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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

III. Historical Status and Guiding Significance Of Deng Xiaoping Theory

During the new period of" the socialist reform, opening up and modernization drive and the cross-century new journey ahead, we must hold high the great banner of Deng Xiaoping Theory and apply it to our entire cause and all our undertakings. This is an unshakable conclusion the Party has drawn from the history and realities.

The Chinese Communist Part attaches great importance to the guiding role of theory. Since the Chinese people found Marxism-Leninism, the Chinese revolution has taken on an entirely new look. The integration of Marxism-Leninism with China's reality has experienced two historic leaps, resulting in two great theories. The result of the first leap was the theoretical principles concerning the revolution and construction in China and a summary of experience therein, both of which have been proved correct by practice. Its principal founder being Map Zedong, our Party has called it Map Zedong Thought. The result of the second leap was the theory of building socialism with Chinese characteristics. Its principal founder being Deng Xiaoping, our Party has called it Deng Xiaoping Theory. These two great theories so achieved are the crystallization of the practical experience and collective wisdom of the Party and the people.

Ever since it was founded, our Party has taken Marxism-Leninism as its guiding ideology. After the Zunyi Meeting and the Yanan Rectification, the Party decided at its Seventh Congress to take Map Zedong Thought-the integration of the theory of Marxism-Leninism with the practice of the Chinese revolution-as its guiding ideology. This historic decision was based on a summary of the experiences of 24 years after the founding of the Party. On the basis of the Third Plenary Session of the llth Party Central Committee and 12th, 13th and especially 14th congresses of the Party, the Party Central Committee has proposed that the 15th Party Congress establish Deng Xiaoping Theory as its guiding ideology by stipulating in its Constitution that the Chinese Communist Party takes Marxism-Leninism, Map Zedong Thought and Deng Xiaoping Theory as its guides for action. This historic decision has been made by our Party after nearly 20 years of successful practice of the reform, opening up and the socialist modernization drive. It shows the determination and conviction of the central collective leadership and the whole Party to bring about an all-round advancement of the cause of building socialism with Chinese characteristics initiated by Deng Xiaoping toward the new century. It also reflects the common understanding and aspirations of the people of the whole country.

Practice proves that Deng Xiaoping Theory, a continuation and development of Map Zedong Thought, is a correct theory guiding the Chinese people in successfully accomplishing their socialist modernization in the process of reform and opening to the outside world. In China today, it is Deng Xiaoping Theory, which integrates Marxism with the practice of present-day China and the features of the times, and this theory alone, that can settle the issues concerning the future and destiny of socialism. Deng Xiaoping Theory is Marxism of present-day China, representing a new stage of developmerit of Marxism in China.

The reasons why Deng Xiaoping Theory has become a new stage of development of Marxism in China are as follows:

First, Deng Xiaoping Theory, upholding the principles of emancipating the mind and seeking truth from facts, not only inherits the achievements of predecessors but also breaks with outmoded conventions on the basis of new practice, and explores a new realm for Marxism. Seeking truth from facts is the quintessence of Marxism, of Map Zedong Thought, and of Deng Xiaoping Theory as well. The speech titled Emancipate the Mind, Seek Truth From Facts and Unite as One in Looking to the Future made by Deng Xiaoping in 1978 was a declaration which, at the end of the "cultural revolution" when China was at a crucial historical juncture and was faced with the question of which course to take, shattered the argument of the "two whatevers" (the notion that after the death of Chairman Map Zedong, whatever policy decisions he had made must be firmly upheld and whatever instructions he had given must be followed unswervingly-Tr.), opened up a new road for a new era and initiated the new theory of building socialism with Chinese characteristics. The talks given by Deng Xiaoping in the south in 1992 constituted another declaration showing the spirit of emancipating the mind and seeking truth from facts, which, at a crucial historical juncture when we experienced severe tests of political disturbances at home and abroad, upheld the theory and line formulated since the Third Plenary Session of the llth Party Central Committee, cleared up many important misconceptions that had long shackled people's thinking, and promoted the reform, opening up and the modernization drive to a new stage. Under the new situation when the 21st century is approaching and when we are faced with many hard issues we have never met before, Deng Xiaoping Theory requires us to emancipate our minds and seek truth from facts more firmly and more conscientiously, and judge everything by the fundamental criterion whether it is favorable toward promoting the growth of the productive forces in a socialist society, increasing the overall strength of the socialist state and raising people's living standards, or the "three law)rable" for short, so as to open new horizons for our cause.

Second, Deng Xiaoping Theory, upholding the basic achievements of the theory and practice of scientific socialism, has grappled with the fundamental question of "what socialism is and how to build it" and has incisively expounded the essence of socialism, raising our understanding of socialism to a new scientific level. To emancipate the mind in the new period, the key lies in doing it on this question. Failure to have a very clear understanding of this question has, in the final analysis, been the cause of the twists and turns and mistakes our socialism experienced before the reform and opening up, and the cause of the perplexities people encountered on their way forward since then. The efforts to set things right and the all-round reform from taking class struggle as the key link to taking economic development as the central task. from closedness or semi-closedness to reform and opening up, and from a planned economy to a socialist market economy- these historic changes of the past 20 years have constituted a process of gradually understanding this fundamental question. And this process will continue in practice in the years to come.

Third, Deng Xiaoping Theory persisting in observing the world in the broad perspective of Marxism, has made new, scientific judgments on the basis of correctly analyzing the features of the times and the overall international situation, the success or failure of other socialist countries in the world, the gains or losses of developing countries in seeking development, and the trend of development and conflicts of developed countries. Great and rapid changes are taking place in the world, and particularly, the daily advancing science and technology have profoundly changed and will continue to change the current economic and social activities and the appearance of the world. Marxists of any country have to take this seriously. It is in these circumstances that Deng Xiaoping Theory has determined the line and international strategy of our Party, requiring us to understand, carry forward and develop Marxism from a new point of view, and stressing only that is true Marxism and that sticking to conventions can only lead to backwardness and even failure. This shows Deng Xiaoping Theory is clearly geared to the times.

Fourth, to sum up, Deng Xiaoping Theory constitutes a new, scientific system of the theory of building socialism with Chinese characteristics. It has been gradually formed and developed under the historical conditions in which peace and development have become the main themes of the times, in the practice of China's reform, opening up and modernization drive, and on the basis of reviewing the historical experience of successes and setbacks of socialism in China and learning from the historical experience of the rise and fall of other socialist countries. For the first time, it has given preliminary but systematic answers to a series of basic questions concerning the road to socialism in China, the stages of development, the fundamental tasks, the motive force, the external conditions, the political guarantee, the strategic steps, Party leadership, the forces to be relied on, and the reunification of the motherland. It has guided our Party in formulating the basic line |or the primary stage of socialism. It is a fairly complete scientific system which embraces philosophy, political economics and scientific socialism and covers, among other things, the economy, politics, science and technology, education, culture, military and foreign affairs, the united front and Party building. It is also a scientific system which needs to be further enriched and developed in all aspects.

Deng Xiaoping was a great Marxist. He performed immortal deeds for the independence and liberation of the Chinese nation, for the establishment of the socialist system in China and |or its reform, opening up and modernization drive. He dedicated all his life to the Chinese people, with the interests of the people as the starting point and objective in everything he did. His greatest contribution to the Party, the people and Marxism, or his valuable legacy to us, is Deng Xiaoping Theory. This theory is embodied in the works of Deng Xiaoping and the important documents of the Party and the state written since the Third Plenary Session of the 11th Party Central Committee.

Marxism is a science which is firmly based on objective |'acts. Actual life, however, is always changing and the changes over the past century and more have been so drastic and profound that our predecessors could hardly have conceived them. Hence, Marxism will necessarily advance along with the development of the times, practice and science; it cannot remain unchanged. There is a question concerning the style of study of Marxism whether we should indulge in book worship or use the Marxist stand, viewpoint and method to study and solve the practical problems in China. During the rectification campaign in Yanan, Mao Zedong emphasized, "A policy should be established of focusing on the study of the practical problems of the Chinese revolution and using the basic principles of Marxism-Leninism as the guide, and the method of studying Marxism-Leninism statically and in isolation should be discarded." Today when we advocate arming the whole Party with Deng Xiaoping Theory and studying Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought with the focus on studying the theory of building socialism with Chinese characteristics, we mean precisely to carry |brward this fine tradition. We must never discard Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought. If we did, we would lose our foundation. Meanwhile, centering on the practical problems in the reform, opening up and the modernization drive and on the things we are doing, we must emphasize the application of the Marxist theory, the theoretical study of practical problems, and new practice and development. It is meaningless to talk about Marxism in isolation from a given country's reality and the development of the times. We would get nowhere if we studied Marxism statically and in isolation, and separated it from its vigorous development in actual life, or set them against each other. In present-day China, Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought and Deng Xiaoping Theory constitute a unified scientific system imbued with the same spirit. Adhering to Deng Xiaoping Theory means genuinely adhering to Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought; upholding the banner of Deng Xiaoping Theory means genuinely upholding the banner of Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought.

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