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Previous National Congresses
Special> CPC Celebrates 90th Anniversary 1921-2011> Previous National Congresses
UPDATED: April 12, 2011
The 12th National Congress

Report to the 12th National Congress of the Communist Party of China

Create a New Situation in All Fields of Socialist Modernization



On behalf of the 11th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, I will now make a report to the 12th National Congress of the Party.

I. A Historic Change and Our Great New Task

SINCE the smashing of the Jiang Qing counter-revolutionary clique in October 1976 and, in particular, since the Third Plenary Session of the 11th Central Committee held in December 1978, we have accomplished, through the arduous efforts of the whole Party, the whole army and the people of all our nationalities, the difficult task of setting the Party's guiding ideology to rights and have won major successes in setting right our practical work on all fronts, thereby effecting a great and historic change.

The mission of the present Party congress is, through the summing-up of the historic achievements of the past six years, to chart a correct course and define correct strategic steps, principles and policies so that we can more thoroughly eliminate the negative consequences of the decade of domestic turmoil, make further progress and create a new situation in all fields of socialist modernization. The Central Committee of the Party is confident that our congress can shoulder this momentous historical task.

What are the main indicators of the historic change that has been brought about?

In the sphere of ideology, we have resolutely broken the fetters of dogmatism and the personality cult which existed for a long time, and have reaffirmed the Marxist ideological line of seeking truth from facts, thus infusing a dynamic and creative spirit into all fields of endeavour. We have restored the original features of Mao Zedong Thought and persisted in and developed it under new historical conditions.

We have put an end to years of social turbulence and brought about a political situation characterized by stability, unity and liveliness. Socialist democracy and the socialist legal system are being gradually perfected, equality and unity among all our nationalities have been strengthened anew, and the patriotic united front has expanded further. Thanks to this political situation, the present period is one of the best since the founding of our People's Republic.

The leading bodies of the Party and the state at all levels have been gradually readjusted, improved and strengthened. By and large, the leadership in the Party and state organizations at all levels is now in the hands of cadres loyal to the Party and the people.

We have resolutely shifted the focus of work of the Party and the state to economic construction and, liquidating the "Left" mistakes that persisted in our economic work over the years, have conscientiously implemented the correct principle of readjustment, restructuring, consolidation and improvement. Having tided over the most difficult phase, our national economy is now on the sound path of steady growth.

Our endeavours in education, science and culture are on the right track and, with some initial successes, are beginning to thrive. Relations between the Party and the intellectuals have improved enormously. Unity among the three main social forces, namely, the workers, peasants and intellectuals is also fairly good now.

We have made tremendous efforts to build a modern regular revolutionary army. The People's Liberation Army has achieved marked successes in improving its military training and its ideological and political work, in bettering its relations with the civil authorities and the people, in defending our frontiers and safeguarding national security and in helping socialist construction. It has further enhanced its military capability and political consciousness in line with new historical conditions.

In the course of leading the people in effecting this historic change, our Party has withstood tests and remoulded itself. It has done much to rectify Party style, gradually revived its fine traditions and become more mature and firmer in the course of struggle.

Looking back at our path of struggle in these six years, we see that it has been an uneven one. The decade of domestic turmoil inflicted grievous wounds on the Party and the state. Our victory has not been easy. It was won only after the Central Committee led the entire Party and people in overcoming enormous difficulties of all kinds.

The "Left" mistakes made before and during the "cultural revolution" had a deep and extensive influence and caused serious damage. While thoroughly exposing and repudiating the Lin Biao and Jiang Qing counter-revolutionary cliques, we found it necessary to make a clean sweep of all such "Left" mistakes. This unavoidably involved the mistakes made by Comrade Mao Zedong in his later years. Comrade Mao Zedong's contributions to the Chinese revolution were great and indelible; that is why over long years he enjoyed enormous prestige in the Party and among the people and will continue to do so in the years to come. Whether we had the Marxist courage to conduct self-criticism of our Party's mistakes, including those made by Comrade Mao Zedong, and whether we could conduct such self-criticism correctly and in a historical perspective constituted the key issue deciding whether things could be set right. During the two years before the Third Plenary Session of the 11th Central Committee, the question of rights and wrongs in the Party's guiding ideology was not clarified as it should have been and the work of setting things to rights proceeded haltingly; this was because in the early days after the smashing of the Jiang Qing counter-revolutionary clique, our Party was not ideologically prepared for an overall liquidation of the "Left" mistakes and also because the principal leading comrade in the Central Committee at the time continued to make "Left" mistakes on a series of important issues. The 11th Party Congress announced the end of the "cultural revolution" and reaffirmed the task of building a modern and powerful socialist state, thus playing a positive role in mobilizing the masses. However, the political report to the 11th Party Congress still approved of the erroneous theories, policies and slogans of the "cultural revolution," thus exerting a negative influence by seriously obstructing our effort to set things right. The historic service of the Third Plenary Session of the 11th Central Committee was precisely that it thoroughly shattered the heavy chains imposed by the protracted "Left" mistakes, set right the guiding ideology of the Party and reaffirmed the Marxist ideological, political and organizational lines. Subsequently, our Party thoroughly summed up its historical experience in all spheres and scientifically explained numerous questions encountered in practical work, which concerned theory and policy in the building of socialism. The Resolution on Certain Questions in the History of Our Party Since the Founding of the People's Republic of China adopted in June 1981 by the Sixth Plenary Session of the 11th Central Committee marked the successful conclusion of our work in setting the Party's guiding ideology to rights. Drawing on the collective wisdom of the broad sections of cadres and masses, our Party subjected the protracted "Left" mistakes and Comrade Mao Zedong's mistakes in his later years to scientific analysis and criticism, while firmly upholding the fine traditions developed by the Party during long years of struggle, safeguarding the scientific truth of Mao Zedong Thought and affirming Comrade Mao Zedong's historical role. This helped not only to differentiate right from wrong but also to strengthen unity in our ranks, thus providing a basic guarantee for the healthy development of our revolution and construction.

Since the Third Plenary Session, our Party has made every effort to conform to objective reality in formulating and implementing a series of principles and policies and to avoid focusing on the criticism of one erroneous tendency to the neglect of another. In times of historic change, people are apt to think one-sidedly because of the profound influence of old ideas and customs and because of lack of experience in dealing with new things, plus the effect of other social and political factors. In recent years, mistaken ideas representing different tendencies have arisen among sections of the Party members and cadres with regard to such major questions of principle as the Party's policy of mental emancipation, the assessment of Comrade Mao Zedong and Mao Zedong Thought and the appraisal of class struggle at the present stage of socialism. Unable to free themselves completely from the influence of the former "Left" mistakes, some comrades wanted to return, wittingly or unwittingly, to the old track of "taking class struggle as the key link." Others, deviating from the Marxist path, went so far as to doubt or even negate the leadership of the Party and the socialist road. On such major questions of principle, our Party has all along taken a firm stand and waged timely and appropriate ideological struggles on two fronts - against both the "Left" and the Right deviations. On the one hand, in its effort to prevent the recurrence of mistakes that would lead to the broadening of the scope of class struggle, the Central Committee has systematically liquidated the erroneous theory of "continuing the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat" put forth during the "cultural revolution," a theory that envisaged a continuing "revolution whereby one class overthrows another," and it has vigorously developed socialist democracy and a socialist legal system and restored and expanded our united front work. On the other hand, the Party has reiterated the four cardinal principles centring on upholding the leadership of the Party[注释1], criticized and curbed the tendency towards bourgeois liberalism and resolutely cracked down on all types of criminal activity that disrupt socialist construction. In handling various practical problems, we have done our best to act in the scientific and all-sided way as required by Marxism. This has enabled us to deal fairly successfully and relatively speedily with many complex ideological problems and social and political contradictions.

A jumble of problems accumulated during the 10 years of domestic turmoil. Many things that needed to be done or needed to be reformed claimed our attention. Moreover, the progress of new work inevitably gives rise to new problems. The Party therefore had to draw up a list of priorities, do its work systematically and solve problems step by step.

Take economic work for example. The Third Plenary Session first grasped the link of agriculture, laying emphasis on overcoming the long-standing "Left" mistakes in the guidelines in this sphere. This involved restoring and expanding the power of decision of the rural people's communes and their production brigades and teams; restoring the private plots, family and collective sideline production and village fairs; and gradually introducing, in various-forms, the system of responsibility for production in which payment is linked to output. At the same time, the state purchasing prices of grain and some other agricultural products were raised; then the policies providing for a diversified economy were formulated. As a result marked changes have taken place in agriculture, in which vigorous growth has replaced stagnation. For many years, the peasants have not been so happy as they are today. This has done much to start a turn for the better in the whole economic and indeed the whole political situation.

Following the improvement in agriculture, we began to readjust the structure of industry, laying emphasis on remedying the disproportion between light and heavy industries and on readjusting the service orientation of heavy industry. The result has been a rapid expansion of light industry. At the same time, we readjusted the ratio between accumulation and consumption and reduced the scale of capital construction which had been over-extended. This has resulted in improved living standards for the people as well as better proportions between the various branches of the national economy. In other fields, we have, by and large, used the same method - that of tackling the key problem first to facilitate the solution of the rest.

In the final analysis, our Party has been successful in the above efforts because it has adhered to the scientific Marxist principles of combining theory with practice and of recognizing the people as the makers of history. The facts are plain enough. The Party firmly trusts the people, relies on them and acts in compliance with their wishes and the trend of historical development. With the crushing of the Jiang Qing counter-revolutionary clique, the people placed high hopes on the Party. They demanded that wrongs be set right, that stability and unity be achieved, that efforts be concentrated on socialist modernization and that the level of our country's socialist material and spiritual civilization be raised. It is by crystallizing the will of the people and formulating correct lines, principles and policies that the Party has been able to bring the cause of socialism in our country back on to the sound path. The people's trust in the Party and their support for it are the key to the continuous success of our cause.

Looking back over the course of struggle we have traversed in the past six years, we naturally recall two previous instances of historic change during China's democratic revolution led by the Party, namely, the change from the failure of the Northern Expedition (1924-27) to the outbreak of the Agrarian Revolutionary War (1927-37) and the change from the failure of the struggle against the Kuomintang's fifth "encirclement and suppression" campaign to the launching of the War of Resistance Against Japan (1937-45). At both junctures, when the Party and the people had suffered heavy losses and the revolution faced grim crises, enemies both at home and abroad concluded that we were doomed to total defeat, and not a few people in our own ranks wavered and grew pessimistic. But the Party was not overwhelmed by the enormous difficulties. Under the leadership of a number of outstanding figures of whom Comrade Mao Zedong was representative, the Party displayed rare revolutionary courage and fortitude, fought on tenaciously, strove creatively to find a revolutionary path suited to China's specific conditions and finally turned the tide, resuscitating the revolutionary cause and bringing about a new situation of victorious advance.

Compared with the two previous ones, the present change has taken place under vastly different historical conditions. Today, our Party is the leading core of nationwide political power and our country has already experienced a long period of socialist revolution and construction. The people are far more powerful than they were in the period of the revolutionary wars. Despite the tremendous damage done to it by the "cultural revolution," the cause of socialism retains its great and invincible vitality. Although we have lost Comrades Mao Ze-dong, Zhou Enlai, Liu Shaoqi and Zhu De and other veteran proletarian revolutionaries, we still have as the mainstay of our cause many other veteran revolutionaries who fought shoulder to shoulder with them. Moreover, we have as our core force many old comrades who went through the test of revolutionary wars and large numbers of young and middle-aged comrades who have been tempered and have matured since the founding of our People's Republic. Under the leadership of the Central Committee, we have at last succeeded in effecting another historic change, thanks to the arduous efforts of the Party organizations at all levels and the concerted struggle of all Party comrades and millions upon millions of people throughout the country.

Comrades! The great successes we have achieved in the past six years are evident to all. But, instead of resting on our laurels, we must realize that there are still many shortcomings and difficulties and that there is still much to be desired in the work of the Party. We must enhance our revolutionary spirit, plunge into work and strive for new and still greater successes.

The general task of the Communist Party of China in this new historical period is to unite the people of all our nationalities in working hard and self-reliantly to achieve, step by step, the modernization of our industry, agriculture, national defence and science and technology and to make China a culturally advanced and highly democratic socialist country. In the five years from the present Party congress to the next, we should, as this general task and China's actual conditions require, energetically promote the socialist material and spiritual civilization, continue to strengthen socialist democracy and the socialist legal system, earnestly rectify the Party style and consolidate the Party organization and strive to bring about a fundamental turn for the better in the country's financial and economic situation, in the standards of social conduct and in the style of the Party. At the same time, together with all the patriotic people, our compatriots in Taiwan, Xianggang (Hongkong) and Aomen (Macao) and including Chinese nationals residing abroad, we shall pursue the great aim of reunifying the motherland. We shall also join the people of the rest of the world in carrying on the struggle against imperialism and hegemonism in defence of world peace. These are the lofty tasks of creating a new stiuation in all fields that lie before us.

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