Following is the explanations by a leading official of the secretariat of the 16th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) on the Amendment to the Constitution of the CPC, which was adopted on Nov. 14 at the Congress.
The official made the explanations during an interview with Xinhua.
Basic Reasons for Revising the Party Constitution
The Party Constitution currently in force was adopted at the Twelfth National Congress of the CPC in September 1982. In accordance with the changing situation and tasks, revisions were made in some of the articles at the Thirteenth National Congress in November 1987 and in the General Program and some of the articles at the Fourteenth National Congress in October 1992, and very few revisions were made in the General Program at the Fifteenth National Congress in September 1997.
Since the Fifteenth National Congress, historic progress has been registered in China's reform, opening up and socialist modernization drive as the socialist market economy has initially taken shape, the strategic objectives for the second step of the modernization drive have been attained, and on the whole, the people have reached a well-off standard of living. Since the beginning of the new century, China has been in a new stage of development for building a well-off society in an all-round way and accelerating socialist modernization. The Party has set new objectives for development and worked out a new program of action at the new stage in the new century, which necessitates changes in the relevant parts of the Party Constitution.
During these years, fresh progress has been made in the building of our Party, and new valuable experience has been accumulated in this regard. In particular, the important thought of Three Represents put forward by Comrade Jiang Zemin is a concentrated reflection of the fundamental requirements arising from the changes in China and other parts of the world today for strengthening Party building and promoting the great cause of building socialism with Chinese characteristics, and constitutes anew development in the Marxist theory of Party building. All this necessitates a revision of the Constitution, to include the important thought of Three Represents in it.
The general principle followed in the current revision of the Constitution is to uphold the guidance of Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory and the Party's basic line, conscientiously implement the important thought of Three Represents and include in the Constitution the major theoretical viewpoints and major principles and policies established in Comrade Jiang Zemin's report to the Sixteenth National Congress, so as to meet the new requirements arising from the new situation and tasks for the work of the Party and Party building.
Formulated on the basis of an all-round review of our Party's historical experience and in accordance with the specific conditions of the socialist modernization drive, the Constitution currently in force is viable by and large for guiding Party building. Therefore, minor revisions, not major ones, should be made in the Constitution. Proposed revisions from all quarters concerned have been accepted only if they proved to be mature in practice, and the immature ones have been rejected. The revision made this time highlights the role of the important thought of Three Represents in guiding the Party's work and Party building in the new situation. The revision, in keeping pace with the times and the spirit of reform and innovation, made some appropriate revisions and supplements, while keeping the framework of the Party Constitution unchanged. This is aimed at maintaining the authority and continuity of the Party Constitution. And this enables the Party Constitution to provide better guidance on the work of the Party and Party building, both at present and in a period to come.
Inclusion of the Important Thought of Three Represents in the Party Constitution
The important thought of Three Represents put forward by Comrade Jiang Zemin has become a deep-rooted consensus of the whole Party. The important thought of Three Represents is included in the Party Constitution to meet the fundamental requirements of the Party in improving its leadership and governance of the state, the objective needs of advancing the cause of building socialism with Chinese characteristics, and the common wish of all comrades of the Party.
Added to the General Program are statements about the historical process since the Fourth Plenary Session of the Thirteenth Central Committee of the Party and the expounding of the historical position and significant role of the important thought of Three Represents. Additions have been made to the 2nd and 19th paragraphs of the General Program and a new 6th paragraph has been written, fully affirming the work of the Party and the achievements in Party building in the 13 years since the Fourth Plenary Session of the Thirteenth Party Central Committee. Also expounded are the practical basis and theoretical sources of the important thought of Three Represents. In the practice of building socialism with Chinese characteristics over the 13 years, the Chinese Communists, with Comrade Jiang Zemin as their chief representative, have acquired a deeper understanding of what socialism is, how to build it and what kind of a party to build and how to build it, accumulated new valuable experience in running the Party and state and formed the important thought of Three Represents. The amended Constitution has expounded the historical position and significant role of the important thought of Three Represents, pointing out that the thought is a continuation and development of Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought and Deng Xiaoping Theory, that it reflects the new requirements for the work of the Party and state arising from the changes in China and other parts of the world today, that it serves as a powerful theoretical weapon for strengthening and improving Party building and for promoting self-improvement and development of socialism in China, that it is the crystallized, collective wisdom of the CPC and that it is a guiding ideology that the Party must uphold for a long time to come. Persistent implementation of the "Three Represents" is the foundation for building our Party, the cornerstone for its governance and the source of its strength. The amended Constitution stresses that our Party must take Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory and the important thought of Three Represents as its guide to action. The whole Party must achieve unity in thinking and in action with Deng Xiaoping Theory, the important thought of Three Represents and the Party's basic line.
Additions relating to the articles include: In Article 3, the duties of Party members are expanded to include the study of the important thought of Three Represents; in Article 31, the tasks of the primary Party organizations now include organizing Party members to conscientiously study the important thought of Three Represents; in Article 34, the earnest implementation of the important thought of Three Represents is added to the basic requirements for leading Party cadres at all levels.
Further Expounding the Nature of the Party
The 1st paragraph of the General Program has been revised as follows: "The Communist Party of China is the vanguard both of the Chinese working class and of the Chinese people and the Chinese nation. It is the core of leadership for the cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics and represents the development trend of China's advanced productive forces, the orientation of China's advanced culture and the fundamental interests of the overwhelming majority of the Chinese people. The realization of communism is the highest ideal and ultimate goal of the Party." This definition of the nature of the Party accords with its past and present and the requirements of our times. It is conducive for the Party to maintain its nature of the vanguard of the working class, to enhance the class foundation of the Party, to extend the coverage of the work of the Party, and to expand the mass foundation of the Party; and it helps all comrades of the Party to profoundly understand and carry out the Party's historical mission, and to rally and lead the people in a joint effort to build socialism with Chinese characteristics.
Making New Summary of the Marxist-Leninist Theses of the Laws Governing the Development of Human Society in Light of the Specific Conditions in China
The 3rd paragraph of the General Program has been rewritten in light of the practice of socialism for nearly a century and in response to the profound changes in the domestic and international situation in current years. The amended Constitution stresses that the basic tenets of Marxism-Leninism are correct and have tremendous vitality, that the highest ideal of communism pursued by Chinese Communists can be realized only when the socialist society is fully developed and very advanced, and that the development and improvement of the socialist system is a long historical process. It stresses that, so long as the Chinese Communists uphold the basic tenets of Marxism-Leninism and follow the road suited to China's specific conditions and chosen by the Chinese people of their own accord, the socialist cause in China will be crowned with final victory. This formulation emphasizes that the CPC will, as always, uphold the basic tenets of Marxism-Leninism and its maximum program and at the same time integrate the basic tenets of Marxism-Leninism with China's practice and lead the people of all ethnic groups around the country in following their own road confidently and building socialism with Chinese characteristics.
New Supplements to the General Program on the Strategic Objectives and Guiding Principles for China's Economic and Social Development at the New Stage in the New Century
Since the Fifteenth National Congress of the CPC, the reform and opening up have been deepened, and the targets set by the Party for the 20th century have been met. To meet the needs of China's economic and social development at the new stage in the new century, the following supplements have been made to the General Program.
Specifying the objectives of building a well-off society in an all-round way in the first 20 years of this century. The 7th paragraph of the General Program of the revised version points out: development is our Party's top priority in governing and rejuvenating the country; the strategic objectives of economic and social development at the new stage in the new century are to consolidate and develop the well-off standard of living initially attained, bring China into a well-off society of a higher level to the benefit of well over one billion people by the time of the Party's centenary and bring the per capita GDP up to the level of moderately developed countries and realize modernization in the main by the time of the centenary of the People's Republic of China.
Adding statements on China's basic economic system and development at the primary stage of socialism. The 7th paragraph of the General Program of the revised version points out: China is at the primary stage of socialism and will remain so for a long period of time; we must uphold and improve the basic economic system, with public ownership playing a dominant role and diverse forms of ownership developing side by side; we must keep and improve the system of distribution under which distribution according to work is dominant and a variety of modes of distribution coexist. The wording of implementation of the strategy of rejuvenating the country through science and education and that of sustainable development has been added to the 9th paragraph of the General Program. Added to the 11th paragraph are the wording that reform and opening up are the only way to make our country strong, and that we must ... keep and improve a socialist market economy.
Adding statements on ruling the country by law and building a socialist country under the rule of law. At its Fifteenth National Congress, the Party summed up its historical experience, particularly that gained in ruling the country since the Third Plenary Session of the Eleventh Party Central Committee, and put forward the basic principle of ruling the country by law and the important task of building a socialist country under the rule of law. At its Sixteenth National Congress, the Party has further proposed to develop socialist democracy and build socialist political civilization; it has elucidated the unity of leadership by the Party, the people being masters of the country and the ruling of the country by law, stressing the need to persevere in their integration and dialectic unity, and to keep building socialist democracy. Addition of these points in the 12th paragraph of the General Program in the amended Constitution shows that the CPC and the Chinese people have full confidence in the road of political development they have chosen and it will help all the Party members further enhance their awareness of the legal system, foster their sense of exercising state power according to law and consciously conduct activities within the framework of the Constitution of the state and other laws.
Adding statements on the combination of ruling the country by law and ruling the country by virtue. The 13th paragraph of the General Program in the amended Constitution has included the statement that the CPC leads the people in their effort to build spiritual civilization as well as material and political civilizations, and to combine ruling the country by law and ruling the country by virtue.
Setting New Requirements for Party Building and Its Leadership
In the new century, continuing to advance the modernization construction, accomplishing the great cause of reunification of the motherland and safeguarding world peace and promoting the common development constitute three major historical tasks the CPC shoulders.
In light of the Party's tasks, the Constitution has substantiated the content and requirements of Party building in the General Program. It has pointed out clearly that the Party must adhere to its basic line in strengthening and improving Party building; that it must persist in exercising self-discipline and being strict with its members, constantly improve its art of leadership and governance, raise its ability to resist corruption, prevent degeneration and withstand risks, constantly strengthen its class foundation, expand its mass base and enhance its creativity, cohesion and combat effectiveness so that our Party will stand forever in the forefront of the times; that the whole party must use Deng Xiaoping theory, the important thought of the "Three Represents" and the Party's Basic line to unify thinking, unify actions and unswervingly persist in doing so for a long time; that all Party members must persevere in emancipating their minds, seeking truth from facts and keeping pace with the times and, acting in accordance with the Party's ideological line, explore new ways, boldly experiment with new methods and go in for innovation; that the biggest political advantage of our Party lies in its close ties with the masses while the biggest potential danger for it as a ruling party comes from its divorce from them; and that supervision over leading organs of the Party and over Party members holding leading positions must be strengthened and the system of inner-Party supervision constantly improved.
With regard to the basic requirements for the Party's leadership, the new wording is included to the effect that acting on the principle that the Party commands the overall situation and coordinates the efforts of all quarters, the Party must play the role as the core of leadership among all other organizations at the corresponding levels, and that the Party must improve its system of leadership and raise its governing capacity.
At the same time, in order to further improve the basic system of discussing matters and making decisions within Party committees and make the decision-making more scientific and democratic, Item 5, Article 10 in Chapter II has been revised and improved to make it clear that all major issues shall be decided upon by Party committees after discussion in accordance with the principle of collective leadership, democratic centralism, individual consultations and decision by meetings.
In line with the actual establishment of leading Party members' groups and the work they have been carrying out in recent years, new provisions for the status and tasks of leading Party members' groups have specified. Added to Article 46 in Chapter IX is a reference to giving play to the role of leading Party members' groups as the core of leadership. Added to the tasks of leading Party members' groups is a reference to doing well in managing affairs concerning cadres.
In Article 47, the wording "The members of a leading Party members' group are appointed by the Party committee that approves its establishment" and "A leading Party members' group must accept the leadership of the Party committee that approves its establishment" has been revised as "The composition of a leading Party members' group is decided by the Party organization that approves its establishment" and "A leading Party members' group must accept the leadership of the Party organization that approves its establishment".
The new requirements the Party Constitution has set forth for Party building and its leadership have implemented the important thought of the "Three Represents", summed up the practical experience in recent years and conformed with the development of the situation to facilitate doing a still better job in the building of our Party, so that the all-round implementation of the Party's basic line and smooth development of socialism with Chinese characteristics will be guaranteed.
Setting New Qualifications for Party Members and New Essential Requirements for Party Cadres at All Levels
Proper revisions have been made for Party member applicants. Article 1 in Chapter I has been revised as follows: Any Chinese worker, farmer, member of the armed forces, intellectual or any advanced element of other social strata who has reached the age of eighteen and who accepts the Party's Program and Constitution and is willing to join and work actively in one of the Party organizations, carry out the Party's decisions and pay membership dues regularly may apply for membership in the Communist Party of China. This is beneficial to strengthening the Party's class foundation, expanding its mass base and enhancing its cohesion and influence in society at large.
Item 1, Article 3 in Chapter I clearly included into the obligations Party members must implement the conscientious study of Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought and Deng Xiaoping Theory and the important thought of "Three Represents" and observation of the Party discipline and abide by the laws and regulations of the state in an exemplary way.
Added to Article 34, Chapter VI, is a reference to the need of earnestly putting the important thought of Three Represents into practice, constantly stressing study, political awareness and integrity and being able to stand the test of all trials and tribulations; a reference to the lofty ideal of communism and firm conviction in socialism with Chinese characteristics; a reference to emancipating the mind, keeping pace with the times, blazing new trails in a pioneering spirit and working efficiently; a reference to the requirement of handling matters according to law and exercising self-respect, self-examination, self-caution and self-motivation.
These provisions in the Party Constitution on the essential requirements for leading Party cadres at all levels better accord with the requirements for the times and the reality of strengthening the contingent of cadres.
Supplementing and Revising Regulations Concerning Primary Organizations of the Party
In accordance with the new practice in their work, new tasks and requirements have been set forth primary Party organizations for their building in Article 29, Article 30, Article 31 and Article 32 in Chapter V.
The Article 29 adds contents concerning the importance of establishing primary Party organizations in communities, mass organizations and intermediaries. This helps Party organizations and Party work to cover all spheres of society effectively and efficiently.
In Article 30, as it has been revised, provides that a primary Party committee is elected for a term of three to five years instead of the previously prescribed three or four years. The revision makes it possible for the term of office of township or town Party committees or other relevant Party committees to tally with the term of office of Party committees at a higher level. As for what types of primary Party committees have a five-year term of office, additional specifications will be worked out.
In Item 6, Article 31, the wording "attach great importance to admitting outstanding workers, farmers and intellectuals in the forefront of production and work" is revised as "attach great importance to recruiting Party members from among those in the forefront of production and work and from young people". The revision highlights the priority in the recruitment of new Party members and better accords with the reality of our Party membership recruitment.
In Article 32, the term "village Party branches" has been replaced by "Party organizations in villages and communities". The main consideration for the revision is that along with the economic and social development in rural areas, some localities have adjusted the institutional setup of some village Party organizations in light of the needs of their work and the number of Party members, establishing a number of village Party committees or general village Party branches. The term of "village Party organizations" replacing "village Party branches" better accords with the reality in rural areas today. An explicit provision of the leadership of community Party organizations over community work is beneficial to reinforcing the organizational foundation for the Party's work in urban areas.
In Article 32, the term "primary Party organization in an enterprise owned by the whole people" has been revised as "primary Party organization in a state-owned or collective enterprise", and the wording that the Party organization "backs the factory director (manager) in the exercise of his functions and powers according to law" has been replaced by "backs the meeting of shareholders, board of directors, board of supervisors and manager (factory director) in the exercise of their functions and powers according to law". The revision has also made it clear that they shall provide the leadership for cultural and ethical progress. The revision is conducive to giving better guidance to Party building in state-owned and collective enterprises and promoting their reform and development.
A new provision for the role of a primary Party organization in a non-public economic institution has been added to Article 32. It provides explicitly that the primary Party organization in a non-public economic institution carries out the Party's principles and policies, provides guidance to and supervises the enterprise in observing the laws and regulations of the state, exercises leadership over the trade union, the Communist Youth League organization and other mass organizations, rallies the workers and office staff around it, safeguards the legitimate rights and interests of all quarters and stimulates the healthy development of the enterprise.
The main consideration for the revision is that, with non-public economic institutions becoming an important force in China's economic and social development, strengthening Party building in this domain is suited to the need of upholding and improving the basic economic system for the primary stage of socialism, the need of strengthening the Party's ties with the workers and office staff in non-public enterprises, and the need of consolidating the Party's class foundation and expanding its mass base. The provision for this matter is necessary.
Supplementing the Main Tasks of Party Discipline Inspection Organs
Combating and preventing corruption is a major political task for the whole Party. Added to Article 44 in Chapter VIII concerning the main tasks of the Party discipline inspection organs is an explicit reference to the organs assisting the respective Party committees in organizing and coordinating the work against corruption. The revision has been designed to make the provision more consistent with the anti-corruption leadership system and working mechanism that took shape in practical work, which features unified leadership by Party committees, concerted efforts of the Party and the government, organization and coordination by the Party discipline inspection commissions, division of responsibilities of all departments concerned and reliance on the support and participation of the people. Also added to Article 44's provisions on day-to-day work of the Party discipline inspection organs is a reference to the supervision over the exercise of power by leading Party cadres and the guarantee of the rights of Party members. The revision will make the work of discipline inspection better meet the requirements of the new situation and new tasks. It is also beneficial to developing inner-Party democracy, strengthening inner-Party supervision, and unfolding in a deep-going way the struggle against corruption.
Further Description of the Nature of the Communist Youth League of China
In Article 49, Chapter X, the wording that the Communist Youth League of China "is a school where a large number of young people learn about communism through practice" is changed into "a school where a large number of young people learn about socialism with Chinese characteristics and about communism through practice". The new wording will encourage young people to combine their lofty ideal of communism with their firm conviction in socialism with Chinese characteristics, study hard, work in a down-to-earth manner, stand tests and increase abilities in the great cause of reform, opening up and the socialist modernization drive.
Adding a New Chapter on the Party Emblem and Flag
The Constitution adopted at the 16th National Congress of the CPC adds Chapter XI on Party emblem and flag. Article 51 stipulates that the emblem of the Communist Party of China is a design of sickle and hammer. Article 52 provides that the flag of the Communist Party of China is a red flag highlighted by a golden Party emblem on it. And according to Article 53, the Party emblem and flag are the symbol and sign of the Communist Party of China, Party organizations at all levels and all Party members shall safeguard the sanctity of the Party emblem and flag, and the Party emblem and flag should be made and used according to regulations. This new chapter will play an important role in safeguarding the sanctity of the Party emblem and flag, give play to the role of the emblem and flag in arousing Party members, increase the Party members' sense of honor and awareness of their mission, and enhance the Party's cohesion and impact.
Handling of Opinions and Proposals from Party Organizations and Party Members
Party organs at all levels and Party members have showed great concern about the revision of the Party Constitution. Party organizations and Party members in various localities and departments wrote to the Central Committee and relevant departments, airing their views and suggestions on revising the Constitution. A draft of the amendment to the Party Constitution was circulated among over 3,000 people within the Party, and they offered many good views and suggestions. These views and suggestions were earnestly studied, and many have been adopted. Some of these views and suggestions had not been adopted but have their main ideas reflected in the report to the 16th National Congress of the CPC. Some other views and suggestions which have not been included in the Party Constitution still need to be further studied in practice. Some would be incorporated into other regulations of the Party. It can be said that in revising the Party Constitution, the wisdom of the whole Party has been applied in a concentrated way through fully practicing inner-Party democracy.
(Xinhua News Agency November 18, 2002)