Revolutionary Ideals are Higher than Heaven-Studying Comrade Xi Jinping’s Important Elaboration concerning Strengthening Ideals and Convictions
This Autumn Stone editorial was published on the Seeking Truth website on 1 November.
When he participated in the Hebei Province Party Committee Ranks Special Democratic Life Meeting, Comrade Xi Jinping told everyone that there is a rationale that must be repeatedly stressed, which is that Party cadres must never waver in belief, must vow to adhere to their chosen course and struggle for the common ideals of Socialism with Chinese characteristics. Ideals and convictions are the spiritual banners for the united struggle of a country, nation and party, wavering ideals and convictions are the most harmful form of wavering. Comrade Xi Jinping pays high regard to such a major strategic issue relating to the rise, fall, success or failure of the Party and the State, and put forward a series of new thoughts, new viewpoints and new arguments. Earnestly studying this important elaboration has an extremely strong real significance to our persisting in the leadership of the Party, and persisting in and developing Socialism with Chinese characteristics under the circumstances of an increasingly complex international and domestic environment.
I, An extremely important issue
The issue of ideals and convictions is an extremely important issue, and must be discussed regularly and repeatedly. Looking from the point of view of the larger picture of Party and State development, economic construction is the centre, and high regard must be paid at the same time to spiritual construction, spiritual strength and spiritual life; looking from the point of view of the Party building project, power must be locked into a cage of rules, and at the same time, this “calcium” in the spirit of Communist Party members of ideals and convictions must be replenished; looking from the point of view of the Party’s governance strategy, the popular masses are a solid basis for governance, lofty beliefs is a strong spiritual pillar of the Party, as long as we never waver in our faith and never become separated from the masses, we will be able to gain victories wherever we go.
We must establish and strengthen clear ideals and convictions. Comrade Xi Jinping said that a country, a nation and a party must, at any time and under any circumstance, establish and strengthen clear ideals and convictions. Time has brought great changes over the 5000 years of history of the Chinese nation, closely concentrating 56 ethnicities and 1.3 billion people is the ideal and conviction that we jointly uphold. Within our Party’s history of more than ninety years, one generation of Communist Party members after another have not stinted to shed blood and sacrifice themselves, and what they relied on was a firm belief in Communism, and they did it for the sake of realizing the magnificent ideals of national wealth and strength, the rejuvenation of the nation and the happiness of the people. Against the background of the increasing complexity of all kinds of ideologies and cultures interacting, blending and clashing in the present world, the tangible economic, military, scientific and technological competition between countries is undoubtedly acute, and intangible ideological and value contests are even more hair-raising. Especially right after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, when Western academics hurriedly declared that history had ended in an ideal of capitalism, the core position of spiritual values came even more clearly to light. It is difficult for a nation without spiritual strength to stand by itself and strengthen itself, and forming formidable material strength is inseparable from profound spiritual oceans. Regardless of how society develops, regardless of how the economy flourishes, if the pursuit of noble ideals and convictions is abandoned, it is impossible that our country and nation will stand tall in the world.
Ideals and convictions are the “calcium” of Communist Party members’ spirits. At the first collective study session of the 18th Central Politburo, Comrade Xi Jinping put forward this universally appreciated and splendid metaphor, which deeply revealed the intrinsic connection of ideals and convictions with Communist Party members. Without ideals and convictions, or if ideals and convictions are not firm, we will catch “calcium deficiency”, this may lead to political deterioration, spiritual rapaciousness, moral degeneration and corruption in life. A few corrupt elements have often imputed their own calamity of imprisonment on loopholes in the system, this often is an excuse to exonerate themselves. The system undoubtedly has a fundamental nature, overall nature, stable nature and long-term nature, but firm belief throughout is the firm political viewpoint of Party members and cadres, and a decisive factor in resisting all sort of seductions. The system brings people not to dare to engage in corruption, convictions lead people not to want to engage in corruption, this is spiritual strength”! “The ancients would see knives and clamps in front of them, and a cauldron to the back of them, but they saw them as empty, because the only thing they would see was the ideal”, Xia Minghan’s “Don’t fear being beheaded, as long as one’s ism is true”, Yang Chao’s “The heaven’s are full of rain, wind and worry, for the Revolution, it is unnecessary to fear losing one’s head”, Fang Zhimin’s “The enemy can only cut off our heads, but cannot shake our beliefs”!, all manifest the huge function of the “calcium” of ideals and convictions. If every Party member and cadre faced with carrots and sticks, only looks at the rationales of Communist Party members, they will train an incorruptible body of gold and steel, where do the “four styles” come from? How could the four great tests and the four great dangers not be vanquished and eliminated!
We must be vigilant against and prevent a landslide and wavering of ideals and convictions. The disintegration of a regime often starts in the ideological area, if the ideological front is broken, other fronts become difficult to hold. How could the Soviet disintegrate? How could the CPSU collapse? One important reason is that they wavered in ideals and convictions. Gorbachev one said in private that Communist thinking had become obsolete to him. When the spirit of conviction no longer exists, where is the core of a Party and a country? Because of this, wavering ideals and convictions are the most dangerous wavering, a slide of ideals and convictions is the most dangerous slide. Some people either make criticizing and sneering at Marxism into a “fad” or “fun”; or yearn for Western social institutions and value concepts, they lose confidence in the prospects of Socialism; yet others have an ambiguous attitude, are negative, hide, do not dare to bear the sword or protect their image in the face of political provocations concerning issues of principle such as the leadership of the Party, the path of Socialism with Chinese characteristics, etc., they even wilfully obscure standpoints, they malinger and act like “Justices of the Peace”. These are all “most dangerous waverings”. Comrade Xi Jinping stressed that in looking whether or not a cadre is qualified, the first thing is to look whether or not their ideals and convictions are firm. If their ideals and convictions are not firm, however great one’s skill is, they cannot be the good cadres that the Party needs. We must absolutely strengthen ideals and convictions from the height of the life and death of the Party and the country, to ensure piety and persistence, trustworthiness and profundity, firm positions in the face of allsorts of temptations, clear banners in the face of great mattes of right and wrong, dauntlessness in the face of storms, waves and trials, and the eternal preservation of Communist Party members’ political traits through a magnificent struggle with many new historical characteristics.
II, Hold fast to the lifeblood and soul of Communist Party members.
Revolutionary ideals are higher than heaven. Strengthening ideals and convictions, and holding fast to the spiritual pursuits of Communist Party members, is the root of Communist Party members’ settling down and getting on with their work from beginning to end. Faith in Marxism and a conviction in Socialism and Communism are the lifeblood and soul of Communist Party members.
There must always be this bright light of Communism in one’s heart. Comrade Xi Jinping discussed that the highest ideal of Communist Party members is realizing Communism. Realizing Communism requires a considerably long historical period, but our Party members and cadres must have this bright light in their hearts. When we think about problems or deal with matters, we must naturally start from the real situation in front of our eyes, and put things that are currently happening or are currently being done at the centre, but if we lose our broad objectives as Communist Party members, we may lose our direction, and become utilitarians and pragmatists. At the moment, quite a few people are too lacking in ideals and convictions, and have become too utilitarian. Idealists who become removed from reality are undoubtedly incorrect, but the ideal of conforming to the laws of historical development and complying with historical development tendencies may absolutely not be lost. Party members and cadres cannot waver in their belief at all, when they waver, they will lose their roots. Communist Party members must, under any circumstance, ensure that their political faith does not change, their political viewpoints do not shift, and their political orientation does not move, they must maintain their own political lifeline and main their own political soul.
At this time, we must march a stable path of Socialism with Chinese characteristics. Comrade Xi Jinping tells us that to strengthen ideals and convictions, we must learn from and understand the road that we have marched. The path decides the destiny. Our Party has extensive experience of suffering untold hardship in exploring this path of Socialism with Chinese characteristics, and history has proved that this is the only concrete path for the Chinese nation to march towards a great rejuvenation. Socialism with Chinese characteristics reflects the unification of the highest programme and the basic programme of the Party, and reflects the historical development laws of Chinese society; it conforms to our unique cultural traditions, unique historical destinies and unique basic national conditions, and is a scientific Socialism worthy of its name. Marching down the path of Socialism with Chinese characteristics, we will certainly be able to realize the Chinese Dream of national wealth and strength, the rejuvenation of the nation and the happiness of the people. We must have self-confidence about the path, self-confidence about theory and self-confidence about the system, doubly cherish this path that we have not found easily, and firmly remember that the objective in our current stage is persisting in and developing Socialism with Chinese characteristics. Cling to the green mountain without letting go, hold unyielding, anyway the wind blows.
On our shoulders, we must carry the vocation of serving the people. The popular masses are the source of the Communist Party’s strength. It is as Comrade Xi Jinping pointed out, whether or not we persist in the basic purpose of wholeheartedly serving the people, is the main standard to measure whether or not Party members and cadres have the broad ideals of Communism. Our people are magnificent people, they are the creators of history, and must be placed in a central and the highest position from beginning to end, enlightening the masses truly is the rationale of heroism. Communists’ ideals and convictions cannot be separated from this root of serving the people at any time. If this root is lost, Party members and cadres, and especially leading cadres, may have these problems. The “Four Work Styles” and all sorts of manifestations and forms are linked with worldviews, views of life and value views. If “master switch” issues are not resolved well, it is hard to avoid that that boundaries are overstepped hare and there, or there is a slow drain on funds. As Party cadres, we must make serving the people into the vocation of Communist Party members, serve the people wholeheartedly, and this means that we must sincerely and earnestly struggle for the undertaking of the Party and the people.
III, Maintain lofty ideals, be faithful in practice
There are objective standards to measure whether or not a Communist Party member or a leading cadre has broad Communist ideals. Comrade Xi Jinping summed them up in four whethers: whether or not they persist in the basic purpose of serving the people wholeheartedly, whether or not they put hardship first and enjoyment second, whether or not they work diligently and are honest in performing official duties, and whether or not they dash fearlessly ahead to fight and struggle for their ideals, and contribute all of their strength and even their lives. We must take these four standards put forward by Comrade Xi Jinping as a basis, take ideological and theoretical construction as the foundation, take education about the Party nature as central, take moral construction as fundamental, and work diligently to realize ideals.
Grasp this foundation of ideological and theoretical construction well, and lay a firm historical materialist basis. The more we incessantly run into new situations and new issues, the more we must be conscientious and earnest, and thoroughly study Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought and the theoretical framework of Socialism with Chinese characteristics, use Marxist viewpoints, positions and methods to observe the world, understand the essence of phenomena and development trends, and cultivate our spiritual garden. The reason why some people believe that Communism is purely imaginary, do not believe in Marxism-Leninism but in supernatural beings, hanker after fortune-telling or physiognomy, burn incense and pray, is at the rout because they have not firmly established historical materialist viewpoints. The Communism that has been derived from the scientific theory of Marxism is no pure illusion, ignorance about the laws of history and a lack of sense about the direction of history are a sort of fundamental ignorance and lack. The objective of study completely lies in building ideals and conviction on an identification with the rationale of scientific theory, which is built on a correct understanding of the laws of history, and ensures that the roots of ideals and convictions are deep and its leaves dense and evergreen.
Grasp this core about education about the Party spirit well, derive the best nutrition from China’s revolutionary history. We must study the Party’s history, carry forward the Party’s fine traditions and work styles, firmly establish correct worldviews, views on power and views on undertakings. China’s revolutionary history is the history of the Party leading the people in unwavering struggle for the sake of ideals. Comrade Xi Jinping stressed that we must deeply understand the ancient maxim of “to annihilate a country of men, you must first remove its history”, consider attitudes and questions concerning China’s revolutionary history as a major political issue, and persist in defending the Party’s history. China’s revolutionary history is the best nourishment, better revive the magnificent history of our Party leading the people in conducting the revolution, and we may increase much positive energy in hearts. The pure Party spirit may, through sincere dialogue and exchange through fiery years, be moulded and polished to become even richer and firmer.
Grasp this basis of morality construction well, ensure that everything is for the sake of the public and not the private, a separation of public and private interests, preference of public interests before private interests, and forgetting the self for the public interest. We must stress the Party spirit, stress behaviour and be examples, deal with the relationships between the “public” and the “private” well, be models for Socialist morality well, demonstrate the human dignity and strengths of Communist Party members through real actions. The reason why leading cadres have a corrupted work style, abuse their power for personal gain, and even end up in a situation where their greed knows no bounds, the roots are the character “private”. Cadres’ reasonable and lawful interests naturally must be recognized, and must be guaranteed, but this is not the same concept as egoism, self-interest and greed, and they cannot be confused. As Party cadres, they must stress that everything is for the sake of the public and not the private, a separation of public and private interests, preference of public interests before private interests, and forget themselves for the public interest . If they don’t even stress this point, is our Party still the vanguard of China’s working class? Is it still the vanguard of the Chinese people and the Chinese nation? Only if we devote ourselves to the public interest and let everything start from the public interest, can we have a correct view of right and wrong, view of justice and interests, view of power and view of undertaking, can we bring the masses into our hearts, can we be magnanimous and benevolent, can we use power cautiously, can we be just, honourable and awe-inspiring.
Noble achievements come from magnificent ideals, great successes come from arduous labour, solid work rejuvenates the nation. If we do not have broad ideals, we are not qualified Communist Party members; if we depart from real work and engage in empty prattle about broad ideals, we are also not qualified Communist Party members. True ideals are the reality of tomorrow and are even more the actions of today. Only if ideals and convictions are tempered in practice, can they radiate with resplendent light. We must both maintain lofty ideals, and do every aspect of Party work in the basic outline of the current historical period firmly and well in a down-to-earth manner, to obtain excellent results in our stage of the “relay race”. If one does not rest in ones ideals, even difficulties will be made easy; if one does not halt one’s pace, even long distances will be completed. All beautiful ideals of humankind are inseparable from arduous struggle, enduring great hardships in pioneer work, and working hard. As long as we strengthen ideals and convictions and do not fear sacrifice, conquer all obstacles and strive for victory, the lofty ideals of humankind can certainly be realized! We must have such a most magnificent boldness of vision, and we must have such most firm convictions!