooperation. During overseas tours by local, provincial and municipal leaders of the Party or when friends from foreign political parties visit China, attention is paid to on-the-spot study and discussion about pragmatic cooperation.

Providing intellectual support to the ambitious new programme of party building. 


The external work of the Party has always sited as one of its fundamental responsibilities to provide research and consulting services to the ambitious new programme of party building, to enhancing the Party’s ruling capability, to consolidating its ruling status and to attaining its goals as a ruling party.

As the Party Central Committee has set the requirements of consolidating the guiding ideology of Marxism in China, developing Marxism in the Chinese context and exploring new grounds for Marxist theory, the Party’s external work has been active in conducting research on the movements, schools of thoughts and practices of world socialism, involving itself in the programmes of research on and building of Marxist theory.

Since various types of parties especially ruling parties in different countries face many common challenges in party-building and in governance, the department in charge of international exchanges of the Party is more focused on the study of laws governing the development of human society, socialist construction and ruling experience of communist parties. It attaches more importance to reviewing the principles and methods of governance by different foreign ruling parties, in an effort to draw upon experiences as well as lessons from the success stories and failures of foreign parties.

Centered on a series of theoretical innovations and major strategic layout set forth by the Central Committee, the frontline of the Party’s external work is also engaged in research on experience and lessons of governance and social construction of other countries.

Dedicated to the international image of the Party. 

In the new era, it is necessary to give more importance to the fine image of the party in the international arena, a democratic, progressive, open-minded and innovative party that works for the interests of the public and the well-being of the people. To this end, the Party must let the international community especially foreign parties and political heavyweights have a better understanding about our road of development, system of political parties and the principle of governance. Therefore, the frontline of party diplomacy is in an important position for building up the country’s soft power.

As an important part of the external work of the Party, publicity of the series of theoretical innovation achieved by the central leadership of the Party since the last Congress was elaborated to foreign political parties and important politicians in a way comprehensible and acceptable to them. And it is an important purpose of the Party’s international exchanges to enable the foreign parties and politicians to have comprehensive and objective knowledge about China. In the last five years, most foreign political party delegations that visited China at our Party’s invitation have been to central and western regions of China to gain a deeper understanding about the real situation in this country and the purposes of the CPC to work for the public and the people.

Politicians are the key players of party politics. In the past five years, the CPC contacted over ten thousand political figures through the party exchange channel. We are willing to meet more new friends, deepen our friendship with good friends and always remember old friends. Among these politicians are leaders of both ruling and non-ruling parties, both incumbent heavyweight officials and promising young politicians who are about to take leading positions, heavyweights from countries both with and without diplomatic ties with China. After exchanging with the Party, many personages who once had misgiving about China now have changed their opinion, enhanced their understanding about the Party and have even become friends of the Party and staunch forces for friendship with China.

An inclusive attitude toward all achievements of human civilization and readiness to learn from best practices of others are distinctive features of the “Chinese style” party diplomacy in the new era. These are reflected not only in the comprehensiveness of the layout of party diplomacy and the ever-expanding scale of the Party’s external exchanges, but also in the deep-going connotation of inter-party relations. All these helped, in the final analysis, to mold an open and innovative image of the Party in the world.

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In the new era and the new century, the international exchanges of the Party stand at a whole new starting line of history and are faced with unprecedented opportunities and challenges. In the run-up to the Party’s 17th Congress, new patterns, new experience and new features of the external work of the Party since its 16th Congress are being studied conscientiously. New developments, new circumstances and new opportunities are under scientific analysis to draw up an overall blue print for future development. Under the leadership of the central leading body of the CPC with Comrade Hu Jintao as the General Secretary, it is believed that the external work of the Party is bound for further achievements.