Speech at the First Plenary Session of the 19th CPC Central Committee
October 25, 2017
This plenary session of the CPC Central Committee has completed the task of holding elections to determine the new central leadership. By charging us with this historic responsibility, the Party and the people have shown us their great trust and ardent expectations. We must remain true to our original aspiration and keep our mission firmly in mind, fulfill our duties to the best of what we can, work diligently, and dedicate ourselves to the Party and the country, setting our sights on securing a decisive victory in building a moderately prosperous society and capturing great success for socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era.
This plenary session re-elected me as General Secretary of the Central Committee, and I sincerely thank you all for your confidence in me. Feeling the great weight of the responsibility on my shoulders, I am determined to join hands with other members of the new central leadership, rely closely on all Party members and the Chinese people of all ethnic groups for support, and work day and night with the greatest possible effort so that I may live up to the expectations of our Party members and not let them down.
The five years since the 18th National Congress of the CPC have been a truly remarkable five years for the development of the Party and the country, with historic achievements made in reform, opening-up, and socialist modernization. Despite facing volatility abroad and arduous tasks related to reform, development, and stability at home, the Central Committee has upheld socialism with Chinese characteristics with unshakeable commitment, and strengthened and improved Party leadership across the board. It has united the entire Party and all of China’s people and led them as they rose to challenges, forged ahead, and broke new ground, and carried forward a great struggle with many new contemporary characteristics. We have coordinated advancement of the “five-pronged” overall plan and the “Four Comprehensives” strategy, adopted a raft of major principles and policies, launched a host of major initiatives, pushed ahead with many major tasks, and overcome a number of major challenges. We have solved many tough problems that were long on the agenda but never resolved, and accomplished many things that were wanted but never got done. With this, we have prompted historic shifts in the undertakings of the Party and the country, and raised China’s economic and technological clout, defense capabilities, composite national strength, international influence, and the people’s sense of gain to remarkable new heights, thus laying a more solid foundation for further progress in the cause of the Party and the country.
The great achievements and important experiences we have gained since the 18th National Congress are a crystallization of the wisdom and painstaking efforts of the 18th Central Committee as well as the Political Bureau of the Central Committee and its Standing Committee. We, the central leadership, have been mindful of the great trust placed in us by the Party and the people, strictly abided by our duties, worked diligently and creatively, and made outstanding achievements in our respective posts. Many of our comrades, including Zhang Dejiang, Yu Zhengsheng, Liu Yunshan, Wang Qishan, and Zhang Gaoli, have now left their positions in the central leadership. The Party and the people will never forget their invaluable service. On behalf of the 19th Central Committee, I would like to express to them our sincere gratitude and great respect.
The 19th National Congress of the CPC that has just concluded was an extremely important meeting held in the decisive stage for building a moderately prosperous society, and in a critical phase as Chinese socialism entered a new era. It was also a meeting that roused us to remain true to our original aspiration, keep our mission firmly in mind, stand with political pride, and work together to forge ahead. Upholding socialism with Chinese characteristics and seeking guidance from Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory, the Theory of Three Represents, the Scientific Outlook on Development, and the Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, the congress analyzed developments and changes in the state of affairs both domestically and internationally, and reviewed the work that was carried out and the historic transformations that have taken place over the past five years. On this basis, the major political determination was made that as Chinese socialism has entered a new era, the principal contradiction facing Chinese society has evolved to become that between unbalanced and inadequate development and the people’s ever-growing needs for a better life. The congress also elaborated on the CPC’s historic mission in the new era, introduced the Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era and its basic principles, defined the objectives for securing moderate prosperity throughout society and embarking on a new journey to build a thoroughly modern socialist country, and made extensive plans for advancing the great cause of Chinese socialism and the great new project of Party building in the new era.
The report of the 18th Central Committee adopted at the congress lays out a grand blueprint for achieving moderate prosperity throughout society and securing great success for Chinese socialism in the new era, and takes further steps to point the way forward for the endeavors of the Party and the country. This report represents the distilled wisdom of the Party and the people, and is a political declaration and program of action for our Party to unite all of China’s people, from each ethnic group and every corner of the country, and lead them in upholding and developing Chinese socialism in the new era. The report on the work of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) adopted at the congress summarizes the 18th CCDI’s work, and gives full affirmation to the outstanding achievements made in discipline inspection under the firm leadership of the Central Committee, demonstrating our Party’s strong determination and resolve to further improve Party conduct and combat corruption. The revised Party Constitution adopted at the congress incorporates the theoretical, practical, and institutional innovations that our Party has made since the 18th National Congress, as well as the major theoretical views and strategic thinking established in the report to the 19th National Congress, setting forth explicit requirements for strengthening the Party’s overall leadership and ensuring full and strict governance over the Party.
The new central leadership’s major political mission and the focus of its work are to fully implement the guidelines of the 19th National Congress and fulfill the goals and tasks set out at the meeting. The new era signifies a new starting point and new requirements, and calls for a fresh atmosphere and ambitious endeavors. Both now and for the near future, we must place great emphasis on work in the following six areas.
First, we need to fully understand the new requirements brought through Chinese socialism’s entry into a new era, and constantly enhance development of the undertakings of the Party and the country. Chinese socialism has crossed the threshold into a new era. This marks a historic juncture in the country’s development. Since the 18th National Congress, backed by great achievements captured since the founding of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and particularly since the launch of reform and opening-up, China’s development has reached a new point of historic departure, and the cause of Chinese socialism has entered a new developmental stage. This indicates that as Chinese socialism moves from the first centenary goal to the second, we face brighter prospects but must simultaneously put forth more formidable efforts in building a moderately prosperous society, stepping up socialist modernization, and achieving national rejuvenation. On our journey in the new era, all Party members must adapt to the era’s requirements for developing Chinese socialism, raise our capacity for thinking strategically, innovatively, dialectically, and in terms of law-based governance and worst-case scenarios, and make our work more principled, systematic, predictive, and creative. We need to have a better grasp of developments and changes in the state of affairs both domestically and internationally, more thoroughly implement the Party’s theories, line, principles, and policies, as well as the political guidelines, development strategies, and policy measures defined at the 19th National Congress, and more effectively advance the great cause of Chinese socialism and the great new project of Party building. We will thus unite all of China’s people, sparing no effort as we write a new chapter in the development of a moderately prosperous society and a modern socialist country.
Second, we must ensure that the Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era and its basic principles are fully put into practice, and consistently enhance the entire Party’s understanding of Marxist theory. The Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era and its basic principles have not emerged from thin air or subjective assumptions. On the contrary, they are the result of rigorous theoretical inquiry carried out by the entire Party and all the Chinese people since the 18th National Congress, which has built upon the foundation of theoretical and practical innovation pushed forward by the Party since the founding of the PRC and particularly since the launch of reform and opening-up, and therefore represent a crystallization of the creative wisdom of the Party and the people. As reflected by the saying, “forever green is the tree of life,” a theory may only be born out of the richness and vibrancy of real life and out of the genuine need to resolve the ills within society. On our journey in the new era, all Party members must carry forward a style of learning which links theory with practice, and remain closely in touch with the historic changes taking place in the undertakings of the Party and the country, the new realities emerging from Chinese socialism’s entrance into a new era, the major transformation of the principal contradiction in our society, and the struggle to fulfill the “Two Centenary Goals,” as well as all of our obligations therein. In this way, we will consciously use theory to guide practice, and make all aspects of our work conform better to the demands of objective and rational laws. We will constantly enhance our capacity to uphold and develop Chinese socialism in the new era, and turn the Party’s theories into a powerful unifying force propelling us toward realization of the “Two Centenary Goals” and the Chinese dream of national rejuvenation.
Third, we must complete all tasks for securing a decisive victory in becoming a moderately prosperous society, and continue to raise the level of China’s socialist modernization. Now and for the near future, the highest priority of our Party and country is to bring our journey toward moderate prosperity to a satisfactory conclusion. The 19th National Congress further clarified our Party’s commitment to achieving this goal on schedule. In terms of time, the roughly three years left will pass in the blink of an eye, so we must act with urgency as time waits for no one. In terms of requirements, our achievement of moderate prosperity must be genuine and not adulterated or exaggerated in any way if it is to win the recognition of the people and stand up to the test of history. In terms of tasks, there are many difficulties we have yet to overcome in tackling priorities, remedying shortcomings, and shoring up weaknesses. In particular, we must be resolute in forestalling and defusing major risks, carrying out targeted poverty alleviation, and preventing and controlling pollution. Completing such an extraordinary mission requires exceptional spirit and outstanding deeds. The victory ahead calls us all to mobilize and join the charge. On our journey in the new era, all Party members must act in accordance with plans made at the 19th National Congress regarding economic, political, cultural, social, and ecological development, and bring all relevant tasks to full completion. This will guarantee that we realize moderate prosperity throughout society on schedule, an achievement which will serve as a stepping stone for starting our new journey toward becoming a modern socialist country.
Fourth, we must comprehensively promote reform on various levels and in various domains, and constantly enhance the modernization of China’s governance systems and capacity. The development of our cause shows us what needs to be changed, while furthering reform is the means by which we change it. Revolving around new demands brought through development of the Party and country’s undertakings, the 19th National Congress put forward new tasks for comprehensively deepening reform. All Party members must bear in mind the fact that reform and opening-up was the key maneuver for determining the fate of contemporary China, and remains the key determinant for realizing the “Two Centenary Goals” and bringing about national rejuvenation. Without reform and opening-up, there would be no Chinese socialism, and the flourishing China we see today would not exist. After the 18th National Congress, we incorporated comprehensively deepening reform into the “Four Comprehensives” strategy, and pushed forward all aspects of reform with a swift and steady pace, thus achieving striking results and injecting the progress of all of our endeavors with powerful momentum. However, we must also be conscious of the fact that both the evolution of our undertakings and the continuation of reform are processes to which there is no end, for the progress of our endeavors on all fronts demands that reform be carried to a deeper level across the board. This is what I meant when I said that reform is always in motion and never reaches a point of conclusion. Comprehensively deepening reform remains the fundamental impetus for upholding and developing Chinese socialism in the new era. As we voyage through the new era, all Party members must adapt to the progress of the Chinese socialist cause, keep a firm grip on our overall goals of improving and developing the system of Chinese socialism and modernizing China’s governance systems and capacity, and oversee the advancement of reform in all fields and facets. We will persistently drive theoretical, institutional, technological, and cultural innovation along with other innovations in various fields, be resolute in completely eliminating outdated thinking and rooting out the ills in our systems and mechanisms, and break through the barrier of vested interests. In these ways, we will provide our efforts to achieve moderate prosperity and embark toward our next objective of becoming a modern socialist country with a powerful push forward.
Fifth, we need to fully apply a people-centered philosophy of development, and become better at ensuring and improving living standards. Since the very beginning, Chinese Communists have always aspired to promote the people’s wellbeing. We must never lose sight of this aspiration, and always take the people’s yearning for a better life as the goal of our struggle. In light of this sentiment, all-encompassing plans were made at the 19th National Congress for ensuring and improving the wellbeing of the people. We must ensure that achieving, safeguarding, and developing the fundamental interests of the overwhelming majority of the people is always the highest standard to which we aspire. We must also guide the people in creating better lives for themselves, help everyone receive greater and more equitable benefits from reform and development, and give them more substantial, assured, and lasting feelings of fulfillment, happiness, and security as we make constant strides toward the goal of common prosperity. As we navigate through the new era, all Party members must focus on problems that are of the greatest, most direct, and most practical concern to the people, and continue treating issues of public concern with the highest care and attention. Making these issues the root of our work, we must do more to pursue public interests and resolve public grievances, and consistently make new progress in ensuring access to childcare, education, employment, medical services, elderly care, housing, and social assistance, in a continued effort to advance social equity and justice, well-rounded personal development, and prosperity for all.
Sixth, we must advance the great new project of Party building on all fronts, and constantly step up full and strict governance over the Party. Upholding Party leadership and rigorous Party self-supervision and self-governance provides fundamental backing for us to carry out a great struggle with many new contemporary characteristics, to advance the great cause of Chinese socialism, and to realize the great dream of national rejuvenation. These are furthermore the essential requirements for our Party to keep in step with the times and maintain its advanced nature and purity. As proven through the practice of uniting and leading the people in revolution, development, and reform, when the Party itself is strong, the Party and the people are unstoppable in their endeavors. The 19th National Congress summed up the fresh experiences that we have gained in upholding Party leadership and strengthening Party building, and put forward explicit overall requirements for Party building in the new era. Instead of being hollow, abstract, and didactic, these general requirements are based on the practical requirements for strengthening Party building and ensuring full and strict governance over the Party; for resolving prominent conflicts and problems within the Party; for maintaining the Party’s advanced nature and purity and enhancing its capacity to innovate, to unite, and to fight; for preserving the Party’s mission and character and sustaining its intimate ties with the people; and for upholding the Party’s governing position, improving its governing abilities, and bolstering the foundations of its governance. Pushing against the current requires extra exertion, as slackening for even a moment will cause severe setbacks. We must have a thorough understanding of the new requirements that Chinese socialism for the new era has placed on our Party’s self-improvement, focus on making our Party better able to assume its missions, bring together and apply successful experiences, tackle prominent problems head on, and unremittingly advance the development of full and strict governance over the Party. On our journey in the new era, all Party members must act in line with the era’s general requirements for Party building, uphold and strengthen overall Party leadership, and ensure that the Party exercises effective self-supervision and practices strict self-governance in every respect. To make this routine practice and produce positive results, we must be perseverant and tenacious as we put forth effort that is constant and lasting, strict and pragmatic, and thorough and meticulous. As long as it remains strict on itself, there is no doubt that our Party will possess unyielding determination and indomitable strength, will maintain its intimate bond with the people, and will navigate the ship bearing the great dream of the Chinese people to cleave the waves and sail toward radiant new horizons.
There is another important task for putting the principles of the 19th National Congress into action, which is to earnestly study and implement the Party Constitution. The revised Party Constitution adopted at the 19th National Congress embodies the theoretical, practical, and institutional innovations that have been made since the 18th National Congress. It also puts forward a multitude of new requirements for preserving the Party’s overall leadership, advancing full and strict governance over the Party, and upholding Party building while constantly raising its quality. All Party members should consider studying and implementing our constitution as an important component of studying and implementing the principles of the 19th National Congress, and see these as important acts for regularizing and institutionalizing the requirements of studying the Party’s documents and meeting Party member standards. On this basis, we will foster a positive environment in which all members of our Party study the constitution by their own initiative, set an example in its implementation, strictly abide by it, and firmly uphold it, which in turn will ensure that the requirements of the constitution permeate every stage and every aspect of the Party’s development and work.
It is our Party’s historic mission in the new era to unite all the Chinese people and lead them on the path of Chinese socialism to realize a moderately prosperous society, and then take the next step toward building a great modern socialist country and achieving national rejuvenation. The torch of history has now been passed to us, and while we should be brimming with confidence as we take on this heavy responsibility, we must also tread with caution. We are confident because we are empowered with Marxist truth, the strong leadership of the Party, the correct path of Chinese socialism, and the great unity of the Party, military, and people. However, we are cautious because we must continue difficult trials to develop Chinese socialism, constantly fight in the face of various risks and challenges, and have the courage to reform ourselves so that we may resist the corrosive influence of degenerate ideas.