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China striving for national rejuvenation since modern times

LI ZHENGHUA | 2021-07-22 | Hits:
(Chinese Social Sciences Today)

A Hundred-Year Course of the Chinese People’s Chasing Dreams Since Modern Times

A Hundred-Year Course of the Chinese People’s Chasing Dreams Since Modern Times, authored by Li Jie, a distinguished professor from the School of Marxism at Tsinghua University, was recently published alongside the celebration for the centennial of the Communist Party of China (CPC). 

The book focuses on the Chinese people pursuing, since modern times, the Chinese dream of the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. Li places the Chinese nation’s complex revival history in the broad background of the 5,000-year history of Chinese civilization and the development of human society. Pursuing the main theme of achieving the Chinese nation’s great rejuvenation since modern times, he gives a comprehensive account of China’s struggling towards rejuvenation after the nation was reduced to a semi-colonial and semi-feudal society beginning with the First Opium War (1840–42). The author describes how the CPC integrated Marxism with China’s reality and led the Chinese people to fulfill two historic tasks—national independence and the people’s liberation; national prosperity and the people’s well-being. 
Since modern times, in order to revive the Chinese nation, various political powers conducted almost all possible endeavors, in the form of self-reform and self-improvement, or armed uprising with bloody sacrifices. Ultimately, however, they all failed to save the nation from danger or change the fate of China. 
The October Revolution in Russia in 1917 brought Marxism-Leninism into China, showing the Chinese people a brand-new road to realizing national independence, people’s liberation, and building modernization independently through socialism. Following this, the birth of the CPC in 1921 recorded a new turning point in Chinese history. By combining the basic tenets of Marxism with the specific realities of China, the Chinese Communists stepped on the correct path of the New Democratic Revolution and won its victory. 
After the founding of the PRC in 1949, the Chinese Communists made unprecedented construction achievements amid arduous explorations of building socialism, a process producing valuable ideological outcomes and laying the foundation for China’s modernization drive. After the Third Plenary Session of the 11th CPC Central Committee in 1978, the Chinese Communists opened a new historical page of reform and opening up. They conducted new explorations on “what is socialism and how to build it,” establishing and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics. After more than a century of struggle, the Chinese people, socialist China, and the CPC have all undergone tremendous changes. 
Li Zhenghua is deputy director of the Institute of Contemporary China Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.