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UPDATED: March 29, 2011
Full Text of Jiang Zemin's Report at 14th Party Congress

Following is the full text of the report delivered October 12, 1992 by Jiang Zemin, general secretary of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party, at the 14th National Congress of the Party. The report is entitled "Accelerating the Reform, the Opening to the Outside World and the Drive for Modernization, so as to Achieve Greater Successes in Building Socialism With Chinese Characteristics."


The 14th National Congress of the Communist Party of China has been convened in a new situation in which our country is accelerating its reform, its opening to the outside world and its drive for modernization. Now, I should like to present a report to the congress on behalf of the 13th Central Committee.

This congress has a historic mission to fulfil. The members of the Party and the people of different nationalities throughout China all have great hopes for it, and our friends in other countries who care about China are also paying close attention to its proceedings. We are convinced that if all deputies work to make it so, this will be a united and successful congress.

Since the Third Plenary Session of the 11th Central Committee, the Party and the people, guided by the theory of building socialism with Chinese characteristics put forward by Comrade Deng Xiaoping, have been working hard to carry out reform. The whole nation has been reinvigorated, and historic changes have taken place across the land. The productive forces have been further emancipated, and the political situation of stability and unity has been steadily consolidated. The 1.1 billion people of China, with their basic needs assured, are moving towards a relatively comfortable standard of living. We have made major progress in developing the economy, improving the people's living standards and increasing the overall strength of the country. China's socialist system has withstood severe tests and shown great vitality in the face of drastic changes in the world situation.

The important talks given by Comrade Deng Xiaoping when he visited the south early this year have been a great encouragement to members of the Party and to the people of all China's nationalities. The cadres and the masses have further emancipated their minds and are full of enthusiasm. Leaders and people are united, and the whole country is seething with activity, giving promise of a wonderful future in which the Chinese nation will have realized its lofty ideals.

The 13th Central Committee has made an overall analysis of the current situation. It has agreed unanimously that domestic conditions are ripe for faster development, that the international environment is favourable for it, and that while the present moment poses challenges, it also presents opportunities for us to accelerate our advance. The tasks of this congress are, under the guidance of Comrade Deng Xiaoping's theory of building socialism with Chinese characteristics, to review the practical experience of the 14 years since the Third Plenary Session of the 11th Central Committee and to formulate a strategic plan for the next period. It is also the task of the congress to mobilize all Party comrades and the people of all nationalities to achieve still greater successes in building socialism with Chinese characteristics by further emancipating their minds and seizing this opportune moment to quicken the pace of the reform, the opening to the outside world and the drive for modernization.

I. General Summary of the Great Practice of the Last 14 Years

In the last 14 years, adhering to the basic line of the Party, we have been building socialism with Chinese characteristics through reform and the opening to the outside world and through the liberation and development of the productive forces. In view of the deep and widespread social changes that have taken place, we can truly say that we have begun a new revolution, the objective of which is to fundamentally change the economic structure that has hampered the development of the productive forces and to establish a new and vigorous socialist economic structure. At the same time, we have been carrying out a corresponding reform of political and other structures, in order to realize the socialist modernization of China.

In the history of our Party, the first generation of central leadership, with Comrade Mao Zedong at the core, led the whole Party and the people of all nationalities first in the long, triumphant struggle to make the new-democratic revolution and then in the effort to establish the basic system of socialism and to liberate and develop the productive forces. The semi-colonial and semi-feudal China of the past, which for over a hundred years had suffered from foreign aggression and bullying, was turned into a new and independent socialist China in which the people were the masters. This revolution, the greatest China had ever seen, ushered in a new era in the history of our country.

The second generation of the central leadership, with Comrade Deng Xiaoping at the core, has led the whole Party and the people of all nationalities in another great revolution, the goal of which is to further liberate and develop the productive forces. This new revolution is designed to turn our underdeveloped socialist country into a prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced and modern socialist country, so as to fully demonstrate the superiority of socialism in China. It is based on our earlier revolutionary victory and on our great achievements in socialist construction, and it is being carried out step by step, in good order, under the leadership of the Party. This revolution is not intended to change the nature of our socialist system but to improve and develop it. It is no minor patching-up of the economic structure but a fundamental restructuring of the economy. The old economic structure has its historical origins and has played an important and positive role. With changing conditions, however, it has come to correspond less and less to the requirements of the modernization programme. The most profound change brought about by the reform in the last 14 years is that many ideological and structural shackles have been shaken off. This has released the initiative of the masses, so that China, with its 1.1 billion people, is now creating a vigorous socialism.

At the present national congress, it is essential to review the great practice of the people under the leadership of the Party over the past 14 years and to draw careful conclusions about the basic theory, the basic line and the strategic policy decisions formulated by the Party in the course of that practice. This is of vital present and long-term importance to the unification of the thinking of all Party members, the application of the Party's basic theory, the adherence to its basic line and the advance of the great cause of building socialism with Chinese characteristics.

We all remember that the toppling of the "gang of four" saved the Party and the country from disaster, but the political, ideological, organizational and economic chaos left over from the "cultural revolution" was still a very serious problem. At that time it was by no means easy to extricate ourselves from the predicament and bring about a new situation. The Third Plenary Session of the 11th Central Committee, held in 1978, and the central leadership formed at that session with Comrade Deng Xiaoping at the core, took up this difficult mission, accomplished the historic change and launched a new era in the development of our socialist cause.

Around the time of that session, our Party encouraged and guided a major debate on the proposition that practice is the sole criterion for judging truth. This debate shattered the personality cult and the doctrine of the "two whatevers" [the notion that after the death of Chairman Mao Zedong, whatever policy decisions he had made must be firmly upheld and whatever instructions he had given must be followed unswervingly - Tr.] and reaffirmed the ideological line of emancipating the mind and seeking truth from facts. This represented our rectification of the ideological line.

At the Third Plenary Session of the 11th Central Committee, our Party abandoned the wrong, "Left" principle of "taking class struggle as the key link," which was not appropriate in a socialist society, and shifted the focus of work of the Party and the state onto economic development. This represented our rectification of the political line. At the same time, the Central Committee made a major policy decision: to undertake reform and to open China to the outside world. To counter the wrong ideological trends that had manifested themselves in the preceding period, it stated unequivocally that we must keep to the socialist road and adhere to the people's democratic dictatorship, to leadership by the Communist Party of China and to Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought. [These are known as the Four Cardinal Principles. - Tr.] The idea of "one central task, two basic points" began to take shape as the foundation for the Party's basic line in the new period.

The Party emphasized that the only way to ensure the implementation of the correct ideological and political lines was to have a correct organizational line. It recognized that as required at this historic turning point, we had to strengthen the organization of the Party by gradually adjusting and consolidating leadership at different levels. We were to accomplish this by making the ranks of cadres more revolutionary, younger, better educated and more professionally competent, by doing away with de facto life tenure for leading cadres, and by encouraging co-operation between young and old cadres and gradually replacing the old with the young.

The Party also straightened out certain major historical issues of right and wrong. A series of measures were taken to redress individual injustices, and various policies were carried out to strengthen Party unity and mobilize all positive forces. At its Sixth Plenary Session the 11th Central Committee adopted a resolution on certain questions in the history of the Party since the founding of the People's Republic. In that resolution it fundamentally condemned the "cultural revolution" and rejected the theory of "continued revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat." At the same time, it came out strongly against the wrong ideological tendency to deny the value of Comrade Mao Zedong's work and Mao Zedong Thought altogether, maintained the importance of the role Comrade Mao had played in Chinese history and reaffirmed the value of Mao Zedong Thought as a guide to action. As the domestic situation develops and the international situation changes, the courage and far-sightedness of the Party in adopting this momentous resolution are becoming more and more apparent.

Having rectified the erroneous ideological and political lines, the Party convened its 12th National Congress in 1982. The congress put forward the idea of "integrating the universal truth of Marxism with the concrete practice of China, blazing a path of our own and building socialism with Chinese characteristics" and set the target of quadrupling the gross national product by the end of the century, in two stages. Later, the Party proposed that, in a third stage, socialist modernization should be basically accomplished by the middle of the next century. By setting these great goals, the Party is leading the people of all our nationalities forward into the 21st century.

The dominant feature of the new period is the policy of reform and opening to the outside world, which was initiated at the Third Plenary Session of the 11th Central Committee and which has been carried out in every area ever since the 12th National Party Congress. The reform has surged from the countryside to the cities, from the economic structure to other structures and from the revitalization of the domestic economy to the opening to the outside world.

The strategic decision to start the reform in the rural areas was in conformity with the realities in China. The household contract responsibility system with remuneration linked to output was a great innovation of the Chinese peasants. The Central Committee of the Party respected the wishes of the masses and actively supported the experiment, which in a few years was spread throughout the country. A major problem in the structure of the socialist rural economy was solved by dismantling the people's communes without privatizing ownership of the land and by introducing the household contract responsibility system supplemented by unified management. In this way, the 800 million peasants have gained the power to make their own decisions about production. In addition, we almost entirely did away with the unified purchase of farm products by the state according to fixed quotas and lifted price controls over most of them, thus helping agricultural production break out of its long-term stagnation. The rural economy rapidly became specialized, commercialized and socialized. People in both rural and urban areas have enjoyed tangible benefits from this, and it has given impetus to all our undertakings in reform and economic development. Township enterprises, another great innovation of the Chinese peasants, have expanded enormously. They have created a new outlet for surplus labour on the land, a new way for rural people to become prosperous and to modernize the countryside, and a new means of promoting the reform and development of industry and of the economy as a whole.

In accordance with the new situation in which reform had been introduced first in the countryside, then in the cities and towns, the Third Plenary Session of the 12th Central Committee adopted a resolution on economic restructuring. It declared that our socialist economy was a planned commodity economy based on public ownership and rejected the traditional concept that a planned economy was in direct opposition to a commodity economy. This represented a new development of Marxist theory on political economy and provided a new theoretical guide for overall reform of the economic structure. Later, the Party decided to reform the management systems of science and technology and of education, and it set the objectives and tasks for the reform of the political structure.

The establishment of the four special economic zones of Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Shantou and Xiamen was an important step in opening China to the outside world and a new experiment in utilizing foreign funds, technology and managerial skills to develop the socialist economy. Great achievements have already been scored in these zones. Facts have demonstrated that they are socialist, not capitalist, in nature. Later, more than a dozen coastal cities were opened, as were economic areas in the Yangtze River Delta, the Pearl River Delta and southeastern Fujian and around the perimeter of Bohai Bay. Also, Hainan Island was authorized to become a province and later a special economic zone. The number of areas that have been opened to the rest of the world has been continually increased. The coastal areas, with 200 million inhabitants, have thrived rapidly, giving great impetus to the reform, the opening up and economic development in the country as a whole.

If reform and economic development are to proceed smoothly, they must have powerful ideological and political guarantees. The Party has put forward the strategic principle of "grasping two links at the same time." By this it means that we should pursue the process of reform and opening up and at the same time fight crime, that we should develop the economy and at the same time strengthen democracy and the legal system, that we should achieve material progress and at the same time foster an advanced culture and ideology. In particular, the Sixth Plenary Session of the 12th Central Committee adopted a resolution declaring that our ideology must contribute to socialist modernization, promote the all-round reform and opening up and be based on adherence to the Four Cardinal Principles. The Party also stressed that we must explain to the people the need for continued struggle against bourgeois liberalization throughout the process of socialist modernization.

The 13th National Congress of the Party was convened in 1987. Its historic contributions were to expound in a systematic way the theory of the primary stage of socialism in China and to elaborate the Party's basic line, describing it concisely as "one central task, two basic points." [The central task was economic development; the two basic points were adherence to the Four Cardinal Principles and implementation of reform and the open policy. - Tr.] The congress attached immense significance to the fact that following the Third Plenary Session of the 11th Central Committee a way was found to build socialism with Chinese characteristics. It declared that this was the second historic leap forward in integrating Marxism with Chinese practice, the first having been the new-democratic revolution.

In the five years since the Party's 13th National Congress, we have continued our march along the road to socialism with Chinese characteristics. Under complicated and difficult conditions both at home and abroad, the Party has united and led the people of all our nationalities in an endeavour to surmount difficulties and achieve social and political stability and economic development.

The years from 1984 to 1988 were a period of accelerated expansion for the Chinese economy. In agriculture and industry, in rural areas and cities, in reform and development, progress in one sector reinforced progress in another, and the economy as a whole was raised to a new level. However, during this period of rapid advance some problems arose: in particular, price rises were a little too sharp, and many construction projects were redundant. The Party therefore decided to spend some time improving the economic environment and rectifying the economic order to facilitate reform and development.

In late spring and early summer of 1989, a political disturbance broke out, and the Party and the government, relying on the people, took a clear-cut stand against unrest. They quelled the counter-revolutionary violence in Beijing, defending the power of the socialist state and the fundamental interests of the people and ensuring the continued progress of reform, the opening up and modernization. At the same time, the Central Committee explicitly proclaimed that the Party's basic line and the policy decisions made by the Thirteenth National Congress were correct and that we should not waver in our adherence to them because of this political disturbance.

The Fourth Plenary Session of the Thirteenth Central Committee elected a new central leadership. That leadership adhered to the Party's basic line in all fields of endeavour. It continued to make economic development the central task, while trying to rectify the overemphasis of material progress to the neglect of ideological progress by strengthening ideological and political work and the building of the Party. In the face of dramatic changes in the international situation, the Party remained calm and concentrated its attention on domestic affairs while keeping an eye on developments abroad. It adopted resolutions on a number of subjects: on strengthening clean government, on further improving the economic environment, rectifying the economic order and deepening the reform, on cementing the ties between the Party and the masses, on developing and opening the Pudong Area of Shanghai, on its proposals for the ten-year programme for national economic and social development and the Eighth Five-Year Plan, on improving the large and medium-sized state-owned enterprises and on strengthening agriculture and the Party's work in the rural areas. These major policy decisions made by the Party during a critical period of history were absolutely correct.

Early this year, during an inspection tour of the south, Comrade Deng Xiaoping gave several important talks. He made a penetrating analysis of the current international and domestic situation. He also made a scientific summation of the basic practice and experience of the Party since the Third Plenary Session of the 11th Central Committee, clearing up many important misconceptions that had perplexed us and shackled our thinking over the past few years. He emphasized that the basic line must be followed unswervingly for 100 years. He urged us to further emancipate our minds, to be more daring in reform and opening up, to quicken the pace of economic development and not to lose any favourable opportunity.

Last March the Political Bureau of the Central Committee held a plenary meeting at which full agreement was reached on these talks given by Comrade Deng Xiaoping. The Political Bureau stated that they would not only serve as an important guide for our current efforts in reform and economic development and for the work of the present congress, but that they would also have far-reaching significance for the entire drive for socialist modernization. Since that meeting, the Central Committee and the State Council have made a series of decisions on ways to accelerate the reform, the opening up and economic development. The talks by Comrade Deng Xiaoping and the plenary meeting of the Political Bureau mark a new stage in China's reform and opening up and in its modernization drive.

Looking back on the road we have traversed in the past 14 years, we can see that there have been failings and mistakes in our work. There are still many difficulties to be overcome and many problems to be solved, and the people still have complaints about certain aspects of our work. But on the whole, it is generally acknowledged in the Party and the country that in these fourteen years we have truly concentrated on socialist modernization, rapidly improving the people's standard of living, bringing about a new situation, and scoring achievements that have attracted world attention. The Party has won the support of the people.

The fundamental reason our Party was able to accomplish so much in fourteen years is that it has persisted in integrating the basic tenets of Marxism with the concrete practice of China and has gradually formulated the theory of building socialism with Chinese characteristics. During the century and a half since the publication of The Communist Manifesto, the victories of the Russian October Revolution, the Chinese revolution and the revolutions in other countries have shown that with the leadership of the proletariat the people can indeed seize political power. Tremendous achievements have been scored, and much has been learned about how to build socialism. Nevertheless, the question still needs further exploration. Indeed, in view of the drastic changes that have taken place internationally in recent years, it calls for profound study.

The Chinese Communist Party has always held that countries must maintain their independence in revolution and development and that the success of socialism in China depends essentially on ourselves, on the Chinese Party's theory and line, and on the united efforts of the Party and the people. The new developments in China and the achievements of socialism over the last 14 years have led us to compare our present with our past and our country with other countries. These comparisons have convinced us that our Party's theory of building socialism with Chinese characteristics is correct and that it corresponds to the interests and needs of the people. In formulating this theory, the Party has for the first time given preliminary but systematic answers to a series of basic questions about how to build, consolidate and develop socialism in a country with a backward economy and culture like China. It has also developed Marxism by introducing new ideas and viewpoints.

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