In the British Museum in London, Thomas Moore’s Utopia, published in 1516, rests quietly in a showcase. At the same time, the heavy footprints of a great man have left their traces on the floor of the museum’s reading room. These are the footprints of Karl Marx, who dedicated his life to the cause of human emancipation and transformed socialism from reflections on utopia to a science, thus exerting a profound and far-reaching influence on the world and China in particular.
In Beijing, China, in the Great Hall of the People, General Secretary Xi Jinping declared the following to the world during the celebration of the 95th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in 2016: the great victory achieved by the Chinese people under the leadership of the CCP has enabled the 500-year-old socialist proposition to successfully forge a correct path with a high degree of reality and feasibility for the most populous country in the world and let scientific socialism shine with new vigor in the 21st century.
Through hundreds of years of turbulence, the cause once in doubt is now full of hope. Under the guidance of scientific truth and lofty ideals, great historical changes have taken place in China. We are resolute as never before. Socialism has not failed China! In the tenacious struggle led by the CCP, the light of faith is shining, and the great cause is full of youth. We are extremely proud. China has not failed socialism!
When entering Qu Qiubai Memorial Hall in Changzhou, Jiangsu Province, the oath “I always want to make a bright road for everyone” immediately catches the eye.
The CCP, a brave and fearless pathfinder that has never turned back, has faced various trials and difficulties. With the determination of the foolish man who believes he can move mountains and the dedication of the bird who believes he can fill in the sea with pebbles and twigs, it led the Chinese people on the steep and magnificent, arduous and broad Chinese road. The path of socialism with Chinese characteristics is the fundamental achievement of the Party and the people’s 100 years of struggle, creation, and accumulation. It is a broad thoroughfare to lead China’s progress, enhance the people’s well-being, and realize our national rejuvenation.
This is a road of struggle to reverse the destiny of the nation and write a miracle on earth in the torrent of history. In the hesitation and difficulties when confronting “mountains and rivers that block the way forward”, Marxism has given China “a path on which to advance.” Since then, the CCP has carried out the great practice of using the “arrow” of Marxism to shoot the “target” of China. In order to overthrow the “three mountains,” the Party led the people to create a revolutionary path of encircling the cities from the countryside and seizing power by armed force, thereby establishing a New China. In order to change the situation of economic poverty and cultural blankness, we established a brand-new socialist system and formed an independent and relatively complete industrial system and national economic system. On the basis of summarizing what we did right and wrong in this experience, the great voyage of reform and opening up was launched, greatly liberating and developing our productive forces. In the face of the interwoven turbulence of national rejuvenation and world changes, we strengthened our ideals and beliefs, maintained strategic determination, focused on upholding and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics, improved the overall layout, and established strategic layouts. This led the Chinese nation to usher in a great leap from standing up to becoming rich and strong.
This is our original path that puts the people in the supreme position and wins the hearts, obeys the wishes, and benefits the people. “The people are the county. The Communist Party fights for the country and guards the country. We guard the hearts of the people so that the people can live a good life.” For the benefit and well-being of the people, generation after generation of Communists have poured their youth and life, blood and sweat on this beautiful land. “There can be no less on the road to a well-off society”! To allow the sun of happiness to shine in every corner of China, General Secretary Xi Jinping led the whole Party and the country to fight poverty. 255,000 village work teams advanced to the front line, nearly 2 million township and town cadres and millions of village cadres worked tirelessly. In eight years, 98.99 million rural poor people have been lifted out of poverty, 832 poor counties have achieved poverty elimination targets, and 128,000 poor villages have been removed from the list [of poor villages]. This is the great glory of the Party, the people, and the nation. It is a full manifestation of the superiority of China’s socialist system and marks the Chinese nation’s great step towards common prosperity.
This is an innovative path to explore and construct modernization in economically and culturally backward countries. Modernization has been a historical trend of the world since the modern era and it also holds the expectations of Marxist pioneers for an ideal society. China, which had missed the opportunity of the industrial revolution, had fallen in standing from a “heavenly kingdom” to mere “fish and meat” ready for the slaughter. Yan Fu’s On the Origin of Strength and In Refutation of Han Yu, Guo Songtao’s Shixi Jicheng (an account of his travels in the West), and Sun Yat-sen’s General Plan for the Founding of a Country all bear witness to the hope and disappointment of modernization. Only when the CCP stepped onto the stage of history, eradicated the bane of imperialism and feudalism, and achieved a thorough transformation of the economic foundation and superstructure could it provide the fundamental prerequisite for China’s modernization. From the goal of the “Four Modernizations” to the “Three Steps” strategy, from building a well-off society to building a modernized superpower… The Party led the people not only to complete in decades the industrialization process that took developed countries hundreds of years, but also explored and forged a path of a Chinese-style modernization in which material civilization and spiritual civilization are coordinated, all people are prosperous, man and nature coexist harmoniously, and the path of peaceful development is followed, providing a new modernization option for the development of human society.
This is a forging road of always maintaining the revolutionary spirit and leading great social revolutions through the Party’s self-revolution. Lenin pointed out: “In its struggle for power the proletariat has no other weapon but organization.” To unite China, which was once “a tray of loose sand” (一盘散沙, in a state of disunity) we must rely on a disciplined Marxist party with ideals. To fight for grand goals and complete arduous tasks, we must maintain the Party’s advanced nature and purity, creativity, and combat effectiveness. The Gutian Conference, the Zunyi Conference, the Yan’an Rectification Movement, the “Two Musts”, great projects, and new great projects… At every critical juncture, the Party leads the way forward, shoulders its historical responsibility, upholds the truth, corrects mistakes, and leads the people over one mountain after another, winning one victory after another. Since the 18th Party Congress, the Party Central Committee, with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, has upheld the Party’s leadership in all work, has promoted comprehensive and strict governance of the Party with the spirit of self-revolution, and has forged and led new great struggles through the revolutionary nature of the Party. “Iron must be strong by itself.” With determination and courage, the communists in the new era have consolidated the foundation of permanent undertakings and answered the question of the century: how can we jump out of the “progression of historical cycles” (历史周期率, lit. historical cycle rate).
In March 2021, Gennady Zyuganov, Chairman of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, wrote an article in Pravda: “The experience of the CCP proves that the failure of socialism at the end of the 20th century was not the ‘failure of the utopian socialist project’ as many anti-communists like to say… Under the leadership of the CCP, the Chinese people are capable of meeting all challenges of the times and advancing along the correct path of building socialism with Chinese characteristics for a new era.”
With ironclad facts, China has declared: history has not and will not end, socialism is full of vitality and the future is limitless! The road of socialism with Chinese characteristics is not only correct and feasible, but it is bound to lead to a brighter future!
Marxism brought the fire of truth back into the world. However, it did not end the truth, but opened the title page of the book of truth. China has written its own immortal chapter in the great work of scientific socialism with vivid and weighty theoretical innovation and ideological creation.
– Persevere: China has never deviated from the basic principles of scientific socialism
Marx and Engels made scientific predictions and assumptions about the development process, development direction, and general characteristics of the socialist society of the future. For example, organizing production on the basis of public ownership of the means of production and meeting the needs of all members of society is the fundamental goal of socialist production; conducting planned guidance and adjustment of social production and implementing the principle of distribution according to work with an equal amount of labor resulting in an equal amount of products; the transformation and use of nature in accordance with natural law… These constitute the basic principles of scientific socialism.
Throughout the centuries, whether weak or strong, whether at a peak or when encountering setbacks, the CCP has never wavered in its adherence to the basic principles of scientific socialism. We have adhered to the leadership of the Party; adhered to the state system of the people’s democratic dictatorship and the political system of the people’s congress; adhered to the socialist principle of distribution that honors labor and performs distribution according to work; adhered putting the value of people in the first place and constantly promoting the all-round development of people and the all-round progress of society… All of these positions embody the basic principles of scientific socialism under the new historical conditions, continuing the bloodline of socialism.
– Development: China continues to promote the Sinicization of Marxism
“Marx’s overall worldview is not a doctrine, but a method. It provides not a ready-made dogma, but a starting point for further research and a method for such research.” Only by developing Marxism can we uphold Marxism. This is the dialectics of history.
Over a century of trials and hardships, the CCP has always held high the banner of truth, carried out theoretical innovation, we have insisted on the unity of emancipating the mind and seeking truth from facts and of cultivating the unity and consolidating the foundation while maintaining integrity and innovation, we have continuously promoted the integration of the basic principles of Marxism with China’s reality. In this way, we have produced major theoretical innovations such as Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory, the Important Thought of the “Three Represents”, and the Scientific Outlook on Development, continuously enriched and developed Sinicized Marxism, and used scientific theories that keep pace with the times to answer the historical and current questions of “where is China going and where is socialism going”. These ideological achievements deeply rooted in the land of China have profoundly affected the future and destiny of the country and the nation and have greatly changed the spiritual outlook of the Chinese people. The towering socialist trees have deep roots in the global East.
– Navigation: contemporary Chinese Marxism and 21st Century Marxism lead China and influence the world
“Philosophy regards the proletariat as its material weapon. Likewise, the proletariat regards philosophy as its spiritual weapon.” From the near shore of reality to the far shore of dreams, from the kingdom of necessity to the kingdom of freedom, we must rely on scientific theories that reveal objective laws, provide insight into historical trends, and respond to the call of the times.
The river has been rushing on for a hundred years. In the critical period of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, in the current time of turbulent change across the world, the Chinese Communists rely on historical experience, ideological persistence, and pioneering courage. We focus closely on what kind of socialism with Chinese characteristics to uphold and develop in the new era and how to uphold and develop socialism with Chinese characteristics. We promote a new revolution in practice and a new long march of ideas. This bears fruit that is full of the spirit of China and the essence of the times—Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era.
“The leadership of the CCP is the defining feature of socialism with Chinese characteristics,” “Uphold the people-centered development ideology,” “Promote even more obvious, substantive progress towards common prosperity,” “Give full rein to the decisive role of the market in the allocation of resources and better utilize the government’s role,” “Adhere to the concept of innovation-based, coordinated, green, open and shared development,” “Lucid waters and lush mountains are precious assets,” “Promote the building a community of common destiny for mankind”… These original thoughts, viewpoints, and judgments have made original contributions in line with the times to Marxism and opened up a new realm of socialism with Chinese characteristics.
In the new era, the Chinese Communists have endowed Marxism with distinctive Chinese characteristics, national characteristics, and the characteristics of the times. People’s understanding of the laws of the Communist Party’s governance, the laws of socialist construction, and the laws of the development of human society has reached a new historical height. This has allowed scientific socialism to release the light of truth with powerful persuasiveness and appeal!
From the “Utopia” in More’s work to the “The City of the Sun” of Tommaso Campanella, from The Code of Nature written painstakingly by Étienne-Gabriel Morelly to the “New Harmony Community” personally practiced by David Dale Owen, from the Paris Commune that only existed for 72 days, to the Soviet Union, the first socialist country in the world, mankind has never stopped exploring socialist societies and institutional forms. China’s institutional exploration and practice on the road of socialism have allowed us to achieve the “two miracles” of rapid economic development and long-term social stability.
Once the CCP was founded, it pursued the establishment of a system that embodied the principles of socialism. Whether the Mutual Aid and Cooperative Movement or the workers, peasants, and soldiers congress system, whether the “Three-Thirds System” or the “Bean Voting Method” (豆选法), these early practices in the revolutionary base areas all contained socialist institutional factors and values. They allowed us to accumulate valuable experience for the establishment of a new type of national system.
After the founding of New China, we promptly transformed our successful practical experience into institutional results. As a result, our national system not only reflects the basic principles of scientific socialism, but also conforms to China’s special national conditions. A series of systems have been gradually established and improved, such as the socialist public ownership system, the system of people’s congresses, the system of multi-party cooperation and political consultation under the leadership of the CCP, and the system of regional ethnic autonomy.
General Secretary Xi Jinping profoundly pointed out: “The question of institutions is which are more fundamental, global, stable, and long-term.” “Only a system that has roots in the country’s soil and draws ample nutrients will be the most reliable and effective.”
Entering the new era, we must focus on upholding and improving the socialist system with Chinese characteristics and advancing the modernization of the national governance system and governance capacity. On the basis of practical exploration, we must strengthen top-level design and strategic arrangements and carry out “construction drawings” for Party and state institution-building in a grand manner. From the Party’s leadership, the people’s congress, the upholding of the guiding position of Marxism in the ideological field, and the Party’s absolute leadership over the people’s army, and other fundamental institutions, to the basic socialist economic system and basic political system, and on to important systems that are innovative and supportive in different fields, the socialist system with Chinese characteristics has a clear hierarchy and a complete system and its institutions are more mature and more standardized. More and more, we can see huge institutional efficiencies in national governance.
Crisis is the touchstone of institutions. Facing the Covid-19 epidemic unprecedented in a century, the Party has led the people to block the chain of transmission of the disease at all costs and save lives at all costs. We achieved decisive results in the defense of Wuhan and Hubei in only three months and developed safe and effective vaccines at maximum speed. Under immense pressure, we have ensured economic development and social stability and provided strong support for countries around the world to fight the epidemic. Behind China’s speed and Chinese miracle are the socialist philosophy of value that puts people first and life first, the superiority of the system of helping each other in the same boat and concentrating efforts to do great things, and the spirit of internationalism that cares about the safety and well-being of all people of the world!
German politician Egon Krenz gave the following evaluation: China’s approach to this global crisis has demonstrated the institutional advantages of socialism. The old prescriptions of the capitalist world are no longer popular, and the center of gravity is shifting. The Argentine scholar Marcelo Rodríguez wrote: this crisis once again highlighted the dispute between two ideologies. One is capitalism, which commercializes all social relations and advocates consumerism, individualism, exploitation, and social Darwinism. The other is socialism, which advocates health, education, culture, and other commodities not tradable on the market, but which are the rights of the people.
Under the socialist system with Chinese characteristics, the Chinese people enjoy unprecedented democracy, freedom, and human rights and experience an unprecedented sense of gain, sense of happiness, and sense of security. The institutions and governance system of China are great achievements made by the Party and people through untold hardships and at great cost. They have erected a monument in the history of the development of human institutional civilization and political civilization!
“Cultural self-confidence is a more basic, deeper, and more lasting force in the development of a country and a nation.” Originating from the long-standing and excellent traditional culture of China, forged in the revolutionary culture and advanced socialist culture created by the people under the leadership of the Party, and rooted in the great practice of socialism with Chinese characteristics… After a hundred years, the socialist culture with Chinese characteristics has been integrated into the spiritual blood of the CCP, shaping the spiritual character of hundreds of millions of Chinese people every moment.
The long heritage of civilization is in her genes. On March 22 this year, General Secretary Xi Jinping, on an inspection in Fujian, came to Zhu Xi Garden and earnestly pointed out: “If there were no five thousand years of Chinese civilization, where would we find any Chinese characteristics? If it were not for Chinese characteristics, how could there be such a road as socialism with Chinese characteristics on which we have achieved so much today?” Our 5,000-year-old civilization has been passed down and continued to flourish, which has given our Party indomitable tenacity and perseverance. The unique character and endowments of Chinese culture have endowed our Party with the precious character of being simple, vigorous, hard-working, and willing to struggle. The ancient Chinese pursuit of great harmony in the world gave our Party the breadth of mind to care for the common people and view all the world as one people. Marxism, by condensing the essence of human thought, activated the ancient Chinese civilization. China is the only great civilization in history that has never been interrupted, but Marxism has injected rich nutrients and profound impetus into the development of China.
The mighty and unyielding revolutionary spirit is her true color. In the one hundred years of the Party’s leadership of the people in the process of breaking new ground, changing the world, and shaking heaven and earth, not only has it set down great achievements that will shine through the annals of history, but it has also forged a great spirit that will shine on long into the future. Shikumen on Xingye Road in Shanghai, Red Boat on Nanhu Lake in Jiaxing, Octagonal Tower on the foot of Jinggang Mountain, Luding Bridge on Long March Road, Baota Mountain in Yan’an, Tiananmen Square in Beijing, the first oil well in Daqing Oilfield, and the “Two Bombs, One Satellite” research bases in the depths of the Gobi desert, the Lotus Mountain in Shenzhen, the flood-resistant monument on the Jingjiang embankment, the Wenchuan New City reconstructed after the earthquake, and the new appearance of the Shibadong Village in Xiangxi… These have long been not only well-known geographical markers at home and abroad, but have also become the spiritual totems of the Chinese nation showing we will refuse to be left behind and struggle hard. Whenever storms strike, and whenever challenges come, the Chinese people strengthen their confidence and muster their courage on the spiritual journey and gather together as a mighty power of united efforts and indomitable progress.
Socialism must increase both material productivity and spiritual productivity. An important goal of realizing modernization is the building of China into a socialist cultural superpower. In the new era of China, the Party’s innovative theories are deeply rooted in the hearts of the people, the core socialist values have been widely promoted, the reform of the cultural system has been steadily advanced, cultural undertakings and industries are flourishing, and the flowers of civilization are blooming everywhere. My People, My Country, My People, My Homeland, and other movies convey the sentiments of home and country, TV dramas such as Awakening Age, Going Across the Yalu River, and Minning Town have moved the hearts of the people, and thematic works such as Never Forget Why You Started, God Bless China, Yimeng Mountain, and Ode to the Earth convey the melody of the times. There is also Ulan animal husbandry teams active on the frontier grassland, literary and artistic volunteer teams rooted in the factories and fields, and many Chinese works of art are leaving China and going out into the world… All of this constitutes an exciting concert of the times and a Chinese symphony that moves the world.
This is China where the people are prosperous, and this is China where the culture is flourishing and splendid. The socialist culture with Chinese characteristics has become the spiritual pillar on which China can stand among the nations of the world in the new era. It has become a civilizational treasure trove of the Chinese nation’s contributions to mankind!
Over five hundred years, humankind’s pursuit of socialism has been full of both flowers and thorns. For a hundred years, the Chinese people have been shining with glory and dreams in their pursuit of socialism and they are also full of struggle and sacrifice. The great CCP and the heroic Chinese people have never retreated and never wavered. History eloquently proves: China Has Not Failed Socialism!
Facing towards the future, China will surely make greater contributions to the progress of human civilization and the development of world socialism, and let this righteous and promising cause shine even more brightly!