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Government Documents
UPDATED: March 25, 2011
Hold High the Great Banner of Deng Xiaoping Theory for an All-round Advancement of the Cause of Building Socialism With Chinese Characteristics’ Into the 21st Century
Report Delivered at the 15th National Congress of the Communist Party of China on September 12, 1997


Now, I should like to present a report to the congress on behalf of the 14th Central Committee.

The 15th National Congress of the Communist Party of China is an extremely important congress. Held at the turn of the century to break new ground for the future, it will ensure that the whole Party will carry out Comrade Deng Xiaoping's behests and march unswervingly and triumphantly along the correct line adopted since the Third Plenary Session of the llth Central Committee.

The theme of the congress is to hold high the great banner of Deng Xiaoping Theory for an all-round advancement of the cause of building socialism with Chinese characteristics into the 21st century.

The issue of the banner is of the utmost importance. The banner represents our orientation and image. Firmly adhering to the line formulated since the Third Plenary Session of the 1lth Central Committee means firmly upholding the banner of Deng Xiaoping Theory. After the death of Comrade Deng Xiaoping, it is all the more necessary for the whole Party to keep a high level of consciousness and staunchness on this issue.

To advance our cause into the 21st century in an allround way requires us to seize opportunities without fail, and blaze new trails instead of following the beaten track. Taking economic development as our central task, we should make new breakthroughs in economic restructuring, deepen political restructuring and develop socialist culture and ethics in real earnest. These aspects of work should be handled in tandem with a view to bringing about economic development and all-round social progress.

The theme has been defined in the light of the requirements of the times and the aspirations of the people.

I. Looking Back and Ahead Upon the Turn of The Century

When the National Party Congress is being held toward the end of the 20th century, we all realize that our Party shoulders a lofty historical responsibility for the destiny of the Chinese nation.

Earth-shaking changes have taken place in China over the past century from 1900 when the Eight-Power Allied Forces occupied Beijing, subjecting the Chinese nation to great humiliation and bringing the country to the verge of subjugation, to the year 2000 when China will enjoy a fairly comfortable life on the basis of socialism and will make big strides toward the goal of being prosperous and strong.

After the Opium War of 1840, China was reduced to a semi-colonial and semi-feudal country. The Chinese nation was faced with two great historical tasks: to win national independence and the people's liberation, and to make the country prosperous and strong and achieve common prosperity for the people. The former task was set to remove obstacles and create essential prerequisites for the fulfillment of the latter task.

The past century has witnessed the Chinese people undergoing three historic changes on their road of advancement and the birth of Sun Yat-sen, Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping, three great men who stood at the forefront of the times.

The first change was represented by the Revolution of 1911, which overthrew the autocratic monarchy reigning in China for thousands of years. It was led by Dr. Sun Yat-sen. He was the first man who raised the slogan of "rejuvenating China" and pioneered the national and democratic revolution in the true sense in modern times. The Revolution of 1911 failed to change the social nature of old China and free the people from their hard lot, but it opened the sluice-gates for progress in China and made it impossible for the reactionary rule to remain stable any longer.

The second change was marked by the founding of the People's Republic of China and the establishment of the socialist system. This was accomplished after the founding of the Communist Party of China and under the direction of the first generation of collective leadership with Mao Zedong at the core. Through the Northern Expedition, the Agrarian Revolution, the War of Resistance Against Japan and the War of Liberation, we overthrew the three big mountains of imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat-capitalism. The Chinese people rose to their feet. Proceeding from New Democracy, they took the road to socialism and scored tremendous achievements in socialist construction. This was a great victory of the people's revolution which had never been recorded in Chinese history, a great victory of global significance for socialism and national liberation.

The third change was featured by the reform, opening up and endeavor to achieve socialist modernization. It was a new revolution initiated by the second generation of collective leadership with Deng Xiaoping at the core. Basing itself on achievements scored in revolution and construction since the founding of the People's Republic, our Party reviewed historical experiences and lessons and blazed a new trail in building socialism with Chinese characteristics. The exuberant vigor and vitality of socialism displayed in China has attracted world attention.

Our conclusion drawn from the great changes over the past century is as follows: Only the Communist Party of China can lead the Chinese people in achieving victories of national independence, the people's liberation and socialism, pioneering the road of building socialism with Chinese characteristics, rejuvenating the nation, making the country prosperous and strong, and improving the people's well-being.

As the new century is approaching, we are faced with grim challenges and, more significantly, we are confronted with unprecedented favorable conditions and excellent opportunities. We must be soberly aware that international competition is becoming increasingly acute, that the economic, scientific and technological gap between China and developed countries has brought great pressure to bear on us, and that we ourselves still have many difficulties. In the meantime, we must be well aware of the following factors: First, peace and development have become the main themes of the present era. The pattern of the world is moving in the direction of multi-polarization. It is, therefore, possible to secure a peaceful international environment for a fairly long period of time. The worldwide scientific and technological revolution is forging ahead by leaps and bounds, and the economy has continued to grow. This has provided favorable external conditions for us. Second, considerable overall national strength has been built up in China since the founding of the People's Republic, especially over the past 20 years. The reform and opening up have brought about favorable structural conditions for the modernization drive, created broad market demands and sources of funds, and given fuller play to the new creativity of the people in their hundreds of millions. Third, what is more important is that our Party has established the basic theory and basic line of building socialism with Chinese characteristics which have proved to be correct in practice. These are conditions we enjoy today, but we totally or partially lacked in the past.

Whether we are able to seize opportunities has always been a major issue which has a vital bearing on the success of our revolution and construction. We did seize important historical opportunities, but we lost some as well. Now the whole Party must maintain a high level of consciousness, firmly seize the historical opportunities at the turn of the century and take new steps forward.

Looking into the next century, we have set our goals as follows: In the first decade, the gross national product will double that of the year 2000, the people will enjoy an even more comfortable life and a more or less ideal socialist market economy will have come into being. With the efforts to be made in another decade when the Party celebrates its centenary, the national economy will be more developed and the various systems will be further improved. By the middle of the next century when the People's Republic celebrates its centenary, the modernization program will have been accomplished by and large and China will have become a prosperous, strong, democratic and culturally advanced socialist country. As Deng Xiaoping put it, "Since we have the necessary domestic conditions and a favorable international environment, and since under the socialist system we have the advantage of being able to concentrate our forces on a major task, it is now both possible and necessary for us to bring about, in the prolonged process of modernization, several periods of rapid growth with good economic returns. We must have this ambition."

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