Congress report lauded in academia

By BAN XIAOYUE and ZHANG YIXIN / 10-27-2022 / Chinese Social Sciences Today

Delegates applaud during the opening session of the 20th CPC National Congress on Oct. 16. Photo: CFP

On October 16, the highly anticipated 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) opened in Beijing. It took place at a critical time, as the entire Party and the Chinese people of all ethnic groups embark on a new journey to build China into a modern socialist country in all respects and advance toward the Second Centenary Goal. Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, delivered a report to the Congress.

Wide acclaim

“It was exciting and inspiring to listen to General Secretary Xi Jinping’s report!” Zhang Wei, a delegate to the Congress and director of the Institute of Cultural Studies at Shandong Academy of Social Sciences, told CSST following the Congress’s opening session. She said that General Secretary Xi Jinping’s strategic, profound, and extremely appealing report has been uplifting to philosophers and social scientists working on the front line: Only by strengthening their sense of responsibility, keeping their mission in mind, shouldering their responsibilities, and working down-to-earth, can they live up to the mission of the times and make new, greater contributions to developing an advanced culture in China.

Zheng Gongcheng, a member of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, vice chairman of the China Democratic League Central Committee, and president of the China Association of Social Security, attended the Congress’s opening session, as Xi’s report greatly encouraged him. Zheng said he has been very proud of the historic and brilliant achievements made in the development of the country over the past decade since the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012, as a witness and participant in the development of the new era. He expressed faith in China’s push to build a modern socialist country in all respects and advance the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation on all fronts.

Scholars of philosophy and social sciences who received interviews from CSST all agreed that the report to the 20th CPC National Congress, standing at the commanding height of national rejuvenation and profound changes unseen in a century, scientifically planned the goals, tasks, and fundamental policies for the development of the Party and the country in the next five years—and even longer. Proposing a series of new ideas, new strategies, and new measures, the report is a guiding document for marching toward the Second Centenary Goal of building a modern socialist country in all respects.

Achievements in the new era

After ten years of hard work and arduous explorations, the Party has united and led the Chinese people of all ethnic groups to demonstrate unprecedented historical initiative and creativity. From the report, we see that: “A total of 832 impoverished counties and close to 100 million poor rural residents have been lifted out of poverty,” “China’s GDP has grown from 54 trillion yuan to 114 trillion yuan,” and “China’s life expectancy has reached 78.2 years.” A particularly eye-catching set of figures reflects a series of breakthroughs and landmark achievements after a series of strategic measures and reforms were implemented by the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core. 

Reviewing the Party’s work over the first decade of the new era, Xi noted that the past ten years marked three major events of great immediate importance and profound historical significance for the cause of the Party and the people: We embraced the centenary of the CPC; we ushered in a new era of socialism with Chinese characteristics; and we eradicated absolute poverty and finished building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, thus completing the First Centenary Goal. These were historic feats—feats accomplished by the CPC and the Chinese people striving in unity, feats that will be forever recorded in the Chinese nation’s history, and feats that will profoundly influence the world, as quoted in the report.

Jin Bei, a Member of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) and a research fellow at CASS’s Institute of Industrial Economics, said with pride that “based on historic achievements and historic changes in the past ten years, our national self-confidence has been greatly enhanced. The dream of realizing the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation is gradually coming true.”

The historic achievements and historic changes China witnessed over the past decade are multidimensional, groundbreaking, profound, and fundamental, said Zang Guoquan, dean of the School of Information Management at Zhengzhou University. Over the past ten years, the path, theory, system, and culture of socialism with Chinese characteristics have continued to develop, expanding the effective path to modernization for developing countries, and contributing Chinese wisdom and Chinese solutions to problems facing humanity.

Adapting Marxism to Chinese context

“At the fundamental level, we owe the success of our Party and socialism with Chinese characteristics to the fact that Marxism works,” this important conclusion had been emphasized by Xi on multiple occasions. In his report to the 20th CPC National Congress, Xi further added to this statement, asserting that “Marxism works particularly when it is adapted to the Chinese context and the needs of our times.” 

Analyzing this statement, Chen Peiyong, deputy dean of the School of Marxism at Peking University, said, “This is to say that what the CPC means by Marxism, is not the Marxism that rests in the texts of classic Marxist writers, nor is it a rigid and stagnant dogma. The vitality of Marxism lies in its development and advancement with the times. Only by adapting Marxism to the Chinese context and the needs of our times, can we correctly answer the major questions raised by the times and practices.”

Thought is powerful. Theoretical thinking and thought guidance are essential for a nation to be at the forefront of the times. Zhang Shuhua, director of the Institute of Political Science at CASS, believes that the Chinese Communists have harnessed the power of Marxist truth to activate the great civilization created by the Chinese nation over thousands of years, enabling the Chinese civilization to unleash great intellectual power once again. 

“Practice has proven that Marxism is a powerful thought tool for us to make sense of the world, grasp the laws [of development], pursue the truth, and reshape the world. It is the guiding thought that our Party and country must always follow,” Zhang Shuhua said. The CPC adheres to the basic tenets of Marxism, seeks truth from facts, proceeds from China’s reality, perceives general trends of our times, takes initiative from history, and conducts arduous explorations. The Party constantly adapts Marxism to the Chinese context and the needs of our times, guiding the Chinese people to continuously advance the great social revolution, he pointed out. 

New missions on the new journey

The past decade of the new era, including the past five years, has been unusual and extraordinary in the development course of the Party and the nation. Practices of socialism with Chinese characteristics have made remarkable historic achievements and historic changes, laying a more solid material foundation and a more complete institutional guarantee for building a modern socialist country in all respects. At the same time, China’s development has entered a period where strategic opportunities, risks, and challenges coexist, with increasing uncertain and unpredictable factors.

He Dexu, director of the National Academy of Economic Strategy at CASS, said that the missions and tasks of the CPC on the new journey of the new era, expounded in the report to the Congress, fully demonstrate that the Party actively adapts to and responds to various changes. The forward-looking  thinking, overall planning, and holistic advancement of this great national cause of building a modern socialist country in all respects embodies the CPC’s strong confidence and determination to lead the Chinese people to write a more brilliant chapter of socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era. The comprehensive, deep, and systematic interpretation of Chinese modernization has established a complete theoretical system and practical logic. It not only represents a new breakthrough and new contribution, theoretically and practically, to humanity’s exploration of paths to modernization, but also clearly shows China’s development path to the world and greatly broadens the modernization path for developing countries, He Dexu said. 

Shi Zhongying, director of the Institute of Education at Tsinghua University, mentioned that each of the previous CPC congresses specified the central task of the Party for different historical periods. The central task represents new understandings and expressions of the Party’s missions and tasks according to domestic and international circumstances and the characteristics of each social and historical development stage, and is the general guideline and general requirement for the Party’s work in a specific historical period. The 20th CPC National Congress made clear the Party’s central task in the next five years, and for a long period of time in the future, which has important theoretical, practical, and historical significance.

Amid global changes of a magnitude unseen in a century, China in the new era will provide the world with the latest samples of state governance, which will further profoundly influence the course of humanity’s historical advancement. Chinese path, governance, and approaches will inject more stability into the turbulent and changeable world.