(28 June 2000)
At the eve of the 79th anniversary of the foundation of the Chinese Communist Party, the Centre has convened an ideological and political work conference, which is of important significance. In September last year, the Centre has issued Document 17, which has made deployments on strengthening and improving ideological and political work. The objectives of this conference are further getting a clear understanding of the circumstances faced by the ideological and political work, further clarifying the position of ideological and political work in the overall work picture of Party and State, further summarize the experience of ideological and political work, putting forward requirements and measures for strengthening and improving ideological and political work suited to new situations and new circumstances, mobilize the entire Party to ensure that ideological and political work is done more vividly and dramatically, and has realistic effects.
The Party’s ideological and political work is the lifeline of economic work and all other work, is a central link in uniting the entire Party and the people of all ethnicities in the entire country to realize all Party and state tasks, and is an important political superiority for our Party and Socialist state. This sort of important position of ideological and political work is decided by the nature and purpose of our Party, and has been proven through the overall history and overall experience of the Party. Our reform and opening up, and modernization construction is the undertaking of the millions of popular masses themselves. The ideals and convictions, spiritual outlook and people’s will of the popular masses, in the end, decides the success or failure of the undertaking of constructing Socialism with Chinese characteristics. In the past few years, the Centre has repeatedly stressed that the more the economy is developed, and the more reform and opening up takes place, the more regard must be given to ideological and political work, the basic rationale lies here. New circumstances and new tasks, as well as the real situation of ideological and political work, requires that we must forcefully strengthen and improve the Party’s ideological and political work. This is a necessary requirement for guaranteeing that our Party achieves its representing the development requirements of China’s advanced productive forces from beginning to end, represents the progressive orientation of advanced Chinese culture, and represents the basic interest of the broadest people of China. To strengthen and improve the Party’s ideological and political work, the requirements of the “Three represents” must be completely implemented. This is a long-term strategic policy for uniting the Party and leading the people in constructing Socialism with Chinese characteristics.
I, Concerning the new circumstances and new situations faced by ideological and political work
Since reform and opening up, the Party’s ideological and political work has been integrated with implementing the Party’s basic theory and basic line, moved the practice of constructing Socialism with Chinese characteristic forward, has obtained new achievement, has accumulated new experiences and has undergone new trials. We persist in using Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought, and especially Deng Xiaoping Theory to arm the entire Party educate the cadres and the people; persist in the correct public opinion orientation, deeply conduct patriotic, collectivist, Socialist education with hard work and an enterprising spirit; broadly launch mass-type spiritual civilization construction activities, propagate a large batch of advanced models reflecting the spirit of the times; strive to enrich the people’s spiritual cultural lives, use excellent works to inspire the popular masses; integrate ideological education with resolving the real issues the popular masses are concerned about, closely connect the Party with the masses, and broadly muster the vigour of people of all ethnicities in the entire country to construct Socialism with Chinese characteristics.
Generally speaking, ideological and political work in these 20 years and especially since the 14th Party Congress has provided strong spiritual drivers and important political guarantees for improving reform, development and stability, and capturing the victory of modernization. At the same time, it should also be pointed out that in the are of ideological and political work, we have also learnt lessons, and within a period of time, the phenomena of grasping economic construction with one relatively strong hand and grasping ideological and political construction with one hand that is relatively soft, which was already criticized by Comrade Deng Xiaoping, occurred. On how to strengthen and improve ideological and political work in new periods, there is a lack of deep research and effective methods. Summarizing both positive and negative experience, the comrades in the entire Party must deeply understand that during a new historical period, the Party’s ideological and political work must be forcefully strengthened and improved by starting from the reality of incessant change, and may not have slackening or weakening in the slightest.
Now, there is one sort of reflection, which is facing new situations and new issues internationally and domestically, if some rationales must be made really clear to cadres and masses, that is not so easy; the information that cadres and masses receive is very rich and very confused, ideologies are extremely dynamic, to truly integrate their ideologies, is not so easy. Concerning this issue, we must first and foremost have a general grasp. The Party’s ideological and political work is basically the work of human conduct, the work of mass conduct, it touches upon people’s thoughts, concepts, consciousness and other areas, and is peoples’ spiritual life. Marx pointed out: “The means of production in material life restrict the process of overall social life, political life and spiritual life. It isn’t the conscious of people that decides the existence of people, conversely, it is that the people’s social existence decides peoples’ consciousness”. To do ideological and political work well in new times, we must, from the international and domestic, past and present angles, deeply analyse the objective environment that influences the ideological activities broad cadres and masses under new circumstances and its basic characteristics, correctly examine and resolve those major theoretical issues and practical issues that influence the ideological activities of cadres and masses. Once issues in these areas have been clearly understood and dealt with well, our conduct of ideological and political work in a new period will have gained a fundamental basis that is relatively suited to reality.
Here, I’d like to raise some issues that require the common deep research of the comrades in the entire Party, to further gain scientific understanding ideologically and politically, and make correct answers, everyone is requested to consider them together.
The first issue concerns how to understand the historical process of Socialist development. Marxism was born more than 150 years ago, and the October Revolution that established the first Socialist country was more than eighty years ago from now, the complete establishment of our country’s Socialist system also happened more than forty years ago. It should be said that during this period of more than 150 years, Socialist theory and practice has obtained huge progress in exploring and guaranteeing the political equality and autonomy of the whole body of the people, abolishing the system of people exploiting people, eliminating polarization, a wide gap between rich and poor, establishing new ideologies, morals and culture, and other areas, and has accumulated rich experience. Practice proves that Socialism is the correct path fro guiding the proletariat and working people who are oppressed by an exploiting system to change their fate, gain social liberation and construct a happy life. Since the establishment of the new China and especially since reform and opening up, our country’s Socialist construction has obtained magnificent achievements that attract worldwide attention, comprehensive national power is clearly strengthening, and the people’s living standards are incessantly rising. Socialism’s flourishing development in China has displayed a strong vitality and creativity. The broad popular masses wholeheartedly embrace the undertaking of constructing Socialism with Chinese characteristics. This has established a firm basis for our ideological and political work.
Even so, we must also soberly notice that, from the point of view of world history, the history of Socialism is still short, generally speaking, it is still in the first stage of practice and development. We must also notice that the Socialist countries that came into being before and after the October Revolution have basically all been countries who were originally backward economically, politically and culturally. Thoroughly changing this sort of backward situation requires a very long historical development process, after establishing a basic Socialist system, until then, it is impossible to avoid that many difficulties and risks that are difficult to foresee or imagine are meant along the way, it is not smooth sailing. Comrade Deng Xiaoping said, consolidating and developing the Socialist system still requires a very long historical phase, and requires unwavering and hard struggle by some of our generations, ten generations and even some tens of generations. He fully estimated the long-term nature and arduousness of constructing and developing the undertaking of Socialism. Because Socialism is a sort of brand new social system, there is no ready-made experience that may be followed, and as for what is Socialism and how to construct Socialism, we must incessantly practice, understand, practice more, understand more, and in this process, mistakes and setbacks may occur here and there.
The tremendous changes in Eastern Europe and the dissolution of the Soviet Union are huge reverses met by global Socialism. Why did the Soviet Union, this Socialist country that developed for more than seventy years, dissolve? Some good people generated doubts and perplexity, and there are worries about the future of global Socialism here and there as well, and even some of our Party members and cadres have engendered “a crisis of faith” to different degrees. This is an objective reality, our not admitting or squarely facing this will not do.
From earnestly summarizing the lessons from the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the tremendous changes in Eastern Europe, as well as complications such as the “Cultural Revolution” that occurred among us, and deeply analysing their causes, two conclusions may be drawn. First is that we must persist in Socialism. Western hostile forces assert that Socialism and Marxism have disappeared from the earth, this is only a somniloquy of theirs. Second is we must move Socialist reform forward, and explore a Socialist development path conform to the reality of this country. Practice proves that Chinese Socialism not only continues to exist, but has developed even better through reform. We must, on the basis of such a basic understanding, guide the broad Party members, cadres and masses to correctly understand the objective laws of social development, and the long-term nature and arduousness of the Socialist undertaking, and strengthen our determination and confidence matching the path of Socialism with Chinese characteristics. This is one large topic that our Party faces in theoretical research and ideological and political construction that must be resolved.
The second issue concerns how to understand the historical process of the development of capitalism. The development of capitalism started in England’s bourgeois revolution, and has already had 360 years of history. Many people feel that a question that is hard to explain is: Marx and Engels already declared in the “Communist Manifesto”, that because of the movement in the basic contradiction of the socialization of capitalist production and the system of private ownership, capitalism inevitably was to die out, and Communism would inevitably be victorious. Lenin already pointed out at the beginning of this century that capitalism entering the imperialist phase is monopolizing, degenerate and moribund capitalism. Now, capitalism has not only not disappeared from the world, but developed capitalist countries have seen new and great development in productive forces, science, technology and other areas.
At present, in terms of economic, scientific and technological development, material and cultural living standards, developed capitalist countries are much higher than a developing Socialist country like ours. This is an objective fact, it won’t do for us not to accept this or face up to this. Is the existence of this sort of phenomenon to say that basic rules for human social development revealed by Marxism are not tenable? Naturally, this is not the case. In 1859, Marx pointed out in his “Preface to ‘A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy'”: “No social order is ever destroyed before all the productive forces for which it is sufficient have been developed, and new superior relations of production never replace older ones before the material conditions for their existence have matured within the framework of the old society.” In the present world, the intrinsic basic contradictions of the capitalist system still exist, and have not changed in nature because of economic, scientific or technological developments in Western countries. But, since the emergence of Socialism, this antithesis of capitalism, in the world, huge superiorities have been revealed, and on the one hand, Western capitalist countries have struggled with Socialism by hook or by crook, this struggle incessantly changes in form, but has not ceased; on the other side, they have, for the sake of safeguarding the existence and development of the capitalist system, conducted not a few self-adjustments, improvements and reform to some segments in the capitalist relations of production, the operation and management mechanisms for capitalist economies and societies, including learning some methods from Socialism, and have thereby enabled capitalist relations of production to not only accommodate real productive forces, but also to develop productive forces, class contradictions and social contradictions under capitalist governance have also relaxed to a certain degree.
Concretely speaking, after entering the 20th Century and especially after the Second World War, within the scope permitted by the capitalist system, they have adopted not a few measures in taxation, welfare policies, enterprise organization and structuring as well as strengthening state intervention in the economy and other areas, which have adjusted and to a certain degree eased the restriction of private ownership of the means of production on the development of productive forces. They have especially attracted and used the newest achievements of contemporary scientific and technological development to provide new spaces for the development of productive forces in capitalist societies. We must also consider that, under the condition that the old international economic order continues to exist and the new international order has not yet been established, Western developed capitalist countries use their economic, scientific, technological and even military superiority to gain huge profits on world markets, this is an important condition for their continued development as well.
In the past few years, I have constantly used the viewpoint expressed in Engels’ text “A Critique of the Draft Social-Democratic Program of 1891”. Engels says: “Capitalist production by joint-stock companies is no longer private production but production on behalf of many associated people. And when we pass on from joint-stock companies to trusts, which dominate and monopolise whole branches of industry, this puts an end not only to private production but also to planlessness.” That is to say, change can appear in the development of capitalism itself, we should correctly understand and theoretically explain these changes. Western capitalist countries’ self-improvement and reform, have not fundamentally moved capitalist governance, have not changed the nature of the capitalist system, , and have not changed the rationale of the basic principles of Marxism concerning capitalism. Western countries have forcefully developed their economy and accelerated the promotion of economic globalization, which has created an incessant increase in the wealth of Western countries, but this wealth is increasingly concentrated in the hands of a minority, this will unavoidably aggravate the basic contradiction of capitalism. But, we must also consider that Western countries have also adopted a number of measures and means to limit overly high income and excessive monopolization.
The production and development of anything has their regularities, no matter what its concrete development process is, in the end, objective laws cannot be cast off. But objective laws point at historical outcomes, and these cannot emerge before the final stage of the entire evolutionary process, generally speaking, any objective law has a gradual and ever deeper function in the concrete process of history. We should persist in the basic principles of Marxism, pay attention to guide the broad cadres and masses in correctly understanding the historical process of contemporary capitalism through the broad combination of theory and practice, history and the present. We must ensure that everyone understands that only Socialism can save China, only Socialism can develop China. On the one hand, we can absolutely not deny the basic principles and scientific theses of Marxism because of some flourishing phenomena that occurred in the concrete evolution of capitalist societies. On the other hand, we must strengthen research on self-adjustment and development in contemporary capitalism, make persuasive theoretical analyses, and further enrich and develop Marxist theory.
The third issue concerns how to understand the influence of the process of our country’s Socialist reform practice on the thoughts of people. Since the 3rd Plenum of the 11th Party Congress, we have implemented reform and opening up, developed the Socialist market economy, pushed two basic transformations forward, and further liberated and developed our country’s Socialist society’s productive forces, this deep social change inevitably will give rise to deep changes in the people’s spiritual world.
This point has been reckoned with by our Party in the first stages of reform and opening up. Reform, opening up and modernization construction have brought rapid development to the economy and huge progress to society, have strengthened people’s sense of competition, sense of efficiency, consciousness of democracy and the legal system, spirit of pioneering and innovation, and has created even better material conditions and spiritual conditions for our doing ideological and political work well. At the same time, because of the fact that social elements, organizational forms, employment methods, interest relationships and allocation methods grow more diverse every day, the independence, choice, variability and difference in people’s thoughts and activities has clearly increased; weak points exist in market economy activities, and the negative influence they bring is reflected in the ideology of people and relationships between people, they easily induce liberalism, decentralism, mammonism, hedonism and egoism; the content and forms of manifestation of contradictions among the people have also shown many new situations. Our realizing opening up to the outside world, benefits people broadening their horizons, increasing experience, and enlivening thoughts, but foreign bourgeois degenerate ideologies and culture may also seize the opportunity to enter. The vestiges of feudalist thought that existed for a long time in our society, including feudal superstition, ignorant and backward ideological concepts, may also gain the upper hand under new historical conditions. The changes occurring in the social being are reflected in the minds of people, and inevitably give rise to corresponding changes in ideologies.
In the process of our conducting reform, the enlivening of our ideologies, and the emergence in large numbers of all sorts of concepts, the mutual intertwining of correct ideologies and, mutual influence of progressive concepts and backward concepts is hard to avoid. One important task in the Party’s ideological and political work is that the cadres and masses must be guided in clearly distinguishing the mainstream and the tributary streams, clearly distinguish what is correct and what are falsehoods. In the China of today, the correct and progressive ideological concepts with Marxism as guidance are the ideological mainstream for the entire society, this is beyond all doubt. Mistaken and backward ideological concepts that violate Marxism, even though they are tributary streams, must also be earnestly dealt with. If they are let to develop, it may create extremely large social harm. Some mistaken ideological trends have propagated and sprawled, and this often began when we neglected the tributary streams, and in the end, we could not but use great force to resolve this. The lessons in this area may not be forgotten. The more we are in a period of transition, the more we must be on guard against the emergence of all sorts of mistaken ideologies and the negative influence they bring onto people, and the more our Party’s ideological and political work must be strengthened and improved.
The fourth problem concerns how to understand the influence brought by the present international environment and the international political struggle. The world is developing in the direction of multipolarity, the process of economic globalization is also accelerating, there are new things every day in the process global science and technology. This sort of influence has a positive side, it also has a negative side.
What must be pointed out is that, since the October Revolution, Western countries have continuously done their utmost to launch all sorts of offensives against Socialist countries, important among this was conducting of ideological infiltration. The tremendous changes in Eastern Europe and the dissolution of the Soviet Union are closely related with ideological infiltration conducted by Western countries for a long time. Now, China is the world’s largest Socialist country, it is incessantly developing, and grows richer and stronger every day. Western hostile forces are intensifying theory political strategy of Westernizing and dividing our country through all sorts of means and methods, in an attempt to subvert the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party and the Socialist system of China. This sort of political scheming of them will not change. In these past few years, they have incessantly used so-called “human rights”, “democracy”, “freedom”, “ethnic” “religious” issues and the Dalai Lama, and Taiwan issues to cause us trouble. They collude with so-called “democracy movement” elements in exile abroad and hostile forces in side our borders, and attempting to link up operators. Our struggle with all sorts of domestic and foreign powers in infiltration and counter-infiltration, subversion and counter-subversion is complex and has a long-term nature. This is an important reflection of class struggle that still exists to a certain degree and will exist for a long time in our country.
Our correction of the mistake of “taking class struggle of the key link” that occurred for a while in the past is completely correct, but this does not mean class struggle does not exist. As long as class struggle still exists to a certain degree, we cannot abandon the Marxist viewpoints and methods of class and class analysis. This sort of viewpoints and methods are the key for use to observe the complex political phenomenon of struggle between Socialism and all sorts of hostile forces. At the same time as persisting in reform and opening up, and strengthening foreign economic and cultural exchange, we must pay utter attention to guarding against and preventing the infiltration and subversive activities of hostile forces. This is an important theme that strengthening the Party’s ideological and political work must deeply research in new times.
Deep changes are occurring in the world, China is currently conducting a self-transformation to perfect and develop the Socialist system. The circumstances that the Party’s ideological and political work faces have become more complex, tasks have become more onerous, and work has become more arduous. The Party’s ideological and political work cannot be seen as unessential or good for nothing, it is indispensable and very promising. Practice tells us that if ideological and political work is done well, our undertaking will be develop even better. In the struggles to fight floods and come to the rescue in 1998, on the 1999 bombing of our embassy in the Southern Union by NATO led by the United States, to oppose the so-called “Two Chinas Theory” of the leaders of Taiwan authorities to separate the motherland and to oppose the “Falun Gong” sect, the popular masses have expressed high political enthusiasm and a patriotic spirit, and formed a strong voice. Conversely, if ideological and political work is weakened and not grasped tightly, mistaken thinking trends will flood in, people’s thoughts will be in chaos, people’s minds will scatter, and this may engender grave consequences. The occurrence of the political storm in 1989 is a deep lesson. We must soberly understand that, because of complex international and domestic factors, we have great amounts of work to do in the ideological and political sphere, the contradictions and struggles in our ideological and political sphere are long-term and complex, and under certain conditions may be extremely acute. Because of this, the position of ideological and political work in the overall work of the Party cannot change, the fact that the Party firmly and unwaveringly grasps tasks in ideological and political work cannot change, and our requirement to incessantly raise the quality and level of ideological and political work cannot change.
The Party’s ideological and political work therefore has become the lifeline of economic work and all other work, this has been decided by its function and effect. Only by fully giving rein to the political superiority the Party’s ideological and political work, will it be possible to guarantee the correct development orientation of economic work and all other work, will it be possible to guarantee that the Party’s line, principles and policies are implemented in all work areas and among the masses, will it be possible to timely remove and vanquish the interference of all sorts of mistaken things, and will it be possible to consolidate and develop an ideological and political basis for the common struggle of the people of all ethnicities in the entire country, thereby providing strong drivers and guarantees for economic work and all other work. This sort of important function and important position of ideological and political work must be fully understood by the comrades in the entire Party and especially all levels’ leading cadres.
II, Concerning strengthening and improving the Party’s ideological and political work
In 1983, Comrade Deng Xiaoping reminded the entire Party that: “after shifting the centre of gravity of work towards economic construction, the entire Party must research how to adapt to new conditions, strengthen the Party’s ideological work, prevent immersing into economic work and overlooking trends in ideological work.” We are dialectical materialists, we recognize the final decisive function of productive forces in social development, unwaveringly persist in taking economic construction as central, all areas of work must submit to and serve this centre, regardless of what circumstances of encountered, they cannot shake of influence this centre; at the same time, we also fully affirm and give high regard to the opposite reaction of spiritual matters on material matters, social consciousness on the social being, the superstructure on the economic base, and politics on economics. We absolutely cannot repeat the modes of thinking and methods of work of “ideological work is all-powerful” and “politics affects everything” we had in the past, but we can also not simplify, absolutize or vulgarize the tenet that the forces of production have the final decisive function in social development. We must dialectically consider and deal with the mutual relationship of grasping economic work with one hand, and grasping ideological and political work with one hand, and unify both into of the popular masses’ understanding the world and changing the world, and the magnificent practice of reform, opening up and modernization construction, both realizing sustained economic development and realizing overall progress.
Socialism with Chinese characteristics is a Socialism of coordinated development between material civilization and spiritual civilization, in which economics, politics and culture are comprehensively moved forward. The Party’s ideological and political work tasks are: arming the people with scientific theory, guiding the people with correct public opinion, moulding the people with noble spirits, heartening the people with excellent works, incessantly raising the ideological, moral, scientific and cultural quality of the entire nation, striving to foster and bring up Socialist citizens with ideals, with morals, with culture and with discipline; developing new forms of interpersonal relationships, creating good social morality, fully giving rein to the vigour, initiative and creativity of the popular masses, guaranteeing that the Party’s line, principles and policies, and State laws and regulations are implemented, and guaranteeing the smooth realization of reform, opening up and modernization construction.
Facing new circumstances and situations, in order to complete the above tasks, our ideological and political work must, on the basis of inheriting and carrying forward fine traditions, strive to conduct innovation and improvement in content, form, method, means, ways, mechanisms, etc., and special effort must be made in strengthening a sense of the times and strengthening focus, effectiveness and initiative. This must become the focus point of our strengthening and improving ideological and political work in the future. Here, I stress four points.
First, we must closely integrate the new reality of our country’s Socialist reform and construction, developments and changes in the international circumstances, strengthen research and propaganda of Marxism, incessantly strengthen the persuasiveness and fighting strength of Marxist theory. The most basic matter in strengthening and improving ideological and political work is persisting in and consolidating the guiding position of Marxism in our country’s ideological sphere. This is the basic ideological foundation guaranteeing that the entire Party and the people in the entire country strengthen unity and advance into the correct direction from beginning to end. Only by persisting in the guidance of Marxism will it be possible to correctly formulate, propagate and implement the Party’s line, principles and policies, will it be possible to develop advanced ideologies and overcome backward ideologies. If we abandon the guiding position of Marxism, and pluralize the guiding ideology, this certainly will lead to great chaos in people’s hearts, great disorder in all under heaven, and will bring disaster to the Party and the country. This is absolutely impermissible. In the ideological area of any society, the ideology of that society’s ruling class always occupies a dominating position. The ruling class of any country, in order to consolidate their political domination, must actively safeguard and develop their dominating ideology. Western countries have never permitted Marxism to occupy a guiding position in their ideologies. Western countries all have a set of systematic methods and means to instil their officials, students, masses and troops with capitalist ideologies, value systems and political tenets. In this issue, they have also grasped matters very closely. Our persistence in the guiding position of Marxism must pay special attention to strengthening work in two aspects: the first is timely summarizing the new understanding that the Party and the people have gained and the new experiences they have created through practice, to powerfully answer major ideological and theoretical questions that are put forward in real life, that the cadres and the masses care for, the second is that we must be good at utilizing Marxist viewpoints to engage in vigorous struggle with all sorts of mistaken viewpoints, and help the broad cadres and masses to establish and maintain a correct ideological and theoretical understanding.
The most basic work in persisting in the guiding position of Marxism is using Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought and Deng Xiaoping Theory to arm the entire Party and educate the People. We must ensure that this sort of theoretical arming work is rich in effect, and must forcefully carry forward the study style of integrating theory and practice, dare to and be good at analysing and answering the questions in real life and in the people’s thoughts that need urgent resolution. Theory can only correctly answer and guide the resolution of real questions in integration with practice, and only then can it give rein to tits own authority and truly grasp the masses. Marxism has a profound mystery with great vitality, which resides in its theoretical quality of progressing with the times. Marx, Engels, Lenin and Comrade Mao Zedong and Comrade Deng Xiaoping, have never made theoretical research into scholarship in the study room, they have always closely integrated the needs of real struggle, forcefully answered the major theoretical issues that were incessantly put forward in reality, and have thereby incessantly enriched and developed theory. if we change Marxism into an invariable and dry dogma, change it into a simple peaching, it will be separated from the reality of people’s lives, it cannot have persuasiveness, and will lose its vitality. We must persist in the basic tenets and scientific spirit of Marxism, persist in liberating thoughts and seeking truth from facts, persist in taking Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought and Deng Xiaoping Theory as guidance, strive to make scientific and persuasive interpretations and explanations that conform to reality of prominent issues that urgently need theoretical guidance or explanation at present, and fully give rein to the basic function of theory in ideological and political work.
To persist in the guiding position of Marxism, we must persist in singing the main melody, beating the main drum, scientifically and actively propagating Marxism, guiding the cadres and masses in overcoming and resisting the influence and corrosion of mistaken, backward and degenerate ideology and culture. The truth of Marxism has been established, developed and incessantly brought into people’s hearts through struggle with all sorts of falsehoods. In these past years, some ideological discourses that are opposed to Marxism and Socialism have emerged now and then in society: some openly advocate “wholesale Westernization”, advocate Western style multi-party systems and parliamentary democracy in politics, advocate privatization in economics, advocate the abolition of the guiding position of Marxism in ideology and culture, and advocate extreme individualism in terms of values; some distort the history of struggle by the Party and the people, vilify Marxism and incite dissatisfaction towards the Party and the government; some do not bear responsibility, and produce vulgar and low-level audiovisual books and periodicals that propagate sex and violence, superstition and decadence; some hold doubts and denying attitudes towards reform and opening up; etc. Our country is so large, that this sort of problem occurs is difficult to completely avoid. But, some problems occur repeatedly, knowingly in violation, this must attract our high attention. Concerning issues relating to political orientation and basic principles we absolutely must show our colours clearly, work with truth on our side, and be utterly explicit. Against mistaken ideologies and viewpoints that violate taking economic construction at the centre, violating the Four Cardinal Principles and violating the policy of reform and opinion up, and against challenges and attacks violating Marxism, we must conduct vigorous ideological struggle, we cannot hear it but let it go. If we show no interest, do not criticize and do not struggle when faced with mistaken ideological and political viewpoints, if we allow them to go and disrupt people’s thinking or disorder our ideology, that will be extremely dangerous, and certainly will endanger the stability and unity of the entire country and society. The comrades in the entire Party and especially high-level Party cadres, and all comrades working in the Party’s ideological and political work and engaging in Marxist research and propaganda must keep this point firmly in mind. Naturally, when criticizing and struggling with mistaken ideologies, we must pay absolute attention to fully putting forward facts, speaking with reason, teach through benefits and unite the masses. Concerning problems in the ideological and political area, we must persist in the principles determined by the Centre, our minds must be sober and awake, we must quietly observe, grasp trends, know the score, study and weigh situations, and handle matters cautiously. We must strengthen positive guidance, correctly differentiate political right and wrong, and academic questions. Concerning academic questions, we must persist in letting a hundred flowers bloom and a hundred schools contend, equal discussion and mutual learning from group discussion.
Second, we must closely integrate the new problems emerging in the ideological understanding, work and lives of cadres and the masses, prominently strengthen ideals and convictions education, incessantly strengthen the cohesion of the whole body of people. Ideals and convictions education is the core content of the Party’s ideological and political work. Only with the ideals and convictions correctly established among the comrades in the entire Party and the whole body of the people will it be possible to incessantly strengthen cohesion and fighting force, and will it be possible for our undertaking to meet with incessant success. Ideals and convictions education must be closely integrated with the ideological reality of cadres and the masses, have a definite goal, suit the medicine to the illness, and cannot be parroting of texts or empty shouting of slogans. For example, now, some people have raised some doubts concerning the scientific truths for Marxism, and have wavered in their conviction that Socialism will in the end, inevitably vanquish over capitalism through long-term development, they lack confidence in the cause of constructing Socialism with Chinese characteristics, their ideologies are hollow, their spirits listless; some people have wallowed in seeking a spiritual relief in a world of women and wine, or in feudal superstition activities; some people have drift with the currents as they were faced with seduction, an extremely small number of Party members and cadres have degenerated into corruption because they deviated from the correct ideals and convictions. Strengthening ideals and convictions education requires that we tackle these issues, earnestly analyse the factors causing these problems and deeply and meticulously launch our work.
We must persist in starting from reality, and organically integrate advanced requirements with broad requirements. The most basic matter is that we must persist in conducting patriotic, collectivist and Socialist education, mobilize the people of all ethnicities in the entire country for the cause of constructing Socialism with Chinese characteristics, and jointly struggle to construct our country into a rich, strong, democratic and civilized Socialist modernized country. We must ensure that the broad popular masses correctly understand the basic interest of the State and themselves, establish correct worldviews, views of life and value systems, merge individual ideals into the common ideals of the whole body of people, merge individual struggle into the struggle for Socialist modernization construction of the motherland, persist in confidence in Socialism with Chinese characteristics, belief in reform, opening up and modernization construction and faith in the Party and the government. We must vigorously propose all ideologies and morals that realistically benefit national unity, ethnic unity, economic development and social progress. We must strengthen propaganda and education on scientific knowledge, scientific methods, scientific thinking and scientific spirit in society, assist and guide the people in clearly distinguishing between materialism and spiritualism, atheism and theism, science and superstition, and civilization and ignorance, strengthen their ability to identify and resist of all sorts of idealism and feudal superstition, and pseudoscience. The youth is the future and hope of our undertaking, and we must especially grasp education of their ideals and convictions. All Communist Party members and Communist Youth League members must strive to study and grasp Marxist standpoints, viewpoints and methods, and establish the noble ideals of Communism. At the same time, we must also understand that the final realization of Communism requires undergoing a very slow historical development process, the important matter is to earnestly and humbly do the undertaking of constructing Socialism with Chinese characteristics that we are now building well. Concerning these issue, we must seek truth from facts, and may not produce unrealistic propaganda.
In launching ideological and political work, we must pay attention to suiting measures to local conditions, suiting measures to persons, suiting measures to the occasion and suiting measures to the times. Cadres and masses in different regions, different departments and different spheres deal with different environments, undertake different tasks and face different problems, the characteristics and requirements of their ideological activities may also be different. Workers, peasants, intellectuals, cadres, soldiers, retirees and other have their own characteristics, if we do work in a stereotyping manner, it will not have good effects. In doing work, we must grasp these characteristics and requirements, and conduct affairs in a focused manner. For example, towards regions with relatively rapid economic development, that have already achieved the level of relative prosperity, we should launch forceful education on thinking of sources after becoming rich, and being rich conscientiously should be launched among cadres and the masses, to encourage them to move up another stage; towards regions that have not yet developed, where living conditions are relatively difficult, we must forcefully launch education on regeneration through self-reliance, and working diligently in spite of difficulties, to encourage them to shake off poverty and become rich through hard work, as soon as possible. The broad workers, peasants, intellectuals and cadres are the basic forces of the undertaking to construct Socialism, ideological and political work must be completely done well. Especially when we implement major reform policies, we must conduct broad propaganda and meticulous ideological work, in order to obtain the understanding and support of the masses. We must pay attention to regularly conducting education about circumstances to the cadres and the masses, to ensure that they have a correct and complete understanding of the current political, economic and social circumstances. Cadres and especially high-level cadres have a great influence on society, university students, master students and doctoral students are our country’s reserve forces for talent in all areas, intellectuals in all areas are able to have an important influence on society, ideology and culture, ideological and political work towards them must be done especially well. The floating population is huge in number, managing them is also relatively difficult, all levels’ urban and rural Party organizations must strengthen coordination and realistically do management and ideological and political work towards them well, they cannot leave blind spots. Laid-off workers and retired personnel, workers from enterprises in difficulties and masses from rural poor regions, meet relatively great and real difficulties in life, their thoughts and emotions easily fluctuate, ideological and political work must be deeply and meticulously conducted towards them especially, in order to maintain social stability. Generally speaking, concrete situations are to be concretely analysed, concrete issues are to be concretely resolved, this is the spirit of Marxism, and the basic requirement of dialectical materialism. The Party’s ideological and political work should also persist in supporting this living spirit, and persist in responding to these basic requirements well.
Third, We must closely integrate the new requirements for developing the Socialist market economy, strive to strengthen Socialist moral education, incessantly raise the ideological and moral quality of the whole body of people. In order to construct Socialism with Chinese characteristics even better under the condition of developing the Socialist market economy, we must establish a suitable Socialist legal system, and must at the same time shape a suitable Socialist ideological and moral system in the entire society. Laws and morals are a component part of the superstructure, and are important means to safeguard social order and standardize people’s thoughts, they are mutually linked and mutually supplementing. The rule of law and its authority, and coercive means standardize the acts of members of society, morals and their persuasiveness, and their advisory power raise the ideological understanding and moral awareness of all members of society. Moral standards and legal standards should be mutually integrated and give rein to a unified function. Some good moral qualities are able to make people self-consciously fight for right against wrong, carry forward the good and punish the bad, this benefits the formation of desirable social atmospheres that pursue the noble and encourage what is advanced, guarantee the healthy development of the Socialist market economy, and stimulate the raising of the quality of the entire nation. Striving to construct a Socialist moral system that corresponds to developing the Socialist market economy, is an utterly important work, and must be put in a prominent position. Socialist morality construction must have Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought and Deng Xiaoping Theory as guidance, have serving the people at the core, have collectivism as principle, have loving the motherland, loving the people, loving labour, loving science, and loving Socialism as basic requirements, and have the construction of social public morals, professional ethics and household virtue as stopover point. The entire Party and the entire society must act jointly, and strive to concretize and standardize the above content and requirements, an let it become a standard for action with which the people of the entire country widely identify and that they consciously observe.
Constructing a Socialist moral system is a systemic project, and must persist in correctly handling the relationship between fairness and effect, persist in integrating advance requirements and broad requirements, and persist in the standard of the “Three Benefits”, persist in inheriting and carrying forward the excellent culture and tradition of the nation and vigorously attracting excellent cultural achievements from outside. We must correctly understand and deal with all sorts of relationships of interest, unify and integrate individual interests with collective interests, departmental interests with overall interests, present interests and long-term interests, and strive to shape a Socialist view of interests that puts the interests of the country and the people first, and fully respects the individual lawful interests of citizens. We must carefully formulate and implement guiding plans for moral construction that are adapted to the requirements of social development, merge the basic requirements of moral concepts into relevant laws and regulations and all concrete policies, merge them into all social management, and at the same time create a good social and public opinion atmosphere, broadly launch mass-type spiritual civilization creation activities, and incessantly promote the shaping and perfection of the Socialist moral system.
Fourth, we must closely integrate the new requirements of social, spiritual and cultural life, strive to explore a set of methods, means, ways and mechanisms that are effective in practice, incessantly raise the inspiration and osmosis of ideological and political work. To strengthen and improve ideological and political work, we must pay attention to methods, means, ways and mechanisms. Persisting in using advanced ideological and scientific theories to educate the masses is a good tradition of our Party, the problem is that we must integrate new realities in operations, and must especially research and explore how to strengthen the influence and persuasiveness of this sort of education, and ensure that the masses are happy in accepting it. Since reform and opening up, the spiritual and cultural lives of our country’s people have seen many new developments. A first one is that, following the incessant improvement of material lives, they have put forward new requirements for their spiritual and cultural lives, their psychological situation, reception capacity and enjoyment levels have changed as well; a second one is that, under conditions of incessant innovation in science and technology, the methods, means and ways for people to receive information and leisure entertainment have changed greatly, some new dissemination media and cultural entertainment venues have attracted large numbers of masses; third is that following the emergence of a great number of economic organization and social organizations, as well as the incessant expansion of and change in quantity, scope and methods of mobility of members of society, the problem that ideological and political work mechanisms are not suited is extremely prominent. Strengthening and improving ideological and political work requires maintenance of good traditions and good methods that were effective in the past, but even more important is that we must incessantly explore mew methods, means, ways and mechanisms suited to new circumstances. It will not do for us to not innovate or to not reform, and simply continue to use the old set of things.
Launching ideological and political work requires our striving to achieve vivacity and vigour, things that the masses love to see and hear, avoid formalism and dogmatism at all cost, and avoid simplification and rigidity. If we do not stress methods and means, if we do not distinguish targets, conditions or occasions, but parrot texts, copy mechanically and apply indiscriminately, use platitudes and clichés, empty and idle talk or chains of conventional phrases, we can absolutely not achieve results. We must especially be on guard against and prevent formalist things. Comrade Mao Zedong has said that formalism persecutes people to death. Engaging in formalism not only deceives ourselves and others, but is a waste of time and resources, it is utterly harmful to the Party’s undertaking. Ideological and political must stress the salutary influence of education, quietly enlivening all things, patience and detail, and unobtrusive influence. Among the popular masses, rich and real educational resources are held in store, attention must be paid to guiding the masses to educate themselves. Good thoughts and good virtues that have been formed and expressed in the practice of the masses, and fresh experiences or good methods that have been created at the grass roots must be timely summarized and propagated. In short, we should adopt realistic and effective methods to broadly propagate the Party’s line, principles and policies, Socialist ideological and moral viewpoints, legal knowledge, advanced scientific and cultural knowledge among the whole society through flexible and varied methods, so that the broad cadres and masses can grasp it.
The development of information technology and especially information network technology has provided modernized means for us to launch ideological and political work, and has expanded the space and channels for ideological and political work. We must give high regard to and fully utilize information network technology to raise the timeliness and effectiveness of ideological and political work, expand its coverage and strengthen influence. The Internet is open, information is disorderly and varied, there are large amounts of progressive, healthy and useful information, but there is also not a little reactionary, superstitious or pornographic content. The Internet has already become a new important battlefield for ideological and political work. Domestic and foreign hostile forces are doing their utmost to use it to vie with our Party and government for the masses and for the youth. We must research it characteristics, and adopt forceful means to respond to this sort of challenge. We must actively launch the attack, strengthen our positive propaganda and influence online. All levels’ leading cadres must pay close attention to and research new trends in information network development, grasp the study of network knowledge, be good at using networks to launch their works, and strive to grasp the initiative in the online struggle.
III, Concerning strengthening the leadership of the Party in ideological and political work
Comrade Mao Zedong pointed out: “Grasping ideological leadership is the first thing in grasping overall leadership.” Comrade Deng Xiaoping stressed: “When we talk about improving Party leadership, the most important matter is strengthening ideological and political work.” These thoughts are extremely important. To grasp Party building, we must first and foremost gasp the Party’s ideological and political construction, because resolving ideological and political issues are the precondition and basis for doing all other work well. This fine tradition and important experience of the Party may not be lost at any time.
The Party’s ideological and political work is essentially the work of the masses, it is the work of propagating to the masses, educating the masses, guiding the masses and raising the masses, because of this, we must persist in marching the path of the masses. All leading cadres must absolutely firmly establish the viewpoint of the masses, do ideological and political work while holding deep emotions towards the masses, conscientiously learn from the popular masses, and serve the masses sincerely and honestly.
Our strengthening and improving of ideological and political work, in the final analysis is to serve the Socialist economic bases. We must prevent and correct the phenomenon of “two skins”, that ideological and political work is separated from economic work, must absolutely closely integrate economic work and all business work and do it together, and bring all work into the real lives of the popular masses’ material production and spiritual productions. Now, thoughts and real problems among the issues have clearly increased, all sorts of contradictions become more prominent every day. We must realistically understand the ideological and interest requirement of the masses, grasp the emotions of the masses and research the changes in the masses’ ideological concepts. We must integrate mass ideological work with assisting the masses in resolving real problems, both stress rationality and solve real issues, both convince people by reasoning and move people’s emotions, let ideological education penetrate into solving real issues, guide the masses to raise their understanding an strengthen the masses’ confidence in the Party and the government through solving real issues. All levels’ party Committees and governments must do more work that gains people’s hearts, warms people’s hearts and stabilizes people’s hearts, and must enthusiastically help masses in difficulty to resolve real problems. Ideological and political work must be done regularly and repeatedly, with perseverance and unremittingly. We cannot wait until something happens, and the emotions of the masses intensify before we do something, “seeking help at the last moment”, is very hard to do well. Ideological and political work greatly involves issues of contradictions among the people. We must deeply analyse the new forms of manifestations, the new characteristics and the new content of contradictions among the people, and guide the people to correctly understand and deal with the relationship between the shared interests of the whole body of people and the special interest of masses in different areas, patiently disambiguate and explain matters, appropriately resolve contradictions among the people, to ensure that our society is full of vitality, and to maintain stability and unity.
Ideological and political work is the work of the entire Party, all Party members and leading cadres must do it. At the same time, a line of ideological and political work teams who are strong in politics, excellent professionally, strictly disciplined and with a correct work style, integrating full-time and half time, must be established. The broad comrades engaging in ideological and political work have worked very hard, their contribution cannot be unrecognized. Advanced personalities and advanced experiences in this field must be commended and propagated. It should be considered that, facing new circumstances, new tasks and new challenges, this line of teams of ours is not yet completely adapted in many areas. All levels’ Party Committees must care for the construction of this line of teams, and especially care for raising the quality of their ideological and political and their work ability.
In the construction of grass-roots ideological and political work teams, we must achieve that organization is implemented, personnel is implemented, responsibilities are clear and systems are complete. We must foster and select a number of middle-age and young comrades with firm politics, complete professional mastery, a solid work style and relatively high cultural levels to substantiate grass-roots ideological and political work departments, optimize political work cadre team structuring. This must become a major matter for us to grasp. All levels’ Party organizations must care for and have consideration for ideological and political work personnel, support their work, actively assist them in solving real issues, strive to create a fine environment for ideological and political work with glorious posts, major responsibility and social respect. Ideological and political work must have effects, and whether or not the people doing ideological and political work have human dignity and power is very important. The comrades doing ideological and political work are first and foremost all levels’ leading cadres, they must put in more effort in “acting upright” and “talking upright”, and strive to unify the power of human dignity and the power of truth. The Party’s ideological and political work faces the whole society and faces the broad cadres and masses, only relying on a number of people is far from sufficient, the entire Party must set to, implement matters down to the grass roots, and mobilize forces from all sides to conduct joint action. Our Party has more than 63 million Party members, if Party members and cadres can all vigorously and actively do ideological and political work well, our might will grow.
Party Committee secretaries are in charge if ideological and political work and thought work, this is a good tradition of our Party. All levels’ Party Committee secretaries are very busy, and the major matters they must grasp truly are great in number, but under any situation, they cannot relax leadership over ideological and political work and thought work. If they do not give high regard to and cannot do ideological and political work, it is impossible for them to become mature leading cadres. Ideological and political work is one discipline, and all levels’ leading cadres and political work cadres must strive to understand and grasp its basic knowledge and laws. All levels’ Party organizations must realistically bear the responsibility and duty of doing the Party’s ideological and political work. We must establish unified leadership of Party Committees, all Party and Government departments, labour unions, the Communist Youth League, the Women’s Federation and other people’s groups are to all manage matters jointly, are each responsible for their own ideological and political work structure, and must establish and complete ideological and political work responsibility systems.
Large amounts of facts prove that if the ideological and cultural battlefield is not occupied by Marxist and proletariat ideology, all sorts of non-Marxist and non-proletariat ideologies and even anti-Marxist ideologies will occupy it. All ideological and cultural battlefields from top to bottom, including theory, news, publishing, newspapers, periodicals, novels, poems, music, painting, dance, theatre, film, television, radio, the network, etc., should become battlefields for us to propagate scientific theory, disseminate advanced culture and mould noble spirits, we may absolutely not provide dissemination channels for mistaken viewpoints that violate the Four Cardinal Principles, violate the policy of reform and opening up, or violate the Party’s principles and policies, as well as things that are unhealthy for the physical and mental health of the people and especially young. All social levels, including villages, communities, enterprises, schools, troops and all sorts of people’s organizations, social organizations and other mass education, culture and entertainment venues directly face the masses, their function and influence may not be underestimated, we must absolutely thoroughly manage them well and construct them well. Ideological and cultural work units produce and disseminate spiritual products, and must put social interest in first place, strive to ensure the correct integration of social interest and economic interest. All levels’ Party Committees must strengthen a sense of the battlefield, realistically strengthen their leadership over the ideological and cultural battlefield. Every ideology and culture work unit’s Party organization must earnestly implement the Party’s principles and policies, and State laws and regulations, truly achieve their responsibility to protect their territory. Propaganda, ideology, culture and education departments must organize and guide theory, literature and art workers to go deeply into the masses, incessantly create high-quality spiritual products that stick close to real life, are rich in the flavour of the times, eulogize social programmes.
To see whether or not we are able to grasp the leading power and initiative in the ideological and political sphere, we must first and foremost look at the Party’s own Marxist theory levels and their operational capacity. All levels’ Party and government leading ranks’ first in command, must especially strive to strengthen their own basic training in Marxist theory, raise their political acuity and political power of distinction. Among leading members, attention must be paid to selecting comrades with a relatively solid grounding in basic Marxist theory training, who are well versed in the ideological area. Whatever new situations and new problems exist in fact in the ideological and political area in one’s locality or department, leading cadres must absolutely know how things stand. All levels’ Party Committees and especially main leading cadres must revolve around major issues in the ideological and political sphere, go deep into reality to conduct investigation and research, correctly grasp the state of and trends in social thought, in order to benefit strengthening the focus of work.
Example is better than precept. Whether or not the Party’s ideological and political work can be done well, depends to a large extent on our Party’s own construction and the word and deeds of leading cadres at all levels. The eyes of the masses are bright as snow. What we require the masses to achieve, Party members and cadres must achieve first and foremost. If they say something, they must do something, if the great principles that are talked about demand things of other people, and they do not have a model function, then however good they say it, it is useless. Within our Party, not a few prominent issues exist within the Party in ideological, organizational and work style experts, and especially, the phenomenon of corruption has emerged among some Party members and cadres, which as brought grave damage to the image of the Party, and this has had an utterly evil influence on the masses. If there are many matters like this, and they cannot be timely dealt with, then, the ideological and political work achievements that have been achieved after many years of arduous effort will be greatly influenced in some localities and departments. The Centre puts forward that to govern the Country, first and foremost, it is necessary to govern the Party, governing the Party must be strict, and have an utterly important political significance, the comrades in the entire Party must unwaveringly implement this in their work. Ideological and political work must be implemented to the grass roots, grass roots Party organizations must have cohesion and fighting strength. At present, all levels and all departments have some grass roots Party organizations that are in a weak and fragmented state to different extents, which influences the effective conduct of the Party’s ideological and political work. This issue must be continuously grasped and resolved. The “three stresses” education has already gained clear achievements, the general reflections of cadres and masses are good. This work is the most realistic ideological and political work, and completing it meticulously has an important significance to strengthening Party construction and closely linking the Party and the masses. Everyone must, according to the requirements of the Centre, continue to grasp all work in the “three stresses” education with high standards and strict requirements. We must pay attention to preventing and overcoming self-satisfied slackening in morale, make persistent efforts, strive to obtain even greater effects. In short, the entire Party must unwaveringly strengthen Party building according to the requirements of the “Three Represents”, and carry forward the three great excellent work styles of the Party, continue to strengthen and raise the prestige of the Party among the popular masses, and provide basic guarantees to complete the Party’s ideological and political work.
Here, I’d like to stress another issue. Cadres are the Party’s precious wealth, and must absolutely be cherished utterly. Caring for and cherishing cadres is a good tradition of our Party. We must not only care for cadres’ ideology and work, but must also care for the life of cadres and their physical and mental health. Now, work is all very onerous, and not a few cadres are overloaded in work, some even keep working despite illness. This sort of spirit of selfless struggle for the undertaking of the Party and the people makes one feel gratitude and admiration. The more cadres work and struggle like this, the more all Party organizations must care for and cherish them, and pay attention to their life, health, healthcare and other issues. Whatever issue they have, they must be vigorously and actively helped in resolving it. This issue must be given high regard at all levels’ Party organizations, from the Centre to the localities, a number of necessary measures must be adopted and implemented.
Finally, I hope with all my heart that the cadres in the entire Party have inspired spirits, strong confidence, advance despite difficulties, struggle jointly, and strive to found a new dimension for ideological and political work that is vivid and vigorous, solid and forceful, that spurs a long period of peace and order for the Party and the country.