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Xi on Party history

Xi on Party history

习近平在党史学习教育动员大会上强调 学党史悟思想办实事开新局 以优异成绩迎接建党一百周年 李克强栗战书汪洋赵乐际韩正王岐山出席 王沪宁主持

Xi Jinping stressed at the mobilisation meeting of the Party history study and education campaign the need to learn the history of the Party, comprehend its ideas, carry out practical work,  and welcome the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Party with excellent results. Li Keqiang, Li Zhanshu, Wang Yang, Zhao Leji, Han Zheng, Wang Qishan attended the meeting with Wang Huning presiding.

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Introduction and Translation by Adam Ni


Below is a rough translation of the Xinhua readout summarising Xi’s speech at the mobilisation meeting for the party history study and education campaign. Xi made this speech back on February 20. The speech was later published by the Party journal Qiushi on March 31.

The Partyspeak of Xi’s speech is painful to read, and even more painful to translate. But here is Xi’s core message in humanspeak: 1) the Party’s history is a glorious one; 2) history is a valuable resource that can help propel the Party forward; and 3) learning the “correct” Party history is vital for cohesion and belief.

I translated this piece because I think its useful for getting a sense of how Xi sees history. And it exhibits the kind of rhetoric adopted by the CCP when talking about its place in history.

For more on Party history-related topics, you can refer to past issues of Neican Brief.


BEIJING, February 20, via Xinhua — The mobilisation meeting for the party history study and education campaign was held in Beijing on the morning of February 20. Xi Jinping, General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee, President of the state, and Chairman of the Central Military Commission, attended the meeting and delivered an important speech.

He stressed that the decision by the Party Central Committee to carry out party history study and education across the entire party is significant. This decision is made from standing on a new point of departure marked by the Party’s upcoming 100-year anniversary. It is an important part of the overall strategic plan for the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation at a time when the world is undergoing great transformations not seen in a century. And it aims to mobilise the entire Party membership and the country’s population to confidently devote themselves to the comprehensive construction of a modern socialist country.

All comrades across the party should learn history in order to improve their understanding, confidence, moral character, and achievements. We should learn the Party’s history, understand its ideas, carry out practical work, open a new chapter, and with an enthusiastic and vigorous attitude start a new journey to comprehensively build a modern socialist state. Indeed, we should welcome the Party’s 100th anniversary with an excellent record of our performance.

Xi Jinping stressed that our party has always attached importance to learning and educating the history of the party, focusing on using the party’s past struggles and great achievements to inspire and clarify direction. Our party has used its glorious traditions and noble character to strengthen belief and cohesion. And our party has used its practical creations and historical experience to enlighten, and strengthen its character.

Since the 18th Party Congress, the Party Central Committee has attached great importance to studying the history of the Party. It has put forward a series of requirements on this.

At this momentous juncture, it is timely and necessary to carrying out Party history learning and education across the entire party. This juncture is momentous because we are celebrating our Party’s centenary while standing at the historical inflection point marked by the transition between the “Two Centenary” goals.

Xi Jinping pointed out that our Party has transversed 100 years of history, and during this time we have carried out our original mission, laid the foundation for our enterprise, created glory, and opened up the future. Looking back at its past struggles, looking ahead at the road of progress, we must learn and summarise the history of the Party, and pass on and build upon our Party’s successful experience.

To carry out education on the history of the Party through the entire party is an inevitable requirement for remembering our original mission, and advancing the great historical task of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. It is an inevitable requirement for firming our faith and belief, and in upholding and developing Socialism with Chinese Characteristics in the New Era. And it is an inevitable requirement for advancing the Party’s self-revolution and perpetuating its vitality.

The Party Central Committee has issued the Notice on carrying out Party history study and education across the entire Party to direct this work. Party committees (Party groups) at all levels shall conscientiously implement it.

Xi Jinping stressed that the history of our Party is a history of the continuous advance in the sinicization of Marxism. It is a history of the continuous advance in theoretical innovation and creation. Over the past one hundred years, our Party has insisted on integrating the emancipation of the mind with seeking truth from facts and integrating self-cultivation with innovation. It has continuously opened up new horizons of Marxism, producing Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory, the “Three Represents” important thinking and the Scientific Outlook on Development. It has also produced Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, which has provided scientific theoretical guidance for developing the enterprise of the Party and the people.

We should educate and guide the entire Party using the Party’s extraordinary history. This is so that we can comprehend how Marxism has profoundly transformed China and the world, and appreciate its power as both ideological truth and guide to practice. We shall deepen our understanding of the theoretical qualities of sinicized Marxism, namely, that it is consistent with Marxism because it comes from the same lineage even as sinicized Marxism evolves with the times.

In doing this, we should pay particular attention to the historic achievements of the Party and the state since the 18th Party Congress, and the process of historic change that has taken place. We should deeply study and understand the Party’s innovative theories in the new era, and persistent in using them to arm our minds, guide our practice and advance our work.

Xi Jinping pointed out that during the 100 years of struggle, our Party has always used the basic principles of Marxism to analyse and grasp the major trends of history; correctly handle the relationship between China and the world; and adeptly seize and make good use of all kinds of historical opportunities.

We should educate and guide the Party to take to heart the project that is the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation at a time when the world is undergoing great transformations not seen in a century. We should establish a macro-history perspective. We should analyse the mechanisms and laws of historical progress, and propose a tailored strategic response. This needs to be based on examining the long river of history, the tide of the times, and global transformations. We should enhance the systemic, anticipatory, and creative nature of our work.

Xi Jinping pointed out that the century-old history of our Party is a history of carrying out the Party's original mission. It is a history in which the party and the people are linked by shared destiny, heart-to-heart, soul-to-soul. History has fully proved that the realm is the people, and the people is the realm: the support of the people or the lack thereof is a matter of life and death for the Party. If we win the trust of the people and obtain their support, the Party will be able to overcome any difficulty and will achieve victory in any circumstances.

We should educate and guide the Party to deeply comprehend the nature and aim of the Party. We should adhere to the idea that everything we do, we do it for the people; we depend on the people for everything. We must always put the people at the centre of our hearts and minds; make the people’s aspiration for a better life the goal of our struggle, and progress the fruits of reform and development to create greater and more equitable benefits for everyone. We must unite the 1.4 billion Chinese people into a majestic and boundless force driving the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.

To better cope with the various foreseeable and unforeseeable risks and challenges on the way forward, we must draw wisdom from history, and distill the magic formula for overcoming the enemy from our historical experience. We must seize the important anniversary of the Party’s centenary, which marks a new departure point: a great struggle with many new historical characteristics.

We must summarise and apply the Party's rich experience of successfully dealing with risks and challenges during different historical periods. We must make the psychological and work preparations for responding to changes in the external environment over a relatively long time horizon. With respect to our struggle, we must constantly enhance our awareness, enrich our experience, improve our skills, and constantly elevate our governance capability.

The 100-year history of the Party is also the history of our Party's continuous efforts to maintain its advanced nature and purity. It is a history of our Party guarding against its corruption, and the danger of collapse from undermining.

Through summarising historical experience and lessons, we must educate and guide the Party to continuously improve the Party's leadership and ruling capability and enhance its defenses against the process of corruption, and betrayal. In doing so, we should focus on solving practical Party-building issues.

Xi Jinping pointed out that in the course of 100 years of extraordinary struggle, generations of Chinese Communists have struggled tenaciously and unremittingly. Through this struggle, we saw a large number of revolutionary martyrs who were willing to die; a large number of heroic figures who have struggled tenaciously; and a large number of advanced models who have dedicated themselves to the cause. They are great exemplars that have built the spiritual lineage of the Chinese Communists. They have also provided us with rich nourishment for the growth and flourishing of the Party.

We should educate and guide the whole Party to vigorously carry forward the red tradition, inherit the red genes, continue the spiritual lineage of the communists, and always maintain the revolutionaries’ spirit of fearless struggle. We must muster up the spiritual energy to march into the new journey and enter the new era.

Xi Jinping stressed that a clear-cut stance focusing on politics and ensuring the unity and centralisation of the Party is the life of the Party. They constitute the key to our Party’s ability to become a century-old Party that has created a century of greatness.

We must educate and guide the Party to learn from both the positives and negatives in the Party’s historical experience; to firmly align with the Party's Central Committee; and to constantly improve political judgment, political comprehension, and political implementation ability. We must consciously maintain a high degree of consistency with the Party's Central Committee in thought, politics, and action, and to ensure that the entire party is united with a single mind and focus.

Xi Jinping pointed out that the current Party's history learning and education campaign is a major event in the political life of the Party. The whole Party should attach great importance to it, raise the level of thinking, be pragmatic, do what is right, innovate, and complete the tasks of learning and education to high standards.

First, we must strengthen organisational leadership. Party committees (Party groups) at all levels should assume the main responsibility with leading comrades taking personal responsibility. The leadership organs for the campaign should be set up, and the Party Central Committee's plans should be put into practice in an effective manner.

The Central Party History Study and Education Leading Small Group should strengthen guidance. Provincial, regional and municipal Party committees and the Party groups (Party committees) of authorities responsible for industry systems need to strengthen supervision and inspection with respect to their subordinate localities, organs and work units. Party members and cadres, regardless of level and position, must devote themselves wholeheartedly to the campaign, so that they may acquire new thinking, understanding and benefits.

Second, we must establish a correct view of Party history. We must adhere to the two resolutions on history issued by the Party, and take as the basis the relevant spirit of the Party Central Committee. We must accurately grasp the theme in the Party’s historical development, discern its essence, and we must correctly understand and scientifically evaluate the important events, meetings, and figures in the history of the Party.

We must take a stand against historical nihilism, strengthen ideological guidance and theoretical analysis. This would help us maintain the strength and purity of the fundamentals that root us.

Third, we must actually do practical things and solve practical problems for the masses. We must combine the studying of Party history, summarising of experience, observing of the practical situation, and the driving forward of work. At the same time, we must combine solving practical problems with carrying out practical activities under the theme of “I do practical work for the masses”. We must transform study outcomes into momentum for work and work outcomes, and prevent becoming study-work “two-faced”.

Four, we should focus on innovation of the means. We must carry forward the fine learning style of Marxism, and clarify the aims and tasks of study. We must drive innovation in terms of the content, form, and means to enhance the relevance and effectiveness of the campaign.

We must focus on leading cadres above the county level; adhere to the need to combine centralised with independent learning; adhere to the combination of prescribed actions and self-selected actions; and carry out distinctive, diverse forms of learning and education.

We should carry out mass propaganda and education across the whole society with respect to the history of the Party, the history of new China, the history of reform and opening up, and the history of socialist development. We must popularise Party history, and promote the study and education of Party history to the masses, to the grassroots, and into people’s hearts.

We should encourage the creation of literary and artistic works, especially film and television works, on the subject of Party history, and improve the learning and education of young people so that the red gene and the revolutionary fire can be passed on from generation to generation. We must resolutely overcome formalism and bureaucratism and pay attention to reducing the burden for the grassroots.

Wang Huning, presiding over the meeting, said that General Secretary Xi Jinping's important speech is fundamental and visionary. It profoundly expounded the significance of carrying out Party history study and education, and clarified the focus and work requirements for the Party history study and education campaign. He said that the speech provided the basic direction and principles for carrying out the campaign, including mobilisation and planning. Party committees (Party groups) at all levels should seriously study and understand the spirit of General Secretary Xi Jinping's important speech, and effectively enhance the "Four Consciousness", firm the "Four Self-confidence", and achieve the "Two Maintains". We should raise our ideological awareness and political standpoint, and grasp the learning and education work for your respective regions, organs, and work units.

Members of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, secretaries of the Central Secretariat, Party Vice-Chairmen of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, State Councillors, the President of the Supreme People's Court, the Procurator-General of the Supreme People's Procuratorate, Party Vice-Chairmen of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, and members of the Central Military Commission attended the meeting.

The meeting was held in the form of a teleconference. It was also attended by members of the Party History Study and Education Leading Small Group; leading cadres from provinces, autonomous regions and deputy-provincial level cities, Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, departments of the Party Central Committee and state organs, mass organisations, enterprises subordinate to the Party Central Committee, military work units; and members of the Central Party History Learning and Education Publicity Team.