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Remarks by H.E. Ambassador Lin Songtian at the Meeting with Media and Think Tanks on the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China
2017/11/01

                                                                      

 

Dear Friends from the media and think tanks,

 

Good morning. It is my great pleasure to welcome all of you to the Chinese Embassy for this meeting on the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China.

 

The 19th CPC National Congress was successfully held in Beijing on 18-24 October. 2,238 delegates representing 89 million CPC members from over 4.4 million Party structures attended the CPC National Congress. As the Chinese Ambassador to South Africa, I had the great honor to be invited to the meeting. I just came back last Friday, and I am eager to share with you something about this meeting.

 

This CPC National Congress is indeed an extremely important meeting, both for China and the world. This meeting drew very high attention from both China and the world. Over 2,000 journalists from around the world traveled to Beijing to witness the event and cover the meeting. Today, we are very happy to have such a meeting with South African media and think tanks so as to help South African friends through you get more information about what happened at the CPC Congress? What are the important outcomes of the Congress? What's the meaning of this Congress? What's the message to the world? It's my sincere hope that this meeting will help you better understand where for China to go and how China will get there.

 

For today's meeting, I would like to brief you on four areas. First, the outcomes of the Congress. Second, why can the CPC move from success to success. Third, what influence will the Congress have on China's foreign affairs. Fourth, the significance of the Congress for China-South Africa relations. Following the briefing, I'm going to take up some questions. I am also very eager to hear your ideas and opinions and response on the 19th CPC National Congress.

 

The 19th CPC National Congress is indeed a historic milestone for China as we enter an important stage of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and our socialism with Chinese characteristics enters a new era.

 

The theme of the Congress is: remain true to our original aspiration, keep our mission firmly in mind, hold high the banner of socialism with Chinese characteristics, secure a decisive victory in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, strive for the great success of socialism with Chinese characteristics for a new era, and work tirelessly to realize the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation.

 

The one-week long CPC National Congress has achieved a lot of major outcomes. For the purpose of this briefing, I am going to highlight some most important ones. The Congress analyzed the developments in the international and China's domestic environments, and reviewed the CPC's work and China's historic change over the past five years. On that basis, the Congress has made two major political judgments.

 

The first judgment is the principal contradiction in the Chinese society has evolved. It is now the principal contradiction between unbalanced and inadequate development and the people's ever-growing needs for a better life. In the past, the principal contradiction was between the ever-growing material and cultural needs of the people and the backwardness of social production. Today, the needs to be met for the people to live a better life are increasingly broad. The Chinese people not only seek for their material and cultural needs, but also concern about their increasing demands for fairness and justice, rule of law, security, eco-environment, balanced urban and rural development, and equitable income distribution.

 

The second judgment made by the Congress is that socialism with Chinese characteristics has entered a new era. Based on these to judgments, the Congress elaborated on the CPC's historic mission in the new era, and drew up a new blueprint of securing a decisive victory in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, and then embarking on a journey to fully build a modern socialist China. The Congress has elected a new generation of CPC central leadership with General Secretary Xi Jinping at its core, and established the historical position of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era. The Xi Jinping Thought sets forth the basic policy for upholding and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era, and will serve as the guiding thought to unite and lead the CPC and the Chinese people going forward. The Xi Jinping Thought has been written into the CPC Constitution.

 

The 19th CPC National Congress has set out comprehensive planning and arrangement for  developing socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era and for the CPC party building. This Congress has charted the course of both the CPC and China, and it bears far-reaching significance, not only for the future of China, but also the future of the world.

 

We are very happy to see that during the Congress and in the days after its conclusion, we have received about 900 letters and messages of congratulations from 164 countries. Almost 500 of them were from heads of states, parties, and international organizations, including H.E. President Zuma, the ANC, the SACP, and many other African leaders and parties. H.E. President Trump of the United States took a telephone with President Xi Jinping immediately after the closing of the Congress to say congratulations to him. President Putin of Russia and other leaders of major countries have called or sent congratulatory messages.

 

Now, let me share with you my observations on the highlights of this Congress.

 

I. New outcomes of the Congress: new era, new blueprint, new thought, and new leadership.

 

Amongst the many important outcomes of this congress, these four are extremely important.

 

First, the Congress made the political judgment that socialism with Chinese characteristics has entered a new era. This is a major political judgment of the CPC based on development achievements from the past nearly four decades of reform and opening up and especially based on the historic achievements and changes in China over the past five years. Today, China has basically resolved the subsistence problem across its 1.3 billion population and has realized a moderately prosperous society. Accordingly, the principal contradiction of our society has evolved. In the past, the principal contradiction was between the ever-growing material and cultural needs of the people and the backwardness of social production. Now, the contradiction is between unbalanced and inadequate development and the people's ever-growing needs for a better life. The needs to be met for the people to live a better life are increasingly broad. The Chinese people not only seek for their material and cultural needs, but also concern their increasing demands for fairness and justice, rule of law, security, eco-environment, balanced urban and rural development, and equitable income distribution. This change in the principal contradiction means higher requirements for China's domestic and foreign policies. It also means new historical mission for the CPC. What socialism with Chinese characteristics entering a new era means is that, the Chinese nation, which since modern times had endured so much for so long, has achieved a tremendous transformation-it has stood up, grown rich, and is getting strong, and it has now enter a new era of securing a decisive victory in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, a new era of realizing common prosperity for all the Chinese, and a new era of fully building a modern socialist China. This new era means that, China will focus more on addressing unbalanced and inadequate development, on improving the quality and effect of development, so as to better meet the ever-growing economic, political, cultural, social, and ecological needs of our people, and to promote well-rounded human development and all-round social progress. This new era means that, the socialism with Chinese characteristics has achieved huge success, blazing a new trail for other developing countries to achieve modernization. This new era means that China is moving closer to the world center stage and making greater contributions to mankind.

 

Second, the Congress sketched out a new blueprint for China's socialist modernization drive. This Congress has made comprehensive planning and arrangements for the CPC and China's development from now on till the mid-21st century. The Congress put forward new phased goals. From now on to 2020, China will focus on securing a decisive victory in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects. We will resolutely fight against poverty and make sure to achieve the first centenary goal. From there, China will work hard for a further 15 years to basically realize socialist modernization. The newly proposed time frame is 15 years ahead of our previous plan stated in the "Two Centenary Goals" by the Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping. (The "Two Centenary Goals" refers to the targets of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects by 2020, the centenary of the CPC, and basically building a modern socialist country by the centenary of the People's Republic of China in the mid 21st century.) From there, China will work hard for a further 15 years to develop China into a great modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious, and beautiful. This new blueprint is based on our evaluation of China's new development. We have not only moved up our time frame by 15 years, but also added the new description of "beautiful China" and "strong China" to our vision for the modern socialist country. All of these raised new requirements for the CPC.

 

Third, the Congress established the Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era as a guiding principle of the CPC. The Xi Jinping Thought is the major theoretical innovation by the CPC in the new era. It is also our latest achievement in adapting Marxism to the Chinese context. It summarizes and encapsulates the successful practice of the new ideas, new thinking, and new strategies of Comrade Xi Jinping in governance, military, and diplomacy since the 18th CPC National Congress. It is a scientific theory that has been proved by the Chinese practice of being effective, correct, and supported by the people. The Xi Jinping Thought makes clear 8 things and highlights 14 points that form the basic policy underpinning our endeavors to uphold and develop socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era.

 

The 8 "makes clear" are:  It makes clear that the overarching goal of upholding and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics is to realize socialist modernization and national rejuvenation. It makes clear that the principal contradiction facing Chinese society in the new era is that between unbalanced and inadequate development and the people's ever-growing needs for a better life.  It makes clear that the overall plan for building socialism with Chinese characteristics is the five-sphere integrated plan, and the overall strategy is the four-pronged comprehensive strategy. It makes clear that the overall goal of deepening reform in every field is to improve and develop the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics and modernize China's system and capacity for governance. It makes clear that the overall goal of comprehensively advancing law-based governance is to establish a system of socialist rule of law with Chinese characteristics and build a country of socialist rule of law. It makes clear that the Party's goal of building a strong military in the new era is to build the people's forces into world-class forces that obey the Party's command, can fight and win, and maintain excellent conduct. It makes clear that major country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics aims to foster a new type of international relations and build a community with a shared future for mankind. It makes clear that the defining feature of socialism with Chinese characteristics is the leadership of the Communist Party of China and the greatest strength of the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics is the leadership of the Communist Party of China.

 

The 14 basic principles are: ensure Party leadership over all work; commit to a people-centered approach; continue to comprehensively deepen reform; adopt a new vision for development; see that the people run the country; ensure every dimension of governance is law-based; uphold core socialist values; ensure and improve living standards through development; ensure harmony between human and nature; pursue a holistic approach to national security; uphold absolute Party leadership over the people's forces; uphold the principle of "one country, two systems" and promote national reunification; promote the building of a community with a shared future for mankind; and exercise full and rigorous governance over the Party.

 

Fourth, the Congress has established new political guarantee for the realization of the new blueprint. The political guarantee is three-fold. Firstly, the 19th CPC National Congress further strengthened the core status of General Secretary Xi Jinping and has elected a new generation of the CPC central leadership with Xi Jinping at its core. General Secretary Xi Jinping is not only the core of the CPC central committee. He is also the core for the whole of 89 million CPC members, and the core for the 1.3 billion Chinese people. This core unites the Party and ensures the stability of the CPC and China. Secondly, this Congress has made the Xi Jinping Thought a guiding thought for the Party and the country in our efforts to build socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era. This decision will form collective strengths of the Chinese people to pursue the blueprint we have made for our development. When we look at the history of the CPC, in different historical periods, we always have different guiding thoughts. This is also the reason why we can advance from one victory to another victory. For instance, it is the Mao Zedong Thought that united the CPC in the Chinese socialist revolution, which has led to the founding of the People's Republic of China. It is the Deng Xiaoping Theory that led China to reform and opening up, which has enriched China and the Chinese people. Thirdly, this Congress has reaffirmed the importance of party building and strives to make the CPC even stronger. As Secretary General Xi Jinping stressed, our efforts to comprehensively strengthen Party discipline is a never-ending struggle. All CPC members are required to serve the people wholeheartedly and uphold the unity and solidarity of the Party.

 

All in all, the major outcomes of the Congress could be summarized as: based on the two political judgments of the new era and the new principal contradiction, the CPC has sketched out a new blueprint and taken up new historical mission. Under the new leadership with Xi Jinping at its core and under the guiding principle of the Xi Jinping Thought, China will usher in a brighter new future.

 

II. The CPC is committed to a people-centered approach and always focus its efforts on the aspiration of the people to live a better life.

 

Since its founding, the CPC has kept growing in its strength and capacity, and has moved from one success to another success. Why is that? What is the key of the CPC?

 

I was at the opening plenary session of the Congress when General Secretary Xi Jinping delivered the report on behalf of the 18th CPC Central Committee. During his three and a half hours of speech, General Secretary Xi Jinping had to pause over 70 times because of the applause of the audience. I think this is the best evidence that his words have echoed strongly the hearts and minds of the people.

 

He said, the original aspiration and the mission of Chinese Communists is to seek happiness for the Chinese people and rejuvenation for the Chinese nation. This is what inspires Chinese Communists to advance. Since its foundation, the CPC has maintained its fundamental purpose of serving people wholeheartedly. The CPC is always committed to a people-centered approach. The CPC is a party for the people and by the people, and always puts the interest of the people first. The CPC always strives to ensure the results of reform and development benefit the entire population more effectively and more equally, and has made strong efforts towards common prosperity for all.


Since the 18th CPC National Congress, the CPC with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core has remained steadfast to the people-centered approach and has launched a host of new ideas, new thinking, and new strategies, which has enabled the CPC to solve many tough problems that were long on the agenda but never resolved, and accomplish many things that were wanted but never got done. For instance, we have solved many tough problems such as corruption, environment pollution, and food safety, and we have made important accomplishment in military reform. These achievements have prompted historic shifts in the cause of the Party and the country, and have won the Party strong support among the Chinese people. Today, General Secretary Xi Jinping is a profoundly beloved leader across in China. His approval rate is close to 100%. On the international stage, he is also a highly respected leader. Many world leaders spoke highly of his character and achievements. 

 

The people-centered approach forms an integral part of socialism with Chinese characteristics for a new era. In politics, the CPC upholds serving the people wholeheartedly as its fundamental purpose, and strives to achieve a unity among three elements, namely ensuring the Party leadership over all work, ensuring the people are the masters of the country, and ensuring law-based governance. Of these three elements, the Party leadership is the fundamental guarantee of the other two. Ensuring the people are the masters of the country is the substantive feature of socialist democratic politics. And ensuring law-based governance is the basic approach of the CPC in serving the people and governing the country.

 

In economic development, the CPC is committed to a people-centered development concept, and works to pursue well-rounded human development and common prosperity of the whole Chinese population. Over the past five years alone, the CPC has adopted over 1,500 measures to deepen reform and opening up. Through years of relentless reform efforts, China has moved from a highly planned economy to a socialist market economy, and has achieved joint development of both the public owned economy and the non-public owned economy. We are working constantly to develop policy measures that are best suited for China's national conditions. In the process, we have followed a number of important principles. Firstly, we regard development as the top priority of the Party in governing and rejuvenating the country. Secondly, we uphold the new development approach that puts quality and effective development in the first place. We are committed to green and sustainable development. Thirdly, we are committed to open development, and let the market play the decisive role in the allocation of resources. Constant efforts are made to liberate and develop productivity. Fourthly, we are fully committed to fight against poverty for common prosperity. Our solemn promise is taking no one less of the 1.3 billion Chinese people into a moderately prosperous society in all respects, and leaving no one behind on the path towards common prosperity. We will work to ensure utmost fairness and justice, and ensure that every Chinese people benefit from the development of the country. This is the fundamental difference between socialism and capitalism.

 

In social management, the CPC firmly believes that, no stability, no development. We follow the principle of doing everything for the people and by the people. Based on the idea of planning together, building together, and sharing together, we mobilize all of the people to take part in social management. Our social management model features Party leadership, community coordination, and public participation. This model has effectively resolved conflicts among different interest groups and social groups, and has been extremely successful in maintaining the stability of China, which is a vast country with over 1.3 billion population, and is still confronted by unbalanced development.

 

During his report to the 19th CPC National Congress, General Secretary Xi Jinping stressed that: the CPC comes from the people. Its roots are based among the people. Its purpose is to serve the people. Without the people, the Party will lose its lifeline. We must always remember that the people are makers of history, and that the Party is built for the public and must exercise power for the people. We must continue to serve the people wholeheartedly, and focus our efforts on the aspiration of the people to live a better life. These are the new requirements and new goals of the CPC in its people-centered pursuit in the new era.

 

III. The new mission of China's foreign affairs is to pursue a new type of international relations and a community with shared future for mankind.

 

The 19th CPC National Congress set out the guiding principles for China's major country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics at the top level. The Congress puts forward that we will pursue a new type of international relations featuring mutual respect, fairness, justice, and win-win cooperation and a community with shared future for mankind. This goal not only encapsulates the overall objective of China's foreign affairs in the new era, but also declares to the world the general direction of our joint efforts with countries around the world.

 

The new type of international relations that China pursues bears three elements, namely mutual respect, fairness, justice, and win-win cooperation.

 

The first element, mutual respect, includes mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, mutual respect for each other's core interests and major concerns, mutual respect for the diversity of human civilization, and mutual respect for each other's independent choice on social systems and development path. Mutual respect also means to abandon Cold War mentality and power politics. China strongly upholds that all countries are equals, regardless of their size, strength and wealth. We should take a new approach to resolve problems or settle disputes, through consultation and dialogue instead of confrontation. We should seek for partnership instead of alliance. By so doing, China aims to promote a new path of state-to-state relations. China is committed to a socialist path with Chinese characteristics. This is the choice of the Chinese history and the Chinese people. As we offer our respect to the independent choice by the people of other countries, China naturally looks forward to the same respect from other countries. As General Secretary Xi Jinping rightly pointed out, no two political systems are entirely the same, and a political system cannot be judged in abstraction without regard for its social and political context, its history, and its cultural traditions. No one political system should be regarded as the only choice; and we should not just mechanically copy the political systems of other countries.

 

The second element, fairness and justice, means that China will uphold the global governance concept featuring planning together, building together and sharing together. China calls for a more democratic international relations, and is committed to building a fair and just global governance regime. China supports the United Nations to play an active role, and supports the efforts of other developing countries to increase their representation and strengthening their voice in international affairs. In the new era, China will take a more active part in global governance, and make greater contribution in international development assistance and international security. We are willing to join efforts with developing countries to make the international governance regime more fair, just and reasonable.

 

The third element, win-win cooperation, means that we will firmly uphold the values of friendship, justice and shared interests, and closely combine China's development with the development of the world. Our vision is to achieve mutual benefit, win-win cooperation for common development. China wants to benefit from world development and prosperity. At the same time, we also want to bring more benefits to the world. Opening up will remain China's basic policy. We will keep our doors open for development. We will continue to promote Belt and Road international cooperation based on the principle of planning together, building together and sharing together. More efforts will be made to promote policy coordination, infrastructure connectivity, unimpeded trade, financial integration and people-to-people bond. By doing so, we will build new platform for international cooperation, and create new driving force for common development. We will facilitate mutually beneficial cooperation with all countries, and make new contribution to common development and prosperity. To narrow the gap between the North and the South, China will increase its assistance for developing countries, particularly the least developed countries. We will work to promote a new pattern of fully opening up. We will promote trade facilitation and investment liberalization, build an open world economy, and make globalization more open, inclusive, balanced and win-win.

 

The Congress puts forward building a community of shared future for mankind, raising new requirements for us to build a better world. The CPC has a clear vision for the better world, featuring an open, inclusive, clean and beautiful world that enjoys lasting peace, universal security, and common prosperity. General Secretary Xi Jinping stressed that China can't achieve peace and development without the peace and development of the world. That is why China advocates for a new security concept of common, comprehensive, cooperative, and sustainable security. China is committed to jointly building a world of lasting peace and universal security. To achieve this goal, it would require all countries to abandon the traditional international politics of zero-sum game and the law of the jungle, and resolutely reject any country to pursue "absolute security". This approach is in stark contrast to certain country that only seeks for absolute security of its own and for that purpose, even conducts color revolution and tries to topple the regime of other country. General Secretary Xi Jinping stressed that, China will not only focus on building a beautiful China, but will also contribute to a beautiful world. China is willing to work with the international community to promote the cause of the environment, address climate change, and protect the earth as our shared homeland. To build a clean and beautiful world is the solemn promise of the CPC. It is also the stated mission of China's diplomacy. China will always promote world peace, contribute to world development, and uphold the international order. All of these commitments shows that when China pursues its own development, it is equally committed to world peace and development. The full willingness of the Chinese diplomacy to contribute to the human progress of the world is also a best display of the global perspective and international spirit of the CPC.

 

Looking forward, under the guidance of the Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, China will continue to hold high the banner of peace, development, cooperation and mutual-benefit, and uphold its fundamental foreign policy goal of preserving world peace and promoting common development. China remains firm in its commitment to strengthening friendship and cooperation with other countries on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. China will continue to play its part as a major and responsible country, under the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, and answer the call of the new era with a broader vision of the world, a stronger sense of international responsibility and more progressive diplomatic actions.

 

We are strongly convinced that the all-round advancement of the Belt and Road initiative will create new opportunities for common development and prosperity. China's opening up on all fronts will provide the international community with new important opportunities to deepen mutually beneficial cooperation with China. The green, low-carbon and circular economic development in China will lead the international efforts in promoting harmonious coexistence between man and nature. The continuous development of socialism with Chinese characteristics will provide a new path for developing countries to strive for their modernization, and will offer Chinese solutions to the problems facing mankind as well as Chinese wisdom in search for a better social system.

 

The next five years are of great importance to China, as it is the period in which the time frames of the Two Centenary Goals converge.  In this period, not only must China finish building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and achieve the first centenary goal by 2020; China must also build on this achievement to embark on a new journey toward the second centenary goal of fully building a modern socialist country. Yearly speaking, 2018 will witness the 40th anniversary of China's reform and opening up; 2019 China will celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China; 2020 we will completely eradicate poverty across 1.4 billion Chinese population and realize a moderately prosperous society in all respects; 2021, we will celebrate the centenary anniversary of the CPC and embark on another great new chapter.

 

IV. New opportunities for China-South Africa relations in the new era.

 

Currently, China-South Africa comprehensive strategic partnership maintains robust momentum. China-South Africa relations are in its best historical moment and is faced with new historical opportunities. The Chinese President Xi Jinping and the South African President Jacob Zuma have met on a regular basis in recent years, fully demonstrating the height and warmth of our strategic and political mutual trust. Both China and South Africa regard each other as priority and strategic partner in its foreign affairs. The two countries have always given each other mutual understanding and mutual support on our respective core interests and major concerns, and have together firmly upheld our shared interests. As two major emerging powers, China and South Africa are co-chairs of FOCAC and are both important members of the BRICS, G20, UN and other multilateral institutions. Through close strategic communication and coordination, China and South Africa have been playing increasingly important roles in promoting world peace and development, in the establishment of a more fair and reasonable international order, and in protecting the shared interests of China, South Africa and other developing countries.

 

Thanks to the strong economic complementarity and the huge potential, China and South Africa are now faced with historical opportunities to synergize strengths in economic cooperation. Situated in a prime location, and boasting rich resources, sound infrastructure, well-regulated market, and sound legal system, South Africa is the African country that is the most deeply and substantively involved in linking with the Belt and Road initiative. It is also the African country that is most ready for deeper China-Africa mutually beneficial cooperation. China has the capital, technology, market, enterprises, talents, and development experience. Both China and South Africa complement respective strengths, and we need each other for cooperation and development.

 

Next year will mark the 20th anniversary of China-South Africa diplomatic ties. China and South Africa will take this important opportunity, fully leverage our strengths of political mutual trust, economic complementarity, and the friendship between our two peoples, and work together to promote cooperation in ten priority areas including infrastructure, human resources, manufacturing and processing, agriculture, tourism, marine economy, finance, security, people-to-people exchange and international cooperation. China is ready to work closely with our South African friends to make our relations more productive and more beneficial to our two peoples, so as to make our relations a locomotive in China-Africa relations.

 

Thank you!

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