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Speech at a Meeting Marking the 110th Anniversary of the Revolution of 1911


Xi Jinping delivered this speech to commemorate the 110th anniversary of the Revolution of 1911, known as the Xinhai Revolution, in which the Qing dynasty was overthrown and the Republic of China established.

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Comrades and Friends,


One hundred and ten years ago, Chinese revolutionaries represented by Dr. Sun Yat-sen stunned the world when they launched the Revolution of 1911. They brought down the Qing government, ended the absolute monarchy that had ruled China for thousands of years, and paved the way for the profound social changes that have taken place in modern China. This was a great and arduous exploration, undertaken by the Chinese people and Chinese progressives in a bid to achieve national independence and the people’s liberation.


This year marks the 110th anniversary of the Revolution of 1911 and the centenary of the Communist Party of China (CPC), and the Chinese people are striding with confidence toward the second centenary goal of building China into a great modern socialist country in all respects. On this special occasion, we gather here to commemorate the historic exploits of revolutionary pioneers like Dr. Sun Yat-sen, to emulate and carry forward their lofty spirit of working with unshakable resolve to revitalize China, and to inspire and rally the sons and daughters of the Chinese nation at home and abroad to work together to realize the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.


Comrades and Friends,


The Revolution of 1911, with its deep social and historical roots, was an inevitable product of the intensifying social conflicts and tenacious struggles of the Chinese people in modern China. Over more than 5,000 years of history, the great and ancient Chinese nation made indelible contributions to human civilization. But after the Opium War of 1840, Western powers came to act with impunity on Chinese lands, and feudal rulers were rendered weak and ineffectual. Gradually, China was reduced to a semi-colonial and semi-feudal society. With our country humiliated, our people subjected to great pain, and our civilization plunged into darkness, the Chinese people and nation suffered greater ravages than ever before. The heroic Chinese people, however, did not admit defeat. They kept fighting and exploring new ways to save the nation, and they demonstrated an unbending will and defiance in the face of brutality.


Since that time, national rejuvenation has been the greatest dream of the Chinese people.


Dr. Sun Yat-sen was a great national hero, a great patriot, and a great pioneer of China’s democratic revolution. He called out to “save our people from misery and prop up our tottering country without delay.” He held high the banner of struggle against feudal autocracy and put forward the political program based on the Three People’s Principles of nationalism, democracy, and people’s livelihood. And he was the first to call for “the revitalization of China.” Under his leadership and influence, large numbers of revolutionaries and countless dedicated patriots rallied under the banner of revitalizing China. They spread revolutionary ideas far and wide, unleashed the tide of progress, and launched a series of armed uprisings, generating an unstoppable wave of revolution.


On October 10, 1911, gunfire in Wuchang City sounded the start of a true national democratic revolution in modern China. The Revolution of 1911 helped to greatly liberate the thinking of the Chinese people, spread the ideas of democracy and republicanism, and opened the floodgates for progress in China. It shook the very foundations of reactionary rule and brought about the establishment of a republic on Chinese soil, the first of its kind in Asia. With tremendous power and profound influence, the Revolution of 1911 triggered a social transformation in China and led to the search for a path to national rejuvenation.


The historic contributions to the Chinese nation of Dr. Sun Yat-sen and other pioneers of the Revolution will never fade from the annals of history. Those who heroically fought and died in the Revolution will be revered and remembered by the Chinese people for all of time. The Revolution of 1911 will forever stand as a towering landmark on our nation’s journey toward rejuvenation.


Comrades and Friends,


History spirals upward, advancing in waves of progress. Constrained by the historical and social conditions of the time, and lacking the right path and leading force to determine the future of the country, the Revolution of 1911 could not change the semi-colonial and semi-feudal nature of Chinese society; it could not alter the bitter fate of the Chinese people; and it could not accomplish the historic missions of national independence and the people’s liberation. In the following years, however, the Chinese people and the progressives who were tempered in the heat of the Revolution continued searching for a way to save the country and the people. With the salvoes of Russia’s October Revolution in 1917, Marxism-Leninism was brought to China, sparking a great awakening among the Chinese people. In the course of integrating Marxism-Leninism with the Chinese workers’ movement, the Communist Party of China was born. On the day of its founding, the CPC made seeking happiness for the Chinese people and rejuvenation for the Chinese nation its aspiration and mission, thus lighting a beacon of hope for the cause of national rejuvenation.


Chinese communists were the most steadfast supporters, loyal collaborators, and faithful successors to the revolutionary cause initiated by Dr. Sun Yat-sen. At its founding, the CPC proposed an anti-imperialist and anti-feudal program for democratic revolution and worked together with the Chinese Kuomintang (KMT) led by Dr. Sun. It helped the KMT to complete its reorganization and cooperated with it to establish the broadest possible revolutionary united front and to launch the Great Revolution, which dealt a severe blow to the reactionary rule of the Northern Warlords.


After the death of Dr. Sun Yat-sen, Chinese communists remained true to his wishes and carried on the struggle with all those who were loyal to his cause, working continually to realize and build on the great aspirations of Dr. Sun and other pioneers of the Revolution of 1911. The CPC united the Chinese people and led them in waging a fierce struggle with unyielding determination to defeat reactionary forces both at home and abroad, secure victory in the new democratic revolution, and establish the People’s Republic of China, which made the people the masters of the country. The Chinese communists and Chinese people thus accomplished the historic missions of national independence and the people’s liberation and ushered in a new era of development and progress for the Chinese nation.


After the founding of the People’s Republic, the CPC united and led the Chinese people in working to build a stronger China through a spirit of self-reliance, achieving great success in socialist revolution and construction. It led the people in freeing their minds and forging ahead to secure great success in reform, opening up, and socialist modernization. And it has led the people in pursuing a great struggle, a great project, a great cause, and a great dream through a spirit of self-confidence, self-reliance, and innovation on the basis of tradition, thus achieving great success in upholding and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era.


Comparing the China of today with that of the past, we find that the aspiration of national revitalization that was deeply held by Dr. Sun Yat-sen, the longing for a bright future for the Chinese nation that was cherished by the pioneers of the Revolution, and the great dream that the Chinese people have aspired and striven toward in modern times have all become or are becoming reality. The Chinese nation has achieved a tremendous transformation, from standing up and growing prosperous to becoming strong, and its national rejuvenation has become a historical inevitability.


Comrades and Friends,


In his Plans for National Reconstruction, Dr. Sun Yat-sen wrote, “If I believe something to be feasible, even if it may be as difficult as moving a mountain or draining a sea, I will one day bring it to pass.” Today, after many years of hard work, we possess stronger institutions, firmer material foundations, and a more proactive mindset for realizing national rejuvenation. The prospects are bright and broad, but the road ahead will not be all smooth sailing. We must draw on the lessons of our past in order to forge our future. On the new journey of building a modern socialist country in all respects, we will carry forward our historic mission and seize the historical initiative, so as to keep driving the great cause of national rejuvenation forward.


The past 110 years have shown us that to realize national rejuvenation, the Chinese people must have a strong force to lead us forward, and that force is the Communist Party of China. The Party was chosen to lead by history and by the people. Its leadership is the very foundation and lifeblood of the Party and the country, and it is the crux upon which the interests and wellbeing of all Chinese people depend. Without the Communist Party of China, there would be no new China and no national rejuvenation.


On the journey ahead, we must uphold and strengthen the CPC’s overall leadership. We will ensure that the Party fulfills its core role of providing overarching leadership and coordinating efforts on all fronts, and we will enhance its capacity to conduct sound, democratic, and law-based governance. We will champion the great founding spirit of the Party, advance the great new project of Party building, and strengthen the Party’s ability to purify, improve, and reform itself, so as to ensure it always firmly stands as the most reliable backbone of the Chinese nation and people.


The past 110 years have shown us that to realize national rejuvenation, the path we take is of fundamental importance. Socialism with Chinese characteristics has proven to be the only correct path. This path accords with the realities of China, the will of the Chinese people, and the requirements of contemporary development. It is not only the right path for reaching our destination; it will also take us there with strong and sure strides.


On the journey ahead, we must uphold and develop socialism with Chinese characteristics, keep adapting Marxism to the Chinese context and the needs of our times, remain firmly committed to our aspiration and our path, and make sure the future of China’s development remains firmly in our own hands. We will ensure coordinated implementation of the Five-Sphere Integrated Plan and the Four-Pronged Comprehensive Strategy, deepen reform and opening up across the board, modernize China’s system and capacity for governance, and work tirelessly to fulfill the people’s aspirations for a better life and realize common prosperity for all.


The past 110 years have shown us that to realize national rejuvenation, the Chinese people must rely on our own heroic efforts. Never has history taken a peaceful or tranquil course; it has always advanced amid setbacks and difficulties. But in the words of Mao Zedong, “Our forefathers never stopped waging unyielding struggles against domestic and foreign oppressors…. By our own indomitable efforts we the Chinese people will unswervingly reach our goal.”


On the journey ahead, we must remember that we are pursuing national rejuvenation in a world that is undergoing momentous changes of a kind not seen in a century. We must seize the opportunities that the era has offered to us. We must remain vigilant and be better prepared for adversity, maintain our revolutionary spirit and morale, and have the courage to carry out a great struggle with many new contemporary features. Through courage and skill, we will overcome all major risks and challenges that may impede our path to national rejuvenation and resolutely safeguard our national sovereignty, security, and development interests.


The past 110 years have shown us that to realize national rejuvenation, the Chinese people and nation must stick together through good times and bad and rely on our strong unity to overcome all risks and challenges on the road ahead. Dr. Sun Yat-sen once said, “To restore our nation’s standing, we must first restore our national spirit.” Since the advent of modern times, the Chinese people and nation have promoted a great spirit of patriotism and fought with one heart and mind. Together they have accomplished the heroic feats of resisting foreign aggression, overthrowing reactionary rule, building a country of the people, and advancing reform and opening up. The united front has always been an important instrument that has allowed the CPC to rally the people’s support and pool their strength for such endeavors.


On the journey ahead, we must fully promote patriotism, foster a strong sense of national dignity and confidence among our people, and strengthen the Chinese nation’s sense of community. We must rely closely on the concerted efforts of all the sons and daughters of the Chinese nation, uphold great unity and solidarity, and continue to consolidate and develop the broadest possible patriotic united front. In this way, we will pool together the ingenuity and strength of the Chinese nation and enable all Chinese people, both at home and abroad, to unite as one in promoting the great cause of national rejuvenation.


The past 110 years have shown us that to realize national rejuvenation, we need not only a stable and united domestic environment but also a peaceful and stable international environment. Dr. Sun Yat-sen said, “When China becomes strong and prosperous, we should not only restore the nation to its rightful position but also assume greater responsibility in the world.” Aggression and hegemony are not in the blood of the Chinese people. Our people hope to successfully realize national development, but they also hope to see all peoples of the world leading happy and peaceful lives.


On the journey ahead, China will always fly the flag of peace, development, cooperation, and mutual benefit, strive to promote the building of a human community with a shared future, and endeavor to improve the global governance system. We will promote the shared human values of peace, development, fairness, justice, democracy, and freedom, work to strengthen solidarity with the peoples of all other countries, and engage in common efforts to oppose hegemony and power politics. China will remain a champion of world peace, a contributor to global development, and a defender of the international order, and we will do our very best to make even greater contributions to humanity.


Comrades and Friends,


Dr. Sun Yat-sen once said, “Unification is the hope of all Chinese people. If China can be unified, all Chinese will enjoy a happy life; if it cannot, all will suffer.” The Taiwan question arose out of the weakness and chaos of our nation, and it will be resolved as national rejuvenation becomes a reality. This is determined by the general trend of Chinese history, but more importantly, it is the common will of all Chinese people. As Dr. Sun said, “The tide of history is mighty. Those who follow it will prosper, while those who go against it will perish.”


National reunification by peaceful means best serves the interests of the Chinese nation as a whole, including our compatriots in Taiwan. We will adhere to the basic policies of peaceful reunification and One Country, Two Systems, uphold the one-China principle and the 1992 Consensus, and work for the peaceful development of cross-Strait relations. Compatriots on both sides of the Taiwan Strait should stand on the right side of history and join hands to achieve China’s complete reunification and the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.


The Chinese nation has an honorable tradition of opposing division and safeguarding unity. Secession aimed at “Taiwan independence” is the greatest obstacle to national reunification and a grave danger to national rejuvenation. Those who forget their heritage, betray their motherland, and seek to split the country will come to no good end; they will be disdained by the people and condemned by history. The Taiwan question is purely an internal matter for China, one which brooks no external interference. No one should underestimate the resolve, the will, and the ability of the Chinese people to defend our national sovereignty and territorial integrity. The complete reunification of our country will be and can be realized.


Comrades and Friends,


Since the advent of modern times, the Chinese people have created impressive achievements through arduous efforts and have come to embrace the brilliant prospects of national rejuvenation. For all Chinese people, achieving national rejuvenation is not only a shared honor but also a shared mission. Dr. Sun Yat-sen said, “It is my sincere hope that every one of us will carry the responsibility of revitalizing China on our shoulders.” Here, I would like to call on all the sons and daughters of the Chinese nation, at home and abroad, to unite even more closely, to carry forward the great spirit of Dr. Sun Yat-sen and other pioneers of the Revolution of 1911, and to continue to forge ahead toward the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.


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习近平 (Xi Jinping). "Speech at a Meeting Marking the 110th Anniversary of the Revolution of 1911 [在纪念辛亥革命110周年大会上的讲话]". CSIS Interpret: China, original work published in Xinhua News Agency [新华社], October 9, 2021

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