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Keynote Speech by Ambassador Zheng Zeguang at Online Symposium on the Sixth Plenary Session of the 19th Communist Party of China Central Committee: Build on the Great Achievements of One Hundred Years’ Efforts and Embark on a New Journey
2021-11-23 19:38

Build on the Great Achievements of One Hundred Years’ Efforts and Embark on a New Journey

Keynote Speech by H.E. Ambassador Zheng Zeguang at

Online Symposium on the Sixth Plenary Session of the

19th Communist Party of China Central Committee

23 November 2021

Representatives from British Political Parties,

Experts and Scholars,

Comrades and Friends:

Good morning!

Thank you for joining us at this special Symposium on the Sixth Plenary Session of the 19th Communist Party of China Central Committee hosted by the Chinese Embassy in the UK. To understand China, one must first understand the Communist Party of China. That is why we are hosting this symposium — to create an opportunity for exchange of views with the purpose of deepening understanding of the Sixth Plenum and the CPC. It is my hope that this can lead to a more accurate perception of the major trend of China’s development.

The Plenum was held at an important time: The CPC marks its centenary this year and the timelines of the two centenary goals converge. It summed up, in a systematic way, the major achievements and historical experience of the Party over the past century, and reviewed and adopted the Resolution on the Major Achievements and Historical Experience of the Party over the Past Century. The Plenum stressed that it is of decisive significance that the Party establish Comrade Xi Jinping’s core position on the Party Central Committee and in the Party as a whole, and define the guiding role of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era. It also adopted the decision to hold the 20th CPC National Congress in Beijing in the second half of next year. The plenum will have far-reaching significance for unifying the whole Party in thinking and action, upholding and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics, and driving forward the historic process of national rejuvenation.

Comrades and Friends:

Let me say a few words about the Resolution. This is a systematic summary of the Party’s major achievements in the past century. The one hundred years’ experience can be divided into four historical stages in which the CPC united and led the Chinese people to achieve four great transformations for the country through strenuous efforts. The first stage is the new-democratic revolution. China was transformed from a millennia-old feudal autocracy to a people’s democracy. The Chinese people had stood up. The time in which the nation could be bullied and abused was gone forever. A new era began. The second stage features socialist revolution and construction. The once poor and backward Oriental nation with a large population became a socialist country. The Chinese people showed the world that they were not only capable of dismantling the old but also of building anew, that only socialism could save China and that only socialism could develop China. The third stage was marked by reform, opening up, and socialist modernization. The nation not only took historic strides in raising the living standards from bare subsistence to overall moderate prosperity and then toward moderate prosperity in all respects, but also made great leaps from standing up to growing prosperous. Reform and opening up has been crucial in making China what it is today. Socialism with Chinese characteristics is the right way forward. It has led the country toward development and prosperity. During these years, China caught up with the times in great strides. The fourth stage is the new era of socialism with Chinese characteristics. We have shown the world that the Chinese nation has achieved the tremendous transformation from standing up and growing prosperous to becoming strong.

The Resolution provides a key summary on the Party’s great achievements in the new era. Since the 18th Party National Congress, and in the face of the severe situation and complex tasks, the Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core has introduced major principles and policies, launched a host of major initiatives, pushed ahead with many major tasks, and overcome a number of major risks and challenges. Many tough problems that were long on the agenda but remained outstanding have been resolved. Many tasks long overdue have been accomplished. This has prompted historic achievements and historic transformations in the cause of the Party and the country. The Resolution lays out the achievements in the new era in 13 aspects.

Take for example the Party’s overall leadership. The Central Committee’s authority and its centralized, unified leadership have remained robust, the Party’s leadership system has improved, and the way in which the Party exercises its leadership has become more refined. There is greater unity among all Party members in terms of thinking, political resolve, and action. The Party has significantly boosted its capability of political leadership, theoretical guidance, organizational efficiency and public influence.

Another example: The Party has been taking resolute actions in exercising complete and rigorous self-governance and giving full play to its role in providing political guidance and safeguard. This has significantly strengthened the Party’s ability to improve and reform itself and to maintain its integrity. This has also fundamentally addressed lax and weak governance. An overwhelming victory has been achieved in the fight against corruption, and this momentum has been consolidated across the board, rooting out serious potential dangers in the Party, the country, and the military. The Party has grown stronger through revolutionary tempering.

In pursuing economic growth, domestic development has become notably more balanced, coordinated and sustainable. China’s GDP has exceeded 100 trillion yuan, and per capita GDP has topped US$10,000. China’s economic capability, scientific and technological prowess, and composite national strength have reached new heights. It is on the way towards higher-quality development that is more efficient, equitable, sustainable and secure.

On the diplomatic front, we have advanced all-round major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics. The concept of a human community with a shared future has become a banner leading the trends of the times and human progress. China has broken new ground in its diplomatic endeavours and turned crises into opportunities amid complex situations on the international stage. These efforts have resulted in a marked increase in China’s international influence, appeal and power to shape.

Comrades and Friends:

The fundamental reason behind the great achievements is the guidance of scientific theories. More than 100 years ago, The Communist Manifesto was published here in London, announcing the official birth of Marxism. After Marxism was introduced into China, the CPC adapted it to the Chinese context and developed it based on the practice of leading the Chinese people in a great social revolution.

The adaptation of Marxism to the Chinese reality is summed up in the Resolution as three historic steps. The establishment of Mao Zedong Thought marked the first historic step. It represents a creative application and advancement of Marxism-Leninism in China. It is a summation of theories, principles, and experience on China’s revolution and construction that have been proven correct through practice. The formation of the theory of socialism with Chinese characteristics was the second historic step. It effectively answers a series of basic questions regarding socialism with Chinese characteristics during reform, opening up and socialist modernization. Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era marked the third breakthrough in the adaptation. The Resolution points out that this Thought is the Marxism of contemporary China and of the 21st century. It embodies the best of the Chinese culture and ethos in our times.

On the basis of the Report to the 19th CPC National Congress, the Resolution provides further summary of the core content of this Thought, laying out “ten clear-cut conclusions”. In particular, it sets forth a series of original new ideas, thoughts, and strategies.

For example, in upholding socialism with Chinese characteristics, the Thought states that the leadership of the CPC is the defining feature and the greatest strength of socialism with Chinese characteristics. It makes the scientific judgment on the change of the main contradiction in China, and stresses that we should uphold and improve our socialist system and modernize China’s system and capacity for governance.

In building a modern socialist country in a comprehensive way, the Thought puts forward the strategic arrangement of a two-step approach. It stresses that China’s modernization is for a huge population. It is aimed at common prosperity for all, coordinated material and cultural progress, the harmonious coexistence between man and nature, and peaceful development.

In exercising full and rigorous self-governance, the Thought points out that China’s success hinges on the Party, especially the Party’s efforts to exercise effective self-supervision and full and rigorous self-governance. It stresses that enhancing the Party politically should be the guiding principle, the political responsibility for governance over the Party should be fulfilled, and the fight against corruption must continue. By engaging in great self-transformation, the Party can steer great social transformation.

On diplomacy, the Thought makes it clear that major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics should serve national rejuvenation, promote human progress, foster a new type of international relations and advance the building of a human community with a shared future.

Comrades and Friends:

Over the past century, the Party has led the Chinese people through great endeavours and accumulated valuable historical experience. These include:

  • Uphold the Party’s leadership,

  • Put the people first,

  • Advance theoretical innovation,

  • Stay independent,

  • Follow the Chinese path,

  • Maintain a global vision,

  • Break new ground,

  • Stand up for ourselves,

  • Promote the united front, and

  • Remain committed to self-reform.

These ten points sum up the valuable experience the Party gained over a long period. They are also the key to observing and understanding China’s success. The Party’s endeavours over the past century have fundamentally transformed the future of the Chinese people, blazed a trail for achieving rejuvenation of the nation, demonstrated the strong vitality of Marxis,m, exerted a profound influence on the course of world history, and made the CPC a forerunner of the times.

A review of the Party’s endeavours in the past century drives home more clearly that it is completely right for the Party to establish Comrade Xi Jinping’s core position on the Party Central Committee and in the Party as a whole, and to define the guiding role of Xi Jinping Thought. The CPC has over 95 million members. China has 56 ethnic groups and over 1.4 billion people. Both history and reality show that such a big party and a big country must have a strong leadership core, and this is the only way to give the party and the country strength. It is with profound love for the people, extraordinary political wisdom and a strong sense of responsibility that General Secretary Xi Jinping has led the Party and the Chinese people in ushering a new era for socialism with Chinese characteristics, and in building China into a moderately prosperous society. He is the widely-recognized and well-deserved core of the Party, leader of the people and commander in chief of the armed forces. It is the call of our times, the choice of history and the aspiration of the people to establish Comrade Xi Jinping’s core position and to define the guiding role of Xi Jinping Thought. By firmly upholding and safeguarding this core position, and the guidance of the Thought, the Party will have solid footing, and the nation will have a pillar of strength and the confidence to prevail over any challenges.

Comrades and Friends:

The endeavours of the CPC over the past century bear far-reaching significance for not only the development of the Chinese people, the nation and the Party, but also the historical process of the world.

First, such endeavours strengthened the force for world peace and development. Over the past hundred years, while pursuing happiness for the Chinese people and rejuvenation of the nation, the Party has contributed to human progress and world harmony. It has exerted profound and positive influence on the trends and landscape of world development through its unremitting efforts in self-improvement. With rapid development in all economic and social fronts, China has become an important force for the just cause of world peace and development.

Second, such endeavours provided new experience in political party governance. In the past 100 years, especially during the 72 years as the governing party, the CPC accumulated successful experience and practice, including putting the people front and centre, building close links with the people, soliciting public opinion, fighting corruption, and enhancing governance capabilities. It could be useful reference for other political party in the world.

Third, such endeavours provided new wisdom in the governance of a country. The CPC has been improving and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics. It is also working to modernize the nation’s governance system and capability. These efforts have led to effective governance and comprehensive progress in economic, political, social and cultural development and ecological conservation, which serve as reference to other countries. China’s effective response to the Covid-19 epidemic is a good example of the strength of its governance system and capability.

Fourth, such endeavours contributed ideas to global governance. China has always been an active participant in and important contributor to global governance. Against the background of the worst pandemic in a century and profound global changes unseen in a hundred years, and amid increasing global challenges, China will continue to uphold the spirit of “a community with a shared future”, and play an active part and make new contribution to the reform and improvement of the global governance system.

Comrades and friends,

While leading the Chinese people to achieve national liberation and development, the CPC had been subjected to slandering, isolation and attacks from the various reactionary forces. However, the CPC was not intimidated and we did not buckle under pressure. We have remained firmly committed to doing the right thing and following the path of our own choice.

Recently, some anti-China elements have started a new disinformation and containment campaign against China. They refuse to recognize China’s development and progress, and keep pointing fingers at China. They distort the concept of democracy to discredit China’s political system, take advantage of issues including Taiwan, Xinjiang and human rights to interfere in China’s internal affairs. Their wrong words and actions mislead the public in the West and severely disrupt the relations between China and the relevant countries.

Democracy means people being the master of their country. It is not for show, but should be able to address real problems of real people. Democracy is also the common value of mankind, but it can take different forms according to different national conditions. There are ample facts that show one model or one size does not fit all. The people of a country are best positioned to judge whether their country is democratic or not. Rejecting a democratic system only because it takes a different form is in itself not democratic. Currently, some people in the US are putting together a so-called “Summit for Democracy”. As things stand, this is in essence aimed at creating division and confrontation along the ideological line. This would go against and trample on the spirit of democracy and will be rejected by the people of world. We urge the US side to follow through with their statement of not waging a new Cold War, not seeking conflict and confrontation, and not supporting “Taiwan independence” so as to enable the long-term and steady development of the China-US relationship.

Since the 18th National Congress, the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core has stayed committed to the path of political development under socialism with Chinese characteristics, and blazed the trail of whole-process people’s democracy. China’s whole-process democracy integrates election, consultation, social governance and grassroots and citizens’ democracy. It is an all-dimensional and full-coverage democracy, and it is the broadest, most genuine and most effective socialist democracy, because it effectively guarantees that the people of the whole country can govern state affairs through various means and ways in accordance with the law. China’s achievements in development and the Chinese people’s firm support for the CPC are proof enough that China’s democracy works and China’s development is at its best time ever.

China is committed to the path of peaceful development. We are a peace-loving people. We wish to develop friendly and cooperative relations with all the other countries on the basis of mutual respect, equality and peaceful co-existence. In the meantime, we will do whatever it takes to defend our sovereign, security and development interests. And no one should underestimate the resolve and capability of the Chinese people to safeguard our core national interests. Recently, certain forces have become more blatant in using the Taiwan question to contain China and emboldening “Taiwan independence” forces. These are gravely dangerous acts. Naturally, they are opposed resolutely by the Chinese side. There is only one China in the world. The Government of the People’s Republic of China is the sole legal Government representing the whole of China. Taiwan is an inalienable part of China's territory. This is the consensus of the international community. We are willing to strive for the prospect of peaceful reunification with the utmost sincerity. But we will never tolerate any secessionist action of “Taiwan independence”. We will never tolerate “two China’s” or “one China, one Taiwan.”  

Those elements who are trying to smear and contain China are doomed to failure. Their actions not only run against the interests of the Chinese people, but also undermine the fundamental interests of their own citizens. What they do or say will only further expose their hidden agenda and hypocrisy before the international community. And because of that, the Chinese people will rally even more closely around the CPC, keep to the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics and continue to achieve new success.

The CPC and the Chinese people have strong confidence in the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics. At the same time, we fully respect the independent choices of others for their own development paths. Just as we do not "import" any models from other countries, we do not "export" China's model. It is up to the people to choose the path of development that suits their own countries. Countries of the world should enhance mutual respect, increase mutual understanding and deepen mutual trust. Today’s symposium serves as a good example. We are ready to strengthen exchanges and mutual learning with political parties in the UK and around the world. We are willing to join hands with you and pursue common progress.

Comrades and friends,

The Sixth Plenum has far-reaching significance. It clearly points out that China champions opening up over isolation, pursues mutual benefit instead of zero-sum games, and stands up for fairness and justice. China will always take the right side of history and stand on the side of human progress. China will always be a defender of world peace, a contributor to global development and an upholder of international order. All these are good news to the world and conducive to the cooperation between China and other countries, including the UK.

At present, the world is not yet free from the pandemic and countries should respond to the challenges through cooperation. We need solidarity, not division. We should work for win-win, not play zero-sum games. We should seek development through cooperation. And we must manage differences through dialogue.

In their telephone conversation last month, President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Boris Johnson reached important understanding on enhancing dialogue and cooperation and promoting sound and steady development of the China-UK relationship. Our two sides should implement this understanding earnestly by stepping up engagement and communication, building mutual understanding and trust, removing disruptions and expanding exchanges and cooperation. This will enable China-UK relations to make sound and steady progress. There is so much we can do to bring real benefit to the peoples of our two countries and to contribute to world peace and development.

Thank you.


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