Party history details lessons from past

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A leading historian of the Communist Party of China (CPC) stressed that the Party has learned lessons from its policy failures and the misjudgment of Party leaders.

Li Zhongjie, deputy director of the Party History Research Center of the CPC Central Committee, said the second volume of the History of the CPC, which features major events of the CPC from 1949 to 1978, covers controversial periods, including the Great Leap Forward of 1958 and the "cultural revolution" (1966-1976).

An entire chapter of the book is devoted to the "cultural revolution", a time of turbulence when many Chinese suffered extraordinary hardship.

Li said the publication not only acknowledges the Party's positive contributions, but also analyzes the causes of policy failures and the misjudgment of Party leaders.

"It is inevitable for the Party to make mistakes during its exploration of constructing a socialist society," Li said at a news conference.

"The CPC has learned from experiences and drawn lessons from its past."

Li said efforts should be made to "put the most objective materials in historical records" after careful selection and soliciting opinion from various circles.

"History is abundant yet complicated, and experts may hold different viewpoints based on their own observation," he told reporters.

"It is important to listen to varied opinions before reaching a fair and precise conclusion on the Party's past."

As the world's second largest economy races into the future, the Party still weighs its past with "high attention", hoping it can "advise the government and nurture people", according to Li.

He said more than 1 million copies of the second volume of the History of the CPC had been sold as of mid-May, just four months since the book was published after 16 years of painstaking editing.

Historians are now working on the third volume covering the post-1978 period when China embarked on the reform and opening up, Li noted.

The first volume covers the years from 1921 to 1949, a revolutionary period before the founding of New China.

The CPC, the world's largest political party, will mark its 90th anniversary on July 1. It had 78 million members as of 2009.

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