To study the history of the Communist Party of China (CPC) is an important political task for all Party members. On the occasion of the CPC’s centenary celebration this year, the CPC Central Committee has launched a campaign on Party history learning and education among all Party members. Speaking at the campaign’s launch meeting, General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee Xi Jinping, for the first time, proposed the important statement to establish correct views of the Party’s history.
Establishing correct views of the Party’s history. embodies the right understanding and precise grasp of what is included in the history of the Party and an accurate understanding and effective interpretation of the philosophy reflected in this history. The history of the CPC is a systematic, innovative, and practical development history. To correctly establish the views, systematic thinking is needed to improve Party members’ ability to understand its connotation.
The first step is to correctly understand the overall values of CPC’s history. The Party’s 100-year history is the history of hard struggle and relentless efforts for progress, the history during which those with lofty ideas pursued aspirations and tackled ordeals, and the history during which Party members one generation after another stuck to the tradition and sought breakthroughs in order to lift the country out of danger and sustain its survival. In the period of revolutionary exploration, the CPC gradually grew from the nascent founding towards maturity. Vast numbers of CPC members sacrificed their lives for the benefit of the revolutionary ideal, the national fate and people’s happiness. A multitude of revolutionaries and patriots such as He Shuheng, Li Dazhao, Cai Hesen and Wang Ruofei appeared. In the face of threat, encirclement, and interception from enemies, they remained committed to the revolutionary cause without hesitation, and struggled for the founding of the People’s Republic of China even at the expense of their lives. In the period of socialist reform and construction, a new generation of outstanding CPC members such as Wang Jinxi and Jiao Yulu followed their comrades’ footsteps by devoting themselves to sectors which the country urgently needed, and contributed their personal lives to important national causes, regardless of their personal safety and harsh working environments.
Next, we must correctly understand the dynamic course of events in which CPC’s history evolved. The Party’s history is a dynamic history with progressive development. The course of the Party’s centenary progression is not static, and it can be divided into four development phrases. The first is the New-Democratic Revolution period, which spans from the initial period when the Party was founded to the time when the People’s Republic of China was founded. During this timeline, Chinese people of all ethnic groups, under the leadership of the Party, succeeded in overthrowing the “three mountains”—imperialism, feudalism, and bureaucratic-capitalism. The Chinese people managed to become masters of their country. The second period is the Socialist Revolution and Construction period. This span of time is from the founding of the People’s Republic of China to the opening of the Third Plenary Session of the 11th CPC Central Committee. During this period, the CPC led all Chinese people in the construction of various sectors. The third period is the Reform and Opening Up and the Construction of Socialist Modernization. This time span is from the opening of the Third Plenary Session of the 11th CPC Central Committee to the opening of the 18th CPC National Congress. During this period, the Party was committed to reform and innovation. Centered on economic development, it helped the Chinese people achieve a transition to prosperity. The fourth is the period of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, which lasted from the opening of the 18th CPC National Congress till now. The CPC led the Chinese people achieve the transition from being prosperous to being powerful.
The next step to build a structural understanding, is to correctly study the Party’s governance methods and theories in multiples areas. In political field, the CPC strengthens its ability to lead politically under the guidance of Marxism; in the economic field, the world witnesses high-speed development and a Chinese economic miracle; in cultural field, while rooted in traditional Chinese culture and the red revolutionary culture, Chinese culture actively absorbs other refined cultures, laying a solid foundation for cultural confidence building; in the field of ecological progress, the CPC firmly believes that “mankind and nature should harmoniously co-exist” and that “clear waters and green mountains are invaluable assets,” and submits a convincing ecological answer sheet to the world.
The development course of the past century records the Party’s remarkable achievements, and lays a foundation for the next course. In the Socialist Reform and Construction period, the CPC formulated a series of scientific and rational development goals, systems and policies, steering the country toward modernization. Take the first centenary goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects as an example. To win an important battle against eliminating absolute poverty, the Party departments at different levels and local governments worked together and mobilized societal forces from different sectors. By gradually summarizing the law of poverty alleviation and establishing policies and systems, the Party submitted a satisfactory answer sheet to the Chinese people at the critical juncture of its centenary year. However, it would never lose pace in face of achievement, but instead would work with more zeal and openness to create a better life for the people. The Fifth Plenary Session of the 19th CPC Central Committee clearly stated that China has embarked on a new journey of fully building a modern socialist country in all respects. This is also China’s second centenary goal. In the future, the Party will continue to guide lives of all its members and Chinese people by the valuable experience and spiritual wealth embodied in its history and strive for the long-range objective of realizing socialist modernization in a systematic and creative way.
Shi Shiyue is from the School of Public Administration at Nanjing Normal University.