Editor's note: General Secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee Xi Jinping, who is also Chinese president and chairman of the Central Military Commission, delivered a landmark speech on July 1 to mark the 100th anniversary of the founding of the CPC. Eight scholars from home and abroad analyzed the speech. Excerpts from their analyses follow:
History and people have chosen CPC
Over the past 100 years, the Party has traveled a bumpy road and yet produced excellent results by grasping the chances at every turning point in history to lead China toward new horizons. Several elements have marked the CPC's progress.
Reflecting on the history of the past century, General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee Xi Jinping has said the truth is that the Chinese people and history have chosen the CPC.
In the more than one-hour speech on July 1, Xi mentioned "the people" 86 times. In particular, he emphasized that the close bond between the people and the Party will thwart any attempts to drive a wedge between the two.
It should be noted that improving the lives and livelihoods of the Chinese people and realizing the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation have been the Party's mission since its founding.
By continuously making theoretical innovations, the CPC has maintained its vigor. It has always sought truth from the facts, moved with the times, and adopted a pragmatic approach while deepening its understanding of the laws of governance, socialism, and the evolution of human society in relation to the new conditions and new requirements of practice.
The CPC has maintained its bond with and wholeheartedly served the people, and its commitment to the people-centered philosophy laid the foundation for the development of socialism with Chinese characteristics.
Self-revolution and strict self-discipline are key to the CPC's steady growth and development, and helped it become an innovative Marxist governing party, win the support of the people, overcome difficulties, and achieve one success after another.
Song Xiongwei, a professor of politics and law at the Party School of the CPC Central Committee
Centenary goals also source of global hope
As the CPC celebrates its 100th anniversary, its experiences in economic development are vital to countries pursuing or completing modernization. Despite colonial plunder and atrocities, the two wars against Japanese invaders, and the civil war, Mao Zedong's economic policies in the 1950s unleashed State-led industrialization. But after a promising start, the effort stagnated due to the Cold War headwinds.
In the late 1970s, former leader Deng Xiaoping initiated reform and opening-up, heralded by the special economic zones. Deng understood the opportunities of globalization, but also the risks of Western neoliberalism. As he said, one has to cross the river "by feeling the stones".
China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001, and further reform and opening-up paved the way to a decade of double-digit growth, based on exports and investment. The third great transition－the shift to post-industrialization－has been intensified by the leadership of President Xi Jinping and China's historical transition toward world-class innovation and mass consumption.
Just as President Xi said, after China achieved its first centenary goal, the CPC is leading the Chinese people on the way to realizing the second centenary goal. Which means China has achieved the goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, and it will likely realize the goal of becoming a great power in the next three decades－by boosting innovation, increasing investment, and promoting a new kind of global interdependency via the Belt and Road Initiative.
China has also eradicated absolute poverty and established the largest social security system in the world. Now the CPC headed by Xi has vowed to make more notable and substantive progress toward achieving well-rounded human development and common prosperity for all. And adopted in March, China's 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25) marked a shift away from quantitative growth to qualitative development.
When reform and opening-up were launched, China's per capita GDP(in purchasing power parity terms) was barely 2 percent of the United States'. After the mid-2020s, it will be a third of the US level. And before the launch of reform and opening-up, China's economy was just 10 percent of the US'. Today, it is nearly two-thirds of the US' and is set to surpass the US economy before the end of this decade, assuming peaceful conditions prevail.
It is this prospect that has prompted some US politicians to take China-containment measures, as they fear that China's rise would be the US' loss. That's why President Xi suggested almost a decade ago a new type of international relations. That's why Chairman Mao asked several US presidents to seize the historic opportunity to couple US industrial know-how with China's huge workforce. That's why Joseph Stilwell, former US president Franklin D. Roosevelt's coordinator in China, advocated US cooperation with the CPC, not with Chiang Kai-shek's corrupt regime.
And that's why Sun Yat-sen, the precursor of modern China, sought to attract Western investment to China in the 1920s－with the aim of fostering peace and prosperity in both the West and China.
Today, we're back at a crossroad of great opportunity and great danger. The difference is that the stakes are no longer regional, but global, even existential. The world ought to realize China's achievements are a source of global hope, too.
Dan Steinbock, the founder of Difference Group
West needs to stop lecturing and adopt friendlier approach
Now, more than ever, what the world critically needs is cooperation, not confrontation, because the bad ending we're headed toward is unfathomable. Given the recent downward spiral in Sino-US relations, no wonder there are many misconceptions about China in the United States.
But with so many shared critical global problems, the last thing we need is escalating confrontations. What we urgently need is deeper cooperation and better leadership in the many areas where our national interests overlap.
In his speech on July 1, President Xi emphasized that China seeks peace and development, and promotes a new type of international relations. In fact, less than a decade ago, President Xi and then US president Barack Obama showed that a new model of major country relationship could work. They led the world in signing the Paris Agreement, which hopefully will help prevent an environmental apocalypse by the end of this century.
There are so many other issues that the two sides can work together to improve global governance. These include public health as scientists warn of another wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as updating and modernizing the antiquated rules of international relations to meet 21st century challenges.
In our diverse world, when it comes to political models, one size doesn't fit all. Some Americans tend to have a Pavlovian response to communists but the CPC has led China to lift about 800 million people out of abject poverty and will continue to work remarkably well. So let's settle on "different strokes for different folks" and work together to meet shared challenges so we all can reach not merely to the end of this century, but way, way beyond it.
Harvey Dzodin, a senior fellow at the Center for China and Globalization
PLA protects country under Party leadership
In his speech on July 1, CPC Central Committee General Secretary Xi Jinping, who is also the chairman of the CPC Central Military Commission, once again emphasized the importance of the CPC's absolute leadership over the military.
The modern Chinese military was created by the CPC and has gone through many arduous tests while safeguarding China's sovereignty and territorial integrity. The CPC leading the military has been a fundamental principle since Chairman Mao Zedong established this relationship in 1938. By adhering to the Party's leadership, the military, formally named as the People's Liberation Army during the liberation war, won many battles leading to the founding of the People's Republic.
Only a strong people's military can safeguard national security and create a peaceful environment for national rejuvenation. Yet it needs to better adapt to the fast changing global situation and national development needs, in order to better protect China's sovereignty and territorial integrity as well as play the role of global peacekeeper.
The Party has set the goal to further strengthen the armed forces in the new era, and build a people's army, and only major countries that have abandoned their Cold War mentality and ideological prejudice can see through the "China threat" theory and rationally judge the peaceful deeds of the PLA.
The Party, which celebrates the centenary of its founding this year, has led the PLA to a succession of victories. No matter how much the international situation changes, the PLA under the leadership of the CPC will continue to safeguard China's sovereignty, territorial integrity, social development and global security.
Liu Qiang, a professor at the College of International Studies, the National University of Defense Technology
'One country, two systems' best suited for HK and Macao
President Xi Jinping emphasized the importance of comprehensively and precisely carrying out the principle of "one country, two systems".
Since its founding in 1921, the CPC's mission has been to seek common prosperity and happiness for the Chinese people and realize the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
The "one country, two systems" formula, an innovative policy created by the CPC, is a part of that mission aimed at realizing peaceful reunification and governing the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions. And Macao's stability and development proves the system functions well.
"One country, two systems" helped Hong Kong return to the motherland without undermining its global status. It also ensured Hong Kong maintained its prosperity.
In the new era, "one country, two systems" will play an even more important role in providing strategic guidance for Hong Kong. First, "one country, two systems" has become an integral part of socialism with Chinese characteristics, so it enjoys the same policy support as other national policies and systems.
Second, the implementation of the National Security Law in Hong Kong has plugged the security loopholes in the SAR and ensures only compatriots govern Hong Kong.
Third, the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and the Belt and Road Initiative have created unprecedented opportunities for Hong Kong to achieve higher levels of development.
And fourth, based on the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, the SAR, due to its greater stability and stronger sense of Chinese national identity, will enter a new stage of development in the new era.
By continuing to follow "one country, two systems", Hong Kong will not only maintain its advantages as an international financial and logistics hub, but also continue to contribute to the nation's rise.
Tian Feilong, an associate professor at the School of Law, Beihang University
National reunification vital to national rejuvenation
In the significant speech to mark the 100th anniversary of the CPC, General Secretary Xi Jinping, for the first time, made it clear that the national rejuvenation of China has become a historical inevitability.
To resolve the Taiwan question and achieve national reunification is one of the historic missions of the CPC. While President Xi has been reiterating the importance of achieving the historical task, the Chinese mainland has sent a clear warning to "separatist forces" on the island.
In the past years, the ruling Democratic Progressive Party in Taiwan has significantly changed the political landscape across the Taiwan Straits. The DPP denies the 1992 Consensus, and it may continue to manipulate the public opinion on the island to push forward its political agenda of "Taiwan independence".
Since assuming power in 2016, the DPP has refused to acknowledge the 1992 Consensus, hindering cross-Straits exchanges and colluding with some countries to contain the mainland's rise, in order to fulfill its dirty political goal.
Therefore, the CPC, which has the responsibility of realizing national reunification and rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, has to appropriately deal with the Taiwan question and decisively put down any attempts to split the country.
The people on both sides of the Straits are confident of thwarting "Taiwan independence" and will never allow any power to sever any part of Chinese territory.
Tang Yonghong, deputy director of the Taiwan Research Center at Xiamen University
Different paths should be respected
Anniversaries are the best time to look back, assess the lessons learned, celebrate honest achievements and consolidate them to achieve further success. Over the past 40-odd years, China has lifted more people out of extreme poverty than any other country in history.
This achievement is not based on non-sustainable or fraudulent principles. It has been won through hard work, enterprise, intelligence and the initiative of the Chinese people, and by applying prudent, long-tested economic, political and industrial principles.
The broader lesson for world peace in all this is clear: Different countries have different paths of development, which should be respected.
During the 20th century, the world was ravaged by wars and ideological contests. China opted out of that binary and the intolerant contests more than 40 years ago and instead adapted its existing political system to an exceptionally successful pragmatic approach that suits the country.
But the end of the Cold War went to the heads of US policymakers and its allies around the world. Over the past 30 years, ever more frenzied efforts have been made to destabilize societies, invade countries and topple governments across Asia, Africa and the Western Hemisphere in an attempt to impose ideologically rigid systems that promise democracy and economic prosperity but invariably fail to deliver them.
By contrast, China does not force other countries to follow its ideology or the Chinese development model. Yet China's development path needs to be understood and respected by other countries.
China's leaders learned well the lessons of both successful and disastrous policies previously pursued by other countries. And now, leaders around the world should study how China has continued to make remarkable achievements without recourse to any war, foreign aggression or attempts to spread any ideology. And they should draw the appropriate conclusions.
Martin Sieff, a senior fellow at the American University in Moscow
Nation's development benefits the world
The CPC, in its 100 years, has helped China make remarkable achievements, including founding the People's Republic. It laid a solid foundation for economic development and growth while ensuring sociopolitical stability in the country. It managed to keep the country, with the largest population in the world, focused on its agenda, and establish an effective governance system, while elevating the country's status in the international community.
Despite the ups and downs, the Party's leadership has successfully responded to all the challenges. Riding the tide of economic globalization and following the principles of socialism with Chinese characteristics, the Party has led the Chinese people to achieve unprecedented growth for the country.
The most important aspect of China's economic progress has been its inclusiveness, which ensures benefit for all.
Just as President Xi said in the landmark speech on July 1, in spite of being a major contributor to global economic growth for years, China has no expansionist designs, and instead has been promoting a new type of international relations, which is fairer and more equitable, through the Belt and Road Initiative.
However, the major powers, which have also benefited from China's development, are not happy with its policy even though it emphasizes cooperation rather than confrontation and exploitation. Thus, the biggest challenge to the CPC remains the Cold War mindset of some major powers. China therefore has to make more efforts, along with other like-minded countries, to safeguard the international order, improve the global governance paradigm and focus on a shared future for all.
Khalid Rahman, chairman of the Institute of Policy Studies, Islamabad
Strong leadership vital to China’s successes
Just as General Secretary Xi Jinping mentioned, the CPC now is the largest governing party in the world that enjoys tremendous international influence.
Latest data show the CPC is the world’s largest political organization with more than 95 million members. This means the CPC is running a super-mega system with a sophisticated structure.
In these risk-laden times, the world is changing dramatically and is full of uncertainties. Therefore, a more collaborative leadership is needed to effectively mobilize and allocate diverse resources.
Just as Wan Exiang, vice chairman of the Standing Committee of the 13th National People's Congress, said in the non-CPC political parties’ and non-affiliates’ joint congratulation letter, it is due to the strong leadership of the CPC that China has achieved the great successes in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, eliminating extreme poverty and building a moderately well-off society in all respects.
The fight against pandemic is a pretty good case to illustrate the Party’s role and to showcase the institutional advantages of socialism with Chinese characteristics. The CPC realized the imminent threat the pandemic posed to the Chinese people as soon as it broke out, and set strategic goals by putting people’s lives first, and achieved a broad nationwide consensus on the prevention and control measures.
History is proof of the leading role the Party has played in all of China’s achievements. The Party is a unique institution which cannot be fully explained through Western party politics. And the Chinese people have made their choice clear by always being with the Party.
Hu Yinglian, a professor and deputy director of Social Governance Division at China Central Party School
History mirrors the right direction of CPC
In his speech on July 1 to mark the centenary of the founding of the CPC, General Secretary Xi Jinping repeatedly emphasized the importance of using history as a mirror to seek the right path.
Now the country has embarked on the historic journey toward achieving the second centenary goal of building a modern socialist country.
Over the past 100 years, the Party has led the Chinese people to achieve national independence, economic development and prosperity, making one remarkable achievement after another. Given that China is the world’s longest continuous civilization of more than 5,000 years, the Party’s governance philosophy is a combination of Marxism, China’s real conditions and traditional Chinese culture.
Standing at a new starting point, people of all ethnic groups today feel more confident than ever of realizing the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation and achieving the second centenary goal.
Just as Xi said, China will persist with opening up to outside world, rather than locking down. He also said the CPC as an experienced governing party iswilling to learn from the achievements of other cultures.
In fact, China is willing to maintain and increase cultural exchanges with other countries, practices that have been an integral part of its diplomacy, to enhance mutual understanding. It’s time for the world to learn more about China’s history and better understand the CPC.
Hui Ming, a researcher at the China National Center for Cultural Studies, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences
The views don't necessarily reflect those of China Daily.