Source: China State Council Information Office
Since its founding in 1921, the Communist Party of China (CPC) has always held on to its leadership of the revolution, and the construction and reform of the country; it is through the revolutionary struggle, continued governance and Party building that it has developed into a strong and vigorous Marxist party.
Scholars and politicians from home and abroad have tried from different angles to seek the secret of CPC’s success. The real secret is that it can always adhere to the tradition of conducting self-reform, which is also its political advantage.
That means the CPC can lead the people to carry out social revolution, and can also undertake the same process internally.
Self-reform is an active and initiative revolutionary behavior that a party can conduct through reflection, spotting warning signs and imposing a strict sense of self-denial in order to realize self-transcendence.
The CPC’s self-reform reflects two distinct connotations: first, it is imperative to conduct self-reform during the process of comprehensively deepening reform against the backdrop of modernizing the country’s system and capacity for governance. That means the Party must overcome any identifiable restrictions in thoughts and concepts and have the courage to break any vested interests that might emerge; second, as a ruling party, practicing strict self-governance in every respect entails an important element of self-supervision, that is to have the consciousness to face up squarely to problems and have the courage to point the blade towards self so as to thoroughly resolve collectively all kinds of prominent problems with the Party itself.
The objective of the self-reform of the Party is to constantly improve its self-purifying capacity, and promote self-supervision, a challenge for long-term one-party rule.
First, the Party has been strengthening ideological and theoretical development with the self-reform spirit. This starts from a revolution in ideologies and theories. The CPC attaches great significance to Party’s leadership over ideological work, continuously advancing Marxism’s integration with concrete practices of the Chinese revolution, construction and reform, and during the process creating Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory, the Theory of Three Represents, the Scientific Outlook on Development and Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era. The Party arms its members, unifies their thoughts, wills and actions with these theoretical achievements in adapting Marxism to the Chinese context.
To strengthen the Party’s ideological and theoretical development, it must eliminate all kinds of wrong thoughts contained within, and make efforts to reform from the bottom; the Party should give full play to the roles of the ideals and convictions as well as party spirit education to consolidate its belief foundation and ensure its correct developmental direction. The CPC should strengthen its members’ confidence in the path, theory, system, and culture of socialism with Chinese characteristics, so as to forge the Party’s will to conduct self-reform.
Second, the Party has been strengthening its organizational construction with the spirit of self-reform. Marxist parties are revolutionary parties organized with revolutionary thoughts and iron discipline. The CPC has consistently been using this iron discipline to regulate its members, officials and organizations to ensure their continuous advancement and purity. The key to managing so many Party members and grassroots Party organizations is to purify them according to Party regulations, investigate those violating Party discipline and weed them out in a timely way. This also involves timely improvement and rectification of weak grassroots Party organizations, so that each Party member can become a soldier always ready to fight bad elements, and every grassroots Party organization can become a fortress in the struggle to drive out evil and usher in good.
Third, the Party has been committed to improving Party conduct and building a clean government with the right self-reform spirit. To fight against corruption is to ensure Party members and officials can take the initiative to behave themselves. The Party should strengthen its centralized leadership on the job so that all corrupt elements can be spotted and dealt with, and an institutional cage can be forged to restrict power holders, whether big or small. The Party must hunt down corrupt officials that flee overseas to ensure they have nowhere to hide. The Party should sever the interest transfer chains through reform and institutional innovation to further squeeze the space for the emergence of corruption, and eliminate the soil in which it can grow, so that a long-term anti-graft mechanism can be developed. The Party should start its anti-graft campaign from education to encourage members and officials to consolidate their beliefs and fortify their mental defenses to resist the corrosion of greed.
Fourth, the Party has been strengthening its institutional construction with the same self-reform spirit. It has combined the law-based governance of the country with its self-governance based on regulations and virtues so as to advance the institutional development and regulation-based Party governance in an integrative manner. Party regulations provide the institutional guarantees needed to strengthen and regulate political life, in which the Party members have rules to follow and any violators can be punished accordingly. The Party should pay attention to implementing these regulations while improving the execution capacity of various institutions. The key element in the Party’s institutional construction is to strengthen restriction and supervision over the exercise of power. The key is to strengthen supervision of the officials of various levels, particularly senior ones, to form a power operation mechanism featuring scientific decision-making, efficient execution and effective supervision to cage power institutionally and to bring the exercise of power out into the sunshine, so as to ensure the power given by the people is always used by the Party to properly serve the people.
The author is a professor of comparative studies of political parties at the Party School of the CPC Central Committee.
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