Important Position
The Important Position of the CPC International Relations
2014.11.02 /

The CPC has attached much importance to inter-party relations, taking them as a significant part of its cause, the means to consolidate the party's construction and to elevate the party's governance ability, also an important approach to increasing the party's influence and elevating its international status. As a party in power of the People's Republic of China (PRC), the inter-party contacts, an important component in the country's general diplomacy, have unique advantages and an irreplaceable role. All the generations of the CPC leading group have given much attention to the relations and theoretical development. With their care and involvement, the CPC international relations have progressed significantly. 

Party-to-party relations: an important component in CPC's cause and party building 

Ever since the founding, the CPC has attached much significance to its ideological, style and organizational construction, taking international relations with political parties of other countries as an important component. During the years of revolution and wars, through international relations, the CPC won from advanced forces in the rest of the world much support and sympathy, both spiritual and material, for Chinese revolution. Their support and sympathy played a very active role during the CPC's growth and its struggles to win the victory of Chinese revolution. After the founding of the PRC, through contacts with foreign parties, the CPC learned much from the experience of other Communist parties in power. Their experience and successful way of doing things had a positive influence on the CPC in consolidating its governing ability and developing foreign diplomacy of New China.

After the reform and opening-up began in 1978, China entered a new historical period of socialist modern construction. The CPC was no longer a party in power leading China's socialist construction in an isolated situation, but became a ruling party in a new situation of reform and opening-up and leading China's modern construction. With China's fast economic progress and higher and higher influence in the world, the international society gave increasing attention to the CPC. Many political parties were eager to establish contacts with the CPC. In this new situation, to better display its role as a party in power, to complete its mission, to consolidate its position, the CPC had to get a broader international vision, learn and borrow experience from ruling parties of other countries in party building and state governance. Their experience would benefit China's reform and opening-up and modernization process.

In the 21st century, economic globalization has quickened its pace, and the contacts among nations become much closer. The CPC has been very attentive to a correct understanding and grasping of international influence, its possible impact on domestic causes. The CPC has been emphatic on coordination of domestic and international situations, on finding a correct direction from the corresponding relations between the two, on locating development opportunities from mutual transformation of the two, on mutual complementary relations of domestic and international resources, and on a comprehensive handling of international and domestic elements. In order to do these, consolidating the party's inter-party relations, broadening its vision, grasping the close relations between domestic affairs and foreign diplomacy, elevating its ability in order to handle complicated international situations, all are tremendously significant.

Just like its organization, publicity, united front and works of other kinds, its inter-party relations have remained a very important part in the party's cause and self-construction. "It was hard to achieve power for the proletariat," said the "Decision on Consolidating the Party's Governing Ability by CPC Central Committee" passed on the Fourth Session of the 16th CPC Central Committee in September 2004, "even harder for the proletariat to hold the power for a long period of time. The governing position of the party is not born, neither something done once and for all. We must think of danger in times of peace, increase our sense of anxiety about lagging behind, draw on the experience of all ruling parties in the world, the experience of their rise and fall, and more consciously consolidate our governing ability. We must hold and use the power in a better way for the sake of people." The decision also said, "Consolidate the party's relations with parties of other countries," and "continuously increase the party's ability of handling complicated international situations and affairs." These words clearly made the party-to-party relations an important task in improving the party's governing ability.

The CPC's inter-party relations: an important part in China's general diplomacy 

Among contemporary international relations, foreign diplomacy has no longer been limited to governmental activities, but involved many factors, government, congress, state leaders, political parties, economy, the military, culture and non-governmental organizations in a comprehensive structure to cover political, economic, cultural, scientific, technological and military fields. By governance or coalition, political parties have a big influence on internal administration and foreign diplomacy, thus influential to international politics. As a main body of international relations, a political party has a role vitally important in the country's general foreign diplomacy and international politics.

However, the inter-party relations are different from the state's foreign diplomacy. They have different nature and contents. The inter-party relations refer to those between or among the political parties in different countries. Because of the fact that a political party is often founded by a class or several social strata with similar views, inter-party contacts are more likely to reflect class or strata interests in different countries. Nevertheless, inter-party relations conducted by a party in power represent the interests of a nation. The state-to-state relations refer to those between two sovereign states, concerning politics, economy, culture, the military and security, with more contents than inter-party relations. To develop relations with another country, official representatives from each sovereign country are needed to follow diplomatic protocols and international rules, while inter-party contacts are different, not limited by diplomatic protocols, often conducted in more flexible forms. Inter-party contacts do not directly deal with affairs between two states, but by dialogues and exchanges of ideas to increase mutual understanding and cooperation, thus to facilitate the establishment and development of state relations.

As the governing party, the interests of the CPC are identical with those of the state. Although not to represent directly the PRC government when associating with governments of other countries, due to its position at the center of China's political system, its leading role and its identity as the policy maker for China's foreign diplomatic strategy, lines and principles, CPC's inter-party relations are also identical with China's state relations, being an important part in China's general foreign diplomacy, always taking the state interests as the supreme criteria, and serving the state-to-state relations.

The similarities and difference in CPC's handling of inter-party and state-to-state relations have experienced a developing process, marked with features of different periods of times. After the founding of the PRC, Chinese government, under the leadership of the CPC, refused to acknowledge the diplomatic relations established between Kuomintang and other countries. It began its foreign diplomacy from scratch. Because of the inter-party relations between the CPC and the Communist parties in the Soviet Union and other Eastern European countries, China quickly established state's diplomatic relations with them. The state relations then were actually the extension of the relations between governing Communist parties.

Given to this situation, during the early years of New China, Mao Zedong and other CPC leaders, though beginning to differentiate party-to-party and state-to-state relations theoretically, found it difficult to practice in reality due to the limits from the then international situation and the requirement of foreign diplomacy. As the result, China's relations with the Soviet Union and other socialist countries were no difference from the inter-party relations, or in another word, subject to the closeness of party-to-party relations. Party-to-party relations actually determined the state-to-state ones.

After China entering the reform and opening-up era, and after summarizing the experience and lessons out of the inter-party activities, and their relations with the state-to-state contacts with socialist countries, Deng Xiaoping advanced the thinking and theory for correctly handling the difference between two kinds of relations. The basic idea is the following: differentiate inter-party and state-to-state relations, the former can not replace or override the latter, or to interfere with the normal advance of state relations; inter-party relations should coordinate with the general objective of the state foreign diplomacy, should be able to serve the interests of the state; both inter-party and state-to-state relations have something in common: to serve China's reform and opening-up and socialist modern construction, centralizing on the theme of peace and development; inter-party contacts should be more flexible in form, wider in contents, and to play a bigger role in facilitating the establishment and development of the foreign relations of the state.

CPC top leaders set great store by party-to-party relations 

All generations of the CPC leading group have laid great store by international inter-party relations. All of them have given direct leadership, vigorous support and personal involvement. They are the main body of the inter-party contacts.

Old-generation leaders, Mao Zedong, Liu Shaoqi, Zhou Enlai and Zhu De, attached much importance to the party's foreign relations, through which they won much support from the international society. Through their practices, the party accumulated much experience, which laid a solid foundation for inter-party relation theory and thinking. They met a large number of foreign party leaders or groups, explaining to them CPC's principles of independence and equality for the relations, and CPC's firm opposition against big-party chauvinism that appeared in the international Communist movements.

By incomplete statistics, from the founding of the PRC until Mao Zedong passed away in September 1976, during the 27 years, he met foreign guests at CPC's or Chinese governmental invitations for 700 times, over 3000 people in total, from over 100 countries in five continents. Zhou Enlai was one of the pioneers and founders of CPC's inter-party work. From the general objective of China's foreign diplomacy, also from a broad perspective of over-all situation, he coordinated and made many arrangements. Many times, he personally led CPC senior delegations to visit Asian and European countries. He met many foreign party leaders coming to China. His devotion to CPC's inter-party relations lasted throughout his life.

The second-generation of the CPC leading group, with Deng Xiaoping as the core, opened up a brand new situation for the party's international relations. Deng Xiaoping, for a long time, was in charge of this work. Many times, he led CPC delegations visiting foreign countries or attending the congresses held by other Communist or workers' parties. He experienced many significant events in international Communist movements. He was very experienced in this field. On the basis of historical experience and lessons from the international Communist movements, following the historical trend, and by an accurate judgment of the situation, Deng Xiaoping decisively adjusted the old principles for CPC's inter-party relation work. He advanced new thinking, principles and theory. With them, CPC's inter-party relation work entered a new, fast developing period.

The third generation of CPC leading group, with Jiang Zemin as the core, was also very attentive to the party's inter-party relation work. Out of the actual situation after the Cold War, and the situation of political parties in other countries, they sober-mindedly observed and dealt properly with changes, continuously studied new happenings and solved new problems. They inherited, enriched and developed Deng Xiaoping's thinking about party-to-party relations. CPC's inter-party relation work, successfully withstanding severe tests from abrupt international changes, began to develop even faster.

In this new century, the Party Central Committee, with Hu Jintao as the General Secretary, has given instructions on or been directly involved in many significant inter-party contacts. Many times they have led delegations on foreign visits or received important foreign visitors. The repeated instructions they gave showed their great care.

Direct dialogues between the CPC and foreign party top leaders on significant issues like state relations, world structure, peace and development of mankind, have facilitated mutual understanding and friendship. These dialogues and exchanges of ideas are significant to the development of CPC's international relation work.


Source: International Relations of the Communist Party of China, edited by Zhong Lianyan, Beijing: China Intercontinental Press, 2007.10