Xi Jinping’s first political report, delivered today at the opening of the 19th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party, is a monster that must be carefully dissected through many painful hours of reading — turning it constantly against the mirror of political reports past. So we do not presume to offer a reading here.
But we can point to a few aspects and look at how the congress is being reported through Chinese media, which on this story are naturally dominated by official state media.
Opening New Horizons in Socialism With Chinese Characteristics (开辟中国特色社会主义新境界)
— Warmly Welcoming the Opening of the 19th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party
People’s Daily, October 18, 2017
The tapestry of history is always opened through grinding forward progress; the chapter of the age is always written in new struggles.
Today, the 19th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party opens ceremoniously in Beijing. This congress is an extremely important congress opening at a critical phase in the comprehensive building of a moderately well-off society (小康社会) and in a key period in the development of socialism with Chinese characteristics (中国特色社会主义). Our Party will raise a program of action that is overarching, strategic and forward-looking concerning what [ideological] banner we uphold, what path we take, what spiritual attitude we maintain, what historic mission we bear, and what goals we struggle toward. The success of this conference concerns the past and future business of the Party and the government, concerns the fate of socialism with Chinese characteristics, concerns the fundamental interests of the broad masses of the people — and it has major political, theoretical and practical import for the victory of the comprehensive building of a moderately well-off society, winning great victories for socialism with Chinese characteristics and realizing the Chinese dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese people.
“The yearning for a good life, that is the goal toward which we struggle.” Looking back on a five years past that were anything but ordinary, the Central Committee of the CCP with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core (习近平同志为核心的党中央), and with great political courage and a fierce sense of responsibility, carried out great struggles with many new historical characteristics, facing challenges head on as they climbed, breaking new ground in pushing forward the agenda, discarding old ways and introducing new. [The Party] advanced the overall plan of the “Five In One” (五位一体) [NOTE: this term from the 19th Congress refers to: 1. economic development; 2. political development; 3. cultural development; 4. social development; and environmental development], coordinating with the advancement of the strategic arrangement of the “Four Comprehensives” (四个全面), achieving along with the people a clear raising of national economic strength, technological strength, national defense strength, comprehensive national power (综合国力) and international influence. On the foundation of the advancements made since the founding of the new China, and particularly since the commencement of economic reform and opening, [the Party has] advanced socialism with Chinese characteristics to a new phase of development. The achievements of the past 5 years are omni-directional [comprehensive] and innovative (开创性的). The changes of the past 5 years are deep and fundamental in nature. These historic achievements and historic changes mark the fact that our country now stands at a new historical juncture, and they have deep and major significance for the business of our Party and the state.
The leadership of the Party is the most fundamental character of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and it is the greatest advantage of the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics. In the past 5 years, opening and reform and the construction of socialist modernization (社会主义现代化) have made historic achievements, and socialism with Chinese characteristics has achieved new brilliance and vitality most fundamentally because of the firm leadership of the Chinese Communist Party with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core. In the grinding advance of the past 5 years, the ingenuity, cohesion, fighting strength, leadership strength and rallying power of the Party has risen constantly, and its core leadership role in maintaining overall control and coordinating various aspects [of governance] has been fully at play — and this is the fundamental reason we have made deeply significant achievements, progress and development. Of particular importance has been the spirit of the series of General Secretary Xi Jinping’s important speeches (习近平总书记系列重要讲话精神) and his new concepts, thoughts and strategies on the governance of the nation (治国理政新理念新思想新战略). [These] have raised to a new level our Party’s principles for holding power (执政规律), principles for building socialism (社会主义建设规律), and principles for developing human society (人类社会发展规律), and they constitute a full and scientific theoretical system (科学完整的思想理论体系) — amounting to the newest fruits of the sinicization of Marxism (马克思主义中国化), and opening up new horizons for the development of contemporary Chinese Marxism (当代中国马克思主义).
The question of [development] path is an arch question that concerns the success or failure of the Party’s work; path determines destiny, and path is the life of the Party. It is by cleaving to the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics that the Chinese people have, through long struggle, achieved the historic leap of standing up, then becoming prosperous and finally becoming powerful. In the grinding advance of the past 5 years, socialism with Chinese characteristics has achieved new brilliance and vitality and opened constant new horizons in its development, and socialism with Chinese characteristics has expanded the path for developing nations in progressing toward modernization, gifting Chinese knowledge to humankind and offering China’s plan (中国方案) [NOTE: This is a concept Xi Jinping apparently first raised in a meeting with leaders from South and Central America in July 2014].
At this new historical juncture,in an era of rapid transformation, if our Party wishes to win the [advantage] of initiative and to make new victories in the great struggle, [we] must be ever firm in the “Four Confidences” (四个自信) [NOTE: This is: confidence in [the Party’s] path; confidence in [the Party’s] theory; confidence in the system; and confidence in [Chinese] culture], firmly grasping the characteristics of our country’s development phase, firmly grasping the yearning of the people for beautiful lives. We look forward to this congress, with a broad and far-seeing vision, considering and grasping a series of major challenges facing the future development of our country, [and look forward to it] opening new theoretical horizons, taking new practical steps, leading the whole of the Party and the various peoples of the nation to a new attitude of striving, carrying out the great struggle, building great projects, advancing great deeds, achieving great dreams, steadily advancing socialism with Chinese characteristics.
All great achievements are the result of continued struggle, and all great tasks require moving forward as we build a bridge between the past and the future. Today, we are closer to achieving our goal of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese people than at any stage in our history, and we are more confident than at any period in history that this goal can be achieved.
[We must] realize the first centenary goal of winning a comprehensively well-off society, and for the second centenary goal, starting off on the journey toward the building of a modernized socialism nation, our great Party will move ahead, not veering from our original intentions (不忘初心再出发), bravely bearing this heavy responsibility, guiding the ship of the Chinese peoples great dream through the waves, toward even brighter shores.
We wish the congress full success!