The mission to build socialism with Chinese characteristics is a monumental undertaking that will take the country a long time to complete. The Communist Party of China (CPC) is the pace car of the undertaking and the only legitimate ruling party in China.
As China’s international influence continues to expand, the CPC National Congress, which occurs once every five years, has become not only an important event for the Party but a major event for all of China and even the world. Many issues discussed and major decisions made at the congress will affect China and the world at large.
For example, one issue is which path to take for the future. The CPC’s answer has remained consistent. As General Secretary Xi Jinping underscored in his report to the 19th CPC National Congress, “Socialism with Chinese characteristics has been the focus of all of the Party’s theory and practice since reform and opening up began.”
Another issue is which historic missions to undertake and which goals to achieve.
At the 16th National Congress, the CPC set the goal of building a high-level moderately prosperous society for the first two decades of this century, which will benefit over a billion people. At the 17th National Congress, the goal evolved into building the country into a moderately prosperous society in all respects.
At the 18th National Congress, the Party clearly defined its goal to complete its construction of China into a moderately prosperous society in all respects, bestowing new connotations and adding the Two Centenary Goals—to complete the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects by the centenary of the CPC (founded in 1921) and to build China into a modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, and harmonious by the centenary of the People’s Republic of China (founded in 1949). These timelines have laid a solid foundation for the Chinese Dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
Another issue is which guiding ideology should prevail and what kind of development strategy should be formulated. A party’s guiding ideology and strategic planning should move with the times. While conforming to the trends of the times, the CPC has been perpetually ready to make strategic deployments of resources in response to various situations and in favor of the people’s interests.
Above all, the most direct and important mission for the CPC National Congress is electing the leading body. Since the 18th National Congress, the CPC has managed to produce good results in governance thanks to the leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Xi Jinping at the core and its tendency to size up the situation, look far ahead and aim high.
Every pressing issue will receive brainstorming, decisions, deployment and response at the 19th CPC National Congress, based on the achievements and development in governance of the country since the 18th CPC National Congress.
From 2013 to 2016, China’s economy grew at a medium-high rate, with average annual GDP growth of 7.2 percent, which was much higher than the 2.6-percentaverage global growth and the 4-percent average growth of developing economies. In 2016, China’s GDP accounted for about 15 percent of the global total, 3 percentage points higher than that in 2012, ranking second in the world. China contributed an average of over 30 percent to the global economic growth, leading the world by contributing more growth than the United States, the euro zone and Japan combined.
The CPC has adhered to the people-centered philosophy of development with focus on strengthening the people’s sense of fulfillment.
Over the last five years, Chinese residents have seen annual income growth averaging 7.4 percent, faster than the country’s GDP growth. Campaigns of targeted poverty reduction have benefited 55.64 million people, and everyone will escape poverty by 2020. This puts China 10 years ahead of schedule in terms of the poverty alleviation goal on the sustainable development agenda set by the United Nations for 2030.
China has annually created over 13 million urban jobs over the past five years. Implementation of a policy to promote mass entrepreneurship and innovation has greatly injected vigor and vitality into people’s lives. The idea that lucid waters and lush mountains are invaluable assets has been a hit with the people. The implementation of the Beautiful China initiative has created a better environment for the people.
Over the past five years, China has witnessed progress by leaps and bounds, both economically and socially. Scientific and technological innovation has created new momentum for development. Major advances in science and technology include the successful launch of the quantum science satellite Mozi, the commissioning of the deep-sea manned submersible Jiaolong and the test flight of the C919 airliner, among many others.
A survey of young people in 20 countries showed that high-speed rail, online shopping, Alipay and shared bicycles are considered China’s “four great inventions” and have become modern Chinese calling cards in foreigners’ eyes.
Over the past five years, China’s Belt and Road Initiative has enhanced the new pattern of the economic globalization of the 21st Century, shifting from the country from a beneficiary and contributor to a leader of globalization, offering a lift to the whole world along with its advancement.
China has proposed a new type of international relations with win-win cooperation at the core, championed the development of a community with a shared future for mankind and contributed Chinese solutions for the global governance system.
Today, China stands at a new historic starting point for development. Construction of socialism with Chinese characteristics has entered a new stage of development, and the Chinese nation has achieved a tremendous transformation—it has stood up, grown rich, and become strong.
Shouldering this new historic mission, the 19th CPC National Congress should been fully equipped with ideas to engage in the “great struggle, great project, great cause, and great dream.”
In a series of speeches outlining new concepts, ideas and strategies in regards to governing the country, General Secretary Xi Jinping scientifically addressed concerns, major theories and realities, such as the fundamental question of how to realize the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, the responsibilities for the CPC, the governance path that is most suitable for China, and China’s relationship with the world.
When it comes to the new goals, the 19th CPC National Congress mapped out a plan to achieve the second centenary target of fully building China into a modern socialist country. The third year after the congress will see the completion of the first centenary goal—building China into a moderately prosperous society in all respects—as well as the launch of the second centenary goal.
The 19th CPC National Congress provided perfect answers for basic questions like which kind of socialist modernization would produce a strong China and how to make it happen.
In the new development orientation, other historic missions for the 19th CPC National Congress include to guide China in shouldering the responsibilities of a major country, actively participating in global governance, developing a community with a shared future for mankind, forging a new form of international relations featuring fairness, justice, and win-win cooperation, providing a plan based on its exploration of better social systems for human progress, and making greater contributions to the advancement of human civilization through the rejuvenation of Chinese civilization.
The author is a professor at the Party School of the CPC Central Committee.