External Relations of the Communist Party of China

The International Department, Central Committee of the Communist Party of China

25 September, 2003

Since its foundation in 1921, the Communist Party of China has maintained close links with the outside world. The Party were in friendly contacts with various progressive forces around the world, winning widespread sympathy and support for the liberation of the Chinese nation and the Chinese revolution in the 28 years leading to the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949. The efforts to forge links with the outside world have always been an important part of the cause of our Party.

As the CPC became the ruling party of New China, the Party's external relations became an important part of the country's overall state diplomacy. Under the direct leadership of and with the participation of our Party's first generation of leaders represented by Mao Zedong, our Party conducted friendly exchanges with communist and workers' parties. Through these contacts, the Party played an irreplaceable role in helping expand New China's international space and its participation in international affairs. Given the prevailing historic conditions at that time, our Party mainly had links with communist parties, workers' parties and organizations on the left. Due to the severe interference and attacks from the "Left" thinking in our ideology, the Party's external work suffered a major setback and almost came to a standstill during the fierce debate in the international communist movement in the 1960s and the subsequent "Cultural Revolution".

In the wake of the historic Third Plenary Session of the 11th CPC Central Committee convened in 1978, the Party shifted its focus of work to economic development. In the meantime, the Party's second generation of leaders led by Deng Xiaoping, after reviewing the experiences and lessons in history, decided that the fundamental task of the Party's external work was to secure an international environment, especially a stable surrounding favourable to the country's reform, opening-up and modernization drive. Independence, complete equality, mutual respect, non-interference in each other's internal affairs were adopted as the four principles governing inter party relations. Beginning the late 1970s, our Party started to resume normal party-to-party links with communist parties and workers' parties in other countries. Our Party gradually established links with nationalist and democratic parties in the developing world. In the spirit of "transcending ideological differences, seeking mutual understanding and cooperation", our Party established contacts, exchanges and cooperation with socialist parties (social democratic parties and labour parties), liberal parties, Christian democratic parties and conservative parties and international political party organizations around the world, especially in the developed world. Since the 1990s, the international situation and political party scenario underwent many profound changes. Under the direction of the Party's third generation of leaders with Jiang Zemin at the core, our Party continued adhering to the goals of promoting peace and development. Our Party interacted with various new and old political parties around the world in a pro-active, steady and sustained manner and on the basis of the four principles governing party-to-party relations. The Party's external work is experiencing a gratifying momentum of growth.

To date, our Party has established and maintained links, contacts and cooperation in diverse forms with 400-odd political parties and organizations in over 140 countries and regions the world over. We are expanding our contacts with political parties in the developed countries, including the left, centre and right parties. We put more emphasis on achieving tangible results in our friendly exchanges with political parties in the developing world. We are strengthening our exchanges and cooperation with the ruling parties of socialist countries. Our links with newly emerged political parties in some countries in transition are growing steadily. Significant progress has been made in our ties with international and regional party organizations. A pattern of all-round, multi-channel, wide-scope, deep-level contacts and exchanges has taken shape in the Party's external relations.

Statistics show that over the past two decades since the introduction of the reform and opening-up policy, the International Department of the CPC Central Committee invited and received over 4,500 delegations and groups from foreign political parties, totaling 26,000 people/movements. The International Department of CPC Central Committee, the Party' organ for the Party's international relations, organized and sent more than 1,500 delegations and groups overseas, involving nearly 10,000 people/ movements. During these visits, we introduced and explained our Party' line, principles, domestic and foreign policies honestly and frankly, demonstrating our new image of peace, development and progress. At the same time, by actively engaging in the Party's international relations work, our Party's central and local leaders inform themselves of the deep changes taking place in the world's political, economic, cultural, scientific and technological areas first hand, exposing themselves to the diversity of the world. They also learn of the ideas of foreign parties in running their respective countries and parties, which help them improve their global vision.

In recent years, the International Department receives around 200 delegations and sends overseas 100 groups annually. On average, we bring in a foreign group every day and send a delegation out every day. The Party's external work has indeed become an important window through which our Party observes, understands and reaches out to the world. It also serves as an important stage where our Party's image is presented.

The International Department also follows and studies the developments in the international situation and major international issues, provide the CPC Central Committee and other authorities with information and policy proposals. In recent years, we have conducted an in-depth study and summation of the causes and lessons of the collapse of the former Soviet Union and the dramatic changes in Eastern Europe. We have done research on the experiences and lessons of the successes and failures of the ruling political parties in some countries. We have surveyed the achievements and experiences of many foreign parties, especially those in power in developing the economy, maintaining social stability, working for the wellbeing of the people. We have also studied the new issues facing foreign ruling parties and their initiatives in response to them. All of this has contributed to our Party's understanding of the law of ruling communist parties exercising power, the law of building socialism and the law of the development of the human society. That helps our Party draw upon the results of humanity's all civilizations, promote innovation in both theory and practice, improve the art of leadership and build up its capacity as a ruling party, improve institutions.

Exchanges between political parties cover political as well as economic issues; Not only views are exchanged but cooperation is enhanced. In our international relations work, we also try our best to play the role of a bridge, promote cooperation so that China's local and other authorities can open wider to the outside word, bring in more foreign visitors and investment while reaching out to the outside world. This is done in light of the national economic and social development strategies and the needs of China's localities in their economic and social development.

As the start of the new century, both the international situation and that of world political parties are undergoing profound changes. Nations and political parties are pondering the question of how to adapt to the objective situation in order to survive and develop. As an important part of the overall state diplomacy and the cause of the Party£¬the Party's external relations work is faced with both opportunities and challenges. Like other fronts, we must also implement and acting on the important thought of "Three Represents", keep pace with the times, be innovative and pioneering, finding the proper place and direction of further expansion for the Party's external work. We must make sure that the Party's external relations work must be subordinate to and serve the Party's general goals and tasks, creating outside conditions favourable to our efforts to build a Xiaokang (well-off) society in a comprehensive manner, contributing even more to the cause of peace, development and progress of the world.