总结党的历史经验 加强党的政治建设
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Summary of the Party’s Historical Experience to Strengthen the Party’s Political Construction

总结党的历史经验 加强党的政治建设

Excerpts of 16 Xi speeches from mid-2015 through early 2021 that highlight the Party’s history of successful reforms and emphasize that only the CCP can successfully guide the country through the institutional changes necessary to sustain China’s rise in an increasingly complicated and dangerous world.

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The Zunyi Conference was an important meeting with great significance as a turning point in the history of our Party. It left us with valuable experience and important inspiration in integrating the basic principles of Marxism with the specific reality of China, persisting in taking the path of independence, consolidating correct political lines and policy strategies, and building a strong and mature central leadership collective. We must make good use of the historical experience of the Zunyi Conference and allow the spirit of the Zunyi Conference to shine on forever. 


(Speech during an inspection of Guizhou from June 16 to 18, 2015) 



At the preparatory meeting of the Seventh Party Congress, Chairman Mao said a famous saying: “You must know that a team is often not very neat, so you must always call for alignment, to the left, to the right, and to the center. We must align with the benchmarks of the Central Committee and the benchmarks of the General Assembly. Alignment is the principle, deviations are real life. If there are deviations, call for alignment.” Chairman Mao said alignment is the principle, deviations are real life. This is a very profound truth. Just as in the military, well-trained troops often have to shout to stay in line. They have to shout every day and all the time. Of course, it is easier to align the team as a whole because it is physical. It is not so easy to align ideologically and politically. To frequently call for alignment is the law and experience of our Party’s efforts to strengthen its self-construction. Only by frequently calling for alignment and only when Party organizations at all levels are constantly calling for alignment can we be constantly vigilant and make corrections in a timely manner so that the whole Party can always maintain an organized and high-spirited state of endeavor. An important purpose of continuously bringing together leading cadres at Party schools for study and training is to help everyone align with the Party Central Committee. 


(Speech at the National Party School Work Conference on December 11, 2015) 



After the Third Plenum of the Eleventh Central Committee of the CCP, our Party summed up the positive and negative experiences of intra-party political life, especially the painful lessons of the “Cultural Revolution”, and formulated Several Principles on Political Life in the Party (关于党内政治生活的若干准则, this document name has multiple English translations) in 1980. In the special period after the end of the “Cultural Revolution”, these Principles played a very important role in achieving political, ideological, organizational, and work style corrections and shifting the work center of the whole Party, in promoting unity within the Party, and in ensuring the smooth progress of reform, opening up, and socialist modernization. 


The 1980 principles not only proposed solutions to the prominent contradictions and problems existing in the Party at that time, but also summarized the valuable experience gained by the Party in long-term practice. They represented an enrichment and development of Marxist party-building theory and had groundbreaking significance. Their main principles and regulations are still applicable today. For example, regarding the goals and basic principles of political life within the Party, regarding adhering to the Party’s political and ideological lines, regarding upholding collective leadership and opposing individual arbitrary decision-making, regarding maintaining the Party’s centrality and unity and strictly abiding by party discipline, regarding upholding Party spirit, regarding speaking the truth and practicing what we preach, regarding the promotion of intra-party democracy and correct handling of different opinions, regarding protecting the rights of Party members from infringement, regarding accepting the supervision of the Party and the masses and prohibiting the enjoyment of special privileges, and so on. These require continued adherence. 


(Explanation of  “Several Guidelines on Political Life within the Party under the New Situation” and “Regulations of the Communist Party of China on Internal Oversight” given at the Sixth Plenum of the 18th Central Committee on October 24, 2016) 



The history of the Party and the history of the development of New China tell us: to govern our large Party and our large country well, it is vital to ensure the unity and centralization of the Party, and it is vital to maintain the authority of the Party Central Committee. Maintaining the authority of the Party Central Committee is an important requirement for the CCP Politburo in the implementation of Several Guidelines on Political Life within the Party under the New Situation and Regulations of the Communist Party of China on Internal Oversight. The comrades of the CCP Politburo must firmly establish political awareness, overall situation awareness, core awareness, and alignment awareness, adhere to taking the Party’s banner as our banner, the Party’s direction as our direction, and the Party’s will as our will, and be politically sensible people. For Party loyalty, the key is to have firm ideals and beliefs. The “Four Consciousnesses” are not empty slogans. They must not just be empty words, but must be put into action. Everyone must take the Party’s basic line as the fundamental line to follow, earnestly understand and correctly grasp the Party’s theories, lines, principles, and policies, better understand and grasp the Party’s basic line from the general trend of human development, the major changes in the world, and the general history of China’s development, and gain a deep understanding of why the basic line must be adhered to for an extended period. 


(Speech at the Eighteenth CCP Politburo Democratic Life Meeting on December 26 and 27, 2016) 



Historical experience has shown that our party, as a Marxist party, must speak politics (讲政治) with a clear-cut stand and seriously and earnestly conduct political life within the party. Speaking politics is the fundamental guarantee that our Party will replenish its calcium to build strong bones and strengthen its body. It is the fundamental way for our Party to cultivate its courage for self-revolution, enhance its ability for self-purification, and improve the detoxification and sterilization capabilities of political immunity. When the whole Party speaks politics and the political life within the Party is normal and healthy, our Party will be clean and upright, united and full of vitality, and the Party’s cause will flourish. On the contrary, when there are many ills, dissatisfaction, loss of fighting spirit, and failure to correct all kinds of wrong ideas in time, this will result in serious losses in the Party’s cause. Senior Party cadres shall focus on improving their political capabilities, firmly establish political ideals, correctly grasp the political direction, resolutely take a firm political stand, strictly abide by political discipline, strengthen political training, accumulate political experience, consciously put speaking politics throughout the whole process of Party spirit training, and match one’s political ability with one’s leadership responsibilities. 


(Speech at the opening ceremony of the Seminar on the Study and Implementation of the Spirit of the Sixth Plenum of the Eighteenth Central Committee of Provincial and Ministerial Leading Cadres on February 13, 2017) 



It is the fundamental requirement of our Party as a Marxist party to speak politics with a clear-cut stand. Our Party has always attached importance to raising the political consciousness of Party members. In October 1927, Comrade Mao Zedong personally wrote the oath to join the Party: “sacrifice the individual, work hard for revolution, engage in class struggle, obey the organization, strictly keep secrets, never rebel against the party.” This is a vivid portrayal of the political consciousness of the Communist Party members. In summarizing our Party’s historical experience and especially the results achieved in strengthening the Party’s overall leadership and comprehensive and rigorous Party governance since the Eighteenth Party Congress, the Nineteenth Party Congress clearly put the Party’s political construction in the first place and emphasized that the Party’s political construction should take the leading role. 


As members of the Central Committee and major leading cadres at the provincial and ministerial level, you must regard speaking politics as a fundamental requirement. The most fundamental thing in speaking politics is to talk about Party spirit. In terms of ideology and politics, we must speak about the political stance, political direction, political principles, and political path.
In terms of action and practice, we must maintain the authority of the Party Central Committee, implement the party’s political line, and strictly abide by the Party’s political discipline and political rules. The primary task in the Party’s political construction is to ensure that the whole Party obeys the Central Committee and uphold the authority of the Party Central Committee and its centralized leadership. There must be no ambiguity or wavering. 


(Speech at the Seminar on the Study and Implementation of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for the New Era and the Spirit of the Nineteenth Party Congress for members, alternate members, and major leaders at the provincial and ministerial level in the new Central Committee on January 5, 2018) 



The political construction of the Party is an eternal subject and efforts in this area must never be relaxed. Our Party has always focused on political party building. From the Gutian Conference where Comrade Mao Zedong proposed the principles of ideological Party building and political army building to the Seventh Party Congress in 1945 that proposed that we “first focus on ideological and political construction while conducting organizational construction at the same time”; from the proposal of Comrade Mao Zedong that “political work is the lifeline of all economic work” after the founding of New China to Comrade Deng Xiaoping’s emphasis that “you have to speak politics at all times” after reform and opening up, all of these proposals show that focusing on political party building is an important guarantee of our Party’s continuous development and growth and its march from victory to victory. 


(Speech at the Sixth Collective Study Session of the Nineteenth CCP Politburo on June 29, 2018) 



Political direction is the first issue in the Party’s survival and development and it has a bearing on the party’s future destiny and the success or failure of the cause. When the Red Army was crossing the grasslands, the cook, upon rising in the morning, never asked whether or not there was rice to cook for the day. Instead, he asked whether the army was heading south or north. This shows that even a cook in the Red Army understands that the question of direction is more important than what there is to eat. If there is a deviation in the direction, it will lead to a subversive mistake. We must have a very clear understanding of this point. 


(Speech at the Sixth Collective Study Session of the Nineteenth CCP Politburo on June 29, 2018) 



The revolutionary ideal is higher than the sky. Everywhere in Jiangxi are told the heroic stories of revolutionary martyrs. “The enemy can cut off our heads, but cannot shake our beliefs”, these were the parting words of Comrade Fang Zhimin before his sacrifice. The enemy cruelly cut off the tongue of the martyr Liu Renkan before he met his fate. He still dipped his feet in blood to write “Long live the success of the revolution.” Martyr Jiang Shanzhong left a bloody note, “Dying and going to the underworld will not turn back the water, it will protect the Communist Party for thousands of years.” The revolutionary martyrs gave their lives generously for their ideals and beliefs, relying on their faith. Today, there are fewer life and death tests of blood and fire like in the war years, but the great struggle is still continuing with new historical characteristics. We are facing a series of arduous tests with major challenges, major risks, major obstacles, and major contradictions. Without firm ideals and beliefs, you will lose your way in the complex environment of chaotically swirling clouds, retreat under the massive pressure of Mount Tai, and surrender under the bombardment of sugar-coated shells. We must draw on the mighty power of belief from our red DNA [communist heritage], strengthen the “Four Consciousnesses”, uphold the “Four Matters of  Confidence”, and practice the “Two Upholds.” We must consciously be firm believers and loyal practitioners of the lofty ideals of Communism and the common ideals of socialism with Chinese characteristics and truly become Marxist fighters who will never fail and never regret. 


(Speech at the conclusion of inspection work in Jiangxi on May 22, 2019) 



Speaking politics is concrete. The “Two Upholds” must be reflected in the actions of resolutely implementing the decisions and deployments of the Party Central Committee, in performing one’s duties and doing one’s job well, and in the daily words and deeds of Party members and cadres. During the war years, the Party Central Committee and Chairman Mao used radio to command the entire Party and the entire army. “Tick, Tick” [the sound of a radio] was the voice of the Party Central Committee and Chairman Mao, and the entire Party and the entire army carried out their instructions unconditionally. Think about it, everyone, if no one listens to the orders issued by the Party Central Committee and fails to carry out commands and prohibitions, what else is there to talk about with regards to maintaining the authority of the Party Central Committee and its centralized leadership! 


(Speech at the Party Building in Central Party and State Institutions Work Conference on July 9, 2019) 




Young cadres must improve their political capabilities. Among the various capabilities a cadre must possess to do a good job, political capability comes first. Only with strong political capabilities can we consciously maintain a high degree of consistency with the Party Central Committee in ideological and political actions. At all times and under all circumstances, we must be able to “cover our eyes without fear of floating clouds” and “remain calm when flying through chaotic clouds.” To improve our political capabilities, we must first grasp the correct political direction and adhere to the leadership of the CCP and China’s socialist system. On this issue, there must be no confusion or vacillation! The practice of this fight against the COVID-19 epidemic has once again proved that the CCP is the most reliable backbone of the Chinese people in the face of storms and that China’s socialist system is the most powerful institutional guarantee against risks and challenges. Young cadres must adhere to one thing. You must do everything that is conducive to upholding the Party’s leadership and China’s socialist system and resolutely refrain from doing anything that is not conducive to upholding the Party’s leadership and China’s socialist system! You must continuously improve your political acuity and political discernment. When observing and analyzing a situation, you must first grasp the political factors and especially be able to see the essence through the phenomenon so that you can have a sharp eye, see things early, and act quickly. To improve your political capabilities, you must stand in awe of the Party’s political discipline and rules. You must consciously strengthen political training, strengthen political self-control, and always be an “understanding person” and an “honest person” in politics. You must focus on improving your level of Marxist theory, learn deeply and understand thoroughly, master dialectical materialism and historical materialism, master the Marxist standpoints and methods that permeate it, master Sinicized Marxism, and be a firm believer and loyal practitioner of Marxism. 


(Speech at the opening ceremony of the training class for young and middle-aged cadres at the Central Party School (National Academy of Governance) for the fall semester of 2020 on October 10, 2020) 




Our party is about to celebrate its 100th anniversary. From the epoch-making founding of the Party, to the world-changing founding of New China, to the earth-shaking reform and opening up, to the historic achievements and historical changes in the cause of the Party and the country since the 18th Party Congress, the fundamental reason for these events is that our Party has always adhered to its original intention and mission of seeking the well-being of the Chinese people and the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. Our Party must never forget its original intention, keep its mission in mind, and carry forward the cause of the Party and the people for a long time to come. We must increase political awareness, be adept at looking at issues politically, be adept at grasping the overall political situation, and constantly improve our political judgment, political comprehension, and political execution. 


(Speech at the Nineteenth CCP Politburo Democratic Life Meeting on December 24 and 25, 2020) 




Speaking politics with a clear-cut stand is not only a distinctive feature of Marxist parties, but also a consistent political advantage of our Party. The most important thing in the Party’s leadership of the people in governing the country is to adhere to the correct political direction, always maintain the political nature of our Party, and always advance along the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics. The comrades of the CCP Politburo should find the right coordinates, choose the right position, aim at the bullseye, and be good at observing and dealing with problems politically. In this way, the need for speaking politics is transformed from an external requirement into an internal initiative. 


(Speech at the Nineteenth CCP Politburo Democratic Life Meeting on December 24 and 25, 2020) 




The historical process of our Party’s leadership of the people in revolution, construction, and reform has repeatedly proved a truth: political initiative is the most advantageous initiative, and political passivity is the most dangerous passivity. To strengthen political judgment, it is necessary to make the country’s political security our top priority, make the people our important focus, and make the adherence to and development of socialism with Chinese characteristics our foundation. We must strengthen our ability to scientifically grasp changes in the situation, accurately identify the essence underlying phenomena, clearly distinguish right from wrong behavior, and effectively resist risks and challenges. 


(Speech at the Nineteenth CCP Politburo Democratic Life Meeting on December 24 and 25, 2020) 




Ensuring that all Party members follow the central government and upholding the authority of the Party Central Committee and its centralized leadership are the primary tasks of the political work of the Party; we must persevere in them. The Zunyi Conference has significance as a great turning point in the history of the Party. This Zunyi Conference was convened at the crucial historical juncture after the failure of the Fifth Counter-Encirclement Campaign and during the serious setback in the initial stage of the Long March. It firmly established Mao Zedong as leader of the Party Central Committee and the Red Army, and it began the establishment of the correct Marxist line, represented by Mao Zedong, as the leading line in the Party Central Committee. It began the formation of the first-generation central leading collective with Comrade Mao Zedong at its core and opened a new stage in which our Party independently and autonomously solved the real problems of the Chinese revolution. At this most critical juncture, it saved the Party, it saved the Red Army, and it saved the Chinese revolution. However, after the Zunyi Conference, all Party members continued to undergo a process of gaining a true and profound understanding of the great significance of upholding the authority of the Party Central Committee and its centralized leadership and of turning this awareness into conscious action. On the Long March, when our Party was in the greatest need of solidarity, Zhang Guotao assembled a personal army, established a separate central authority, and openly went down the road of splitting the Party and the Red Army. At the beginning of the War of Resistance, Wang Ming formed a faction within the Party and did things his own way without regard for the commands of the Party Central Committee, once again teaching all Party members with a negative example. To solve internal Party problems such as ideological divergence and sectarianism, our Party launched a large-scale rectification movement during the Yan’an period that resulted in the entire Party achieving unprecedented solidarity and unity and that laid a formidable ideological and political foundation for winning victory in the War of Resistance and for liberating the entire country. 


(Talk given at the Party History Learning and Education Mobilization Meeting on February 20, 2021) 




Since the Eighteenth Party Congress, we have gone all out to push forward the political work of the Party and to strengthen all institutions that uphold the authority of the central committee and its centralized leadership. The Party’s solidarity and unity are now even more solid. At the same time, we need to be aware of the fact that there remain some Party members and cadres who lack adequate political consciousness and political acuity. They are not adept at observing and handling problems politically. They do not care about the “Great One of the Nations,” nor are they serious about political requirements, political norms, or political discipline. They are inattentive of the political dangers of various problems and careless when implementing the general policies of the Party Central Committee. They have yet to transform speaking politics from an external requirement into an internal initiative. Upholding the authority of the central committee and its centralized leadership cannot remain just words, but must be embodied in actions. It is necessary to educate and guide all Party members in extracting positive and negative historical experiences from Party history so that they resolutely conform to the Party Central Committee and continually improve their political judgment, political comprehension, and political execution. They should truly strengthen the “Four Consciousnesses” and reinforce the “Four Matters of Confidence” while carrying out the “Two Upholds.” In their thinking, politics, and actions, they should conscientiously maintain a high degree of consistency with the Party Central Committee to ensure that all Party members, from the highest to the lowest levels, are as though braided into a single rope, thinking and working with one heart and one mind. 


(Talk given at the Party History Learning and Education Mobilization Meeting on February 20, 2021) 


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习近平 (Xi Jinping). "Summary of the Party’s Historical Experience to Strengthen the Party’s Political Construction [总结党的历史经验 加强党的政治建设]". CSIS Interpret: China, original work published in Qiushi [求是], August 15, 2021

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