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To Understand China and the Communist Party of China Through the 19th CPC National Congress

To Understand China and the Communist Party of China Through the 19th CPC National Congress

--Ambassador Lu Shaye Gives Keynote Speech to the Reception of the Senior Class of the Canada School of Public Service in the Chinese Embassy in Ottawa
April 3, 2018

Ladies and gentlemen,

Dear friends:

Good evening. First of all I would like to extend my warm welcome to the Canada School of Public Service for once again organizing the senior class of Canadian federal government to visit the Chinese Embassy. Each member of this class assumes important responsibilities in the Canadian government, and your interest in learning more about China is a big rewarding thing for China-Canada relations. I am willing to establish good working relations with you to jointly promote greater development of China-Canada cooperation in all fields.

Last October, the Communist Party of China (CPC) successfully convened the 19th CPC National Congress, which is a big event that has a far-reaching impact on China and the world at large. Today I would like to take this opportunity to brief you on the 19th CPC National Congress and the development and changes in China over the past 5 years. I hope that it would enhance your understanding of China and the CPC.

Part 1. On the 19th CPC National Congress

The 19th CPC National Congress held in Beijing last October is a major landmark event for the CPC to lead the Chinese people to open up a new journey of building a modern socialist country in an all-round way. At this Congress, General Secretary Xi Jinping delivered an important report and the new central leadership was elected. General Secretary Xi Jinping’s report profoundly answers a series of major theoretical and practical questions of how to persist in and develop socialism with Chinese characteristics in a new era, and formulates strategic deployment for advancing the work of the Party and the country in all aspects. It serves as a political declaration and action guideline that will guide China’s development for quite a long period in the future.

First, the report has put forward that socialism with Chinese characteristics has entered a new era. This is an important conclusion which determines the new historic juncture and charts the course for China’s development. After 40 years of reform and opening-up, tremendous progress has been made in the development of various fields in China’s society. The basic needs for over a billion people has been met and a moderately prosperous society in all respects will soon be fully established. The Chinese people now not only place higher demands on material and cultural life, but also have increasing demands on democracy, rule of law, fairness, justice, security and better environment. The principal contradiction facing current Chinese society has evolved into the contradiction between the people’s ever-growing needs for a better life and the unbalanced and inadequate development.

Building on continued efforts to sustain development, we must devote great energy to addressing development’s imbalances and inadequacies, and push hard to improve the quality and efficiency of development. With those work done, we will be better placed to meet the ever-growing economic, political, cultural, social, and ecological needs of our people, and to promote well-rounded human development and social progress. It also shows that China still has a long way to go in its development. China’s international status as the world’s largest developing country has not changed, and China will long remain in the primary stage of socialism.

Second, the report has established the new thought for guiding China’s development--Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era. The Thought profoundly answers to a series of fundamental issues like the overarching objectives, tasks, plan, and strategy for upholding and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era; like the direction, model, and driving force of development, and the strategic steps, external conditions, and political guarantees. The Thought establishes major principles in various fields including internal affairs, diplomacy, national defense, party governance, state administration, and military directing. The Thought is a system of scientific and comprehensive theory, and serves as a guiding philosophy that the CPC will adhere to in future for a long time.

Third, the report has set new goals for China’s development. It has defined the timetable and roadmap for China’s development from now to the middle of this century. In 2020, by the time the Chinese Communist Party marks its centenary, China will complete the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects. Then the report has drawn up a two-stage development plan for the period from 2020 to the middle of this century, that is to say from 2020 to 2035, China will basically realize socialist modernization, and from 2035 to the middle of this century, by the time we celebrate the centenary of the People’s Republic of China, China will become a great modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious and beautiful.

The plan indicates that China’s original second centenary goal of basically achieving modernization, set by 18th CPC National Congress, will be reached by 2035, 15 years ahead of schedule. Then China will use another 15 years to become a great modern country with higher quality and standard. This is a very grand goal. The development of China over the past few decades, especially the rapid development of these five years since the 18th CPC National Congress, has exceeded the expectations of many people, which provides important basis and sufficient confidence for setting the new goals. We firmly believe that with great efforts, these new goals will be realized as scheduled.

Fourth, the report has made new deployments for the development across all fields. The report has made deployments and brought up many requirements in economic, political, cultural, social and ecological civilization constructions as well as military construction, national reunification, diplomacy, party building and so on. It has also put forward several new major development strategies such as the rural revitalization strategy and the coordinated regional development strategy. These are the concrete measures to achieve the two centenary goals.

As for China’s diplomacy, the report notes that the major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics is to promote the building of a new type of international relations and the building of a community with a shared future for mankind. This is the overall goal pursued by China’s diplomacy in the new era, namely, the “two buildings”. This is also the general direction toward which we hope to work together with all other nations. The connotation of the new type of international relations refers to mutual respect, fairness and justice, and win-win cooperation, with the purpose of rejecting erstwhile law of jungle under which the weak is bullied by the strong and establishing an international order that advocates equality among all countries, big or small. A community with a shared future for mankind is to build an open, inclusive, clean and beautiful world that enjoys long-lasting peace, universal security and common prosperity. The “two buildings” transcend the differences among countries, political parties and social systems, reflect the general expectations of most countries, and are in line with the common interests of the international community.

At the same time, the report has also made detailed plans on strengthening CPC’s self-construction, punishing corruption and other aspects, which will maintain the advancement and purity of the CPC. This again shows that the CPC is a political party that is very good at planning and better at implementing the planning. We have the advantage of pooling strength and resources to accomplish major events. All goals we set are solemn commitments to the Chinese people and we must realize them.

Part 2. On China’s historical achievements in economic and social development in the past five years

Since the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012, against the backdrop of the external environment with sluggish global economic recovery, frequent regional conflicts and turbulence, and intensified global problems, and facing the critical period of China’s economic transition, which is also called the “new normal”, the CPC has led the people nationwide to wrestle with the difficulties, forge ahead and make progress. We have solved many tough problems that were long on the agenda but never resolved, and accomplished many things that were wanted but never got done. As a result, China has scored historic achievements in economic and social development.

First, China’s economic construction has reached a new level. China establishes and implements the development concept of innovation, coordination, green, openness, and sharing, and changes the mode of development. As a result, the economy maintains medium-high growth, and its quality and efficiency continue to improve. In the past 5 years, the average growth rate of the Chinese economy has reached 7.2%, which is higher than the average growth rate of 2.6% in the world and 4% in the developing economies and ranks top among major countries in the world. China’s GDP has grown from 54 trillion renminbi in 2013 to 82 trillion renminbi (about 13 trillion US dollars) in 2017, ranking second in the world.

In the meanwhile, China’s economic structure has been continuously optimized. Emerging industries such as the digital economy are booming, and infrastructure construction has been accelerated. The coordination of regional development has been strengthened. The development strategies including the “Belt and Road” initiative, the Strategy of Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Coordinated Development, the Strategy of Yangtze River Economic Zone have achieved remarkable results, forming a new pattern of regional development featuring all-round connectivity.

The average contribution rate of China to world economic growth has continuously exceeded 30%, which is more than the total contribution of the United States, European Union and Japan. China has become the source for the world economic growth and the anchor for world economic stability.

Second, major breakthroughs have been made in deepening reform in an all-round way. Deepening reform in an all-round way is the major strategic deployment implemented by China since the 18th CPC National Congress. Its purpose is to resolutely break down the drawbacks of various institutional mechanisms, promote the modernization of the state governing system and governance capacity, further liberate and develop social productivity, emancipate and enhance social vitality, and promote the all-round and lasting development of China.

Over the past five years, we have introduced more than 1,500 reform initiatives, made breakthroughs in key sectors, and basically established the main framework for reform in major areas. For example, the supply-side structural reforms took substantive steps; in-depth implementation of addressing overcapacity, reducing inventory, deleveraging, lowering costs, and bolstering areas of weakness have achieved substantial results; the excess production capacity of steel and coal has dropped sharply; the short-board areas such as eco-environmental protection, service industry, and emerging industries have developed rapidly.

The administrative examination and approval items of the government have been drastically reduced. The reform of the commercial system has been deepened. The vitality of economic and social development has been continuously released. In 2017, the contribution rate of consumption to economic growth was 58.8%, making it the first driving force for the Chinese economy.

Third, high-level opening-up has achieved new results. In 2017, China’s import and export volume totaled about 4.4 trillion US dollars, increasing by 14.2% compared to the previous year, which secured us the position as both the largest exporter and the largest importer of global goods for the first time. The utilization of foreign capital and outbound investment continued to maintain rapid growth. From 2013 to 2017, the cumulative actual use of foreign capital was 627.8 billion US dollars, and the accumulated non-financial direct outbound investment was 611.6 billion US dollars.

The construction of free trade zones has been accelerated. 11 free trade pilot zones including those of Shanghai, Guangdong, and Tianjin as well as 12 cross-border e-commerce comprehensive pilot zones have been set up. We will host the first China International Import Expo in Shanghai this November so as to build a platform for countries worldwide to export goods to China.

Fourth, our people have a stronger sense of gain and happiness. Since the 18th CPC National Congress, China has continued to implement the people-centered philosophy of development and carried out a large number of measures to benefit the people.

Our employment conditions continued to improve, with an average of more than 13 million new jobs created in cities annually. We have made decisive progress in the fight against poverty, as more than 60 million people have been steadily lifted out of poverty and the poverty rate has dropped from 10.2% to 3.1%. A social security system covering both urban and rural residents has been basically established, and people’s health and medical standards have been greatly heightened.

The construction of ecological civilization has made remarkable headway, delivering a more livable and beautiful environment for people. China’s high-speed railway mileage reached 25,000 kilometers, accounting for 60% of the world and playing a major role in China’s unbelievable 3 billion passengers transport during the Spring Festival period, as its great speed makes people feel their remote hometown are not that far anymore.

With the rapid development of the Internet in China, the number of netizens surpassed 750 million, ranking first in the world. The network has continuously integrated into every part of people’s lives and turned China into the world’s largest express market. The scale of online shopping in China is unparalleled, exceeding the sum of the United States, the United Kingdom and Japan.

Fifth, great progress has been made in improving conduct, building integrity and combating corruption within the Party. Since the 18th CPC National Congress, with unprecedented intensity and determination, the CPC has cracked down on corruption crimes. The actions to “take out tigers”, “swat flies” and “hunt down foxes” have grabbed great attention both at home and abroad and won the high recognition from the Chinese people.

There have been historic changes in constructing the Party through combating corruption. It has fundamentally reversed the state of weakening leadership of the Party, the lack of Party construction and the loosening of strict self-governance. It has thus corrected the course for the Party and the country. The anti-corruption campaign has built into a crushing tide, and is being consolidated and developed.

Part 3. Why the CPC can make these achievements?

China is a socialist country led by the CPC, which is different from Canada’s political system. Over the past several decades, China has gone through the course of development that took developed countries for centuries. The key to all these achievements lies in the leadership of the CPC. The world is full of interest in and curiosity about the reasons why the CPC can make these achievements. I am here to share with you my comprehensions.

(1)The CPC is a political party that remains true to its original aspiration and keeps its mission firmly in mind.

General Secretary Xi Jinping’s report clearly pointed out that the original aspiration and mission of Chinese Communists are to seek happiness for the Chinese people and the rejuvenation for the Chinese nation.

People who are familiar with the history of modern China all know that after the Opium War in 1840, China was plunged into the darkness of domestic turmoil and foreign aggression. The Chinese people, ravaged by wars and turbulences, saw their homeland torn apart and lived in poverty and despair. Countless persons with lofty ideals tried every possible means to seek the nation’s salvation, but failed to change the nature of society in old China and the plight of the Chinese people.

Whoever can lead the Chinese people to gain national independence and liberation and realize the prosperity of the country and the happiness of the people can win the support of the people. It turns out that it was the CPC that led the Chinese people through arduous struggles, founded the People’s Republic of China, established socialist system, and completely reversed the fate of China and the Chinese people. It was also under the leadership of the CPC that China has conducted its reform and opening-up, blazed the path of building socialism with Chinese characteristics and gained brilliant historical achievements today.

For more than 90 years, whether in times of weakness or strength, whether in times of adversity or smooth sailing, the Chinese Communist Party has never forgotten its founding mission, nor wavered in its pursuit for the happiness of its people and the rejuvenation of China. In 1921, when the CPC was founded, there were only over 50 party members. Today, the CPC is the largest political party in the world with 89 million members. It is a party that always regards the aspirations of the people to live a better life as the focus of its efforts. This is the fundamental reason why the CPC has won long-term support from the Chinese people.

(2)The CPC is a political party that is never hardened to change or inactive.

To accomplish its historical mission, the CPC has always put forward theories, guidelines and policies that guide China’s revolution, construction and reform based on the trend of the times and the changes in the domestic and international environment, and resolutely broken the institutional mechanisms and ideological obstacles that hinder our country and nation’s reform and development. There is no end to practice, to seek truth, or to make theoretical innovation.

With this belief, the CPC persists in emancipating the mind, seeking truth from facts, keeping pace with the times, and searching high and low with unbending will, so that it can always maintain the vitality and creativity either in ideology or in actions. Even if it has achieved tremendous development outcomes that are rare in human history, the CPC has never dared to slack off. On the eve of the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, Chairman Mao Zedong said: “To win countrywide victory is only the first step in a long march of ten thousand miles.” He asked the entire Party to keep humble and prudent, guard against an arrogant and rash work style, and preserve the style of plain living and hard struggle.

After the 19th CPC National Congress, General Secretary Xi Jinping emphasized to all the newly-appointed party leaders at all levels that they must never be proud of victory, never allow themselves to slacken because of achievements and never retreat in the face of difficulties. As you see, these are the attributes of the CPC.

(3)The CPC is a political party that has the courage to revolutionize itself and improve itself.

There is a saying in China that “it takes a good blacksmith to make steel.” To be the governing party always at the forefront of the times and supported by the people, the CPC must maintain its advanced nature and purity and continuously improve its ability of self-purification, self-improvement, self-renovation and self-enhancement.

The CPC has its own set of systems where the most outstanding persons will be picked up from billions of the Chinese people to govern the country through the strictest selection and election procedures. Most of the Chinese leaders, including General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee and President of State Xi Jinping, have had the experience of being secretary of the provincial party committee or provincial governor, which means that they have governed an area of at least tens of millions of people before becoming members of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee.

The Party School of the CPC Central Committee, Chinese Academy of Governance and a number of cadre training institutes are established to ensure that leading cadres in key positions can regularly carry out various forms of training so as to enhance their governance capacity.

In the meantime, the CPC attaches great importance to self-construction. In particular, since the 18th CPC National Congress, it has run itself with strict discipline, adopted a zero-tolerance approach in combating corruption, strengthened supervision and discipline accountability, ensured inner-party political activities are carried out in earnest and purified political ecosystem, which won greater trust from the people. It is because of its courage in self-revolution that the CPC can maintain good health and strong vitality.

(4)The CPC is a political party that puts people first and exercises governance for the people.

It is the traditional Chinese wisdom of governance that people are the foundation of a state. The foundation of the long-term governance of the CPC is that it always represents the fundamental interests of the overwhelming majority of the people rather than the specific interests of any interest group. Chairman Mao Zedong summarized the purpose of the CPC as “serve the people wholeheartedly.” General Secretary Xi Jinping said that the aspiration of the people for a better life is what we are working for. We have always adhered to the people-centered concept of development, and pursued a development for the people, by the people and to the benefit of the people. On the basis of economic development, we have continuously enhanced people’s sense of gain.

As a governing party, the CPC keeps pace with the times to unite and absorb advanced talents from all walks of life to join the Party so as to better build consensus and seek to represent the broadest interests of all people in the country. Through this way the party’s governing foundation has been continuously consolidated and expanded.

There are two conceptions in Chinese governance philosophy: Minyi and Minxin. Minyi generally refers to public opinion, which is the thinking expressed by the people; Minxin refers to the public support, which is the aspiration of the people. Public opinion is important, but the public support is even more important. The CPC not only set store by the public opinion to understand the people’s feelings but also attaches importance to win the public support, always trying to understand what the people really want, and makes it the basis for formulating its own national governance guidelines and policies.

(5)The CPC is a political party with global view and cosmopolitan passion.

A just cause should be pursued for the common good. One should help others to succeed while seeking his own success. These are genes of Chinese culture, from which the CPC descends. In the report to the 19th CPC National Congress, General Secretary Xi Jinping said that the CPC strives for the well-being of the Chinese people and the progressive course of mankind. To make new and greater contributions for mankind is our Party’s abiding mission. This means that we not only think about the happiness of the Chinese people but also that of the peoples across the world.

Under the leadership of the CPC, China will always stay on the path of peaceful development and remain a constructor of world peace, contributor of global development, and defender of international order. No matter what stage of development it reaches, China will never seek hegemony or engage in expansion. All we are doing is sharing the development experience and opportunities with other countries in the world, and working with other countries to forge a new form of international relations featuring mutual respect, fairness, justice, and win-win cooperation, and to build an open, inclusive, clean and beautiful world that enjoys lasting peace, universal security, and common prosperity.

The above are the relevant situations and views I want to share with you. Thank you.

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