Researcher considers objectivity obligatory in recording CPC history

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A researcher says it's an obligation of historians to record the history of the Communist Party of China (CPC) with the "utmost objectivity."

Li Zhongjie, deputy director of the Party History Research Center of the CPC Central Committee, made the remarks at a press conference Thursday, while summing up his experience in compiling the "History of the Communist Party of China."

Historians have completed two volumes and are now working on the third that covers the post-1978 period when China embarked a period of opening up and reform.

The second volume, which was published in January after 16 years of editing, features major events of the CPC from 1949 to 1978 and has dominated sales in major Beijing bookstores for weeks.

More than 1 million copies of the second volume had been sold as of mid-May, Li said.

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

According to historians, editing the second volume was difficult because it covers controversial periods, including the Great Leap Forward of 1958 and the Cultural Revolution.

"But as ideological research workers, we are obliged to work hard and strive to ensure what we have compiled reflects the CPC's history in the most accurate and comprehensive way," Li said.

During the process of organizing the book, Party history researchers were careful in the selection of historical records and solicited opinions from various circles, while adhering to the principle of "seeking truth from facts, " according to Li.

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.

For example, an entire chapter of the second volume is devoted to the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), a time of turbulence when many suffered extraordinary hardships.

Being objective toward mistakes

Li said the CPC is "objective and candid" toward the mistakes it has made.

The history of society is a process where problems persist perpetually, and require solutions before progress can be made. China, like other countries, will encounter different kinds of problems at different stages of development and will make efforts to solve the problems, Li said.

"Under the new historical conditions, the CPC, which has put forward the Scientific Outlook on Development and advocates the conception of constructing a harmonious society, has been going all out to accomplish the goal," Li said.

"All important figures and events will eventually get an impartial judgement in the compilation of the tome on the Party's history," Li said.

The second volume provides a clear account of the 1959-1961 natural disaster in China. According to the book, the national population in 1960 was reduced by 10 million from that of the previous year, deaths of which were partially attributed to policy failure.

Li also cited late Chairman Mao Zedong as another example, explaining that the CPC did not dodge Mao's mistakes but conducted serious reflection.

"As the great leader of the CPC and the people, Mao made certain mistakes in his later years that caused serious damage," Li said.

Mao's feats outweighed his mistakes, Li said, adding that judgments of Mao should be made on a realistic basis rather than simply concluded with a complete denial of his achievements -- such as leading the nation in expelling imperialist invaders and founding the New China.

"The socialist construction is explored without precedents, so frustration and error are inevitable," Li said, adding that "the CPC has and will continue to remain in power as it has kept learning from experiences," he said.

Li called for a serious, prudent and scientific attitude toward Party history and urged the public to be careful about some unconfirmed rumors and anecdotes on the Internet.

"We have been collecting diverse opinions regarding the CPC history on the Internet, but we take them merely as clues for further research, as there is a lot of inaccurate and unfounded information online," he said, adding that his organization will continue to provide authoritative historical records.

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

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