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Talk Given at the Party History Learning and Education Mobilization Meeting 


A long speech by Xi Jinping calling on all party members to learn the Party’s history in order to appreciate the CCP’s past achievements and failures.

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This year is the hundredth anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The launch of Party history learning and education among all Party members was a major decision by the Party Central Committee that establishes a new centennial starting point for the Party, provides coordinated planning for the overall strategy of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation and great changes in the world unseen in a century, and mobilizes the whole Party and the whole country to devote themselves with full confidence to building a modernized socialist country in an all-around way. The Party Central Committee has already printed and issued the Notice Concerning the Launch of Party History Learning and Education Among All Party Members and has made arrangements for this work. Party committees (Party groups) at all levels should conscientiously implement it. Today, I will especially emphasize three issues.


I. The Launch of Party History Learning and Education Is Highly Significant


Party history is the liveliest and most persuasive textbook. Our Party has always valued Party history learning and education. It has stressed the use of the Party’s course of struggle and great achievements in inspiring a fighting spirit and clearly defining directions. It has used the Party’s glorious traditions and excellent work style to reinforce beliefs and consolidate strength. It has used the Party’s practice and creations and its historical experience to impart wisdom and foster good character. Comrade Mao Zedong said: “If we don’t get Party history right, if we don’t figure out the historical road that the Party traveled, we won’t be able to do any better than we’re doing.” Comrade Deng Xiaoping said: “Every party and every country has its own history. It’s only by analyzing and summarizing it with an objective attitude of seeking truth from the facts that it proves beneficial.” Comrade Jiang Zemin emphasized: “One should study hard to learn Chinese history, particularly modern history and Party history, and, through such an effort, master and carry forward the fine tradition of the Chinese nation and the fine tradition of the Party.” Comrade Hu Jintao pointed out: “By launching various commemorative and educational activities, let us spur the vast number of young and middle-aged cadres to conduct further study of Party knowledge and Party history, gain an in-depth understanding of fine Party traditions and work styles, continually strengthen Party consciousness, and struggle for the Party’s cause with greater steadfastness and awareness.”


Since the 18th Party Congress, the Party Central Committee has placed a high value on the learning of Party history. On different occasions, I have also put forward demands, which may be summed up in the following: First, our Party, having traversed a magnificent historical course of a hundred years, having ruled the world’s largest socialist country for more than 70 years, and having over 91 million Party members, has developed into the world’s largest Marxist ruling Party. For the CCP, which is determined to fight for the eternal wellbeing of the Chinese nation, the centenary signifies the prime of life. It should always stand at the forefront of current trends, stand on the frontline of the battle to tackle problems and overcome difficulties, stand amidst the overwhelming majority of the people, and remain forever in an undefeatable position. Second, history is the best teacher. The history of our Party constitutes the most moving chapters in China’s modern history. In the course of the people’s searching and struggling, history forged the CCP, and, by uniting and leading the people, our Party produced a new historical brilliance for long-standing Chinese civilization. Everything moves forward, but we can never forget the road we have traveled. No matter how far we travel or how brilliant the future we travel to, we still cannot forget our past journey. Nor can we forget why we set out. Third, to learn Party history is to uphold and develop socialism with Chinese characteristics. It is a mandatory course for continuing to carry forward all the causes of the Party and the state. Not only is this course mandatory, but also it requires proper study. Fourth, Chinese revolutionary history is the best nutrient. A revival of this part of our great history makes it possible to receive a lively education in the Party’s original aspirations and mission, its character and purpose, its ideals and beliefs. We must inscribe this magnificent history in hearts and minds and pass on “red genes.” Fifth, it is necessary to study Party history, new China history, reform and opening up history, and socialist development history. The vast number of Party members should emphasize study of Party history to achieve love of the Party through historical knowledge and love of country through historical knowledge. In learning and comprehending, they should reinforce their ideals and beliefs; in exerting themselves to achieve something, they should fulfill the original aspirations and mission. Sixth, our Party’s history is the history of our Party’s mutual affinity with the people, of the joys and sorrows we’ve shared with the people, of our unified struggle with the people. We must live together and work together, always maintaining our ties of flesh and blood to the masses. Seventh, comprehensively disseminating Party history and fully bringing history’s roles of serving as a mirror to the present, of helping those in authority to govern, and of educating the people into play are among the most important of all the tasks of the Party and the state at present. Eighth, the purpose of looking back at history is not to seek comfort from our successes therein, even less is it to rest on our laurels or to avoid the difficulties currently confronting us or to seek excuses for our problems. Rather, it is to summarize historical experience, grasp historical patterns, and bolster the courage and strength we need to forge ahead in a pioneering spirit. Ninth, let us insist on using the materialist conception of history to understand history, insist on the ideological line of seeking truth from facts, distinguish between essentials and nonessentials, uphold truth, correct errors, carry forward experiences, and absorb lessons. All of these are consistent positions and attitudes of our Party concerning Party history. They embody our Party’s profound understanding of the importance and necessity of learning and employing Party history.


Today, it is both right and absolutely necessary to launch Party history learning and education among all Party members at this important moment of celebrating the centennial of our Party’s birth and at this critical node of historical convergence of the “Two Centennial” objectives Our Party’s one hundred years have been a hundred years of making vows and keeping them in regard to our original aspirations and mission, a hundred of years of enduring the hardships of pioneering work and laying a foundation, a hundred years of creating brilliance and opening up the future. In a hundred years of continuing the struggle, the Party united and led the people in opening a great new road, in achieving great triumphs, in forging a great spirit, in accumulating precious experience, in creating astounding miracles in the Chinese nation’s development history and in the history of the progress of human society. Looking back at past struggles and looking forward to the struggles ahead, we must learn Party history and summarize it properly; we must make sure to pass on and carry forward the successful experiences of the Party.


First, the launch of Party history learning and education among all Party members is the inevitable requirement for the noble undertaking of keeping true to our original aspirations and mission and advancing the history of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. Ever since the day of its birth, our Party has been tightly linked to the future fate of the Chinese people and the Chinese nation. Following the Opium Wars, China gradually turned into a semi-colonial, semi-feudal society. Under invasion by foreign powers, frequently subject to the flames of war, our land occupied and carved up, and the people plunged into misery—in such a tragic situation did the Chinese people eke out a wretched existence. From that time on, to achieve national rejuvenation became the greatest dream of the Chinese nation. To free ourselves from a fate of slavery and humiliation, countless people with lofty ideals advanced in wave upon wave, each striving to find a way to save the country. The Taiping Heavenly Kingdom Movement, the Westernization Movement, the Hundred Days’ Reform, the Boxer Rebellion, and the 1911 Revolution arose, one after another, but all ended in failure. None was able to alter the tragic fate of the Chinese people and the Chinese nation. The sound of the guns of the October Revolution gave China the gift of Marxism-Leninism. This was like a ray of sunlight in the darkness. To those Chinese advanced elements who were in a bitter search for a way to save both country and people, it pointed the way forward: The Chinese Communist Party was born. Beginning the moment it stepped onto the Chinese political stage, our Party upheld the positions, viewpoints, and methods of Marxism-Leninism and unswervingly sought the well-being of the Chinese people and the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. From this moment forward, the Chinese people began spiritually to turn from passivity to activity, and the Chinese nation began the arduous yet irreversible progress towards its great rejuvenation.


For a hundred years, no matter how circumstances and tasks changed, no matter what kind of stormy seas it encountered, our Party always firmly grasped the historical initiative, anchored itself to the objectives of struggle, and resolutely advanced in the correct direction. It took our Party nearly 30 years of uniting and leading the people to complete the New Democratic Revolution. It establish the new China, and the Chinese people thereupon stood up. Proceeding on a foundation of socialist revolution and construction, our Party united and led the people for more than 40 years in carrying out reform and opening up and achieved the great historical success of building a moderately prosperous society in an all-around way. We won the war on poverty on schedule and achieved the first of the centennial objectives. The next step is for our Party to unite and lead the people in basically achieving socialist modernization by 2035 and then, upon that foundation, struggle another 15 years to complete our transformation into a modernized socialist superpower by the middle of this century.


Each generation has its responsibilities. The dawning of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation is before us; our future is bright. At the same time, we must have a clear-headed recognition of the fact that the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation is not something that can be achieved easily, by just making a lot of celebratory noises. We face both rare opportunities and forbidding challenges. At this critical moment, we cannot tolerate any stopping or delays, any “wait and see.” We must not forget our original aspirations and remain true to our mission; we must press on with our struggle to the very end.


A Chinese ancient said: “Conscientiously research past affairs and carefully predict future affairs while referring to everyday affairs; then, if feasible, make a decision.” The purposes of launching Party history learning and education among all Party members are to educate and guide the entire Party in using history as a mirror and history as a means to clarify the mind, to understand the great contributions and fundamental successes that the Party achieved for the Chinese nation by uniting and leading the people, to know the historical position of contemporary China, to strengthen historical consciousness, to link the painful and brilliant past to the rapidly and continuously changing present to the glorious and grand future, to grasp hold of the correct direction in the midst of confusing circumstances, to foster courage and insight when faced with risks and challenges, to inspire the confidence and motivation to struggle for the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, to firmly and persistently advance regardless of the conditions, and to initiate great historical undertakings that belong to our generation.


Second, the launch of Party history learning and education among all Party members is the inevitable requirement for reinforcing faith and beliefs and for upholding and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era. Faith and beliefs are critically important at all times. Faith in communism and belief in socialism with Chinese characteristics are the political soul of Communist Party members. They are the spiritual support that enables Communist Party members to bear any trial. In the new era, the most important things for reinforcing faith and belief are to reinforce confidence in the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics, confidence in its theory, confidence in its system, and confidence in its culture. The hundred-year struggle and great achievements of the Party are the firmest foundation upon which we strengthen the “Four Confidences.”


Following a hundred years of struggle, our Party has united and led the people in a country with a millennia-old history of feudal society to the realization of the broadest kind of people’s democracy. The people truly have become masters of their country, their society, and their own fate. On a foundation of economic poverty and cultural blankness, we created a miracle of rapid economic and social development. It took us a few decades to complete the historical course of industrialization that took the developed nations centuries to complete. We have leaped forward to being the world’s second largest economy. Our comprehensive national power, scientific and technological strength, national defense capabilities, cultural influence, and international influence have risen significantly. From lacking the basic necessities of life, our people have come to enjoy an all-around, moderate prosperity. In an overall sense, they have thoroughly rid themselves of absolute poverty, becoming the world’s most populous middle-income country. Our country has maintained social harmony and stability for a long time, and our people live and work in peace and contentment. Our country has become one of the most secure countries as recognized by the international community. The great struggle against the COVID-19 pandemic put on full display the striking superiority of the Party’s leadership and our country’s socialist system. It provided a tremendous boost to the confidence and belief of people of all ethnic groups throughout the Party and the country. If one should ask which political party, which country, and which nationality have self-confidence in today’s world, the answer would have to be: the CCP, the PRC, and the Chinese nation have the most reason to have self-confidence!


The launch of Party history learning and education among all Party members aims to educate and guide all Party members towards a profound understanding of the difficulty involved in establishing red political power, the difficulty involved in bring about the new China, and the difficulty involved in bringing about socialism with Chinese characteristics and towards a profound understanding of why the CCP is capable, why Marxism is feasible, and why socialism with Chinese characteristics is good. It aims to continually reinforce the “Four Matters of Confidence,” to continually strengthen historical focus, and to strengthen the aspirations, moral integrity, and confidence entailed in being Chinese.


Third, the launch of Party history learning and education among all Party members is an inevitable requirement for advancing the Party’s self-revolution and for forever preserving the Party’s vitality. The courage to carry out self-revolution is our Party’s most distinctive characteristic. It is also our Party’s greatest advantage. A hundred years of adversity, a hundred years of drawing lessons from intense struggles. From the initial 50-odd members, our Party was able to grow to the more than 91 million members of today. It has conquered difficulty after difficulty and has won victory after victory. The key lies in us always insisting that the Party manage itself, that it engage in strict, unrelenting Party self-governance in all respects, and that it thoroughly carry out self-revolution while advancing social revolution.


The launch of centralized learning and education among all Party members is an important way in which the Party advances self-revolution; it is also an important experience. Since the reform and opening up, we have forcefully advanced the great new project of Party building by launching the consolidation of the Party organization and through “Three Emphases” education, the campaign to maintain the advanced nature of Party members, the campaign for the study and practice of a scientific development outlook, and so on. Since the 18th Party Congress, we have successively organized and launched the mass line education and practice campaign, the “Three Stricts, Three Honests” education campaign, the “Two Studies, One Action” education campaign, and “Staying True to Our Original Aspirations and Founding Mission”-themed education. The Party’s creativity, cohesiveness, and battle effectiveness have improved significantly, and the Party’s self-purifying, self-perfecting, self-updating, and self-enhancing capabilities have continually strengthened.


Currently, in comparison to the great socialist revolution that is advancing towards a modernized socialist superpower, Party building still suffers from some mismatches and maladjustments. There are some potentially very dangerous and destructive problems that weaken the Party’s advanced nature and harm the Party’s purity. In particular, there are some recurring and intractable problems relating to Party conduct and government integrity, which will rebound and nullify our previous efforts if we become in the least inattentive. The launch of Party history learning and education among all Party members aims to educate and guide all Party members at this critical moment when they set out on a new journey to continue carrying forward a thorough revolutionary spirit, to uphold strict Party self-governance in all respects and at all times on their way, to maintain the clear-mindedness of one “going on a journey to take an imperial examination,” and to use the Party’s self-revolution in a new era to show the way to a new great socialist revolution.


II. The Key Points of Launching Party History Learning and Education Should Be Highlighted


The Notice printed and issued by the Party Central Committee makes clear demands regarding this learning and education work, which, in summary, are the following: study history to gain insights, study history to increase confidence, study history to admire the virtuous, study history to invigorate action, and educate and guide all Party comrades to study Party history, become ideologically aware, do practical things, and open up new prospects.


First, increase awareness of the great power of thought, and strengthen the use of the Party’s innovative theories to arm the political consciousness of all Party members. Thought is power. If a nation is to progress at the forefront of an era, there is not a single moment in which it can do without theoretical thinking; there is not a single moment in which it does not need to be guided by thought. At the most critical moment in modern China, CCP members found Marxism-Leninism and insisted on combining Marxism-Leninism with Chinese realities. They used the power of Marxist-Leninist truth to vitalize the great civilization created by the Chinese nation over the course of millennia, causing Chinese civilization to once again erupt with great spiritual force. Practice proves that Marxism is the powerful ideological weapon whereby we understand the world, grasp patterns, pursue truth, and transform the world. It is the guiding ideology which our Party and state must always follow.

第一,进一步感悟思想伟力,增强用党的创新理论武装全党的政治自觉。 思想就是力量。一个民族要走在时代前列,就一刻不能没有理论思维,一刻不能没有思想指引。在近代中国最危急的时刻,中国共产党人找到了马克思列宁主义,并坚持把马克思列宁主义同中国实际相结合,用马克思主义真理的力量激活了中华民族历经几千年创造的伟大文明,使中华文明再次迸发出强大精神力量。实践证明,马克思主义是我们认识世界、把握规律、追求真理、改造世界的强大思想武器,是我们党和国家必须始终遵循的指导思想。

The vitality of theory lies in innovation. Marxism profoundly changed China, and China enormously enriched Marxism. For a hundred years, our Party has upheld the unity of liberation thought and seeking truth from facts, as well as the unities of targeted treatments and systemic health and of cultural inheritance and innovation. The continual breaking of new Marxist ground produced Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory, the important thought of the “Three Represents,” and the Scientific Outlook on Development. It produced Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era and provides scientific theoretical guidance for developing undertakings of the Party and the people. Our Party’s history is a history of continually advancing the Sinification of Marxism. It is a history of continually advancing theoretical innovation, of carrying out theoretical creation.


All Party members need to be educated and guided to grasp, from the extraordinary historical course traveled by the Party, how Marxism has profoundly changed China and the world, to comprehend the power of Marxism as both truth and practice, and to deepen their understanding of the theoretical quality that Sinified Marxism has of being both a continuous line and advancing with the times. In particular, in light of the historical successes achieved in undertakings of the Party and the state since the 18th Party Congress and the process whereby historical changes have occurred, they need to conduct in-depth study to understand the innovative theories of the Party in a new era and to unceasingly use the latest achievements of the Party’s innovative theories to arm their minds, guide their practice, and push forward with their work.


Second, gain a further grasp of history’s development pattern and general trend, while always having the historical initiative for the development of undertakings of the Party and the state. Historical development has its pattern, but people are not completely passive within that pattern. So long as we take hold of the pattern and general trend of historical development, seize opportunities for historical transformation, act in harmony with the trend, and exert ourselves towards achievement, we can achieve even greater progress. More than 170 years ago, Marx and Engels scientifically revealed the historical pattern whereby socialism necessarily replaces capitalism. This is an irreversible, overall trend in the development of human societies, but it must pass through a long historical process. In this process, we should base our efforts on reality, properly grasp the general historical trend of each stage, and properly deal with the matters at hand.


During its one hundred years of struggle, our Party has always used the basic principles of Marxism to analyze and grasp general historical trends and to correctly handle relations between China and the world so that we can adeptly seize and use to our advantage all kinds of historical opportunities. The birth of our Party was an outcome in keeping with the general trend of world development. The victory of the October Revolution and the rise of socialism constituted the general trend of world events at the time. Our Party arose from this general trend of world events and advanced at the forefront of the times. During the War of Resistance Against Japan, our Party, taking the general trend of the World Anti-Fascist War and the Chinese people’s fervent desire to be saved from Japanese aggression as its starting point, brought about the united Chinese front against Japanese aggression and ultimately united and led the people to win the great victory of the War of Resistance Against Japan. The founding and consolidation of the People’s Republic of China were also products that conformed to the tide of the times. At the time, socialism was developing by leaps and bounds. Liberation movements in Asia, Africa, and Latin America were like a rising storm, and there was a general atmosphere of “the East Wind prevailing over the West Wind.” It was while bathed in this East Wind that the new China was born and was able to stand firmly. The major decision to proceed with the reform and opening up was also based on our Party’s profound insight into the trend of the times. The world economy and science and technology were then undergoing rapid development. The gap between China’s development and the international advanced level had noticeably expanded. Comrade Deng Xiapoing said: “We must keep abreast of the times; that is the purpose of our reform.” Our Party made a scientific assessment of the general trend of world events and, resolving to transfer the work centers of the Party and the state, it pressed forward with an indomitable spirit by drawing open the great historical curtain to initiate the reform and opening up.


“A man may have wisdom, but that is not as good as seizing a favorable opportunity.” One must know history to see far, and one must understand history to go far. All Party members need to be educated and guided so that they can do the following: carry in their hearts the overall strategy of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese people and the great changes in the world unseen in a century, establish a macro-historical outlook, analyze and investigate the long river of history, the tide of the times, and global storms to discover the evolutionary mechanisms and historical patterns therein, put forward response strategies, and make work more systematic, forward-looking, and creative.


Third, further deepen understanding of the Party’s nature and purpose; always maintain the distinct coloring of a Marxist political party. Our Party comes from the people. The roots and blood of our Party are among the people. It was born for the people and arose because of the people. It is always together with the people and struggles for the people’s interests. The people are the start and end points for establishing the Party, prospering the Party, and strengthening the Party.


Our Party’s one hundred-year history is the history of putting our original aspirations and mission into practice. It is the history of the Party becoming of one mind with the people, of breathing as one with the people, and of sharing their fate. After the failure of the Great Revolution, the majority of the more than 300,000 revolutionaries who had sacrificed themselves became the masses who followed our Party and took part in revolutionary activity. During the period of the Red Army, the masses were an impregnable wall for the Party and the People’s Army. During the War of Resistance Against Japan, our Party broadly mobilized the masses, causing the Japanese invaders to sink into the boundless ocean of a people’s war. The victory of the Huaihai Campaign relied on small carts pushed by the common people, and the victory of the Yangtze River Crossing Campaign relied on small boats rowed by the common people. The achievements of the socialist revolution and construction were the work of the masses, and hundreds of millions of the masses were the protagonists in the great historical drama of the reform and opening up. History provides ample proof that the country is the people and that the people are the country. The support or disapproval of the people has a direct bearing on the survival of the Party. If it wins the trust of the people and gains the people’s support, the Party can overcome any difficulty and can be victorious wherever it goes. If not, we will not succeed in anything and will even go down the road to failure and decay.


The constitution of our Party makes its purpose crystal-clear from the very beginning: The CCP is the vanguard of the Chinese working class and is, at the same time, the vanguard of the Chinese people and the Chinese nation. The Party constitution also clearly requires that the Party serve the people wholeheartedly and shall at all times put the interests of the masses first; that it shall share the masses’ joys and sorrows and maintain the closest of ties with them. It is thus incumbent upon us to insist on the consistency between respecting social development patterns and respecting the people’s status as the main historical entity, the consistency between fighting for lofty ideals and seeking benefits on behalf of the broad masses of the people, and on the consistency between completing every Party task and achieving the people’s interests. We will never separate from the masses, but will share all our good fortune with the masses and bear the same hardships they do. If we have salt, we’ll share it; if we don’t, we’ll both do without. All Party members should be educated and guided to understand the Party’s nature and purpose, to uphold the concept that everything is both for the people and dependent upon the people, to always put the people foremost in their minds and make the people’s yearning for a high standard of living the goal of their struggle, to strive to ensure that the gains of reform and development provide even more benefit to all the people in an even fairer way, to push for even more obvious, substantive progress towards shared prosperity, and to gather together the 1.4 billion Chinese people in a boundless force for the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.


Fourth, further summarize the Party’s historical experience; continually enhance its ability to cope with risks and challenges. An important aspect of the step-by-step progress our Party has made is the continual summarizing of experiences and improvement of skills. We have continually improved our ability to cope with risks and take on challenges, to emerge safely from dangerous situations. The Party’s experiences didn’t just drop from the heavens, nor were they copied from a book. Rather, the experiences accumulated over a long period of groping about by the Party as it underwent many hardships—experiences brimming with successes and failures and gains and losses, laden with blood and sweat, and filled with wisdom, boldness, and perseverance.


Our national development currently faces unprecedented risks and challenges. These are domestic and international; they are found in the fields of politics, economics, culture, and society and arise from the natural world. Some are traditional, and others non-traditional. There are also “black swans” and “gray rhinos” which might unexpectedly arrive. We need to more effectively deal with all kinds of foreseeable and difficult-to-foresee risks and challenges on the road ahead. We must obtain enlightenment from history and extract from our historical experience magic weapons that give us victory over our enemies. Summarizing the experiences of the revolutionary struggle back then, Comrade Mao Zedong took the concepts of unified front, armed struggle, and Party building and gave them the general designation of the “Three Magic Weapons” that give victory over enemies. This played an important role in the victory of the New Democratic Revolution, and it continues to play an important role to this day. When I celebrated the 95th anniversary of the Party founding, the 40th anniversary of the reform and opening up, and the 70th anniversary of the founding of the new China, and on other important occasions, I summarized the Party’s historical experience from different angles. We should seize this important Party centenary node and, taking the great struggle that has many new historical characteristics as our starting point, summarize and make use of the Party’s rich experience in dealing with risks and challenges during different historical periods to carry out ideological preparations and work preparations for dealing with changes in the external environment over a longer period of time. We should continually strengthen consciousness of struggle, enrich the experience of struggle, and improve the ability to struggle. We should continually improve governance abilities and standards. With our eyes fixed on the worst aspects, let us carry out the most complete preparations and, striving in a good direction, aim to win the best results.


A fortress is most easily destroyed from within. In a certain sense, the greatest risks that our Party has faced since its founding are internal deterioration, change of color, and change of flavor—the loss of the political coloring proper to a Marxist political party and the loss of the support of the overwhelming majority of the people as a result of deviating from the Party’s purpose. The Party’s hundred-year history is also the history of our Party’s unceasing preservation of the Party’s advanced nature and purity and the continual guarding against the dangers of disintegration and corruption. All Party members should be educated and guided to summarize lessons from historical experience and thereby to do the following: keep their eyes on solving the practical problems involved in Party building, continually raise leadership and administrative standards and strengthen the abilities needed to fight corruption, forestall moral degeneration, and guard against risk. In this way, we can ensure that our Party always advances at the forefront of the times in the midst of a historical process of profound changes in the global situation, that it always becomes the backbone for the people throughout the country in the historical process of coping with various domestic and foreign risks and challenges, and that it always becomes the strong leadership core in the historical process of upholding and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics.


Fifth, further carry forward the revolutionary spirit, and always maintain an upbeat spirit in arduous struggle. “The long road of life on earth is both rough and smooth.” No other political party on earth has encountered as many difficulties as ours has, and none has undergone as many life-and-death tests or made as many heroic sacrifices. For a hundred years, in the course of dealing with all kinds of difficulties and challenges, our Party has forged a style and character of not fearing powerful foes, of not being afraid of risk, of daring to struggle, and of having the courage to be victorious. These are our Party’s most distinctive qualities and characteristics. Over the course of a hundred years of extraordinary struggle, one generation after another of CCP members has tenaciously fought and unrelentingly struggled. There arose a great number of revolutionary martyrs unafraid of death, a great number of heroes engaged in tenacious struggle, and a great number of selflessly dedicated advanced role models. They gave rise to the spirit of Jinggangshan, the spirit of the Long March, the spirit of the Zunyi Conference, the spirit of Yan’an, the spirit of Xibaipo, the spirit of Hongyan, the spirit of the War to Resist U.S. Aggression and Aid Korea, the spirit of “Two Bombs, One Satellite,” the spirit of the special zones, the spirit of fighting the floods, the spirit of earthquake relief, the spirit of fighting the pandemic, and other manifestations of a great spirit. Thus, they established a spiritual pedigree of CCP members. The reason our Party is in the prime of life even after a hundred years and continues to thrive even after experiencing countless hardships is its reliance on a powerful spirit of revolution and unyielding struggle.


These precious spiritual treasures transcend space and time and become more vital as time goes by. They manifest the firm beliefs, fundamental purposes, and excellent work style of the Party in concentrated form. They embody arduous struggle, sacrificial dedication, and a pioneering spirit, which constitute the great character of CCP members. They have penetrated deeply into the veins of our Party, country, nation, and people, providing abundant nourishment for establishing the Party, prospering the Party, and strengthening the Party.


At the same time, we must have a sober awareness of the fact that, with our Party long in power, it will be easy for Party members to develop a slack attitude arising from a long period of peace. Some members feel that the time has already come to draw a long breath, put up their feet, and live as untroubled, “peaceful” officials. Some, feeling that the “boat has arrived at the pier and the train is in the station,” want to rest on their laurels and drift along as mediocre and idle administrators. Some make lots of plans for themselves, worrying about their own gains and losses. They don’t dare take on burdens, but hunger after fame and fortune and enjoyments. Some are accustomed to acting as “megaphones” or “transfer stations.” When they meet with a difficulty, they walk around it or pass it up the chain. They lack the drive and fighting spirit to tackle and overcome problems. I’ve repeatedly emphasized the need to carry forward the spirit of carrying the revolution through to the end. I’ve emphasized the need to carry forward the revolutionary spirit of the old generation of revolutionaries, who thought “It is better to chase the poor enemy while we are strong than to emulate the hegemon for the sake of empty fame” and to carry forward the fighting spirit among Party members of “bitter sacrifice strengthens bold resolve, which dares to make sun and moon shine in new skies.” This is something I have deeply considered. Let everyone ponder the fact that socialist modernization was achieved in a country such as ours, having a population a population of 1.4 billion. How great this is! How amazing! All Party members need to be educated and guided so that they vigorously carry forward the red tradition and pass on red genes; so that they continue to have the spiritual blood of Community Party members, always maintaining the fearless fighting spirit of revolutionaries; so that they summon up the spiritual energy to stride forward on new journeys and go forward bravely into a new era.


Sixth, further strengthen the Party’s solidarity and centralized unity; ensure that all Party members step forward in unison. Taking a clear political stand and ensuring that the Party is unified and centralized are both the very life of the Party and are critical to our Party’s becoming a great, century-old Party and accomplishing the great achievements of a century. Practice demonstrates that, so long as all the Party is unified into a “piece of hard steel,” it can unify people of all ethnicities in the country to form a single-minded, invincible, boundless force and defeat every powerful enemy and overcome all hardships.


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.


“Raise the main rope, and ten thousand eyes will open.” Since the 18th 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 transform 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.


III. In Launching Party History Learning and Education Among All Party Members, Let Us Strive for Practical Results


The launch of Party history learning and education among all Party members is an important event in the political life of the Party. All Party members should give this matter their close attention. They should improve their ideological stance, base themselves on reality, preserve our cultural inheritance while innovating, and complete every learning and education task in accordance with high standards and high quality. I will re-emphasize a few points concerning the proper implementation of this learning and education.


First, organizational leadership should be strengthened. Party committees (Party groups) at all levels should shoulder their primary responsibilities. Important leading comrades should personally take charge and take the lead in setting an example. Establish leading institutions, and truly put the deployments and requirements of the Party Central into actual effect. The leadership of the Party History Learning and Education Leading Small Groups should be strengthened. Provincial, regional, and municipal Party committees and the Party groups (Party committees) for departments in charge of industries and systems should strengthen supervision, guidance, and inspection over their subordinate regions, departments, and units. In-depth study of Party history by all Party members is an important way to strengthen Party consciousness and Party membership consciousness. Regardless of the position they occupy, all Party members and cadres should quiet their minds and, with total dedication, conscientiously study this history and think about it deeply. They should make their learning give rise to thought, to understanding, and to benefits.


Second, it is necessary to establish a correct outlook on Party history. The materialist historical outlook is the fundamental method whereby we Communist Party members understand history. If one’s historical outlook is wrong, one will not simply be unable to achieve the objective of learning and education, but will in fact act contrary to the objective and form misconceptions. At present, there are some erroneous tendencies that should cause us to become vigilant. Some people have exaggerated mistakes and complications in Party history and, wantonly blackening and distorting Party history, have attacked the Party’s leadership. Some have painstakingly tied Party events to actual problems and maliciously hyped them. Others, believing in unofficial history instead of official history, vulgarize Party history and make it into material for entertainment. They are keen to spread gossip and rumors and talk enthusiastically about them to illegal foreign publications, and so on and so forth. While insisting on taking our Party’s two resolutions on historical questions and the relevant spirit of the Party Central Committee as the basis, let us accurately grasp the theme, main line, main current, and essence of Party historical development. We should correctly understand and scientifically evaluate important events, conferences, and personages in Party history. Some important issues in Party history should be treated in terms of seeking truth from facts. We cannot avoid the mistakes and complications because of the successes, nor can we deny the successes because of the mistakes and complications found in our investigations. We must take a clear political stand against historical nihilism, strengthen ideological guidance and theoretical analysis, and clear up hazy and one-sided understandings in order to more effectively carry out radical reform and targeted treatments for systemic health.


Third, efforts should be made to do practical things for the masses and solve their problems. Learning Party history should be combined with summarization of experiences, careful observation of reality, and promotion of work. Transform the results of learning into work motivation and results; prevent learning and work from becoming “two skins.” This Party history learning and education should be combined with solving real problems. Properly launch the practical activities of “I do practical things for the masses.” Public servant consciousness and heartfelt feelings for the people need to be strengthened. First of all, jobs should be established to serve the people, and Party members should properly perform their role as vanguard models. They should also begin with those masses whose difficulties are the greatest, first seize hold of those problems that are most prominent, take the most practical interests as the starting point, and truly solve grassroots difficulties and those problems that trouble the masses. Doing practical things is not simply providing funds and material assistance or doing something merely for show. Basing oneself in the here and now, one should solve concrete problems, those “misfortunes that are viewed with anxiety” by the masses. But it is also necessary, in consideration of the long term, to perfect institutional mechanisms for solving livelihood problems and thereby to boost the people’s sense of fulfillment, happiness, and security. People in the old revolutionary bases made great sacrifices and contributions for the Party and the people. We need to build up the old revolutionary bases and take proper care of the descendants of the heroes and martyrs so that they can live happier lives.


Fourth, it is necessary to emphasize innovation in method and approach. Party history learning and education have their own characteristics and patterns. Let us carry forward the excellent Marxist learning style, uphold sector-specific guidance, clearly define learning requirements and learning tasks, advance innovation in the areas of content, form, and method, and continually strengthen relevance and effectiveness. With the focus on leading cadres at the county level and above, we should insist on combining centralized learning and autonomous learning, insist on combining prescribed actions and optional actions, and launch learning and education that have distinct characteristics and diverse forms. We should take control of special-topic learning, special-topic Party classes, special-topic democratic life meetings, and special-topic training. Let us carefully organize propaganda teams to launch special-topic talks, and, making proper use of the Party’s red resources, give cadres and the masses personal experiences of its arduous historical course, enormous changes, and brilliant successes. We should launch broad, society-wide propaganda and education consisting of Party history, new China history, reform and opening up history, and socialist development history. Let us popularize the knowledge of Party history and promote Party history learning and education so that it penetrates deep among the masses, the grassroots, and the minds of the people. We need to encourage the creation of literary and artistic works, particularly for cinema and television, with Party history themes. We also should carefully organize the publishing and distribution of Party history-themed publications and bring the important role of the internet into play in Party history propaganda. Let us take control of youth learning and education, and make an effort to properly tell stories of the Party, the revolution, and its heroes so as to deeply cultivate love of Party, country, and socialism and pass on red genes and the torch of the revolution to the next generation.


Let us resolutely overcome formalism and bureaucratism, and be sure to reduce burdens on community-level officials. Let us prevent half-hearted completion of tasks and the occurrence of such phenomena as “people who are physically present, but whose minds are elsewhere.” Let us also prevent simply going by the book or rambling on just to gain attention. We need to prevent superficiality and fragmentation. Studying and telling Party history can’t just stop at the level of telling or listening to a story. Rather, story-telling should be used to lead the vast number of Party members towards a deeper understanding and grasp of Party history and towards a deeper theoretical understanding and knowledge of Party history.


At present, the prevention and control of the pandemic in our country remains complex, and the related economic and social development tasks are onerous. While persisting in overall planning that takes all aspects into consideration, we must tightly integrate Party history learning and education with the central work of the Party and the state, with overall planning for prevention and control of the pandemic and economic and social development, and with mobilizing the masses to create a high standard of living. With an upbeat attitude, let us do our best to begin a new journey of building a modernized socialist country in an all-around way, and, with outstanding achievements, let us greet the centenary of the Party founding!


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习近平 (Xi Jinping). "Talk Given at the Party History Learning and Education Mobilization Meeting  [在党史学习教育动员大会上的讲话]". CSIS Interpret: China, original work published in Qiushi [求是], February 20, 2021

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