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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

To strengthen Party building organizationally, it is essential to make the Party the core of strong leadership and give full play to its organizational strength. Our Party has 58 million members and 3.4 million grassroots organizations, organized as an integral whole according to democratic centralism under the guidance of Marxism and working hard to achieve its common goal. This is a tremendous organizational advantage. Under the conditions of reform, opening to the outside world and developing a socialist market economy, democratic centralism, instead of being weakened, must be improved and developed. We should further enhance democracy, guaranteeing the rights of Party members and clearing and widening channels for inner-Party democracy so as to give full play to the initiative and creativity of the whole Party. We should safeguard the authority of the Central Committee of the Party and be in agreement with it on ideological and political matters, ensuring the smooth implementation of the Party's line and the Central Committee's policy decisions. We should improve the system of Party congresses and the system whereby the collective leadership by Party committees at all levels is combined with division of work and individual responsibility. We should ensure that local Party committees better play the leading core role in the various organizations at corresponding levels. Leading cadres should take the lead in observing the various rules of democratic centralism, protecting the interests of the Party as a whole, strictly observing discipline, preventing the tendency to make decisions arbitrarily and go their own way, and opposing the defiance of orders and prohibitions. In accordance with the principle of making our cadres more revolutionary, younger, better educated and more competent professionally, we should foster a contingent of highly qualified cadres who can meet the requirements of the socialist modernization drive, for that is the key to ensuring successive victories for our cause. With the emphasis on building the Party ideologically and politically, we should turn the leading bodies at all levels into united, staunch collective leaderships that resolutely carry out the Party's basic theory and line, serve the people wholeheartedly and are capable of leading the modernization drive. We should accelerate the reform of the cadre system, enhance democracy, improve their assessment, promote their exchanges and tighten supervision, so that competent people will emerge. In particular, we should make marked progress showing that our cadres are ready to go up and equally ready to come down. In selecting cadres, we must thoroughly carry out the principle of having both political integrity and professional competence, persist in appointing people on their merits and oppose favoritism, and prevent or rectify unsound practices. We should promptly promote to leading posts those cadres who are generally acknowledged as having firmly carried out the Party's line and scored outstanding achievements and being honest and clean. Persons who deviate from the Party's lines, seek personal gain, practice fraud and crave official positions can never be assigned to leading posts. It is a strategic task to train and select a large number of excellent young cadres who can shoulder cross-century important tasks. We must lose no time in fulfilling this task. We should pay great attention to fostering and promoting women cadres, cadres from among ethnic minorities and non-Party cadres. We should improve the cadre retirement system and take good care of veteran cadres politically and in terms of material benefits, encouraging them to play their role. The grassroots Party organizations are the locus of all the Party's work and the base of its fighting capacity. The work of consolidating and improving grassroots Party organizations should be geared to the Party's basic line and serve its central task. They should study new situations and problems in a spirit of reform and improve their methods and style of work and their ways of conducting activities. They should conscientiously educate, manage and supervise Party members and enhance their capability to solving their own problems. In light of their own characteristics, they should earnestly perform their duties prescribed by the Constitution of the Party and strive to become a staunch, powerful force that can carry out the Party's line, principles and policies and that can unite with the masses and lead them in fulfilling the tasks of their own units.

To improve the Party's style of work, it is essential to stick to the aim of serving the people wholeheartedly and give full play to the Party's strength in forging close links with the masses. The fine work styles of integrating theory with practice, forging close links with the masses and practicing criticism and self-criticism, which our Party has cultivated in the process of long struggle, are a reflection of its nature and purpose and should be carried forward throughout the Party in the light of new practice. Coming from the people and taking root among them, our Party serves the people. To work for the people's interests wholeheartedly is the starting point as well as the purpose of all our work for building socialism with Chinese characteristics. Party members should listen to the opinions of the masses, help alleviate their hardships and do practical things in their interest. Party cadres, especially leading cadres, must faithfully carry out the Party's line, principles and policies without any deviation from them. They must correctly exercise the powers entrusted to them by the people and must never abuse them for personal gain. They must combine responsibility to their superiors with responsibility to the masses, never separating the two or setting them against each other. In their work they must uphold the mass line, go deep into the realities for investigation and study, and never indulge in bureaucracy, formalism or coercion. So long as we serve the interests of the masses and have faith in and rely on them in everything we do, our Party will obtain an inexhaustible source of strength.

The fight against corruption is a grave political struggle vital to the very existence of the Party and the state. Our Party can never be daunted and vanquished by any enemy. But the easiest way to capture a fortress is from within, so in no way should we destroy ourselves. If corruption cannot be punished effectively, our Party will lose the support and confidence of the people. We should fight corruption and continuously give the warning throughout the process of reform and opening to the outside world. We should be mentally prepared to fight a protracted war against corruption, and we should win battles one by one and stage by stage. We should continue to make sure that leading cadres are clean, honest and self-disciplined, investigate and deal with major cases and rectify unsound practices in departments and trades. Party committees at all levels must take a clear-cut stand and firmly persevere in this work. We should seek both temporary and permanent solutions. Education is the basis, the legal system is the guarantee, and supervision is the key. By deepening the reform, we should gradually eradicate the hotbed for the breeding and spreading of corruption. With Party committees exercising unified leadership, Party and government organs exerting concerted efforts, discipline inspection commissions organizing and coordinating the work and departments assuming their respective responsibilities, and relying on the support and participation of the masses, we shall resolutely check corruption. Leading cadres, especially senior ones, should play an exemplary role in observing discipline and the law, readily accept supervision and resist the corrosion of decadent ideas, setting an example of working hard and performing their official duties honestly and leading the people in resolutely fighting corruption. We should combine the fight against corruption with purification of Party organizations, never allowing corruptionists to hide themselves within the Party.

Tightening Party discipline is the guarantee for maintaining the Party's advanced nature and purity and enhancing its cohesiveness and fighting capacity. We are striving to advance toward the maximum program - the ultimate realization of communism. Those who forget this lofty goal are not qualified Party members, and neither are those who do not exert themselves to achieve the Party's program for the primary stage of socialism. Under the new historical conditions, to maintain their advanced nature, Party members should meet the requirements of the times. They should have lofty communist ideals in mind, take the lead in implementing the various policies of the Party and the state for the present stage, be brave in blazing new trails, and take the initiative to make progress in defiance of difficulties and setbacks. They should work for the interests of the people sincerely, be the first to endure hardships and the last to enjoy comforts, devote themselves to public duties wholeheartedly and make more contributions. They should study Marxism assiduously, enhance their ability to differentiate between right and wrong, master professional knowledge and skills necessary for their jobs and strive for outstanding achievements. At the critical moment they should step forward boldly, safeguard the interests of the state and the people and resolutely combat acts harmful to the people, society and the state. Party committees at all levels should adhere to the principle that "the Party should supervise itself," carry out the policy of tightening Party discipline in all aspects of Party building and firmly rectify the phenomena of lax discipline and weakness existing within the Party. We should, therefore, act in strict accordance with the Constitution of the Party and in line with the Party's rules and regulations. We should be strict with Party members, leading cadres in particular, and strictly manage and supervise them. In inner-Party life we should stress Party spirit and principles, conduct active ideological struggle, encourage healthy trends and oppose unhealthy practices. We should recruit new Party members strictly in accordance with the standards provided for by the Constitution of the Party and see to it that unqualified Party members are duly dealt with. We should strictly enforce Party discipline to ensure that all members are equal before discipline. Strict in discipline and full of vigor and vitality, our Party will surely advance from victory to victory.


The five years from this congress to the 16th National Congress of the Party will be a period in which we shall stand new tests and achieve new victories; a period in which we shall prove with new achievements that our Party, carrying forward Comrade Deng Xiaoping's behests, is capable of living up to the people's expectations and opening new horizons for our cause; and a period in which we shall implement the Ninth Five-Year Plan in an all-round way and lay the foundation for achieving the long-range objectives through the year 2010. Now we can say with complete certainty that the objective of a fairly comfortable life for the end of this century set by our Party in the early days of reform and opening-up can be achieved as scheduled. It is of great significance to enter and build up a society leading a fairly comfortable life in such a country as China with a population of more than 1 billion. This will lay a new foundation for the long-term stability of the country and create a new starting point for vigorously promoting the socialist modernization drive.

The soul of the current congress is to hold high the great banner of Deng Xiaoping Theory. This will be the hallmark of this congress in the annals of history. We have struck out a bright path, but the road ahead is not altogether smooth. We may encounter various difficulties and risks, predictable or unpredictable, from in or outside China, and in our economic life or in social and political life. No difficulties and risks can shake our faith in Deng Xiaoping Theory, but will only encourage us to use it more conscientiously to overcome them on our way to success. Upholding Deng Xiaoping Theory and continuing to enrich and creatively develop it in practice is a solemn historical responsibility of the collective leadership of the Party Central Committee and the entire Party membership.

At this congress, our task is to mobilize the whole Party and the people of all nationalities of the country to unite and work hard for an all-round advancement of the great cause of building socialism with Chinese characteristics. Unity is in our overall interest, and unity is strength. First of all our Party should be united, and Party organization at all levels should strengthen unity. Meanwhile, we should maintain close cooperation between our Party and the democratic parties and friends in various circles, cement close ties between our Party and the masses and consolidate and develop the great unity of the entire people. This unity is based on the common interests of all-round rejuvenation of the Chinese nation and on the common ideal of building socialism with Chinese characteristics. With the entire Party membership and the people of all nationalities safeguarding and strengthening this unity, our cause will be invincible.

Let us hold high the great banner of Deng Xiaoping Theory, closely rally around the Party Central Committee, work hard unyieldingly and with one heart and one mind and carry forward in an all-round way the great cause of building socialism with Chinese characteristics into the 21st century!

(NO. 40 OCTOBER 6, 1997)

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