Adopted at the Sixth Plenary Session of the 19th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China on November 11, 2021
Since its founding in 1921, the Communist Party of China (CPC) has remained true to its original aspiration and mission of seeking happiness for the Chinese people and rejuvenation for the Chinese nation. Staying committed to communist ideals and socialist convictions, it has united and led Chinese people of all ethnic groups in working tirelessly to achieve national independence and liberation, and then to make our country prosperous and strong and pursue a better life. The past century has been a glorious journey.
Over the past hundred years, the Party has led the people to a number of important milestones: achieving great success in the new-democratic revolution through bloody battles and unyielding struggles; achieving great success in socialist revolution and construction through a spirit of self-reliance and a desire to build a stronger China; achieving great success in reform, opening up, and socialist modernization by freeing minds and forging ahead; and achieving great success for socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era through a spirit of self-confidence, self-reliance, and innovating on the basis of what has worked in the past. The endeavors of the Party and the people over the past century represent the most magnificent chapter in the millennia-long history of the Chinese nation.
A review of the Party’s major achievements and historical experience over the past century is necessary for the following purposes:
. starting a new journey to build China into a modern socialist country in all respects in the historical context of the Party’s centenary;
. upholding and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era;
.strengthening our consciousness of the need to maintain political integrity, think in big-picture terms, follow the leadership core, and keep in alignment with the central Party leadership;
.enhancing our confidence in the path, theory, system, and culture of socialism with Chinese characteristics;
.resolutely upholding Comrade Xi Jinping’s core position on the Party Central Committee and in the Party as a whole and upholding the Central Committee’s authority and its centralized, unified leadership to ensure that all Party members act in unison;
. advancing the Party’s self-reform, building all Party members’ fighting capacity, strengthening their ability to respond to risks and challenges, and maintaining the Party’s vigor and vitality; and
. uniting and leading all Chinese people in making continued efforts to realize the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation.
All Party members should uphold historical materialism and adopt a rational outlook on the Party’s history. Looking back on the Party’s endeavors over the past century, we can see why we were successful in the past and how we can continue to succeed in the future. This will ensure that we act with greater resolve and a stronger sense of purpose in staying true to our Party’s founding mission, and that we more effectively uphold and develop socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era.
The Party adopted the Resolution on Certain Questions in the History of Our Party at the seventh plenary session of its Sixth Central Committee in 1945 and the Resolution on Certain Questions in the History of Our Party since the Founding of the People’s Republic of China at the sixth plenary session of its 11th Central Committee in 1981.
These two resolutions embody a facts-based review of major events in the Party’s history, as well as important experience gained and lessons learned. These documents unified the whole Party in thinking and action at key historical junctures and played a vital guiding role in advancing the cause of the Party and the people. Their basic points and conclusions remain valid to this day.
I. A Great Victory in the New-Democratic Revolution
In the period of the new-democratic revolution, the main tasks of the Party were to oppose imperialism, feudalism, and bureaucrat-capitalism, seek national independence and the people’s liberation, and create the fundamental social conditions necessary for realizing national rejuvenation.
With a history stretching back more than 5,000 years, the Chinese nation is a great and ancient nation that has fostered a splendid civilization and made indelible contributions to the progress of human civilization. After the Opium War of 1840, however, China was gradually reduced to a semi-colonial, semi-feudal society due to the aggression of Western powers and the corruption of feudal rulers. The country endured intense humiliation, the people were subjected to untold misery, and the Chinese civilization was plunged into darkness. The Chinese nation suffered greater ravages than ever before To save the nation from peril, the Chinese people rose to fight back, and patriots of high ideals sought to pull the nation together, putting up a heroic and moving struggle. The Taiping Heavenly Kingdom Movement, the Westernization Movement, the Reform Movement of 1898, and the Yihetuan Movement rose one after the other, and a variety of plans were devised to ensure national survival, but all of these ended in failure. The Revolution of 1911 led by Dr. Sun Yat-sen brought down the absolute monarchy that had reigned over China for thousands of years, but it failed to change the semi-colonial and semi-feudal nature of Chinese society and to alter the bitter fate of the Chinese people. China was in urgent need of new ideas to lead the movement to save the nation and a new organization to rally forces of revolution.
With the salvoes of Russia’s October Revolution in 1917, Marxism-Leninism was brought to China. The May 4th Movement of 1919 spurred the spread of Marxism throughout the country. Then in July 1921, as the Chinese people and the Chinese nation were undergoing a great awakening and Marxism-Leninism was becoming closely integrated with the Chinese workers’ movement, the Communist Party of China was born. The founding of a communist party in China was an epoch-making event, and from then on the Chinese revolution took on an entirely new look.
The Party was keenly aware that the conflicts between imperialism and the Chinese nation, and those between feudalism and the people constituted the principal contradiction in modern Chinese society. To realize national rejuvenation, it would be essential to initiate an anti-imperialist and anti-feudal struggle.
In the early days of the Party and during the Great Revolution, the Party formulated the program of the democratic revolution, launched movements of workers, youths, peasants, and women, promoted and supported the reorganization of the Chinese Kuomintang (KMT) and the founding of the National Revolutionary Army, and led the great anti-imperialist and anti-feudal struggle across the country, bringing about a surge in the Great Revolution.
In 1927, the reactionary clique within the KMT betrayed the revolution, brutally massacring communists and other revolutionaries. Meanwhile, the Right deviationist ideas within the Party represented by Chen Duxiu grew into Right opportunist errors and came to dominate the Party’s leadership. The Party and the people were unable to mount an effective resistance, resulting in a disastrous defeat for the Great Revolution under the surprise attack of a powerful enemy.
During the Agrarian Revolutionary War, the Party realized in light of harsh realities that without revolutionary armed forces, it would be impossible to defeat armed counter-revolutionaries, win the Chinese revolution, and thus change the fate of the Chinese people and the Chinese nation. The Party would need to fight armed counter-revolution with armed revolution.
The Nanchang Uprising of 1927 fired the opening shot of armed resistance against KMT reactionaries. This marked the start of the Communist Party of China’s journey to lead the revolutionary struggle independently, build the people’s armed forces, and seize state power by force. Soon afterwards, the policy of carrying out agrarian revolution and organizing armed uprisings was established at the August 7th Meeting. The Party led the Autumn Harvest Uprising, the Guangzhou Uprising, and uprisings in many other areas. Due to the great disparity in strength between the enemy forces and our own, most of these uprisings ended in failure. The fact of the matter was that in view of objective conditions at the time, the Chinese communists could not follow the example of Russia’s October Revolution and win nationwide revolutionary victory by taking key cities first. The Party urgently needed to find a revolutionary path compatible with China’s actual conditions.
The shift from attacking big cities to advancing into rural areas was a new starting point of decisive importance in the Chinese revolution. Led by Comrade Mao Zedong, soldiers and civilians established the first rural revolutionary base in the Jinggang Mountains, where the Party led the people in overthrowing local despots and redistributing the land. The Gutian Meeting of 1929 established the principles of strengthening the Party ideologically and the military politically. As progress was made in the struggle, the Party established the Central Revolutionary Base as well as the Western Hunan-Hubei, Haifeng-Lufeng, Hubei-Henan-Anhui, Qiongya, Fujian-Zhejiang-Jiangxi, Hunan-Hubei-Jiangxi, Hunan-Jiangxi, Zuojiang-Youjiang, Sichuan-Shaanxi, Shaanxi-Gansu, and Hunan-Hubei-Sichuan-Guizhou bases. In addition, the Party also set up Party organizations and other revolutionary organizations in KMT-controlled areas and launched revolutionary mass struggles.
However, the fifth counter-encirclement and suppression campaign in the Central Revolutionary Base ended in failure as a result of the misguided leadership of Wang Ming’s “Left” dogmatism within the Party. The Red Army was forced to make a strategic shift, and arrived in northern Shaanxi Province after enduring the extraordinarily bitter and arduous journey of the Long March. The errors of the “Left” line caused enormous losses to revolutionary bases as well as revolutionary forces in KMT-controlled areas.
In January 1935, the Political Bureau of the Central Committee convened a meeting in Zunyi on the Long March, at which Comrade Mao Zedong was confirmed as the de facto leader of the Central Committee and the Red Army. The meeting laid the groundwork for establishing the leading position within the Central Committee of the correct Marxist line chiefly represented by Comrade Mao Zedong, as well as for the formation of the first generation of the central collective leadership with Comrade Mao Zedong at its core. The meeting opened a new stage in which the Party would act on its own initiative to address practical problems concerning the Chinese revolution, and saved the Party, the Red Army, and the Chinese revolution at a moment of greatest peril. It also subsequently enabled the Party to defeat Zhang Guotao’s separatism, bring the Long March to a triumphant conclusion, and open up new horizons for the Chinese revolution. The Zunyi Meeting is therefore considered a pivotal turning point in the Party’s history.
After the September 18th Incident in 1931 during the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression, the conflict between China and Japan gradually overtook domestic class conflict as the issue of primary importance. As Japanese imperialists intensified their aggression against China, the country was plunged into an unprecedented national crisis. The Party was the first to propose that China should fight Japanese aggression with armed resistance, and launched extensive resistance movements. It also facilitated a peaceful settlement of the Xi’an Incident, thus playing a historic role in promoting a second period of cooperation between the KMT and the CPC and the united resistance against Japanese aggression.
Following the July 7th Incident in 1937, the Party implemented the right policy on the Chinese united front against Japanese aggression, and adhered to the line of all-out resistance. It devised and executed the strategic guidelines for a protracted war as well as a whole set of strategies and tactics for a people’s war, opened up vast battlefronts behind enemy lines, and developed bases for the resistance. The Party led the Eighth Route Army, the New Fourth Army, the Northeast United Resistance Army, and other forces of the people’s armed resistance in brave fighting, and they were the pillar of the entire nation’s resistance until the Chinese people finally prevailed. This marked the first time in modern history that the Chinese people had won a complete victory against foreign aggressors in the war of national liberation, and was an important part of the global war against fascism.
During the War of Liberation, as the KMT reactionaries flagrantly launched an all-out civil war, the Party led soldiers and civilians in gradually shifting from active defense to strategic offensive. It secured victories in the Liaoxi-Shenyang, Huai-Hai, and Beiping-Tianjin campaigns as well as the Crossing-the-Yangtze Campaign, advanced triumphantly into the central-south, northwest, and southwest, and wiped out eight million KMT troops, thus overthrowing the reactionary KMT government and the three mountains of imperialism, feudalism, and bureaucrat-capitalism. With the support of the people, the Party-led people’s army demonstrated heroic mettle and unyielding resolve as they fought to the last against these fierce enemies, making a historic contribution to the victory of the new-democratic revolution.
In the course of the revolutionary struggle, Chinese communists, with Comrade Mao Zedong as their chief representative, adapted the basic tenets of Marxism-Leninism to China’s specific realities and developed a theoretical synthesis of China’s unique experience which came from painstaking trials and great sacrifices. They blazed the right revolutionary path of encircling cities from the countryside and seizing state power with military force. They established Mao Zedong Thought, which charted the correct course for securing victory in the new-democratic revolution.
In the course of the revolutionary struggle, the Party carried forward its great founding spirit comprised of the following principles: upholding truth and ideals, staying true to its original aspiration and founding mission, fighting bravely without fear of sacrifice, and remaining loyal to the Party and faithful to the people. The Party initiated and advanced the great project of Party building, introduced the principle of focusing on strengthening the Party in ideological terms, and upheld democratic centralism. It stuck to the three fine styles of conduct, namely combining theory with practice, maintaining close ties with the people, and conducting criticism and self-criticism; it developed the three important tools of the united front, armed struggle, and Party building, as it strived to build a national Marxist party of the people, which was fully consolidated in ideological, political, and organizational terms. The rectification movement-a Party-wide Marxist ideological education movement-was launched in 1942 and yielded tremendous results. The Party formulated the Resolution on Certain Questions in the History of Our Party, which helped the entire Party reach a common understanding of the basic questions regarding the Chinese revolution. At the Seventh National Congress, the correct line, principles, and policies were formulated for building a new-democratic China, and as a result the Party became united as never before in ideological, political, and organizational terms.
On October 1, 1949, the founding of the People’s Republic of China was proclaimed after 28 years of bitter and courageous struggle carried out by the people under the leadership of the Party and with the active support of other political parties and democrats without party affiliation, thus realizing the independence of the Chinese nation and the liberation of the Chinese people. This put an end to China’s history as a semi-colonial, semi-feudal society, to the rule of a handful of exploiters over the working people, to the state of total disunity that plagued the old China, and to all the unequal treaties imposed on our country by foreign powers and all the privileges that imperialist powers enjoyed on our land, marking the country’s great transformation from a millennia-old feudal autocracy to a people’s democracy. This also reshaped the world political landscape and offered enormous inspiration for oppressed nations and peoples struggling for liberation around the world.
It has been proven through practice that history and the people have chosen the Communist Party of China, and that without its leadership, it would not have been possible to realize national independence and the people’s liberation. Through tenacious struggle, the Party and the people showed the world that the Chinese people had stood up and the time in which the Chinese nation could be bullied and abused was gone and would never return. This marked the beginning of a new epoch in China’s development.
II. Socialist Revolution and Construction
In the period of socialist revolution and construction, the main tasks of the Party were to realize the transformation from new democracy to socialism, carry out socialist revolution, promote socialist construction, and lay down the fundamental political conditions and the institutional foundations necessary for national rejuvenation.
After the founding of the People’s Republic, the Party led the people in surmounting a multitude of political, economic, and military challenges. It cleared out bandits and remnant KMT reactionary forces, peacefully liberated Tibet, and unified the entire mainland. It stabilized prices, unified standards for finances and the economy, completed the agrarian reform, and launched democratic reforms in all sectors of society. It introduced the policy of equal rights for men and women, suppressed counter-revolutionaries, and launched?movements against the “three evils” of corruption, waste, and bureaucracy and against the “five evils” of bribery, tax evasion, theft of state property, cheating on government contracts, and stealing of economic information. As the stains of the old society were wiped out, China took on a completely new look.
Meanwhile, the Chinese People’s Volunteers marched valiantly across the Yalu River to fight alongside the Korean people and troops. They ultimately defeated a powerful enemy that was armed to the teeth, demonstrating the gallantry of our army and our country, and the unyielding spirit of our people. China’s resounding victory in the War to Resist US Aggression and Aid Korea safeguarded the security of the nascent People’s Republic, and testified to its status as a major country. The new China thus gained a firm foothold amid complex domestic and international environments.
Under the Party’s leadership, a government of people’s democratic dictatorship was established and consolidated, which was led by the working class and based on an alliance of workers and peasants. This created the conditions necessary for the country’s rapid development.
In 1949, the Common Program of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) was passed at the CPPCC’s first plenary session. In 1953, the Party officially set forth the general line for the transition period, namely gradually realizing the country’s socialist industrialization and socialist transformation of agriculture, handicrafts, and capitalist industry and commerce over a fairly long period of time. In 1954, the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China was adopted at the first session of the First National People’s Congress. In 1956, China basically completed the socialist transformation of private ownership of the means of production, and put into practice public ownership of the means of production and distribution according to work, thus marking the establishment of the socialist economic system.
Under the Party’s leadership, China established the system of people’s congresses, the system of CPC-led multiparty cooperation and political consultation, and the system of regional ethnic autonomy, providing institutional guarantees for ensuring that it is the people who run the country. Under the Party’s leadership, China also forged and strengthened unity among people of all ethnic groups, established and developed socialist ethnic relations based on equality and mutual assistance, and achieved and cemented unity between workers, peasants, intellectuals, and people from other social strata across the country. As a result, a broad united front was consolidated and expanded. The establishment of the socialist system laid the foundation for all of China’s subsequent progress and development.
In light of the domestic situation following socialist transformation, the Party propounded at its Eighth National Congress that the main contradiction in China was no longer the contradiction between the working class and the bourgeoisie, but rather that between the demand of the people for rapid economic and cultural development and the reality that the country’s economy and culture fell short of the needs of the people. Therefore, the major task facing the nation was to concentrate on developing the productive forces and realize industrialization in order to gradually meet the people’s growing material and cultural needs. The Party called on the people to redouble their efforts to build China step by step into a strong socialist country with modern agriculture, industry, national defense, and science and technology, and it led them in carrying out large-scale socialist construction across the board.
Through the execution of several five-year plans, an independent and relatively complete industrial system and national economic framework were established, the conditions of agricultural production were markedly improved, and impressive progress was made in social programs such as education, science, culture, health, and sports. With continuous breakthroughs in cutting-edge technologies, including nuclear weapons, missiles, and satellites, China’s defense industries underwent steady growth after starting from scratch. The People’s Liberation Army continued to grow in strength, expanding from ground forces alone into a composite military force comprised of the navy, air force, and other specialized units. This provided firm support for the People’s Republic to consolidate the newborn people’s government, establish China’s position as a major country, and defend the nation’s dignity.
The Party adhered to an independent foreign policy of peace, championed and upheld the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, and firmly defended China’s independence, sovereignty, and dignity. It provided support and assistance for other oppressed nations in seeking liberation, for newly independent countries in their pursuit of development, and for various peoples as they put up just struggles, and stood opposed to imperialism, hegemonism, colonialism, and racism. The humiliating diplomacy of the old China was put to an end.
The Party adjusted its diplomatic strategies in light of evolving circumstances, worked to restore all lawful rights of the People’s Republic of China in the United Nations, opened up new horizons for China’s diplomacy, and fostered commitment to the one-China principle among the international community. The Party put forward the theory of the differentiation of the three worlds and made the promise that China would never seek hegemony, earning respect and acclaim from the international community and developing countries in particular.
The Party fully foresaw the new challenges it would face after assuming power over the whole country. As early as at the second plenary session of its Seventh Central Committee which was held shortly before nationwide victory was attained in the War of Liberation, the Party called on all members to remain modest, prudent, and free from arrogance and rashness in their work, and to preserve the style of plain living and hard struggle. After the founding of the People’s Republic, the Party focused on the major issue of Party building in the context of governing, and worked to strengthen the Party and consolidate Party leadership ideologically, organizationally, and in terms of conduct. The Party bolstered efforts to encourage officials to study theory and increase their knowledge, improved its capacity for exercising leadership, and demanded that all members, especially high-ranking officials, act with a greater sense of purpose to safeguard Party unity and solidarity. Rectification campaigns were carried out throughout the Party to strengthen education within the Party, consolidate primary-level organizations, raise membership requirements, and oppose bureaucratism, commandism, graft, and waste. The Party was on high alert against corruption, worked hard to prevent degeneracy among officials, and responded to corruption with firm punishment. These important measures strengthened the integrity of the Party and the solidarity of all Party members, built closer ties between the Party and the people, and accumulated essential starting experience for building a governing party.
During this period, Comrade Mao Zedong proposed a second round of efforts to integrate the basic tenets of Marxism-Leninism with China’s realities. Chinese communists, with Comrade Mao Zedong as their chief representative, enriched and developed Mao Zedong Thought by taking stock of new realities, and put forward a series of important theories for socialist construction. These included recognizing that socialist society was a long historical period; strictly differentiating between two types of contradictions, namely those between the people and the enemy and those among the people, and properly dealing with these contradictions; handling the ten major relationships in China’s socialist construction appropriately; finding a path to industrialization suited to China’s realities; respecting the law of value; implementing the principle of long-term coexistence and mutual oversight between the Communist Party and other political parties; and applying the principle of letting a hundred flowers blossom and a hundred schools of thought contend to scientific and cultural work. These creative theoretical achievements maintain important guiding significance to this day.
Mao Zedong Thought represents a creative application and advancement of Marxism-Leninism in China. It is a summation of theories, principles, and experience on China’s revolution and construction that has been proven correct through practice, and its establishment marked the first historic step in adapting Marxism to the Chinese context. The living soul of Mao Zedong Thought is the positions, viewpoints, and methods embodied in its constituent parts, which are reflected in three basic points-seeking truth from facts, following the mass line, and staying independent. These have provided sound guidance for developing the cause of the Party and the people.
To be continued