On the afternoon of June 30, the CCP Central Committee Politburo conducted its sixth collective study session, which was on opening up new horizons for Marxism adapted to the Chinese context and the needs of the times. During the study session, CCP Central Committee General Secretary Xi Jinping stressed that the major task of opening up new horizons for Marxism adapted to the Chinese context and the needs of the times is the solemn historical responsibility of today’s Chinese Communists. Based on a summary of historical experience, the Report to the 20th CCP National Congress proposed and elaborated on the “two combinations,” “six adherences,” and other scientific methods to promote theoretical innovation, providing the fundamental guidelines for continuing to promote the Party’s theoretical innovation. We should adhere to them and make good use of them.
Li Wentang, deputy director of the Central Party School of the CCP (National Academy of Governance), gave a lecture on this issue and made suggestions for work. Comrades from the CCP Politburo listened carefully to the explanation and held a discussion.
After listening to the explanation and discussion, Xi Jinping delivered an important speech. He pointed out that, looking back at the century-long history of the Party’s struggle, the reason why our Party has been able to make significant achievements in various historical periods of revolution, construction, and reform, and to lead the people to accomplish the difficult tasks impossible for other political forces in China, lies fundamentally in the mastery of the scientific theory of Marxism and the constant promotion of theoretical innovations taking new realities into account, thereby achieving major theoretical achievements such as Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory, the important idea of the “three represents,” the scientific outlook on development, and thought on socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era. The Party has always insisted on emancipating the mind, seeking truth from facts, advancing with the times, and being pragmatic. This has enabled Marxism to radiate with a strong vitality in China, and enabled the Party to master the powerful force of truth. Why is the Chinese Communist Party capable, and why is socialism with Chinese characteristics good? It all comes down to the Marxist line, the Marxist line adapted to the Chinese context and the needs of the times. This is the conclusion of history. We must continuously deepen our understanding of the fundamental principles underlying the Party’s theoretical innovation, and achieve more fruitful accomplishments of theoretical innovation on the new journey in the new era.
Xi Jinping stressed that for Marxism adapted to the Chinese context and the needs of the times, this major proposition itself determines that we must not abandon our soul—Marxism, nor abandon our roots—excellent Chinese traditional culture. Adhering to these, our soul and roots, is the foundation and prerequisite of theoretical innovation. Theoretical innovation must speak new words, but we cannot lose the old ancestors. Forgetting your ancestors is the same as cutting off the soul and roots, and you will eventually make the subversive mistake of losing the soul and roots. We must unwaveringly adhere to Marxism as the foundation for building and rejuvenating the Party and the country, ceaselessly adhere to the development of Marxism rooted in the fertile historical and cultural soil of the country and the nation, adhere to confidence in our history and culture, and adhere to making the past serve the present and bringing forth the new through the old. With Marxism as a guide, we must conduct a comprehensive excavation of the treasure house of Chinese civilization of over 5,000 years, and use Marxism to activate the elements in excellent Chinese traditional culture that are excellent and full of vitality, and endow them with connotations for the new era. We must inject the great spirit and rich wisdom of the Chinese nation into Marxism at a deeper level, effectively connect the essence of Marxist thought with the essence of Chinese traditional culture, integrate them to form new theoretical advantages, and constantly climb new ideological peaks. We need to broaden the theoretical horizons, learn from all the best achievements of civilization in human society with an open mind, innovate and develop the Party’s theory by drawing from the best ideas and cultural resources in the “sum of human knowledge,” and form a theoretical landscape and atmosphere of inclusiveness and learning from all.
Xi Jinping pointed out that it is necessary to answer the new questions of the times in a timely and scientific manner. The times are the mother of ideas; practice is the source of theory. All epoch-making theories are the product of meeting the needs of the times. Theories that are used to observe the times, grasp the times, and lead the times must reflect the voice of the times. They must not be out of touch with the practices of the times, but must continue to summarize practical experience and condense it into the ideological essence of the times. The theoretical innovation we promote is theoretical innovation founded on practice, not fantasizing sitting in ivory towers, so we must adhere to the discovery and development of truth in practice, and use practice to achieve and test the truth. In the context of the accelerated evolution and deep interaction of the “two overall situations,” human society is facing many common problems that need to be solved, and China is also facing a series of major new issues in its reform, development, and stability, in domestic and foreign affairs and national defense, in party and military governance, and other fields. The new questions raised for China, the world, the people, and the times are more complex and difficult than in the past, and they urgently require us to provide answers from the combination of theory and practice. We must firmly establish a broad historical perspective, grasp the development of world history and the correct direction with a broader vision and a longer-term perspective, clearly recognize the overall logic and trends of China’s social development and human social development, and grasp the historical evolution and practical requirements of the Chinese path to modernization. Within the new round of scientific and technological changes and the overall global economic development pattern, and given the phase-specific characteristics of our development, we must deepen our principles-based understanding of promoting high-quality development and building a new development pattern. In comparing the fates of the world’s Marxist political parties and the practical tests our party faces in its long-term governance, we must deepen our principles-based understanding of the strategic thinking of the Party’s self-revolution, and comprehensively and systematically put forward scientific concepts and effective countermeasures to solve practical problems, so that contemporary Chinese Marxism—21st century Marxism—demonstrates a more powerful and persuasive power of truth.
Xi Jinping stressed that promoting the systematization of theory and its translation into academic knowledge is an inherent requirement and an important pathway for theoretical innovation. The reason Marxism’s influence is deep and far-reaching lies in the fact that it reveals the truth of the development of human society with profound academic theories and demonstrates the scientific nature of its theories with a complete system. The development of socialist thought with Chinese characteristics in the new era is a process of continuous enrichment, systematization, and translation into academic knowledge. The Marxist theoretical research and construction project should continue to deepen theoretical research and interpretation, focus on the study and interpretation of the principled theoretical achievements in the new ideas and new assertions put forward by our party, grasp the interconnections, and educate and guide the whole Party to better learn and grasp the theoretical system of socialist thought with Chinese characteristics in the new era.
Xi Jinping pointed out that we should focus on drawing theoretical innovation wisdom from the creations of the masses. Marxism is a theory that speaks for the people and advocates for the people. It was created to change the people’s destiny, and was enriched and developed in the practice of the people’s pursuit of liberation. The people’s creative practice is the inexhaustible well-spring of Marxist theoretical innovation. As the creators of history, the people are not only the creators of material wealth, but also the creators of spiritual wealth. The accomplishments of Marxism adapted to the Chinese context and the needs of the times are the crystallization of the practical experience and collective wisdom of the Party and the people. Whether it is Mao Zedong Thought, the theoretical system of socialism with Chinese characteristics, or socialist ideology with Chinese characteristics in the new era, they all originate from the wisdom of the people, the explorations of the people, and the creations of the people. To continue promoting the Party’s theoretical innovation, it is necessary to take the route of the masses properly, never become divorced from reality, spouting empty talk and proceeding from fantasy. We must respect the people’s pioneering spirit, focus on distilling fresh experience from the creative practice of the people, elevate it to rational understanding, refine new theoretical accomplishments out of it, and strive to let the Party’s innovative theories enter deeply into the hearts of hundreds of millions of people, so they become theories that are grounded in the common people, gather the people’s wisdom, follow the people’s will, and win the people’s hearts.